Malaysia Kopitiam Sign Spell Checker

Now I am not usually one to call anyone else out on spelling mistakes. Without spellcheck, my typing can be close to illegible. But I do have enough class to fix my mistakes when educated on things like “loose” vs. “lose”.

Not so with Malaysia Kopitiam at 1827 M Street NW. There a handwritten in ink sign says:

We need experience server (with knowledge of Asian or Malaysian Food). Apply within. Thank you

A sign corrected in pencil to read “experienced” by a passerby at least one rainy day ago, yet still left unchanged by the restaurant management.

I don’t know about you, but any restaurant too lazy to fix a simple sign doesn’t inspire my confidence in its attention to details like service. Or sanitation.

34 Comments so far

  1. anon (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

    how do you know a passerby did the fixing and that wasn’t the handiwork of the restaurant itself?

  2. Wayan's World (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

    I stopped going there when I heard that they couldn’t solve even the simplest partial differential equation.

    I can imagine what the kitchen looks like.

  3. Douchus McBaggus (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

    I eat at MK at least twice a month. More if I can get out of the office. The roti-wich and lamb curry are simply amazing. The people who work there are harried but otherwise personable and eventually friendly when they recognize you.

    Chances are you’re not so fluent and loose (or is it lose?) with your Malaysian language skills so make a personal note to go there for the food next time. Lunch is all about relaxing a bit, not working on a third ulcer.

  4. Radman (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

    chill brother wayan. oh by the way, the english usage in se asia is to use the word “experience” and not “experienced”. second, they are looking for a friggin waiter not the next pulitzer prize winner. chill brother wayan.

  5. IMS (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

    Nicely done. Way to slam a bunch of immigrants who came here to make some money, make some food and who probably work harder than your sorry asses. Your blog has consistently been the saddest excuse for a DC blog that I have yet to see, and your comments have been stunningly depressing. One of the greatest treasures of DC is the diversity of its food options, regardless of education or locale. I don’t mind a hard look at how the city operates, but your “aloof” take on anyone who is marginally less educated is the stuff of classic BS. Congrats on losing another reader.

  6. Jake J (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 12:12 am

    I am more appalled that they spelled ‘cuisine’ K-O-P-I-T-I-A-M.

  7. Jarrett (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 1:29 am

    Yeah…nothing more than someone whose first language isn’t English writing the sign. Its the sort of grammar mistake my (immigrant) mother might make occasionally.

  8. wayan (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 5:51 am

    Y’all seem to confuse my point. Its not about a spelling mistake – even us native speakers make those – its about not changing the sign when they realized the error.

    I would hope that a quality restaurant, one that prides itself on its food and its presentation, would be quick to keep even their help wanted signs professional, be they Malaysian or McDonald’s.

  9. DC Blonde (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 7:16 am

    Perhaps they have more important things to worry about, like serving good food and being one waiter short than whether they used a word improperly. Lay off – in the big scheme of things, it’s very, very minor.

  10. KCinDC (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    It’s a handwritten sign, and it’s been corrected. What purpose would be served by throwing it away and making a new one, other than placating Wayan? Are there really other people out there who think the sign indicates anything at all about service or sanitation? I salute their environmental consciousness.

  11. ld (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    OK, Wayan.

    According to, “The time-honored convention in American-style punctuation is to put the period inside the quotation marks.”

    If your own posts didn’t contain grammatical/spelling errors, it **might** be possible to take your complaints about others’ errors more seriously.

  12. Wayan (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 10:41 am


    You might note I’m not complaining about the misspelling – we all do that & often. I’m making the link between not fixing a prominent sign outside your place of business and the professionalism of said business.

    Would you be as sympathetic if their actual restaurant sign was hand-drawn or missing letters?

  13. Wayan's Editor (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 10:47 am

    “- even us native speakers make those -”

    Make that:

    “- even we native speakers make those -“

  14. dcboy (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    This is one of the pettiest complaints I have ever read. Since when was “conscientious spelling” related to the character of an employer in the RESTAURANT INDUSTRY?

    You are joking, right?

  15. Gourmand (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 11:02 am

    “Would you be as sympathetic if their actual restaurant sign was hand-drawn or missing letters?”

    As long as the food and service is good, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the owner’s spelling, grammar, or sign making abilities.

  16. Wayan (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 11:09 am


    Then this is where we differ. I feel that overall presentation is as important as food preparation and Malaysia Kopitiam does not present well with its signage.

