Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Adapting To KL: KL Talk

Coming to KL, everything seems fresh & new for me... and here are some new slang/ words I've heard over the past months. See if some of these tickle your funny bones:

1. Kureng
A more sarcastic word to replace kurang/ kurang sedikit (remember to emphasis the reng!). Eg
Shopping mall tu ramai orang tak?

2. Ok lor
I know this is very Manglish, but I hear this a lil too often. Everything seems just ok - lor, hardly good/ great, bad?

3. New age Christian
A friend mentions he believes in Jesus & also reincarnation... (no offence, Christians!)

4. Ape cer
Forget the formal Apa khabar. To hang out with the youth, go for the shorter ape cer (stands for Apa cerita?)

5. I dunno
I thought the words "I'll try" is bad. But this bo-chap phrase is definitely worse - and can get you in hot soup!

There's quite a few more I've heard, but can't seem to remember them now.... maybe for the next installment... or maybe, I'll share some funny Singlish next! :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love Your Job: Be A Pro, Not A Worker

Do you realise some people just love their job... and seem to do so well in them? Well, one reason is most likely how the person takes on his work - where one differentiates himself as a professional rather than just another worker.

If you are already loving your job, great - do keep it up!

Otherwise, here are some golden rules you can apply to have a better loving job:
1. Enjoy your work, as part of your life.
2. Take responsibility of your own success & the organisation you are working for.
3. Be partners to your company, not workers.
4. Take intelligent risks, accepting failure as a fair price for opportunity to grow.
5. See the big picture of your organisation - and how your role plays in it.
6. Be industry experts in your own field - keeping abreast with the latest knowledge & development.

Well, there you have it.. some very simple rules to change your ordinary jobs to something more rewarding & inspiring! :)

*Some of these points are from an article I read recently, written by Nido Qubein, an international speaker & consultant.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Singapore To KL: You Speak With A Slang Lah

More language story on the way!

If anything, I thought my Cantonese (& Mandarin) has some very weird slang... but then, recently, I was even told that so does my English!

Did you study overseas?
Well, yes in a way. Studied in Singapore, which is just across the causeway actually... (lol). Btw, how can you guess?
Ah cos you speak with a slang.
Huh? -.-

If anything, I thought, I'll be the no. 1 Manglish speaking person in the entire world! So u can guess how surprised I was when I heard that... especially so, when I thought settling back to KL means getting back into the Manglish roots.

But looking back, maybe he is right...

It's funny that when I first went to Singapore, I was told to have this rather strong Malaysian English accent. Ya lah, you know lah...

Then about 1 year or so later, some Singaporeans say they can't tell the difference between my English & theirs, saying I sounded local.

Though it was nice to 'having to fit in', but I felt a bit weird cos I've never liked Singlish - especially the lei, hor, ah that goes with it. And I clearly avoided using such words in my English-Singlish-Manglish (whichever way you arrange it). Those words to me, are just so painful to the ear!

I still wonder how they associate my English with theirs, though I avoided those words. Maybe they meant that I speak less Manglish - but that clearly doesn't mean more Singlish.

Anyway, I think along the way, apart from not using the lei, hor & ah, I also reduced (if not deleted completely) the lah, mah in my vocab... which of course got some of my Malaysian friends to then point out that I speak funny! Well, well... in any case, I lived with it for a few years on.

And true enough, a Singaporean friend told me few years later:
You know, your 'England' is very cute. It doesn't sound like the locals speaking Singlish. Sound a bit like the ang moh talking one.

For a long time, I thought the Singlish never got on to me. Waaah, damn proud lah I must say! Until just last year, when I met one KL-ite, and she told me:
Ya, but you speak like them what.... you actually have that Singlish in between!
Huh? Really? No lei....
There.. there, you just said the lei!

Alamak! Yes, the lei finally came into my vocab!

From that day on, I made a point to use much more lah again and made sure to curb the lei word. And I thought I've done successfully for the past few months, especially that now I'm living & breathing KL!

