Manglish

I’ve described Manglish, which is basically the dark side of Malaysian English. Well, here are some funny examples. This was sent to me by one of my students, Tong See Ngah.

Malaysia English vs British English … Who says our English is teruk? Just see below – Ours is simple,short,concise, straight-to-point, effective etc. The English did invent the English Language, but they cannot use it economically when communicating their intentions. Compare these phrases that Malaysians and Britons use to say the same thing:

WHEN GIVING A CUSTOMER BAD NEWS
Britons: I’m sorry, Sir, but we don’t seem to have the sweater you want in your size, but if you give me a moment, I can call the other outlets for you.
Malaysians: No Stock.

RETURNING A CALL
Britons: Hello, this is John Smith. Did anyone page for me a few moments ago?
Malaysians: Hallo, who page?

ASKING SOMEONE TO MAKE WAY.
Britons: Excuse me, I’d like to get by. Would you please make way?
Malaysians: S-kew me

WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS TO PAY
Britons: Hey, put your wallet away, this drink is on me.
Malaysians:No-need, lah.

WHEN ASKING FOR PERMISSION
Britons: Excuse me, but do you think it would be possible for me to enter through this door?
Malaysians: (pointing the door) can ar?

WHEN ENTERTAINING
Britons: Please make yourself right at home.
Malaysians: Don’t be shy, lah!

WHEN DOUBTING SOMEONE
Britons: I don’t recall you giving me the money.
Malaysians: Where got?

WHEN DECLINING AN OFFER
Britons: I’d prefer not to do that, if you don’t mind.
Malaysians: Doe-waaaan!

IN DISAGREEING ON A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
Britons: Err. Tom, I have to stop you there. I understand where you’re coming from, but I really have to disagree with what you said about the issue.
Malaysians: You mad, ah?

WHEN ASKING SOMEONE TO LOWER THEIR VOICE.
Britons: Excuse me, but could you please ! lower your voice, I’m trying to concentrate over here.
Malaysians: Shaddap lah!

WHEN ASKING SOMEONE IF HE/SHE KNOWS YOU.
Britons: Excuse me, but I noticed you staring at me for some time. Do I know you?
Malaysians: See what, see what?

WHEN ASSESSING A TIGHT SITUATION.
Britons: We seem to be in a bit of a predicament at the moment.
Malaysians: Die-lah!!

WHEN TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED
Britons: Will someone tell me what has just happened?
Malaysians: Wat happen Why liedat????ADUI!!! (jumping to conclusion)

WHEN SOME ONE DID SOMETHING WRONG
Britons: This isn’t the way to do it. Here, let me show you.
Malaysians:Hoi!!!u pig ar liedat also doe no how to do!!!!

So there you have it. I guess they have a point, sometimes the Malaysian way of saying things is indeed more concise and to the point. But this is not always the case. Now I’ll give you an example of how Malaysians’ lack of English skills can make things more confusing, not less. I’ve been proofreading a thesis for someone, and the task of editing is often difficult because of crazy passages like this:

“The knowledge can be the information when the human starting interactive and putting it as a contextual and relate with the knowledge exists and expressing it as a part from their belief.”

OK, I think I can grasp the general meaning of what he’s trying to say there, but that’s probably not the worst one. I’m only on page 13. I’m scared. I do feel for the Malaysians who haven’t had lots of exposure to English suddenly having to do things like this. I studied French from grade 3 or 4 right up to my first year at Dalhousie, but doing a thesis in French would be difficult, even if I did just copy and paste like people do here with English. Still, that’s not really a great excuse, because comparing French in Canada with English in Malaysia is like, well, apples and oranges.

Speaking of silly comparisons, I read something funny by a blogger from Chicago who was interviewed for a news segment on the blogging craze. My favourite quote concerns being asked about the difference between blogging and chatting. She said it’s “like getting a squirrel confused with a mailbox because they’re both on the sidewalk.” If that news segment is anything to go by, it looks like blogging is still definitely not mainstream. Still, there are thousands of people out there who blog. According to the folks at BLOGGER, there’s even a movie deal in the works for a guy who told the world about life in Baghdad through his blog during the second Vietnam…oops, I mean Iraq war. I know MACVAYSIA isn’t quite as interesting as that, but hey, blogs do vary in degree of interest, and I’m sure there are plenty worse than mine. Surf around, there are so many blogs out there, ranging from really cool to oh-so boring. Some people don’t even intend for their blogs to be seen by anyone but them, which is kind of weird and interesting all at the same time. Others will gladly post the most personal details of their lives and inner thoughts for all to see. There’s a fine line between information you can share and information you should probably keep to yourself. I’m a fairly open person, so maybe sometimes I’ll seem to be teetering on that line, but if I do there’s always a reason. Like I said before, whatever I do share will be sincere and straight from the heart.