If you have spent anytime in Malaysia, or around Malaysians, you will have heard the expression "lah" used as a sort of punctuation point. I first heard the expression when I was a graduate student in Indiana. Malaysian students would go around saying: "What's up lah?" or "Hey let's get going lah!."
I was walking around in Malaka (Malaysia) in mid-December 2006 when I came across this sign below.
I love the expression. It brings a melodic quality to communicating in English. It also extends a neo-colonial imprint over English.
I heard folks in Singapore use "lah" as well. In Malaysia and Singapore the expression was used by Malays, Chinese, and Indians. To "lah" is multicultural. So it seems "ek se" (I say).
"Ek se" is the closest we come to "lah" in South Africa. It is used by the apartheid generation. And it is definately not a white thing but a 'people of color' thang. You may hear folks say: "It's hot today ek se!"
Now I may be dating myself somewhat here. I say this because the younger set seem more hip-hop in expressions than my geezer generation. No-less lah, hip-hop is really an African American thing ek se. Just jiving my broer (brutha), hip-hop is universal hey. Right?
Just ask Julian Brizi who admits being "uncomfortable around black people" but is still true-blue to hip-hop like his "Wanksta Wigger" hero pictured here.
Ok so I'm not hating on hip hop. I still sorta dig (yeah I said dig) Dead Prez even now that they front being "gangsta" for Sony and Columbia or "fake fake fake records."
Guess you can't have it all and still be radical ... you know the white kids gots to buy your stuff ... cause "It's Bigger than Hip Hop" ... or maybe not.
But back to sinage I saw in Malaka. This very good advice sign below was next to the "Lah" one above.
Then this one on a door.
I walked through the door to find a load of anti-Bush tee shirts by local artists. Sadly none in XL ... dammit. And it is not like Malaysia does not have the four major food groups (McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza hut, and KFC).
In fact the pace of building new fast food places seemed quite frenetic. In the picture below they were thanking patrons even while under construction.
Hmmmmm .... I wonder if Anglela boo boo in Portland is free for some artery clogging murder? Just kidding me sista ... how about some vegetarian tacos? ;0)
Damn, I am having a hard time thinking on one track here.
You know I tried to find some of my roots in Malaysia. In Malaka I came the closest. And I took a picture for the folks back home.
So visit Malaysia ya'all ... "it rocks dude." ;0)
It has been 50 years since independence (Merdeka Day) when Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj (below) sent the British home for good!
Ok, so "Man it's Hot Lah" in Kimberley today (Saturday). By 10am we had already hit 90 degrees plus. And it is supposed to get even hotter ... 100 degrees plus.
Wonder what the weather is doing in Tony Blair's pants ek se ... ;0)