Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hinglish - Satu Pengalaman Kerja di Dubai - Malaysiakini

Sejak bekerja di Dubai, salah satu pengalaman menarik ialah kekeliruan dalam penggunaan bahasa dan istilah bahasa Inggeris. Oleh kerana ekspatriat dari benua Asia Selatan menjadi majoriti, maka pengaruh 'Hinglish' atau bahasa Inggeris acuan India agak kuat.
Memang melucukan kerana apabila sudah biasa dengan Manglish (Malaysian English), Hinglish menambah kekeliruan.
Begitupun, bahasa Inggeris saya tidaklah hebat. Cuma mungkin lebih baik dari sebilangan rakan sekerja yang bukan British, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans atau South Africans.
Bahasa Inggeris peringkat SPM dahulu pun sekadar PASS. Dan diperingkat HSC di New Zealand dahulu pun sekadar 'B'.
CEO di Dubai Internet City, Hamid benar-benar mengajar saya penggunaan bahasa Inggeris yang baik. Dia amat teliti dengan penggunaan perkataan, terma dan ayat. Seakan cikgu bahasa Inggeris dan saya bertuah mempunyai bos seperti beliau yang tidak lokek dengan ilmu.
Setelah bekerja di Nakheel, saya menjadi 'pengarang' untuk pelbagai lapuran, minit, tender dan kontrak. Sehingga bos terdahulu meminta menjadi 'speech writer' beberapa kali terutama ketika bergaduh melalui emel. Selian memperbaiki CVnya.
Hari ini bos sekali lagi mengingatkan saya yang beliau tidak akan menandatangani apa jua surat, lapuran, minit dan kontrak tanpa saya 'meluluskan'nya dahulu. Bermakna, sejak tiga tahun lalu, saya masih menjadi 'editor.'
Satu kerja tambahan tanpa apa-apa elaun yang semakin mencemuhkan dan menambah geram kerana mereka, para jurutera terus tidak memperbaiki bahasa Inggeris mereka. Penat membetulkan grammar dan ejaan dalam minit mesyuarat terutamanya.
Kata bos, "Masalah betul dengan Hinglish....bahasa Inggeris rasmi untuk bisnes mereka semua teruk!"
Mereka semua ini belajar sains dan matematik dalam bahasa Inggeris, tetapi lemah penguasaan bahasa Inggeris. Bukan kerja saya untuk membetulkan bahasa Inggeris mereka!
Ini mengingatkan kepada sitcom 'Mumbai Calling' dimana bahasa Inggeris ala Hinglish digunakan untuk sebuah pusat panggilan pelanggan...sila nonton dibawah.

Money: does anyone really know what it is any more?

Of all the novel elements in the new world of enterprise and exchange, none caused more headaches than money. A lot of diverse meanings crowded into that word. Money had always been a store of wealth, but it became the lubricator of a new economic order. It was now possible to buy and sell over longer distances and to preserve value farther into the future than had ever before been the case. Money had also become cash—the means of instant gratification. And money was—well—money, that is gold and silver minted to use as legal tender with the imprimatur of a monarch’s guarantee of amount and purity.

Money: does anyone really know what it is any more?
About 12cm long and 5cm deep, with a plain engraving of a white-haired man in a fancy cravat (George Washington) and bearing the signature of Anna Escobedo Cabral, the Treasurer of the United States, and Henry Paulson, the 74th Treasury Secretary, the dollar is the most widely held and recognised currency in the world. It carries the following explanation in small type: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”
On the reverse side there is a curious picture of a pyramid with the head lopped off and raised slightly, with an eye in the middle. It is hard to know what exactly this image signifies, a question that some people are beginning to ask about the currency itself. What exactly is a dollar worth these days – or indeed any other currency ?
It was clear enough in the Beatles’ days. It was all they wanted:
The best things in life are free
But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees
Now give me money (that’s what I want).

Money was simpler in those days. The Beatles earned most of their royalties in pounds sterling or dollars. The dollar was the major currency of the world by then, taking over from sterling. It was backed by gold. If you wanted to in the 1960s, you could take your dollar bill into a bank and exchange it for a measure of gold.
This exchange of paper for metal maintained a link from the very origins of currency. In the days of the Fertile Crescent in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) silver ingots were used to represent stored grain. The Romans also used silver coins, the Chinese bronze, the Indians gold. Then some bright spark realised that you could use something other than the metal to represent it.

Paper was lighter, and if it were destroyed you still had the metal in the safe. There is one problem with this, which is true as much today as ever: do you trust the person who is issuing the money? In other words, is the currency worth the paper it is written on?

