Speak no evil

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As you've probably been following over the last years, there have been a lot of complaints in Singapore over the youngins' excessive use of Singlish.

Likewise, Manglish is now under attack in Malaysia, only the Malaysian government is a lot more serious about stamping out the colloquial wordshake: two parts local dialects, one part English.

According to an article last week in the International Herald Tribune, "Malaysia may levy fines on people who mangle the national language on signs and posters, and deploy monitors to ensure that speakers at official functions don't improperly mix Malay with English."

Look out! They're talking about 1,000-ringgit fines (that's $271 to you and me). In other words: they mean business. Just to give you an idea of what else is forbidden in Malaysia, I did a little poking around online and came up with this nifty list:

Sodomy, spitting, littering, blowing your nose in public and any kind of sports betting (except horse racing!): all illegal. It's also strictly forbidden to publish any materials that may incite religious anger. "Pure English," it should be noted, will continue to be permitted in Malaysia, although good luck to the monitors in defining such.

After the jump, you'll find some of my favorite Manglish words/expression -- those the government is trying to root out -- which I've edited together from a couple different sources, but mostly from Wiki:

kapster - a nosy or talkative person; can be also used as an adjective, e.g., "I hate them because they are so kapster." Contraction of the Malay verb "cakap", to speak, plus -ster (probably from analogy with English words such as "trickster").

maluation - embarrassment, from Malay "malu" + English "-ation"

outstation - out of town (e.g., going outstation).

terrer - (pronounced as the English "terror") Refers to someone or something being awesomely amazing or good (e.g., "Bloody hell, that guy is terrer!").

slumber - relaxed, laid-back; possibly a conflation of the Malay "selamba", meaning nonchalant, and the English "slumber".

on/off - to turn something on or off, respectively (e.g. "Don't forget to off the fan.")

tumpang-ing - riding in someone else's vehicle or lodging at someone else's house, from the Malay verb "tumpang" + "-ing"

(any Malay word) + "ing" - doing a certain action ("Tengah makan" or "I'm eating right now" is shortened to "Makan-ing")

best/syok - indicates the object as superlatively good.

die/finish/gone/habis/mampus/mampui/sei - generic exclamations to indicate "trouble", used like the English "damn it" or "to face the music" (e.g. Today he die because of that loan shark). "sei" is usually pronounced as its Cantonese equivalent, "die".

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October 9, 2006 - 3:40am
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