I know all too well that I will get a lot of 'you should learn cantonese' from all of you. Hey, it's not that I've not learnt, it's just that I tried and still cannot! So canto and I are not one. We just cannot work together despite the efforts that I put in to learn it over the years.
In my line, I guess knowing the dialect would definitely be of greater advantage. That's because of several rather obvious reasons:
1) the place is KL- and most chinese in KL converse in canto like their first language
2) I deal with sub-contractors. We're talking about CONTRACTORS, those rough and tough men who hardly complete high school but has worked their sweat out to feed themselves from young. They are the ones who do all the physical work. In Hokkien we'd call them 'cho-lo' men.
3) simply because I'm Chinese and I am expected to know at least one dialect.
Yes I admit that I feel intimidated and inadequate sometimes when it comes to having to speak to those sub-cons who dont speak English. And I refuse to use Bahasa cz its just weird to see two Chinese speaking in that language. It's not wrong but it just doesnt seem right.
But my late maternal grandfather used to speak Bahasa to my father coz the former was from Hakka descent while the latter was Hokkien. Maybe an exception to that la, they were not from my generation. It's like I dont expect my tin mine supervisor grandfather to know English right?
Anyway, back to the sub-con issue, I feel like crap everytime I speak English to them and they reply me in canto. I understand wat they said but I am just cant pronounce it right. Without the knowledge of any Chinese dialect, I cant be close to any old sub-cons, and there just isnt any working chemistry because I will not be deemed as a pure Chinese by them anyway. OK lah, some can be quite forgiving (or maybe I've not seen the other side of them) but I still would be happier and more satisfied if I had known at least canto. In simpler terms, i've got to speak their language to get into the click. And by being in the click, there's bound to be more favor over the rest, which definitely would work well for me in my career.
I know I've got to learn but, I am just too afraid to make mistakes and being laughed at for speaking silly words. I've had enough of those when I was growing up, to the point of actually being quite traumatised to even open my mouth to practise! I never made fun of anybody's English, but why am I not being treated the same way? I cannot take such humiliation then and even more so now. Maybe Im just ego.
Anyway, I really, really hope to be able to master canto in the future. Live is difficult being a banana.