“Don’t use ‘lah’, it will bring you down in society”

Here’s an unwanted advice from the wrong views of my grandmother which (this post will evidently suggest), is SO ANNOYING lahhhhh. Hence, the colorful language used in this professional passage that has been emotionally suppressed. Viewer’s discretion is advised.

Today, while I was having a civil Malaysian conversation with my sister, my grandmother came down to have her breakfast. While we were contemplating on how our subject matter should have reacted in a seemingly avoidable complex situation, my grandmother decided it was time to cut into our interesting conversation with a very urgent corrective advice. “You know girls, I have been listening to your conversation, and I think you use too much LAH.”. She took the opportunity to continue as we sat there, contemplating our options to run, look at our bag, choose our pokemon, or fight as this wild ADVICE appeared.

“Even in conversations between the both of you, you shouldn’t use the word LAH. When you speak to your friends and other people, don’t use the word lah and they will look up to you”. In polite confusion my sister explained that it’s what we’re comfortable with and our friends will think that we’re arrogant if we spoke in powdaful england, which we’re fully capable of doing so anyway. Besides, it is simple psychology to emulate each other in a conversation to feel comfortable and connected, that is after all, the main objective of a conversation. I also chipped in saying that we are already ‘up’ enough, whatever that means, and it works fine for us. But our explanations weren’t enough, as grandma Nazi wasn’t convinced.

“I’m trying to bring you UP” she said, but being overseas most of the time and out of our lives, my parents already had done most of the ‘bringing up’ of two humans, who are now 20 and 26 year old. “No, I mean bring you UP in society. Even when you speak to locals, you shouldn’t use LAH. I don’t use it with my friends and I don’t think they feel that I am arrogant. When you are out in the society you will understand”. She said a lot more, but she’s my grandma, so let’s all cut her some slack, k? k.

First of all, I AMMMM A LOCAL, unlike my grandma of god-like social status (or at least, that’s what she likes to think) who has been everywhere but Malaysia until now. How do you even know if your friends don’t think you’re arrogant because personally, you are arrogant if you can even THINK to be ‘above’ others (and you’re obviously not very wise to think a single, meaningless word can bring me ‘UP’ my social circle or whatever lah). Your friends will be so hurt if they found out on how you think of them. Most importantly, your kind gesture to extend your noble help to bring us Up in society, to YOUR level shows one very important, disgusting thing about your opinion of us: We are beneath your ‘level’ in society. Besides, my sister is already working, my parents use lah after being ‘out in the society’ for decades and no one’s dead yet.

If being on your level would mean looking down upon all my relatives and friends who mean so much to me; creating a false image that I can even be a level above anyone at all; placing importance on a meaningless, harmless word above things like knowledge, wisdom and sincerity; fearing unnecessarily that someone could be ‘above’ me and give them the unofficial rights to be biased against me (this explains so much about your attitude to our family) then no thank you, because that is, in your terms, Beneath me. Honestly, my mind wouldn’t have been sent into such turbulence if she said we should stop using Lah because it is grandmatically wrong (see what I did there).

So, being the low-classed grand-daughter that I am, I told her:” It isn’t really a problem for us, we’re ‘up’ enough and doing fine, but thank you for your concern.”, smiled, went upstairs to turn on my laptop and abuse my keyboard, oh well, classless is what classless does.

*Featured image is from Joel Sartore’s instagram founder of Photo Ark.


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