I’s Speaking Good England

Wifey’s latest (as on 27th July 2009) Facebook status begs ASTRO to stop having multilingual options for English programmes especially on Playhouse Disney Channel. She was seething with rage when she discovered her two younger children have been watching English cartoons dubbed in malay. My younger kids did that too when they were staying with me, and they received the literal rap on the knuckles whenever I catch them doing so. ASTRO should really think of the impact such options have on the ability of the children to have a good grasp on the English language. Even I still have trouble with mine.

This brings me to an event I attended last week, that was also attended by members of a foreign (mainly White) company that is a client of the host. When you do not have a good grasp of the lingua franca, you stand a good chance of making yourself a laughing stock. I know for sure that the MC had had a script written according to the running-order of the event; to say what after what and so on. Despite the script, her English was as good as mine when I was seven years old. Among the things she had said on that day were:

“Good morning to all. I’ms the MC for today’s events.

Mind you, she’s the Corporate Communications Assistant Manager from the company that was hosting the event. And after each guest’s speech, she’d say things like:

“That was a good speech by Mr So-And-So. Please give him a round of applause!”

Then, the representative of the foreign company was invited to speak. The relationship between the foreign company and the host has never been cordial. So, the representative did not mince his words, whacked the host for giving the former a product that did not quite meet the specifications, so much so that the CEO of the host’s company’s face was red with probably both embarrassment and anger. And guess what the MC read from her script:

“That was an outstanding and inspirational speech from Mr Pissed-Off. We hope that this very goods relationship betweens our two company will be carry on like this. Once again, let’s give Mr Pissed-Off a round of applause!

I cringed and looked behind me, at the other guys from the foreign company, chuckling with disbelief. They clapped their hands in the manner that one would after watching a good stand-up comedy act. It was obvious the MC did not have a hint of comprehension of what had been said in the speech.

Trust me. When the Language Nationalists finally have everything their way, we’ll hear more from the likes of this MC…or worse.

10 Replies to “I’s Speaking Good England”

  1. Kesian itu MC. I also have engineers with very bad English reporting to me. Once I had to highlight in one of the appraisal forms: ‘Please improve your written and spoken English’.
    Although they are quite good when it comes to technical works, but their communication in Email, phone and in meetings is unacceptable. Most of the times, I need to request them to rephrase whatever they were trying to tell because they just fail to express themselves.Dia punya additional ‘s’, unnecessary ‘ed’ and ‘ing’ toksah cerita lah…. cikgu English boleh pengsan kalau baca.Salleh Yaacob punya direct translation of Malay songs (Lagu Merapu Mat Salleh di Sinar FM) are even better.

  2. Disastrous! She’s even the Corporate Communications Assistant Manager? I’m still studying in college and i know that there are many students around who were chinese educated similar to cases like these…However, for the Chinese educate the problem does not lie in whether Math & Science was taught in English or Malay or TV series being dubbed in the Malay language. It is more about their commitment to actually improve in their written or oral English. Most of my Chinese educated friends who possess considerably bad English always surf Chinese websites, only read Chinese newspapers, Chinese magazines etc. etc.

      1. Don’t worry I can accept criticism. It is for the better. However, please do respect others by at least trying to reply in English when others are doing so instead of producing an entirely different internet slang of a mixture of Malay+Indon? Thanks anyway.

  3. Oh! I forgotten to mention that most of these Chinese educated classmates of mine kept mentioning that they wanted to improve their English language. Though I gave them my thoughts on how to actually improve, I don’t see any improvement, still only surfing Chinese websites, only read Chinese newspapers etc. etc. In addition, as an excuse for not reading English newspapers, ‘The English too deep larh’, ‘need 1 whole day to check dictionary for the meaning if want read the first few page larh’, this and that and many more excuses on many other aspects. I do think it really falls upon their commitment to make any changes even possible. Sorry if i have offended anyone through this post. These are just my thoughts, especially now in ICSJ library multimedia lab seeing Chinese words in almost every monitors in sight.

  4. Humans were born with various kind of intelligences.some are good in numbers..some are good in visualizing things..some are good in liguistics..no one could ever have everything…Kesian nyonya ni..

  5. hmmmm… maybe they should have dubbed the speech by Mr. “So-n-so” and Mr. “this and that” in malay, so that the MC for that day’s event(s) would have understood(s).

    this is the result of lowering the standards of english in schools (to make the passing rate higher), hence making Mr. Ministry of education look good.

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