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Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Official: DBP is now The Language Police...

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Royal Malaysian Police, Culture/Fashion Police, and now, the Language Police.

Image hosting by PhotobucketEnter the Language Police
(as reported by The Star today)

The Language Police has just been given powers by the Cabinet (not the wooden kind), via the consent of Chief Fashion Police Commissioner, to advise, and if necessary, fine, premise owners who do not use the National Language properly.

The same report stated that the Chief Fashion Police

"... also gave some examples of commonly used terms such as Touch ‘N’ Go and Boulevard that he would like to see changed to Bahasa Malaysia terms.

The word for ‘Boulevard’ should rightfully be ‘Lebuh Perdana’,” he said.

The biggest winner - sign makers. If this comes into full force, motorist may, in the future, see signs stating "Raba Sentuh & Pergi" or "penandaPINTAR", instead of the familiar "Touch 'n Go" and "SMARTtag" signs.

Walski doesn't know if this move wll be extended to other foreign language based terminologies that have become commonplace in Malaysia. One interesting area would be the realm of Teknologi Maklumat dan Perhubungan (Information & Communications Technologies), where we could be forced to use such colorful terminologies like Sumbat dan Main (Plug and Play), Tetikus (Mouse), Layar Pemapar Hablur Cair (LCD Screen), Setara-ke-Setara (Peer-to-Peer), dan banyak lagi istilah-istilah yang menakjubkan (and many other amazing terminology-terminology).
(more terminology-terminology in the full post)

Or what about penyesuai antara muka*, or kerangka utama*, or lebuhraya ulung maklumat*?

But perhaps something more pressing that the Language Police should look into is improving Malaysia's 103rd placing in the world rankings. Which world ranking, you may wonder? The alphabetical list, of course. As Amir Muhammad has suggested, maybe we should change the name of our country from Malaysia to Boleh - which would immediately raise our ranking to a very respectable 21st place!

And so, as Walski mentioned earlier, sign and billboard makers the nation over will probably rejoice at this news. What better way to rejuvenate the sign industry than to legislate language? Not so very long ago, Indian sign-makers had a big windfall when Bombay, Culcutta and Madras changed their names to Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai respectively.

Image hosting by PhotobucketLet's look at an obvious example - all the 7-Eleven stores nationwide (around 700 outlets, and growing) would have to change their signage to 7-Sebelas. Think of how lucrative that signage contract is going to be. And it doesn't just stop at the front-signage. Everything that has the old 7-Eleven 7-Sebelas logo on it would also need to change.

Walski thinks that this is a great time to go into the signage business. Think of all that easy money!

And what about the international fast-food chains? Are we going to see signs for AGK (Ayam Goreng Kentucky) instead of KFC? And what would you change McDonalds to?

Well, all this is of course spekulasi on Walski's part. In the meantime, it's time to get into the pesawat kereta and hit the lebuhraya before the kesesakan lalulintas becomes anymore worse... and oh, the jerebu situation hasn't improved, either.

Definitely, more on this language thingy later...

*Walski's quick-translator guide: penyesuai antara muka, kerangka utama, and lebuhraya ulung maklumat are interface, mainframe and information super-highway, respectively. And by the way, spekulasi is speculation (as you've probably speculated), pesawat kereta is motorcar, lebuhraya is highway and kesesakan lalulintas is traffic congestion. Oh, and jerebu is haze.