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Saturday, July 10, 2004


Rojak Malay

::Just when you think it is safe to get back to 'Rojak Malay' speak and listen to or compose 'Rojak Malay' songs. The Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim who is reported by STS as being in the forefront of the campaign by language experts against what is known as 'Rojak Malay', intends to amend the National Language Act. He is said to want more administrative bite to get rid of 'Rojak Malay', which has become increasingly common in daily speech, in songs, the media and even in Cabinet meetings. Now who are the 'Rojak Malay' MINIsters, i wonder?

STS defines 'Rojak Malay' thus ::
"It incorporates a sprinkling of Chinese words, a dash of English and a pinch of Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia."

eg :: 'Hari ini birthday I lah (Today is my birthday).'

This issue of 'Rojak', it was 'Rojak Songs' then, was brought up in May this year, first they were supposedly banned and then not. The MINIster involved then was the Bow-Tied one and the songs then included :: P. Ramlee's classic hit 'Madu Tiga', Anita's Seksis, Ruffedge's Tipah Tertipu, Too Phat's Alhamdulillah and KRU's Bade, which contain English words in their lyrics.


The Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim is now taking up the cudgel but we are unsure how he is going to strike. It appears he is going to start with the Cabinet. This may come as a surprise to all of us :: Experts have acknowledged that there are no more than eight or nine original Malay words. The rest of its lexicon is borrowed from various sources, from Sanskrit to Arabic to English. So with only those few words to play or juggle with when speaking or singing, it is pretty obvious that whatever we say or sing, its going to come out 'Rojak'.




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