In various times of turmoil the answer has been an unequivocal no. In the early 1900s, four or five German marks would buy one dollar. When war broke out in 1914 Germany abandoned its link to gold and began printing money instead. After the German defeat and the ruinous terms of the Treaty of Versailles, inflation began.

There is the tale of a student in Freiburg who ordered a cup of coffee in a cafe. By the time he paid for a second cup, 5,000 marks a cup had risen to 15,000 for two.

“You should have paid when you ordered,” said the cafe owner. You needed more than a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread. When the billion-mark note was issued, few bothered to collect the change when they used them. By November 1923, one trillion marks was needed to buy one US dollar. It is hardly surprising that the Germans are still terrified of inflation.

Hyperinflation is running rampant in Zimbabwe today, with beggars holding up placards saying: “Please help. Starving billionaire.”

America was the last country to abandon its link to gold, in 1971. All countries now expect their citizens – and outside investors – to trust their currencies. Often the decline of a currency will be an indication that people think the country’s economy is in trouble. When the pound began to sink this summer, it was followed shortly afterwards by the grim realisation that the economy was in trouble.

The British finance minister, Alistair Darling, is reported to be considering increasing the money supply by printing money in an effort to stave off deflation.

“Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed,” said George Osborne of the opposition Conservative party.

The fear is that even the world’s finest central bankers no longer have a clear grip on money. In the 1980s money supply was a tool used to keep a grip on a country’s economy. Money supply is the total amount of money available in an economy at a given time. Economists figured that if you could keep a track and even a brake on how much money was in the system, then you could control spending and therefore inflation.

There is M1 (coins in circulation); M2 (savings deposits); and M3 (large deposits, such as institutional funds). Most of these measures have been abandoned, mainly because nobody can be bothered to work them out any more. Central bankers now use interest rates to control the economy. But now that the US Federal Reserve has cut rates to almost zero, what tools does it have left?

Cynics might argue that it still has the printing press. It is perhaps an unfortunate coincidence that the designer of the US dollar chose to put a pyramid on the currency. Despite the all-seeing eye above it, pyramid schemes are very much in vogue and able to elude the most rigorous regulator. Once people no longer believe in money, it loses its value.

Or as Pink Floyd sang:
Money so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it’s no
That they’re giving none away.

Tun Mahathir Akui Khianati Bahasa Melayu - Malaysiakini

Tun Dr Mahathir telah menulis tentang, “Mengajar Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris,” dalam blognya,, pada 10 Ogos, 2008.

Tulisannya panjang juga, merangkumi 22 perenggan, bagi menjelaskan kenapa beliau memutuskan supaya sains dan matematik diajarkan dalam bahasa Inggeris sewaktu beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri.
Sangatlah penting beliau memperjelaskan dirinya kerana isu kebahasaan dan pendidikan ini bukan isu kecil, dan keputusan Tun Mahathir mengetepikan Bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa pengantar dalam mata pelajaran sains dan matematik sewaktu beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri adalah suatu keputusan yang membawa kesan sejarah yang buruk terhadap:

a. Kedudukan Bahasa Melayu atau bahasa kebangsaan sebagai bahasa ilmu;

b. Pendidikan pelajar-pelajar di sekolah rendah dan menengah; dan

c. Jati diri dan tamadun bangsa yang menghadapi cabaran globalisasi yang didominasi oleh nilai-nilai moral, kebebasan dan kapitalisme Barat.

Baca hentaman panjang Baha Zain di SINI.

Collective suffering fuels Palestinian resistance - Malaysiakini

No American leader has ever visited a Palestinian refugee camp anywhere, much less in Gaza - a startling fact, considering the central role America has played in our people's narrative. None has dared to look our refugees in their faces and experience their suffering directly.

By Mousa Abu Marzouk

Mousa Abu Marzouk is the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement.

Americans might believe that the current violence in Gaza began on December 27, but in fact Palestinians have been dying from bombardments for many weeks. On November 4, when the Israeli-Palestinian truce was still in effect but global attention was turned to the US elections, Israel launched a "pre-emptive" air strike on Gaza, alleging intelligence about an imminent operation to capture Israeli soldiers; more assaults took place throughout the month.

The truce thus shattered, any incentive by Palestinian leaders to enforce the moratorium on rocket fire was gone. Any extension of the agreement or improvement of its implementation at that point would have required Israel to engage Hamas, to agree to additional trust-building measures and negotiation with our movement - a political impossibility for Israel, with its own elections only weeks away.

Not that the truce had been easy on Palestinians. In the six-month period preceding the current bombardment, one Israeli was killed, while dozens of Palestinians lost their lives to Israeli military and police actions, and numerous others died for want of medical care.
The war on Gaza should not be mistaken for an Israeli triumph. Rather, Israel's failure to make the truce work, and its inevitable resort to bloodshed, demonstrate again that it cannot permit a future built on Palestinian political self-determination. The truce failed because Israel will not open Gaza's borders, because Israel would rather be a jailer than a neighbour, and because its intransigent leadership forestalls Palestinian destiny and will not make peace with history.

