Speaking with an accent... and proud of it
For a long time, it’s both puzzling and hurtful that my closest family and friends would judge me for my accent or the way I speak. I’d usually keep quiet and not defend myself. The thing is, they don’t know what I grew up with; neither are they aware of my love affair with the English language.
You see, I’ve always loved the English language. From a very young age, I endeavored to speak and write well. I read voraciously, often re-reading the same books over and over when I ran out of literature. I’d hunt down books from any and every library within my reach, borrowing up to a dozen books on a weekly basis from my school library, the local public library; even the tiny collection of books in my little church library.
Every weekday night at 9pm sharp, I’d grab my little yellow chair, place it right in the middle of the living room in front of the television and watch the news channel, intently listening to the news anchor speak, pronounce, and enunciate every word.
One of my favorite books is the Oxford English Dictionary. I love browsing the pages of the dictionary learning new words and attempting to apply them in the next sentence I’d write in my essays. The newest word I learnt recently is probity, which I’m excited to apply in a post I’d write about my husband whom I adore and who is probably one of few people who respect me in this area (yes I married up and I married right - yay!).
Since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of living in an English-speaking environment so I could speak good, proper English, not half mixes of English and Chinese dialects as is the case growing up in Malaysia and Singapore. So at the first chance of moving to America and whenever I’m in England, I’d thrive in these countries because I could finally be free to speak the language I love so much, in all its clarity and beauty.
Yet people who knew me growing up in Malaysia and Singapore would mock or chide me for “speaking with an accent.” I find that uncalled for. If you’re my friend and you knew how important the English language is to me, and that as a writer and communicator, I strive to present the language in the clearest, most articulate way possible, then you should respect that and not make fun of me.
I’d much rather respect my calling in life than to succumb to expectations of conformity to a narrow view of life. I don’t fit not because I’m a rebel; I don’t fit because I am purpose-driven.
And so I'll truck forward, and invite you to come along with, because I'm on my way to creating some new, kickass content in various mediums - in words, in moving images, in stills. Support me if you love me, step aside if you don't. Whether you're coming along or not, I'm moving ahead full steam. ;)