Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pwahh...So Terror Meh?

 "Under DAP, Malays have become "baruas". I won't mince my words because I mean what I say. Anyone who supports DAP is a "bangsat" (bastard)." - Shaik Hussein Mydin (Penang UMNO Youth Chief - see pic above) terror meh that statement from this Orang Eee here, which was part of the UMNO Youth bashing session on Pakatan Rakyat. It's definitely one statement to make that they expect all Malays to unite under one banner called United Malays National Organization. But the thing is not all are stupid as they think. Some are smart to see that to see that only those who are willing to be cheated over and over again or refusing to change are those willing to sing in chorus to their tune.

With that kind of statement from this Mamak ultra, I pictured that as insulting other people. On the other hand, there are some people that can't understand the underlining statement of the "village champion" like Shaik Hussein - which is that it can be translated as a blackmail to the people on voting - a voting offense if this fella decides to contest in a state seat anyhow. Were this is Russia, the person would have been considered a persona non grata or if we're still in World War 2, he would have been shot on sight for disobeying Order #227.

It is already a little too late for our dear Khairy to admit of "foul language remarks" as through cyberspace, people who read it is considered that an insult, especially when the man above said that he won't mince his words anyhow.

This of course reminds me of something else along the way. You see concurrently with the speeches, the UMNO Youth has been pushing for all of their members to defend Sharizat at all costs in the NFC spill. And the person who says that is none other than Reezal Merican, another Orang Eee to protect another Orang Eee. Sarcastically I start to think that it's now a fact that it's already United Mamak National Organization. 2 weeks ago, my retiree friend wrote a comment on (Mahathir The Uniting Factor) that rings true:

Being the first Mamak UMNO President & PM in the history of Malaysia Who divided UMNO "further" with the 3rd Force? By accident or by "Design" as is always in Politics! Who brought in KIMMA as direct members of UMNO, when they should have been component parties of BN?

Not surprised SOON Mamakutty's words will come true "By Design" Afterall he wrote the book about the "Malay Dielemma"

We have already seen our "Financial" mess created by MM, his cronies including his Macai, Md Nor Yacob & gang. UMNO will soon be taken over & be referred to as United Mamak National Organisation. The Ketuanan UMNOputras with their "Bonsified" brains & Mentality will continue selling themselves "short" with their "Ali Baba" mentality (By Design of MM!)

To answer that problem, is very simple. You just need not listen to them that's all. All we have to do is to wisen up, don't be so stupid and subservient. If Malaysia is to progress and to catch up what was lost since the 1997 financial crisis, then we just have to do the unthinkable and considered taboo: kick them out. But this thing lies on the 15 million Malay Malaysians, who form the big pie of the population, for they are the majority that decides the fate of the country for the next 40 years: same feudal age, mentality landscape in a digital, future technology era or moving past the superstition and bringing new enlightenment and advancement.

This excerpt testament by Ikhram Merican actually confirms what Hishamuddin Rais has been saying all along that Orang Eee uses those provisions and privileges entitled to masquerade as a Malay. (the phrase "menyamar Melayu")

I have no disrespect for the Malay culture which is beautiful. We can all learn a thing or two from Malay adat. However, I do hold a grudge against the deliberate extermination of one’s own heritage. I further find it offensive when Indian Muslims, in their eagerness to convert, use Machiavellian means to identify themselves as Malay. It demonstrates a lack of dignity and self-worth.

Naturally, I feel sick when I read of the charades of UMNO politicians, academicians, and community leaders masquerading as Malays, spewing hatred against other races, sometimes against their own roots. Even when they’re challenged as to their real identity, they shamelessly defend their false Malay roots. For some, Tamil is still spoken in whispers, in the privacy of their homes, like it were a “dirty” parlance.

