Sunday, 17 April 2016

Approach to the English Language

These days, I see there is still a lot of hostility towards the English language. On FB, comic strips on our community's approach to those speaking English, blogs, newspapers. It is indeed a sad state to see such things still happening in our developing community.

The way I see it, it's a form of change that will elevate us further. No harm in it.

Don't get me wrong. Bahasa Malaysia itu indah.

This post is not about one language being better than the other. It's about embracing both. It is one situation where we can have our cake and eat it too.

I was raised with both Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and the English language. We, my family and I, can speak both fluently, by itself respectively or 'rojak'. No problem. On my mum's side, English is the preferred language but we mix both BM and English in our conversations. On my dad's, BM is the preferred medium but again we mixed BM with English too. Uncles, Aunties, Cuzzies, all are comfortable with both languages.

Only when my family moved to Kuantan I knew how profound the general hostility towards the English language. Luckily, neither my siblings suffered any damage in their personal development of the English language.

I spent my final two years of high school in Kuantan. In that brief time, let's just say I was "whipped" into their perspective.

"Tak leh cakap Melayu ker?"

"Ko nih benci kaum sendiri yek?"

"Speaking ajer"

I didn't get it at that time.

I injected more BM in my daily conversation as I was sensitive to the fact that most don't speak English in school. I didn't want to come off as a show-off. Of course, when I forget myself, there was a bit of English here and there but again mixed with my BM. I didn't pay too much attention to it anyway. It was too petty. I had a group of friends whom were comfortable with me, English/BM speaking and all. So no love lost and still among the top student in my subjects including both languages. Proof that regardless of the language you speak daily, it's no guarantee to you scoring higher than any other native speaker.

Fast forward to today.

I was chatting with a friend. At one point, somehow, the topic of the English language came about. Supposedly, the English language is the culprit in causing us to forget and lose our roots.


You should embrace all the languages including your own native language. In my case, I speak both BM and English hence naturally blessed being bilingual. My friend here is even more lucky. She's tri-lingual!

The way I see it, it will not be the cause to "forgetting or losing your roots" unless you yourself make it that way. Wouldn't it be awesome that your children can converse in both BM and English with no problems? Native English speakers are generally limited to their own language whilst other languages are optional. We, on the other hand, are a step ahead in that aspect. We have the language that we were born into.

So, please, stop criticising those attempting to speak or already fluent in English. Maybe it's your own insecurities rearing its ugly head. It's OK if it's broken for now but at least try speaking it for yourself first before passing judgment. You will learn in time.

We are all in the same boat. We are always learning and won't stop learning.

No need to be hostile to those more fluent in either BM or English than you too.

Friend FREN okay?

To those fluent, don't you dare be ashamed of your own capabilities.

#buatderkajer #haterswillbehaters

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