Thursday, May 20, 2010


Dilemma..., dilemma....., dilemma.....
This episode of  "where are we heading?" will never end...  I just fail to understand why the so called "leaders" couldn't see the importance of learning science and maths in English... It was proven that a few years ago, graduates from local universities couldn't fill in the jobs in the private sectors due to the lack of the mastering of the English language...
When the PPSMI was introduced, it was meant to overcome this issue.. The first few batches are still in varsities and it looks fruitful.. But, alas!!! The whole idea of "killing two birds with one stone" will never be prolonged.
If you are a teacher, you will notice the benefits of this idea brought up by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Apart from being familiar with the scientific terms and knowledge in Science and Maths (which is very, very important in this modern world), the English language is being injected into the students unofficially... How is that so..??
Learning a certain language is not about "read and write" that particular language. It's mostly about speaking and conversing in that language. If you can't speak and converse in that language, it just simply means that you are not good in that language. That is our main problem here in Malaysia... Students in Malaysia are very shy of speaking English, especially in the rural areas...Learning English as a subject in school is just not enough.. Get it??  We have been doing that from 1977 till 2010 when all schools were and are in the Malay Medium. English is being taught as a subject in schools and it is NOT compulsory to pass it in the public examinations.
From 1977 to 2010, all sorts of approach and techniques have been implimented to make the teaching of English meaningful and relevant, but the result is the same... The standard of English remains below par !!!
So, what's the difference this time? Bringing in new syetems? Bringing in the "Mat Sallehs" to teach English to our kids in school...? Or bringing the Mat Sallehs to learn Bahasa Melayu?? Which is which??
To me, the environment makes the difference... Make our community speak English to the maksimum... Have a situation where everybody speak English. Imagine that we are in London. Everybody communicates in English. That's where the school kids put English into practice... This was what Dr. Mahathir had in mind. More English in class. English in Maths and Science classes... When kids do that in school, they do that at home.. By hook or by crook, the parents have to speak English at home!! See the connection...?
But...., that's not to be..  Some wise guys who are pro-Malay language, doesn't take Bread and Butter for breakfast.. They still insist on their usual "Nasi Lemak".. These few hardcores took to the streets at one time, and demanded that the PPSMI be abolished..., fearing that the Malay language will be left behind once the English language takes center stage.. They brought up "MBMMBI" (Memertabatkan Bahasa Melayu, Memperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris). It simply means eat Nasi Lemak first, then only you can take Bread and Butter....
I would like to share with you what happened in our school assembly a few weeks ago. My school is a Cluster School (one of the 30 such schools in Malaysia). Being a Cluster school, one of our nitch area is English (Debate and Public Speaking). So, every 2nd week of the month, our weekly assembly is being conducted in English. Every single speech, announcements, reports, etc, etc..are to be conducted in English. Even, the speech by the Principal is in English. Now, what happened was that, the report by the Teacher on Duty was being delivered in Bahasa Melayu. Of course, by the Bahasa Melayu teacher... She purposely said "I will deliver this report in Bahasa Melayu because I am a Bahasa Melayu teacher!"  How arrogant !!
There were 4 teachers on duty, not one... To say that she doesn't speak English is not true. She was a school girl before, went to university and she learned English.... The point is : She refuse to speak in English. This person should be sent to Madagascar....
Back to our topic...
The importance of the English language in getting knowledge through the internet is another factor to reckon with. Todays modern world demands srudents to access facts and figures via the internet. You just cannot rely on your "Utusan Malaysia" or "Kosmo" or "Harian Metro" for the latest scientific facts and figures. And 99.99% of the facts and figures are in English. Why is that so....?  Because almost everybody read and write in English. If you want your "writings and ideas" to be read worldwide, write in English. This is exactly what I'm doing now... I want the whole world to read my blog.
Students nowadays are advance. They follow the trend. They can master anything in a short time frame.. That's what I've observed my present students are.... And our job as teachers in such Cluster Schools, is to guide students to greater heights... That's where we produced excellent top class students in public exams, just like Akmal Hidayat Sabri did last year in the SPM 2009. We prepare these students for further studies overseas, to famous and well-known universities worldwide, be it in Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, China or Canada.... And to study there..., these students need the English language, for sure... They will come back to Malaysia to speak Bahasa Melayu, but they need English to study abroad.... See the point.!!!

So, having a "flip-flop" education system will eventual head Malaysia back to the 1980s...., the Nasi Lemak batch of students...
Why not have 2 types of breakfast for Malaysians to choose:
"MALAY MEDIUM"   and    ENGLISH MEDIUM"    in schools........

Nice one this time.............
Have a nice day....

Three more from the Papers today..

