Wednesday, August 23, 2006

menda gok standad standad ning?

Once again, somebody are making noise. Malaysian universities failed to make it in the top 500 universities in the world. That is by the Shanghai Jiao Tong Top 500 World Universities Ranking. Who is the Shanghai Jiao Tong? I have no idea but I know for sure that name will surface again same time next year. We are so desperate for ‘world’ recognition, don’t we? Solution? Surely we can repeat a resemblance to Malaysian Book Of Record. Move over, Guinness! Get it?

Not that many days ago too, the press had a field day attacking the poor ‘sweetheart’ Syarifah Amani. Some ‘Persatuan Melayu’ from north even calls for her to be stripped of her award. Pity her. Pity Faizal too. Soon the ‘persatuan’ will ask Astro to strip the AF Juara from him because he can only speak Melayu with plenty of ‘g’. ‘Saya tuju kang kemenangang saya ini kepada peminak-peminak saya……’ He said something like that on the podium that night. Did he not?

All the ruckus we make, especially in the national papers, are really not worth the print space. It seems that we dwell on the issue like to ‘lepah gerang’ (lepas geram – standard Melayu). Or do we ‘lepah gerang’ because of the pent-up frustration we have been harboring within? Phew! Some ‘frustration’ we do have inside, it seems.

I remember the earliest time of standard or ‘piawaian’ when crash helmet law was introduced some ages ago. It soon set the people talking about standards, standard this and standard that. ‘Hok ni standad, hok ni dok’ they would argue. ‘Aku tahulah hok ni dok standad, tak dok cok siring’. Oh’ its SIRIM for the uninitiated.

Then we had another ‘standard’ invasion. Malaysia adopted the SI (System Internationale) system of measurement. Kain se ela is now sold se meter. Gula sekati became gula se kilo. No more kaki, inci or ‘hung’, its now millimeter, centimeter and meter. Batu (miles) became kilometer. And batu jalan (milestone) became ….?

Then came the standard Sistem Ejaan Bahasa Melayu. No more ‘2’ to represent plurals as in buah2. It was to be buah-buah. No more ‘e-tanda’ and no more apostrophe at the end of a Dato’. Don’t they linguists know how difficult it is to differentiate between perak (silver) and perak (stupid) when you couldn’t pronounce the e and e-tanda correctly?

For us professionals, we were told that to be world class, we have to be accredited with ISO and for that we have to pay a bundle. Standardizing creativity and artistic sensitivity? Come on! We know it’s about making money. For somebody else at least.

If only we came to our senses and know that we can’t bring everything to uniformity we could know that we need not live by other people’s standards. More importantly we could learn to accept mistakes and the imperfection of others. We could laugh at the ‘stupid(ity)’ of Amani, ‘senyung sokmo’ a la Faizal, and preserved the beauty of our (old fashioned) language. If we can live not by the standards of others, not even the Shanghai Jiao Tong, or some standard of ‘malay-ness’ as proclaimed by any ‘persatuan’ or the ISO, we would be much open and tolerant. And we could save a lot of money, or print space in the newspaper.

After all, in our way of saying it we can always quip, ‘Menda gok standad standad ning?’

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