“This is ridiculous!” I exclaimed.
Seething with anger, I raised my hand to grab the attention of a server. The restaurant barely had patrons yet my request for service was not forthcoming. The wife shook her head feverishly.
“What?” I inquired.
“You’re not doing this again,” she said.
“Doing what?” I asked.
“Please don’t make a scene. It’s just food. If you are not happy with it, please politely explain your dissatisfaction and walk away. Walk away, hubs”.
I know my wife. She speaks with subtle messaging. She was imploring me to fight for my rights. Although her every demeanour screamed otherwise, I knew the truth. She wanted me to fight for us … nay … she wanted me to fight for my country. I no longer had reservations. I am doing this for Malaysia.
To provide some context, the wife and I, famished from a full day of shopping in Sydney CBD, wanted to grab a meal at a Malaysian restaurant. The menu was exhilaratingly enticing, and for some odd reason, I was craving for nasi goreng.
Our server barely spoke English, so communication was basically reduced to pointing of fingers, grunts of approval and charming smiles from yours truly. All of which bore no fruit as I was soon served this ghastly concoction of bile, obliterated hopes and unrequited dreams.
The patriot in me roared. It needed a voice and I was determined to let him have his way. Mat Sabu would be proud. I was ready to do battle. The cashier counter was our battlefield and my eloquence the gun of justice and truth. I walked towards the person manning the counter, plate in hand.
“What is this?” I asked.
“Nasi goreng Malaysia,” she replied, nary a batted eyelid.
“No, it’s NOT! I am from Malaysia. This is nothing like nasi goreng,” I yelled.
She looked at the plate in my hand again.
“You not happy?” she asked.
One would assume the red face and frothing of spittle across my extremely luscious lips somewhat an indicator of my displeasure.
“Of course I am not,” I replied. I glanced over at my wife, who was now curled into an almost foetal-like position. Another subtle sign of support.
“Sorry. You not happy, we no charge. We improve next time. Sorry mister. Very sorry,” she apologised.
I was stumped. This was not how it was supposed to pan out. There was to be a heated exchange of words. Australia was to experience a wrath never before seen. Yet here I am, the recipient of an earnest apology, from a tiny lady who appeared frightened and vulnerable. I felt like a bully, enveloped in self-disgust.
“It’s okay. I’ll pay for the meal. Just… get better,” I said before walking towards my table.
“Well”, my wife spoke, in between sips of her drink.
“So you told her you hated the food, were offered a free meal and then proceeded to turn it down?” she asked.
“You definitely won that battle. Malaysia would be proud”, she said.
Although it may appear complimentary, this was actually sarcasm. Like I said, subtle messaging.
Sorry, Mat Sabu.