Thursday, October 05, 2006

Too much free time in their hands...

The Malaysian government appears to have a lot of free time and money on their hands. Not only are they wasting precious time that could have been spent improving the economy or social welfare of the nation, they (governing bodies) are now busy in implementing a monetary fine on those who mix (creolize) Malay and English in what they claim as an effort to promote and retain the national language - Malay.

This is what I call baloney!!!

The reason given for this move is to ensure "the national language was not sidelined in any way". In that case, I present to you... who exactly are the ones who are placing Malay at a sideline?

Malaysia is a nation comprised of three main majority races - the Malay (50.4%), Chinese (23.7%), Indigenous (11%), Indian (7.1%), and Others (7.8%) (CIA Factbook - 2004 est.) If the majority of the country is represeted by the majority population whose mother tongue and native language is Malay, then wouldn't the easy answer to it would be to punish all ethnic Malays of their use of "Manglish". I am not pointing fingers here... but whoever it is to be blamed or supposedly hold accountable for should be the government itself for coming up with such stupid ways of "preserving the national language".

They call it Manglish... I call it Malay-pidgin... a more pleasant sounding phenomenon one can easily identify in a number of multiracial and multilingual countries in the world. This pidginization of more than one language (dialect) is also known as language contact. Look at the case of Hawaii where Hawaiian pidgin is an everyday experience, or Spanglish spoken by many Hispanics and Latinas throughout Europe, Caribbean islands, North, Central and South America.

In the Malay language family, there exist a number of subgroups of dialect or Malay-based creole languages. There is the Betawian, Baba, Manado, Bacanese, Ambonese, Kelantan-Kupang dialect of Malay, etc. If fines were to be imposed on the use of Malay and English, I say a fine should be imposed on the use of Malay itself. The Malay language developed with many borrowings from Arabic, Persian and Hindi vocabularies. Isn't that itself a form of mixing of two (and more) languages?

In school, we all learnt the standard academic version of Malay which we all know does not work in everyday life. Who in their right mind speak in the same standard Malay to the "Karipap" lady in their school canteen or in standard Malay to a dear Malay friend's parents? In fact, all we hear around us in the streets, shopping center, stores, outside class session and even politicians is an unformal non-academic version of Malay.

There are better ways as well as more productive and positive methods to preserve the national language than to impose fines. Suddenly, it appears that Malaysia wants to emulate its "FINE-NEIGHBOUR" - Singapore. Fine away on anything and everything. On top of that, in addition to getting a Hand-Holding Spotter-officer, Kissing-Monitor, Malaysia now wants to add a Manglish-patroller to the list!!?!

1 comment:

CY said...

I totally agree with this entry. Good job!

Thanks for dropping by my blog :) Just found out your surname's Cheah too. Cool!