21 November 2009

1 Malaysia - at the market

It was wet and dreary this morning, but the marketing had to be done. I had already postponed it by 2 days, stretching the creativity limits of both my maid and myself, as we whip up meals for the family from my dwindling supplies at home.

So off to the market I trudged. To be honest, I hate marketing. I dislike the crowd, the narrow paths between the stalls, the wet floor, the myriad smells, having to haul the week's worth of fresh ingredients to my car. Despite the weight of my purchases, I'd rather buy for the whole week, than have to make multiple trips to the market. That's why I have 2 fridges. (I can't imagine why my SIL goes to the market daily - she must find it therapeutic, or, is it possible, pleasureable??)

Still, the market plays a vital role in supplying fresh ingredients. On days that I just don't want to go to the market, I buy my fresh produce from Tesco or Jusco, but it's not the same. The veges are definitely not as fresh; the fish are touch and go; the chicken, well they're all broiler right?

Anyway, I digress. I usually zoom through the market, having established a pattern after being in Ipoh for 10 months now. First I place my usual order with the chicken stall; buy the dry stuff like potatoes, onions and the like; then I buy my pork; followed by the bean sprouts and bean curds. By this time, my basket is laden and I have to return to my car to deposit my load. When I return I head to my usual vege stall; then I buy my fishy stuff which is just next to the chicken stall; and last, I pick up my chicken which would be all chopped and cut. I'm out of there!

But today, when I went to my last stop, the chicken stall, alas my order was not ready. The vendor was inundated and she asked me to go walk about and come back a few minutes later. Groan!

So I shuffled around miserably and came to an elderly gentleman selling Malay breakfast favourites - nasi lemak (rice steamed with coconut milk and accompanied by anchovies, chillies, peanuts and cucumber) and lemang (glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and salt, wrapped up in leaf and stuffed into a stick of bamboo, and cooked over a fire). For some reason, I assumed he was Chinese (as this is a Chinese market and I have not seen Malay customers shopping here) so I told him, in Chinese, that I would buy up the last of his lemang. He replied "Seringgit setengah"(RM1.50). Still it didn't occur to me that he was Malay, and I asked if I could have it for a lower price. He replied, "Sudah murah" (it's cheap). Only then did I realize my mistake. I quickly said, "Maaf Pak Cik, saya ingat Pak Cik orang Cina". (I'm sorry Uncle, I thought you were Chinese). He smiled and said "Tak apa, Melayu Cina semua sama. Kita 1Malaysia" (That's alright. Malay or Chinese, it doesn't matter. We are 1 Malaysia).

I continued the rest of my conversation with the Pak Cik in Malay and ended up buying the rest of his nasi lemak too. He said he's in the market every Satuday. I'll remember that.

If all Malaysians think like the Pak Cik, and we take the time to truly be fellow Malaysians, be courteous and respectful to one another, there might be hope for 1Malaysia.


  1. i was once outside a courtroom where the judge was hearing a case. suddenly a chinese uncle barged out to the waiting bench outside where an old pakcik in white ketayap was sitting. that ah pek pointed to the pakcik's shoes and mumbled something. the pakcik then exchanged his leather shoes with that ah pek's selipars.

    it was a divorce hearing and the judge ordered the ahpek to find proper shoes as no slippers allowed inside.

    that's 1Malaysia - not throwing someone down MACC building, trigger happy shooting of criminal suspects or sending kids to death camps.

  2. That's such a touching true story Koolgeek.

    Yeah, 1Malaysia can't happen with UMNO,MCA and the other political parties' rhetoric and greed.