Self-proclaimed No 1 broken-English blogger Tiger Lim has no qualms about critics who slam the unorthodox language he uses to write his blog.
The 36-year-old freelance sound engineer, whose blog www.tigerlim.com garners an average of 1,800 visitors daily, says he receives hate mails and comments every now and then from readers who express disdain over his preferred linguistic style.
"I've received (comments) in Youtube and in my blog people complain they disagree, they don't like, they jealous, they mad about me whatever," he says in a manner that shows nonchalance about syntax. "I just ignore it. People have their own point of views.
"Some people criticise me 'if you have a life like Tiger Lim, no need to pay the car bills, no need to pay the house, whatever then you can laugh like him'. But some people jealous actually, I understand that."
A mixture of Brunei Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin and Cantonese, his "broken English" is similar to Singlish, the infamous English-based creole spoken and written colloquially in Singapore. "Even though my English is broken It's lousy, it's bida (ugly) I still can blog. I just want to share my thoughts and ideas."
Tiger, whose real name is Lim Han Hu (he derived his nickname from his year of birth, the Year of the Tiger), insists that his forced use of the lingua franca has nothing to do with contempt for the standard English language, but rather a way to attract more attention and readers.
"Who said blogger must have good good English one o...?? I can proof to you all...!!! See I been writing my blog for three years sudah (already). My blog still survive wat... As long as you dare to do it whatever is it, sure you can success one...", reads the introduction to his website.
Tiger, who began blogging in 2007, came up with the idea after a failed opportunity to get a local bank to advertise on his website. A staffmember of the bank who was in charge of handling online advertisements informed Tiger that he did not get the contract, saying that his blog was not suitable for a corporate organisation and that his English was "very bad".
"From that day I thought, 'fine. my English is not good, so I want to be the best in broken English. I didn't disappointed actually. But because of that, I come up with the idea of how to be number 1."
Like most bloggers with a sense of humour, Tiger makes a point to turn the mundane into something comical and quite often his musings just turn out to be plain silly. He openly admits: "I have a lot of this kind of stupid things and jokes, so a lot of friends, they don't understand me. They don't catch me. But some people who know me, they know what's my message."
But as absurd as some of his posts are, he claims that at least two of his video posts have received over a million views a staggering number by Brunei's scale and have spurred on a number of remakes and translations by other viewers outside of the country.
Taking cues from popular comedic blog www.failblog.org, one of his videos pokes fun at a lady's attempt at reversing into a parking space behind Ripas hospital. Titled 'Auntie Driver Parking Fail', Tiger says the video has spread to countries as far as Taiwan and Australia with more than 10 different versions uploaded by other Youtube users.
The other video sees Tiger singing to Abba's 'One Way Ticket' in his car while stuck in a traffic jam on Tungku Link, though with modified lyrics "Jam jam jam jam, one day no jam, you no happy, I no happy, everyday must jam~".
"Most of my fans ah, it's Malaysians. Second is Bruneians. I can say that in Brunei, besides Zek even though Zek also cannot beat me (the two videos) until now is still spreading." Zek is a local student who in August shot to fame overnight after posting an apologetic video directed at his ex-girlfriend on Youtube.
On a more serious note, Tiger also makes it a point to write about all things wrong that he encounters in everyday life. A recent post describes a maintenance worker repairing the roof of a commercial building without any safety equipment. It reads: "Walan eh...... (a Hokkien exclamation expression) on top the roof there working alone and no safety equipment later if fall down sure very Jialat (doomed) one man..... But no worries la if your boss got buy insurance with that company sure the payment come out very fast one."
Tiger holds a strong belief that you sometimes have to be "the bad guy" and speak the truth. "Speak your mind. If you shut up, it turns out you are the one who's suffering. If you don't do it now, that's mean your next generation is going to follow."
Tiger, a former student of Chung Hwa School in Bandar, admits to criticising the school because he "wants them to be better".
"Because I am a Chinese here. You see that is the only Chinese school in Brunei so if I don't do it that way if I still quiet even they are still, you know, whatever what if, my children, my next generation, is going to study there?"
On whether he is worried about kids taking after his colloquial form of speaking and writing, Tiger dismisses the notion, saying that people should be able to use the vernacular language and standard English for particular purposes. Tiger lives with his wife and daughter, who just turned one this year, as well as with his sister and niece.
"Actually I can speak in fluent English. But sometimes you still got Chinese (saying) 'you know lah it's ok one, it's like that', 'wah, this one nyaman (delicious) eh, good ah good ah'. 'Wahhh the girl ah haiiiiya spicy mannn'."
"Don't be shame no don't be shy if you don't know how to speak English. But you should be shame if you don't know your own language. Chinese people sometime when they speak English they have a funny accent. But because of that funny accent it make them to be confident to use the language."Asked whether he has anything to share with the readers, he said: "You know, I got something to share with the world. Don't forget the basics. You know, sometimes, we people easily forget the basics.
"The more we learn, the more we see. The far we go, we forget the past and forget the basic."
The Brunei Times
Saturday, September 18, 2010
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