Tidak boleh

Hi everyone, sorry for the long gap since my last post. I’ve still got diabetes but have been fantastically and enjoyably busy. I have a reasonable break before my last exam and thought I’d get some admin done which inspired me to write – Antonia

It feels like many moons ago that I scored a “lulus” (pass) in my Malaysian driving test back when I lived in Penang 2020. Although I’d like to tell you that I passed with flying colours, I think that might be considered truth bending seeing as there were several variables that made the achievement of my lulus a particularly tricky one. For instance, the test was all in Bahasa Melayu or the local lingo that I happen to know very little of. When in need, I whip out my one, trusty, well-practiced phrase: “tidak boleh” (cannot). Whilst incredibly simple to say, it works absolute wonders and can be considered a go-to in any situation. Let me demonstrate its use…

Teacher to Antonia: “Can you do your homework?”

Antonia: “Tidak boleh”

Uber driver to Antonia: “Can I drop you off at Gurney Plaza instead?”

Antonia: “Tidak boleh”

Street vendor to Antonia: “Can I put sambal on your chicken rice?”

Antonia: “Tidak boleh”

So, on the day of my driving test when queuing up to be assessed and the examiner asked me the following question, I bet you know what I said to him…

Driving instructor to Antonia: “Do you speak Malay?”

Antonia: “Tidak boleh”

I wasn’t trying to be funny as my driving licence was on the line but he thought this was hilarious! I’m honestly just thankful that he didn’t ask me “do you know how to drive?” because I think my golden phrase would not have gone down very well, especially as I buckled myself into the driver’s seat when he was riding shotgun. So, I drove him around the streets in complete silence.

My brother also happened to shout to me that his driving test was “going great” with the biggest, cheesiest grin on his face from his car window just as I was about perform one of the most difficult manoeuvres of the individual course section of the assessment – boarding the ramp. Instead of boarding it, I hit the accelerator with such force that I flew off the other end. I momentarily panicked, reversed with monumentous speed and then managed to perch on the ramp just as I had meant to. I stepped out of my car aware that my failure may have been spotted by the assessor (who was overseeing from a distance) and felt terrible. I locked eyes with him and then proceeded to give him the biggest, most-confident and assertive thumbs up I had given in my entire life. I also resisted the urge to communicate with him with a “tidak boleh” as I figured it would do me no good this time. To my surprise, he returned my thumbs up.

Having finished all parts of the assessment, I checked my blood sugar levels and they were fine. Surprisingly, my blood sugar levels were the only thing that seemed to not get in the way of my driving. Usually they are quite hard to control, particularly when I am stressed as stress can cause levels to creep and stay too high.  If I had suffered a low blood sugar spell, I would have needed to the pull over and eat some sweets to bring my levels back up to normal. If my blood sugar had been too high, I would’ve needed to pull over and inject some insulin. I cannot possibly imagine how I would’ve managed to explain this to the assessor. I’m pretty sure a “tidak boleh” would not have done the trick.

When handed my result from the test I had to ask multiple people what “lulus” meant to confirm I’d actually passed. I couldn’t quite believe it. I sit here now in my room at university about to book my NZ driving test to get my full licence and all of a sudden I am transported back to that fateful day in Malaysia. I am hoping and praying that this upcoming test will be more smooth sailing than the last and my blood sugar will behave the same as it did that very day.

Glucose upon publishing: 9.8mmol/L

PS: those of you who live in NZ, please do not be alarmed. I am a much better driver now 😉

6 thoughts on “Tidak boleh

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