Can lepas one!


Written on 6/11/2004 09:30:00 am by sikapitan

Foooh. Sorry for not updating the blog. The regulars must be pretty annoyed that I’ve not been updating it everyday like I used to. I’m sorry. I’ve been busy with some stuff. Frankly speaking, I’m only just having my HOLIDAYS since I got back from Mecca. Before that I was busy with work and all. The problem is that once you get into this holiday mode your mind stops functioning like normal. I’ve been lazing around so much, and watching too much TV that my mind stopped being critical! I find it hard to criticize anything or anyone. The news hasn’t helped much. It’s the same old thing : Noritta and her lifestyle, Iraq and their bombings, NS propaganda and Malaysian football getting trashed…again!

This past two weeks my hours in front of the computer have been mostly to complete translating an English book into B.Melayu. Believe me; it’s harder than it sounds. Apparently, I’m not that good at writing in B.M either. You see, we all take B.M for granted. It is our mother tongue, and we tend to equate being able to speak a language as being in command of it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. After leaving high-school, I don’t remember writing anything in B.M (minus the love poems, lyrics, letters to gf etc2) and if I did, it would be colloquial B.M rather than formal B.M.

The National Education Policy, set years ago (when 20 sen= weekly allowance), stipulates that B.M should be the medium of communication in school. However, this resulted in a decline in our English standard. In recent years, efforts have been made to correct past mistakes which includes teaching Science in English. The problem, as I see it (lepaking with high school boys playing football has other benefits besides feeling damn old), is that our youths are not only poor in English but also Bahasa. The standard of both language have deteriorate to the point of being farcical. We always associate the Chinese with speaking English well, while the Malays are the champion of Bahasa. But are they really speaking English and Bahasa?

Interesting fact: 10 languages die out every year. Now, I’m not suggesting that Bahasa is heading towards extinction in the near future, but if efforts are not made to rectify the situation, then it’ll come much sooner than we expect. In fact, even our English is not proper English. Grammatical error is a foregone conclusion. The mixture of Malay words, or even worse, words that don’t exist (eg. Rempit) has created the phenomenon known as ‘Manglish’. While I am proud of the fact that we have our own version of English, it shouldn’t be encouraged as it will only lead to more mistakes in the future. I understand that English, being a global language is adaptable and in fact, it has changed a lot from the old days. Look at the Jamaicans, for example. They speak in their own slang but IT IS English. I’m just scared that the day will come when a bellboy speaks English but the Englishman can’t understand what the hell he’s talking about.

But what about Bahasa? The adoption of English terms into our language is part of the problem. Even the government has got in the act, for example replacing the perfectly formal-sounding ‘belanjawan’ to the lazy ‘bajet’.Or TV3 and their confusing "Karnival Sure Heboh". So don't be surprised if you get a letter "Sure tuan faham my problem". What gives? Me, who has always been proud of my ‘karangan’ and ‘cerpen’ at school, struggle to translate even the phrase ‘water for life’! Imagine what others, less able students, would write?

It should be a wake-up call to the government that the problem not only lies in English, but also Bahasa! The students are confused till they become poor at both! Saying “I can give it to you laaaa” is fine, unique to us, but I draw the line at “Boleh give one laaaa” .
Err…I know some readers would say that I’m not writing perfect English either. The only perfect person I know is Mr. Nobody.

Btw, welcome to new readers. Just to clear the air, I’m not married but you can be married at heart now can you?

Au Revoir

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