Wednesday, May 14, 2008

my english too much worse

I had to give a short presentation on Malaysia for Ihsan's class during their geography lesson today.
I was the bus monitor today, so transportation was no issue. I just told the bus driver that he didn't have to wait for me to return with him on the bus, and walked into school with the kids.

The presentation was okay. I showed the kids where Malaysia is on the map, talked about the weather a bit, led into how the weather is very conducive for plants to grow and therefore we have lots of rainforests, how the government takes good care of the natural resource by having forest reserves and national parks, which then led to me showing pictures of our recent trip to Taman Negara National Park. My audience oohed and aahed at pictures of the kids walking on the canopy bridge, swimming in the clear river and the blow-pipe demonstration. In the end I asked "So, who wants to visit Malaysia?" and all of them put up their hands.. tee hee! Ihsan gave them some 'Visit Malaysia Year 2007' stickers as souviners.

My only gripe is that I think my spoken english is really deteriorating. I had trouble forming my sentences properly a few times during the presentation and when I was trying to answer the kids' questions. Sometimes I didn't even know whether I made any sense.
It's different when you're writing. You form the sentences in your head first, then you type it up and then correct your mistakes later. When you talk, the thought and correction process have to be made on the fly, and I think my brain have gone a little rusty.
This discovery bothered me a bit for the rest of the day ...
... until I boarded the bus to pick the kids from school.

The bus driver asked me, "Ma'am, this morning you not coming?"
Thinking that he is asking me why I did not board the bus in the morning (when I did), I answered, "I *was* on the bus this morning, remember? I just didn't come back with the bus"
"Yes," he said, "I waiting waiting, 8:10, I think maybe you no coming"
He meant that he had waited for me to return to the bus untill 8:10, when he gave up and drove back to the compound without me.
"Eh, but I *told* you I wasn't going to come back with the bus. I told you , you did not have to wait for me" I insisted.
"ah", he gave in, "maybe I hear ..." and he made like a confused sign.
Maybe if i had not said "I will not be coming back with the bus, so you don't have to wait for me", he wouldn't have been confused.
Maybe if i had said "I not coming, you no wait" , with a little waggle of the head, he would have understood me.

I think I should talk less to bus drivers and talk more to english speaking folks.


  1. me understeng you. you understeng me or not ?

  2. ha ha.. that's funny - i mean your conversation with the bus driver. :)

  3. farah6:55 AM

    so very the funny one! hahahhahaha.

  4. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Livig in middle east, most of the time we speak broken to pieces english! My spoken english is very the teruk now :-)

    My kids pulak, stimes to my horror they like to imitate their pakistanis' frens like "vat do you vant?"


  5. hartini8:09 AM

    Heeheee This is a funny one!! :D I can understand how that is. Over here too, with ppl who speak Singlish, we have to go down to their level so that they understand us.