Take caution when talking bad of strangers

Here are two of my personal experiences in dealing with strangers whose nationalities I didn't know of. Apparently, speaking of others in a so-called "less-common language" doesn't always guarantee you privacy.

Back in November 2006, I remember this one particular scene in Soekarno-Hatta airport when I almost made an embarrassment of myself.

Julz, Bagus, Dana, and me were on 2 different queues to get our passports checked and stamped by the officers.

I was ahead of my queue (with Dana behind me) when an Oriental-looking Indonesian girl about three years younger my age cut my queue, apologised to me that she was in a rush, and quickly took her spot to the passports officer.

I hadn't given her the permission to cut my queue yet (and indeed I wasn't going to give her any), but she seemed to take it for granted.

I was about to utter my curses in Japanese with Dana (who was much more fluent in the language than me) about how infuriated I was of her. I didn't care if she heard it, it wasn't like she would understand it anyway... but my first syllable was interrupted when that girl called out loud to someone behind Dana's queue:


(which is the Japanese word for "Mommy")

Then I saw her passport... which was RED.

Oh freak, I almost made an embarrassment of myself! I told Dana about this (in low voices of course, as I've found out that both of them were Japanese Indonesians) and he grinned at my near-miss.

LOLS, that was close to making a scene...

Now let me go back to a much earlier scene where I made a real shame of myself. This one below happened in my school's dormitory hall lounge in November 2004.

Having stayed in Singapore for less than a month, we still thought of Singapore Dollar as a superior figure than Rupiah, hence we still deem it kinda wasteful to spend too much money on food.

(this perception totally changed after we've stayed for two months, because apparently we found out that food were the cheapest of all basic necessities we could purchase in Singapore)

Boon and me were walking from our room to take some fresh air outside when we spotted our halltutor (with whom we weren't acquainted yet) in the lounge, eating bread.

I voiced my concerns out loud to Boon in Indonesian language, "Ih Boon, itu orang kok makan roti melulu ya kerjanya?" ("Boon, why does that guy always seem to be munching breads every time we see him?")

Boon's response was only a short "Tau tuh.." ("Dunno").

All of a sudden, that guy whom we talked about looked straight at us both. I was frozen to death when he stared at me with such a hawkish look.

Boon was aware of this too and we paced ourselves away from the lounge. Thankfully there was no respond whatsoever from that guy.

When we were far within his earshot, Boon asked me "That guy seem to understand what you were saying... Was it because the manner you talked?"

"Perhaps... Or it's quite possible that he is..."

"an Indonesian?"

"Hmm yep, but he looks Chinese... I thought he's a Singaporean", I looked worried, fearing for the worst.

"Let's go and find out his name and nationality later"

That night, we found out that the halltutor on whose face we spoke of was in fact a Malaysian. A true-blood Chinese Malaysian. So he understood Malay then (which is mutually intelligible with Indonesian)

Oh dear, it was just fortunate of me that he was a kind chap that he didn't hold out any personal grudges against me, hehe.

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