YOU KNOW YOUR LIFE IS A MALAY TV DRAMA WHEN

1. Your father wears bush-jackets, sighs a lot, and has a heavily lipsticked secretary whose only purpose in life is to say, "Ini dia fail yang encik minta tadi." (This is the file that you asked for.)

2. Your mother wears jewels around the house and is always asking you to "sabarlah" (be patient). At opportune moments she will worry that you're not eating enough, place a hand on your forehead and say you need to see a doctor. You decline politely but firmly. You don't quite trust your mother because she looks only five years older than yourself.

3. An entire conversation (encapsulating but not limited to introductions, exposition, and the dawning comprehension which come out of life-changing revelations) can be held while waiting for the lift to arrive in your 10-storey office building.

4. You spend an awful lot of time getting in and out of cars and putting on seat-belts.

5. You enjoy saying the most obvious things. When a bunch of relatives turns up at your doorstep with enough luggage to see them through another world war, you say, "Eh, dah sampai dah." (Eh, you're here). They somehow resist the temptation to say, "Nah, we're just holograms."

6. Shopping complexes not only offer you a dazzling array of commercial goods but have free Infidelity Checks. Hang around one long enough and you will find out whether your loved one is cheating on your sorry ass. You will spot the scumbag/tramp in an intimate moment with a third party as they share an ice-cream or leave a shoe-store. While you make this discovery the shopping complex will arrange for you to be hidden behind a convenient pillar.

7. Board meetings tend go very easily because only two out of the dozen people in the room ever have anything to contribute. The others exist only to nod furiously. This is understandable because they all look too young to know anything. The signal for a meeting to end is when your handphone goes off.

8. At cafes you only ever order "fresh orange" juice and when it arrives it will have a whole jungle of sprigs and twigs sticking out of it. The profuse vegetation between your mouth and the drink will frustrate any attempt to take large, comfortable gulps, so you merely sip. If the chat you are having at the cafe does not go well you can storm out after an average of two and a half sips, leaving the other person to pay for everything.

9. There are night-time moments along an alley-way when you will surrender to an inexplicable urge to get beaten up. You will know when the time comes because blue smoke will appear out of nowhere.

10. The proper protocol when visiting a hospital is to pace restlessly up and down the corridor and then grab hold of the nearest white-coated specimen to demand, "Bagaimana keadaan dia, doktor?" ("How's s/he doing, doctor?") You will persist in this line of questioning even after he patiently explains that it is too soon to tell. You don't suspect the guy of being an imposter even though he seems awfully young to be a doctor.

11. Hands are an important guide to character. You know who your enemies are because they always crack their knuckles loudly before summoning the blue smoke. You know who your friends are because they always snap their fingers and say "Alright!" when you come up with some bright idea.

12. Your surroundings frequently come alive to the sound of muzak.