Why our grads flock overseas

IT WAS reported that hundreds of engineering graduates from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia leave the country to work in Singapore every year and the university's vice-chancellor said the recruitment by Singapore companies showed that local graduates had “global appeal”. That is one way of looking at it but it also shows that foreign countries are a magnet to local graduates who spurn the local scenario.
He said the only way is for Malaysian recruitment and headhunting agencies to be aggressive in making locals work in the country. The trouble is, you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam said Malaysia could not compare in terms of salaries because Singapore offers higher pay.
Of course, Singapore can afford it. It has no petroleum, palm oil, rubber or timber but has a GDP three times ours. The per capita GDP of Taiwan and South Korea are roughly 2.5 times and double ours respectively. Going back to 1970, the GDP in all these countries were more or less equal.
Now imagine a graduate earning RM2,500 per month in Malaysia can earn S$3,000 in Singapore with a jump to S$5,000 after confirmation in three months. Why would he want to reject Singapore?
Ismail also said, “But we can offer better working packages for our graduates and convince them on moral and ethical grounds”. I don't think we can convince our graduates to stay put on the basis of “moral and ethical grounds”. Going to greener pastures to better one's life has nothing to do with morality or ethics. It is a question of self-development.
The president of the Female Graduates Association Datin Fauziah Mohd Ramly said the phenomena of graduates leaving the country “showed that Malaysian youths lacked patriotism”.
Here again, I submit that the question of “patriotism” is misplaced. The relevant question is, are you doing what is best for you and your family?
Therefore, the responsibility of keeping graduates satisfied so that they don't migrate rests with the state. Patriotism must come from within the citizen. The state can inspire this by fair-minded policies of governance.
Malaysia's brain drain seems to be escalating. Why? Many are dismayed by the rising crime rate, over-zealous religious measures, corruption and mismanagement and a flip-flop education system. If our education system is the best for us, then why is it that our VIPs send their children to international schools or abroad?
Some in Johor commute to and fro Singapore to attend schools in the island state. From schools they go to universities there and most probably end up working in Singapore for mutual benefit.
Singapore has some of the top universities in the world. How come ours don't come anywhere near those across the causeway?
In the light of the ominous brain drain, there is little hope of us becoming a developed nation by 2020. The authorities must take the bull by its horns in attempting remedial measures to arrest the deteriorating situation instead of scapegoating overseas countries as “poachers” of our intellectual property.

English language: Let's be realistic

PATRICK TEH, Ipoh, Perak
REFER to the letter from M.A.T., "Bahasa a heritage to be proud of" (NST, May 5). Bahasa Malaysia has been in the front seat of our education system for more than three decades. But thousands of local graduates can hardly compete with others and many remain jobless for years after graduation. The developments in science and technology are moving too fast. Even well-established nations, like Japan and Germany, have to learn English to keep abreast. Feeling proud of one's language is natural, but one should not overlook reality.

Many nationalists like M.A.T., who advocate "Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa" to others, would quietly ensure that their children receive a good English education through private tuition or at international schools. They might even send them overseas to study.

There is no question that every nation would like to preserve and develop its language to a level that would be internationally recognised.
I need not delve into the complex factors that allowed English to reach this level of acceptance worldwide except to say, once a language has reached the level of global acceptance, it is almost impossible for another language to replace it.

Japan, being the second-most economically powerful nation in the world, would prefer not to waste its time promoting Japanese to match English globally. It would be smarter for the Japanese to learn English, instead of wasting resources on promoting the Japanese language.

Being pragmatic, parents in China have not only embraced English but are sending their children to the United States for further studies. Does that mean they are not confident about Mandarin? Have the Chinese become less important on the world stage by learning to speak reasonably good English?

In fact, their willingness to accept and master a foreign language has impressed the world.

By mastering English but still speaking their mother tongue and practising their cultures, the people of China and India are just enriching their cultures to become more efficient.

We are living in a borderless world and we need a lingua franca to bridge peoples. I was so glad to speak in English to Hassan, an Omani, recently. He spoke better English than many young Malaysians I know. I am sure he is proud of his Omani heritage but he is also equally proud of his good command of English.

In my short conversation with Hassan, I learned so much about Oman and the unique culture of the Omanis. Imagine if there were no English to bridge the two of us. We would perhaps have needed sign language to communicate.

English language: A matter of pride

KRISHNAN UNNI, Alor Gajah, Malacca
AM proud to be a Malaysian. During my visits overseas, the general comment I get from people I talk to is that "you Malaysians can speak very good English". It is indeed a matter of pride for Malaysians that our past and present Malaysian leaders do not require an English language interpreter when meeting leaders of other nations.

I feel very proud that our leaders can communicate so proficiently in English while leaders of many other nations need an interpreter.

But if our present leaders do not emphasise the need to master English, our future generations will definitely be lost and left behind in comparison with their counterparts in other countries.

If we continue to give less importance to English, just imagine a time in the future when someone of the current generation takes over. The Malaysian leader may find himself in an embarrassing or awkward situation.


windi said...

Mr Dess..have u been to rural areas before? for a long time...Malaysia doesnt have enough English teacher..Especially in Sabah. 80% of the English teachers are bidan terjun. How can we teach Bahasa in London (for example) if we cannot speak Malay? Thats the major reason of declining English standard among students. Not enough English (well trained) teacher. The government should train more..

DESS said...

I agree, that's why Dr Mahathir introduces PPSMI. To kill 2 birds with 1 stone. But these BM fanatics just don't get it !!!
I have taught in rural areas many times.. And I know the problem.
Nice knowing you Windi. Keep in touch.
My facebook is as DESS DAHASRY...
You have one?

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