I guess the readers can guess what I’m going to write on – language issues in Malaysia. It seems this basic area of communication has been hotter then ever for the past few weeks, especially due to issues of roadsigns in Penang which the Penang Government has decieded to proceed with.
For some, this issue can be petty and provide an ‘innocent’ comments such as written in Zubli Zainordin’s Satu Blog Total whereby the commenter opines that First Language should be English, and all mother tongue as elective in schools. Wow! Such a brilliant idea of putting National Official Language just as accessories in National Constitutions.
Some have written good write ups which touches on language issues such as Kijangmas, Jebat, Jed Yoong, and Husin Lempoyang (to name a few). If we wish to create Bangsa Malaysia, one should be able well versed in Bahasa Melayu.
Some argued that we should be Malaysian rather than being racial, which a common language should be mastered in order to sustain a good communication between Malaysian using a language. Well, since we already have one official language, please use it – Bahasa Melayu. But there are some who still not willing to give, but only demands in the name of human rights. For such simple requests as using Bahasa, they are not willing to do it.
For such reasons of reluctance, they even argued that English is widely used rather than Bahasa. Which, due to the event causes some extremist (but not thinking logically), be it Malay, Chinese, Indians or any other race; regards as by using other than Bahasa Melayu, one should return to the origin country using that language. If so, whoever using English, go back to England; Chinese – go back to China; India – go back to India; Spainish – go back to Spain; French – go back to France; and the list will go on and on. Come on brothers and sisters, where your head’s at? If so, by writing this down, I should ‘return’ to England due to I’m using english as medium of communication for this write up.
We have good examples around the world whereby be it whatever races, once they have lived there for more than 1 generation, the next generation have intergrated (ODS: I used earlier as ‘assimilated’, but seems does not sounds right) with the country’s culture. Blend in to be part of the nation. And due to that, they deemed to have ‘equal’ opportunities. And that’s why, even Zinadine Zidane who was born in Algeria, he can play for France since he pledge his nationality and loyalty to France. He speaks in French for such interviews (have you seen him speak in UEFA Magazine TV shows?). It is the same reason, why Barack Obama, whose bloodline not originally in United States of America, can be President of USA in January 2009.
Some also argued that English language in Malaysia has been ‘Manglished’, due to influence of Malays. Once again, a simple conclusion drawn when some of us not using proper English. For chinese, I called Chinglish, and Indians – Inglish. For all races, be it Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and other races in Malaysia, master of English is needed in order to move forward, but not to forget our National Tongue – Bahasa Melayu as a medium for national medium of communciation. However, I reiterate, there’s no restriction in practising your heritage language, but do master Bahasa Melayu as a first step towards creating a better Malaysia.
Efforts on the street – Malaysian should master English as well as Bahasa Melayu to move forward without forgetting identity of Malaysian.