(Day 32 in Kabul)
(Picture source: http://www.tourismmalaysia.de)
It seems like the cable TV in my hotel room was mocking me….
I would see at least 2 advertisements on Malaysia in a day (the one with Pak Lah sitting down and “selling” Visit Malaysia 2007 was a big turn-off though) and the more I see, the more I am missing home. However a couple days ago, we got a big surprise when we returned to our hotel after a hard day’s work. When we were collecting our room keys, we thought we heard someone talking in Bahasa Malaysia. Were we dreaming?
We could have been – we are missing home so much that we may just be hallucinating. We hear hard and ya, someone was indeed speaking in Bahasa Malaysia. We looked around and saw 2 elderly Malay ladies. We asked them (I was about to ask them what in the hell they are doing here) and was confirmed that they were indeed from Malaysia. They are in Kabul for a seminar and will be around for couple of days. They have been in Kabul for 2 days and already they got bored with the hotel food. Just 2 days and they are bored with the food, so you can imagine what our feeling was after almost a month in Kabul?
So, finally we have some Malaysians right here in Kabul and it is funny to see how they react to the “local” situation in Kabul. These ladies were at the hotel reception trying to get the guy behind the counter to get them a taxi – they wanted to go out for dinner. The guy at the counter refused, saying that it is too dangerous for them to be taking taxi alone without a local escort. One lady was complaining and asked why it is so difficult to take a taxi. My thought at that time was “hello, anybody home? This is Kabul, not KL”.
We remarked to them that even for a simple ride from the bank to the hotel requires an escort and at least one armed guard. And here we have 2 ladies, foreign in Kabul, unable to speak Urdu or any of the local language, wanting to take taxi to a place that they are not familiar with. Somehow 1 plus 1 did not make any sense.
I could imagine this newsflash in the CNN the next morning:-
“2 Malaysian were reported to be kidnapped after they have taken a taxi ride from their hotel despite several warnings from the hotel staff. The kidnappers are believed to be the notorious “Ganja Geng 69” well known in Kabul for kidnapping spree of unescorted foreign women. According to some witnesses, when this incident was reported to the local police chief, he first looked disbelief and went to the nearest wall to bang his head.
In the meantime, it was also reported that the Malaysian Government is considering to send some police officers to Kabul to assist on the investigation but before a decision was made, a youth wing of a political party have organised a “search and rescue” team consist of illegal racers (also known as Mat Rempits) to ride from the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur to Kabul.
This endeavour was reported to cost about RM50 million and there already a big debate by Lim Kit Siang in the leaking Parliament house as to who is going bear this expensive search and rescue mission”
Thankfully, this did not happen – I meant the 2 Malaysian ladies taking the taxi ride. After a several “strong” advice from both the hotel staff and your truly friendly Malaysians, they decided to call their host and get a ride instead. Smart move ladies!
But the next morning, my colleague, Azmi was very upset with the ladies. We know he was upset because his face turned reddish. You know he was young, not married and been away from Malay girls for a long time but don’t get the wrong idea.
Despite the fact that his room was couple of footsteps from the ladies’ room, his reason to be upset with the ladies was this – one of the ladies called him “Budak Malaysia”. Budak? Small boy? Oh man, when he heard that, his Spartan spirit within him erupted and became very restless. For a young, energetic man, that was a big ouch! But for the rest of us, it was a break that we were waiting for – a chance to make fun on him. Almost every conversation with him was heavily sprinkled with the “budak” word. When Azmi remarked that his ambition (years ago) was to be a singer, another colleague of mine remarked that he could have formed a band and call it….Budak Malaysia. Ouch again.
We Malaysian can truly be Asians at any given time of the day…hahaNo tags for this post.