Tuesday, January 23, 2007

English in Malaysia

We are again caught in the battle of language supremacy and control at school level?

I am one of those 'victim' of government policy in language changes in our schooling system. Our seniors in school are very fluent in English while us being the first batch in Sarawak to go BM are the slow catcher, even till this day. While keeping abreast with Bahasa Melayu is very manageable (owing to the fact that it is our national lingo) it is rather difficult for English. One got to keep practicing it no matter what. Forced yourself to read only English papers, watch English films, company English speaking friends all those things...

English should remain the lingo of the teachings of those subjects in school and we should not revert as that would be a draw back and 'gostan' for the Malays and other Bumis if we want to say so.

Why can't the bumis learn many languages? Those non-bumis are fluent in their mother tongues, mandarin, english and proud of their mastery of national language, while the bumis are succumb to the national lingo (also in limbo). How to compete in the open arena?? They will remain jaguh kampung and continuously dependent on the non-bumis for biz and shares of the economy. They will become beggars in this country of bounty. I am sharing my own inadequacy in the usage of this global lingo here. We are the victim of policy makers that switched to BM some four decades ago.

When will we learn from all these mistakes? I remember one character publish in the paper decades ago (may be by the celebrated cartoonist Lat??) that goes something like this, "Dia dok sibuk kempen suruh orang cintai Bahasa Malaysia tu untuk apa? Anak dio hantar sekolah di luar negri, cakap omputih." It was a character commenting on our politicians that drum up this issue propogated by lingo nationalist but they themselves are sending their kids to study overseas, learning in English and mastering it, cause they know it's important for their future.

Allow me to to guess that most of those high level staff of Petronas are overseas grad and fluent in English. Petronas is one flagship that represent Malaysia everywhere in the world (thanks to the first discovery of oil in Sarawak) and without mastery of English, they won't go anywhere. Idris Jala, one of the most recognized face in Malaysian corporate world is one from the 'humble borneon jungle village' that studied in English and succeeded, making it to the 'proudest of cosmo concrete jungle.' Thanks to the old, proven system. What good things comes out from our current system? It is not proven yet, but we change them too often.

May our leaders tell the people the truth. I think most of them studied overseas... and master English well. Look at Najib, Hisham, Taib Mahmud etc., how many of them studied locally?? and read law in BM???

It is also astonishing to note here that it become an issue for the lack of English mastery among the 'staff' of public higher institutions. We all know it is the product of our policy four decades back!! Why now we want to question them. They were pure BM student and English was just one subject taught in school then!!

However, some were sent overseas for graduate studies. Still couldn't master the language?? That one, let them answer for themselves.

Disappointed with the many changes. Let's stick to the English teaching, may be for all subjects and BM a separate single subject must pass by all for the sake of our unity (and for own use when talkking secrets at international events).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do agree in this case. Since education now is being politicize, we have no say in the education policy. As a graduate of local U, I admit that I mastering English is really a problem. And now to teach Science n Maths in English, it is really a torture.