Why? For special rights? For economic handouts? My grandfather worked very, very hard for providence. So did the men of his generation. The early Indian Muslim traders who came to these shores were an industrious lot who earned their bread. They contributed to Malaysia’s rich heritage without becoming cultural orphans. They cherished their roots. Hardship and experience polished them. It earned them monopolies in certain trades that last till today. 

This legacy is being destroyed. A culture and heritage is disappearing only to be replaced by a false sense of security. In the process, the Indian Muslims are offending not only their own race and the Chinese, but many Malays too. In the long run, we as a community will isolate ourselves from our roots and the nation in which we want so much to assimilate with.

Read also: Wahai Bani Ketuanan Melayu by Hishamuddin Rais

The Real School of Hard Knox

Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College.

Freysinger's Warning

Swiss MP Oskar Freysinger has issued a warning that of a dogma that is plaguing Europe unless further action is required. Speech from Berlin (with English subtitles)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 - Caveats and Thoughts

Thankfully, there was an online scanned copy of the draft act which appeared in Malaysiakini, in which I managed to scrutinized the entire bill. Though it was entirely in Malay language, I was able to understand the contents and identified some of the content in which drew the ire of many civil societies and opposition parties. Having read that, there are some caveats from the existing bills that continues to go on and if the bill is being bulldozed just because of the numbers factor (passed by simple majority), then the fears of many parties would be true.

The Caveats:

1. Almost everything is impossible and not permitted. 

Many have forgotten of the history of how UMNO came to existence in 1946. It required a street demonstration led by the late Onn Jaafar (Hishamuddin's very own grandfather) against the English to get their attention and subsequently the cancellation of the Malayan Union. By saying that street protests are not allowed in this case, it also implies that UMNO has also forgotten how it came to existence. Were such laws in place came in 1946, the party will not have existed and subsequently, we would not be in the current landscape as of now. 

Section 4(1) and 4(2) mentions elements of what is not allowed in an assembly including specific participants and restricted locations. The problem on locations is how do you consider a location, base on the geographical factor to be considered as a restriction area? That is one. Another one is dealing with on the case of an arrested person being from a country that ratifies the UN human rights declaration. For instance, if an European is arrested over a case of participation of an assembly, does that mean that as part of the welfare of the citizen arrested, will they have to interject and fill in the paper work to say that he / she is protected in the native country's rights?

Does going to the embassy or the palace to make a statement considered as a street rally? I find it a little illogical to call that as an act of offense under 4(2). Rather than making things tedious in section 4 and since it goes against the intentions of the Reid Commission-drafted Constitution, it might be more appropriate to say that street demos are alright with exceptions to (insulting the Agong, challenging the official religion, etc), whatever that has been defined in the basic articles and establishments of the constitution.

2. It's not about the permit. It's the hassles and restrictions

Reading sections 9, 10 and 14 was somewhat related to this caveat. To say that to notify someone from the police office of an event 30 days ahead is somewhat hints of the inefficiency of the police side. It also contradicts one of the police slogans of "Mesra, Cepat dan Betul" we used to here many years before. In other countries, similar scenarios will only take between 5 to 10 days for arrangement. Myanmar has just beat us to it. 5 days instead of 30..what does that mean?

The main doubt on Section 10 is primarily about the time taken to make the arrangement. It's like the time taken for Frodo to journey from the Shire to Mount Doom rather than the time taken to walk into a 7-Eleven store and buy ice-cream. Apart from filling up the details, well it may take a few hours at the police station / snails pace to have the officer in charge fill in the details, ask this party, ask the other party and so forth before saying yes to your thing. Since we also face complaints of a slow response like for example after filing a complaint, we might as well do it away with Section 14.

3. At The Whim of Minister and Superior Police officer

If I am to summarize the whole thing after reading 15(2), 20 and 21, the thing is that if uncontrolled, the police - with certain zealous officers in particular - can act at their own whim. It's nothing more or less the same situation as seen in the Bersih 9 July rally. First hand accounts of how the police handled the case on the ground would tell you that. 

