Today I sat on the tram opposite you and you smirked gleefully when you saw me. You turned to your friend and in Cantonese told her to look at me – the fat “white” lady riding on the tram. You both laughed at my expense as you talked about me in front of me clearly confident I had no idea what you were saying.
I’m glad I offered you some amusement for a few seconds of your day.
I’m also glad you noticed as I spoke to my son sitting next to me in Cantonese. You and your friend stopped short turning to stare at me. I saw the colour go from your faces as you watched me speak, realised I spoke your language, noticed me glare back at you in understanding, and then you abruptly turned your head in shocked silence to stare out the window.
Yes… Yes I did understand you. Every word you said.
Did I shock you? Confuse you? Embarrass you?
You and your friend remained silent and looked anywhere but where my son and I were, shuffling uncomfortably and fidgeting awkwardly.
And so I smiled. I know I shouldn’t, but you dear lady, and your friend, provided me a few moments of amusement in my otherwise mundane day running errands with my child as the tram rattled down the busy roads of Causeway Bay towards Wan Chai.
You see, today I hope you learned a valuable lesson.
Perhaps you will think before you speak the next time you choose to judge someone by the way they look…
Perhaps you will think before you speak the next time you choose to talk in front of someone because you assume they don’t understand what you are saying…