Monday, 20 July 2009

Malay, langguage, politics...yet again.

The political affairs of my birth country sometimes never fail to bemused me with its overwhelmingly blown issues. The recent one that triggers me into commenting was the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English which the government has decided to revert it back officially to Bahasa Malaysia effective 2012.

Okay, for those who does not really know about this matter; this hoo haas started early this year when a group of people, whom i would call 'the tools' used by another group of people namely the politician whom i would non-hesitantly call 'the parasites', staged some demonstrations on the streets. This demonstration demanding the government to change the teaching of the two subjects back to the original Bahasa Malaysia (BM) was done with the assistance of one local 'nationalist' and pro-Bahasa Malaysia activist as the head, followed by some nonchalant followers, majority the Malays.

This issue is called PPSMI.

What is PPSMI?
PPSMI (or Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Inggeris)is a policy concluded sometime in July 2002 by the Government of Malaysia during the office of the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

The rationale of this policy from changing the medium of instruction from the Malay Language to English for the teaching and learning of the two important subjects was, according to Dr Mahathir as a move to enhance nation’s human capital development in order to compete at the global market besides looking to achieve the standard of a developed country. Thus the citizen needed to be backed-up with proficiency of the international language besides some other improvements.

The method of teaching using that medium was carried out in stages once the launched of it in early 2003.
All Year 1 students for Primary Schools, Form 1 and Lower 6 students for Secondary Schools and subsequently a full implementation of it in 2007 and 2008 for Secondary and Primary Schools accordingly.

Although it is known that the two subjects, Maths and Science, have a crucial role in the progress and development of a country, there are some quarters who felt that this move is going to make the national language Bahasa Malaysia as 'secondary' and unimportant, and deemed to be degrading towards the national language.
In his reason, Dr Mahathir said the implementation of this PPSMI was to ensure students’ mastery in science and mathematics in view of the fact that most of the sources are available in the English language.

In general, one cannot deny all kinds of innovations and discoveries which happen rapidly has its information access mostly in the English language. For instance in Science, most of the references are in that international language, thus, making it much easier for students to grasp the real meaning of the terms and scientific jargon.

Bahasa Malaysia, meanwhile, a lingua franca in this Malay archipelagos, derived from the Bahasa Indonesia (although some people claimed that the Indonesian are the one who adapted it from Bahasa Malaysia and changing it to Bahasa Indonesia. Iwill touch on this in another writing).
Besides that, being a country that was once being colonised by the British, some part of the country being taken over by the Portuguese, undoubtedly, words derived from those languages can be found in the Bahasa Malaysia with add-ons from other languages such as Tagalog.

I remember during the reign of the current de facto leader of PKR ( an opposition party in Malaysia), Anwar Ibrahim as the Education Minister while I was in my early secondary years; he was almost happy to Malay-lish all English words. Thus you would have words such as bajet (budget),edisi (edition),projek (project), 'tranformasi (transformation), informasi (information), diskusi (discussion), amaun(amount),motivasi (motivation), preskripsi (prescription), ),and loads more.

Coming back to the PPSMI, in my opinion, the whole issue was blown out of proportion especially when an illegal gathering outside Istana Negara (The King's Palace) in showing protest was carried out by people obviously laced with shitty political motives wanting to pacify their political supporters.

With three major races in Malaysia, there are three major political group, namely the MCA and Gerakan (who try their best to suck-up to the Chinese votes)and put a smiling face to the Chinese Education Group (again, the reason is they are afraid they wont be able to teach in their language; Mandarin)and the MIC, trying hard to win the Indians hearts.

This is also one of the reason why Malaysia, although had been independent for the past 51 years, CANNOT abolished the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (school with teaching medium in their own language, Mandarin or Tamil).

In this case, where the government later decided to suck-up to the needs of these parasites and agree to revert back the teaching to Malays language, and putting aside the predicaments of the students, and putting education as a tool for their political agenda, the least group that will benefit is the mass majority ordinary people.

What do i conclude from all these hoo haas?
When one idiotic Malay man lying in the middle of the road demonstrating this disagreement on this matter, and when a known Malay language activist and poet have shallow mind and think that by learning in other language will not bring justice to the national language; this are the group of people that will stay where they are last time, today, tomorrow and in the future.

Do they ever think of their children or grandchildren struggling to even speak in English when being confronted? Do they ever think the difficulties in having to understand thoroughly when they go to lectures if they studied abroad?
Do they think that they only want their children and descendant to be Malay and speak Malay and think Malay and become a poet.

What will happen to the professional sector in the country?
Taken over by the group of people who are proficient in English?
And the Malay will stuck to the seat of government jobs forever?
And the economic of the country run by other people?

It is true that changing one's mindset is the hardest thin to do.
What more when changes are for the betterment of one nation.

This is why one chap in his writing very proudly claimed that even the Filipinos who are proficient in English (i seriously don't know where he pluck this fact from) become a maid at the end of the day. The stupidest thing that one can say when he want to agree with what he believes.
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