Friday, September 30, 2016

The Language the Government Frowns Upon

I stumbled upon this James Harbeck article on BBC Online. It is an interesting piece on “the language the government tried to suppress” – which is Singlish. Malaysians know that it is pretty similar to our own Manglish and yet, still distinctively different.
Singlish is the unofficial language – or dialect? or slang? – of Singapore, born out of the contact between the principal cultures that make up the city state. It’s a living example of how languages can change and develop. It is also an expression of the Singaporean character and culture, a national treasure – or a detriment and danger to the country, depending on whom you ask.
The population of Singapore today is more than 75% Chinese, about 15% Malay, about 8% ‘Indian’ (mainly Tamil), and roughly 2% other origins, but about half of the population now speak English (or Singlish) at home.
Singlish is said to be the neutral language between members of different ethnic groups. It is undeniably a central expression of Singaporean culture, vibrant, loaded with references from the cultural backgrounds of Singaporeans. And it is still thought of by many Singaporeans as ‘bad English’ even as they use it themselves.
Harbeck is right. You can’t really get a full sense of Singlish from the page.
The intonation and pronunciation make it sound even less familiar. To give you a better idea of Singlish – please have a listen to this marvelous rendition of a scene from Frozen in Singlish.

Singlish Frozen

If we care to scrutinize the “language”, all syllables have approximately equal length and stress. It sounds almost like a tone language in places.
Some sounds are changed, and consonants at the ends of words are often dropped or reduced – “like that” becomes liddat. Conjugational and plural endings often disappear. There are quite a few loanwords, such as kena, ‘get something bad’; kiasu, ‘fear of losing out’; shiok,very good’; sian, ‘boring’; buay song, ‘not happy’; pek chek, ‘annoyed, frustrated’; and sia, which is used as an emphatic rather as we might use ‘man’.
Words are often left out where they can be assumed, especially pronouns; on the other hand, words may be repeated for emphasis. “Can help me do dis?” “Can, can, confirm can.” The net effect can sound hurried, impatient, or even rude.
But there are those who argued that Singlish is better than English because it’s more efficient.
Lah is surely the most famous word in Singlish, and is emblematic of a whole class of words that set Singlish apart: pragmatic particles – a kind of verbal equivalent of an emoji. These words inserted at the ends of sentences are mostly borrowed from other languages (especially Chinese dialects), and they have to be said with the right tone, as if in Chinese.
Lor (mid-level tone) expresses resignation (So liddat lor, “It’s just like that, what can you do?”); meh (high tone) expresses a proposition in need of confirmation (Cannot meh, “You really can’t?”); liao (low falling-rising) indicates a completed action (The postal service stopped liao). Even wad – which is to say, what – when said with a low falling tone at the end of a sentence expresses objection (if you are asked to buy something you have already bought, you might say Got already wad). And lah, of course, can be said with so many different tones to express so many different  things.
Still, many regard Singlish as being heavily accented, grammatically sloppy English. And the Singapore government frowns on it. At its most realized, Singlish is really a different language that uses English words in abundance. At its closest to standard English, it may differ in pronunciation, use of pragmatic particles, and there are loan words aplenty.
On Wednesday evening, I was in Jalan SS26/6 in Taman Mayang Jaya, PJ where I served as the General Evaluator of the PJ Toastmasters meeting. A good meeting except that it ended really late.

And thank you to the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening, Liew Shaw Kang who brought me my Coke 'medication' it was really nice of him!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dr Vida Gives Up on Red Warriors

Beauty products entrepreneur Hasmiza Othman, better known as Dr Vida (left), has decided to stop sponsoring the Pamoga Qu Puteh The Red Warriors football team next season, reported local Malay daily Harian Metro.
Hasmiza said being a sponsor for any sports activities, especially football, was no longer a priority after this.
“I have done a lot for the Red Warriors squad but it is very disappointing, especially its performance. Apart from having to spend a lot of money, I have also been mocked on social media after getting involved in football". And she said she was hurt!
I have no wish to comment. Please join me in doing three rounds of LOL! Wakakaka! Wakakaka!! Wakakaka!!!


Still on football. Yesterday, Celtic claimed their first Champions League Group C point as Pep Guardiola's perfect record in charge of Manchester City ended with a 3-3 draw in Glasgow, Scotland.
The hosts led twice in the first half, Moussa Dembele diverting in Erik Sviatchenko's header in only the third minute and Kieran Tierney forcing an own goal by Raheem Sterling in the twentieth.
Fernandinho's strike in the eleventh minute brought Manchester City level first time and Sterling showed composure to net the visitors' second in the twenty-eighth minute.
Nolito equalized for the visitors again in the fifty-fifth minute after Dembele had netted on the turn eight minutes earlier.
Celtic had certainly given their all!
On Tuesday, I was back at the Amoda Building in Jalan Imbi, KL to join TMIKL Toastmasters in their semi-monthly meetings. I was there for the explicit purpose of “speaking under fire”.


This was assignment #4 from the Public Relations manual. My speech title was “Don’t Blame My PM” – which of course, refers to my Prime Minister, Najib Razak who has been bedeviled by shameful scandals!
The purpose of this talk (disguised as a role play) was to deliver my presentation to an audience assumed to be hostile (your typical Malaysians who are not Najib fawners, flatterers or flunkies – and I can say with certainty that my audience that evening did not belong to this contemptible category of pro-Najib chumps).

