Friday, March 20, 2009

Speak Inggeris Plis ...

I was reading through Tun M's article on the importance of teaching Maths and Science subjects in English a few moments ago when it occurred to me that the importance of English should not be limited to enable students to learn and understand Maths and Science in its real context. Communication English is equally important as medium of communication and forging diplomatic relation.

Yesterday, we had a visit from Kenya's Ministry of Public Services and Ministry of Housing delegation. The objectives of the visit was to know more about housing development in Malaysia in particular low-cost housing. Most of the officers who were representing various different divisions within the National Housing Department were young executive officers (M41-M44). .

The Kenyan delegates were attentive and silent throughout the presentation until the Q & A session that I noticed a brief hesitation on the guest side when the chairperson open the floor for discussion. I believed they were expecting more senior-looking high ranking officers to explain further to them various issues pertaining to housing, (judging from their resume) as they are holding senior post too in their government.

Anyway, at first I had hard time understanding their English, which were heavily accented. But from the sentence structure, usage of tenses I would rate their English as good. Then I listened to our officers answering in English ... though in my humble opinion less accented, correctly pronounced ... the officers often stopped mid-way asking for translations on certain words.

Then some of our officers tried to help and adding to what the officers had just said, I find that they either did not understand the questions or got drifted away. Some ... you could even detect slight tremor in their speech. Perhaps due to nervousness. I have to be honest, I participated in the discussion as well and I find myself spoke in Manglish instead ... with frequent use of "lah" and "maa". To certain extend I stopped mid-way as I was trying to create a perfect sentence.

Hehehe... we can be so proud that we are technologically and economically advance than Kenya but when it comes to speaking in English ... we are no way better than them ... with exception to Japan and Korea of course.

Anyway, I am proud to state here that our young officers did make our country proud as most of them understand their roles and functions and presented it well to our guest. As our guest became more comfortable and the discussion went deeper and deeper, it hit me that perhaps this was how our leaders were doing in the past.Visiting and learning from more developed or advanced countries to make Malaysia what it is today.

Over lunch, Miss Jayne, the delegation leader said " I wonder why you said that you are a developing country. From what I see from the airport to this office, this is already a developed country. I wonder whether my country could be like this in the future."

I would not elaborate on what my answer was to Miss Jayne. Suffice to say that it doesn't make you any Malaysian just by speaking and upholding Bahasa Melayu. It is more important for a Malaysian to know what makes Malaysia and what Malaysia is today. For that you can imagine how long lengthy my answer was my answer to Miss Jayne - "sebijik" like lecture BTN hehehe ...


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6 comments:

Olpicture said...

I do agree with you Jaime. And i have to admit that i'm still struggling with my "version" of english. Part of it, it is me to be blame. Though i considered to have a moderate basic of english (thanks to my sister who is an english teacher) i ni pemalas and make no tremendous progress as compared to my uni mates...

i ni macam tak wake up2 lagi!

rambomadonna said...

In my schooling days olpics, I was always proud that I did well in the English subject, I also converse well in English ... making most of my friends envious.

Fast forward ... some of my friends work for multi-national companies which force them to converse and communicate more in English.

To my amazement they can even converse in better English than myself now ... whose English had evolve into some kind of alien English language ...

Can you imagine I throw a question to one of the delegates in this unmistakenly Manglish/Singlish .... "Why aahhh?"

To my consolation ... it is still better than " how come like that one" or "why they so like that" hehehe ...

Even Miss Jayne refer to the ladies as "the little room" ... awwwwhhh...

SeMiN said...

yesss rambo... me 2!... my eng is bad than u and the rest of my frens...now i'm livin' within english speaking community... with a very strange eng accent.. scary okayyyy! it forces me 2 speak eng no matter how bad or good, rite or wrong my eng is... well hope i can improve soon....hmmmm

rambomadonna said...

For your consolation semin, I think some English dont speak the Queen's English so let's be happy for now that our English is "understandable" hehehe

rambomadonna said...

For your consolation semin, I think some English dont speak the Queen's English so let's be happy for now that our English is "understandable" hehehe

ming.... said...

in 'my organization', u cant even find 2 or 3 with decent english speaking skills.... making it very hard for the HR to nominate candidates for overseas courses every year... balik balik muka sama yang pergi!! haha....

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