Just a week after Twitterjaya discussed speaking in a common language when part of a group, Twitter was again lit up with another discussion about why some Malaysians only stick to using their mother-tongue.
I have the same question for the Chinese. If you can’t speak in English and Malay, what were you doing for 11 years at school? Play DOTA every day? No hate, just curious. https://t.co/QnSIa2uimt
â€” Hubert Ian Lee (@iHubertLee) May 19, 2019
Hurbert goes on to further claim that the national language is what shapes society [in a country], and Malaysians should be proud of their national language.
The most common answer was that certain communities (regardless of race) are active in their own small pockets within the country, which makes it easy to only stick to one language and disregard the rest.
As communities tend to be more segregated and we tend to live in our own bubbles, it is not uncommon to find those who cannot converse in Malay due to extreme lack of use for the language, especially when your workplace is Chinese-centric.
â€” Zhang (@gzhanglee) May 20, 2019
personally kn,i grew up in typical malays environment yang judgemental. so even if u studied at school yang ajar u english,if your surrounding is not convenient to learn & practise english,u will ended up nothing so my opinion is u r the one yang kenal pandai sesuaikan diri 🙂
â€” Aishah Rahmat (@snarrrr) May 19, 2019
However, netizens were quick to point out that many people pick up the language on their own, so the environment is not entirely at fault.
ini alasan, i also grew up in the same environment as yours, highschool majority Malay, neighborhood 100% Malay, family also rarely have convos in English. But I made that effort myself. Same goes to my siblings and malay schoolmates who grew up in the same environment.
â€” qora (@afqolqol) May 19, 2019
i knew peeps from highschool who are REALLY good in English altho in school they only speak in Malay all the time. They practiced on their own. For me the Internet helps a lot, from video games, movies and songs. It’s all effort, not your environment.
â€” qora (@afqolqol) May 19, 2019
Iâ€™m chinese, brought up speaking in mandrin, then proceeded to enroll in a chinese vernacular school, honestly itâ€™s whether you have the drive to learn, you can learn conversational skills through the tv and read to widen your vocabularies and get better at grammar
â€” 🌻 adele🌻 (@uryellowhoe) May 19, 2019
When contacted, Hubert told us that the discussion helped open his mind.
He also learned that customers often ask people in the hospitality and service industry to speak in a different language or call a colleague who does.
Hubert concluded that people are weak in other languages because they don’t practice it, often due to their social circle or the lack of importance of other languages in the workplace.
He also urged us to mix with people of different cultures and races to expand our worldview.
Ease of language comes from constant use, so consumption of media in many languages certainly helps to make people more comfortable in other languages.
So the next time someone complains about you watching too much TV, tell them you’re practicing your language skills!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.