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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mind your English

During my recent trip to Germany, I had the great opportunity to meet up with nationals from different continents across the globe; namely Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, China, Korea, just to name a few.

Now, bringing people from different parts of the world will pose one important barrier: language for communication.
As Malaysians, we are definitely fortunate to have English as our secondary language and we are proud of the multi-language we can speak; however this is not the case for the rest.

No pun intended; but there was this once I was chatting with one of the Koreans and they were rather struck with the uniqueness of my surname (which was a really common surname in Korea).
He asked me in this particular sentence (quoted): "How come you have a Korean surname and yet you are in Malaysia? What is your problem?"

Uh-huh....what's my problem?
My problem is why are you having a problem with me living in Malaysia?
(No pun intended)

The thing is, I am not offended because I don't think he meant it that way but I am still amazed by the level of English communication in other parts of the world.
Again, no offense meant.

By the way, I think what he meant was he wanted to know why I have such a unique surname for a Malaysian and whether I have roots in Korean ancestry.