Sunday, April 12, 2009

Getting Better At Bahasa Malaysia

swearing in cartoonImage via Wikipedia

Since going to kindergarten and mixing with all the Malay students there, KokoD's Bahasa Malaysia has improved. How do I know his Bahasa is getting better?
  1. He uses the word "bodoh"* to scold his sister. (Of course with much disapproval from me!)
  2. He will often answer me in Bahasa e.g. "tak mau"*, "faham mak"*
  3. He diligently memorized the national anthem "Negaraku" and today he was singing "padan muka, padan muka, padan muka"* to the tune of Negaraku. (Errr... no intentional insult to the national anthem, just kids being crazy. Also reprimanded by me already okay. Don't send the police to my house ya.)
  4. He comes home telling me about his friends in school which shows there is communication going on. I asked him if they are speaking Malay, and he said yes. I asked if he understands what they are saying, he says yes. I ask if he talks to them, initially he said no. But these days, he says yes.
Note to parents:
  • Kids pick up a lot of bad language in school. Even though I'm happy KokoD is picking up the language quickly, not everything he is learning is good.
Translation for non-Bahasa speakers:
*bodoh = stupid
*tak mau = don't want
*faham mak = I understand mom. Teachers usually repeat this phrase in school "faham tak?" (do you understand?) and the children will chime together "faham cikgu" (understand teacher).
*padan muka = serves you right
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  1. Hi Lian, I used to speak bahasa like a Malay, and could imitate the East Coast Malay accent too.
    Then being here lost touch...till I started blogging, and now reading my Malay friends bahasa, picking up again, albiet their usage of short cut Malay words. But its fun

    Kids learn fast...and good to master bahasa.
    Here Chinese kids have to go learn Mandarin as after few years, they speak better English and French then their own language.
    Most Chinese kids can't speak Chinese too. Lee.

  2. Ya kids can pick up bad word very fast. Glad his Malay improve a lot.

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  4. Uncle Lee:
    I'm sure you haven't lost your "talent" for bahasa. Glad that you've found a place to practice it. My kids also starting to speak bahasa with the Melayu slang.
    I have to confess that I'm one of those chinese kids that don't speak chinese. hehehe. My children too. But I'm not the type to stress out about it. Learning is a lifelong affair. I'm sure they'll learn it one day.

    Ya, and half the time they don't even know what it means.


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