So back to the recent conversation, when my friend's friend mentioned I speak English with a slang, I just laughed... for here it goes again: the lost identity of my English.

I've resigned my fate that my English is just a mixture of all sorts, til just 2 days ago, when another KL-ite mentioned:
Come to think of it, you do sound like a Malaccan!
You guys from Melaka all speak different.

Well, there you have it. I guess after all the merry-go-round, I can finally attach some roots to my English. As much as my English is influenced by the ang mor English, the Singaporean Singlish & the Malaysian Manglish, but deep down to its core - the slang & all actually comes from a place so nearby lah - and it's non other than the Malaccan's English! LOL!

*Wahai, orang Melaka, do you agree we speak with a slang?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peeling The Banana & Being Less A Potato Man

"Ta shi 'speaking' de"... says my friend when they introduced me to their group of Chinese speaking friends. That was about a decade ago, back in high school.

Well, what to do... I'm an English educated Malaysian Chinese (what a mouthful), having been raised in an all English speaking family (with some Malay language - which Malaccan house doesn't?) & studied in an all English speaking school.

It maybe hard to believe, but during those school days, everything seemed perfectly fine. Communicating in English was like the world - our teachers taught us in English (& Bahasa Malaysia), we conducted our extra curricular activities in English, listened to English songs mostly, and talked to each other in English.

There were hardly any Mandarin, and if any, there were just the Hokkien dialect.

However, this all changed in Form 6, when the influx of the other school boys & girls came over to my school for their education.

From the all English world, suddenly, I felt like I was in China! All I hear is
chee chee chor chor, chee chee chor chor
And that's also when I learnt the words xiang jiao ren - 'banana man' (香蕉人). -.-

I thought this would change once I went to university in Singapore. After all, Singapore has this image of where the people speak perrr-fect English. But how wrong was I!

I enrolled to what most would say the most 'cheena' university of them all, where classmates switch from English to Singlish... then to Mandarin. & they tend to stick to it thereafter. So back again to the chee chee chor chor, with some lei, hor, ah!

And soon came another nickname... I still remember my more Chinese speaking Singaporean friend telling me:
Eh, you don't so kantang can?
Huh? kantang?
Ya lah, you don't be such a big potato lah you!

Ah, so he was referring to the kentang (马铃薯 ma ling shu) - same thing like the banana, yellow outside, white in the inside!

So, from being banana, I then became a potato!

Well, the 8-9 years there has made me improved my Mandarin a fair bit. In many ways, it was forced upon. It was one to be called a big potato, but another to get scolded by bus drivers for 'speaking' when asking for directions!

Besides, I was exposed to Mando pop + the government had this Huayu Cool! campaign (like real like that). Most of all, it was about fitting in to the 'cheena' world.

All these have paid off a fair bit - one success being able to travel around China (Shanghai, Wuzhen, Hangzhou & Beijing). And the best part - though with my limited Mandarin, many of the Chinese (minus from Shanghai) think I am from China itself - just by the way I speak! (dont' play play ah! lol!)

Now, I'm planning to take this whole Mandarin thing one step further. It's time to learn proper tones & also to write. I think it's time to peel that banana & be less of a potato man... who knows,
someday, I'll be known as Orange!


*cheena is a Singlish term for Cina.

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?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Xin Nian Yao Dao Le!

Can you feel it already? Yes, the Chinese New Year is near! And I must say, the mood is merry!

I guess the one of the best part of new year is the round up to the grand 15 days... and I've had my fair share of new year joy from buying the must have kam quats, to putting up some decorations both at home & in the office.

I've also bought a fair bit of cookies. The one I like most is the ones I get every year - the chocolate chip cookies (homemade & a must try!). This year, I've got a new cookie too - the almond cookies which comes all the way from Macau! (well, I got it from the shop here in KL lah) :)

And then, the idea of having nice ang pow wrappers + going to the bank to get some new notes.

Some of you will have lots more to do like buying new clothes, shopping for the dried products & all the food to cook for the New Year's eve, spring cleaning, and balik kampung too heh?

