Learn English (?)

12-October 2009


“Use hidden soldiers to minimize fooling her…” when I scrolled down the text message, the sender explained that this is what this famous personality said in his latest shampoo advertisement (translation: Use Head and Shoulders to minimize falling hair).

I admit I find it amusing, although I do feel a tad guilty for laughing and sometimes even making fun of this myself. It’s weird though because English is not really our native tongue. Yet we regard those who are fluent in English very highly. There are times when we even equate one’s English proficiency with his intellectual quotient.

In the past, I have met and become friends with many people who are not very articulate in English, but who are nonetheless just as sensible, talented and smart as the next English speaking guy. They may have trouble expressing themselves in English but if you ask them about their philosophies in life, or you watch them build or create something so intricate or beautiful or fantastic, knowing full well that they never had any formal training or education – now that I reckon, is more impressive that somebody who can speak English with an American, Australian or British accent!

I know it has something to do with this “colonial mentality” again, but I reckon we should also try to be less critical and be more open-minded. After all, some of the more developed countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France and Belgium aren’t native English speakers. In the end, what we do is more important than what we say or how we say it.

 

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