Malaysian Engrish, our new national language

OCT 23 — I spent a fun day torturing my friends with a really badly made video promoting, of all things, a camera for people who like to take pictures of themselves.

What is amusing is not that there are now cameras made for narcissists, but that an established camera brand sees nothing wrong with using really bad English in a product video.

The English is bad to the point of hilarity — the lead model pronounces “glamour” as “glay-more”, but I really lost it when she asked her fellow models to turn around by squeaking, “Backside!”

This is probably when we wonder why we bother trying to teach English in the first place in this country.

Japan is well-known for its hilarious “Engrish”; English wording on Japanese products that are questionably translated often make the rounds of the Internet.

It wasn’t too long ago when Malaysian subtitles on pirated DVDs were made famous when screenshots of them were put up online.

The thing is we know all this. Yes, standards are dropping. Yes, poor English command is making it hard for our youngsters to get jobs.

English opens so many doors... but it also means that the average citizen can go online and understand when other countries make fun of us.

As it is now, trying to explain to Perkasa why they have it all wrong about the “Allah” issue is like speaking duck to a cat. They no comprende, you know?

I meet many Malaysians who can speak the language, but do not understand its nuances. They have poor comprehension, are unable to read between the lines and often judge an entire article by one poorly understood sentence.

Which probably explains the nation of trolls that live on my Twitter timeline.

I sometimes think it’s a losing battle trying to uphold standards in this country. On the bright side, though, as long as my fellow Malaysians keep sucking at English, I have job security.

So... maybe this column wasn’t a very good idea.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.