I was reminded of this story as I prepared my Kadazandusun teaching materials last night. This semester I have the opportunity to handle a KD class for a group of medical students who are of non-KD ethnic groups, and naturally I need to relate the lessons to some elements of medic, much that I don't have much knowledge on the field. As I like to have games as part of my classroom activities, I decided to create something called THE BEST GUESS. In this game, the students are divided into groups and each group is asked to guess the meaning of a text, supposedly a medical complaint of a patient. The group that provides the best guess gets a reward, of course.
One of the complaints was derived from a real-life story that my youngest brother witnessed last year. He accompanied my father to the Emergency Room in Ranau Hospital one evening when my father suddenly got stung by an unknown insect. As my brother waited in the waiting area while my father was being examined by the doctor, an elderly lady was wheeled in by her grandson. For some reason the lady's demeanor reminded my brother of our late grandmother, so he unashamedly eavesdropped on the lady's conversation with her grandson.
The lady looked around, decided that it was safe for her to speak in Dusun without anyone understanding her (my brother has Chinese features and he is always mistaken for one), and started telling her grandson this: "Don't you ever tell the doctor the truth about why I am not able to walk. Just tell him I fell over. Never mention at all that I got run over by a buffalo because it is so embarrassing!"
My brother found it so funny he had to go out to prevent himself from laughing out loud. It was not because of the fact that the little old lady was run over by a buffalo, but because she was so embarrassed by the fact that it happened to her, and tried so hard to cover it up.
It made for a nice guessing game...my students could never imagine that a buffalo can actually run over a person that they translate the text as : "I can't walk and I rode a buffalo...:)"