Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Bahasa Malaysia

During a break for the soprano section at choir tonight, I turned around and looked over at what Sheila was reading. Something for her presentation tomorrow. Something in Bahasa. Something I'd probably need to spend quite some time to digest if I were to read it; my A2 in Bahasa is but a distant memory now.

Anyway, I was just kinda peeved that a lot of the words used in it are Malay-ised English words. I see words like 'bajet' (budget) and 'metodologi' (methodology). It is not as if a suitable word in Malay does not exist. Nor is it a scientific name that do normally localised for lack or an equivalent. Why substitue belanjawan with bajet and kaedah with metodologi when the original serves? Whatever happened to being proud of our national language? Why are they infusing and replacing Malay with foreign substitute?

Sheila says that it's because the Prime Minister thinks that the word belanjawan, which can also mean expenditure, sounds too wasteful; we're spending not earning. What a weak reason! It's just one of the meaning of the word; the other means budget so what's wrong about using it.

What about the 'Cintai Bahasa Malaysia' campaign that was run a few years back when the government feel like we should raise the awareness of the people to the importance of having and knowing the national language? I actually even liked the theme song they've composed for the campaign.

People don't even remember the song. Now it's all English this and English that. They're even teaching math and sciences in English at schools. All this the effects of globalisation and the need to compete with the rest of the word.

Yes. All this sounds a little hypocritical coming from someone who refused to attend the local institutions of higher learning due to the Malay being the medium of conduct at such institutions. But that's just me and my preference. My preference due to what my choice of course. Appropriate substitutes for words in my course have not been properly set up therefore I think that that would impede my understanding of the subject. Plus books for IT were all in English, they weren't going to give us a second degree in translation so why bother?

That aside, I do hope that the government and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) do decide as to what the actually want of our national language. They've decided things and changed their minds so often. Is it that difficult to decide on how you want your national language to be spoken? The proper grammer decided? The words to use? I've gone from non-baku to baku and back again cause people at the DBP decided that that's how the language is suppose to be pronounced. I am told that we're back to baku now.

Does anyone know for sure how our national language is suppose to be? Or what the DBP has decided so far? Is there a site that I can refer to?

In the mean time, I'll just stick to English. Not my first language but it seems to be the language that I think in and the one that I'm more comfortable with. Heck! My English vocab sure beats the hell out of my Hokkien any darn day!

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