Posts Tagged English

Speakong

I just got back from a class with a senior Professor who was so anal about our spoken English during case presentations. He made it a point to correct even the subtlest of grammatical mistakes, making the class run longer than it should, much to the dismay of my friends who only signed up for the medicine and not additional English lessons.

I personally didn’t mind at all. I think what he did was wise as the use of good English is a crucial component in our professional development as competent future health professionals. (and the future ain’t that far either, we’re graduating in a month’s time kot!)

Now my English is obviously farrrrrr from perfect, but I sometimes do cringe in agony hearing people say things like “That’s mean” or “No any surgical scar..”.

Sigh.

This reminds me of a story when I presented an Orthopaedic long case the other day. Right after my history of presenting illness, this lecturer of mine asked,

Hidayu, which secondary school were you from?”

I hesitated in saying STF, because people generally won’t know what STF stands for unless they have a boarding school background or they live in JB. So to be safe I responded,

Err, Tun Fatimah?”

Oh sebab the way you speak English macam you’re from TKC.

-______-

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Ok so I took that as a compliment for me, but just not for my school. Heheh. It is a well-known fact that TKC girls are generally very fluent in English. This generalization also includes a pseudo-fact that majority of their students came from rich, upper-class, English-speaking Malay families so it was only natural for them to have better English as compared to their other boarding school counterparts.

During my time in STF we rarely spoke in English, perhaps maybe just in English classes and to friends whom we’re used to speak in English with. It wasn’t as if we couldn’t, but I guess you might come across as, ummmmh, a lil pretentious to speak English in an all-Malay environment? Very, very bad mentality especially in a kononnya prestigious school, but that was the vibe that I got back in the days.

I didn’t come from an English-speaking family, but I was thankful that I befriended 3/4 of the school’s English debaters which meant I always had to keep up with their vast vocabularies. Phew, thanks guys. It was only in uni that I started speaking a lot of English, thanks to having re-discovered multiracial friendships.

In view of the school’s recent High-Performance status BS and excellent exam results, I just hope that the kids have started to speak in English among themselves. It may be a tad too late if English is only spoken formally during tertiary education because “That’s mean” has become such a norm that it doesn’t feel like an error anymore.

Get out of that stupid sempit shell of ours, and start seing the world as it should be. You don’t know how much you’re missing out, kiddos. Make it a point to speak in English as much as you can, watch English movies (without subtitles, please) and read English news/books/blogs for a change. (using a Facebook English medium doesn’t count ok).

And of course, this reminder goes out to me too. I’m on a journey of self-improvement myself, so please correct me if you ever hear me make silly grammatical mistakes! Screw embarassment. It’s better to be corrected now than when you’re presenting at a world-class conference later and be laughed at because of the poor standard of your English.

Sekian incoherent ramblings of the day. Teacher Mimi must be proud of me. Kih kih.

P/S : I recently found out that this lecturer who made the TKC remark is actually a Koleq boy. Saw him donning that familiar maroon tie last Wednesday, which explains the remark because all Koleq guys I know are dating/have dated or at least friends with a TKCian. Again, a generalization. LOL.

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