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Al Fatihah, Latifah Omar

Sad news today as Seniwati Latifah Omar passed away.

KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran actress, Latifah Omar, 74 died today at University Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 6.19pm today.

She was admitted at HUKM about a week ago due to suffering from colon cancer.

The actress known for her films with Cathay Keris was often paired off with Nordin Ahmad.

Among her many films include Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, Hang Jebat, Jalak Lenteng, Laila Majnun, Gurindam Jiwa and Putus Sudah Kasih Sayang.

Latifah-Omar-sbg-DahliaShe was one of the great Malay primadonnas of that era. For the young generation, they should know that the movies that were made back then were actually more than movies. They are the collection of stories and tales from the malay world. Any of the younger generation now knows by heart the story of Bawang Putih Bawang Merah? And most of the malay kids these days do not know the lessons that can be learned from Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup, much less the whole story.

To all the old malay actors and actresses, singers and dancers who had brought forth and continued the legacy of tales from times long forgotten, our highest gratitude and thank you which we could never repay in a million years.

Al Fatihah.

Towards improving our national education system

The admin at the One School System website were gracious enough to host an article of mine over there. Please have a read at it here. Thank you.

DAP and their chinese first, Malaysian second friends

The latest shocking news that came about regarding DAP is their unequivocal support for Dong Zong and Jiao Zong (chinese education NGO extremist groups) to rally as a protest against the seemingly unfair treatment of Ministry of Education against the whole universe of chinese education here in Malaysia.

The rally is set to be held on March 25. I am not sure what is the latest development of this but if the rally does go on as scheduled, then yet again, DAP is proven to be as racist as they claim their political opponents to be.

To put it simply, DAP as well as Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are saying that they do not want any teachers without the ability to speak Mandarin to be teaching in their chinese vernacular schools.

Therefore, they are asking the MOE to take back the teachers and at the same time, asking the ministry to train more teachers and send in more qualified ones.

Since they think MOE is having ulterior motives or worse, being apathetic towards chinese education, the rally is planned to gain more support. And surprisingly, the party that label themselves as advocators of being Malaysian first, everything else second is using this platform to buy more votes for the coming general elections.

Or else, why would DAP poking their noses in a highly racial issue such as chinese education? Shouldn’t they be promoting how each Malaysian should mingle with each other in a more institutionalised and comprehensive way?

Anyway, the Minister of Education gave his opinion two days ago:

KUALA LUMPUR: The protest over the lack of teachers at Chinese schools should not be politicised by any party, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“I hope that this will not become a political issue,” he told reporters this after launching the Federal Territory Umno election machinery here yesterday.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister said steps were being taken to address the concerns raised by the groups and their protest should not be viewed as though the ministry was not doing anything to resolve issues faced by Chinese schools.

Muhyiddin said this when asked to comment on the protest by Chinese educationist groups, United Chinese School Teachers Association (Jiao Zong) and United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong), over the shortage of teachers at Chinese primary schools nationwide.

On Sunday, about 100 representatives of the groups held a protest at SRJK(C) Pay Fong III at Bukit Cina Malacca.

A similar protest would be held at Dong Zong’s headquarters in Kajang, Selangor at 11am on March 25.

He said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong had met up with the groups recently to better understand their grouses to address the shortage of Chinese language teachers and teachers of other subjects at Chinese primary schools nationwide.

“The outcome of the meeting will be presented to me next week.

“The decision we take will be based on resolving the problem of the shortage and not something we do without taking into consideration their actual needs,” he said.

He noted that teachers sent to Chinese schools needed to have proper training not only to master the particular subject they taught but also Mandarin.

At present, he said teachers sent to the Chinese schools which faced teaching shortages was a temporary measure, with the ministry working towards a long-term solution. SOURCE : Here.

The chinese schools has been facing shortages of teachers for some time now. And this problem persists in national schools and tamil schools as well. It is a perennial issue. New schools are built each year and good teachers who are willing to relocate or stationed anywhere as instructed are hard to come by.

It is my opinion that those extremists groups i.e., Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are arrogant into thinking that the MOE is not doing anything to solve their plight. It is also disgusting to think that their plight revolve around their own racist tendency and paranoia.

The non chinese teachers within the chinese vernacular schools are teaching Bahasa Malaysia subject. Obviously, in order for the students to learn Bahasa Malaysia, Malay teachers or teachers with good command in BM are sent.

It is illogical if this was deemed as unacceptable by those two racist groups.

