Don’t Stupid-Lah, Brudder
By Nury Vittachi
A unique brand of pan-Asian English really exists, readers reckon. Its vocabulary comes from English, but grammar and word-order comes from Chinese, according to an academic. Singapore already has lots of works in Asian English, but examples can also be found in Malaysia and Indonesia.
This discussion reminded me of a one-act play called Don’t Stupid-Lah, Brudder, which was written entirely in Englasian by a group of contributors to the Far Eastern Economic Review. In it, you can “hear” three variations of Englasian: East Asian, South Asian and Australian.
Plot: Mal, a Malaysian investor, is having kopi (coffee) with an Indian accountant named Indra. They are in a hotel in Jakarta waiting for Oz, an Australian entrepreneur, with whom they are setting up a business.
Mal: Plan latest where got?
Indra: Not having. Maybe Oz has?
Mal: He here already, is it?
Indra: Yesterday already he checked in.
Mal: [Pointing to Indra’s bag] Inside is what?
Indra: Contact list and other sundry items.
Mal: Contack how many? Hundred-over?
Indra: Two hundred-over.
Mal: Waah. Damn good. Oz is where? Mat salleh sleep too much always. Make me frus only.
Oz: Greetings! Hi, chooks. Bit late—apologies.
Mal: No nid-lah. Sit-sit, don’t shy.
Oz: You Indra? Pleaseta meetcha.
Indra: We met before one time, no? At the party to felicitate my cousin-brother, a revered Sydneysider?
Oz: Yeah, right.
Mal: Waah, stylo-milo only-lah today you.
Oz: Huh? Oh. My clothes were a bit daggy after the flight so I got a new shirt and some daks.
Mal: Nice, man. Now start already.
Indra: You are bringing business plan?
Oz: Godit right here in me bag.
Indra: Put the papers out. Projections, case studies, like that, also need.
Mal: Bank account have?
Mal: Cover letters ready, is it?
Oz: No worries. Needs number crunching but.
Mal: Total down is what?
Indra: About eight crore-over.
Mal: Talk cock-lah you!
Indra: For one lakh output.
Mal: How can? No need so much.
Indra: Ya, nine crore-over maybe. You don’t know, goondu.
Mal: Why you say me like that?
Oz: Don’t do yer lolly. Let’s have a squiz.
Oz: What does aiyeeah mean, anyway?
Mal: No word in English. Only Indian.
Oz: What is ‘Aiyeeah’ in Indian?
Mal: Let’s go to my room, can crunch numbers on my laptop.
Indra: First must do the needful.
[All three speak together to the waiter.]
Oz: Bill please.
Mal: My dan.
[The waiter, being fluent in Englasian, understands all three speakers, but being a loyal speaker of Bahasa, ignores them all.]