Monday, February 11, 2008

Thumbs Up

I have laughed at all sorts of silly stuff here in Malaysia.
The latest?
The thumbs up sign.

In Malaysia, they point with their thumbs and not fore finger as we are wont to do in Naija.
So, ask for directions or whatever and they give you a thumbs side or up or down - whichever the direction they are referring you to is.

I once asked a scarved receptionist where I could find an office and she gave me a two thumbs up sign with a huge smile. I thought, she must think I'm black american and is trying to say hi the american way.
So, I smile, give her the peace sign and say ''Thanks. But where is XYZ company?'' assuming she understands me. She mutters some strange words in Bahasa Malay and gives me the thumbs up sign again!
Sigh, this is going to be difficult.
Slowly, I say ''T.h.a.n.k y.o.u. W.h.e.r.e i.s t.h.e X.Y.Z c.o.m.p.a.n.y p.l.e.a.s.e?''
The same response!
An aggressive thumbs up, a smile and more strange sounding words.
But wait, this time I pick out the words ''steps'' and ''up''.
It suddenly hits me that the thumbs up sign means top floor.

I burst out laughing. She joins me in laughing too.
''Terima kasih'' I manage to say, climb the stairs and find the office.
Posted by at 9:15 am |  
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