They further justify that those teachers must teach other subjects in Mandarin if there are shortages of teachers in other subjects; and, they are also saying that these BM teachers must also be able to speak Mandarin if the students do not understand the teaching methods and the teacher must be able to converse in Mandarin for the ease of the students.

I never knew that students in chinese schools are pampered and spoon fed that way. Certainly, if they entered universities in the US or UK or Australia, none of the lecturers there would speak with them in Mandarin if they do not understand English.

Furthermore, Mandarin is not even our mother tongue for the chinese here.

And if the logic by these chinese extremist groups is accepted, then the teachers from English speaking countries being called to teach English to our students here would also be an incorrect thing to do. Obviously these teachers couldn’t speak BM.

I really do not understand the paranoia that is being cultivated by these groups.

For all its worth, the hyperbole brought forth by these two groups are clouded by a feeling that can be regarded as chinese supremacy.

Apparently, non chinese teachers are not good enough to set foot in chinese education system eventhough these teachers are the best bet in trying to teach the children the malay language.

No wonder the DAP is wholeheartedly supporting them. This party will always champion anything that can promote and heighten chinese supremacy in Malaysia.

This issue is very much akin to the events preceding the Operasi Lalang in 1988.

Fortunately, not many are taken by this hate-mongering tactics of the DAP and these chinese supremacists.

One thing that is different from the issues of the 80′s is the absence of MCA in this issue. MCA is more sensible these days. In fact, one of its leaders is chairing a committee to solve this issue. I hope the MOE will not bend over backwards to give in to these racial separatist movement.

But knowing the DAP, which will always make noise but not willing to take part in the solution will forever be a thorn in the issue. Recent development of not wanting to take part in the committee discussing the LYNAS issue is one fine example.

MCA, being the more mature and having more common sense are not playing the ‘we are more chinese’ game with the DAP. A game which if memory serves right, had destroyed the ‘semangat muhibbah’ among Malaysians so many times in the past.

It is good to note that some chinese are not inclined with how DAP is playing up this issue. Some of it can be read here, here and here.

But the best can be read here as below:

Dong Jiao Zong: So, What Is The Problem?

By Jolina Tan

After much noise and ‘foot thumping’ by the Dong Jiao Zong over the appointment of non-Mandarin educated teachers in Chinese vernacular schools, it is reported that the 17 teachers involved were only directed to teach Bahasa Malaysia, which is why Mandarin background is not deemed essential.

A friend of mine asked, so what’s the noise and foot-thumping all about?  Demonstration of power?

It’s the upcoming election, isn’t it?  All the political parties must be made aware of the power of Dong Zong and that whichever party is ready to kow-tow to this organization, would be ‘blessed’ with its support.

Just because the Dong Zong fights for the Chinese, doesn’t mean it represents 100% of us.   I am among the few Chinese who is uncomfortable with this unhealthy but upward trend of ‘power-testing’ by our people, championed by Dong Jiao Zong.

We all know that it is important to not lose our roots but aren’t we the ones asking the nation to be Malaysian First, and race second?   Naturally, as Malaysian, we must put our Bahasa Kebangsaan first and Mandarin second.    But it never seem that way to me and no wonder the Malays are going berserk towards us.

I am one of the many Malaysian Chinese who can’t speak Mandarin and I’m not proud of it.  I wish I could, as it is an advantage to know many languages.

But I don’t feel guilty for not being able to speak Mandarin because I believe in being Malaysian First and Chinese Second.

When I go overseas, I hate it when people get confuse of whether I am from Malaysia or China because most of us Malaysian Chinese do not have anything to show that can relate us to Malaysia, except that it is written as so, in our passport.   If there is anything that can relate us to our country, it is only our broken Bahasa Malaysia.  And yet, we scream if we didn’t get treated as loyal Malaysians.

Whereas, the Thailand or Indonesian Chinese are easy to be recognized when overseas for they usually speak their national language.   They also strongly considered the traditional dress and culture of the original Thais or Indonesians as theirs too.  For this, the original Thais and Indonesians have no prejudice towards them and accept them as their own.

In fact, in all parts of the world, the immigrants would quickly adopt and practice the original language and culture of the country, in order to blend in and be accepted.  Like it or not, only in Malaysia that such cases of ‘alien-citizen’ is common.   And I’m pointing out to you that it is as much our fault, as everybody else’s.

I respect Dong Zong for its determination to keep the spirit of our ancestors’ and motherland alive and strong.    But I strongly feels that Dong Zong, as an education NGO should help promote unity instead of extremism.

