Recently, there have been calls over social media in Malaysia to refrain from speaking in one’s mother tongue in a mixed public or professional setting.
These calls have come at a time when divisive issues continue to plague multiracial Malaysia.
As a lecturer who has been serving in the education sector for the past 10 years, I have noticed this phenomenon isn’t something new; it has always been there, whether in a professional setting or in the classroom.
I have taught students of different ethnic backgrounds and witnessed how there will always be certain groups or individuals who find it a challenge to speak in a common language (other than their first language). It bothers me every time I come across those who are present but who do not understand the language being used and see the look on their faces change from puzzled to annoyed.