Sunday, December 20, 2009


"Can also can,la. Or can not also can la."

This utterance may sound like the outpourings of an inebriated moron. But the originator of this purported mambo-jumbo was a perfectly level-headed classmate of mine, a Malaysian student who was telling in his own style that certain thing may or may not be possible. And he belonged to a clan that, at our college campus, spoke its own brand of English which we fondly called 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 their la-nguage with 'la' had sired quite a few campus gags.

Take the case of an out-patient clinic incident. A Minglishman(MM) internee 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, in fact, didn't know her , but his 'come, la' souded like the lady's name: KAMALA!

When a Minglishman(MM) who came back after watching a Hindi movie 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 some time. But the fact of the matter was that the title of the Hindi movie that the first MM saw was '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." Surprised, he asked, "How can you drink mango, la? You can only eat it, no?" I caught his drift and corrected myself by saying, I drank Mangola, la."

The campus grape-vine 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 cop, "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!!

So, it went on, la. The saga of Minglishman at the campus, la. He was a good mean a good fella, la.

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