No, material world got nothing to do with New Zealand trip, though some material were needed for the trip. Will post another entry on the subject once I complete it.
I've this habit of dressing down, and in doing so, appearing less educated than I actually am. Most of the time it was just because I don't like to dress up. Some of the time, it was intentional. Just to give people some sort of false impression to discover how people would react. Remember how surprised the headmistress from Jakarta to hear me speaking English fluently? And then again, an Australian in one flight home?
Yesterday was different. I've only met the headmistress and the Australian once, this workshop that I went however, is where I've been sending my cheap-Malaysian-made-car for a few years now. All these while wearing slippers; track bottoms and t-shirts, or t-shirts and jeans.
It wasn't my intention to see how they react. They've always been polite. They have been calling me "Adik" - a common term for Malaysian to refer someone younger then themselves. Due to my skinny frame, I often appear younger that my actual age.
That morning, just the same as previously, the lady behind the counter called me "Adik". I handed my keys. Then I called a colleague, asking if there was anyone available to pick me from the workshop.
I couldn't wait for the car. I had an early meeting. Fifteen minutes or so, a colleague came, driving the unmistakeable company's 4WD. I saw it from the waiting area, through the glass wall. I quickly exited the glass door and walked to the car.
Later that evening, when I came to collect my car, I noticed the lady was being a little 'formal'. She dropped "Adik" and addressed my more formally. I continued with my usual easy and laid-back ways but at the same time wondered about the sudden change.
It was during the drive home that I realized what had happened. That morning, I went to the workshop wearing full suit, ready for meeting. Except for my bright orange backpack, I might have had a 'corporate look' that morning. Then, the phone call I made, requesting someone to pick me up. And some one did came, with the company car.
All that transpired that morning must have crushed any previous notions she had about me!