There also have been cases where a permit has been issued but due to pressure from the other political parties, the permit was cancelled either at the last minute or cases of a permit refused for an excuse of security of safety but instead it is merely a ruse to score brownie points in NKRA.

Someone asked me recently why not of the bill and this is one caveat I would say it.

Likewise, as for the Minister, being the custodian of the bill, he / she at whim can decide, amend or change whatever locations that are considered to be forbidden to be used if the bill comes to effect. For this, 25(1) and 27 is somewhat inter-related in context to Sections 8 and 9.

Some Thoughts

1. Someone told me of quote from AC Grayling that "people are cowed into giving up their individual freedom rights (as enshrined and empowered by the Federal Constitution) to the authorities as part of giving them more authoritative powers in the name of national security". This is what is happening and a big fear for many civil societies particularly when the bill comes into effect soon. It's worse when it's being bulldozed all the way to gazetting phase.

2. The view of freedom and civil liberties to some people are pretty narrow. In fact Malaysia still remains in the guided-democracy state. This means that only a select group decides what is acceptable and can be said and what cannot be said / done. I often notice how some people talk like in that manner, I would think that they are foaming in their mouths.

3. Actually there is nothing new and substantial of having this bill It's merely a separation of Section 27 of the Police Act, expanded to become an independent bill but the difference is that of permit requirement. As I have said earlier, permit or not is not very important but the restrictions are. I often see the new restrictions like being in school. For instance, in the past, if you are to go to the washroom, you would ask the teacher permission to go at anytime you feel uncomfortable. Suppose if there is a ruling that students are only allowed to go to toilet from 3.15 pm to 3.30 pm, does that sound more restrictive to you or what?

4. I don't understand why there are certain quarters so hasty of having the bill. It's not about the argument of "we know best" or fulfilling your goal of reform, but as the bill will be debated next Tuesday, there should be more time for potential stakeholders to say yes or no. As of now, we have almost many societies that say no, so I was thinking, why they desperate in their hidden motive of whacking the those who oppose them kingdom come? I often think that the ulterior motive of the bill is to strip a person's individual freedom entitled rather than seeing the real civil liberty that should be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Is Not Democracy. It's Dictatorship

"This is not democracy. It's dictatorship. I am the law." - Herman Boone, Remember The Titans

Remember the Titans was one of my favorite sports-themed movies where in the first part of the film, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) was saying that line above to his team before they started pre-season training of college football. The line held me dearly and after reading through quickly the first reading text of the Peaceful Assembly Bill, I see that things are getting from bad to worst.

From my several observations these new measures seem to imply that we are no longer heading towards democracy and in the line of the real reform that Najib Razak was promising about. Instead, it was heading towards the other end, turning it into a police state. Think of the whole idea as the Big Brother system, which is actually happening right now. Everything you wish to do, has to be done way ahead, one month ahead. According to the draft, there are 8 conditions that must be fulfilled by any organizer before a permit can be issued. And to make it worse, the police, with its given powers will ultimately say either yes or no and like a dictator, their word is law.

Remember that not all human conventions and declarations mentioned in the UN Human Rights charter. So far, Malaysia only ratified two. They are articles against discrimination of women and another for children. But others were never ratified at all. In fact, Malaysia especially United Malays National Organisation has not acknowledged and even ratified the Human Rights Declaration. This is why till today there is still detention without trial, cases of third-degree interrogation in police stations resulting with people dead in custody, cops refusing to accept the IPCMC recommendations (see Malaysiakini's Dzaiddin Recommendations Ignored) and even people / authorities responsible for beatdowns walking away scott-free.

One paragraph from the Bar Council's statement can say how bias the tone can be in setting up:

This Bill, like section 27 of the Police Act, vests wide powers in the police, who are empowered to impose restrictions and conditions, and to disperse assemblies and arrest participants. The police’s past consistent and atrocious conduct in suppressing assemblies shows that it is crucial that the police change their mindset and abandon the culture of impunity in managing freedom of assembly. In other jurisdictions, the power to impose restrictions and conditions vests in the local authority or a procession commission.

