Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conversational Malay

I know I've been rather slack in blogging. It's the holidays lah, I've got the festive bug - the one that causes my brain cells to seize up and go into hibernation, probably in preparation for the coming year.

There was one incident just before the school vacation started, one of those Doh! moments which I thought I'd write about.

According to a school flyer, Andre had been undergoing a Conversational Malay enrichment programme in class throughout the year. This course is by the Ministry of Education to reinforce the multi-racial environment in Singapore. So Chinese and Indian pupils have to learn Mandarin while Chinese kids learn Malay.

Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to it until the end of the school year when I was clearing old flyers and realised that he had completed the beginners module of 20 hours. My assumption was that after 20 hours, you should have garnered some basic Malay. Afterall, Malay isn't that hard, right?

Me: So what have you learnt from the class?

Andre: Err...

Me: You had so many sessions, you must have learnt something!

Andre: I can say 'My name is Andre'.

Me: How?

Andre (slowly): Nama saya Andre.

Me: Ok, what else? Can you count to 10?

Andre (looks blank): Umm...

Me: Aiyoh...

Andre (protesting): It's not my fault! I didn't have the textbook.

Me: Huh? What textbook? (reads flyer carefully again... urrrggh, he's right, they were supposed to buy a textbook. Why didn't they print that part in bold??) Aiyah, you could have asked me for the money right, you mean you went one whole year without the textbook and didn't say anything?

Andre: The teacher said those who don't have can share...

Me: Ok, but 20 sessions, surely you must have learnt something.

Andre (thinks hard): I can say 'Good morning teacher'.

Me: That doesn't count! You use that all the time to greet your Malay teachers. I want to know what you learnt from the class.

Andre (brightens up): I know what is 'class' in Malay.

Me: What?

Andre: Kelas.

All I can say is, thank goodness Conversational Malay is not an examinable course.


Lilian said...

LOL! Let me teach Andre some new Malay words, I'm sure he'll be my star student haha, 14 new words in one lesson.

Basikal - Bicycle
Sekolah - School
Buku - Book
Bola - Ball
Pensil - Pencil
Televisyen - Television
Bas - Bus
Biskut - Biscuit
Komputer - Computer
Teksi - Taxi
Restoran - Restaurant
Zu - Zoo
Zirafah - Giraffe
Botol - Bottle

monlim said...

Haha! Sure he'll be your star pupil (just don't ask him to spell the words) - if only Chinese was this easy!

Alcovelet said...

Haha! We used to joke that Malay was just English spelt differently, like farmasi is pharmacy. Well, this is from someone who only knows how to count up to five in Malaysia, and knows some extra, essential words, like rendang, nasi biryani and sup kambing!

monlim said...

Haha Ad, you already know all the most important words! And don't forget makan :P

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

LOL! Andre's response is exactly like my ds when I asked him what he has learnt for Korean. Can vomit blood! Kekeke!

monlim said...

Haha Sandy, but Korean is way harder than Malay!!

Veronica_L said...

Haha. Andre should flourish in Malay, after all it's the 'wrong' spelling for all our English words. It's OK, Malay is part of Singlish isn't it? So he'll probably have picked up Malay, Tamil and dialects just by living in Singapore!

petite fleur said...

Oh my god this is hilarious...never thought of Malay as being "wrong" spelling before.

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