Since returning from Malaysia last year, I have discovered in myself, allowed myself, the joy of speaking like I speak in Malaysia. Which means speaking an English inflected with Malay and Chinese words and syntax, rhythms and tones. Initially, as a way of expressing his suspicion mixed with amusement, Junhong would say, "You can speak in English, you know. We are in Canada now". But recently, amid a minor mishap with the pasta machine in the kitchen, I heard him yell out, "Aiyo, aiyo, aiyo!"
And so, I pass on my "mother tongue" - a tongue that has been peeled and cut up, tossed in a salad of other ingredients.