Often, I do get inquiries in regards of my proficiency in communicating using the English language. I do not wish to brag, but I also do not intend on being too humble about it. I would say my English prowess is quite mediocre but some would disagree and think that my words have insulted them in some way. Therefore I believe that I should make it clear that maybe, the definition of a good command in the English language might be different in some respects to different individuals.
What you believe to be good might be bad for some people. The whole mechanism goes around standards. I am sure we all have different standards in judging others in terms of their skills in a particular thing. Now the thing is, I need you to do this. Imagine a person being raised in a family that uses the English language as a means of communicating on a daily basis. Now think about it this way. Do you think that person would have a low standard when it comes to judging English proficiency? No. He will have a high standard. Not because he is snobbish. But because he was raised that way. He knows what is a real good English speaker. Most probably he won't regard himself the best as he knows that he is just on a common standard.
Now imagine the average person. Living in a family where English is not spoken widely. They might once in awhile use some English words but never do they speak only in English for any sentence that comes out of their mouths. Now an individual from this upbringing will most probably regard those who are able to speak English in full sentences without having trouble finishing the sentence as skilled English speakers. This might be true in some cases but the fact is, that particular individual was raised that way. Therefore there is a space in between those raised to speak in English and those who have grown up and are struggling to get a grip on the language.
If you are interested in knowing why on earth am I babbling up until here, let me tell you now, why.
The thing is, I was raised by my parents who were graduates of University of Reading in the United Kingdom. I believe their higher education might have had an impact on how I was raised. I remember when I was in Nursery. I was able to speak in mandarin and English. I do not recall speaking in Malay really. When I entered primary school, I guess I forgot Mandarin. The early years were quite a blur, but I remember my last years in primary school. My school was owned by the government and the church right beside it. St. Mark in Butterworth, Penang. Now during my last years there I was particularly fond of befriending friends from other races. Chinese, and Indians. They were some of my best friends then. With them I spoke mostly English. This might have had an impact on who I am today.
Now in secondary school, my friends did not appreciate me speaking in English that much, or at least that was what I could gather from the look of their faces. Being in an environment that unknowingly restricts the usage of English made it hard for me to further apply my love for the language. This lead to the deterioration of my English efficiency. Luckily I joined the debate club and became the president. My English skills were then polished again. I had a chance to further intensify my love for this subject. Joining the "English Club" then didn't really help. Can you imagine an "English Club" that has members who spoke in Malay? What an embarrassment. In the end I found my love in debating. I guess thats partially why I chose to take up law. Thats why I am right here right now.
But the thing that irks me now is the fact that some people still do not want to even try and speak in English and complain when they are unable to understand English based subjects. I agree, my road made it easier for me to conquer some parts of the English language but that doesn't mean you have to give up. The fact of the matter is, with practice with the right people, your English will become superb in no time.