Friday, December 28, 2007

How My Voice Gave Me Away

This incident happened in Kuala Lumpur when I was there to enquire about my application of transfer to Penang. I was talking to a teacher who was also there for the same purpose. Suddenly I heard the sweet voice of a lady greeting me from behind.

"Hi, Mr Yeoh."

I turned my face and saw a young lady beaming at me. I could not make out whom she was.

"Who are you and how do you know I'm Mr Yeoh?" I asked.

"I am Sarojini. You taught me Science in 1976 when you were in Jerantut, remember?"

Only then did the picture of her form in my mind. She is a Chindian as her mother is a Chinese and her father is an Indian. She used to mix around with Tee Guat Hoon and Wong Yoke Lan when she studied in Form 2 then. When I met her at the Education Department, she had finished her university course and was there to enquire about her posting.

Out of curiosity I asked her why she knew it was me when my back was facing her when she greeted me.

"Your voice, sir. All of us can remember your voice."

Well, my voice had given me away. Let me explain. I have been speaking with a nasalised sound since I began to talk. Initially I did not know the reason until I went to see an ENT specialist regarding the humming sound that I kept hearing in my ear. The doctor examined my ear, nose and throat. It was he who told me that I had a crooked nose ridge. That explains why the nasalised sound is produced whenever I utter something.

Nowadays, whenever I meet my students for the first lesson, I will tell them why I speak with a nasalised sound so that they will not mimic it because they know it is a physical defect of the teacher.

So much for this little episode in my life for today.

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