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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Parents' Diplomatic Communications 101

My parents have a distinctive way of expressing themselves.

And I think it has influenced my writing a lot.

Mum, who keeps blaming her "Minangkabau blood" for her way of speaking in circles, never ask you to do anything directly.

Let's say she wants you to clean the aquarium, instead of saying, "Bersihkan akuarium!", she goes, "Kesian ikan tu berenang dalam air kotor."

No matter what my mum said or whatever reason she gave, I know for a fact that mum just doesn't want to sound like she is giving an order. She wants us to understand what she wants without needing to say it.

Which is annoying at times, to be honest. It's cute at times, but annoying the rest of it. I mean, sometimes when you want to do something quickly, you just don't have time to interpret her words. I mean, saying "Makan bihun goreng pun sedap, kan?" doesn't actually give you any information whatsoever.

What is it then? You want me to make it for you? Buy it for you? You want me to agree? You want me to buy things for bihun goreng? What is it that you want me to buy? The bihun? The shrimps? Oil? Sawi? What is it??????

My aunt Eiasah, her sister also talks the same way, and my uncle likes to make fun of it.

Last time, we were in the car returning from Sri Menanti, and she saw some stalls selling petai.
"Sedap nampak petai tu," she said.
But my uncle didn't stop.
So she asked, "Kenapa Lik tak berhenti beli petai tu?"
He replied, "Esah kata petai tu nampak sedap, tak kata nak berhenti pun."

Dad, on the other hand, never ask things in a way that shows that he wants it. He asks a question instead.

For example, "Adik nak buat air tembikai ke hari ni?"
(That's not a question. That's dad's way of saying, "Buat air tembikai".)
"Awak nak masak apa hari ni? Mee rebus?"
("Aku nak mi rebus.")
"Kaklong nak telefon Ashu ke?"
(Kaklong, telefon Ashu.")

And this stems from the fact that my dad, who has always been the go-to guy, the sole provider of the family, is not very comfortable asking anything from his children. He doesn't like being seen as the one who needed help from his kids. I mean, even when I want to give him money, he'll be like, "Adik kan tak dapat royalti lagi bulan ni. Tak payahlah."

Dad, I have at least three jobs, okay? Take the money!

And so, instead of asking for something, he rewords his requests into questions to make you believe that it's YOU who want to do all that that he asked.

And as their daughter, I find myself being influenced by them in my daily conversations, and sometimes it irks my friends.

Instead of saying, "Aku nak pergi kedai tu kejap", I say, "Kedai tu nampak macam best, kan?" (which is the mixture of my mum and my dad's way of asking for something).

**sorry, I can't continue with this for the time being. It's been four days since A'a went missing and I'm quite distraught.

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