Siapa boleh anda panggil? (A reader-requested translation)

Backstory: @widbrain asked me on Twitter if I could translate my latest TMI column — “Who do you call?” — to Bahasa Malaysia. Since he asked nicely, I said sure. Here it is.

Siapa boleh anda panggil?

31 OKT ― “Kami polis. Kami boleh tanya, tahan dan tangkap siapa saja.”

M (dia minta namanya tidak disebut sini) cuma bertanya kepada dua pegawai polis bermotosikal itu sebab mereka meminta kad pengenalannya.

Malam itu hujan, M tengah memandu. M ternampak seorang penunggang motosikal di hadapan lantas membunyikan hon kereta. Dia takut pemotosikal itu tidak perasan M berada di belakang; M cuma berhati-hati. Itu niat M, sebenarnya.

Tiba-tiba, dua lelaki bermotosikal saling mengepit kedua-dua belah kereta M.

Salah seorang lelaki itu memarahi M kerana membunyikan hon ke arahnya. M menerangkan maksudnya dan juga menambah, memang M yang punya hak untuk berjalan dulu.

Sekali lagi, anggota polis itu menyebut jawatannya dan hakya “menangkap siapa-siapa”.

Lalu M meminta kebenaran untuk membuat panggilan kepada kawannya, seorang pegawai polis kanan, untuk nasihat.

“Panggilah, saya takut apa?” sergah polis itu.

M memanggil rakannya. Terus rakannya meminta nama dan nombor polis kedua-dua lelaki itu. Tiba-tiba polis yang “tidak takut” itu kurang berani memberi pengenalan diri penuh.

Mereka cuba membohongi rakan M, mengatakan tujuan mereka “hanya nak tolong”.

Akhirnya beredar juga dua polis itu, tinggal M dalam keadaan perasaan terganggu.

Nasib M baik. Bukan ramai yang boleh memanggil polis berjawatan tinggi apabila dikacau anggota polis yang berperilaku buruk.

Hakikatnya, situasi sebegini tidak sepatutnya berlaku.

Memang ada anggota polis yang baik pekerti. Saya pernah bertemu polis sedemikian. Tapi pada masa yang sama, perihal “polis jahat” sering kedengaran.

Polis yang meminta rasuah. Polis yang mencuri. Polis yang buat tak tahu tentang jenayah atau berpura-pura terlalu sibuk dengan tugas pejabat untuk melayan laporan kesalahan.

Kita sudah jadi takut kepada polis, kerana sebab yang tak patut.

Terus-terang, saya pun takut polis. Pernah saya pergi buat laporan dan tidak diendahkan, semua kerana polis bertugas tersalah fikir saya berbangsa Filipina. Saya tunjukkan IC, baru dia layan. Ada juga polis yang cuba meminta ‘wang suap’ atau naik kereta mereka, hanya kerana tersalah anggap saya pekerja asing.

PDRM harus mengambil tanggungjawab menangani polis yang membuat salah laku. Mereka perlu juga mewajibkan anggota polis memaparkan nombor pengenalan diri pada setiap masa.

Jika seorang polis enggan memberi nama atau nombor pengenalan, seharusnya tidak salah untuk mana-mana rakyat Malaysia untuk tidak mengendahkannya.

Hakikatnya, ada polis kaki buli. Namun, jika ada polis meminta anda memberhentikan kereta, jangan terus menggelarnya pengacau. Mungkin lampu isyarat anda mati. Mungkin bumper kereta atau plat lesen terjatuh. Bersangkalah baik tentang polis itu.

Tapi jika ‘polis’ itu ternyata bermasalah, inilah tindakan anda seterusnya:

1. Jika dalam kereta, jangan turun. Turunkan tingkap sedikit (tak sehingga cukup untuk polis itu memasukkan tangannya) dan minta pengenalan diri polis itu. Kalau mereka bagi pun dan mereka suruh anda ikut ke balai, cuba tegaskan anda akan memandu sendiri ke stesen terdekat. Amat berisiko jika anda wanita untuk menaiki kereta polis yang entah niatnya baik atau tidak.

2. Guna telefon bimbit anda dan panggilah sesiapa yang anda kenal. Beritahu keluarga, rakan anda di mana dan dengan siapa. Ambil gambar. Guna media sosial: Twitter dan Facebook, jika boleh.

