An Interesting Story

The local paper carries the story of Norazirah Abdul Ghapar, a Malay lady who once studied in a Chinese school, SJKC Chen Min in Klang. The lady had, as a result of her love for the Mandarin language, taken up Mandarin at the Federal Teachers Training College in Penang and had since become a teacher in a Chinese school, SJKC Pei Hwa in Alor Setar, Kedah. That Norazirah Abdul Ghapar made an interesting story in the newspaper is understandable. The majority of Chinese in Malaysia could not just speak their mother tongue, i.e their own Chinese dialect such as Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka or Teochew but many can speak Mandarin and one or two other Chinese dialects and English and Malay, too which they learn in schools or pick up from friends. Their Malay counterpart however is different. Most of them, especially those in the kampungs or villages could only speak one language whic is Malay. If there is an extra language, they could speak, most of the time, it is just English and perhaps Arabic. While many Chinese in Malaysia are multilingual, the Malays the most are bilingual and even that, their numbers can be counted. A Malay who could speak Mandarin is therefore news.


Liudmila said…
How brave are your people! Other nations do not speak even own mathertongue in correct mode -how could they communicate in other languages???
footiam said…
Liudmila, I think you can speak at least three languages, Russian, Italian and English. Chinese in Malaysia originally come from South China and this is a very big area. The peole therefore speak different dialects. In Malaysia, they may become neighbours and the locals speak Malay and they pick up the local language as well. In school, one gets to study English. The British used to colonised the country and when they were here, they build schools and the medium of instruction is English. The Chinese and Indian built schools too and these school taught Mandarin and Tamil respectively. So, you see, the Chinese here just pick up the different languages. Besides, their own mother tongue, they could at least speak Malay, maybe not gramatically correct Malay but that's enough for communication.

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