Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kita nih orang Malaysia...cakap Melayu laaah...

I remember when I was just 17 years old and waiting for my SPM results.  I decided to look for a job to fill in my time.  I didn't like the kinds that my friends were all employed as, such as being a sales assistant or being the check-out girl or even that familiar face at KFC even though they made it sound all so fun. I wanted something more than what my 17 years of age should have been into.  I knew for the fact that I wanted to use my only asset to my advantage..hey..not my natural C-cup boobie, but my ability to speak English very well, of course.

I did just that as a receptionist and I was paid very well to do a 9 to 5 job which consisted of merely speaking to guests and transferring calls, as well as assisting customers with inquiries that were within our limits.  It was totally awesome to be able to work in an environment where everyone spoke in English and boy did I impress people for being a dopey-looking obesed MALAY gal who spoke English very well.  That was  an experience I would always treasure, being in the corporate world where everyone looked so fine and high-classed even if they were only clerks of all works but because they all spoke in English, it made my working environment so exquisite.  And since then, I vowed that my husband and children would speak to me in English where ever  my household is concerned. 

Now, it has been many years after that moment in my life and with three little ones hovering all over me, I have managed to keep my part of the deal.  All my children speak to me in English.  Although it has done us some good, my in laws (father, mother, brother, sister, cousin and the whole nine yards) would sometimes switch to English when communicating with my bodyguards, it has also brought negative perception to us too!   Imagine getting cynical remarks from the locals upon hearing us speak to each other happily in English, we are constantly made into fools at our weekly night markets.  Some of them would speak to us in Malay but with poor imitations of  the American accent, and sometimes they mock us by trying to speak in English in the most ridiculous way with bad grammar which crucifies the language itself.  

For instance, the nastiest thing that happened to me was when one of the customers at a stall I was at, boldly retorted, " Kita nih orang Malaysia, cakap Melayulah..!"  when he overheard my colleague and I speaking to each other in that forsaken foreign language.  Terkasima I jap..coming from a man, who works in the oil and gas industry, that was shameful..not for me but for him!  Another incident happened to me when I was visiting a colleague in another school  for some exam things.  I noticed that I would instantly switch my language mode to English when ever I am  around language teachers so, meeting another English teacher at that school, naturally I spoke to her in English.  Then one of the teachers from that school said, " Oh, we should get out now. They have started to speak in English...Dok reti lah.."  How  despicable is that when an academician puts another academician down?  Definitely, I would be speaking in English, namely because I am an English teacher!!!  What values would I be imparting to others when I constantly preach that you must speak the language to master it when I myself am not doing just that?   Again, it is very shameful because remarks like that only show how wide our mind is in accepting  others (not wide at all!) and how narrow and shallow we are in terms of our mentality.  Sadly, this is the Malay way of thinking!!!

People often think that I look down on my native tongue because I am always fumbling for words when constructing sentences. No, I am fumbling for words because when you want to convey your opinion in meetings, I think you must use polite words especially to your elders and superior.  I can speak Malay as fluently as my English, but only if you can stand to hear the language being murdered by me for I speak fluent Bahasa Melayu pasar.  People often suggest that my kids would fail terribly in the public examinations because they would not fare well in the BM paper.  They think....little do they know that my boy speaks perfect Malay, when he chooses to.  It is as if you are hearing the words out of a textbook.  That is how perfect his Malay is!  If you want to hear him speak Malay casually, you would hear the Terengganu dialect coming out from his mouth.   If you hear me babbling to my kids, you would then hear a mixture of English (a mix of the Canadian and British accent), my cakap orang nogori as well as the normal Malay everyone else use.  So, while I am comfortable to use English as my main language, I DO KNOW how to speak in Malay..and same goes for my kids!

Being Malay, I think we should feel proud of ourselves for being able to master this international language.  Do not feel compelled to use it only because you hear me speaking it to my kids that you automatically code switch to English when commanding your child to do something. Kesian budak-budak tuh...terpinga-pinga sebab tak paham...but that was a good attempt anyways.  And another thing, don't fake your accent or stress on the voiced dental (alveolar trill) /r/ sound too much.. Mat Saleh pun tak cakap macam itu. Getting stares and glares that mean nothing less than the feeling of remorse is something I am accustomed to now, but it saddens me when people think that I am doing it only for show.  Who the heck do I want to show off to? As a teacher, I know how important English is in the world of knowledge, business and also communication.  If we do not know it, then we would direly fall behind.  I do not want my kids to fall behind direly!!!! 

I know the perks you get when you are fluent in the language..I can still remember my first paycheck of RM 1100 as a receptionist in one of the leading software companies many many years back!  I was quite well -paid..well because most of the customers could understand me, I guess.  Seriously, you can go so far if you are able to converse in English..believe me!!!  So, kita nih orang Malaysia...cakap Melayu laahh....harus ker??  

p/s  Ye..I sedar my writing is nowhere near excellent but my writing is on speaking okay..Alang!!! 
"my writing is on speaking" ... I like that ... clever use of oxymorons :)

This is my plain ramblings for today!


A.I said...

sib bek aku paham apa yg kau tulis ni. miahahahaha..

aku selalu je verangan leh speaking omputih laju cam kau. trus teringat ada 1 insiden masa kita kecik dulu. (kita men kat public phone) tetiba ada org dewasa nk guna, panik punye pasal kau buat2 tgh berborak ngan telefon tu. speaking omputih. dan org tu cukup kagom smp tanye kita sekolah kat mana. hahaha...kau ingat lagi tak? :P

tingat jugak kt arwah abah aku. bersungguh nk anak2 dia speaking london ngan dia, baca pon newspaper star. tp dok kerana sengal sgt, takde pon kitaorg borak ngan dia in english. ckp bahasa pasar je..degil! huhuhu :(

Wan Sharif said...

