The White Man's Burden

on Sunday, 14 March 2010
I feel like Hugh Dancy in The Sleeping Dictionary... minus Jessica Alba of course...

You cannot imagine the dilemma of an English teacher in these places. We have to emphasise the practice of speaking the language and utilisation of the language in various occasions. There should always be a certain amount of usage among the students during official duties and when students just want to chat up with you.

I always feel obligated to not speak in Bahasa Melayu even though I can speak in the language. Having said that, some students automatically do not feel comfortable talking and having small talk with me because they know that they might not be able to carry out the conversation properly.

It's really difficult if I consider other obligations that I have that require me to be close to my students. Sometimes, students must meet up with me and have to divulge information that is required for some documentation. Tasks that are not syllabus based and other activities outside the classroom have to go on smoothly with students understanding the instructions clearly for swift execution.

Sometimes, it's just important to be close to your students. To be able to small talk with them and have them reciprocate confidently and calmly without worrying about syntactical problems.

Being the white man among others who seem to feel happy communicating and getting close with each other is honestly a bit frustrating. I can break the sacred code and speak in Bahasa Melayu..

.. then what will happen to the enforcement of speaking English?


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