I think I owe you an explanation and I have decided to pen this open letter by way of making you understand me better. And to other readers, I have devoted this letter to one of five of my regular readers mainly because I have never once spelt her name right. And for this I owe her an apology and an explanation.
Blarabella, please do not feel offended for in KakTehSpeak, you are not alone – in fact you are among some great names that my tongue always manage to do a sommersault – these are Harrifon Sord, East Clintwood, the writer Rahman Shurdi and lately my dear friend Dato Chimmy Joo. I once introduced a friend saying he works for Shong Kong Hai Hai Bank.
Brablalela, please read on. I have tried to understand why I am the way I am inspite of being a broadcaster and the occassional MC. During these occassions I never did slip – may be I was on auto mode.
I found an enlightening article in Readers’ Digest which partly explains the occasional embarrassing slip. It was Reverend William Archibald Spooner who gave numerous “tinglish Errors and English terrors” during his time and thus the term “Spoonerism”.
He was the one who told off a student that he had “tasted two worms for hissing his mystery lecture”.
Reading about this genial old gentlemen, I am comforted by the fact that people like him are said to have such nimble brains that their tongues just have problems catching up with. The Greeks, explained the article, have a term for this, and it is called METHATHESIS - the act of changing words around and English of course offer fertile grounds for the likes of Spooner as it has three times more words than any other language.
I discovered this annoying impediment during my school days, and it usually happens when I am agitated or excited or tired. I remember trying to explain to my lecturer Rohana Ghani why I couldn’t hand in my assignment –and while trying to do so, managed to call her Rohani Ghana. Once, late for an assignment, I jumped into a taxi and asked the driver to take me to Jubang Saya.
Friends have hilarious times when I am around. Everynight, in our dorm, we would do the rounds of saying goodnight.
Fati: Goodnight, Mia.
Mia: Goodnight Riza.
Riza: Goodnight Tini.
Tini, Goodnight Kak Teh .
Kak Teh: Goodni tinight…..
A friend trying to be helpful recently asked me to read a book called “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat” and he said, sympethetically, that that book could perhaps help me understand what is increasingly becoming embarrassing. So, off I went to a bookshop in Oxford Street, all the while memorising the title – a long one which I knew would give my tongue some trips. Lining up behind the info queue I repeated “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat “ several times and when I reached the salesgirl to ask for the book I said: Excuse me, do you have a book called “ A Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Coat Hanger?” She gave me an odd look but almost immediately knew that I need help. This time, it wasn’t my tongue – it was my brain. It was up to mischief and doing word associations – which I don’t really need at this time, okay? Thank you!
Now, this Blabralela – is another of my problems and if after this posting you stop visiting my blog – I do understand. Perhaps I am dyslexic? This , I am told is a certain kind of dyslexia.
My nearest and dearest ones have come to understand me when I tell them that “the stow has snopped” or “please low the mown”. My long suffering husband also knows that when I give directions to turn right, it means left. Once we were walking to a friend’s place and when we came to a junction, he said “Oh, turn left here.” There, we parted company. This also somewhat explains why I never passed my driving test.
Brablarela, that is not all. My most embarrasing moment was when I had to call my childminder’s husband to ask if he would kindly drive to get the children from school. The conversation went like this:
KT: Abang, saya lambat baliklah. Boleh abang ambik budak-budak di sekolah.
Abang: Oh, Abang tak ada kereta.
(At this time, my eyes were scanning a guestlist posted on a notice board and among the guests was a French lady called Gigi)
KT: Oh, Abang tak ada (eyes to the list) gigi?
It is not as if I don’t realise my slip – At this point my face felt very hot ‘cos Abang really doesn’t have teeth!!
I do this too when I am typing and speaking on the phone at the same time. The phone conversation will consist of partly the original conversation and whatever I was typing on the screen.
You know, I suddenly thought of other contributory factors. As children, we used to have secret codes so that adults wouldn't understand us. My siblings and I still do this so that our children don’t understand our conversation. It goes like this: Kak Mak Teh Meh nak mak pi mi mama nama? (Kak Teh nak pi mana?) or perhaps when I was born, the bidan slapped my head (instead of my other cheeks) and dislodged a few cells…. Oh, whatever!
So, Blarabela, this is your Tak Keh signing off. Apart from the above, I am quite harmless!
Have a dood gay!