Monday, 23 March 2009

Banana at the Salon

Definition of 'Banana' - A person of Chinese descent who can't speak his/her mother's tongue, i.e. Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, etc.

I was at the hairdressers on Sunday to trim my fringe. Katy, the hairdresser has known me for donkey years. And knowing that I'm a 'banana', she will speak to me in Bahasa Malaysia whenever I drop by for a trim.

Last Sunday when I dropped by the salon, there were two other Chinese ladies getting their hair permed. Both of them had their hair in curlers and one of them stepped out of the salon to go to her apartment unit which is in the same block. The other one remained in her seat and read a magazine while waiting for her hair to set.

Katy asked me to take a seat and started chatting with me in Bahasa Malaysia, as always.

The Chinese lady who was getting her hair permed immediatly asked Katy in Hokkien why I'm speaking in Bahasa Malaysia, am I a Chinese or not, etc.

All these talk in front of me as if though I'm Invisible Woman got me pissed. I said loudly in Bahasa Malaysia to Katy, "Katy, you beritahu dia, saya paham apa dia cakap." (Translation: "Katy, tell her I understand what she's saying").

The lady was stunned. Katy quickly intervened and told her in Hokkien that I'm a Nyonya and eventhough I can't speak Chinese, I understand what's being said. That shut her up.

After trimming my fringe, the other lady walked in. When she heard Katy and I conversing in Bahasa Malaysia, again she asked Katy in Hokkien why I'm speaking in Bahasa Malaysia, am I a Chinese or not, yadda yadda yadda ... It was like a badly rewound tape recycled from the first lady.

This time I said to Katy loudly and stared at the lady, "Ini lagi satu, fikir saya tak boleh paham." (Translation: "This is another one who thinks I don't understand"). That sentence produced a second stunned lady of the day. I paid Katy and walked out of the salon.


Raymond said...

hahahah-so funny. Katy can't speak english?

Julie Lim said...


Katy can only speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Bahasa Malaysia :-)

Salt N Turmeric said...

wah. reading this buat my blood go upstairs!

Julie Lim said...

Farina - Yes, these women really made me angry.

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