Thursday, 12 September 2013

A crisis of identity

Most of the people who know me in real life are subjected to one phrase that I like to use to get me out of sticky situations: English is my second language. This is one free pass that I use over and over and over again whenever I make grammatical errors and exhibit poor diction, or when I am drunk enough to use double negatives in my speech. I don't think I will ever stop using this free pass because (1) it is actually a statement of fact; (2) it is effective most of the time, including the times whereby people instantly bond with me over the fact that English is also their second, third, fourth language; and (3) it's free! Ha!

Then the day came that one of my favourite persons in this planet openly rolled his eyes in front of me and said something along the lines of "until when are you going to use that excuse" and to which I replied, in all honesty, "for the rest of my life".

Whhaat? See reason (1) above. 

And it so happened that we dined at an Indonesian restaurant, whereby I got the opportunity to actually orally converse in my first language. Naturally, I jumped at it and chattered away in Indo, how hard can ordering food be, and got the reply from the waiter (whom was joking and laughing in the kitchen moments before he rocked up at our table) in English.

If this happened one time, I would just totally brush it off as ... err... a case of mistaken identity? And of course, this just had to happen several times with several people on a number of different occasions, and the next thing I know, I rock up in an Indo church and not understand what the sermon is all about. (Kidding. But there was one time whereby that exact thing happened at an Indo church. I attributed that to the fact that the pastor was a poor speaker. Yeap, that totally got nothing to do with my language skills.)

Despite the fact that I speak my first language poorly, one thing that would forever remain true this is: English is still my second language. There is like absolutely nothing weird about preferring to converse in your second language, right? Right?

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