Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is he Malaysian??? What a shame...


I am writing something serious this time.

I can't really understand why some Malaysian cannot speak our national language - Malay language. Yesterday, a friend of mine, an Orthopaedic surgeon, Yazid Kassim, wrote in his Facebook status about this. It reminds me of an incident back in 2005 when I was working in Hospital Mentakab.

That morning, a 17 year old chinese man was admitted to the ward following a motorvehicle accident. He had a closed fracture of his left tibia (shin bone). Looking at his xray, the fracture was so comminuted that we need to internally fix the fracture with an interlocking nail - dengan kata lain, 'nak kena masuk besi'.

So, I tried to explain to him about his injury and what we planned for him. To my surprise, he looked so blurred and he can't understand a single thing about what I said. It really pissed me off... really. So, I asked my houseman, "Is he from Malaysia or from mainland China or Taiwan??" Then, my houseman passed his IC to me. Yes, he is a Malaysian, living in Triang, Pahang.

"Lahir kat Malaysia, besar kat sini, sepatah haram pun tak boleh cakap Bahasa Melayu". I expressed my anger and dissapointment.

And next to him was a Bangladeshi with a finger tip injury following an industrial accident. "Berapa lama kerja kat Malaysia?" He said, "5 bulan". "Mana sakit?" I asked him another question. He showed me his index finger. After examining him, I explained to him what we planned to do. And, he nodded.."faham dokter".

Now, how come a Bangladeshi who just came to Malaysia 5 months ago can understand and even speak Malay much better that a Malaysian Chinese who was born and raised in Malaysia since 17 years ago??? What a shame to be living in Malaysia but can't speak our national language.

And incident like these occur again and again, in each and every hospital that I have worked in - Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan (HTAA), Hospital Mentakab, Hospital Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (HoSHAS) Temerloh, Hospital Selayang, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Pusat Perubatan UKM Cheras and now, in Hospital Sungai Buloh, Selangor. I other words, it is not exclusive to certain places only.

I am not a racist. I have many close chinese and indian friends. You can even peep at my friend list on my facebook account if you like. Many of my chinese friends can speak Malay fluently. My close companion and an orthopaedic colleague, Dr Wan KL in Hospital Sungai Buloh even commonly mistaken by his patient as a Malay because of his fluency in articulating the language.

Of course it is multi-factorials, Is it the Education system to be blamed? It is some of the Chinese community itself that appears to be comfortable living in their closed community? Or, maybe the Malays also play a part of the puzzle. If the Malays are not proud of our Malay language and put English as more important that the national language that, don't complaint if others can't speak Malay.

I have encountered one orthopaedic consultant who was so worried that her 10-year-old daughter cannot speak Malay at all. She can understand, but refuse to speak in Malay. On another occasion, a long-lost friend of my wife brought her 2 children, aged 8 and 5 years, to my house in Cheras 6 months ago. She is an English tutor. She proudly communicated with her daughter and son in English. And they can't speak Malay. What is this??? I don't respect this kind of people. For me, our own national language, Malay, should comes first, then English. What is there to be proud of if you can't speak your own language??

We don't ask the Malaysian Chinese and Indian to forget their mother-tongue language. Learn and speak your language, be it Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil etc. I think it's a waste and a pity if you lost your mother tongue. But by all means, I feel that the national language should be mastered by all Malaysian - Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sabahan, Sarawakian, etc. It's a mean of uniting us. Without communicating with each other we are doom. The future of Malaysia will be uncertain.

PS. I am excited listening to national athlete, Bryan Nickson Lomas speaks in national language on TV3 Buletin Utama last night. True MALAYSIAN.


  1. Hi Din, let me share with you what i encountered just yesterday morning during our Hand clinic. A 53 year old chinese gentleman came into the room, i greeted him with Selamat Tengahari... no reply... I then said Good afternoon,, thinking he may not have heard me. Yet, no reply... I then proceeded to just skim through his notes to see what his medical problem was and i asked him "Uncle, mana sakit"... to my amazement he asked a chinese medical student who happened to be in the clinic "lei kong mei a" or something like that..... i looked at him.....i thought i had the wrong patient!.... Definitely he was a chinese national i thought, then asked him his name.... Wong something something.... yup.... it was him!.. Then the biggest shocker.. he had an ic number..... huh??... I then asked the student to ask if he was a malaysian or foreigner.... the hospital must have made a mistake and put someone elses ic number instead of his passport number......
    Nope I was wrong.... the hospital made no such mistake... he was a Malaysian living in Puchong..... I didnt believe that he didnt understand something so simple as "mana sakit"!!... I tried again and asked him, " uncle sakit mana" " tangan sakit ke"..... i was greeted with a look of irritation..... he then turned to the med student and again "lei kong mei ya".....!! I was really shocked!.... I then asked the medical student how did he manage to pull off 53yrs living in Malaysia without speaking a word of Bahasa Malaysia??!!... I was dumbfounded and irritated( it was 1245pm and this guy)! I then thought to myself, how on earth was i going to communicate with this man if the medical student was not around!!..... I then asked the medical student to ask him where he had pain and for how long and so on and so forth...... so she went on to ask him, and he said something loudly in cantonese to her.... She then tod me that he said " ask him to look at the file"!!! WOW!... I was already about to lose it..... here i am trying my best to help this person whom i cant communicate at all with and he has the audacity to tell me to read his file..... in that case might as well i write and prescribe him medications based on the file even before seeing my patients!...
    He then says something to the student in chinese...... she then tells me he is asking why i cannot speak cantonese!!!! HUH!!!! i for a while thought i was in china or hong kong!!!!..... i could see my Colleague opposite me also getting agitated with this arrogant uncouth man!!.... Anyway, to cut it short...... a 53 yr old Malaysian man cannot speak the national language and has the audacity to tell off a government doctor who is trying to treat him, for not learning the national language of hong kong or china!!..... Sigh...... What a day in the clinic...... Whats in store tomorrow!?....

  2. We do see a lot of patients who cant communicate in malay in the clinic. In my opinion, the education system is to be blamed. I think its about time we abolish all the SJK(T) and the SJK(C)..... Just make it 1Sekolah or Sekolah 1Malaysia.

  3. Wah Abang Din.. takott dengar you marah. Selalu nampak senyum jer :)

  4. Din...i'm half mom chinese and my dad malay..i'm proud to tell you that all my uncle..auntie and cousin can speak fluent is all about pride..people should be proud to speak malay..but unfortunately..most of them bodoh sombong...

  5. @Sabbir - Really getting on our nerves. I was once asked by my patient to learn mandarin you know. By the way, that incident when i was in hukm. Maybe if these people got the power, they'll change the national language, who knows?

    @Azrin - Totally agreed with you my brother. But, easy for you to say. When we become politician, things and our views will change (because of the vote) you think MCA, DAP and Gerakan will agree? Over their dead bodies...even though they know that's the right thing to be done to our country and people... For the national unity.

  6. @Anuar - I'm dissappointed with some Malaysian that cannot speak our national language. I beliaeve they are minority. I share your view, they are not proud of our national language. If we can't resolve this issue then the future of our country is definitely questionable.