Friday, August 25, 2006

Blessed vs Cursed

I have pride in myself, and also for many other multi-lingual fellow Asian, especially those from Malaysia. Growing up in Malaysia, however racist the country may be, the Malaysian Chinese are not to play-play with (speaking of Manglish), we understand mostly Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien, maybe with the exception of Hindu (enough with the tongue rolling and ear gruelling). It's really an advantage that we are can switch our tongue and brain to the different grammatical requirements (I was supposed to give an example of broken English but not being one who practices that, I couldn't think of any), even though we may not be expertise in those languages.

I was in Melbourne University the other day and while walking past Richard Berry (a building for all the Maths geeks) a few guai-lows (i.e. caucasian) were singing the Happy Birthday song in Mandarin - 祝你生日快乐...祝你生日快乐...祝你生日快乐

Suddenly I felt that I was no longer special. With many people from the west eagerly learning our language, despite communication improvement, I felt that for one thing is you can't talk behind their backs anymore, for starter. And soon when everyone is special due to their multi-lingual ability, no one is. Even though it's inevitable, I just felt that we would need to do more to differentiate ourselves.

Being a Gemini, you would expect to see the flip-side argument from me for being multi-lingual wouldn't you? As everyone was waiting for the tutor to come in this afternoon, I was trying to complete the tutorial questions. However I was immensely distracted by the Chinese around me. A group of 6 people far opposite me were conversing, loudly like a bunch of aunties at the market I might add, in Cantonese and the two couples on each of my sides Beijing Mandarin with all the tongue-rolling. It reached a point where I would just yell - would you all STFU, maybe in all languages I know? Hahaha...Only I didn't. And the guai-po sitting directly opposite me was as cool as a cucumber. She wouldn't understand a bit of their conversation but me, on the other hand, heard all their bitching from xxx is so ugly to where to holiday to my accounts are not balanced!

Since I have bitched about my own colour, might as well move on to another colour as well (I am not trying to insult any race but it's just my experience). Incidentally I was going to Springvale in a train (you tend to see a bit more of the wider spectrum of the society in a train, somehow) from Flinders Street. Not far behind me an Indian dude was on the phone. With every passing stop, his volume increased and the tongue was rolling at high rpm, I was getting pissed. I hate people talking loudly in a train because I will be stirred.

As annoyed as I was, I was no where near the ang-moh sitting opposite to me. It was as if the tongue of the Indian guy was slapping his face. He got so red, like he was on fire. He cursed, but softly. And he motioned of uneasiness and annoyance. But I didn't think that the Indian guy could see any of those. Let's just say he hadn't stopped even when I got off at Springvale, which was some 30-minute good old smacking on my ear drums.

I know I can move to other seats away from those larger-than-life speakers or to another coach. But that's not the point is it?

Ed: talking behind someone's back isn't necessarily talking about bad things ok.

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