The summary is that the bill is merely separating Section 27 of the Police Act out and making it as an independent act. Nothing more. Same wine, different bottle like the replacement to the ISA.

It is natural to see street protests everywhere throughout the world. To forbid such thing is to suppress people dissatisfaction when they are unable to voice through channels or all avenues of venting their problems have been exhausted. If you say no to protests, how can you answer the question of why the Bolshevik Revolution happened more than 80 years ago or why is there the phenomenon of Occupy Wall Street? You can't go against the nature. But the caveats, drawbacks and everything seem to point for one reason - an ulterior motive, I would say. As Aspan, my friend said sometime back, change is natural, no one can run away from it. (see here)

The powers vested to the Home Minister, the custodian of the bill in adding / subtracting prohibited places coupled with the discretion by the police in approving the permit or otherwise can be considered as dictatorship. So whoever says that Malaysia is a democractic place now seem to have been misled by those claims as it is actually more or less a guided-democracy and slowly heading towards a failed state.

The Bersih 2.0 rally has already terrified many people in pro-government, particularly those who screamed most - from United Malays National Organisation. The biggest fear, and the main factor of motivating them to clampdown is the fear that it could alter the existing political landscape. That's it and that's the main reason. Altering the political landscape means they ultimately end up playing second banana and losing the power they have been holding for the last 55 years. Otherwise, what could explain why have some people became paranoid with unfounded things, figments of their own imagination like Ibrahim Ali? 

Who actually came up with the bulk of those things? AG? Cabinet? Nazri alone? Main party? Najib alone? 

This is one of the "projek pembodohan" that is in the play. Many people saw this as an insult of intelligence from Najib thinking that the conditions and laws drafted in this bill will make people happy, but many think otherwise. It's not surprising that we can see many "butter boys" and "pembodeks" that will say sweet and nice things of the bill tomorrow in the papers and the online mainstream press. In fact I am ready to see it coming and it's likely that many naive people will fall for it, in the process become a bonsai plant.

I would like to repeat this question again. Can anyone of you imagine if you are among the 30000 people that ended up in prison for doing something that is part of your basic human right, doing something of a crime that is not written in stone or doing something that is morally right but considered wrong by the oppressors?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Question That Was Never Answered

I have refrained from talking over the matters of the apostasy or the recent sexuality issue over the past few weeks because there is nothing much to say about apart from reading things of one party bashing the other party left and right that everyone has been talking about via press conferences, press releases and so forth. In fact, what Raja Petra wrote two days ago in his Cure The Cause, Not Symptoms piece actually underscores what I have been trying to say about in regards to the two problems above.

Most of you are focusing on and talking about the symptoms of the problem. All the comments you post are about the signs of the disease. And all your suggestions are about trying to cure these symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem, the cause of the disease.

What both of them share in common is this both things: first, we Malaysians are very much of busy bodies in minding people's personal affairs and privacy until we have totally forgotten of the bigger problems we have. And then when disaster strikes, only we start to realize that we have been giving ourselves the wrong priorities. If people do not believe of the more bigger and evil problems at now, it is only after disaster that people would realize eventually. By that time, though it would already have been too late as a blot of oil / ink will have spoil the container of milk. I suppose this is already ingrates part of our local culture and while this is done, it also serves as a distraction to cover up bigger problems we should know about, not of keeping in the blue.

I am sure that many of us have seen how people react to the alleged apostasy case in the DUMC or the Sexuality Merdeka festival in a very nervous, kan cheong manner. There are people who claimed to be pious and deeply religious opened their mouths and screamed that apostasy is not allowed and those who did it should be punished..bla.bla..bla. Likewise those on the moment the Sexuality fest gets covered in the press, zealous people started screaming of why is there gays and lesbians in Malaysia, where there should not be one.

