Monday 1 January 2007

Speak the right tongue!

I was having my Christmas lunch in a restaurant (yeah, it’s a while ago but I only decide to launch my blog now mah) and sitting next to my table was this Chinese young couple together with a young daughter. After placing my order, something about this family caught my attention. No, it’s not that the mom is hot, nor was the daughter a babe, the daughter was just about to pick up the art of speaking (which happened to be the point of this blog).

The peculiar thing about this couple was that the husband and wife were speaking in full swing Cantonese with each other but when they turned to their daughter…”don be notti la, daddi gip u sotong, u eat sit down don run here run there la”. This went on up till the point I left and hear this, not a single word of Canto was spoken to their daughter.

For goodness sake, what the fuck is wrong with people nowadays. I am not saying that my English is stupendous but if you’re struggling to speak English yourself, don’t drag your lil ones into the Manglish gang. Maybe you think getting your lil ones to speak English is gonna make them blend in with the yuppies. But if your lil ones ended up going “hilo, my lame is xxx, I cum flom peejay. U wat lame ah?”, that ain’t gonna go far either I am telling you.

And more importantly, what is wrong with teaching your lil ones Canto? There seems to be a growing community of ‘bananas’ nowadays. But go ask any sensible banana and you will realise that most of them really wish they could speak their mother tongue, particularly Canto. When your name is Tan Ah Ching or Lee Ah Kau but you can’t differentiate between “chau hai” (fried crabs) and “chao haeii” (smelly … err, you know what), it ain’t funny.

Hey, if you’re a Malay and laughing at us Chinese, don’t laugh too soon. On another table was 4 young angmo-wannabe Malays speaking English with each other, some were clearly struggling. The funny scene began when they wanted to place their order. They speak to the waiter in English, waiter replied in Malay + little English, process kept repeating till orders were placed.

Can you imagine if the Malay community loses command of their language? Imagine some Malay yuppies dunno what is the meaning of ‘batu seremban’. That fellow may go overseas (cause he is probably rich) and proudly declare to his overseas friends that our hero astronaut is conducting some research on a rock taken from Negeri Sembilan.

So folks, teach your kids some Canto if you’re a Chinese and your mother tongue where appropriate. It’s never a lost cause.


Weig said...

Gotta credit them for trying though. Its quite likely that in 20 years time, Manglish may be acceptable.

Long Live Manglish!

Anonymous said...

No, Manglish is an inferior form or English lacking proper grammar and all the beauty of English, either speak proper English or dont speak it at all.

Fang Fang said...

i love mandarin too!

Gracie said...

its true man. kids these days aren't just losing their dialects, their losing their whole Chinese culture. sometimes its not that the older generation doesn't want to pass on the knowledge, its the younger generation that, sadly, does not want to learn.

and you know I'll read your blog.

now drag your Chinese bum to SG quick.

zewt said...

YW - Manglish? Let me wait till your daughter is up and running and I shall teach her Manglish.

Lyn - Haha... yes, I shall make that my new year resolution :P

:: Nicole.F :: said...

oh no, does that mean i've to teach my kids canto even if my hubby is eurasian? coz i'm chinese? darn.. me myself can't even speak canto properly.. have to admit i'm a 'banana'.. i can't read, write chinese and speak mandarin.. that's not the worse part.. the worst thing is i can't write my own name in chinese! lol.. sad right? :p~

*cosmic freak* said...

I learned a bit of mandarin in uni. bolehla something like "ni hao ma? wo hen hao. wo hen hao yinwei wo hen ke'ai". hahahaha.

but, you should see me and my good friend speak malay, you'd be surprised that there are still exist yuppies who speak bahasa melayu asli.

kami hanya akan bertutur dengan bahasa melayu dan meskipun kami berfikir kadang kala menggunakan bahasa inggeris, kami akan mengalihbahasa ayat atau fikiran tersebut menjadi bahasa melayu. hehehe.

english is one the medium to get connected to the world.

your mother tongue is the only medium to get connected to from where you come from.

if you don't know where you come from, how would you know where you're going to?

Weig said...

Ever heard of Russel Peters, Zewt? If you haven't, goggle/metacafe him up. Now, here's a guy who could make you proud to know Manglish (if he knew what that was). You'll see what I mean when you watch his classic asian influenced standups.

Anonymous said...

My wife, who is Chinese, is already insisting our(as of yet unborn children) learn Mandarin and Canto.

As a white male of course, I'm just nodding and going uh-huh in response, whilst only half listening. ;P