That skit in Little Britain, in which the Indian woman keeps getting asked to repeat a phrase that is totally intelligible? It used to happen to me when I lived in England, despite the fact that I set aside my Malaysian accent for the convenience of my British coursemates.
Once, when I was in a train from Oxford to Paddington, I chatted with a blind man all the way through and He never asked me to repeat myself. Not even once.
When it finally came up that I was Malaysian, he said he’d never have guessed from my accent. I was being considerate, as I didn’t want him to find it hard to understand me.
The difference between him and my coursemates was that my coursemates could *see* I was foreign.