Equally the same thing as those who scream about is about the high handed actions by the authorities on those involved. For example, our number 2 cop immediately declares a ban on the Seksualiti festival and Hassan Ali for instance wanted the apostasy thing to be declared as a criminal offense outright not to mention on the extremes of those who wanted people involved in this to be stripped of citizenship and so forth.

Surely along the way, as I recalled these lines by Raja Petra: 

What happened to live and let live? And why must everyone live according to your value system?

The trouble with both Christians and Muslims is: 1) they always think they are right and everyone else is wrong; 2) they always think they are pious and take on a righteous attitude; 3) they refuse to live and let live and everyone must live according to their standards; 4) they do not tolerate differences of opinion and regard those who disagree with them as the enemies of Christianity/Islam.

No matter the claim of how pious people claim to be or the big mouth small brain thing, there's a question that people ought to answer but to this day remains unanswered: Why or What made would a person want to do that?
I once asked this question way long back when I said that there are flawed policies introduced because there is a lack of understanding of the human psychology there. If I am to ask you a question in that context, maybe I can ask you questions like why is online piracy still rampant or why is still vandalism on the phone booth? These kind of questions can go on and on. But we still have yet to give an answer.

Occasionally, I would come across or listen to replies with the phrase "God willing", or  "God wills it" if you put it that way.  In the context of the apostasy, is that problem happening because a person feels that God wills them to do it that thing? It can be that way or, as what Dr. Mohd Asri said before, was this alleged problem happening because we have been ignored by those from our own religion that we have no choice but to look for help from others not in our religion? What must be addressed if the answer is either one of the two above?

The basic foundation of any religion is that any religion actually does not force their ideals on to others. It just answers what the Small Things excerpt said above. Compulsion is a no no, so to speak. So, when I thought of the aftermath of the Himpun rally, which drew only a meager 5000 people, I was asking myself, are those people really got a big mouth but a small brain?

On to the Sexuality Merdeka thing. As what Marina Mahathir said in reply to the detractors, the goal was to help and educate those groups of people that have been discriminated or having problems in the context of the law, not to promote it as what the detractors have alleged. Why are they behaving or What made them to do it was never answered before the open their mouths. And so, when Ambiga, Maria or Marina responded back to the allegations made by TV3 or Ibrahim Ali, they are unable to respond to the three women. Now do you notice that a big mouth but a small brain like those two will put you in a hesitant result?

I know there are people who would not take kindly to such opinion and critique, insisting that what they see of the religions are right. But we got to ask ourselves first and put ourselves in the A.A mode before you start doing rash things like the persons would announce, okay? If you are able to provide a very very good answer (carved to stone grade) to those above, you then have a likelihood of curing the cause.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eventually Squeezed and Discarded

In these prior few days, we are seeing another episode of a minister with national project, in this case the National Feedlot Project which is handled by her family. And while the case has been reported to the MACC, the MACC would then pass the buck to the police. Of course, normal people would not be happy of such way of dealing problems where an authority with the capability to investigate such possible mismanagement would not want to do anything (but still has the knowledge and expertise of handling) but instead hand this case to the police to do it.

I used to recall the funny moment of our then Iron Lady who was in the MITI ministry that was banging up and down about the AP thing. That episode was almost forgotten for many years then until this thing came up. This is a clear cut example of a minister and a politician who has also put interests in business even though as a minister, you are not supposed to do so. It also sounds unfair where you as a prominent person in United Malays National Organization gets to own pieces of this and there with ease at the expense of other people and parties who have been trying very hard to get such a project with the amount of resources and good reputation in hand.

You can call it jump queue if you want. But it also gives a statement that whatever that is morally illegal is allowed if you are a member of this party. Does it also say "okaylah, I close one eye, go ahead"? Maybe a few years ago, when people like myself start to enter the working world, near to the end of studying in school or in universities, I would see and read things of the party that keeps saying that through them their race rights would be preserved and taken care off. But what Sharizat and a few others are doing are clearly speaking otherwise  - unless you choose to be stupid, ignorant and refuse to see the what is being laid at around you.

