Image by Anita S

A rant

If I Comment on Your Article in Your Native Tongue, don’t Feel offended

and if you still do, talk to me, I’m that kind of guy who never wants to offend anyone — even his enemies (I don’t even have any enemy)

I have a manufacturing fault — I always try to speak / chat with people in their language even if I don’t know much about their language. And, I do my research to know what their language is.

I grew up speaking four languages daily. Saraiki at home, Punjabi in my neighbourhood, Urdu/Hindi with friends, and English at school. After graduation, I moved to Pakistan’s capital city, where I met people who spoke Pashto, Sindhi, Pothwari, and Afghani Dari. I picked up a few sentences of each and always tried to break the ice with the strangers by speaking in their language when I met them.

Since my first computer in the early 2000s, my typing speed was almost 100 word per minute, and I spent 4 to 5 hours daily chatting with strangers on the internet using MIRC and Yahoo chat rooms. I picked some Indonesian, Spanish, and Russian from there.

Singapore was the first-ever country I visited. The Mandarin language was difficult for me, but after living for 2 months there, I learnt some of it. Returned home, lived a few years there, and then moved to Malaysia, where I picked more of it, Bahasa Malay, and a bit of Tamil. I worked in the call centre for some time, so I met people who taught me a bit of Albanian, Nigerian Broken English, Arabic, and Persian.

After Malaysia, I moved to Australia. Yes, tell me about it. I have friends who have Italian, Greek, Macedonian, German, Sri Lankan, Columbian, and Indian background. So, by meeting them almost everyday on and off work, I’ve picked quite a few sentences of each language.

After living a few years in Australia, I moved to Dubai. Again, another melting pot of culture and languages. Of course, I picked up more Arabic. Met some good mates who speak Tamil, Telugu, Portuguese, and Swedish, so naturally being a language fanatic, I learnt a few sentences of each.

So yes, I am a language fanatic, and I love to break the ice with strangers; both in real life and on the internet by trying to speak in their language. It has worked 98% of the time. No one ever felt offended, until recently, when I commented on someone’s article in their tongue. They found it racist, which is beyond my imagination. This comment was — “Thank you my good friend” written in ‘another language’. ‘Good friend’ was to show good gesture because they were recently invited on a Slack channel ‘created by me’ only having 25 people in it.

While in the last 3 days, I offended one dude because I liked their article and commented in their mother tongue, another person abused their editorial power on my publication and had always been trying to tell people they owned the idea of polyglot poetry. Wonderful.

So, hey there, internet stranger(S), if I ever offended you — it was not my intention, and I apologise.

But, I won’t stop trying to speak / chat with people on and off internet, in their tongue — this is not to offend them, but because I want to learn more about their language (and culture).

If you’re reading this, and you think I have offended you today or in the past, do write an article about it, but first please talk to me. I’m not that type of person who would want to say or write something to offend anyone. I mean it.

A gypsy soul 🇦🇺🇵🇰🇦🇪🇲🇾

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