Being Malaysian, a majority of us are gifted with being polygots, also known as people who have a command of multiple languages.
And while in Malaysia, some have forgotten this and made the mistake of talking down about others in their mother tongues in front of the person, not knowing that the person that they are talking about understand what they are saying about them. But, what if this happens overseas?
Rishi. S, a Malaysian Indian living in the UK, took to his Twitter account to recall how a group of Indonesian men had spoken about him in Indonesian (similar to Malay) while Rishi was at a McDonald’s in Italy. Feeling cheeky, Rishi then decided to show them that he too spoke and understood Malay (being Malaysian and all).
He wrote, “I’m sitting next to this bunch of Indonesians. I could understand that they were talking about me. Sort of making fun. They’re thinking what an Indian was doing in Milan. Little did they know, I could completely understand them. I plan to surprise them by talking Malay through my phone.”
He later updated the outcome of his plan.
“So, I did it. Everyone of them were shocked! One of them picked up his tray and left. I clearly saw one of the guy’s face turn red. They tried to have small talk but I chose to leave. He even asked, why didn’t I say I’m Malaysia. Dude, why would I say that, then it wouldn’t be a surprise,” he explained.
Rishi shared how it all went down
“I was at the McDonald’s facing the Milan Cathedral. Those who know, will know. Then 6 Indonesian guys sat next to my table. They’re visiting just like I was.”
“I put my AirPods on but I could still hear them laughing and talking. Imagine how loud they were. And suddenly, one guy saw me then said something to his friend and they all laughed. One of them said (in Indonesian), ‘there can also be Hindus in Italy’. I was shocked. Why wouldn’t they be? There are many (Hindus) there,” he wrote.
The group had assumed that Rishi couldn’t hear them as he had his AirPods on, so, he decided to teach them a lesson.
“I took out my phone and pretended to ring my friend. Initially, I used English. They thought I was British. Then I said (in Malay), ‘that’s why, I’ve told him many times but he doesn’t understand’. Things just changed.”
“All their faces changed. One of them just took his tray and left. All of their faces turned red. I saw them, I smirked, put on my fake smile, give them the pettiest stare and left like a boss,” he added.
Rishi’s story may very well be served as a reminder that the world is a different, more advanced place where people have become cultured and have a command of multiple languages.
So, if you want to talk down on someone, maybe do it in the privacy of your own space?
Have you had a similar experience? Do feel free to share in the comment section.