A LA MINGLISH
“Can also can, la. Or can not also can, la.”
This utterance, translated into simple English means that a certain thing may or may not be possible. But, to the uninformed layman, it may sound like the outpourings of an inebriated moron. But the originator of this purported mumbo-jumbo was a perfectly level-headed classmate of mine, a Malaysian Indian. And he belonged to a clan that, at our college campus, spoke its own brand of Malaysian English which we fondly called the Minglish.
As evident from the opening quote, the exponents of Minglish were truly a ‘la-abiding” folk, which meant that they unfailingly used the suffix ‘la” at the end of each sentence. As in the case of ‘Where are you going, la?” Or as in ‘I am going to the gym, la” And this propensity of theirs towards la-cing the la-nguage with ‘la” had sired quite a few campus gags.
Take the case of an out-patient incident. A Minglishman (MM) house surgeon, beckoning a lady patient, said, “You there, come, la”. The lady, as she approached the doctor, asked with amazement, ‘How do you know my name?” He didn’t know her name, but his ‘come, la” sounded like the lady’s name: KAMALA.
When a Minglishman (MM) who came back after watching a Hindi film met another MM, their conversation went something like this:
“Which movie you saw, la?”
“I didn’t ask if the movie is good or bad, la. I asked which movie, la.”
This cross-talk act went on for sometime. But the fact of matter was that the first MM had seen the Shatrugan Sinha’s starrer ‘Badla” (revenge).
Then there was this howler that occurred as I was coming out of a juice centre after drinking a brand of mango juice called ‘Mangola”. An MM friend of mine asked me “What did you drink, la?” I said “Mangola”. Surprised, he asked, “How can you drink Mango, la? You only eat it, no?” I caught his drift and corrected myself by saying “I drank Mangola, la.”
The campus grape-wine was once abuzz with the rumour that an MM was given a dressing-down by a girl at a car-park. Apparently, the MM in question pointed at his vehicle and told the traffic-warden, ‘That is my car, la.” But the lady standing next to the car gave him a tongue-lashing with a barrage of expletives. For, her name happened to be Carla!!
If I visit the campus today, I may hear a Minglishman sing ” Aati kya Khandalala….!