Born in a Malay family, lived in Malay neighborhood, raised up with Malay friends, went to Malay school. So, English is definitely not my mother tongue.
I picked up quite slow in English. During my primary school days, I was not among the best students in the subject. The highest I scored was probably B. That resulted in my UPSR, 3A 1B L
In Secondary school, the exposure in English was way better. I remember the English week. Every student needs to converse in English, or else we had to pay penalty if we get caught. There were also many activities organized such as coral speaking, storytelling, debate that we got to involve. I think by that time I already can speak and write quite well. Only my vocabulary was still poor.
I still can recall when I was in Form 5, I went to a Chess competition which that was my 1st time ever. On 1 round, my opponent and I were stuck in the game. No one win, no one lose. At that time, I did not know what ‘draw’ means.
Pure lack of vocab.
I believe one of the factors that could attract students to learn English is the teacher. Ya I remember my English teacher in Primary school. She’s fierce and didn’t treat her students equally, she’s biased. She only liked those clever pupils.
But my English teacher in Secondary school was very good. I still remember her name, Susaibah. She’s funny, she always made her class interesting and always encouraged us to learn English. She loved every one of us and I can feel that she loved me too J
Then moving on, I improved a lot in English when I started to work. Working in multi-racial and multinational corporation, English is absolutely the no. 1 language. No longer scared and anxious to speak and as time goes by, I could speak English as good as Malay.