Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Malaysian cultural export

Look at this remark left at Wai Yan's blog:

Akhir sekali, pak cik memang fasih dalam bahasa Ingerris. Time pack cik dulu, bapa pak cik memaksa pak cik untuk belajar.
Tetapi, walaupun pak cik boleh bercakap dalam bahasa Ingerris pak cik taklah suka sangat, kerana Bahasa itu bahasa setan orang putih.

The words in bold reads "English is the devilish tongue spoken by White men". His purpose was to troll on girl's blog. If you head over to Wai Yan's blog to see what happened, you'll catch him contradicting himself in his speech. But I pity this man, as soon as he step out of this land, who is going to speak to him in Malay. Maybe southern Thailand. Maybe Singapore. Or Brunei. Very likely, he doesn't know about other languages besides Malay and English. So he'd be resorted to using the "devilish tongue" as he calls it.

The Malay have a saying called bahasa jiwa bangsa. It simply says language is the soul of the nation. This not only apply to Malaysia but elsewhere in the world. Language is more than a mean of communication. It allows us to identify ourselves with people.

From the news it has been reported that Ice Kacang Puppy Love (a Malaysian production) will not be able to enjoy tax rebate on the grounds that "less than 60% of the dialogue is in Malay". It dealt a blow of shame to our film industry. But, thinking about Malay movies, I think Indonesia is our likely audience, since they speak a similar language. But no, they can produce much better movies. Other than Indonesia I can't find any other place where Malay movies can be enjoyed (tell me if I'm in error). However, Chinese movies have a likely audience of Singapore, China, Taiwan, in the sinosphere.

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza is also having a hard time to penetrate the Indonesian music market. For now, our Malay music has yet to reach Indonesian ears. Things that should make sense don't come true all the time.

Look at the Koreans. My Korean proficiency is limited to a few isolated vocabulary hence I rely a lot on subs to enjoy Korean shows. However I enjoy listening Korean pop songs sang in its language. The Korean wave is hitting all shores around Asia. What's the secret to this?

Confidence. To achieve successful cultural export the people must be confident and have faith in themselves. There must be quality in the products. Even though people may not understand our language, our language command respect as soon as people read or hear it when they know the quality we have.

If you ask me, what cultural aspect of Malaysia can be exported? We are a plural society living in peace with each other, to the amazement of others. We are a land of cultural variety. It's a place like no other.

But before we do that, we need to clean up our own backyard first. Instead of the fear of loss, we need to instill this thing called keyakinan bangsa. And what about this thing called Ketuanan Melayu? It will be needless to talk about supremacy once confidence is there. And refrain from giving walking stick to a child because he/she will never learn to walk properly with it.

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