Today was a really draining day. I went to the toilet on the second floor right after the second last lesson ended and chanced upon my CCA junior (she’s secondary 1 by the way). She said hi, I just nodded and went into one of the available cubicles. They were still at the sink tying their hair after I was done so I just walked to the one next to them to wash my face.
Me: Why are you at this block? Isn’t the lower sec classroom block at the other end of the school compound?
Her: Oh, kita baru habis kelas PE (Oh, we just ended our PE lesson)
Her friends stared at me. “Wait what. You’re Malay?”.
The other asked, “ok, so your mom or your dad– which of them is Chinese?”
I laughed, “neither”.
The two of them scanned me from top to toe and then, they looked at my name tag.
“Ernie Her.. Herlynni. You’re name sounds no way near a Malay’s. Especially the second one”.
Ruqaiyah and Lisa, who were apparently in the toilet as well, laughed hysterically. Confused, they just locked their eyes on me. “Well, I have been labelled as a Filipino, a Chinese and Vietnamese and so on before this so I don’t blame you for not knowing.” I made my way back to class, leaving the both of them confused.
During lunch, I bumped into them in the canteen. Intuitively I asked, “What if I told you I’m actually Chinese?”. I got their attention and said:
“你好，我是 Ernie。你吃午饭了吗? (Hello, I’m Ernie. Have you eaten lunch?).”
After seeing their reaction, I walked off. I have this feeling that they’ll find me again tomorrow.