Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ho and Ho

Ho Chi Minh City that I had left…

Beautiful bright day - Ho Chi Minh City
Hong Kong is in front of me…

Sunset - Hong Kong

I must be blessed for having such wonderful view in both places… So grateful.  Thank you.

Both places have same thing in common, they start with H and O. 

A friend says that wherever I am in Asia, I look local.  He revised his statement to "mostly in Asia”.  Thanks to my oriental look.  

Yes, in my home country – Indonesia - everyone speaks Bahasa to me.  Only a few times in Bali, the Balinese thinks I am Japanese.

When I used to live in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, many locals think I am Vietnamese or perhaps Viet Kieu.  Thanks to Wikipedia, Viet Kieu is Overseas Vietnamese refers to Vietnamese people living outside Vietnam in a diaspora.  Of the about three million Overseas Vietnamese, a majority left Vietnam as refugees after 1975 as a result of the Fall of Saigon and the resulting takeover by the Communist regime. 

In Singapore, some still greet me in Chinese as first sentence.  "I am sorry?" - that's my automatic response.  Then the second sentence is automatically switched to English, Singlish or Malay can lah...

Is she a Singaporean in Marina Bay Sands?

When I visited Anyes in Tokyo years ago, she said; "Everyone think you are Japanese, until you say something! "

When I started working in 5-star hotel in Jakarta, one of my colleagues said: "V, you look like Singaporean or Hongkonger…"

Once, my sister commented on my fashion style: "How come you look like Hongkonger?"

I believe that there is always blessing in disguise.  Funny moments happen….

  • Me:  "How much is the fruit?" - (English)
  • She:  "$#(%xyz)" - (Cantonese)
  • Me:  "I’m sorry, how much is that?" - (English)
  • She:  tick tick tick.... $12345 - (Calculator)
Proudly Indonesian!

One time I tried to be smart saying one very simple word, after someone opened the door for me: 

  • Me:   Xie xie
  • Him:  Oh! Speak Mandarin?
  • Me:  No, anything wrong?
  • Him:  No, I only understand a few words. Here, we speak Cantonese.
  • Me: #Alamak #tepokjidat - Wrong language, huh?

Another simple sample, location: Hong Kong station:

  • Mr. A:  "Excuse me, Madame.  Maybe you can help me" (he pointed his fingers to the MTR sign)
  • Me:  "Yes, I will try to help you if I can, but I am not from Hong Kong, what would you like to know?"
  • Mr. A:  "Sorry Madame…" (he walked away)

A more difficult situation in MTR station:
  • An uncle:  "@#?$*& Xxxx yyy aaa hooo ;afda op we r$*&…."
  • Me:  "Yes…?"
  • An uncle:  "098 khdafha  @#?$*& adfafpp padfop………."
  • Me:  "But…."
  • An uncle:  "#*><?{} & xxx pp qq mm adffadf @#?$*& pp .."
  • Me:  "Uncle, I’m very sorry but I don’t understand Cantonese" (in an apology mode and place my hands together in front of my chest to respect him).

I tried to stop him from spending effort talking too long, but he could not stop...

If people pay more attention on me, they will know right away that I come from different planet:
  • I get mixed up saying "MRT" and "MTR".  Ssst.... MRT is in Singapore lah!
  • I have to pay attention to "MTR" map/street direction/bus signs before gettig on the train/bus to avoid getting lost.
  • I have Google Map print-out if I go to places that I have never been to.
Fa Yuen Kai = Fa Yuen Street?

I don’t get lost in HK, I just don’t find the place that I wanted to go to.  Why?

  • My Google Map print-out has names in English.  When I'm actually at the venue, it's all written in Chinese characters.
  • Different expectation... I expected to see a Shopping Mall but it is a Building to my definition.  A Mall to me is rather big building with glass windows in the outside parts for shops to display products.  Center part of the Mall is an open space for shoppers to see the upper floors.  But space is a luxuroius thing in HK.... I went to a Mall i.e. Building - all surrounded by concrete, no glass window, it looks like office premises, no open space in the center, no way to peep the upper floor unless you go up with the lift or escalator.  Jadi inget Aldiron Plaza di Blok M, Jakarta jadul banget...
  • I can't find the entrance of the Mall/Building!  Since it's a small corridor squeezed by high buildings... A few times, I notice shops at 2nd floor but I wonder where the stairs are -:)

Anyway it’s been fun…

The same stairs - different angle gives difference view.  Same thing in life,
by looking at it from different angle, we can see life differently

I was a little bit lost in Saigon-Vietnam, since it was the beginning of my journey outside home country... I survived and learned from the experience...

I had visited Hong Kong a few times in the past; it is one of my favorite places in Asia.... Will the feeling be same?

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