Who’s the Bingai?


“Hei, Bingai!!”


I was reading my newspaper when that loud unpleasant voice rang across the restaurant early this morning. The piece of roti canai making its way down my throat almost jumped back out in surprise.  That loud harsh voice came from a young malay male who had just joined his fellow breakfasters, 4-5 of them. Our fellow was on his feet, and I kept my eyes on the group as a waiter hurried over to take his order. I saw the others motioning with their mouths to the barking fellow, indicating that I was watching.  He turned toward me and puffed his chest out, all important-like. He didn’t get an approving glance from me (he looked like he was expecting one). I kept my gaze on him for a few more seconds and saw his smirk disappear before he shuffled himself into a seat at the table.

‘Bingai’ is not a term of endearment where I come from. Depending on how annoyed one feels at the time, ‘bingai’ can be used to denote any of the following: “fool, half-wit; imbecile; dolt, dunce, numskull” or even worse.  If you’re really really in a foul mood, it can also mean that you’re calling the other guy a f***tard or dumbass. Regardless, it’s not a term that’s pleasant to hear at the wee hours of the morning, as you are enjoying breakfast with your loved one. What on earth is stopping us from making eye contact and calling the waiter over in a polite manner? Sheesh.

For a while there, my mind went here to this “Stop glorifying Mat Rempits”  post on blog.limkitsiang.com.  I left the mamak restaurant with a tweet out in cyberspace and this Venn diagram in my head.

p.s. Call me a prude, but I’m not even a fan of that kissing sound the mouth makes when you purse your lips close and suck in air through them, quite often used in summoning waiters. I just want to go there and smack that pursed mouth with the bottom of a non-stick pan. A very heavy non-stick pan.

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