Arabic For Beginner – My Funny Experience

Kol Hawa….
It happened in middle of 2004 when an Arab friend taught me an interesting phrase, ‘kol hawa’ (كل هواء), in which the direct English translation means ‘eat air’. If I translate it to Malay it will become ‘makan angin’, which means ‘sight seeing’. Nice meaning. He told me if I see any Arab friends (most of my Arab friends are Jordanian/Palestinian), just say ‘kol hawa’. He said it has a good meaning. Well that’s good. I got something new today. I believed the meaning was something like "Have a good air for breathing".
One day I went to the USM mosque for Maghrib prayer and it so happened that I met a group of Yemeni friends. As usual I have a chat with them. And before I left I said, "I got to go back to the hostel. See you guys. Ellaleqaa’. Kol hawaaaaa… Assalam ‘alaikum. ".
They looked shock like they just saw a ghost. They said, "Izat! Come back!"
"Did you say ‘kol hawa’ just now?"
"Yes, is there anything wrong?"
"Who taught you this word?" I started to smell something was not right about the phrase. So I decided not to tell them who because I don’t know what impact is going to be. I just told them I got it from a friend. Then they told me the actual meaning and advised me not to use the word again.
I never thought that the meaning of kol hawa is shut up (in a polite way). Oh my God! Which means I had told them this – "See you guys. Shut up! Salam to you".
Hahaha… funny, isn’t it? I think it’s a good lesson for a beginner like me. Kol hawa… not bad at all…
(Thanks to my teacher… hehehe)

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