Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Ahmad Rejal Arbee Responds

Ahmad Rejal or a reader who claims to be him responded to my post on his statement about loyalty and the use of Malay language:

A friend e-mailed me your half cock shoot from the hip comment about what I

Please read the whole article properly and not just bit and pieces of
it. And don't be crude about it. We can discuss this gentlemanly without
bringing in unrelated things.

So what was the crux of what I wrote?

I questioned why is it that even after 53 years of independence there
are still citizens of this country who can't understand and speak the national language, the language of this country?

I am not questioning the whole of the Chinese who are citizens of this country. Only those who still can't understand or converse in the language of the country which they call home.

Is that being an extremist?

I also questioned the propensity of some housing developers and products being advertised through flyers sent to homes including Malays homes and especially in Shah Alam where I reside and where the majority are Malays, only in English and Mandarin. What happened to Bahasa? Why such disrespect? Aren't these companies operating in Malaysia where the language of the country is Bahasa? Is that asking too much?

So don't cloud it with fact that Hokkien having some Malay words. So what about it? I am not questioning Hokkien but only question why can't the language of the
country be given the proper respect it deserves.

And don't go about the Malays not knowing Mandarin either. Is Mandarin the National language of this country?

It is good for the Malays to also learn Mandarin but even if the majority of them do so, BM is still the language of this country and should be accorded the respect it deserves where every citizens can understand and be able to converse in the language. Is that too much to ask?

Can we go to France, Germany, Japan or Korea and not see the languages of those countries not used at all - not even a word - in the menus of their restaurants.
But this is going on in this country. Go the White House coffee in section 13 Shah Alam and look up its menu. Its only in English and Mandarin. Why this disrespect for BM. Yet most of the clientele of the shop are Malays.

These people have scant respect for the language of their own country. If you are loyal to this country then you should also be loyal to the language of the country.
I am not questioning those who know the language and are able to use it and
understand it. But knowing alone is also not enough, but you must also be proud
to use it.

And don't cloud it with encouragement being made to learn English. Yes we should learn and be proficient in English. But does it mean that we don't need to use BM or know and be able to speak it.

That is all what I wrote about my friend. Is that being extreme? And what has that got to do with Umno?

And try not to be insulting. It doesn’t show good breeding.

rejal arbee

If Ahmad Rejal is trying to be constructive, he should not use any race label indiscriminately. He claimed that there are citizens who can't speak or understand the Malay language. The national secondary school system which adopted the Malay language as the sole medium of instruction was implemented in 1974. It is granted that those who finished their secondary school prior to 1974 may not be conversant in the Malay language.

Today, it is not possible for any Malaysian who has completed his/her six years of primary education, in both national or vernacular school, not to be able to understand or converse in the Malay language.

However, many of them (especially those above the age of 50) are able to converse and communicate in the language through socialisation with other Malays. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Malays being able to speak in Chinese dialects as a result of socialisation with their Chinese friends.

I would like to urge Ahmad to provide me with statistics of non-Malay citizens who are not able to speak or understand the language. I dare say that they belonged to the minority. If Ahmad hopes to see more people using the Malay language, he should sound more constructive and encouraging.

If Ahmad is trying to pick an issue with non-Malays not using the Malay language when socializing among themselves or with their family members, then I would say that he is just being discriminatory. Using one's own mother tongue when conversing with family members and friends of the same ethnic origin does not mean that he/she is unpatriotic or disloyal to the nation.

Is it trendy for editors or columnists of Malay mainstream newspapers to use the non-Malays especially the Chinese as punching bags? Is Ahmad hoping to make an editorial comeback with his unwarranted and unfair criticism of non-Malays or Chinese?

If Ahmad is not pleased with some property developers, retailers or restaurants not using the Malay language, he should just limit his criticism to these companies or persons. By using the race label, he not only being racist but also an opportunist.

I pray that he does not turn into a race extremist. I hope his statement is made out of ignorance and a lack of understanding of non-Malay Malaysians.