3. Jika anda tidak berada dalam keadaan, bawa bertenang. Cuba buat panggilan tetapi jangan cuba melarikan diri. Nasib tak baik, polis yang anda jumpa tu, kurang terlatih dan jenis menggunakan senapangnya sesuka hati, yang akan menjadikan cubaan anda untuk lari sebagai alasan untuk menembak. Ingat, cerita yang akan lebih dipercayai adalah keterangan dari polis dan cubaan anda untuk lari akan dijadikan bukti.

4. Jangan terikut-ikut perasaan untuk tunjuk kurang ajar. Polis adalah penjawat awam, bukan kuli. Berlagak biadap menyusahkan diri sahaja, jadi elakkan.

Negara telah membangun seperti Amerika Syarikat dan UK pun ada kes salah laku polis. Jangan anggap semua polis itu sama tetapi eloklah juga bersiap sedia untuk apa-apa kemungkinan.

Sekurang-kurangnya, harus ada talian untuk dipanggil rakyat Malaysia jika perlu mendapat perlindungan daripada polis yang berlagak samseng.

Persoalannya: Apakah talian itu akan pernah lengang?

 

One of the saddest songs ever: 夜夜夜夜

The pitfalls of my Voice of China addiction: a mini-education in Mandarin pop. Here’s one of the saddest modern Chinese pop ballads ever, by Taiwanese Chyi Chin.

Basically it’s a deeply tragic ballad of unrequited love and a feeling of hopelessness, of just giving up on the past and the future.

It’s so tragic it’s beautiful.

Translation from this link.

夜夜夜夜 (Night after night after night after night)

詞曲:熊天平
想問天你在哪裡我想問問我自己

I’d like to ask God where you are or ask myself instead

一開始我聰明結束我聰明

I was smart at the start, smart at the end

聰明得幾乎的毀掉了我自己

So smart that I almost destroyed myself

想問天問大地或者是迷信問問宿命

Would like to ask Mother Nature, or ask a fortune teller

放棄所有 拋下所有

Giving up everything in the future and what passed before

讓我漂流在安靜的夜夜空裡

Let me drift in the silent night after night after night…

你也不必牽強再說愛我

Don’t push yourself into saying you love me

反正我的靈魂已片片凋落

My soul anyway has withered to pieces

慢慢的拼湊慢慢的拼湊

Tried putting myself back together slowly, slowly

拼湊成一個完全不屬於真正的我

Me, but not the whole me, finally pieced together

我不願再放縱

I don’t want to indulge myself anymore

我不願每天每夜每秒漂流

I don’t want to drift one night, day, second anymore

也不願再多問再多說再多求我的夢

Not one word, prayer, quest for my dream anymore

The original version by Chyi Chin:

A version by Fish Leong:

The Voice of China: Best version ever

I wasn’t initially impressed by The Voice franchise. The US version seemed to be too much about the judges’ egos and the UK version tried to be fresh but often fell flat.

But then I stumbled on The Voice of China and I have become gloriously obsessed with it. That’s a big deal for someone who ordinarily gives television a miss in general.

Never mind that I know like 10-20 words of Mandarin; the show draws me in with its combination of funny, down-to-earth judges and really good talent.

The judging panel has some real heavyhitters and together, they’re a winningly enthusiastic team. There’s Taiwan ‘God of Music’ Harlem Yu (庾澄庆) who first officially injected rap into mainstream Chinese music way back in the 80’s. China’s singing darling and music veteran Na Ying (那英). Mr “I sang at the Olympics” and “THAT Water Margin theme” Liu Huan (刘欢) and my personal favourite the adorable Yang Kun (杨坤).

The adorable-sauce Yang Kun

Yang Kun’s my favourite because he’s just hilarious, pulling some funny stunts like in the video I posted at the bottom at this post. Him and Harlem provide plenty of comic relief throughout the show though I must say the judges as a whole are truly a welcome contrast to the US and UK panels.

The Chinese judges seem a whole lot more sincere and less self-involved. You get the feeling the judges are really rooting for their charges and want them to succeed.

Sure, there’s the inevitable soap opera back story drama interspersed here and there but overall the show stays close to its heart: voices. And some of the voices on display are excellent.

My current favourite contestant is this guy, Guan Zhe. His emotional cover of Sandy Lam’s 领悟 (Ling Wu) made the judges teary, me even despite my not understanding more than 1-5 words in the whole song.