The war is not an attack on the Ezz Al Deen Al Qassam units - our movement's military wing - but is simply aggression targeting the people, infrastructure and economic life of Gaza, designed to sow terror and loose anarchy; it aims to establish new "facts on the ground" - that is, heaps of rubble with bodies trapped beneath - in advance of the coming American administration.
Israel claims loudly that it had no other choice but to rain death on refugees in camps, killing dozens of women and children, while Defence Minister Ehud Barak (the once and would-be prime minister) - his eye fixed on February elections - employs mass murder as his party's latest vote-getting appeal, an electoral strategy fit to shame the most hardened Chicago political operative.

But, of course, options remained available. Israel might have relented months ago, for the sake of the truce, in its criminal determination to starve Gaza, cutting off much of its fuel and choking all commerce to a trickle, blocking relief organisations from delivering food and medicine, and consigning Gaza's citizens to famine rations. Only the most cynical observer would call this grinding attrition "good faith" adherence to the truce. Blockades, after all, are explicitly acts of war.

Palestinians everywhere mark the closing of the Bush era with relief; nevertheless, scepticism runs high that any justice for our people might come from a new president who remained ominously silent in the presence of the latest Israeli onslaught and who has aligned himself so thoroughly with Israel's interests, so long in advance of taking power. Barack Obama's helicopter ride two years ago above the Holy Land was not unusual in the annals of American parliamentarians junketed on "fact finding" trips by Israel's lobbyists; yet his fond remarks on what he saw - "houses and streets like ones you might find" in any American suburb - were notable for their silence as to any troubling sights. Did he miss the security roads and checkpoints that riddle the West Bank, or the construction of the wall, or the illegal colonies? Perhaps his helicopter flew too high.

But now, amid Israel's latest attack on our people, as the death toll rises in the hundreds, with thousands wounded - all victims of American taxpayers' largesse - Palestinians wonder how Obama will react to the escalating crisis. They demand of the next White House a new paradigm of respect and accountability, because when Palestinians see an F-16 with the Star of David painted on its tail, they see America.

Palestinians are understandably guarded about the coming administration, noting its appointments with trepidation. The soon-to-be secretary of State is unforgettable for urging years ago US recognition of [occupied] Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital, while the administration's chief of staff bears the stain of his father's service in the banned terrorist Irgun paramilitary, a Zionist group responsible for numerous atrocities.

Renewed calls today for our movement to "recognise the right of Israel to exist", in the face of murderous onslaught, ring as hollow as Israel's continuing claims to be acting in "self-defence" as its jets bomb civilians. Without debating here the Zionist state's fictive, existential "right," which of the many Israels, precisely, would the West have us recognise? Is it the Israel that militarily occupies land belonging to three of its neighbours, ignoring international law and scores of UN resolutions over decades? Is it the Israel that illegally settles its citizens on other people's land, seizes water sources and uproots olive trees? Is it the Israel that in 60 years has never acknowledged the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their farms and villages as the foundational act of its statehood and denies refugees their right to return? Through bitter experience, when we hear demands for "recognition" of Israel as a precondition to dialogue, what we hear is a call for acquiescence in its crimes against us, validating the injustices that have been wrought in its name.

Our spirit to fight on is the legacy of collective suffering: With tens of thousands dead or wounded by decades of the "peace process", you cannot find a family in Palestine - Muslim or Christian, Hamas, Fatah, PFLP or Islamic Jihad - without a son or daughter killed, injured, jailed or tortured, or which does not count itself or its kin among the millions of refugees living in UN camps.

Hamas is not a handful of leaders. Israel might kill all of the current leadership in this round of violence, including me, and its organic, social infrastructure will not go away. We are, simply put, a homegrown national liberation resistance movement, with millions of people who support our struggle for freedom and justice.

Obama spoke courageously in his campaign for a policy of open dialogue, absent preconditions, with those deemed inimical to US interests, and we were listening. One former US president - a true peacemaker - has dared to visit with us and hear our side of this struggle, while offering us no shortage of criticism. It has been a refreshing exchange. Now is the time for the next US president to do the same.

No American leader has ever visited a Palestinian refugee camp anywhere, much less in Gaza - a startling fact, considering the central role America has played in our people's narrative. None has dared to look our refugees in their faces and experience their suffering directly.
In observance of the storied tradition of Arab hospitality to guests, and anticipating that day when an American president fulfills his promise of change, we extend the invitation now, and we will put the kettle on.