A few days ago I went to have my foot massage in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. It was good to have some me-time and do nothing but just relax for 1.5 hours. I was lucky to be the last one to get a booking that evening. The rest who came after me had to be turned down.
Anyway two things happened that made me smile and think, "Oh this can only happen in Malaysia."
The couple having their foot massage beside me was a Chindian couple. By that I mean the lady was Indian and the man was half Chinese half Iban I think. Or that was what I gathered from the conversation with the therapist. Okay not Chindian then. Chindiban. And neither spoke any Mandarin, so conversation with the therapist from China proved to be a bit tedious, because each time the translation had to be provided by the lady Boss who manned the cash counter.
Then the Indian lady asked her therapist which part of the organs would be affected when she massage that certain part of the sole. She pointed to her foot and showed to a chart on the wall. The therapist seemed to understand and replied, "Ohhh ohhh yes yes...kherr nee". The lady customer didn't understand. There was another Chinese lady customer who sat a few chairs away who tried to help. But she too couldn't make out the word and suggested that maybe it was a Mandarin word that didn't exist in the Malaysian Mandarin language. The therapist kept on repeating "Kherr nee...kherr nee".
Then the lady Boss came to us and asked her what the word was. The therapist told her and she translated to us.
"Oh. The kidney."
Translation from Mandarin English to Malaysian English actually.
Towards the end of my 1.5 hour foot reflexology massage, a man entered and told the lady Boss he had already booked an appointment. As he was taking off his shoes to slip on his slippers, he told the lady Boss, "Aiyah saya tada bawak la itu kad chop-chop. Manyak kilija la tada masa mau balik rumah angkat."
Most probably he was referring to the loyalty card.
The lady Boss asked him, "Kad apa?"
"Aiyah itu kad saya dapat tampal lepas urut kaki...ka chop-chop ka tak tau la nama dia."
Then the lady Boss asked him again, "Encik can you speak Chinese?"
He looked at her, surprised, and exclaimed, "Wah you Cina meh? Muka serupa Melayu sajia wo."
And then they happily spoke to each other in Mandarin. But this time I didn't hear any mention of kherr nee.