Friday, November 1, 2013

The Pang Sai Manuever

As I turned it over and over again in my mind, it finally came to me. The word I was searching for when Mark said banzai manuever was pang sai (/bəNG' sī/). Yes indeed, pang sai.

Allow me to tell you about a lesser known strategy called the Pang Sai maneuver.

On a fine day a few years ago, Katherine and I were walking through a shopping mall. There was some commotion up the way. Someone was yelling something or other at another. I couldn't quite make out what was being said. As we got closer, I discovered that it was actually an Asian couple shouting in a Chinese dialect across an open atrium. Anyway, the white noise from shoppers and a nearby water fountain washed out their voices. They were failing to communicate.

Suddenly, in one of those rare moments when everything that produces noise -- the shuffling of feet, the fountain's watery splashes, even the pesky Mediterranean women pushing their wrinkle creams upon unwary customers -- all those noises ceased abruptly. You could hear a pin drop. It was at that precise moment that the Asian male flipped from all-Chinese to an English-Hokkien Pidgin slang:

"I NEED TO PANG SAI," he yelled.

His voiced gushed clearly across the open atrium, crashing through the sun-glasses huts and poster kiosks, around the Gaps and Banana Republics, rippling past the coffee shops and through the food court before washing out at the bookend stores: Sears, Penny's and Dillard's.

In all, just a fleeting moment before the oblivious shoppers began milling about once more.

Meanwhile, Katherine's squeezing my arm. I looked to find that she's besides herself, shaking to suppress laughter.

"What?" I ask

She can't speak. She sits on a bench, trembling.

"What?" I repeat impatiently.

After several minutes, she pulls herself together to inform me that to pang sai is Hokkien slang for going #2.

"You mean to tell me that our man just yelled across the mall that he needs to take a shit, and nobody but his wife and you understood him?"

New waves of giggles cascaded over her.


Banzai Manuever? Pang Sai Manuever? Execute both well, and you may reap high rewards.

Executed poorly? You might be in the pits for awhile.

There. I feel better now. Happy Friday.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to know that you can now take a BM (PS) on a bike ride in several languages. "Long Live BM!"