Blog ini membicarakan soal buku, bahasa dan dunia penerbitan secara khusus. Ini sebagai dedikasi kecintaan saya terhadap buku dan ilmu. Semoga bermanfaat untuk semua. Dalam masa yang sama ia juga merangkumi kembara kerjaya dan persoalan kehidupan.

13 Syawal 1431H - Saya terbitkan kembali satu komentar berkenaan wujudnya komuniti di Malaysia yang tidak tahu berbahasa Melayu. Alangkah sedih dan amat malang situasi ini masih ada sedangkan mereka itu bukannya generasi terawal menduduki negara berdaulat ini. Sila ikuti kekecewaan penulis dan beberapa tanggapan hubung kait penggunaan bahasa Melayu dengan politik UMNO.

Malaysians But Can’t Speak Malay – Shame on You!

(By Syed Zahar, MalaysianDigest.com)

Reading the news recently on a certain residents of this country that’s been giving the enumerators a hard time as they were not able to converse in the national language reminded me of my own frustrating encounters with those from this small section of society.

There were a few occasions, during those times I spent at the outskirts, where I tried to converse with these people only to be snubbed just because the persons I were inquiring from didn’t know how to speak Malay and English. It just baffles me that these persons have been living in this country for all their lives yet they don’t know (or refuse to know) how to use their national language.

In all those three or four occasions, the peoples I was trying to talk to were over 50 or 60-years of age so they have no excuse for not knowing Bahasa Melayu especially after living in a multi-racial Asian country for more than half a century. Let me point out that this is nothing like the situation in the US where the immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean speaks mostly Spanish as these are first generation immigrants. In our case, these people are more than third or fourth generation immigrants – I mean, what’s up? My 90-year old grandma can speak Hokkien, Cantonese as well as the standard Malay and English and she didn’t even finish school let alone hold a degree. On top of that, she’s a second generation Indonesian immigrant.


To me, it’s not so much a matter of learning deficiency that I’m so wound up about but rather the can’t-be-bothered attitude of this so-called non-Malay speaking faction. It’s funny because all this time everyone was made to think that it was the Malays that are complacent and the ones widely practices the ‘tidak apa’,’ ‘rilek la’ attitude. It’s also funny this exact attitude that’s been stereotyped on the Malays actually caught on to the very people who are racist against the Malays – just like how some British observers stereotype of Malays as lazy caught on.


I actually talked about this issue with my Chinese-Malaysian friend who is currently working in a law firm in Singapore (where Malay is the national language that’s not spoken widely) and he agree that it’s more of an attitude problem than anything else. He said that it may be that such crude behaviour has more of a political than a racial motivation behind it as in them having the mentality of: ‘You’re Malay so you’re Umno – the (so-called) oppressor of the minority’. And like the rest of Malaysia, he finds it hard to believe that there are actually some Malaysians who don’t know at least a bit of Malay in this country. We also concurred that, whether politically motivated or otherwise, this sort of attitude is plain unpleasant and unwelcomed both ways.


We are at the 53rd year anniversary of our independence and if there are still people who think they are too good for the rest of us who are of different skin colours and ethnic backgrounds so as to snub us and our respective languages and cultures maybe they should go back to the 19th century where they belong. After all, why should we welcome those who are unwelcoming?


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