Salam Puan Rosfida,
Biasa lah kena tegur gitu kerana salah sangka mungkin..
Glad to know one English teacher doing her level best to provide good examples at all times..
Salute or as orang trengganu say it
Tabik spring untuk Teacher..
Have a good and productive term break..

Anonymous said...

me love to read ur english rambling coz teman xkn nye dapek laa nk taip fluent like u.. grammar ke laut! sambil baca, sambil kopipes ayat bombastik u for future learning..

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Heheh..aku tak ingat ler...tapi yg aku ingat lalu depan sek agama naik basikal, pas tuh skirt aku ternaik...wahahah..Terjojol mata mamat tengok aku...
Aku ingat arwah Abah kau..selalu berborak ngan aku dlm bahasa least kau paham Intan..

En Wan,
Thank you. You always have kind words for me. Glad to know that what I blurt is something relevant for some people.
Yes, m enjoying my term break..hope you are enjoying your farming..(betul kan?)

Che Su,
Waaa...tenkiu..tenkiu..what an honour for me to learn that someone loves my writing and telling me that she takes my sentences for future use..Ini nak kena charge pulut kuning nih!!!
Kalau tak pun, bagi jelah aku bag LV Neverfull MM or Hamptons.

pakmat said...

..imagine an old man like me in Bachok speaking in English..I got stares just by sitting quietly in corner ready my NST.. :) cheers..

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Pak Mat,
I can imagine how eerie it is for getting stares..murdering ones..just for going against the tide especially in Bachok. I got a teacher friend there so I pretty much can guess the situation..Takpeler Pak Mat..kita nih lain sikit.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Rosfida, I enjoyed reading your this posting, and your command of the English language is impressive, outstanding. Love your eloquence.
Re your pasar bahasa.....wait till you hear mine! Ha ha....My bahasa sebelum Merdeka, Tunku Abdul Rahman's time, wayyyy back when Chin Peng was very active, ha ha.

And today I have to scratch my head when reading the short cut Malay words.....oh boy! The new spellings buat saya lintang pukang, ha ha.
But its still fun trying to figure out..... and fortunately otak saya ada centre lagi, ha ha ha.
Have a nice day.......

Oh ya, I forgot, one day I had to meet a Sultan at a worksite project. And Holy Smoke, I sure practiced my bahasa, as well was coached by the protocol officer how to greet His Highness with the 'ampon Tuanku" and all that, and not to turn away after talking, but gostan 3 steps then turn around.

When I was introduced to HH, I spoke in my practiced, immaculate Malay, and Holy Smoke! He replied in perfect Oxford English! Sure made me get my breath back again too. Ha ha.

But nobody informed me how to greet Her Royal Highness, and nasib baik she too spoke English to me...and using my otak greeted her with "Your Highness". Passed! Ha ha.
Only person spoke to me in Malay was the protocol officer. And he telling me in I think in 'Royal Malay', ha ha as I only understood 26%. Lee.

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Uncle Lee,
Thank you for the compliments..buat punggung saya makin kembang!!

Short cut Malay words..tell me about it..sometimes I am fumbling with them myself..My husband detests using them in sms-es although I am an avid fan. Hahaha, sajer kasi bos kepala pening!! Isn't that what a wife is suppose to do? met a Sultan before??? I met Sultan Azlan Shah when he was the Agong during my uncle's convocation in the University of Malaya..I saw him, but he never knew I existed ..I was by the roadside while he, in his limo. So, didn't need any protocol there..

Hmm...biler nak ke Canada eh??

fiza said...

best baca entry ko yg nih. teringat masa aku kt kpg time cuti 3 bln dr maktab dolu2. watched tv in english, read in english, listened to radio in fact, all were literally in english!! then came this uncle of mine, saying, "ape ko nak jadi kapir ke? sumer omputih!! dh x reti melayu sgtt??",... & i was like...biarlah dia, orang kampung... ahahahaha. now i try to be bilingual with rais & he seems to 'understand'. perhaps u could share some tips eh? hugs to u & kids...=)

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Hi Fiza..Long time no see. Yeeeeessss, I have got that "nak jadi kapir" thingy. Sabar je laaa....But in KL, you won't get that kind of cooments, right?
Thanks for the hugs..

Anonymous said...

I am back. I felt like saying something about your attitude toward the incident. No, I will hold my tongue because you mention 'stall' with no elaboration, lest I am mistaken.Manners maketh man - not woman. What then maketh manner? Its interpretation is broad and it is subject to culture, among other things. I enjoy reading what you write.
Awang (lagi)

Martin Lee said...

It is definitely beneficial to know and speak many languages! Enjoy reading your writing and keep it up!

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Awangh is back to loom my wonder why I had shivers down my spine..

If you need elaboration..the stall I mentioned is quite a popular stall in Kerteh. Gerai Mok Su or Kedai Tayar as we call it. It's famous not only for its food but for the ridiculous pricing. Most of its patrons are those who hail from the oil and gas industry, teachers, the klinik Kesihatan people as well as Pihak Bomba.

Yeah, maybe I was a bit judgemental about that boy who felt offended by my colleague and I. Mungkin kita orang tergedik-gedik sangat kot...Who knows..?

Come back with your razor sharp keyboard ..for I know you haven't lost your way back here!

Assalamualaikum, En. Awang (lagi).

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

En Martin,
One more Terengganunite to grace my page. I see that you are from Kemaman. Bid me hello should our paths cross..

Thanks for the make me blush big time...hihihik..

Mengada tak bunyinyer???