note: Bahasa Melayu (previously known as Bahasa Malaysia, or Malay language) is the national language of Malaysia.
Just a few weeks ago (or was it just last week, i can’t recall), The Star reported that the government was considering a project to promote Bahasa Melayu (or Malay languange) as an international language. i was horrified with this. we are still struggling to promote Malaysia as a country in the international arena, and it is shameful, however, that not all graduates have a good command of the English language. there are many who are unable to carry out a full conversation in English. i have had many occasions where i speak to a contemporary in English, to be responded in Malay or Mandarin. so i switch to Malay or Mandarin for the convenience of my contemporary. I admit it is difficult for me, as my Mandarin is not perfect. but hey, i’m happy to get the chance to practise it. (but why are some reluctant to practise speaking English to improve?)
Bahasa Melayu as an international language? hmmm. will we be able to succeed? or will we be as snobby as the French who are unable to assist lost tourists because they cannot speak English? (this is based on my experience in Paris years ago. perhaps they are much better now, i’m not too sure.)
Imagine a few years ago, when the government was concerned with the deterioration of English in the younger generation, so the Ministry of Education made the move to have Science and Maths taught in English. there was a struggle during the initial change, wasn’t there? but how much did it help to improve the children’s English?
Anyway, my frustration is this: Bahasa Melayu is no longer unique as it was when it was Bahasa Malaysia. remember when we were hammered with the use of ‘bahasa baku’ for our oral exams? urgh, it was tough.
Bahasa Melayu is simplified – change the spelling of the English words and taa-daa, you have a Malay word!
Examples (from English to Malay):
Actress – Aktress (i remember it used to be pelakon wanita)
Budget – Bajet
Campaign – Kempen
Concept – Konsep
Communication – Komunikasi
Edition – Edisi
Element – Elemen
Ideal – Ideal
Landscape – Lanskap
Response – Respon
Squad – Skuad
Version – versi
Now everyone can speak Malay too! when in doubt, think of the english word and add a Malaysian twang to it or something. (wait a minute, if we’re always stealing English words, how come the Malaysians’ English language isn’t improving?)
Anyway, this is just my 2 sen worth, albeit a bit jumbled up. i’m just wondering, it must be easier to score an A for Bahasa Melayu in SPM now, right? no? ;P
Malay (Bahasa Melayu)
The Star Online: View Post – April 19, 2006 June 22, 2006