We live in trees...

Jungle People??

I did a survey infront of a tunnel for our current project analysis and had came across quite a number of foreigner. Some of them were unmistakably foreign: africans and arab but others were malaysian looking. Thais, Chinese, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Philipinos etc are pretty hard to be distinguished as non-malaysians.

Prior to this, I had many times mistaken them as Malaysians and spoke malay to them before knowing their true origin. What surprised me was how they reacted to it.

"No!" a law student from Maldives frowned. "I'm not Malay. Do I look like one?"
"Ermm.. a bit."
I was taken aback by her reaction. "Sorry, I thought.."
"Well, see an eye doctor or something!" She returned to her flock of friends and shook her head furiously.

The Maldive girl had been in KL for 3 years and yet she can't speak malay. She was even pissed when referred as one!

What's wrong with speaking malay? Why is it so embarassing to be a malay? What's wrong with learning the language?

When I was in Germany during the school holidays, I learned that German despised the English language for its reputable history. So to get them to speak English, I had to speak malay bluntly to them and then they'll probably ask "Do you speak English?" Why, most Malaysians or Asians who came to Germany had learned the language before studying or working there.

In comparison, we are seemingly accustomed of having Mat Sallehs asking "Can you speak english?" I saw a Mat Salleh asking a Makcik at a bus stop and when she signalled the Mat Salleh that she can't, he murmered "Jungle people..."

Just a thought...

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