Friday, September 3, 2010

A forced visit to KFC

I must admit it's been a while since we ate at KFC, seeing as we've tried to cut down on the cost and fat of fast food. However, yesterday was an exception. At 11.30am, as I was happily watching the tennis from the U.S. Open, the electricity was cut, which has become a kind of regular thing over these last four years in Kuantan. By 'regular' I mean a few times per year. But this one lasted for five hours until 4.30pm.

So I took Lauren out of the hot house to the cool East Coast Mall where we wandered around until my wife came back from work. We felt the familiar pull towards KFC and so we dined there, in a desolate restaurant. (Muslims are fasting for a month during Ramadan).

I had a strange conversation with a Malay man who approached me whilst I was sitting on the 2nd floor. After barely a minute of conversation with this stranger, he was asking me how much money I earn per month! I was a little surprised, although I shouldn't be because it seems that revealing ones financial details is all the rage in Malaysia. That's extremely weird. I told him that I earned "enough" but he didn't quite get it. He persisted in asking me "how much" and I persisted in initially replying "enough" and then telling him it was "none of your business". So he asked me how much I charge for tuition and how many students I have. I could tell he was striving to calculate roughly how much I was earning. It's a good job I only gave him rough figures!! I don't know why people are so bent on knowing each other's salary.

We had a pleasant meal at KFC although I'm sure the Malay workers there were giving us a few stares because they perhaps thought my wife was a Muslim. (She has been questioned about that a couple of times in the past, most notably when we were sitting together at the bus-stop at her university after we were just married. A female teacher behind us began telling Fie to not sit so closely to "that man", as she called me. "That man", Fie replied, "is my husband!!!" Is a husband not permitted to sit beside his wife anymore??? The woman obviously thought Fie was a Malay girl and had absolutely no idea that we were married!)

Lauren devoured her usual mashed potato, I ate my way through a light colonel burger meal and Fie munched on her chicken and rice meal. We all opted for orange juice in favour of the gassy pepsi. That felt good.

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