Thursday, November 19, 2009

Minister says English at work 'weird'

When I came across the following news report in the Malaysiakini, I almost puke ....

Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi has said that speaking English in the workplace is "weird" and harmful to the nation's culture and identity.

Dr Puad ZarkashiHe said employees in the private sector used English 99 percent of the time and should switch to Bahasa Malaysia in order to show pride in the national language, the New Straits Times reported.

"This also occurs in government-linked companies where we have this weird culture of people speaking to each other in English instead of the national language," he said at the launch of a linguistics seminar.

"We are polluting our own culture and identity as a nation," he said.

"It would be difficult to strengthen the position of Bahasa Malaysia if this culture continued," he added, urging Malaysians to emulate the French, Japanese and Koreans, who stuck to their own language.

'Rojak' Bahasa slammed

The New Straits Times said Mohd Puad also criticised young people for using a mix of English and Bahasa Malaysia in SMS text messages and on the Internet.

He called on the nation's leaders to use Bahasa Malaysia for all meetings and events and said that when he receives letters in English he returns them and asks for them to be written in the national language.

English is widely spoken in Malaysia, a multicultural nation where the population is dominated by Muslim Malays but also includes large ethnic Chinese and Indian populations.

Many Malaysians speak several languages including English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Chinese and Indian dialects.


Geronimo's Take: For 52 years since our independence, our national language, sad to say, has not evolved with the times while other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and China have taken steps to ensure that their languages take that quantum leap into the technological era. South Korea, in the last few years, have in fact started to remove remnants of Chinese characters in their language so that their language will hence become solely Korean. I started learning Bahasa Kebangsaan immediately after Merdeka and love the language, especially when I was tutored by my next door Malay neighbour. Gradually, I was able to read, write and speak the language fluently. However, my interests started to wane when UMNO started to politicise the language. Despite this, I still enjoy the beautiful pantuns and asli music especially those played by the late Hamzah Dolmat. Back in the late 50s, I used to sing this song with a lot of gusto during school assemblies.

Just to correct Mohd Puad Zarkashi. It is not weird using English in the workplace, especially in the private sector as the linqua franca happens to be English. We are living in the IT era and if we were to use Bahasa Kebangsaan, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Baku or Bahasa Malaysia in the office, this is how it will sound :

Hardware = barangkeras

Software = baranglembut

Joystick = batang gembira

Plug and Play = cucuk dan main

Port = lubang

Server = pelayan

Client = pelanggan

Try to translate this:


That server gives a plug and play service to the client using either
hardware or software joystick. The joystick goes into the port of the

Now in BAHASA:

Pelayan itu memberi pelanggannya layanan cucuk dan main dengan
menggunakan batang gembira jenis keras atau lembut. Batang gembira itu
akan dimasukkan ke dalam lubang pelanggan.

With no offence to our national language, now you know...WHY... English is still a better option.

1 comment:

  1. This Deputy Education Minister seems to be still living in the Stone Age. No wonder the education system in malaysia is in shambles. He sure is 'weird'!