The song itself is one of those desperately sad Mandarin ballads. Not that I’m not a sucker for Mandopop. I love sappy Mandarin ear candy. This particular tune is one of those ‘We Broke Up And I Want to Hate You But I Can’t Because I Love You And Am Trying To Be A Bigger Person’ songs.

Have a listen to Guan Zhe breaking your heart in a million ways.

领悟 (Ling Wu)

我以为我会哭
但是我没有
我只是怔怔望着你的脚步
给你我最后的祝福
这何尝不是一种领悟
让我把自己看清楚
虽然那共爱的痛苦
将日日夜夜
在我灵魂最深处
我以为我会报复
但是我没有
当我看到我深爱过的男人
竟然像孩子一样无助
这何尝不是一种领悟
让你把自己看清楚
被爱是奢侈的幸福
可惜你从来不在乎
啊!一段感情就此结束
啊!一颗心眼看要荒芜
我们的爱若是错误
愿你我没有白白受苦
若曾真心真意付出
就应该满足
啊!多么痛的领悟
你曾是我的全部
只是我回首来时路的每一步
都走的好孤独
啊!多么痛的领悟
你曾是我的全部
只愿你挣脱情的枷锁
爱的束缚 任意追逐
别再为爱受苦

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When it all falls down

I’m juggling a lot these days and it’s been challenging. Some days I’m a mess and today was one time where I just felt like I was going insane.

It wasn’t like I had too much to do, but more like I was overloaded with things I felt I should be doing. I couldn’t let go; couldn’t just detach and relax.

Too many variables, too many things and projects and ideas all mashing about in my head.

I guess it was a sign I just needed to detox and relax. Simplify things and try to do more with less. Not overcomplicate things, overthink things, work myself up over things that weren’t worth working myself up over.

Spent some time on 750 words, just doing some stream of consciousness writing. Decided to ration my time on Facebook and Twitter because they distract me far too much. Am experiencing sensor overload and the kind of paralysis that comes from too many options, too many possible distractions or activities.

I needed to quiet my brain and just find a measure of silence in my head. Chilling is harder than it used to be and the Internet is one big ball of Read This Look At This Think About This O Look. Rereading Zen Habits and taking some time to read stuff in my Kobo library (so many books so little time ZOMG).

Running on a hamster wheel doesn’t get me anywhere but taking just one, slow, sure, step at a time just might.

Breathe.

 

A pow-wow with my inner writing bitch

Cover of "Bitch"I’ve now encountered my Inner Editor Bitch who also has a split personality dubbed the Inner Critic Bitch.

Friend: “Erna, if I didn’t know you from before, I wouldn’t like you now.”

I can be mean. Really, really mean. Like when I chewed out this one aspiring writer who had the nerve to send me a message on LinkedIn asking for advice, and I told her that if she used such awful text speak in a message to a total stranger, she’d never go far in the writing world.

Part of me thinks: “I’m doing her a favour. People aren’t going to be so nice and she needs that dressing down. She needs that brutal honestly.”

The other part of me thinks: “You didn’t have to be so cutting about it. You didn’t have to sound so nasty.”

But I’ve been lucky in my career. I’ve had people put it to me nicely and diplomatically when my stuff doesn’t pass muster.

“It’s kind of obvious no one really edited your piece.”

“I don’t think you’re suited to the position we’re offering.”

Or the slightly rude yet inadvertently kind non-replies to my writing/job queries.

I realise I’m a whole lot harder on myself than anyone has ever been with me. I’m a whole lot more brutal on myself as well as other people than I’ve actually experienced in my writing/editing career. Less forgiving. More nitpicky. (But if you can’t differentiate it’s and its…WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU %#^#&@ j/k)

I think I could stand to be a lot more kinder. I don’t think I’ll always succeed but I resolve to, at the very least, try.

So here’s me telling the Universe that I am trying to be kinder. If I still snap at you ever so often, please understand I’m still working on it. Really.

 

 

 

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Getting on the Tumblr choo-choo train

I finally dusted off the Tumblr account I got eons back – being an early adopter meant I got to bag erna.tumblr.com. But I’d never bothered posting on it till now.

Waiting for Tumblr to ‘grow up’ was worth it. I now have comments thanks to Disqus and I really dig the theme customisation options on the theme I’m using.

