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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family

Family...when we talk about family,basically it have mommy, daddy, daughter and son, and for the big family like mine, i have my grandma and grandpa (also our pets, 3 little kitty and their mama). Well...that's include my siblings (i have 7 in the family and i'm the eldest). And also include my brother and sister-in-law, and 3 little kids that we share together. Hmm...let's count the only uncle i have...and he has 8 family member. Woo..woo...this is very interesting. Can you imagine how is the situation when we hang out together? Hmmm...should be interesting and much much more fun.

Family..there are two types of family. One, family who has good income, good taste, higher expectation but less in attention and love. Two..family who have a moderate income, grateful and middle level of expectation but rich with love, laugh and smile. Mine...not type one, and not type two. Well..at least everything going smooth and everybody plays their role.Moderate income, higher expectation but full of love, laugh and forgiveness. Forgiveness? Yes, because nobody perfect, forgiveness will enhance the value of the relationship among the family members.Yes, then we make sure that we always have somebody from our family who can lend their shoulder when you need it.

My sister, she is a tough women. Her heart is full of forgiveness and love. My third brother, just married and ego, but yea..nobody perfect. Forth one, is a good uncle, fifth one...hmm...complicated, sixth sensitive and the youngest is naughty but very independent.

My mom and dad..while young always fighting and never can get together, then we give-up already and let them do whatever they want(sorry..i decided to go and create my own future). But finally, after be a grandma and grandpa, they are the most 'romantic but complicated' couple we have in our family.

And for me, thanks to Allah because gave me a chance to have my own family, even just a small one. My lovely husband and my adorable kids,thanks you for everything. To my kids, Muqri and Zara, I'm sorry baby, because mama cannot be a good mother, cannot take care both of you all the time but you both always in my pray.I love you all forever and you're everything for me.

Money is important but family is everything...

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Adorable-Lah-

If you are walking the streets of London or sipping coffee at a sidewalk cafe somewhere in Paris, and you hear in plain English, "So expensive-lah" or "So hot-lah", just turn around in the direction of the voice and I guarantee you that ten out of ten, the person who just dotted his or her sentence with a lah is Malaysian. If you are feeling homesick in a foreign land and suddenly you overhear a conversation full of Yes-lahs and No-lahs, your homesickness can be assuaged for it sounds just like home and the speakers can only be Malaysians (or Singaporians, which is close enough when you're homesick!).

Just where did this lah come from and how did it creep into the English spoken by Malaysians? It is inevitable that Malaysians, living in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural setting will inter-borrow phrases and expressions from one language to another. Thus the very unique lah, used only in this part of the world (Malaysia and Singapore), could have originated from Malay, or any of the local dialects or languages. Only a Malaysian born and bred in this country will know how to use the lah. A Malaysian who has been away for a while can slip back into using it quite comfortably but a Malaysian who has been away for a long time, say, seven to ten years, with little contact with fellow Malaysians, may find great difficulty as to exactly when to pepper his speech with lah. Just going lah, lah, lah every first or third word doesn't quite qualify.

Malaysians will be able to sniff you out in a second and tell that somehow, sorry-lah, you just don't make the grade. For example, try saying the following sentence aloud: "I-lah tell you-lah how-lah many times-lah but-lah you never-lah listen." Any true blue-blooded Malaysian would cringe and tell straight-away that any person who speaks like that is an impostor. Foreigners newly arrived in this country will find it quite baffling at first. Sure, these Malaysians are speaking English but what on earth is that strange musical note that they place at the end of their sentences every so often?? It does take some getting used to.

An article in the Malaysian Trade Quarterly (Jan-March 1995) states that many foreigners have the mistaken notion that adding a lah to the end of every sentence lets them get away with a fairly good impression of a Malaysian accent. This is hardly the case. The use of lah is, in fact, quite an art for those who were not born into the language. Here are a few sophisticated variations of its use: "No fun-lah, you!" (You're really no fun at all!) "You see-lah, like that also you cannot do!" (Can't you even do such a simple thing?)

What are the functions of the lah? What are the rules regarding its usage? How would you teach your orang puteh friend or spouse how to use the lah if he demands desperately for some help along the way ? Well, I'm afraid one can't learn it formally. Like sambal belacan or cincalok, it's an acquired taste. You've got to be around for sometime, and gradually you'll acquire a taste for it.

If you think the lah is baffling enough as it is, Malaysians have more tail words up their sleeves or in this case, off their tongues. A great favorite is the 'aaa', which has an entire repertoire of meanings, depending on how it is used. A simple 'thank you' to a Malaysian may sound too curt and most Malaysians, in informal settings, would prefer to say 'thank you-aaa' as it sounds softer and friendlier. A 'Yes lah' and a 'Yes-aaa' response are also subtly different in meanings.

If someone were to ask you a question such as, "Are you coming along?", a 'Yes-aaa' response would be inappropriate whereas a 'Yes-lah' response would be acceptable. If your friend informed you that he's bought a brand new car, then a "Yes-aaa" response would be fine, meaning "Oh really?" The "yes-aaa" could cover a whole gamut of responses ranging from being a question to a reply dripping in sarcasm depending on the intonation. Another popular tail word is one, as in, "I don't know what to say-lah. This kind of things very hard to say one." or "I'm so fed-up one, you know. I explain how many times in simple English, still cannot get through one."

Sometimes if you use one once too often, it can backfire. Your listener may find it hard to resist and may pun on your one. For example: Lady: "I don't want one, but he wants so what can I do?" Friend: "You don't want one aaa, but you want two, yes or not?" Yet another tail word is man, as in "I say, man. Long time no see" or "I donno, man." This is an interesting adaptation from American culture rather than an influence of the mother tongues.

Malaysians can add man to any sentence arbitrarily and even to exclamations such as "Wah man! Solid!" To confuse things further, sometimes, Malaysians don't use single but double tail words at the end of a sentence, for example, "He's so bodoh (stupid) one lah!" or "Why your dressing so Ah Beng one-aaa?" And sometimes tail words do not appear at the end of sentences but somewhere in the middle, such as in sentences where the subject is delayed, for example: "So action one man he!" or "Terror one lah she!"

Malaysians generally speak two types of English -- proper English particularly in business and professional settings, and Malaysian English with its charming and unique expressions. Just as the French have their oo-la-la, the Italians their Mama-mia, and the English, endearing expressions like "By Jove" or "Well, jolly good", may our Malaysian lah live a long and healthy life! Say yes-lah to that! -By Lee Su Kim

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