Just a little musing

Read it in the 3in1kopitiam and posted by a blogger as a comment in the thread about Malay is our national language. He was responding to Wong Wee Nam’s article on the historical importance of Malay as our national language and teaching it as a second language or whatever may not be right. The funny blogger was telling his story of his command of the national language and he was glad that he learnt some of it at least. So he tried it out at a nasi padang stall by asking the stall owner how much it cost. ‘"sumau buat apa ringgit" (all how much )?. But the macik corrected me saying encik abdul rahman dah mati,sekarang dollars,bukan riggit!’ The macik had a wonderful sense of humour. She knew this guy was not trying to pay in ringgit here. He thought ringgit was the Malay word for dollar. Well almost, when ringgit and the S$ were trading on par then. Now we know it is not the same anymore. So macik told him that we don’t use ringgit here anymore, but Sing dollar. The younger generation have mostly lost this skill except for the Malays. The orang tua may still make do with some pasar Melayu like aku pun boleh : )


Matilah_Singapura said...

If one is to be sentimental, one can feel a tinge of sadness of the diminution of bazaar Malay.

The historical significance of Bahasa goes back to the days of Ferdinand Magellan. Back in his day it was the lingua franca of commerce of the area from the Philippines to the Indian sub continent. As history tells us, Magellan -- who was killed in the Philippines -- had a cabin boy named Enrique -- who spoke Bahasa having learnt it on previous voyages which sailed east to Asia. Magellan sailed west and circumnavigated the earth.

The roots of Bahasa have a deep, colorful history. Whether or not it should be 'officially' sanctioned as a 'national language' is pure stupidity, and can only come from the mind of an asshole who doesn't understand the ideas of 'spontaneous orders' and 'culture'.

Anonymous said...

During the old days, we all picked up the language naturally, Bahasa bazaar it might be. There are many older folks in their 60s and older now who could still speak the language and we feel nostalgically when given the chance to let go with our verbal command, rusty it could be. Yes, it's a gem of a reply from that dear makchik.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Back in the 1960's, the state's broadcaster at caldecot Hill was known as RTS -- Radio TV Singapore, and their programming was the biggest piece of shit -- lo budget, crap with a definite 'socialist' flavour.

In order to improve the Malay literacy of the public, they used to broadcast really fucked-up Malay lessons on channel 5. Man, were they god-awful. This 'genius' of an idea was a complete flop -- most people didn't bother with it. Like the introduction of fringe carparks, these Malay lessons was another spectacular govt failure.

Of course, Malay language literacy is not an issue with ethinic Malays. It's just another language. However, Pasar Malay is what linguists refer to as a 'pidgin' -- a sort of 'trimmed down' version of the natural language with just enough to simplify communication and trade -- like the one-on-one commerce in the above example.

One cultural goup that kept 'pidgin' Malay alive were the Peranakan people -- and the folks doing most of the cooking were the women.

However, nowadays them 'action-borak' peranakan bitches don't fucking cook anymore. They are more interested in becoming lawyers, gold diggers and gas-bag intellectuals hell bent on emulating the females in American soaps like 'Sex In The City' and 'Desperate Housewives'.

Fortunately, peranakan male culture has not changed that much: the blokes are still for the most part a bunch of drunken whoremongers who are good at making money, and even better at losing it at gambling.

If anyone is passionate about keeping the pidgin of Pasar Melayu alive, then they ought to go up to the peranakan community and harshly scold the women for not being more 'traditional'. That person will have to have big balls, because peranakan chicks don't like being told what to do. They are stubborn, and easily pissed off, and likely to throw a kwali or tumbuk-tumbuk or some other traditional kitchen utensil at the offender. Jaga baik-baik, jangan main-main, sial!

...however, it has to be done. A cultural heritage is at stake. Don't leave the task to peranakan men however -- they just don't have the balls or mental fortitude to go up against their women-folk. Fucking pussies, the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

Malay was a compulsory subject during my primary and secondary school days. It was NATIONAL LANGUAGE or BAHASA KEBANGSAAN in Malay.

Now, a Malay(Race) Minister says learn it as a FOREIGN LANGUAGE; something wrong with him?