Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Speaking English with Foreigners

I know it's bad making fun of other people's command of language, I bet I get a good laughing from my Serbian teacher's 8 year old daughter when I couldn't pronounce properly "Меня зовут Meddie007" back when I took up Russian language class about 5 years ago.

But somehow rather than not, we were talking about Eastern Asians such as Korean or Japanese, or even Taiwanese who could barely converse well in English because somehow, their education system didn't emphasize a lot on the Queen's language. I wouldn't blame them for sure.

My sis's co-author for her thesis is apparently a PhD holder from Seoul who was attached to our university for the past one year. So when she asked to have a last meal with my sis and my family before she left for her homeland, they headed over to a Korean meal in Mid Valley (which my family said sucked big time). And apparently, she commented that both my parents have good command of English!

I didn't laugh of course! Seeing both my old folks went to Chinese medium school when they were younger, they struggled hard to learn to speak proper English over the years. I guess that was why I was sent to a convent for my kindy and started English tuition since I was 9 years old.
But having said that, it amused me much much more when sis told me about the encounter she and her Korean counterpart had while they were looking for a private school somewhere in KL. So my sis was driving and stopped somewhere by the side of the road to allow her Korean counterpart to go ask 2 tudung-ed young lady where the school is located.

The one who was asked looked at her friend and said, "Eh, you pandai speaking tak?"

I laughed out loud, literally. Not to say I'm looking down on them. But with English being one of the main language in this country, wouldn't it be at least proper to understand some simple questions? Plus, it wasn't that the Korean lady is superb in hers anyways. I just didn't understand how could SOME Malaysians be so ignorant. But then again, I couldn't care less. I solemnly swear I'm not a racist. >.<

But that aside, it felt really great when the Taiwanese acquaintance that sat beside me in the gala dinner admired how the Chinese in Malaysia could converse well in 3 languages and some other dialects! :P Although I'd love to know more languages especially Spanish and French... Now I wonder, anyone out there willing to tutor me simple Spanish? :P

16 Jujus:

TZ said...

hahaha... what should i comment...

i expected those counter staff @ McD know how to speak English... but ended up we couldn't communicate well coz they din speak English...Just wondered.. How could they being hired if they don even speak English? Or maybe they just refused to speak in English assuming that i know how to speak Bahasa Malaysia.

How to improve... sad sad :(

[SK] said...

so bad of you to laugh at people!! but what comes around goes around, my english is not good, but i can laugh at your banana chinese!! hehehe~~ :p

the happy go lucky one said...

well im very poor in mastering languages too, especially the part that needs me to SPEAK, im shy one *blushed* and have no confidence to speak, so i cant really speak during my schooling time, only when i was FORCED to speak after i started to work, then only i slowly pick up little bit :)

Muhammad Afif said...

my korean mate envy us malaysians because he said that we have the chance to learn proper english. he even amuse on the fact that malaysian chinese and indians could command 3 languages!guess we should be grateful for living in malaysia hey.....

i shall save my comment on the ladies to myself =p

manglish said...

actually i think most of them are rather shy lar especially wen confronted by someone like you who will laugh at them one if not they will still try keh AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAPPY NEW YEAR

vialentino said...

hahaha...i cant laugh cause i am a chinese but my chinese sucks...

renaye said...

hahaha. my high school mate once told me that mastering english is not important because hokkien is widely used in penang. and i guess he suffered big time while studying engineering in university. HAHAHA.

thanks for the comment on my naruto!

Gratitude said...

can't teach you Spanish....but if you want, I hv some Spanish fly! :P lolz
+Ant+

CH Voon said...

wah... never know that you learn russian language before...

why you learn this language? good

This language not much same with english...

not good to laugh at people lo hahahaa

savante said...

One of our advantages of course. Though I gotta admit the level of proficiency is sliding somewhat :) Just observe my colleagues.

foongpc said...

I would love to be better in Mandarin. I was totally lost in China!

Evann said...

Poor English annoys me more than it tickles me. I always hold back on correcting others cuz some say that it's offensive. I think otherwise... Why should one be offended? Isn't laughing behind their backs worse?

Paul J said...

sometime i do make fun of other people mis-prounounce english words..hehe...bad me horr....and really fun to see other people reaction when I do really speak queen's english...heheh....

Ed said...

agreed with evann although my english not so good :(

Danny said...

paella, tapas, sangria, ola, mucho gracias, ....

there you go.. thats all the Spanish i know...lol ;p

Nikel Khor said...

so many blue blue cloth d

here me at Nikel Khor