Tuesday, August 31, 2010


People say that a language defines a society. Well, maybe that is true. Just look how French is used as a romantic language that we quickly associate the French people as people who are romantic. Or how we associate English as a language that is bound to help people in trading around the world. For those who have been reading my blog long enough, you would realise that I rarely write in Malay. It is not that I am not proud of my language, I am proud. It is just that I feel by writing in English, my writings can reach more audience around the world (though I know most of my readers are Malaysians). While I often write in English, it hurts me the most when people seem to be ignorant of the words that are available in Malay. For example, they think that when they introduce words that originate from English into Malay, their sentences or words would be more ‘globalized’, that they would be seen to be more complicated than other people when it is very obvious that there are other Malay words that are more suitable. For example, the word ‘apresiasi’, which comes from the word ‘appreciation’. There is already the word ‘penghargaan’, why can’t they just use that word?

Another example is the word ‘solusi’ which comes from the word ‘solution’, when it is already obvious that we already have the word ‘penyelesaian’ in Malay.

The latest word that cringe me the most is when it is used for this year’s Independence Day’s theme. This year’s theme is ‘ 1Malaysia Menjana Transformasi’. I just want to know who is the brilliant chap who coined this year’s theme. Was he inspired by the Transformers the movie? Why can’t they use the word ‘perubahan’ instead? I don’t mind if they want to use English, but make sure that the whole theme is in English such as 1Malaysia Generating Transformation rather than using some parts and pieces in English and then mix it up with Malay.

If a language defines a society, so what does this define us? A bunch of confused Malaysians? I hope not. I guess some part of us Malaysians is never really independent yet. Happy 53rdIndependence Day folks.

p/s: I’ve just realized that this is my 99th post. Maybe you guys can comment on which of my posts that you either like, dislike or can vividly remember ever since you start reading my blog. That would surely give me some ideas on what to write for my 100th post. Thanks!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It Is Almost Ramadhan.

“God loves him more, right?” , one of his daughters asked my dad. My dad just agreed with what she said. Me? I just stood there, speechless.

I received a bad news last week that my uncle has passed away due to some health problems. As their house is just nearby here, I followed my parents to pay a visit. As we came into the house, his wife cried, relating what had happened on that fateful day. He was his usual self, without showing any symptoms. They were eating at a rest and relax stall when he had difficulty in breathing and collapsed.

Few days before that, he bought cooking stuffs as it is almost Ramadhan and they are selling cookies as their side income. When I came to their house, I could see the cooking utensils and all the materials were still stacked neatly at the kitchen. Seeing all that would wrench anyone’s heart.

Considering that it is almost Ramadhan and Aidilfitri, I dread to think what their celebration for this year would be like. It would not be the same anymore. Many of his children are still studying, the youngest is 3 years old. The youngest would just answer that his dad is at the hospital when people ask her where her dad is, oblivious to the fact that he is not there anymore.

People always say that you would only learn to appreciate things that you have lost. So I am glad that I still have my family to fast together and hopefully, to celebrate Aidilfitri together. So take care of yourself and happy fasting, love your loved ones.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Perception and Impression

I was talking to my students as they were doing the exercise that I gave them in class. As I was walking, looking at their work, I struck up a conversation with one of the students. He is from Afghanistan. We talked about his country as he related his experience being here in Malaysian and being in his own country. We also discussed about one of my favourite movie, which is about Afghanistan, The Kite Runner.

He told me many people were surprised when he said he is from Afghanistan. I asked him, why? He answered, " They thought those who are from Afghanistan would wear the turban, has long beard, which I am not." Well, I said, aren't most of them like that? Then he told me something that I never knew.

" Most of those people are not even from Afghanistan. They are outsiders, came into Afghanistan and ruled the country."

I was shocked. Then he continued, " If they know I am here and learning, I would be in big trouble. They would not want us to learn or to improve ourselves because they are afraid that we would be clever and try to get the country back from them." Then I remembered a story about a girl who was tortured just because she wanted to run away from people who abused her. She was featured in the front page of TIME Magazine.

You can read more about her here.

In my other class, I was giving them exercises and in one of the session, I asked them to give me an example of a developed country. I half-expected for most of them to say, US or England or whatever Europe country that you can think of when suddenly one of the student,an Algerian, without blinking an eye, said,


I was a bit embarrassed when he said that when I don't even consider my country as a developed country.

How we see other people and how we perceive them is important as sometimes we are being given the wrong information all this while. Some people have a hard time with their country but even with all the obstacles, they still return to their motherland as they cherish whatever is there even though it wont be the most ideal place. So love your country and whatever you have but at the same time try to improve and do not just content with whatever you have now. I love you Malaysia.

a bit patriotic here,it is the month of Independence, right?