I was already certain from the beginning that the price is not the market price. Why the Auditor-General's criticism of the price was including the percentage cut demanded by those who want to get involved in the projects for the sake of money. If the project is co-insured or involved many other parties, with their demands of the cut included, of course the project cost will balloon high, at the expense of people's tax money, and borrowing of money from certain institutions as well. 

There was a line from the first Lord of the Rings movie where the skeptical Gimli the Dwarf said during the council of Elrond argument "Never trust an elf!" Well, that was way before the friendship between dwarf and elf came evident in the next two movies. Recalling that line I thought of putting it in a very cynical way of never trust an "eee" for they cheat - though factually it is not entirely true. How can a reject that loses to Nurul Izzah in the GE somehow gets a ministerial post and then the Feedlot project? Answer is already there: membership card, and then main party being in helm for 55 years!

Here we are we have a party that still thinks that they are great and bragged about "defending Putrajaya at all costs, even with crushed bodies". There is still the need of clarification of "at all costs", does it mean that playing dirty with every dirty trick known in the book? 

No matter how much defending is done for Sharizat by several people in the same party organization, like Pak Lah, Khairy and even the then agriculture now Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin, the damage from such allegation is already done. First, people will already start making noises of unfairness or starting to raise question of "what about us?". Secondly, Sharizat is already been made a scapegoat, expendable and a liability to the corrupt authority. That is to put to say, that she's squeezed already on all fronts and could eventually be discarded in time to come. And third of course, would be people asking, "now that she is a problem, then what about other people who shares the same case as with Sharizat?"

Now word is that Sharizat's exit is already in motion and in fact inevitable. If you are familiar with factions in UMNO then there's not much to be explained about. Team 3M is of course in favor taking her out already. That's one squeeze. The other squeeze is that there is a clash between Team Sharizat and Team Nong Chik on who is going to represent Barisan in contesting Lembah Pantai against Nurul Izzah next time round. Another word I got is that the NFC debacle is also kept smouldering alive for Nong Chik (also known as giving ammo) to beat Sharizat ahead in candidacy.

If the people starts squeezing her on one front while factions in UMNO are squeezing her on another front, then where does it lead Sharizat Jalil eventually? Imagine like a crushed can before throwing it to a bin - what does it tell you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Bizarre Love Dish

You might want to be careful about the Lynas thing really, as what the message spells out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Looking Back: Bar Council Forum 9 August 2008

This cable was written by then U.S Ambassador to Malaysia James Keith in 2008, in view of the incident of the "conversion to Islam" forum held at the Bar Council. At the very last minute, Ambiga, then Bar Council president decided to put a stop to the forum after the intervention and plea by Pak Lah.

From Wikileaks:

The Malaysian Bar Council attempted to hold a forum, entitled "Conversion to Islam," at their national headquarters on August 9.  Included in the forum was a panel discussion of two high profile conversion cases involving the difficulties faced by non-Muslims in conversion cases related to religiously mixed marriages. 

A hostile crowd of about 500 protesters assembled in front of the building, including representatives from the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), Anwar Ibrahim's People Justice Party (PKR) (including a Member of Parliament), the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), and Muslim-based NGOs. A group of protesters led by Peninsular Malay Students Federations (GPMS) Vice-president Jais Abdul Karim and PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin stormed the building shortly after the forum began. Police at the scene made no attempt to stop the protesters, but actually escorted them inside, where the demonstrators disrupted the proceedings, using racial epithets and other derogatory language and forcing Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenevasan to close the forum. Police did not make any arrests of the protestors, but have announced that they are investigating the forum's organizers.

Police at the scene made no attempt to stop the protesters, but actually escorted them inside, where the demonstrators disrupted the proceedings, using racial epithets and other derogatory language and forcing Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenevasan to close the forum.  Police did not make any arrests of the protestors, but have announced that they are investigating the forum's organizers.

