Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mi No Spik Inglis!

At around 4, Vasem came and asked me to help him translate what the caller said.

So, I had to understand what the caller said. The caller was a Malay girl claiming that they are promoting those membership privilege cards that requires no annual fees and for life...blah..blah. I told Vasem and he hung up. I did asked the operator whether they have brochures for me to go through and know what is about. I also asked her how did they get the phone number. Answer was random picks.

But I'm not trying to say about the "membership thing". The first problem I recognized the moment I picked up the phone is primarily about the girl having the hard time to speak English to an expat working in Kuala Lumpur.

GAPERNA and some NGOs would want to reconsider thinking about making noises about teaching back things in Bahasa Melayu. And there's the problem. When my parents were in school back in the late 60s to the mid 70s, the medium of instruction was primarily in English. To them, most of the people, even the Malays themselves score better grades in education when answering in English.

After 1974, the medium of instruction was switched to Bahasa Malaysia, with other subjects in that medium too, the grades scored by students from that time on until now dwindle. Many teachers now particularly those falling under ("guru Melayu", rural schools, "bumiputra" students), being a product of what they learned back in the 80s have a problem of conveying what they intend to say to students when they try to teach students Science and Maths in English.

Indeed it was a mistake at that time. And secondly, learning in English via Science and Maths is not good enough. It has to be learned through daily living. Look at the exam papers. First condition to pass SPM is that you must pass BM or you fail SPM. It should be the other way round. When you go to university, be it private especially, what they teach is in English. If you have learned most of it in Malay, you will need to relearn but in a different medium, which is a waste of time and possibly a struggle to cope up because of unfamiliarity with the language.

I don't really know what to say about the girl except that the system was wrong already.

Someone told me before that if I am a dictator of a "banana republic" nation, I would do that to make sure that a person's intellectual level is never up to the level of a leader fearing of "overthrow". If you look at those nations falling under that description, those nations can never prosper, the people being duped by their own leaders.

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