  17. dcboy (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 11:21 am

    Man, you must just go hungry when you leave NW DC or any other enclave of privilege.

    OK, OK we get the joke, Wayan. Watch out – some people actually think this way!

  18. ld (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    You, the purported writer, still haven’t fixed your error, even though “I do have enough class to fix my mistakes when educated …”

  19. KCinDC (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

    LD, I absolutely disagree with Wayan’s bizarre exaltation of “help wanted” sign quality as the true sign of a good restaurant, but do you have some reason to believe he is following Chicago style?

    Putting periods inside quotation marks when they’re not actually part of the quoted material is not a universal rule handed down from God. Styles differ. It’s true that most American style manuals would agree with you, but not all, especially those that cover more technical writing. And outside the United States very few do it that way. So calling it an error is a bit of a stretch.

  20. NP (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

    You’ll get nothing and like it!

  21. butterbean (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

    Get over it people! I’m shocked at how many comments this post has provoked! You have all missed the point of his post. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GRAMMAR!

  22. anon (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 3:06 am

    No the point is Wayan sucks and so does this blog. This has to be the worst cross-section of people that could’ve been chosen to write about Washington DC. You should all just quit and so metroblogging can hire people we actually might like. That one day you recently did not post your stupidity was the best day of blogging you’ve had all summer…your lives are boring and your writing is worse. How this blog has kept you all employed for so long is beyond me. I’d complain to your higher-ups, but I have no idea how and too lazy to learn.

  23. wayan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 7:56 am

    Hey Anon,

    While you’re on your high horse, here’s two interesting little factoids I hope you’re not too lazy to learn:

    1. Metroblogging isn’t a pay job, and better yet, if you think you can be better at it, feel free to join us at put bytes behind your bravado. We’d love to see how you do in the public eye.

    2. If we suck so bad, how come you’ve been reading this site non-stop all summer? I say you’re a closet Craig – you want it but you can’t admit it, even resorting to commenting anonymously to hide your secret addiction.

  24. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    Anon, if you’re interested in writing here, I’d love to see a sample of your work, drop me an email at tom at metroblogging dot com

  25. MBFan#2 (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 9:21 am

    This entry and the comments it provoked has been entertaining. Surely, Wayan has some high expectations and it is great that everyone who commented calls him out on it. That’s what makes this country great! Everyone can have their say and not get arrested and/or tortured. Way to go in exercising your right to express yourself!

  26. ld (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    KC – I certainly agree that the rule wasn’t handed down from God, since I believe there is no God. That, however, is certainly outside this topic.

    My point was that Wayan, in his role as a writer, was castigating a (presumed) non-native speaker of English for a grammatical mistake, even though he also makes such mistakes (see his comment to Anon here for additional examples).

  27. Wayan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 11:39 am

    Actually, LD, I was not castigating anyone for a spelling error, I was suggesting a link between signage presentation and food preparation.

  28. Wayan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 11:46 am

    In fact, I think its time we revisit my conclusion, just to make sure everyone who reads this far remembers what my point was:

    “I don’t know about you, but any restaurant too lazy to fix a simple sign doesn’t inspire my confidence in its attention to details like service. Or sanitation.”

    Note that’s “fix a sign” not “be perfect the first time”.

    (Period outside quotations per the European way.)

  29. LD (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

    My, my.

    The word “its” is a possessive. The contraction of “it is” is “it’s.”

    Wayan, I remember your conclusion. However, to be clear, I don’t agree with it. Moreover, I think that you make too many mistakes yourself to be calling out someone who isn’t claiming to be a writer.

    If you want the last word, have at it. I believe that I’m through with this blog.

  30. One Last Thing (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

    “…I was suggesting a link between signage presentation and food preparation.”

    – The fact that you make that connection makes me question your intelligence.

    – The fact that you post it on a public blog makes me question your character.

    – The fact that you continue to defend it makes me question your judgement.

  31. Wayan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 3:42 pm


    That’s “judgment” not “judgement”.

  32. Another Thing (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    It’s both “judgment” and “judgement”.

  33. Tired of it (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    Wow, I though this was Metroblogging DC, not Spell Check DC!

  34. KCinDC (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

    Wayan, fair’s fair. If you’re allowed to use European punctuation, OLT should be allowed to use European spelling.

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