Conclusion excerpt:

The response to the Bar Council forum has illustrated the Government's willingness to utilize religious sensitivities and tensions for political gains.  The involvement of party members from PAS and PKR show the fragile nature of the Opposition's coalition and the potential for UMNO strategists to continue exploiting the coalition's lack of cohesiveness, especially along religious and racial lines.  

Full cable excerpt can be read at: Malaysia Today (here

Perhaps some of the pics taken below on that day can allow us to revisit that very day itself.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Fear and Paranoia

(pic from Anak Sungai Derhaka blog)

I was looking at the picture maybe a few times past few days ago. The picture seems to give a very direct impression of why Najib needs a large group of bodyguards surrounding his entourage.

I was wondering whether if this actually answers my suspicion that Najib and co have done so many activities of wrong conduct to the point that they are prepared to deny that they do it. Running the government on federal level is a much more heavier responsibility than running a state level. You got to take care of the 14 states under the federation that is called Malaysia.

Few friends often ask the same question as I do: why are there so many bodyguards, motorbike fellows surrounding the PM's convoy whenever if he has an official function or something? I don't remember Mahathir or Pak Lah having the kind of number of protection around them. If you are leader that is well respected by 95 percent of the population, then I don't even think Najib should be afraid of it.

But this could answer my hypothesis of: they deny it but they actually did it.

A few times, people also tell me of the saying "they rob but they hide behind their piousness". To describe it further, they plunder the people and the country's resources yet they go to the mosque and pray, to hide behind goodness. The problem is, either many of us are ignorant or we refuse to accept the fact that we're facing this problem but don't want to correct it.

I say that Zunar's cartoon sums my point.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

English Debacle - Our Very Own Mistakes

As the clock ticks towards the reverting of Maths and Science back to Bahasa Malaysia next year, many groups like PAGE in particular have been asking to have the option of learning in English open even with Muhyiddin Yassin clearly stated that the PPSMI door is closed and final. It is already understood that there have been fears that children who had started to learn under the present mode could suddenly find themselves reverting back in an abrupt manner when they start the new schooling year in January. However, it was mentioned that the reverting would start from those who are starting primary / secondary school for that year. (i.e, those who were born in 2005 or in 1999). And according to Muhyiddin, the last batch of PPSMI are allowed to continue in the PPSMI until they finish secondary school.

However, to move back without a transitioning net can be a little difficult. The main problem is there are not many people who can teach Maths and Science in English. For the last 25 years before its introduction in the early 2000s, it has been carried out in Bahasa Malaysia. There have been assumptions that children, once finished school would proceed directly to local tertiary institutions where similar disciplines with the basics learned in primary / secondary school would be taught in the same medium: Bahasa.

But then, the reality has changed, with the need to communicate with the rest of the world, English has become very important - more important than Bahasa. Just because the overemphasis need of Bahasa for preserving the national identity outweighs the present realities of the world, we have already became handicapped, incapable of addressing the problems faced by everyone, non-Malaysians in particular who come here to communicate with government officials (I notice how annoyed my non-Malaysian colleagues can be when they had to deal with people from the government, e.g the income tax department whom at times can be difficult to understand their problems).

You have to give credit to China, when they realized that once they have been selected to host the Olympic games or they realized that they would be overtaking America and Europe, they waste no time to intensify the need to learn more English than ever, even than their own native Chinese, though there is a need to preserve their national identity. This is also the similar manner of why Singapore is far ahead of us - for they know of the need to face the realities of the world and be well prepared for it.

But what about us? We seem to be going against the reality and moving back to the steps of the dark ages. All in all, we are heading towards the losing end while there is an overzealousness to push for the Bahasa agenda. Technical work, including Information Technology discipline in particular uses English as it is used globally. Are we expecting it to be in Bahasa Malaysia? Try writing a simple program in C++. Does the compiler and language use BM words?

