Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kemanakah hilangnya pemuda harapan bangsa?

My dear bros,

I am still sticking to my opinion that English should be the medium of choice at our school, and not bahasa.

In the meantime, I fully support the use of English as a medium to teach science and math. After all, most - if not all, of the terms used in science and math are already english words, Malaynized that is.

So what's my point? Let's try these terms - Negative, positive, electric, cathode, anode, battery, engine, wire etc. Please give me the Malay words for them - negatif, positif, letrik, katod, anod, batery, enjin, wayar.

Hello - are you guys listening, or not? Simple isn't it? Hahaha...

If the problem is with the implementation, then let's tackle the implementation side and not the policy.

I know many of our teachers were not trained to teach in English. Then again, I believe most of their subjects that they took at the uni were in English. So I fail to understand why would they have difficulty to teach in one?

I should know a bit. Arif came back from school one day (years ago) and told me that he learnt about wole number. I have no idea about wole number, so I asked him to explained. Then it occured to me that he was talking about whole number.

Apparently his math teacher pronounced it as wole number. In other words, the 'w' is not silent.

I laughed, corrected him but I guess he understood the concept even if the pronounciation was wrong. So it was not too bad, in my opinion.

I have been chatting with my primary schoolmates and teachers recently. I am sure many had read my entries on them.

You know in 1970, many of the kampung children nearby the small rural town of Lenggong would send their children to this school then named SRJK(I) Lenggong.

Of course we have many SRK in the remote villages surrounding Lenggong. I know that for sure as we have had our scout Jamboree in out school in 1972 with many of them participating.

So they don't have to send their children to Lenggong.

Many of my classmates didn't come from Lenggong town. Some were from Kuak, say about 15 km away or more then. Some from Gelok, Air Kala, and many other villages. It would take them over one hour by bus to come to school in town.

"Why did they bother? It was quite far for them to commute," I asked Mie recently during our chat in Bukit Antarabangsa. I didn't get a satisfactory answer from him. I only got my answer during the chat with Cikgu Hizam and Faridah recently.

Originally according to Cikgu Hizam, SRJK(I) Lenggong was called the Lenggong Government School (or something along that line). It was perhaps the only English school in town.

Many of the villagers in town would send their children to Lenggong Government School to get them educated - in English that is. They could not have done so in many SRK nearby. They could get their children educated in bahasa. While many of the parents were peasants, farmers and doing many other kampung odd jobs, they knew the value of educating their children in the language of the colonialists. To them, it is a way out of the poverty for the children and them.

Coupled with strong-minded teachers like Cikgu Hizam, who would twist your ears, or cane your butt (or cubit your perut) if you don't speak English. My friend (Lok)Man and many others would remember this for sure.

Bapak for one would only buy New Straits Times, so we kids have no choice but to read that newspaper while growing up.

Surely if kids like us from the 70s, from a remote town and villages near Lenggong, can master the language (sort of) and survive America, I am sure kids nowadays living in the new millennium can do better than us.

This the era of the internet, and they are many means for them to learn.

I think it is no excuse for our kids nowadays to become Mat Rempits just because they could not understand the lesson in school. Honestly, I think the Malay kids (the boys that is) are a gonner case. They are becoming pondans, and taking the easy way out.

Pondan here is taking the easy way out, and not strive to try and do our best to learn irrespective.

I told my staff recently after interviewing a batch of 10 Malay male engineers (the day before I interviewed 3 female Chinese engineers) and exclaimed loudly to her, "Kemanakah perginya pemuda-pemuda harapan bangsa?"

The presentation was poor, many could hardly string up a sentence or two needed to save their own lives, and results at the uni leave much to be desired.

Unlike the Malay female engineers, and of course the Chinese counterparts.

Mat Rempit menace? Our boys are becoming pondans? Or is it simply because it is easier to become Mawi and Siti Nurhaliza. Do you remember the first interview Siti gave in English? How does she compare to say Datuk Kathy and Sudirman, both I believe were educated in English.

We have to re-start somewhere. I think may be we should have two medium school like the old days. Some would sit for LCE, some for SRP, and some for MCE and some for SPM. If needed.

Only if we have do.

Otherwise, persevere. Do not have a flip-flop policy. If our parents and grandparents in the 40s and 50s can master the language, why can't kids in the new millennium?

They didn't become Mat Rempit, Fadhil.

EPILOGUE (updated 25 Feb)

The previous policy of teaching in Malay has been around from over 100 years ago. Back then, we have Sekolah Melayu, sekolah Inggeris and Sekolah Ugama. I guess prior to merdeka, sekolah Melayu would only cater up to primary school level. Later on, we would have dual language policy with the SRJK(I) school system - Malay medium and English medium. Hence students (or parents) would have a choice between SRP/LCE and SPM/MCE. I think it went very well. Many of the kampung kids enrolled in the English school to get educated, or if the parents were nervous that their kids would be influenced by the missionary as some were organized by them, then they would send the kids to Malay medium school. This I guess were very much dependent on their parent's vision for their kids. Later on in 1970, all schools were converted to a single medium only - Malay medium, and I believe, this was due to the government succumbing to the nationalists' outcry to place where they thought BM should be; hence no more english and we have seen the results of such policy in ourselves.

It was done at the expense of our children and future competitiveness.

Forty years on, the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that a rethink is required.

I don't believe it was Mahathir per se who wants to change the policy. I think we needed the change in policy to survive in the competitive climate that we are in today, regardless whether it was him or someone else.