I assumed the role of a Minister in the PM’s Department and I had to stoutly defend my ‘boss’! That makes me a toadie!
Seriously, I should join the PM's public relations team.

Once done, I have completed my fifth Advanced manual (left).

And I have one more manual to go before I earn my third Advanced Communication award for 2016-2017 – an ACG. Hard work indeed!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"More Halal Than Halal"

JAKIM’s Halal certification is not good enough for some Malay-Muslims, it seems.
The Malaysian Institute of Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) and the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development AuthorIty (RISDA) have declared their intention to award their own halal certification – specifically, catering to Malay-Muslim-produced goods.
Then Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob decided to make himself a bigger idiot by saying “JAKIM should make its requirements less stringent to assist small enterprises, especially those owned by Malays or bumputeras".
In other words, this UMNO fool wanted the standards lowered because of race. He wanted the so-called processes based on religious dogma to be pared down for the Malays.
Is this another new Malay right, I wonder?
The Malays must be Allah’s chosen people and therefore, they demand everything should be made easy for them.
Already, we are seeing JAKIM promoting religious bigotry. And it is state-sanctioned. That’s not all. They are now opening the doors of discrimination even wider for other religious bigots to raise their voices and exert their influence on others. And in the process, they are effecting change to the country’s socio-cultural landscape. 
The oft-repeated religious argument – as narrow and insular as it is – is it keeps the ‘purity’ of the faith. Seriously?
C'mon, Malay-Muslims are just as fallible as other people. This ‘more halal than halal’ hoo-ha is becoming a joke.
If this proceeds – one day, we can expect to see  Malay-Muslim-only hospitals. Malay-Muslim-only blood banks. Malay-Muslim-only restaurants. Malay-Muslim-only toilets. Not to mention, Malay-Muslim-only buses and taxis. Vegetables farmed by only Malay-Muslims. Cows, goats and chickens are Malay-Muslim-only-reared. And the list, for sure, will continuously expand.

Heck, they can even take it to another level altogether. Malay-Muslim thieves, murderers and rapists get reduced sentences upon conviction.
But really, it is a devious attempt  to disassociate themselves from the non-Malay and non-Muslim population, and more so, to segregate the Malay-Muslim population from the mainstream. These religious fascists want hegemonic control over all Malaysians through religious indoctrination. It's as simple as that. 
Apartheid may already have infected us without the majority of Malaysians even realizing it. This is the state that my Malaysia is in today!
On Monday, I was in KL’s Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam to attend the Speakers’ Dream Toastmasters meeting. I volunteered to be the Table Topics Master but three days earlier, I was offered a speaking slot.
Needless to say, I accepted that too. I presented my CC speech #3 titled “Listen Carefully”.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Peace Finally Comes to Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos(left) and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko  shake hands after signing a peace accord in Cartagena, Colombia, September 26, 2016. Reuters pic
Yesterday, in Cartagena, Colombia, the country's president, Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, inked a historic deal – a peace agreement sealed last month after a four-year negotiation process to end Latin America’s last major armed conflict.
Santos called it “a new stage in our history – one of a country in peace!”
The two signed with pens made out of real bullets for the occasion.
The guests at the signing included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Vatican's Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and an array of Latin American leaders including Cuban President Raul Castro.
The 2,500 attendees wore white for the 70-minute ceremony.
The accord remains to be ratified in a referendum next week.
Colombia's peace deal breaks new ground in trying to balance the desire for peace with the demands of justice which bedevil all peace talks.
There's no amnesty, unlike all previous peace accords in the region. The FARC, as well as Colombia's security forces, have accepted special tribunals and a truth and reconciliation process.
Let’s pray that the painstaking peace that has been achieved is permanent.
On Saturday, Celtic gave Kilmarnock a 6-1 drubbing.
Moussa Dembele's brace (35, 38) ensured his team extend their Scottish Premiership lead to five points.
But it was Killie striker Souleymane Coulibaly who opened the scoring with a sensational 35-yard strike from the left touchline – in the thirty-second minute.
James Forrest slotted the third in the fifty-second minute and Leigh Griffiths claimed the fourth, fourteen minutes later. And Scott Sinclair dispatched a penalty (72) before Tom Rogic added a sixth in the eighty-fifth minute.
And Liverpool claimed a third straight EPL win courtesy of an emphatic 5-1 victory over 10-man Hull. The Reds were really in control of the game, from start to finish.
Adam Lallana's low shot from inside the box in the seventeenth minute following a driving run and pass from Coutinho, yielded the first goal. Then thirteen minutes later, James Milner scored from the spot after Hull’s Ahmed Elmohamady saw red for handball in the box. Sadio Mane added a third for the home side. More goals were inevitable and came through Sadio Mane's low finish (36), Coutinho's brilliant long-range effort (52) and Milner's second penalty (71) – awarded for Andrew Robertson's foul on substitute Daniel Sturridge. Hull got a consolation goal through David Meyler (51).
Did you know that in the time since Jurgen Klopp took over on October 08, 2015, Liverpool have scored 71 goals, more than any other team over this period?

On Saturday too, Liquid Gold Toastmasters met at Sis & Co. in Jalan Jenjarum in Kg. Kayu Ara Damansara, PJ for only our second LG Lite meeting. A wee collection of just four members.

But that in no way, spoiled our fun because we still had our F&B and equally important, speeches and evaluations, including Table Topics. And of course, fellowship.