I stopped by a café outside the entrance to Isetan in the Gardens at Mid Valley today for lunch. The waitress gave me a menu and after studying it for a few minutes I decided on the tuna Panini sandwich which was listed on the menu as ‘Panini tuna’.

“I’ll have the tuna Panini please,” I said to the waitress.

“No have, lah,” she replied. “Only got Panini tuna.”

I pondered for a moment. Should I try to explain to her that a tuna Panini is the same as a Panini tuna, or would she think I was trying to be funny and pop an extra hot chilli in my sandwich to pay me back for giving her trouble.

She was looking at me, patiently waiting for my order. She was probably thinking: “Why is this stupid kwai lo ordering something that is not on the menu.”

I decided to play it safe.

“Um, no tuna Panini, huh?” I said. “Well, (long pause, with eyes scanning the menu), in that case I think I will have the Panini tuna instead.

“Okay, lah,” she replied.

Only Malaysians will understand.

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