Serious Shepherd said...

In case if you haven't noticed, UMNO's acronym is not in Bahasa Melayu.

In the meantime, never forget that the orang puteh also learnt to speak Malay during colonial times, which made the British Empire's access to Malaya's various natural resources possible.

Observer said...

Why the restaurant menu in English n Mandarin is bcos the operator is a non-malay and they dont expect malays to patronise it(bcos of the halal issue)and so no need for malay language.To say it does not respect the national language and bcos it is in Shah Alam(where majority are malays) is a narrow view. I hope En.Ahmad is not an extremist.

Anonymous said...

We are told there are tens of thousands of local unemployable graduates.

We have more in the civil service than we have taxpayers.

Singapore graduates, black, white, brown, yellow and pink, can easily compete anywhere in the world.

Our political and economic elite including the KPI hypocrite Idris Jala who plays down the importance of English, educate their children in international schools.

Do I need to say more? Wake up-lah. Jaguh kampung on crutches can never compete on the global stage.

Anonymous said...

En Ahmad, Most of Malaysians can speak BM and no need of you to holler and shout of unpatrotism at slightest provocation. Please, don't use Utusan and Berita Harian to blurt more hatred and racism. Many non Malays hated these papers saying that they are being anti 1 Malaysia!


pinsysu said...

en ahmad is not an extremist ... he's way too emotional. he'll find fault with the dumb & mute who speak with sign language ...

Geronimo said...

I would like everyone to visit the following link. It is about our own singing sensation, Jess Lee, who came out tops in the recent Taiwan Talent Show [equivalent to American Idol]. She communicated with the MC in Mandarin, greeted the Taiwanese audience in Bahasa Malaysia and then sang an English song, "Listen" popularised by Beyonce. This is what globalisation is all about. Jess could have easily continued, greeting the Taiwanese audience in Mandarin, but she chose to do it in Bahasa. That speaks volume for our girl. I am in my early 60s and am a product of the 60s where English was used widely. Yet today, I can speak and write Bahasa and so do many of my peers. My father who was educated in English in the 20s & 30s, spoke and wrote Bahasa well. The many Chinese who could not speak Bahasa are basically in the vast minority and they could be from the older generation staying in the most remote part of the country where Mandarin or dialects are being used.

Anonymous said...

Food is a very touchy issue. Will any Muslim patronize ANY eatery run by a Non-Muslim? In my school, my Malay colleagues will not take ANY food, even cakes that are bought from reputable cake houses!So still have any doubt as to why the menu is in English/Mandarin?

fatcat said...

if we identify a language with a race then we have this problem, a lot of country have english as their national language doesn't made them more English

Anonymous said...

It's always amuse me when some supposedly promote Bahasa Malaysia BUT blame the non-malay to respect our national language.

Go and do some random check on the national TV sms and all malay-malaysian facebook. None of them respect Bahasa Malaysia. A malay-malaysian doesn't write a proper bahasa malaysia even thought they can. I'll suggest you bark at them first.

zaidi said...

I live in Penang and most of my friends are Chinese. I totally get it if the older generation have difficulty communicating in Malay, however, I have seen many young people, still in school, who have great difficulty having a simple conversation in Malay. I find that sad.

I believe it is very important for all Malaysian to be able to have simple conversation in the National Language.

I guess I'm guilty too because I use English with almost all my non Malay friends and only use Malay with those not fluent in the English language.

In the past, I have received brochures which are entirely in Chinese but just simply brushing it off as an advertisement that is not meant for me!

The truth is, I blame the inability of some people to speak the national language totally on the government. Isn't education under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government?

Anonymous said...

Ahmad is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find some political capital to climb up the ladder.
It has to be a racial issue to win Malay admiration.
A bigot wallows in bigotry. Ahmad is a bigot.
I know of Malays in Kelantan and Terengganu who cannot speak Bahasa Malaysia. They have their own lingo which I cannot understand either.

