Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) homework

I just ended a frustratingly hilarious (sounds contradictory right?) Bahasa Melayu (BM) homework session with Caitlin. Of course my daughter's BM sucks since we are an almost-100%-English-speaking family. Our fault for not making the effort to teach her other languages...

She is pretty advanced in speaking and reading English for her age and coming along quite well in reading Mandarin with the extra classes she goes to. As for BM, she's only exposed to it in school.

Her handwriting is the 'frustrating' part of 'frustratingly hilarious'. She is an impatient kid who can't sit still for long so although she can write properly if she focuses, she 'prefers' to write quickly (so that she can move on to more fun stuff like books, toys or TV), resulting in overly large, misshapen letters with inconsistent size and spacing. So my patience is always tested here in trying to get her to focus and write properly.

Me: Caitlin, you need to write on the line and don't write the letters too big, otherwise there's not enough space to finish the sentence.

Caitlin: Mum, do sharks eat everything? (see what I mean? I sometimes wonder what goes on in that whirring mind of hers, always 'jumping' around different thoughts)

Me (rolling my eyes and feeling @#&*?): What does your book about sharks say?

Caitlin: It says they eat everything, even shoes, rubbish...

Me: That means we must not pollute the sea. The sharks will die if they eat everything. Now, write!

Then I thought I'd get her to read and understand/explain the sentences she had written.

Caitlin: Ibu membeli dua biji durian di pasar. (Mother bought two durians from the market).

Me: What does it mean?

Caitlin: The durian is round.

Me: LOL (this is the 'hilarious' part of 'frustratingly hilarious'). It means mother bought two durians from the market....

Caitlin: Dua ekor burung sedang menyanyi (Two birds are singing)

Me: What does it mean?

Caitlin: The birds cannot sing well.

Me (trying hard not to laugh): No, the birds ARE singing. "Sedang" means they are "doing something". Why can't they sing well?

Caitlin: Because the music notes are all crooked in this picture (the picture illustrating the sentence).

Hellllp....she's going to Year One in proper school next year (read more homework!)....

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