Few days back, I had to go to the Singapore General Hospital, SGH for some interviews regarding my final year project. So naturally, when you see someone at a seemingly administrative table, you might assume they are the staff. But with little sleep, and it being 12+ on a rainy afternoon, in addition to being in an air-conditioned environment. My eyes are open, my mind is asleep.
And while I was looking for respondents, this elderly man came up to me, holding a form - asking me for directions. But the catch is, he can only speak Hokkien - a dialect for those who don't know what that is.
Problem is, A, I can't speak dialects, like super basic of the basic things. And secondly, it's like my first time in YEARS since I last came to SGH. And the spot I was at, took me 15 minutes of going in circles and turns to finally get there.
So in my half-awake state of mind, he asked me for directions. And the conversation got so stupid, I was so embarrassed of myself.
Elderly Man : *In dialect*Excuse me, how do I go to place X?
Me : *in dialect* Sorry I don't know where that is
Elderly Man : *points to address on the form* I want to go this place
Me : [looked at the form] *IN ENGLISH* Umm, wait ah, I'm not sure also.
So there were a few volunteers in yellow shirts walking around to help with directions. But at this time, they all went missing! I hurriedly walked around and found one. So I just explained like "I think this patient is lost, can you help him with the direction"
IN MY SLEEPY STUPOR, I FORGOT, THE VOLUNTEER WAS INDIAN.
I swear the elderly man's reaction was this :
I think at that point even if he didn't say anything, in his head was like "eh boy, are you kidding, I cannot even speak Chinese you want me to speak English, don't play play pls."
And in that moment, I was like wtf did I just do, omg. I felt like I was getting a chicken and a duck, put them next to each other and ask them to talk.
This is awkward, ok shit, I'm a horrible human being. I'm going to hell. Halp. But thank goodness, the Indian lady had a friend who could speak the dialect. If not it'll be the fail of the year.