MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX
My sister and I were having a conversation about one of my recent doctor's appointment. I noticed that during my last consultation her nurses kept coming in and out of the room. I didn't want to say anything as I know there is a different set of work ethics in every country. Even though I was just consulting her about a cough I felt a bit uneasy that her staff were sometimes present in the room. I guess I'm just used to the Confidentiality Act / Health Information Privacy Code which is practiced by New Zealand doctors. When my sister and I thought about it there isn't even a Malay word for privacy.
Me: What about 'sulit'(private)?
Sis: How do I say I am a private person in Malay? Saya seorang yang sulit?
*my sister and I broke into laughter because that translates to 'I'm a difficult person'*
Me: Okay, what about 'bersendirian' (alone, sole)? Saya suka bersendiri? I like to be alone. No, that isn't even close to saying I'm a private person. And a 'private room' is usually known as bilik khas which literally means special (designated) room.
Sis: See, there's no word for it!
Maybe we just have a terrible command of the Malay language but if there really isn't a word for privacy in Malay then what does that say about our culture? Is privacy an issue in other cultures too?