Ah, the joy of the Chinese New Year...!

Btw, to spruce up the CNY mood, here's one cool new year song (which btw I'm proud to say is from Malaysia!) :)

Do have a Happy New Year all! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Bu Bu Gao Sheng! Wan Shi Ru Yi!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Singapore Memories: Myths About Singapore

Ok, I better put a disclaimer here for all my Singaporean readers... first, I like Singapore as a city, and these myths about Singapore are my personal opinion only. If there's anything u don't agree, u can voice out... if not sit back, and just relax-lah :)

1. Singapore more Efisyen (Efficient) One
Try going into Singapore by car on Sunday evening/ nights and you'll most likely get stucked in a jam at the Singapore customs, while just before that, you sort of breezed through the Malaysia customs. Ok so you argue that Malaysia does a chop chop job? But how can it be that the jam on the 2nd link can go as long as 3 hours?

Another example: email. If you think Malaysians take ages to reply your email, well, the next time, you might just forgive them... for even Singaporeans (and I say not all) do reply late - or at times, never reply at all. And this is not first time ah...

2. Singapore Public Transport Is The Best One
Yes, definitely if you compare it with all the rest in the Asean region (and I say, Asean not Asia). But try going from say Bedok to a place somewhere in Boon Lay. Ok maybe that's an exaggeration from East to West of Singapore (and we always think Singapore is small).

But even if you go from East to East (say from Tampines to say somewhere in Paya Lebar), the ride & all can take you up to 45 minutes or more. That is because one has to walk, take a bus, then take the MRT then take another bus... and walk again before reaching. Zzzz...

3. Singapore Very Clean One
Yes, it is a clean city... but how clean? Of course, more likely cleaner than our other Asian cities (maybe minus Tokyo?). But I've seen cockroach at City Hall MRT & also seen some 'sai' in the lift in the HDB flat (am not joking).

And talking bout HDB, have you seen the letter box area? Maybe you can't cos all the phamlets & leaflets are on the floor. And just beside it, just at the open area, bird droppings all over the floor.

4. Singapore Media Very Happening One
Again the question is what compared to what? Singapore Chinese Drama vs Malaysia's Chinese Drama Industry? If that is the case, yes... But try comparing it to Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines or even Malaysia's Malay entertainment industry, then that statement may not ring so true.

Otherwise, why would the likes like Aaron Aziz, Aliff Aziz, and even Singapore's Idol Taufik Batisah make their way over the causeway? And it's not just them - even PCK (Phua Chu Kang & family) came over.

5. Singapore English Better One
Many Malaysians always feel inferior towards Singaporeans command of English/ Singlish. Actually hor, it's about the same one lah.

I tell you why ah... cos ah, if you compare the English speaking Malaysians & the English speaking Singaporeans ah, they talk about the same same one u know.

And that's where I just go -.- when some strangers or my friends-to-be ask: why ah your English so good one? But you come from Malaysia ah?

6. Singapore Customer Service Very Good One
In some places yes (I particularly like the service crews at the restaurants when they are run by the youth).

But have you experienced extremely rude, delay & bad service - even from the counter? Some friends have... at places you might just not think possible. I shan't elaborate more but you get it...

7. Singapore's Mandarin Better Than Malaysia's Mandarin One
I'm not the best one to judge from this. But anyway, I've heard both sides of the coin (causeway in this case), and both argue they are better... always comparing their Mandarin with ehem, Taiwan's, some China's.

I still remember my Singaporean friend telling me: Why ah you all always use Chi Duo Qian?

Another one mentioned: I don't like to listen to your Malaysian (Chinese) radio... you all got one slang one.

Saying that, I've also heard my Chinese educated friends from Malaysia mentioning before: I don't like to read Singapore's papers, because their level of Chinese is like Standard 5!

For those of you who are Mandarin educated, welll, I suggest you read each other's papers & listen to each other radio (that is if you can tahan lah).

Now not all myths are bad. Here are some flip side eye openers.

