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Wader

So I was eating in the lounge area because it was just too hazardous to eat outside. Opposite me was this Malay lady on her cell. What struck me as strange was her weird accent. Was she trying to be American or British? Or was it just a Malay trying to sound like a foreigner. I mean, come on.. if you want to pretend, show some class. Otherwise, please speak English like a normal Malaysian.

This reminded me of the good old days when I used to laugh at my ex-colleague Joey. Whenever he talked to an Australian on the phone, he would speak in his acquired Australian accent. Instead of water, he said "wader". Instead of Good morning, he said "G'day mike". It has been a source of debate between the two of us. I cringed at the pretentions. He claimed that if he doesn't speak like them, they don't understand him. I am like, whatever.. coz how come they understand me perfectly? At least Joey only puts on the fake accent when he talks to an Australian on the phone. In any other conversation with his local Malaysians, he speaks like a true-breed Malaysians.

Numeronean, on the other hand, puts on the accent irregardless of who he's speaking to. Numeronean is an old friend of mine. He has stayed for 7 years in Australia (for school). Then he came back for a few years but now he's in Australia for good. During the few years when he came back, he'd like to speak with that accent. I remember one particular incident. We were in this restaurant, not very high class but it is an air cond restaurant so it's not too bad. The waiter was a Malay. Our friend asked for a napkin in that "Oh waiter, do you suppose you could get me a napkin, please?" tone. Our waiter looked at him and blinked. He obviously did not understand a word he said. Numeronean repeated the question, this time with a tinge of indignation. The waiter stared again. I interrupted him and said to the waiter "Tissue, please!" He brightens up and went to get us what we wanted. Numeronean started to complain about the sad state of command of English of the waiter. I looked at him and said this is Malaysia. We speak like Malaysian, not Australian. Why do you have to be so pretentious? He said he can't help it. I thought it was just pure bullshit.

I have many friends who studied in other countries for years. Not all of them came back with an accent. They could put up one if they want to. Most of them did not. What about you?

Comments

  1. There are many reasons, as for me, I tried my very best to blend into the aussieland by speaking with ascent. Believe it or not, my neighbour at the ohstel who was australian could only understand me if I change my ascent. But now I hardly put on the ascent anymore because I am more confident when I talk to them. At home, I even talk manglish or singlish with my honey.

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