November 20, 2009

YOU TALKIN' TO ME?

Here, I’m referring to you, yes you. You who swill American carbonated caffeine and insist on spelling colour without ‘u’. You who are the die-hard-fans of football club whose main sport has been sepak raga since time immemorial. You, who happily pay RM10 to sit on American franchised coffee store, when you could be drinking kopi at kedai kopi for just RM1. And yes, you who think that eating a Mcblubber burger make you more western.

A slow creeping of American culture into Malaysia, so quite and so slow that the change from English to American was hardly noticed. The insidious Americanisation of Malaysia culture had been going on for at least half a century .Advertisement in any kind of medium whether print media or broadcast or even in the internet all scream at their Malaysian Audience; want, want, want, need, need, need, more, more, more. But more specifically, want me, need me, and want and need more of me, never have enough always want more, but more for me. Basically, the ads conjure illusions of better lives, healthier lifestyles, smiles in a world where you, the purchaser of my product, will be like me – American, western, modern, exclusive and class.

From P.Ramlee’s western style dressing to Lat’s emulation of Elvis Presley’s hairstyle and drain-pipe trousers, the insidious Americanisation of Malaysia culture had begun. Now also witness in yellow buses first seen in America in 1939. Young girls clasp BARBIE dolls to their chest and drink their COCA-COLA; young boys might play with their BATMAN dolls because it’s more macho. As older brothers pull on their ‘Punk not Dead’ T-shirt worn over their LEVIS jeans while listening to SLIPKNOT on their iPOD. Later, grown to maturity, the will salute the 1 Malaysia- the Malaysian version of the American ‘Stars and Stripes’, smokes their MARLBORO cigarettes and many will slip away and down a CARLSBERG lager or a good old black and white GUINNESS STOUT. They will head to the mall, once there drink coffee at STARBUCK because it’s chic to do so and to be seen there. Then, use VISA to enter and absorb the latest pap from Hollywood, have popcorn and eat at KENNY ROGERS afterwards. Maybe drool at least DKNY offerings and then go buy a packet of fried, dried nothing wrapped in nice shiny plastic from the American-Japanese chain store-7ELEVEN, then home.


Language: British English or American English?

The illustration is about how easily the American language has insinuated itself into what most Malaysians think of as the English language. Colour is not the only English word americanised in Malaysia. You might often see the word ‘humour’ spelt ‘humor’, or ‘theatre’ as ‘theater’, ‘kilometre’ as ‘kilometer’ and ‘realise’ as ‘realize’.

There are marvelous American words which Malaysians now consider to be English, such as condominium, elevator, backyard, hamburger, teenager, freeway and wannabe- have a nice day!

Language changes culture and American English leads us to believe that we have trash instead of rubbish, trucks instead of lorries, candy in place of sweets, fall instead of autumn, neither of which is experienced in Malaysia anyway. We now have diapers place of nappies, pants replacing trousers which are worn with sneakers, not trainers.

Language is a vital part of that mental captivity. Language is at the very root of culture; make drastic changes in language and you start to affect the fundamentals on Malaysian culture.

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It’s hard to stop the overbearing tsunami of anything that been Americanized including materialism, merchandising, advertising, promotion are there to persuade people to buy, buy until its bye bye.

The energetic, youth-oriented, modern American culture will crawl slowly in Malaysia. They would not come-a-knocking at our small door and ask permission- ‘Excuse me Encik, I’d like to place our culture in your country for, oh let’s say about 4 hundred years, then when I’ve finished culture-spreading-influencing, I’ll step out and you can have it back’. – Some do it subtler ways, and some might say, insidious.

So, there you have it.
And here’s the thing. The reality is, this is what Malaysians really prefer then,
“Frankly my dear, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN’.




-Special thanks to Yusof Martin

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Colour is "not"
ang tulis 'no'
pebetui.sblm aku pukoi.

panjang tulis last2 i dont give a damn?
:P
mueh.

Darrr said...

haha.
alert.cool!
cop best ataih dahi hg!

ACB&UNIA said...

berhabuk noh omputih ang

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