Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mangrove | Get in the groove


I just love telling my 'mangrove story'. When I was in my late 20s, I had my 'mangrove experience'.

A group of us from various companies of an industry was on an excursion. It was supposed to be a fun outing which interspersed a serious seminar or something. We were on a boat cruising an exotic beautiful seaside. I had perused the itinerary and understood that we were going to be taken on a boat to some beautiful cove - an inlet near the river mouth we were cruising, so I imagined. In actual fact the word mangrove was printed on the program but I took it for granted and was hoping to see some picturesque place.

Then the boat took us through some ugly looking swampy area, I got impatient, so my big mouth blurted as I read the itinerary out loud: "I thought they were supposed to show us: mangrove?" Then everyone on the boat laughed at me. It was evident that I didn't know or realize we were actually passing by some mangrove. And that mangrove is what it is. I didn't know what mangrove was. I mean I knew what it was because my kampung (village) has plenty of them. And then one smart fella (a Muslim woman in hijab) poked fun at me saying: 'Oh you don't know what mangrove is? That's mangrove', pointing her finger snobbishly. My automatic reaction was: "Oh I don't need to see this because we have plenty of them in my kampung." Then the proud Muslim lady just had to rub salt into the wound saying: 'Oh you have a language barrier!'

Wow! Then my heart sank. But I just kept quiet. In my heart, I muttered, 'I bet you don't know the word gnosis.'

Few years later I heard this lady left the industry for good. I, the person with a language barrier happened to further my studies in Scotland hoping to learn difficult words like mangrove.

I am telling this story for my niece and nephew, to impress upon them that English is an important language especially at workplace. If you don't know even a simple word like mangrove, people might just hit you and hit you bad. So please buck up, and get in the groove of learning at least a new English word a day.

Never stoop so low.

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