Though the Web interface is super-fun, I’m likely mostly going to login to my dashboard to giggle at the fandom posts on the Mass Effect and Legend of Korra

What does suck though is the dearth of decent Tumblr desktop clients. I Googled them to death and couldn’t find anything as handy as Windows Live Writer (which I’m using right now). What I’m doing right now is blogging on my main blog and using a plugin to auto-post what I write her on Tumblr. This way I’m reaching out to people who are Tumblr junkies and not so keen on vanilla blogs like mine. Plus reblogs are the bomb, y’all.

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Spending too much time on Twitter/Facebook does that to you. Trying to get back into the daily blogging habit as I partly owe my current writing career to my blog. Blogging daily is a great way to keep the writing juices flowing and my blog is the equivalent of my real “home” on the Internet. Twitter and Facebook are really just hangout spots.

Here’s to a return to active blogging!

Flawed gem: Legend of Korra finale review

A test photo released after the announcement o...
A test photo released after the announcement of the series showing Korra overlooking United Republic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WARNING: LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS

I trawled the Internet for reviews of The Legend of Korra season finale.

Make no mistake; I loved it to bits. I was just curious about what other people thought.

Then I stumbled across a review (didn’t bother saving the link, sorry) calling the finale a major disappointment, saying the episode and the whole show was riddled with bad writing and Korra got “handed everything” including the Avatar status.

I was a little befuddled. Honestly, if you compare all the schlock you get on TV, LoK has some of the better writing around. And Korra being “handed everything”? Maybe in the beginning but she had her own struggles too.

Korra’s journey differed a lot from Aang’s. Part of the reason she is who she is was due to Aang’s intervention. He tasked the Fellowship of the White Lotus to find Korra, keep her safe and guide her through mastering the elements.

I think Aang’s previous hardships motivated him to make sure that the next Avatar would have an easier time than he did. Korra was able to spend years honing her water, fire and earth bending to prodigious levels. Aang on the other hand was forced to “get it over with” while training the other elements so he could achieve the Avatar state and defeat Lord Ozai. I think he wanted to spare Korra that.

Korra had her own challenges; not the same as Aang’s but they were still things she needed to work on. The combination of growing up in a safe cocoon and her tempestuous nature made “adjusting” fairly challenging from her first day in Republic City.

What annoys me is the criticism about how Korra discovers she can airbend. “Why didn’t she discover her ability all the other times when people were in danger, huh? Why does it have to be for Mako?”

All those other times, Korra had the other elements at her disposal. It makes sense that Korra reaches past the barrier that separates herself from the Air element once her connection to the others were separated. If you notice, even the way she uses Air isn’t the way Aang uses it – she punches and blasts the air the way she uses fire, a lot different from the fluid grace Aang employed.

Korra started out brash and headstrong, but Amon forces her to learn fear and caution. She puts aside her own feelings about Mako in consideration of Asami. Do you think it would be easy to have to see the man you love with someone else every single day? At least Aang never had to wake up to seeing Katara doing smoochy faces with someone else everyday.

Sure, it would have been nice to see secondary characters fleshed out a bit more. But given the season had only 12 episodes that would have been a tall order. Still, Lin Bei Fong’s character was given enough love. The writers could have easily let her become a caricature, a slapstick cranky nemesis of sorts but Lin got to show courage and compassion along with her kickass metal bending. Her character arc was one of my favourite in the series and I confess I shed tears when Amon took her bending away.

On another note: When I saw Tenzin and his brood trussed up like lambs to the slaughter, I think I nearly bawled. NOOO NOT THE AIRBABIES NOOOO.

The final 5 minutes seemed a bit rushed to be honest: OK LET’S MAKE AANG AND ALL THE OTHER AVATARS APPEAR YEAH AND GIVE LIN HER BENDING BACK AND HEY MAKE KORRA FINALLY ACHIEVE AVATAR STATE!!!!

Still, only the hardest of hearts wouldn’t be somewhat pleased to see Korra and Mako finally just suck face already. All in all, I give the episode a firm 8 out of 10.

 

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NenekTatabahasa: About ‘tentang’ and ‘mengenai’

This is the first post in a hopefully regular series about the deceptively easy-to-learn Bahasa Malaysia.

Tentang and mengenai are words often used interchangeably by the populace, used as the equivalent of the English “about”.

My argument is that translation-wise, tentang is the preferred word for about.

“Tentang” is a kata sendi nama or the equivalent of the English preposition (not proposition, you dirty, dirty minds).

Examples:

Mereka berbincang tentang masalah negara. (They spoke about the country’s problems)
Kami berbual tentang kejadian rompakan itu. (We spoke about the robbery)

Other kata sendi nama include: di,ke,dari,daripada,kepada,pada,bagi,demi,tentang,sejak,seperti,akan,terhadap,oleh,hingga,antara, untuk,dengan,dalam,sampai.

