“Don’t English me, I’m panic!”

February 2, 2011

I’ll let you read this before I give the explanation for my title.  Yes it’s a phrase used in Malaysia.  Yes, it makes sense in Singlish.  Yes, I understand it, and it doesn’t even sound that sound weird anymore.  In your e-mails to me next week I want an explanation of what you each of you thought it meant before you found out what it really was.  Can?

So, after Dad’s reprimand, I’ve written in my journal every day this week and I’ll keep it up.  It makes writing e-mails easier; less to have to recall.

Sibu flood

Let’s start with Thursday.  We left the house after a long weekly planning meeting (because of these papers we had to fill out) with no appointments.  We traveled out to an area a long way away called Poh Yew.  We’ve been there like five times before so I was familiar with the place and had seen all of the houses there even though we’ve only contacted about a quarter of them.  I got bored at one point and had Elder Lim make some phone calls to see if we could go see any members.  While he was on the phone and right as I was turning around, I caught sight of a beautiful house.  It wasn’t new, and we’ve been by there a ton of times, but I’d never noticed it before.  To me, it looked like it was glowing or something.  After Elder Lim snapped me out of my trance, he asked what was up and I said, “We have to go contact that house.”  That is something I normally wouldn’t do, particularly because it was so nice and rich people don’t want. You know, the whole camel-through-the-eye-of-the-needle thing.  Anyway, we approached the house and yelled from the street until a lady came out and then just turned around and walked back inside.  Well, we were just leaving when she came outside again and said, “This is a show house.  Wanna come inside?”  So we did, and we ended up talking to her husband for over an hour.  He’s Methodist.  I don’t know if anything will come of our visit, but we sewed a seed, and now it needs some time to grow.

Friday was pretty boring, but it ended well.  I was on splits with Elder Vance and I met some of his investigators in preparation for next week’s transfer.  We saw Jasten, an excommunicated member, and met his sister’s kids.  One of them, Angeline, kept climbing on us.  We finally told her no more and she looked at us with big eyes and said quietly, “Wo meiyou baba,” which means “I don’t have a dad.”  It was terrible; just heart wrenching.  She cried when we left.  After we were walking by a basketball court where some Asians were playing.  They invited us to play and, since it was our dinner hour, we joined them.  A few of the other elders eventually came too and the team of Americans just dominated these kids.  They didn’t take a single shot inside the three in any of our three games.  Very funny.

Saturday we contacted by the Sibu Superbowl, Sibu’s only bowling alley.  Sibu is unique in that there are huge sections of housing that are only accessible via obscure back roads.  Imagine crawling through a tiny hole in a mountain and finding yourself inside a giant cavern.  It’s a lot like that.  Contacting this past week is no good thanks to Chinese New Year.  All we ever hear is, “Meiyou kong eh!,” the one Chinese phrase that even Malaysian-speaking elders know.  It means both “Don’t want” and “No time” all at once.  I hate hearing that.  They’re excuse is, “We’re preparing for Chinese New Year.”  False, you’re sitting on your porch watching the weird, red-headed white guy ride his bike back and forth trying to find someone to talk to.  We will come back by an hour later and they’re still there.  We will say hello to which they will respond “Don’t want.”  After the same response twice, I now say “Well, I just wanted to give you some money, but I guess I’ll go next door.”  It’s been happening all week long and I won’t stop until after the new year on February 3rd.

On Sunday I met more of Elder Vance’s investigators.  They were pretty cool.  I met a lady named Li.  She’s from China and sounds really northern.  She has a permanent mean mug, meaning she always looks angry, but she is super nice.

My sword. Legit!

I finally got an Iban sword!!!  Sister Helen went to Kampung and picked one up for me and Elder Vance.  It’s so sick!  I had her son make some cicaks (chee-choks) for you.  I’ll send them soon.


The title means “Don’t speak English to me.  It will make me panic!”

Love you all!

Also can,

Elder Moody


About 6moodys

Sam Moody serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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3 Responses to “Don’t English me, I’m panic!”

  1. D'nee Potter says:

    I was SURE it meant, “I am afraid to speak English”, I feel that way about Spanish and sign language, what little I know embarrasses me. I wasn’t too far off. I want you to know how much I enjoy your mission. I just adore the way you share this awesome adventure with all of us! Thanks, and enjoy your sky juice, I know I CAN!
    Sister Potter
    Goldcrest Ward

  2. Kristie Lytle says:

    I was close, I thought it meant don’t speak English to me when I’m already stressed or in a panic. Just reading the title, I thought you and your companion were in a frenzy over something, and you said something in English, to which he replied…
    Funny that it’s a common saying! English will do that to some people.

    • Gloria Patterson says:

      I thought it meant don’t speak English to me ’cause I panic when I don’t understand it.
      That is a wicked sword. Good luck getting it home!! On the church history tour where I was a chaperone, one of the boys bought a civil war sword. We had quite a time finding a suitcase willing to take such an object!!

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