The most difficult subject since I’ve known ABC is of course English. In primary school, the English teacher had left a phobia in me….his perfume! Everytime I was scolded for saying an English word in Kelantanese accent, his stinking-cheap-nose-grabbing perfume would get into me. I will be in “phobic” whenever someone has the same odor on him. The subject was difficult then and it was even more difficult when I was in Wichita doing my undergraduate. I was on my third and final chance to get into the program as everyone has to pass this stupid English test called the Exit Examination before entering the university.So I registered into this class English 101 (for international students only). It was so depressing to be among the worst English speaking group of people on the face of the earth. They were mainly from Asian countries including Malaysia (mostly the kampong guys, like myself).It was the subject that I have been through many many times but it just could not get into my head. The mission was final and the action was desperate. And when a man is desperate he would not be thinking straight. I cheated….yes this poor guy cheated on his many assignments copying the essays and composition homework….they have a fancy name for that now….plagiarism! But at that time the mind set of a malay kampong boy was still unchanged….still suka meniru kawan…..how on earth would you escape when you copied an essay? An essay is basically a story, if copied then you were telling the same stories…how much is there for creativity? I was caught and so were a bunch of other friends of mine in that class…apparently I was not the only one desperate to get this over with. I was speechless when the teacher confronted not because of scared or anything but I just did not know how to answer her. In my mind I had all sort of reasons to cover the actions, but I guess world has no ears to listen to me. The jinx of this subject would remain in me for many more years to come. I was penalized for that particular assignment but did not fail that 101 class. I pulled it through with a C and went on to pass the Exit Examination.
The struggle was enormous effort for me. I just could not let it pass like that but keep English always on my tip toes. I can forget Maths or Calculus but not English. I will never let this one go for whatever reason the world wants me to. It will be mine for ever. This is my English and I will write the way I want it to sound. I want my English to tell you my stories….my own way.