  1. Hahahahah.. your ending sentence explains the mystery surrounding this issue my dear!!

    Perhaps i'd give my piece of mind on this - being an english teacher in this era, if i may - our community - the malay that is - have this perception- if you speak inglis to any malay, you are just showing off. 'Berlagak' is the word. Community-pressure, is there such a word?

    Teachers CANNOT force or even TOUCH the students no matter what the students do - cubit is a NO-NO ya.

    Majority of parents think teachers are NOT QUALIFIED to teach their children - thus, reduced the trust/confidence needed in the relationships.

    Being a rempit is an easy source to friends, money, respect and sex - which you don't get as easy in school - all pointing to the lack of religious and parental touch in their lives.

    So, where do we go from here?

    Still salah CHEGU ke?

  2. Dear Abg Man

    I do agree with Fadhil, as to increase the contact hours and exposure to English Literature rather than to instruction in Enlish for maths and science. The issue is, it won't effect much to the urban student which you and my kids are located rather the impact is more towards out-of-town and kampung kids, not to mentioned Sabah Sarawak and Orang Asli kids

    I still remember when I was offered to further study with ITM, I am worried since my english was bad, but then, all the subject are taught in English, and we gradually improved ourselves (still..grammatically)

    I do remember my biology teacher is always missing as to attend seminar etc, despite we are taking SPM that year(this another issue), while I manage to pass my Physics as I had more exposure as the tuition teacher teach me the strategy and with Bahasa instruction.

    Despite many eglish word has been change to Bahasa, still, there are basics has to follow like campur, tolak, bahagi, kali.(plus, minus,divide, times)

    There are many examples like Japan where they fullyutilized on mother-tongue languages, yet they succeed. it is not the intelligent that makes a man, rather it was the attitudes

    Perhaps the issue on rempits, pondan do relates to what we learn in school... as boring'ness' let to "ponteng" then failure / drop from school then all these social viruses crop up.

    The teaching and learning is holistic in nature, it require teacher, parents and its surrounding to assists while government supports financially without any questions.

    My conclusion is more hours to English subject and Literature, Maths and Science in mother-tongue language

  3. AbgMan...

    English in math and science I would consider it as ENGLISH TECHNICAL!

    The languages used are totally's technical AbgMan!
    Not every body using it throughout their daily life....technical terms are different.....

    To make things worst, the teachers has been trained to teach "matematik dan sains"...not ENGLISH TECHNICAL!

    It is more like killing two birds with one are killing both teachers and the students!

    As I mentioned before...we should introduce new subjects as English Literature in the class....

    Increase the contact hour from 45 minutes to at least 2 hours...make it on daily basis....

    Personally for me, maybe this is the time we should consider Mandarin as our medium of choice in Malaysian school....

    I do envy Tuan Guru Nik Aziz which can speaks in 7 different languages and Yb Ir Nizar can speaks in 5 different languages...

    I am very sure that during school time they both learned Math and science in Bahasa.....not English!

    Jangan Marah aaa....

  4. Then my dear sis, forcing it to the students' throats is the way to go. IN this case, everybody has no choice but to speak english. No more berlagak syndrome.

    Teachers should have the flexibility to punish and reward, like the old days. More to punish like the old days.

    Teacher who taught students wole number would cause parents to think that way of course. But I would give them the benefit of the doubt.

    As for you, Rashi, you want to compare us with the Japanese? Hahaha, in your dream lah bro. Japanese and Koreans are a different breed, so is the Dutch. They could survive using their own language. But to compare us with them, hmmm, it is beyond comparison.

    You said, it is not the language, but attitude. Yes, so we can prosper with English too; just we need to change our attitude.

    Aiyo, plus, minus, bahagi etc are all symbolized by +-/*. No translation needed actually!

    The previous policy of teaching in malay has been around from over 40 years ago. The BM only medium has been around since 1970 (my batch); no more english and we have seen the results of such policy. What you see in you and I; we are the product of such BM only policy, and both of us know, we are really bad. One need only look at our entries in our respective blog to know.

    And our younger bros and sis currently at school/or graduating are the products. It is so bad, I must say.

    But the policy of English only; we have also seen it before. Even orang kampung would ask their children to go to English school.

    Boringness has nothing to do with the English language. It is more toward attitude. We found it easier to become rich and famous by becoming Mawi and Siti, or at least enjoying our lives by merempiting. Why should we bother to become engineers; lousy pay anyway plus all the hard work.

    Whatever your arguments, you are admitting that it has nothing to do with language. one need to look at our commitment to our children's education than the medium of instruction.

    In that case, I rest my case.

  5. You are wrong. Dad, Mak and his generation learnt science and math in English. Nik Aziz, I dont know which school he went to; so it could be Malay or could be English. YB Nizar, more senior than me, so he would attend English school!

    Anymore questions?

  6. Much ado about nothing!

    Just ONE mistake (wole)-the rest of good teaching not counted? Justified then for parents to look down upon d teacher?

    i do think that being involved with thousands of teenage students for the past 10 years help me to understand that PARENTAL GUIDANCE is the UTMOST IMPORTANCE.

    Whatever the medium, no matter how many hours one put in teaching and learning, SUPPORT and GUIDANCE from parents truly put perspectives back in place for the learning child.

    We can condemn and argue and debate - sadly enough, our voices are very weak. The authority don't listen to anyone of us. And worst, they don't care.

    So, go back to your children. Support them, guide them, make them enjoy learning, show them great examples around them- Nik Aziz etc - YOU have to be a good example to them too.

    So that in the end, we could prove others despite the hiccups in our education, OUR children are doing GREAT!