Monday, January 19, 2009

Silent E

PBS is bringing back an old friend, The Electric Company, from the 70s! Yay!

The people of Malaysia, an ex-British colony, speak English, albeit one sprinkled with local idioms informed by the Malaysian language and various Chinese and Indian dialects. But as I was growing up, my young country was still establishing itself as an independent sovereignty and cutting ties to its colonial past. School curriculum reflected that goal and the medium of instruction went from English in many of the schools to the national language, Bahasa Malaysia. Text books were translated, teachers had to brush up on their Bahasa, and the teaching of English took a back seat.

Watching TV and listening to music became an avenue to learn English. (Pop songs weren't exactly the best way to learn English. I remember my mother correcting us when we belted "But she don't care!" or when I happily proclaimed, "There's a kind of rush, all over the world, tonight...")

But The Electric Company was great! My cousins and I looked forward to watching the program every Saturday when I was a middle-schooler. I still remember the sketch in which a man relaxing in a TUB suddenly found himself stuck in a giant toothpaste-like TUBE because the evil Silent-E just paid him a visit.

I hope this new version of my old friend will become just as beloved by the current youngsters.

The Electric Company-y-y-y!


Nandini said...

Hmmm ... I thought it was "A kind of hush, all over the world ..." did I have it wrong all those years? And yes, the music, and the BOOKS!!! That's how we got our English! Did you read Enid Blytons growing up too?!

Yat-Yee said...

Yes, it was "hush" but I got it wrong and never realized it! My brothers just laughed without bothering to correct me at ll.

Enid Blyton is the reason I love reading. Mallory Towers and Famous Five are my fav series. St. Claires were good too.

Yat-Yee said...

Nandini: just thought of my switching words in pop songs. In How Deep is Your Love by Bee Gees there is a line that goes "And you come to me on a submarine" (!) (supposed to be summer breeze.)

Nandini said...

I can just see the Bee Gees lady love on a submarine ... LOL!!
I still have some Famous Fives! And I love that in the new generation Famous Five George's daughter is half Indian (Jo, short for Jyoti).

Yat-Yee said...

I didn't know there is a new generation FF! Is Jo just like her tomboy mom, then? And has just as great a dog?

Do you have to order from Amazon uk or did you get yours from India?

Nandini said...

Yat-Yee - It's a Disney animated series from the UK. Check out a preview here Famous Five. You don't get it in the US but my kids watch it on our trips to Australia (half my family lives there). Hmmm ... I should do a blog post about this! Happy Inauguration Day!