Language in Malaysia is very interesting – the way they have picked up the best bits from other languages and added them to their own Bahasa. And I am not saying this simply because I got cheap thrills out of hearing Malays and Chinese alike say Aiyyo! whenever dismay strikes. I like it that they have kept their language simple – and phonetic. So there are familiar words spelt differently (and seems to be, for the better) – kolej, otomotif, poskode, farmasi, impak, restoran.
On the other hand, the language is sometimes unimaginative, especially when it comes to names of places – Kuala Lumpur itself means ‘muddy confluence’. And take their gorgeous National Park Taman Negara – it means Park National – surely someone could think of something more exciting for a 130 million year old rainforest?
On yet another hand (heh!), I came across one of the prettiest phrases ever – Terima Kasih for thank you – translates into ‘receive my love’ – what an absolutely lovely, evocative meaning. I oohed and aahed when I heard about it.
And then I went and spoilt it thus. When my Indian friend in KL said Terima Kasih to me, I replied, Meri ma theek hai. Terima Kasih?