8 Reasons Why You Should Learn English in Malaysia
- October 2, 2016
- Posted by: Zi Ying Lee
- Category: Message
The average Malaysian spends between 11-12 years studying English but poor command of the language causes 64% of unemployment. Maybe your teachers in school predicted that Chinese is about to replace English as the lingua franca of the world. Maybe they are wrong. There are many reasons to learn proper English as opposed to Singlish or Manglish (Malay-English. Also might mean mangled English) Here are a few:
1) Your Boss says so. English is now a requirement, not an option. Your bosses might not deal with overseas companies, but they will attend meetings using English and buy technology/services that are provided in English.
In the year 2012, Japanese electronic commerce giant Rakuten, Inc. adopted English as their official language in a move to increase global competitiveness and they are not the only one. Remember those days when the Japanese refused to use English? They use it now. Maybe you should too.
2) Google speaks English, most of the time. Today, the internet is your oyster. Got a question? Mr.Google will find you the answer complete with predictions of whatever you are trying to find. Awesome, right? But as of March 2015, 53.6% of content language for websites is in English. If you cannot read English, what are the options? The next highest amount of web content is in Russian language, followed by German and then Japanese. Can you read and understand Russian or German or Japanese?
3) Google Translate can be a troll. Maybe you’d say, “no worries! We have Google Translate now.” I will agree with you, Google Translate is a wonderful tool. The platform relies on users to regulate it and sometimes mistakes happen. Whether you are interested in doing some DIY projects around your abode or reading up the latest international news, you’re going to need English. One of our Ministries learned this the hard way when they were subjected to ridicule for the translating the term “pakaian menjolok mata” as “clothes that poke the eye.”
4) Uncle/some rich relative might leave you something in his/her will using English. All Malaysians know, the official language, is Malay (Bahasa Malaysia, BM). We are all law-abiding citizens, I believe. Here’s an interesting factoid about court proceedings in Malaysia: West Malaysian courts use English. Many legal documents are also written in English. Maybe you won’t be appearing in courts anytime soon but at the very least, you’d know if someone leaves you a nice tidy packet. Try reading the small print!
5) Minimise confusion. Minimal laughter. Before we had autocorrect, there was T9 in our phones and spellcheck in our computers. You and I, we understand the store is selling Durian crepes, (what on earth is a Durian creep lah?) I am pretty sure the store did not intentionally set out to be a laughing stock or the next source of local comedy. In the era of spellchecks and word predictions I promise you, it is absurdly easy to never make another spelling mistake (unless your autocorrect hates you). It is true that “candles” when misused will lead to a “can die” situation, but no. That is still the wrong spelling.
6) Your Angmoh boyfriend/girlfriend speaks English. This one is for you guys (and gals) who one day hope to bring home a “Mat Salleh” or “Ang Mo” or “Gwai Lo”. (Take that, nosy aunties forever asking where to meet your boyfriend/girlfriend.) English can be a peculiar language. Someone who knows English will understand, when a cute guy or girl says, “Want to go for a date?” the question has nothing to do with the dried fruit or the numerals on a calendar. If he or she states, “I read religiously.” Someone who is fluent in English would not assume your date is fond of reading the Koran/Bible/Torah/Tao Te Ching/ Bhagavad Gita before bed! Dating is hard enough when you speak the same language, harder still when you don’t.
7) Avoid being the next embarrassing Internet Memes. What goes on the social media stays there for an awful long time. Including mistakes. Very embarrassing mistakes.
example, a “KaptenMukriz” on FB confused his fans when he wrongly used “my watch is experience” instead of “expensive”. Another lovely FB user was the focus of hilarity when she meant to say “seat belt” but wrote “sit back” instead. If you guys have been around the WWW for a while, you will notice that the Doge meme is still alive and kicking after all the years. Meanwhile, thank you for providing us with free entertainment!
8) So you can fly. Now with AirAsia, “Everyone can fly.” Yay for us! Where should we go? Should we visit Spain? But we don’t speak Spanish. How about Japan? Do you know Japanese? (Japanese I know: Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Arigato, Naruto.) You’re in luck, thanks to English being a lingua franca, the tourism industry relies heavily on English for communication. Trying to ask for directions and to understand French is daunting but with English, you’re never lost. With English, you can truly travel all over the world.