Bring dialect back

Teddy and wanphing’s trilingual conversation in English, Hokkien and Malay

Calling all ethnographers and social commentators. In 1965, Tunisian-Jewish author Albert Memmi lamented on “the tortures of colonial bilingualism” in his book The Colonizer and the Colonized. He described how native tongues in Third World countries are crushed by those of its colonial masters’.

This mother tongue, he describes, “is neither written nor read, permitting only uncertain and poor oral development”, not allowed influence on current social life, is least valued and has no stature in a country [ie. Hokkien in Malaysia and Singapore].

“If he [the Malaysian Chinese] wants to obtain a job, make a place for himself, exist in the community and the world, he must first bow to the language of his masters [English]. He himself sets about discarding this infirm language [Hokkien], hiding it from the sight of strangers.”

But how can this be? If this mother tongue is that which is “sustained by his feelings, emotions and dreams… in which his tenderness and wonder are expressed… which holds the greatest emotional impact.”

So with this, I proclaim death to singularity in language. We live in an age of bi-lingualism, tri-lingualism, where language is fluid, dynamic and interchangeable. There’s no better way to express ourselves than through this ‘pidgin’.

Bring dialect back. Death to auto-correct.

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