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By The Skin Of A Dragon’s Teeth

, , , , , , | Related | October 13, 2022

My paternal grandmother, God rest her soul, was a very traditional Chinese lady. She was super excited when Mom got pregnant with me. Not only was I the eldest son of her eldest son — which was already a big deal to her — I was slated to be born in the Year of the Dragon, which most East Asian cultures consider an auspicious year.

As such, my grandmother went out of her way to splurge and buy a lot of dragon jewellery for me, all made from solid gold.

But then, my expected due date came and passed. An entire week went by, and my Mom didn’t go into labour. The Year of the Dragon was fast ending, and the Year of the Snake was just two or three days away.

My grandmother promptly began panicking, very vocally, that all her dragon jewellery would go to waste.

Thankfully, on the twenty-third of January, 2001 — the very last day of the Year of the Dragon — I finally decided to come into the world, sparing my grandmother the need to redo the jewellery.

My mom has since joked that I’ve been oversleeping since the womb.

Oh, My God, It’s Ethan Hawke!

, , , , , | Friendly | December 12, 2021

I was on a business trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and one morning I was down in the hotel restaurant having breakfast. I was sitting at a table by myself when this group of four or five little old ladies came in and sat down nearby.

One of them came over to me and started asking me something, but she was speaking Chinese, which I don’t understand. She was gesturing at one of the chairs, so at first, I assumed she was asking if she could take it over to her table, and I tried to gesture back and say, “Please go ahead.”

But then she brought out her cell phone and started miming taking a photo, and I realized she must want me to take a picture of her and her friends!

I nodded yes and was about to get up and go over to their table when, suddenly, the lady handed her phone to her friend, pulled out a chair to sit down next to me, and started posing for the camera! And she and all her friends proceeded to take turns getting a photo with me. 

I was incredibly confused but just smiled and went along with it. Then they thanked me and went back to their table. 

I’ve never been told I look particularly like any celebrity, and I’m definitely not the kind of exotic “foreign”-looking white person that might get a lot of attention in Asia — I was certainly not the only non-Asian person in that hotel! — but I can only assume they must have mistaken me for… someone.

I definitely got a kick out of the thought that, for whatever reason, meeting me made these little old ladies’ day!

Extended Family Extending Your Confusion

, , , , | Related | August 2, 2021

My father is trying to get me to remember his aunt, whom I haven’t seen since I was ten. My father’s branch of the family migrated into a different country before I was born, and we only really meet up with the rest of the extended family once a year during the family reunion. And after my grandparents died, we stopped attending these get-togethers.

Father: “She’s married to [Uncle].”

Me: “I know the name, but not the face.”

Father: “The GP.”

Me: “The one with the big house?”

Father: “I don’t know if the house was big?”

Me: “Okay, the one with the exercise equipment downstairs?”

Father: “Uh, I don’t remember.”

Me: “The one with chocolates downstairs?”

Father: “That’s an even worse description! No, he was [Cousin #1]’s father.”

Me: “Who?”

Father: “[Cousin #2]’s father, as well. You went to his wedding in Greece.”

Me: “That was when I was six. I don’t remember.”

Father: “He’s [Cousin #3]’s father. You know, [Cousin #3]’s wedding was the other year.”

Me: “Wait, the twins?”

Father: *Relieved* “Yes, the twins. [Cousin #3] and [Cousin #4]. [Aunt] is their mother.”

Me: “You should have just said that from the get-go.”

Father: “How do the twins get remembered so easily and not their more successful brothers? They’re unremarkable and air-headed bimbos.”

Me: “Are you seriously asking why a ten-year-old boy found his hot twin cousins more interesting than two stuffy, nerdy men?”

Father: *Totally serious* “Yes!”

Did… Did It Work?

, , , , , | Healthy | March 14, 2021

This is a story my colleague told me about his uncle. His uncle is rather superstitious and believes in a lot of weird things. When he tests positive for a certain rapidly spreading illness, his first reaction is to go to a bomoh — Malaysian witch-doctor — for an exorcism. For various reasons, my colleague is stuck accompanying his uncle to the bomoh.

Bomoh: “Okay, I can exorcise you. Hold still, please.”

Uncle: “Okay.”

Bomoh: “Begone, evil spirits!”

He pulls out a toy laser gun and points it at [Uncle]’s head.

Bomoh: “All-laaah!”

Typing this out does not give it justice. The way my colleague repeated it, it sounded like a mix of singsong, bombastic, and high.

He pulls the trigger and the gun lights up.

Bomoh: “Fire, fire, fire! Pew, pew, pew! Fire, fire, fire!”

My colleague’s jaw drops, [Uncle]’s jaw drops, and they sit there, stunned.

Bomoh: “Not enough? Okay. Duaaal wieeld!”

He says that last bit the same way he said, “Allah!” previously.

He pulls out another toy gun and fires it at [Uncle].

My colleague didn’t tell me what happens next, but when the exorcism is over…

Uncle: “Uh, maybe we should go to the hospital.”

Colleague: “You think?”

Once he finished his quarantine, my colleague returned to work and told me all about it.

Colleague: “Like, the man was hip. I didn’t think that bomohs were so advanced these days.”

Me: “He sounded like he was high on something.”

Colleague: “Oh, he probably was. But that was just silly, man.”

Calling Their Bluff Is Worth The Hassle

, , , | Right | January 18, 2021

I work in a very cheap budget hotel. A guest has booked a twin room — two single beds. I am supposed to close the counter at twelve but I have to wait for the guest until two am. After she has checked in, she comes back down.

Guest: “Excuse me, I requested a large bed. Why did you give me a twin bed? And why is the room so small?”

Me: “You booked a twin room, miss, so we gave you what you booked.”

Guest: “I want a large bed. Give me a room with a large bed.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we are fully booked tonight so I can’t move you to another room.”

Guest: “Then what are all the empty rooms here?”

She points at our monitor.

Me: “Oh, these rooms cannot be used at the moment. The aircon is leaking in one and this one doesn’t have a TV. Also, the rate would be different.”

Guest: “Just give me that. I will pay. I have money.”

The next day:

Guest: “Why is the aircon leaking? I paid for a hotel room, not a sauna!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, miss, but my colleague already mentioned that to you last night, and you still insisted on that room.”

Guest: “I can get a much better room at another place! You’re just trying to deceive me. I will report you to the police!”

Manager: “Go ahead, miss. Call the police. Also, if you think the other place is better, then I can give you a full refund right now in cash and you can go find another place.”

She got the refund but ended up returning to our hotel because the other hotel was expensive!