Oh My Bahasa Melayu!

The other day, my colleagues and I were talking about our difficulty writing letters and proposals in Bahasa Melayu. A simple letter could take me almost half a day to complete. To be honest I think my Bahasa Melayu 20 years ago (that was the year I took my SPM, and I was pretty good at it :P) was way better than my Bahasa Melayu today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much Malay at heart and I still converse with my peers and family in BM but those are very much bahasa pasar! I no longer practice formal BM in my daily lives. Ever since college/uni days all things have been taught and learned in English. Naturally, I tend to think in English and whenever I need to compose something in BM, I tend to think and draft in English first before I translate them later. It is really time consuming and not efficient at all! And most of time I tend to confuse myself…hahaha

I’ve also come to realize that there are so many new words in Bahasa Melayu now. Like we have different baru and baharu (seriously totally forgotten how to differentiate them, yet again). They have also changed infrastruktur to prasarana. Kereta api to  keretapi or tren, and tempat letak kereta to parkir. To add to my headache, I work in an IT company and a lot of translation done are technical language. Do you know that server in BM is actually pelayan?! That really doesn’t sound right! heheheh…

Sigh. This is seriously why the progress of my novel manuscript is moving very slowly. But insya’allah, I just have to manage my time better and add on more discipline to it. I have all the narrative/conversation portion, but the descriptive portion is driving me nuts!

Like any other languages, I’ve been told to read more in order to pick up back my rusty Bahasa Melayu. Based on the recommendation, I actually read a lot of Malay novels, but usually end up disappointed. I actually don’t quite like the language used, the BM used are not subtle, lack art and not refined. (I really miss Adibah Amin and Khadijah Hashim books!) I guess I am very much old-school kind of person, but not as old school as my boss who still refer car as motokar 😛

So now, I really need some advice on how to improve my BM writing. I’m really serious about it that I’m contemplating to write selected blog posts in Bahasa Melayu. So I will definitely look for Dewan Bahasa dictionary after this! So any advice or recommended read is highly welcomed 🙂



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