Malaysians are known to speak a variant of English so localised that foreigners and native English speakers will find it hard to comprehend at times. However, a picture of a notice posted at the Ipoh Tourism Information Centre that went viral is totally unacceptable. The language used is so poor that it puts Manglish (Malaysian English) to shame.
Being a Malaysian, I can barely make out what the notice is trying to tell. I cannot imagine how many foreign tourists were turned away by those mysterious text. I think the coffee drinking uncle will laugh it over a good cup of OldTown white coffee. Seriously, how can ‘inconvenience‘ being replaced by ‘complementary‘?
He stressed that if there was clear negligence and the mistakes were made without considering the impact, a show cause letter will be issued to the responsible personnel. “The person will also be given a warning letter and advice so that such issues will not be repeated in future,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
What is the standard operating procedures (SOP) of publishing a notice in that information centre?
Is there nobody around to proof read the notice before publishing? Even when there is no qualified personnel around, including passersby on the street, Mr Google is always there to help. Oh yes, possibly the networking issue has limited the access to Mr Google. Even then, I doubt how many working people nowadays who do not have a single smart phone that does not have internet access. Seriously?
Take a look at the notice again. It does have a blue stamp at the bottom, which means somebody higher up in the food chain should have seen and “approve” it! If nobody has ever “approve” it, how does an official rubber stamp ended up there? Does any of the staff can have easy access to the stamps and permission to use them? I can smell the risks of impersonation in the future if that is the case.
On the side note, please remind me not to leave my official name stamp easily accessible, in case somebody sticks some embarrassing notice somewhere in my name.
What are the qualifications required to be taken as a staff in that information centre?
Isn’t English one of the basic requirements for staff working in a location aiming to dispatch information for public use? Sixty (going into sixty one) years Malaysia freed from the grip of British colonisation, do Malaysians being so nationalistic enough to abandon English as one of the two official languages? I doubt so because I can rarely listen to proper Bahasa Malaysia as well. How can we fulfill the image of “Malaysia, Truly Asia” while we have to use body language to explain complicated information to our visitors?
Given the staff met the minimal English requirement to get hired, I think when Mr Google fails you by giving you nonsense sentences, your English should be sufficient to recognise bull shit. I simply failed to wrap my head around to comprehend the above bull shit.
Is punishment ever an effective measure?
Will the personnel responsible for that notice has its English proficiency miraculously improved over a show cause letter? While disciplinary actions or firing the staff may not be helpful in improving his/her situation, why not enrolling in some language classes to at least not embarrass anybody? If punishment can be the most effective way to improve any language skills, please help me with Germany and Japanese.
What can we do to avoid further embarrassment?
Yes, I know, this is an age old issue that bothers most educated Malaysians. We know this is the sign of some systematic faults within the outdated education system, as we can guarantee those mistakes are made by Malaysians from public school. Reluctant to delve into this winding discussion (as it has been going on for years), I decided to strengthen myself by reading, speaking, and here writing tonnes using English.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case I have seen. There are way too many examples virtually everywhere, too numerous for me to even snap a photo (or should I). Free Malaysia Today (FMT) did compile a small but tragic list of Malaysian broken English for our laughs or better still, reflection. >>Read more at FMT.
Call for Action
Be better Malaysians, speak better English.