Saturday, February 13, 2010

Adapting To KL: Ni Ke Yi Jiang Hua Yi Ma?

Saleslady: Nei oi etc etc etc? (in cantonese)...
(you want etc etc etc)

Me: Ni ke yi jiang hua yi ma?
(Eh, can you speak Mandarin?)

Saleslady (sounding irritated & a bit furious): Eh? Ni bu shi ben ti de ren ah? Ni zhong na li lai de ah?
(Eh, you are not local ah? You come from where one?)

Me: Ma liu jia.

Saleslady: Oh zhe yang de ah... ni zhe dao ma, zhe li ah, wo men bu ke yi zhi ge bu ke yi. na ge bu ke yi de... ni quan bu yao dong de. ni zai kl yao xue guang dong hua!
(Oh like that ah... you know ah, here ah, we cannot this cannot, that cannot one. You everything also muste know. You come KL, you must learn canto!).

Well that happened a few months back when I first came to KL. And in fact, that's not the only occassion such an 'incident' happened.

Just the other day, a sales girl mentioned a similar thing after I asked her
Ni Ke Yi Jiang Hua Yi Ma?
Why you from PJ, don't speak canto one? You know ah, PJ people all speak canto u know... in fact, they may not know Mando, but canto, they know.

Alamak! Once again, here she goes with the speak canto campaign! (If Singapore has the Hua Yi Cool! campaign, KL/ PJ sure has the Canto Cool Too!). This time round, I took it much lighter and was laughing away - seeing how proud some KL-ites & PJ-ians are on their language. LOL.

Well, I have my reason (valid one lah I think) for initially resisting to learn Canto. Firstly, I still need to master my Mandarin... and besides, apart from KL & say, Ipoh + errm, HK, Canto is nowhere compared to Mando - lah which is used in Mega China & Taiwan! Plus, if anything, I should also brush up my Hokkien lah, which if not wrong, is the no 1 Chinese dialect in Malaysia! No offence, KL-ites, PJ-ians & HK-ers!

But anyway, KL-ites & PJ-ians, give me time lah to learn this language. I'm already opening up to the language by using simple canto words to buy food & get my change. And also starting to tune in to the Morning Hour Cantonese DJs (though I still strongly skip Canto pop songs!).

So maybe in a few months time & if KL really becomes home permanently, I'm quite sure I'll be able to speak canto ! :)

*My situation now is similar to what I experienced bout 9 years ago, when I was exposed & sort of forced to learn Mandarin in the Lion City of Singapore, which to me was not a bad thing. And maybe this is not too bad after all, hai mmm hai ah?

*I'm just thinking, we in Malacca & Penang should also impose our Hokkien to all of the outstation-ers then, heh? Eh sai bo?


  1. It's good to learn different languages and dialects. But for me, since I already know Cantonese though cannot speak like HK's style of Canto yet (wish I can speak like them!) Mandarin is more important to learn since it's THE language to learn as it's the most widely spoken language in the world.

  2. lol interesting post!! yeah what you have encountered there in kl... erm well the one of the german who speak english well refused to talk english but german to me when i first arrived in frankfurt! she blamed me not to learn the language before stepping foot here! and asked me to pick up the language if wanna stay in germany >< one of my german class classmates is japanese... and we are using japanese to study the language! funny =p anyway learn canto properly because i will test your level when meet up!

  3. Haha :D My cantonese is crappy too. anak Malacca too bro? ;p

  4. Wishing you a Blessed New Year filled with only glad tidings

    ... if here in Sibu we enforce speak Foochow only.. habislah no more tourists hahahah

  5. I can't speak nor read Mandarin except for some smattering of basic words. I regretted not being serious with learning Mandarin.


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