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Bahasa Malaysia is Malaysia's national language and is formerly known as Bahasa Melayu (Malay language). It is not only spoken in Malaysia but is also widely spoken in Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore. Some people say that Bahasa Malaysia is an easy language. To a certain extent it is, but believe me, it is not so easy that you can afford to study it while listening to your favourite music at the same time!
The truth is there is no EASY language in the world. Everything is relative so when people say that Malay is an easy language what they really mean is that it IS easy when compared to studying a language like English, French or Mandarin, for example. Thus if you might need to spend at least 300 hours studying English, French or Mandarin before you are able to use it in a simple conversation, you need only spend say, 100 hours studying Malay before you are able to do so. This is because in Malay there is no past tense or past participles of verbs to study as in English, the verbs are not conjugated as in French and you don't have to worry about getting the tones right in order to be understood as you have to in Mandarin.
Lesson 24 Anda hendak minum apa? (What do you want to drink?)
Saya hendak minum kopi.
Anda hendak minum apa?
Saya hendak minum teh.
Dia minum susu tiap-tiap pagi.
Kawan saya minum air sahaja.
I want to drink coffee.
What do you want to drink?
I want to drink tea.
He drinks milk every morning.
My friend only drinks water.
hendak = to wish
(also, to want)
minum = to drink
kopi = coffee
teh = tea
susu = milk
tiap-tiap pagi = every morning
kawan = friend
air = water
sahaja = only
For those who want to know more:
Please refer to Lesson 14 on the use of hendak.
"Beer" and "whisky" keep their English pronunciation though their spelling is changed in Malay to bir and wiski in conformity with Malay spelling rules. Thus:
Dia suka minum bir tetapi saya suka minum wiski. = He likes to drink beer but I like to drink whisky.
Another "foreign" drink that keeps its English pronunciation is "wine" though it is spelt the Malay way eg. Saya hendak minum wain.
And after drinking so much whisky and wine don't be surprised if you become mabuk. Yes, you guessed it! Dia mabuk means "He is drunk".
When asking a guest what he wants to drink, it is perhaps better to use hendak (wish) than suka (like).
However, instead of asking Anda hendak minum apa? you can also ask Anda mahu minum apa? (What do you want to drink?) in which case the answer would be Saya mahu minum kopi.
Note that mahu is normally pronounced mau in its spoken form.
As you've just learnt, the Malay word for milk is susu so coffee with milk is kopi susu and tea with milk teh susu. Similar to teh susu (except that it is covered with a thick layer of froth) is teh tarik. It means "pulled" milk tea. You'll have to see the teaman in action tossing the tea from one receptacle to your teacup to understand what this really means. Go below or click here for photos of the teh tarik seller. Those who are new to Malaysia will soon find out that teh tarik is a real social leveller in Malaysia and considered as its national drink. Whether you are King or just a common labourer everyone has a right to his glass of teh tarik. In fact when the price of fuel was increased in Malaysia even non-motorists protested as they felt that this would have an impact on the price of a glass of teh tarik! And have you heard of this? An attempt will be made by the first Malaysian astronaut to make teh tarik in space when he accompanies the Russian space launcher on October 6, 2007. It's going to be a really acrobatic act!*
Coffee without milk (but with sugar) is called kopi O (pronounced "or") or kopi kosong. Same for tea - ask for teh O or teh kosong. If you want either with ice cubes just add the word ais (as in "ice" - its English origin) or beng (Chinese origin). This is a good example of the versatility of the Malay language adopting words from other languages like all active and dynamic languages do.
Malaysians normally take their coffee and tea sweet so if you don't take sugar you have to add tanpa gula (without sugar) or tak mau gula (don't want sugar)
But what if it is not sweet enough? Just say Tak cukup manis. Tolong tambah sedikit gula lagi. (It's not sweet enough. Please add some more sugar.)
Oh, I nearly forgot. How do you say "I feel thirsty" in Malay? It's Saya berasa dahaga.
There is another word for thirsty. It's haus. So you can also say Saya berasa haus.
Incidentally "coffee shop" in Bahasa Malaysia is kedai kopi.
It is equivalent to the English pub or the French café and you go there not just for a cup of coffee but also to have your meals (nasi lemak, roti canai, char koay teow, etc) or to sembang (chat) with your friends (which can be very loud at times, everyone feeling as much at home in a coffee-shop as in his own house!).
By the way please note that the first syllable in sembang is pronounced as in the English word "same" and not as the first syllable of sembilan which, as you have already learnt in Lesson 5, means "nine".
In fact the kedai kopi is such an institution in Malaysia and the Chinese word for it kopitiam ("tiam" meaning shop in Chinese) so widely used that the word has recently found its way into the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka's authoritative Malay dictionary Kamus Dewan (edisi keempat) which appeared in 2005 (the previous edition came out in 1994 and did not include the word) with this entry:
kopitiam = kedai kopi
Another place where Malaysians like to hang out is the "mamak" stall ("mamak" being the word locals use for an Indian converted to Islam), though if you use the word to refer to an Indian Muslim it could stir up some hot Indian blood! And knowing how spicy Indian curries are I would advise you not to use it! Read more about the "mamak stall" in this Wikipedia article.
From kedai kopi meaning "coffee shop" (in Malay the adjective comes after the noun, remember?) you would have guessed that the Malay word for "shop" is kedai. Thus Saya akan pergi ke kedai kasut esok means "I shall be going to the shoe shop tomorrow".
Cultural note: At social functions drinks are normally offered and received with both hands.
The first photo shows an apprentice teh tarik seller and the second someone who has been selling teh tarik all his life.
*LATEST (from The Star Online of 27 September 2006):
KUALA LUMPUR: There will be no teh tarik or roti canai for our Malaysian astronaut when he is up in space next year. Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said that even during their one-year training at Star City in Moscow, space candidates Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Kapten Dr Faiz Khaleed have to go without these local favourites because their food and diet would be planned by nutritionists.