Friday, November 26, 2010

Let's Be Frank Here.

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Dia ni bukan Melayu.. theee he he

So jangan marah kat dia kalau dia tak cakap Melayu..thee he he

Tapi hang jangan laa nak rosak Bahasa Melayu.. hang jangan la kacau anak Melayu nak cakap Bahasa Melayu..

Hang jangan laaa paksa budak Melayu jawab kertas periksa dalam Bahasa Inggeris..

Hang paksa pulak budak Melayu beli buku2 bukan Bahasa Melayu..

Hang gatai2 sumbat PPSMI dalam tembolok budak2 sekolah pasai apa??

Ini 1Malaya, bukan Kerala. ..thee he he he

Why won’t you speak Malay?

OCT 29 2010— I have a confession: whenever I meet a Malaysian who can’t carry on a simple conversation in Malay, I have violent fantasies. Most of them involve a six-foot tall copy of the Kamus Dewan and stakes.

Yet I also meet people who refuse to speak Malay purely on principle. Most of them resent the way our national language is unfortunately stuffed down our throats. When I was in school, a credit in Malay was unfortunately a pre-requisite if you wanted to get the highest examination rank or Division One (Pangkat Satu).

That created a lot of resentment among my non Malay-speaking friends. It was a language they avoided speaking unless they had to, as they were “forced” to learn it. Things have changed since then, but the damage has been done. Generations of Malaysians grew up despising the language due to misguided education policies.

The need for Malay

Let us be frank here. The Malays being the majority race, it made sense that Malay is the official language. It is also a very simple language to learn. Malay has no fancy pronunciation rules, its grammar is pretty straightforward and no special characters are needed.

It is vitally important that all citizens of a country be able to communicate in one common medium. Not that other languages should be shunned, of course. The current practise of “mendaulatkan bahasa Melayu” by discouraging proficiency in other tongues is shortsighted and utterly impractical.

Yet, is it too much to ask that people who call themselves Malaysian citizens speak rudimentary Malay? When the recent video made by a certain Pamela Lim went online, I was more upset with her horrible Malay than the supposed breach of her rights.

The video shows Pamela in her car, videotaping a policeman as he is writing her a summons. Said policeman is obviously unhappy that she is taping him as he writes her summons and she proceeds to continuously berate him about her “rights.”

What angers me is that halfway through the altercation, she addresses the policeman in English. She is not defending her rights so much as trying to show superiority, pulling rank. Turning the tables, or so she thinks.

Frankly, my dear, speaking English to a Malay-speaking person to seem superior is like a cat trying to do the same by mewing at a dog.

Right not to speak Malay

While I advocate that all Malaysians be able to understand and converse in the language, there should be room for other languages as well. Malaysians who don’t speak Malay as a mother tongue shouldn’t be penalised.

Yet at the very least, there must be an agreed-upon level of proficiency. All Malaysians should know enough Malay to order food at a mamak or ask a cop what they did to merit a summons.

Malaysians should also be fluent enough in Malay to deal with civil servants, bank officers or the Streamyx repairman.

For the record, I am not Malay but Dusun. I grew up with my father speaking to me in English and my mother speaking to me in Malay because they firmly believed my success in life depended on being fluent in both languages.

English would help me get ahead in school and in the workplace. Malay helped me strike up conversations with cabbies, officials, teachers and well, other Malaysians.

I will never be fluent enough in Malay to write a novel, play or poetry in Malay. But I know, should the cops stop me for no good reason, I will have no need to speak English to them just to try and make them look stupid.

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