8. Everything In Singapore Is Expensive One
Actually, the expensive part about Singapore is the housing. Nearly everything else is quite comparable to Malaysian standard of living.. or for some, even cheaper.

For example, try eating the chap fan (mix rice) at one of the neighbourhood areas... and it will only cost about SGD2 or 2+. You can also find chicken rice at SGD1.80! Now, that is definitely cheaper than Kay El's!

9. All Singaporeans Are Kiasu One
While many are (super at it too!), but I have had my fair share of friends who are humble, friendly & kind. These are the people you would think come from anywhere except... Singapore! And yet, there are such people - and quite a bunch-ful of them too!

Ok, you have read this far... If you are from Singapore, I hope you are in no way offended from my observations & experience.

For the rest, especially Malaysians, I hope you can get a better picture of some sort from someone who has been there, done that... for it's way better than making assumptions (good or bad) from unknown sources!


Saturday, February 06, 2010

I Don't Want To Sound Racist, But...

Think you know each race well enough? Well, can you tell which race is which by their self portrait pics? Well, my Malay friend & myself can... here goes:

One race does this when taking photo:
They will stretch their hand which is holding the camera out as far possible... then move it upwards so that it's just above their head... then turn their face slightly to the left or right, and finally, only move their eyes to face the camera... And Click!

Can you guess the race? Maybe, maybe not huh.. But definitely you can guess the next race?

The other race does this instead:
The ever-ready PEACE sign! - and sometimes with purposely bulging eyes to match!

Really, I don't want to sound racist, but... try looking at your own profile pic or your friends pics (this usually applies to young girls btw)! :)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Berblog Dalam Bahasa Malaysia... Pa pa pa Kenapa?

Some of my friends have encouraged me to write a Malay blog, noticing how I speak the Malay language. I've yet to do so... and instead of starting a new blog, I'm just seeing if I can do it here. Besides, as hard as I tried writing this post in English, but this seems to work in the Malay language better.

This is my first attempt to write my blog in Malay. For those who understand it, hopefully you'll enjoy (and yes, feedback - good or bad are all welcomed!).

For those who can't understand Bahasa Malaysia, do at least play the video - the song might just get to you!

U orang pernah dengar tak lagu dengan lirik sebegini:
pa pa pa.. kenapa

First time aku dengar lagu tu, yang aku ingat hanyalah lirknya:
pa pa pa... kenapa

Aku tanya orang kat kedai muzik... salesgirl tu hanya boleh reply dengan:
Apa? pa pa pa... kenapa? Apa tu?

Aih... macam main kata kata pulak dia ni. Tak cukup pulak, bila salesgirl tu tanya member member dia tu, tergelak dia orang! Tak lah macam nak roboh kedai muzik, tapi dengarlah gelak ketawa dia orang juga...

Aku tak faham. Lagu ni dimainkan dalam Radio stesen Era. Jadi tentu lagu top kan?

Ataupun mungkin lagu ni lagu kolot kot.. atau lagu tersangat baru ke? Atau pun lagu luar negeri? Sememangnya, melodi lagu tu macam dari luar negeri... Ish ish... aku pening lah.

Anyway, aku tak give up. Tiap tiap hari bila ada chance, aku mainkan radio Era. Semangnya hasrat aku nak tahu juga nama lagu itu.

Dan bersyukurlah, selepas sabar menunggu 2 - 3 minggu kemudiannya, Era memaninkan lagu tu sekali lagi... dan kali ini, aku terdengar nama penyanyi dan juga nama lagu!

Sekarang ni, dapatlah aku mainkan lagu tu dalam youtube. Nak tahu lagu tu? Nah, mainlah youtube video ni...

Nilah aku nak share dengan kau orang... supaya bila lain kali orang tertanya pa pa pa kenapa... tahu jugalah bagaimana nak react.
Janganlah nak tertawa atau main kata kata! :)

*Aku masih bengang mengapa orang kat kedai muzik tu tak tahu pulak lagu panas macam ni. Pa pa pa.... kenapa?