Notice that mengenai is not listed. This is because mengenai is actually a kata kerja (verb) that means kena pada (to hit).

Tembakan pemburu itu mengenai sasarannya. (The hunter’s shot hit its target)
Bola yang ditendangnya mengenai palang gol. (The ball that he/she kicked hit the goal post)

Does this mean that you can’t use mengenai to mean about?

Not necessarily. This is because mengenai, like melalui (to go through), mengikuti (to follow), and menerusi (via) are all words used as prepositions, despite being in actuality verbs.

My personal leanings is that if you mean “about” or wish to translate “about”, use tentang as your first choice but use mengenai as a variation.

For instance, say “Hari ini saya ingin bercakap tentang buku Hakim Salleh mengenai beruang.” But some might prefer to use mengenai instead, which is a personal choice but here’s a pro-tip:

Few things mark your amateurish grip of the language as much as overuse of mengenai. It’s not a bad word, but use tentang as well, whenever its use is warranted.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

 

The great kiddy experiment

Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony 2011
Photo for illustrative purposes; my tykes were smaller and not the stand still type. (Photo credit: SFA Union City)

For the past couple of months, I’ve been teaching speech and drama…to toddlers.

It wasn’t what I signed up for. A friend recommended I approach a local children’s drama centre about teaching musical theatre as it’s something I’m passionate about.

Instead I found myself standing in for a teacher who had to stop teaching a session halfway, doing trial or “exhibition” classes for a centre as well as help out with a promotional roadshow.

I thought, “Heck, why not?” New learning experiences are good, right?

At the end of it all, I was feeling drained and incompetent. Something like my stint at PR where I wondered if I was doing anything right at all.

I’d come in with a shiny lesson plan…only to have blank faces staring at me or have to quickly come up with improvised games. The latter consisted of a whole lot of running, man, was there a lot of running. I think I spent at least half my lessons running in imaginary jungles, through the sea, playing sharks and fishes/pirates and sailors/freeze tag.

The greatest takeway for me was, with Pre-K kids…WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND WAYS TO GIVE OUT STICKERS. Not that I believe in bribery. It was more like convincing kids to find goals and once those goals were reached, spoils would be dealt. But call it what you will.

There were days though that were good. Like one class where I had a whole room of parents “observing” my class before deciding whether to plonk good money on it. Boy, was there a lot of pressure. The first 20 minutes were rough. The kids were apprehensive, I was nervous but by the end of it, the kids were huddled around me and one of them was reading a story out loud for me from a book. It was like…magic.

In the end, I decided to retire my preschooler drama teacher cap. It’s far too exhausting to fit into my hectic schedule – 4 hours of prep for one class is more than I can deal with right now. Maybe someday that’ll change.

Things I learned:

1. Kids have excellent BS detectors. Don’t try to be someone else around kids. Be you, at your best. Trying to be extroverted when you’re not just means you’ll come across as fake and few things repel kids more than put-on smiles or feigned enthusiasm. Once I stopped beating myself up about my relative inexperience and trusted in my own capabilities, kids became easier to work with.

2. Don’t get so stuck on an outcome. I realised that the best environment I could create was a fluid one where I could experiment and be flexible. If one activity wasn’t working out, try another.  One kid I had came in crying and didn’t want to leave his mother’s side but by the end of it he was running around, playing games, telling me about his trip to Disneyland and joining in a group rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

3. Kids need to learn there is nothing wrong with them. So many parents came in with kids with “problems”. “He doesn’t talk”, “He’s too shy”, “She needs to open up”, “What does he/she need to improve on?”

To all you parents, I just want to say there is nothing you need to “fix”. Your children are lovable and worthy of love – and that’s what you need to impart to them. I treat my classes as a way for kids to have the chance to make new friends, discover how much fun it can be to let their inner performer out to play and along the way learn other great skills like working as an ensemble, basics of performing and harnessing their imaginations via dramatic play.

What I love most with the kids is when they talk to me and tell me things. Because for some reason, they get that I’ll listen. That I’m present and there. If more parents would do the same for their kids, the world would be a better place.

Forcing creativity or great things from your child isn’t the best way. Creativity in kids is fostered with love, patience and structure. Let your kids surprise you, so you’ll never be disappointed.

 

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