Thursday, June 19, 2008

We Love to Hear Nice Words

"Boleh ambil saya 1 kotak Dunhill?" Err...anything wrong? Why the casher who with smiling face few seconds ago suddently shows us the "white eye" (白眼), and reply us loudly cum rudely: "讲清楚一点, 要大的, 中的, 还是小的?" What would be your first reaction & what is the first premonition comes across your mind? "Wow, he or she has attended Chinese education!" or " he or she a Chinese?".

The language used in a communication most time is depend on which ethnic group we are dealing with, such as if we meet with a Malay, India or other Bumiputra group ( Iban, Bidayuh, Kadazan, Bajau and etc) , normally Malay language would be the first choice, and English is an alternative; or if the other party is a Chinese, of course Mandarin would be the first choice, English is an alternative. We have no doubt on the language to use if we can exactly know a person is from which ethnic group. [ Of course sometime the occasion or environment plays an important role in determine the language to be used ]
However, we may sometime uncertain if a person who we wanna talk to is from which ethnic group, especially if the judgement is between the Chinese, Malay or Bumiputra. As one person can has 50% Chinese look + 50% Malay (or Bumiputra) look, so if you encounter such situation, what would you do? Or which language will you use to begin a conversation? [ Of course you will never have such worry if you are a non-Chinese, so just assume that you are a Chinese ]

Experiences tell me that, whenever you come across a person with 50% Chinese look + 50% Malay (Bumiputra) look, it would be better that you just speak Mandarin to him or her. Very unlikely you may provoke an unsatisfactory reaction or spoil his or her mood, despite he or she is a non-Chinese. Instead he or she probably will tell us politely "Sorry, saya bukan Chinese" (Sorry, I'm not a Chinese) or "Saya sik faham Mandarin!" (I don't understand the Mandarin).
Of course you may speak English to start a conversation, but beware you may offend those Chinese who love the mother language "Mandarin" like crazy and being scolded for being a "banana" man too...Please try not to use Malay language to start a conversation as well, as there are so many "racist" Chinese out there who are so offensive & unhappy when you judge them as a Malay or Bumiputra, it would be quite awkwardness too!
Then how about you? How is your feeling if a Chinese guy or girl speaks Malay to you?


levian said...

"Then how about you? How is your feeling if a Chinese guy or girl speaks Malay to you?"

i would reply him/her in chinese. i would get offended of course. being mistaken as malay especially !! but .. since we're in an islamic country, i guess it is unavoidable. i usually get over it very fast. XD

elezend said...

I will reply him/her Gibberish language

Anyway, I just reply whatever language he/she the language he/she spoke to me too.

If english mah english

Chinese chinese

Malay mah malay lor

Can improve either part of my language =3

amei79 said...

last time im of so pissed of, but now is fine, i just assume back that the one who spoke to me is non-chinese.

wow, you r kinda "随和"...and this reflect that we r in endless learning process.

Anonymous said...

I'll just smile and reply back with english.
I could care less what ethnic they are from. I'll use english anyhow. If they do not like it, they are discriminating against my preferred choice of language.
I will only try other language if they do not understand my english

Anonymous said...

i was a clothes promoter after my form 5 and i think was often mistaken as malay! it happened so often that i was immune and spoke to them in malay back. or sometimes i would just speak chinese to see their reaction.. even some malays thought i am malay! 'awak cina ke melayu'.
one time i said 'melayu' and he goes 'betul ke?

Dalicia said...

no problem with me. usually i speak english no matter what. it has never been a problem with me. malays, indians....everyone can speak english these days.

when angmohs tries to speak chinese to me. i tell them not to speak chinese to me. like STOP!
don't...i'm not your chinese teacher. stop showing off :P

Unknown said...

i usually ask the person what race/ ethinicity if uncertain. ive met chinese who looks malay & vice versa.

sometimes i speak in my ang moh chinese to the malay & they stare back. but later, they happily share that many ppl mistaken them as well.

act like when im overseas, ive been so often mistaken as a local... haha. hear no evil from them, i just smile :)

Hazel said...

i think i can accept if they talk Malay with me because the maybe doesn't know how to speak english or mandarin...hehe

amei79 said...

ya, notice that now a day the english is the first language for most of the people. I'll only use english if im in a place like office, hotel...not in a cafe.

last time part time at a petronas station, due to have dark skin, people thought that im a malay or bumiputra, talked malay to me, I reply them in malay too. of coz they knew im a chinese, as my malay a bit mandarin style...:p

Err...will he or she reply u " im not ur english teacher, so dont showing off too" ?? haha

Anyway should let them speak mandarin i think, as they may in the learning process to improve the mandarin, gv them a chance lah.

I will never ask for their ethnic, but ask if they can speak mandarin or other language.

ya, last time part time in Bata Shop. A chinese lady dont know mandarin & english. she spoke "hokkien" to me & i cant understand. lastly we communicated in malay...:)