Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Language is flexible

Nuha may not realize it, but she has always managed to make me and supermama laugh our heart out with her nonchalant and innocent manipulation of the languages both english and malay.

Just the other day as we were passing a hindu temple, when she suddenly said "mama, look fahfire" (pronounced as fah-fah year). So, naturally myself and supermama were like "huh! What? Papaya?" Then she looked at us as if we were a couple of dimwits who never went to school, and said it again this time a tad louder "no mama, FAHFIRE." In my mind i was thinking it's either she saw something burning at the far end of the temple compund or it was some cartoon character she remembered from playhouse disney... Probably a friend of Dibo or one of the animal mechanicals that she loves so much at the moment. Before i could ask her again and make myself look like an idiot, Supermama beat me to it and offered her neck instead "fahfire tu apa Nuha?" Nuha gave a long sigh just like a teacher who had just been asked the same question a millionth time. But she went on to answer because it was Supermama who had asked her. I suspect if it was abah who asked, she would just rolled her eyes, look at me as though i came from pluto, gave up on it and asked me to buy her some smarties instead.

Anyways, so Nuha proceeded to give us a lesson in the simplicity of the english language that we had missed in our rush to become adults. "Mama, if only one fire we say fire. If lot lot fire we say fahfire". Supermama was the first to laugh while i, being the perpetually slower one managed to keep a straight face for about 2 seconds. Maybe saying lot-lot fire sounds too baby-ish, therefore one needs to improvise. And more importantly, if you can see them it means you can count them. Sometimes you add the letter “s” after the word to show that there are more than one of the items being scrutinized. But if you’re a 5 year old, you can instead add whatever you feel like putting anywhere on the word, and say it with the straightest of face. Whatever it is, “fahfire” deserves a place in the annals of Malaysian language, arguably on the same shelf with “together-gether”.


  1. Haha.. Kids do amaze us adults with their logic..My eldest, Alysa macam your Nuha le.

  2. they dont just amaze you, they knock you off your feet most of the times.

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  4. salam zombiedaddy...found the link to ur blog from LG's blog..hahaha good one!! reading this entry makes me lahlaugh!! ;p

    JUNE 11, 2009 10:57 PM

  5. salam, thank you for enjoying my rahramblings.. :)

  6. haha. really fuhfunny laa. ;P soo cute!


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