Anonymous said...

Even though it is the national language,the Malay language is used as an oppressive tool for UMNO leaders and Utusan to bully non-Malays, especially older generation ones who can't speak Malay because of a whole lot of reasons. Recently Rais Yatim tried to insult a non-Malay reporter who is more fluent in English by accusing him of wanting to speak in the language of the Orang Putih. Right from the beginning the way to ram Malay down the throat of non-Malays as the NL was wrong. It was utterly oppressive, and it was rightly challenged. Had the govt promoted Malay as a national language in the same way as it is done in Indonesia, it would have been more readily accepted by the non-Malays.And it is wrong for Rejal and UMNO, Utusan to question the loyalty of Chinese who prefer to speak in English or Malay.

Anonymous said...

Well....the way Ahmad answer is typical UMNO-train-professional-executive-Malay style. Now he trying to divert his early comment. I not saying this and that BUT ..... Don't waste your time because young generation people (Malay Chinese Indian Kadazan etc) know the quality of Ahmad. He only tin kosong and still like 'katak di bawah tempurong'... What Bahasa Melayu can use in international arena?

Anonymous said...

So when a person laments the lack of fluency in the national language among some of it's citizens, he's an opportunist and a race extremist? On the contrary. The person who's using race label is you.

Maybe you should look into the problem and explain why it happens instead of trying to divert the issue. It's really sad that you're trying to deny the reality and existence of the problem by using flawed logic such as "it is not possible for any Malaysian who has completed his/her six years of primary education, in both national or vernacular school, not to be able to understand or converse in the Malay language. ". To understand some words and speaking in broken BM doesn't constitute language proficiency. Seriously, have you actually been around to see the reality of this issue?

By trying to hide the problem and diverting the issue, it just shows how serious the situation is and as such, we should be concerned about it.

I also sincerely echo your suggestion to conduct a survey on BM proficieny, maybe it will open up the eyes of those who are still in denial.

Anonymous said...

Rejal please look at DBP and see if they are actually taking any usaha to martabatkan your bahasa.

What they have done is just easily converting English words to the malay spelling.

In LHDN, they used Kasyer instead of Juruwang.

In KL Sentral, KTM uses words like Koc, Tren and Platform.

TV3 malay news - I wonder why they will read the Airbus A320 as A Three Two Zero instead of A Tiga Dua Kosong?

Very simply why create the malay word Bajet when Belanjawan is perfectly OK and understood???

Tak maly ke korang orang Melayu??

Chinoz said...

Saya ini Orang Cina Malaysia, boleh cakap, boleh tulis..apa halnya Ahmad..kamu datang dari Indonesia kah?

I have a colleague who is an Indonesian chinese told me that during his childhood time, they have to converse in bahasa indonesia to avoid harassment.

I have been delegated to work in Singapore and now it is close t 3 months. True enough, it is dissappointed that we still have our friend Ahmad and many other of his kind stuck in their rut.

Let me share a real story. Last week on the 6th day of Chinese New Year, I return to work in Singapore. Having my lunch with my colleague and suddenly came behind a lion dance troop at the hawker center... to my surprise all of them are Malay...from the one holding the lion head, to the drums and etc...

I have eaten rice for the past 28 years...first time in my life I saw this... What can I say??? Move on Ahmad & friends!!

Khoo Kay Kim said...

The question asked was ' why are there still people in Malaysia who are unable to speak and use the Malay language competently after 53 years of making it as the National languange?'...

no need to talk about lion dance(which I enjoy watching),adoption of new words in the Malay languange lexicon, it's role in the international scene, languange as political tool,civil service or tax payer, halal or not halal restaurant or acronyms...

why? why don't you like conversing in Bahasa Malaysia, are u ashamed? are you handicapped, you don't understand?, are u afraid of suddenly becoming Malay? are you looking down on the languange and thru it the people?