Not at this point. As what a DAP MP said, there has yet to be a global economic value for this language. No.1 is English, second is Chinese.

In fact, it is our very own mistakes and misjudgment that triggers this debacle.

The very first mistake was the switch to Bahasa started in 1974 with Dr. Mahathir was the then Education Minister. It was somewhat a misjudgement in his part as the cost of switching to Bahasa, many children, schoolchildren in particular seem to be in handicap of looking work Somewhat, this effect was only noticed until near to the end of his premiership. His suggestion of having the PPSMI in it merely only plugs the holes that were made by his 1974 decision. Prior to that, Malaysia bragged that they would have people that can speak and command a good level of the language like the British would do before independence. Now, we see it as a downward backward spiral.

The second mistake is actually our own. As parents, our common perception is that our own native tongue is more important than business lingua franca. Some parents shun national schools in favor of moving students to vernacular schools mainly because of the lack of avenue of having resources and time to teach native languages. There is also a misconception and a bias perception of parents taking a cold attitude of Malay teachers when interacting with non-Malay students (this has been seen in national schools). However, this side-effect can only be noticed upon finishing primary school education and transitioning to secondary schools. Mostly, a child who finished primary vernacular would have trouble in BM / English in secondary, which explains the handicap when coping with most subjects, at times resulting in a possible school dropout.

That mindset has to go off.

I do like PPSMI but I feel that PPSMI can take you up to a certain point. The bulk of the language you learn and speak from it are mostly technical in nature, with most some keywords you may come across like "calculus", "chemicals", "reactions" you name it. There's more of the need to know the speaking, pronunciation and grammar in real-life than the lobbying of the thing above.

The one way to start off is to "reverse the paper formats and exchange contact hours". A student would have been able to identify the standard and format of the Bahasa paper vs the English paper, be it in either UPSR, PMR or SPM, whereby the complexity of the former is tougher than the latter. Now how about if the complexity is swapped? In conjunction with that, the number of weekly contact hours of Bahasa in general is more than English with the ratio of either 3 to 2 or 4 to 3 in secondary school levels.

Maybe another way to help is to have the Education ministry go with a partnership with top language centers or the British Council to help sponsor holiday workshops to help children and teachers alike to improve the learning and teaching process of the language.

Comic books is actually one of the alternative materials that gets people to read with interest because it has the graphics that help put the person in reading mode, and the real-life dialogue style written by the writers reflects the naturalistic language that is spoken everywhere. It is actually one way to put into learning faster rather than having children go through study material that can be tedious and dull. 

It's true that I hear the same answer that teachers are not so willing to teach in English because it demands mastery of the language in order to present it. Many teachers are more comfortable, having before it's introduction in 2003 in teaching BM. From here it's "the myth of the lazy native" all over again, lazing around unwilling to move one level above. And there's another mistake that we've been a\making: not willing to think and read.

I also see a possibility of a few ulterior motives of reverting it back. Some teachers and government staff may find themselves embarrassed by people who can speak English on the same level as the foreigners do, such that it can be the metaphor of a master upset by his disciple / servant. Along the way, it's also possible to see that for the sake of the Malay vote. But we failed to understand at what cost incurred at us for those votes?  Politically, it is also said that this is a backstabbing of Muhyiddin at Najib, though I find that motive not really in related to the subject above.

In 1942, Stalin's slogan for Russia was "Not One Step Backwards". Moving one step backwards results in immediately shooting on sight. Students have become victims of the clash between concerned parents and ministry. This means in here, the Education Ministry is moving one step backwards as to make people stupid, unable to think creatively and express freely of what they have in mind. Isn't the controversial UUCA act making people stupid too as well?

I am keen to find out whether if Pakatan Rakyat has people who are well verse with education restructuring to correct the mistakes and holes that BN have created all the time along. Do they have one?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...