Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I don't understand why... Bahasa Malaysia

Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957 from England. English was the official language of then Malaya when it was still  part of the British Kingdom. Most people who worked for the British government then were able to communicate and spoke in English very well. Even the clerks could communicate in  English and my late grand father was one of them. Even my dad who was a policeman and used to work under a British superior could utter and spoke some English. His English could probably shame some university students in Malaysia. However, only a small number of the population or the elite  could use and understand the language. The majority still used Bahasa Melayu.

Later after the Razak Report, Bahasa Melayu was made the official language of Malaysia. It is now the language used in schools and universities in the country. It's now known as Bahasa Malaysia  to make it politically palatable to the non-Malays and now majority of Malaysians could speak and understand the language. I can safely presume that virtually all Malaysians are able to communicate in the language. Even foreigners such as Bangladeshi, Africans, Burmese, Indonesians and Pakistani could speak the language some impeccably after staying in Malaysia only for a few months. Despite being the national language and understood by virtually all Malaysian and non-Malaysians in the country some and people still insist on  English.

1) I don't understand why Malaysians when communicating with  each other use English . I know we need English to communicate with foreigners but why use the language amongst Malaysians. I once dealt with a Chinese mechanic and he greeted and spoke to me  in English. But why  used the language? Is this to show that he despises Bahasa Melayu that much.

2) I don't understand why the waiters in the established  fast food restaurants such as McDonald's , KFC, Pizza Hut greet in  English when they see a Malaysian making an order. To me they are downgrading our national language. They only show  no respect to Bahasa Melayu .

3) I don't understand why important meetings such as the cabinet meeting is conducted in English. I don't  think the politicians themselves respect Bahasa Melayu as the national language. Most of them just pay lips service. Even meetings at managerial level or mid level are conducted in English. There is no justification for this. They could just express as effectively in the national language.

4) I don't understand why most commercials by ASTRo are in English. Cant they use Bahasa Malaysia. I believe most of ASTRO customers are Malays. It looks like ASTRO take Bahasa Melayu and the Malays for granted.

5) I dont understand why some Malays themselves use English and communicate in English with other Malays. Don't they  have the sense of " jati diri "?

I'm not against the use of English. I think we should ;learn as many languages as possible. But I also feel that they must be some sensitivity on the part of the person using the English language to evaluate whether it s
's appropriate  to use it with another Malaysian especially a Malay.

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