Overseas readers of this blog and my corresponding website often scratch their heads in puzzlement at my English or rather the way I use it.

Peggy Tan highlights the way Malaysians speakee English

Asking someone to make way
Britons: Excuse me, I’d like to get by. Would you please make way for me?
Malaysians: S-kews / squeeze me, please.

Asking someone to find out what had happened
Britons: Will someone please tell me what has just happened?
Malaysians: What happenleh? Why like that one?

When asking for permission
Britons: Excuse me, but do you think it would be possible for me to enter through this door?
Malaysians: (pointing at the door) Can enter ah?

When assessing a difficult situation
Britons: Hmmm. We appear to be in a bit of a predicament at the moment.
Malaysians: Ayoh! Die-lah! Mati loh?

When declining an offer
Britons: If you don’t mind, I’d prefer not to do that.
Malaysians: I don’t want lah.

In disagreeing on a topic of discussion
Britons: If you don’t mind, Timothy, I do have to interrupt, and I must say I have to disagree with you about this issue.
Malaysians: What stupid idea! You mad and crazy ah?

When asking somebody if he/she knows you
Britons: Excuse me, but you seem to be staring at me. Have we met before?
Malaysians: Why you look at me like that? See what?

When someone is angry
Britons: Would you mind not shouting at me?
Malaysians: Cilakak! You no manners or what man!

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