Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Old Mr. Pork Tendon

Old Chinese man selling dried pork tendon barges into the store. I'm the one in charge while Mother is at the salon. Dear Lord, what infernal punishment is this? The following conversation takes place in Hokkien.

Man: Boy, is your mother here?

Me: Uh no, she's away.

Man: Where's your father?

Me: He's on his way.

Man: Oh. (Senses the perfect opportunity to *fool* me.) Well you have to buy these pork tendons, really good, P260 only.

Me: Uh, yeah, let me call Mother first.

Man: Ah yes, okay okay, do that.

I attempt to call Mother. Takes a very long to establish a connection. Then, she answers.

Mother: Yow punk, what is up? (That's basically the essence of what she says.)

Me: Uh, are you gonna buy dried pork tendons?

Mother: Ohow! Is the old Chinese man there? (She says exactly that. Apparently, old Chinese man is a regular. Then again, my parents have to deal with secondhand fame in the Ilonggo Chinese community, courtesy of my paternal grandfather, God bless his soul.)

Me: Spot on, woman.

Mother: Tell him we're not getting yet.

Me: (Relieved that Chinese man will have to leave soon.) Suree you beauty.

Then to old Chinese man, whom I've asked to sit. He's admiring our images of the Chinese gods. Yes, it's requisite for every Chinese business establishment to have them. 

Me: Mother says we're not getting yet.

Man: Oh, okay okay, I better get going then. So your Mother says you're not going to sell?

I'm confused. In Hokkien Chinese, the words for 'buy' and 'sell' are both buei, just that the former uses the first (higher) tone and the latter, the fourth (harder) tone. 

Me: We're not gonna sell?

Man: You're not gonna sell?

Me: Uh, I'm sorry?

Man: Oh boy, you gotta go brush up on your Hokkien, huh? You're gonna need it someday.

Me: Uh, yeah man, I don't understand your mumbling?

Of course I don't say that. I just smile as he exits, smile like an ambassador for peace

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