Thursday, September 29, 2016

Of substance or trivial... language

I remember James ingram.. singing "I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough...
For here we are..."

Sometimes or rather most of the times, we love zooming in on trivial matters and blow it up out of proportion, just because we don't like the particular person or his party stand.

This is what I see when some alternative media and bloggers jumped in to belittle Zahid Hamidi's English pronounciation in the recent UN assembly. Not only that, some gleefully viraled his speech highlighting on his gross mispronounciation. Does that make you happy? Does it serves your end of the happiness scale?

Granted, Zahid fares better if he choose to stick to his Bahasa. Unfortunately, someone behind pull the strings and nod him to deliver his speech in English. Before I go any further, let me be frank. The speechwriter ought to be severely reprimanded for not knowing his job.

One of the phrases use by Zahid mentioned President Obama followed by (gasp) President Najib. When is Najib the President of Malaysia? Or is this a subtle message from BN that we are going republic, dispensing the monarchy system soon? Is this what BN is aiming for after GE 14?

Zahid has to be clear here and he must take full initiative to clear the air. If indeed this is right, BN needs to go to the rakyat and explain why the change. Is there any necessity for us to change our political system and install a President instead of Prime Minister? If this is so, when will the change take effect? And what will become of our monarchy system?

If it is indeed a mis-read, Zahid should state that too and let all understand that it is the optical illusion forcing Zahid to err.

Frankly, there is no love lost for BN. Bung Mokhtar strike the right chord when he says we should be more ashame if we cannot properly communicate in Bahasa Malaysia compared to English. He further says "“What is the big deal about someone not being fluent in English? It is not even our language. There are plenty of great world leaders who are well respected, despite not speaking English."

I agree with him. English is not everything. In fact, I bet that some of us could not differentiate between English and American and our spelling will be the "rojak" integration between the two. There were those who were fortunate enough to further their study in US of A after their high school. Thre in Us of A, foreign students were required to sit for an English proficiency test where they were graded on their English skills afterwhich the colleges will decide if these students need to take some English courses or not.

You think you are great? No way, Jose. The American colleges use their standard of English and Malaysian's "British slang" will end up with these students need to go for "English pronunciation classes". You think that is bad? Not yet. In these classes, you may find Koreans who pronounce "Electri-col" instead of "Electrical" getting the pat and declared excellent, compared to those who opted to pronounce it as "electrical". My question - does that make your English bad? I have not started with the spelling yet...

We need to be open minded. Not everything done by the guy from the "other side" is bad or should be taunted. Zahid Hamidi, for all his shortcomings, choose to take the hard route and delivers his speech in English. He has the guts to face the "empty halls" with his English, can you? Do you think Tian Hua can do much better? Or be it Mat Sabu, Hussam Musa, Anthony Loke, Hadi Awang will fare better? Even Anwar Ibrahim may not be able to deliver "perfect English" speech... so what's the fuss?

Instead of dwelling and trying to make Zahid a laughing stock, we should focus more of where Malaysia is heading. Malaysia is slipping in global competitiveness. We are down from 18th spot to 25th spot. This is a bigger issue than Zahid's English. What is the government going to do about it? Are we still on bragging rights that 25th spot is fine because we are still one of the most competitive nation in Asia?

I want to know what Pakatan Rakyat/Harapan has to say about it. What are our action plan? Or are we leaving it to fate to decide?

English? We have many references to improve. "Mind your language", "English after school" are some of the preferred option if Zahid is seriously thinking to improve his proficiency.

With GE 14 around the corner, I am more worried about those who "sneaked" in becoming voters and may one day heads this country. Speaking of which, I refer to Article 160 of the constitution on the definition of a "Malay".

Article 160 defined a "Malay' as a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and -

(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or was on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
(b) is the issue of such a person;

Let's be real. Can we classify a person who speaks tamil at home but posess a "Malay" name ba termed as "malay"? Likewise, can we called a person, born outside Malaysia with both parents non-Malaysian be embraced as a "Malay"?

Whatever it is... have you ever heard Putin talking in English? Or Italian President, French PM, German Counsellor, China President speaking in English? They prefer their mother tongue. Maybe Zahid too should stick to Bahasa....

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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