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God Bless Her With A Jackpot

SO I went to this press conference where a local councillor had wanted to announce a good work he has done for a group of people. Politics play I know but who cares. I'm not into politics and I can never be, although it's an interesting ball game to catch. So I turned up at this meeting on time, and waiting before me were a few press members from a couple of chinese dailies. They usually don't talk to non chinese-speaking media members, and frankly, even if I start a conversation with them, it's not like I can expect much from it. Some talk but there are those who would go with hand gestures and cute facial expressions or a one or two-word answers. They usually stick together, and sometimes probably talk about me but I know not Mandarin to figure it out. If they do speak to me with questions, it would be along the lines of my face like...


...why your eyelash soo long one ah?
Because my mama made me drink lash tonic first thing in the morning for the first seven years of my life. Hmm. Often I'd be tempted to say that (or something like that) but if I do, I might have to find more words to explain tonic. Sarcasm doesn't work with them and I don't attempt it.  Another curious trait among them is once a press conference is over, they'd have a mini conference among them to run through the interview points. Well, yeah. It's normal to check a point or two you've missed out but they really go through it line by line, and again question each other on what the interviewee had said. I know this because sometimes they check with me too, like...


...just now the man say what about the water pipe ah ?
I mean, come on. You've just recorded everything on that fancy recorder. Hmm. But I'll still attempt an explanation which I can't tell if they got or not. Anyways, I arrived on time and joined the chinese press members, and within minutes the councillor in question came over to me with a welcoming smile and casually expressed that he'd begin with the Mandarin session for the chinese media first. Oh Whoa. Hang on a sec. A Mandarin session ? 


"But you've invited all of us at the same time, so you speak in Malay and have one session. I'm sure they can understand the national language," I said to him,  maintaining a calm tone although I had rage waves inside. This has happened many, many times during my work and for the life of me, I CANNOT tolerate it. 


You know it's really unfair to make me (and other non-chinese media) wait so he could have a Mandarin session with them, and come to me once they're done with their 1000 questions. I don't possess the saintly patience for one and I certainly think the Chinese media ought to understand both Malay and English since the languages are compulsory under the Malaysian education system. So technically, there should be NO reason to have a special session for them, which eats into my time and attention span.


To his credit, the councillor did speak well and fluent Malay. I don't know if the reporters fully understood him because they kept asking questions in Mandarin despite his speech in Malay. There was a girl who kept retorting in Mandarin. Rude or retarded I don't know. But there was also another sensitive colleague who continued in Malay. May god bless her with a jackpot.

Comments

  1. I'm sure these tensions exist in all bilingual nations. I wouldn't want to be a non-French speaking reporter in Quebec! Is ending every sentence with 'la' a Malay thing or a Chinese thing?

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  2. missive : I'm sure you have faced similar situations many time too :p

    GB: but GB...they are Malaysians who went through the Malaysian education system, so no excuse for them. it's just unfair.
    as for the 'la'...thats uniquely Malaysian and Singaporean !
    :)

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  3. I'm used to nonsense like this considering where I live. Great post as always!

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  4. You should travel to Baltimore. My fine city has a language all its own!

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  5. I think you do possess the patience of a saint if you’ve had to endure this time and time again. A reluctant saint, but nevertheless, a saint... :)

    (And may you someday be blessed with winning a jackpot!)

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  6. Yeah it's the same in a lot of places and if you are a reporter you should know.

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  7. God bless me wit a jackpot. :P

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  8. I suppose it's all about their intent. Was it a superiority thing? an insensitivity thing?

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  9. Her Majesty The Queen Bee is correct, as usual. It's called Balmorese. If you speak this dialect, Your Majesty, I apologize, but I find it extremely annoying. Anyway, Jaya, sometimes life is just pissy. I hated it when I had to go to a press conference or some other event and had to take my own photos. The big tall photographer guys from the rival paper would always push in front of me to get the best shot. I wasn't big enough to push back. Later on, I worked at the rival paper so those guys were my colleagues. I still disliked them.

    Love,
    Lola

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  10. matthew : how so ? just curious :) thanks

    queen : i'll keep that in mind :)

    beth : haha. a saint, you're kind Beth. i need to get my hands on jackpot 101 then :)

    Pat : these people are not immigrants, they've been here for many generations.

    2 pesos : amen to that !

    interwebs : it does sound like it, but in reality it's really cruel :p

    otter : its all about insensitivity and lack of respect towards others :p

    2peeps : thanks :)

    lola : oh dear, i know what you mean. i have my photographers, so i don't need to do the pics myself, but i know what you mean. i get pushed around in crowded interviews too sometimes. its annoying.
    now i'm curious about Balmorese :p

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  11. LOLA - I do not speak Bawlmerese. While I live my city, I cannot bring myself to use the words that issue forth here. In fact, I'm working on a blog post that addresses this very thing. It will probably take a while to write it!

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  12. Nice articles. I'm just blogwalking and very happy to stop here. And also give you some comment here.

    Dont forget to give us some your comment into my blog too.

    Thanks for share,

    ¤ Rio Prasetyo ¤

    ReplyDelete
  13. poetry : that'll be life-changing :)

    Prasetyo : thanks for stopping and leaving a comment :)

    kingmush : thanks :)

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  14. re:"who went through the Malaysian education system, so no excuse for them"
    I am an english speaking person in Quebec Canada, and went through the Quebec education system.

    In about the time of the 1950's, you had to speak english to get a good paying job, as the employers were all english.
    Capitalism made it that way.

    Since René Lévesque's PQ government party won the Quebec provincial election in 1976, it has been french you have to know to get a good job, as it is now mandated by the Government that everything has to be in french/francais.
    Now its the Government (not capitalism) forcing the "correct" language.

    Like some people can not play the piano, no matter how hard they try and how much they practice, some people can not be fluent in another language.
    I don't think I can or could ever be fluently bilingual.
    "as the pendulum swings" you just got to learn to live with it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Queen bee is right. 'kept newark is better. haha. BTW...made you new blog of the day.

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  16. mark : that shift must be hard on some people. here the scenario is very different from there. it's multicultural, and everyone gets around with either english or malay. don't have to be fluent in the languages really, but everyone knows one language, at least spoken to get around. one's ethnic language alone isn't enough.
    in the case of the reporters, they know these languages because they deal with people of different culture and backgrounds, and they need to get around these people. press conferences are usually in english or malay, and if you are from a chinese or a tamil press, you would still need to translate anyway.
    but just when it comes to isolated conferences as in the post above, i wish they were a lot more sensitive and respectful of other media members. it's only fair that a common language is adopted in such situations.
    :)

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  17. thanks Copyboy ! you made my day :)

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  18. I know of instances where they've conducted a whole meeting in chinese despite there being non-chinese speaking workers in the room. So rude!

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  19. Sounds like you have a very interesting job :)

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  20. "Rude or retarded" Brilliant! You have more patience that l would have! :)

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  21. saby : that too happens :( they will talk for an hour or so. and explain to you all in less than 10 mins.

    natural : it can get interesting every now and then ;)

    number 11 : it's really not how well they speak a language or not cuz let's face it, english is not our mother-tongue afterall ... its the inconsiderate attitude that irks me :) rude peopel.

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  22. Speak of the Devil
    They wrote of bilingual situation in the paper yesterday.
    Canada bilingual ?

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  23. As bad as this sounds it seems like they value the opinion and time of the Chinese media members more than anyone else. :\

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  24. Dwei : you're right in this case :) they probably did cuz its a very chinese area. but they need us cuz our circulation is way much higher and widespread.

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  25. The cons of vernacular schools, I suppose.

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