I’m Not Chinese?

The first thing a Chinese cabbie asked me, after I stated my destination, was:

Eh you Cina ker Melayu?

That, in Malay, was to ask if I was Chinese or Malay. I said Chinese, yes, why? He said he wasn’t really sure. I was relieved, though, as I couldn’t really speak Chinese anyway. And so I asked why he asked. “Nowadays very hard to tell lah…

Since it wasn’t the first time a cabbie had asked me, I asked him why. I knew that there was one Malay lookalike who worked in Nando’s, one lookalike in APIIT, one lookalike good-looking lecturer in Lim Kok Wing (this, I was most proud of) and of course the famous Keanu Reeves. (Okay stop sniggering now.)

He said it was… my dressing.

Damn. All this while, I thought I had a sharper-than-regular-Chinese, thin Malay-ish face. He said NOOO my face was completely Chinese; it was my clothes. I dressed like a Malay. Well I didn’t have dyed blonde hair or bellbottom jeans.

I didn’t take it as an insult; I thought it was interesting. However, I felt dumb for barking round the wrong tree.

He then went on into political rhetoric (doesn’t every taxi driver?) about how, if certain laws were abolished, that in the future, we’d never have to ask if we were Chinese or Malay. We’d just be… Malaysian.

Anyway, what he said was by no means conclusive – I’ve been asked “are you Chinese Chinese?” In that sense, it meant if I had pure Chinese genes. That, I had, but my grandmother was from Indonesia, concluding my friend’s theory that I was Indonesian Chinese.

Well, at least nobody has asked me if I was gay or straight.

0 thoughts on “I’m Not Chinese?

  1. YK Post author

    Jokes aside, if dressing code makes us look who we are then I’ll be damned. And how to dress to make me look chinese ? Wears some of those ah-beng black shirts with dragon-design on it ? No wonder I got some looks when I walk into chinese restaurant with my Pearl Jam t-shirt on.

  2. Leddy Post author

    hey alby are u referring to ur REAL grandmother or my mother? hahaha… my mom’s from indonesia and i get most ppl calling me an indonesian chinese too not that i mind though 😀

  3. lionel Post author

    i seem to be more chinese when i dress well, or at least put on shoes. (shrugs)

    nope, people can’t tell. but some can correctly guess i’m exotically from the other side of the south china sea. (though frequently, it takes one to know one.)

  4. Amber Post author

    Damn, you`re funny. And u dun look like Keanu Reeves! Pls ler, urre better looking. haha, I mean Keanu Reeves is godamned ugly, dude. I dunno y girls go crazy over him. And u have a problem with Chinese CHinese huh? Well, I`m pretty sure that Vick from Malaysian Idol is a chinese chinese and I`m gonna marry him someday, so…I guess I dun mind dyed hair, huge sunglasses or dragons…in fact, I think they`re cool.


  5. Albert Ng Post author

    I’ve no problem with Chinese Chinese except that I don’t speak Chinese. 😛

    Hey Keanu Reeves looked hot in Speed! I’m 50% bisexual. You do the math.

  6. lionel Post author

    not sure if that was some kinda lexiconic joke (50% bi = either completely straight or gay?), but… assuming the other 50% is hetero, you are: 3/4 straight! or 3/4 gay if we assume otherwise.

  7. Albert Ng Post author

    It was the former interpretation; I am completely straight. If I was 3/4 straight, it could subdivide infinitely to no conclusion.

  8. Jha Post author

    I’m Malaysian Chinese and I KNOW I’ve gotten "are you Japanese?" (all I did was say a very friendly hi to her) and "are you Canadian-Chinese?", and uh, yeah, how does dressing make the Chinaperson? O_o

    It’s complicated being a Chinaperson these days. I don’t even hang around the Chinese-chinese people here.

  9. Tiara Post author

    Which lecturer in LUCT looks like you? The closest I can think of is Eric and he doesn’t quite look like you, unless you had more hair on your head.

    and oh, want a GMail account? I’ve got invites overflowing 😛

  10. Albert Ng Post author

    I’ve got Gmail, and 6 invites. Only people who read this comment will ever know, haha.

    I don’t know who the lecturer is, my friend just told me… but it sounds like it could be Eric.


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