I have the habit of looking at the patient's name and age in the clinic prior to seeing them. That day, as usual, I take a peep at the name & age in the patient's identification data column and browse through the referral letter for the brief history and the diagnosis... My patient was a teenage girl with ESRF (End Stage Renal Failure) on hemodialysis. The nurse called the girl in. The girl has very dark skin complexion and naturally I started talking to her in Malay language. She was quite quiet and only gave simple answer to my questions.
Towards the end, after I completed my clerking and examination, I looked at the name column again... Fulamak !!! I saw a Chinese name there. I mistakened her as Malay pulak. Might be that's why she is so quiet? :P She indeed doesn't look like Chinese. Well well.. She is dark because of her medical problem. Patients with chronic renal (kidney) failure commonly have hyperpigmentation and sallow skin complexion (dirty brown appearance coz of anaemia and retention of urochrome, the urinary pigment).
Well well.. I was mistaken as Malay too for several occasions.. in KL, in Kuching and even in Penang; Countless episodes. Inside and outside the hospitals. I had encountered several Chinese patients asking me questions in Malay language. Or Chinese salesgirl talking to me in Malay. Grrrrrrr........ Apa lah. Although I'm not fair, with tanned skin but my skin complexion is not that "dark" lah. Definitely not to the level of "hitam manis".. cos I'm not sweet :P
Mmmmm... do I really look like a Malay more than a Chinese? *Faint*