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Of celebrities and language…

In the news: today’s The Star

Page N1
OMG surely the goings-on of local celebrities does NOT need to make it to the front page? So what if Siti Nurhaliza *may* be dating this Datuk K fella…. What appears on today’s front page is mere speculation!

After much persuasion, the reporter managed to squeeze a statement of “I will make an announcement in early July” out of Datuk K: is that worthy of a front page slot? I think not.

Reminds me of when the (new, crappy) Malay Mail went around interviewing people on the street for their opinions of this match: someone actually said something like “Well, Siti *is* a celebrity and therefore we as her fans have a right to know what’s going on”. I’m sorry, but I think that’s ridiculous.

Enough already!

There are much more important things going on in this world than marriage speculation!

Page N4: King: Make BM universal language
“I believe Bahasa Malaysia* is capable of becoming a universal language in this region.” “… the language of unity, knowledge and modern communication.”

Hmmmm, I remember in history classes it was repeated over and over that Malay had been the lingua franca of the region a few hundred years ago. So proud of that past achievement, but can anyone tell me why it’s no longer the lingua franca? Yes, you can give me the knee-jerk reaction of blaming the influence of the Western World which has resulted in the dominance of the English language… but then I ask again: why English? Because it’s simple, and understood by almost everyone.

Malay, in its verbose flowery roundabout way, is great for literature – but for modern communication, or komunikasi moden? I think not.

I’m still flabbergasted that the new administrative capital of Putrajaya is divided into “presint” : that’s precinct to you English-speaking folks. Plenty more where that came from, unfortunately.

Page N36: Pertaining to local celebrities AND the beauty of the Malay language

The celebrity part:
It seems that in a Bahasa Melayu* test, a question was written essentially insulting the fiancée of Mawi (Mawi being one of the winners of Malaysian Idol, and as such, subject to much public scrutiny. He’s been in the news for postponing his marriage due to commitments that arose from his fame. Or something like that. I dunno, I really try to NOT know these things!).

The topic being tested was knowledge of Malay proverbs. A situation is provided, and the students would then choose which of the four proverbs best describes the situation.

The description: “Nordiana never appreciated gifts from her fiancé Mawi, although the gifts were expensive.”

Wow… there are SO many things wrong with the content… not only is it blatantly referring to a local celebrity couple (what’s so difficult to just change the names lah..), just the whole "not appreciating expensive things" is such a materialistic judgement call, eh?

The beauty of the Malay language part:
Here are the choices provided:
A. seperti ayam berak kapur
Translation: like a chicken shitting chalk (to be in a state of panic)

B. seperti kera mendapat bunga
Translation: like a monkey receiving flowers (to be unappreciative)

C. seperti kacang melupakan kulit
Translation: like a peanut that forgets its shell (to be ungrateful of one’s origins/roots)

D. seperti kerbau dicucuk hidung
Translation: like a buffalo with a pierced nose (to follow blindly [to be led by the nose?!])

I totally love the chalk-shitting chicken one – hadn’t heard THAT one yet!

btw - plenty more proverbs like that - if you're interested, I'll feature more.

It's always interesting to see how the same "gist" is described in different ways by different cultures...

One example:
English: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Malay: Ditelan mati emak, diludah mati bapak (translation: if you swallow it your mother dies, if you spit it out your father dies)
One concerns just the individual in question (you decide, you suffer the consequences), the other the individual's parents (you decide, but others suffer the consequences). Can you tell which society places importance on the individual, and which on "community"? Interesting, no?

* NOTE: The King refers to it as Bahasa Malaysia, while in schools, or at least in that particular school in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, it’s Bahasa Melayu. We still haven’t figured it out, have we??


  1. Yeah I loved the chalk shitting chicken. ROFLMAO!

    I am certainly not an Akademi Fantasia fan nor am I a Malaysian Idol fan. But due to the fact that Mawi's pictures are splashed everywhere in town (and almost everyone is talking about him), I gathered that Mawi is actually the winner for last year's (I think) Akademi Fantasia and not Malaysian Idol.

  2. Anon> hi, glad u liked it too :D and thanx for the correction, tho to me AF/MI al lthe same crappy thing :p so sue me, heehehe!

  3. YOYOYO.. never thought that u ever write about Siti and Mawi .. see this two has created biggest fan 'waves' in the malay community. HAving their story although a little, in any major newspapers or magazines make the sales shoot up. our fren Oj is the Mawi FC AJK, she knows better of the 'semangat' which i still dont understand

  4. never could be bothered by that reality TV stuff anyway, but it seems popular with the masses, and some people are making s**tloads of money from that.
    I had forgotten those "seperti ..." sayings, and, if you have more, bring them on, by all means. ;-)
    To me, BM has always been, and always will be Bahasa Malaysia too. Calling Bahasa Melayu is outdated and so...wrong.


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