Dear Malaysians, We Are An English-Speaking Country. Deal With It
With the recent controversies surrounding Malaysia’s status on English, from the teaching of Maths and Sciences in English, to the inclusion of English as an official language of the State of Sarawak to the recent snub of recent films like Ola Bola and Jagat at the Malaysian Film Festival, it is now time for me to stretch my wings and say it loud:
We’re An English-Speaking Country. Deal With It.
We’re an English speaking country, just like India, Pakistan and every other British colony. There is no shame in that. It’s part of our history.
If teaching Maths and Sciences requires a proficiency in English, then we should accept that fact. Malaysia is not a scientific powerhouse unlike Japan, Korea, USA, Britain, China and France.
We don’t have a proper coding language. 99% of Malaysian government’s website infrastructure were built in English, and there’s a weird sense of irony that our modern government web interface was built on the backside of the English language while our fellow Malaysians insult those who taught Maths and Science in English.
If Ola Bola is primarily in English and Chinese and was a better film than 90% of Malay-language films, then we have to accept that fact. And yes, we should be proud that we make better English and Mandarin-speaking films than Malay films. There’s nothing wrong about that.
There are French movies made in English, and sometimes their English films are better than most Hollywood films (see: The Professional, Cloud of Sils-Maria). What happens if we somehow made English-speaking films that are better than Hollywood films? Shouldn’t we be proud of that too?
We should stop trying to see English as this “bahasa penjajah” crap and start seeing as an essential tool to survival for not only Malaysia and Malaysians, but also the Malay language itself. I don’t see Yuna singing Malay songs in front of Conan O’Brien, and I doubt she could even get a handshake from Pharrell Williams if she doesn’t speak English. So shut the fuck the up and just admit that we’re an English speaking country.
PS: To all you naysayers who say that speaking English will “make Malays lose their identity, I have a message for you