Oh My English

IN the past two days I have been talking to two individuals who were relating to me on what they think about the level of English proficiency here in this country. And boy, it wasn’t a pretty picture.

Something striking about these two – one was born and grew up in Estonia but now based in the UK and the other one was born and brought up in Turkey but now based in the USA  – both were non-English native speakers who are now both successful businessmen.

What I gathered from our conversations was their disbelief on how hard sometimes they found just to communicate with locals in conducting their businesses that one of them hired a translator.

Though he was aware his English is far from perfect but he found it baffling that English wasn’t given priority here…

There you go. I hate to preach about how important English is in today’s global communications.

My English is far from perfect but I am blessed with my sheer determination to keep learning the language on my own since I was 18, until today. To continue to learn. Born and brought up in small kampung/village English language was an alien then. And I have been telling my kids to improve their English skills as they live in countryside with very limited exposure in practicing the language…

I really hope my home state Johor government will start to emphasise English language in our schools soon so the children will benefit tremendously…

Enough of this bullshit on being unpatriotic if you focus more on English language on top of Bahasa Malaysia. I speak fluent Malay. I speak fluent Javanese (as it is my mom’s mother tongue) and English. It doesn’t make me less patriotic. It doesn’t make me less “Malay” let alone less Malaysian.

Majority of our politicians and policy makers studied abroad and speak fluent English except a few exceptional cases but look at the young generation outside big cities (KL, Penang, Johor Baru). Majority of them can hardly form a simple sentence in English and its not their faults. Its our education system’s fault and some so-called Malay nationalists who barked and went overdrive every time someone would merely suggest that the policy maker to focusing more on improving the level of English proficiency in the country…

Come on guys, we don’t live in the 1500 anymore where everyone needed to come to Malacca and must learn to speak Malay to trade spices anymore!

If you want to go beyond Malaysian shore English is the answer. Whether you like it or not. That’s the reality.

Call me whiner. Yes I am because I have seen how those who couldn’t muster a simple line in English were left behind. Overlooked. Despite their outstanding academic qualifications…

It was really humbling experience  for me and it was an honour to receive emails from readers of this blog who took time to write me emails just to tell me to continue writing in English.

They are Malaysians who live abroad or have spent majority of their life abroad. Hence, they know firsthand what it is like to be a global citizen without forgetting their roots. They are still as very much as Malaysian as me and other guys next door…

They said, there are many blogs and websites by Malaysians but majority are in Malay language. And for me personally, it is fine as they have their demographic audience as such…

However, for me, I have many close non-Malaysian friends from all over the world. I have British/Scottish in-laws and relatives in the UK, close friends in Switzerland, BFFs  in New York and Adelaide, Australia – among others so it makes more sense for me to write in English as they’re my target audience… As it is my way of keeping them up to date with my mundane extremely boring life here in my little paradise… Lol! A