KUALA LUMPUR: An anecdote from a Malay student trying to master the English language while preparing to further his studies abroad had the delegates in stitches during the debate on the economy at the Umno General Assembly 2013 yesterday.
The delegate from the Federal Territory, Afendi Zahari, said the incident occurred at the airport when the student from the East Coast accidentally bumped into a foreigner and tried to apologise in English.
“The student bumped into the ‘white man’ near the staircase at the airport and said ‘I am sorry’. The man responded: ‘I am sorry too’. When he heard the word ‘too’, the student replied ‘I am sorry three’.
“Puzzled at the reply from the student, the man asked ‘what for?’, the boy later responded ‘I am sorry five’,” said the Titiwangsa Umno division deputy head.
Following the endless apologies from the student, he said the foreigner began to get annoyed and said: “I’m sick of this.”
Continuing his anecdote, Afendi said that without realising he (the student) had annoyed the foreigner, as a courteous Malay, the student continued to apologise saying: “I’m sorry seven.”
“This is the problem when we don’t know how to speak in English,” he said to loud laughter from the delegates.
However, he said that the lesson from this humorous incident was most significant as it showed how important it was to master the English language from school and the resolve of a ‘kampong boy’ to master the global language unashamedly. — Bernama