We want the Malays to be Malaysian first and Malay second but are we doing the same?   What does it mean to be Malaysian?  What is Malaysia, anyway?

I don’t know what the Dong Zong have in mind about Malaysia, but I don’t want to teach my children to lie to themselves about their roots.  I want them to accept the fact that even though our ancestors were from China, China is no longer our country.

Our country is Malaysia.  Our national language is Bahasa Malaysia, our culture is of a very strong influence of the Malay culture because Malay is the original settlers of this land.  Our traditional dress is the baju kebangsaan and all Chinese or Indians just have to accept it or should not claim to be Malaysians.   However, as non-Malays, we have the right to uphold our race’s traditional dress too, in respect of our roots.

I bring this matter up because I don’t see any solution to the never-ending prejudice among all the races in Malaysia.   Everybody is backing up their own races’ arguments but none would admit their wrongs.

We have always complained of being discriminated in terms of education, properties, government projects and all but have we ever tried to look at it from the eyes of others?

With Dong Zong constantly fighting for separation of our race from others, how can we expect the Malays to not have any prejudice and suspicions towards us?  How can we expect them to feel secure enough to abolish the policy that discriminate us when we, ourselves, are still aliens to them?

I believe that only when we truly blend in, that the privilege and special rights of the Bumis can be truly abolished.   Let’s not be hypocrites and selfish.  Let’s truly fight for unity, for a 1Bangsa Malaysia, for our own sake.

Instead of demanding, provoking and threatening, may be Dong Zong should start offering, giving and co-operating in sharing ideas and working towards bringing the races together.   Prove that the Chinese too, can truly be Malaysian First and Chinese Second.

So Dong Zong, Jiao Zong and DAP, bila mau jadi Orang Malaysia?

A plea for common sense

A question allegedly from a Form 3 History workbook

This snapshot is currently making its rounds in Facebook pages. And many people are aghast with this type of question and criticise it as against the spirit of 1Malaysia.

To the masses that feed on sensationalised issue and unable to think beyond the typical knee jerk reaction, this question was deeply riled as a racial and political plot to promote the much maligned ‘Ketuanan Melayu’  dogma.

If people would dare to apply their common sense and step back and breathe for awhile, the question posed was in the context of Malayan Union and the struggle of Malayans against their British oppressors.

Obviously the exploits of Datuk Onn Jaafar was learned by all of us and kids these days are not excluded from learning the history of Malaysia.

Try answer the question please.

Done? What have you answered if you were Onn Jaafar? What would you do in order to maintain the status quo of the Malays at that time in the face of being colonised formally by the British through the Malayan Union?

Don’t know? Are you not Orang Malaysia? Why are you offended with this type of question in the first place?

It is part of history.

The snapshot above is from a History subject. It is not a subject about 1Malaysia or current affairs or current political studies.

This is History education.

I wrote sometime back which greatly emphasised this exact issue:

History as a subject has two pronged objectives. One, to instil patriotism into the heart of every citizen from their childhood stage. Two, as source of knowledge on their surroundings and how they perceive their world.

In America, History was a touchy subject for the people especially with the advent of multiculturism among its people. With the influx of foreigners and the calls for equality among the afro-american movement, history as a subject was a sensitive issue indeed.

For example, how do you reconcile the fact that George Washington, the founding father of United States of America, has many black slaves and treated them harshly?

How can one see Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest President the United States had ever had but at the same time he ‘supported projects to remove blacks from the United States’ and said that ‘blacks could not be assimilated into white society and rejected the notion of social equality of the races’?

Multi-culturism pose a big threat to the learning of a country’s history because history in the eyes of each community living in a particular country is different from one another.

Was the Great Settlement of the Mid West by the white colonials in America a great human achievement for the whites? Or was it a mass extermination of the native Red Indians and their way of life by the europeans?

So what if George Washington owned slaves? So what if Abraham Lincoln was racist?

Each and every American out there reveres them both as the founding father and a great leader based on their achievements alone and what good they had brought to the Americans even centuries after they had passed away.

In other aspects, the native Americans in the USA are very patriotic regardless what happened to their people in the past.

Back in Malaysia, we hear so many negative opposition from the people who are against the subject of history made compulsory in schools. This is precisely because their views came from the racial angle.

All the prejudice, the stereotyping, the paranoia are the by-products of segregated education they experienced in their early childhood. At the very least, their views were contaminated by the very people that champion the need to segregate our children.

In the end, history is being promoted by these clustered group of people as evil and should not be taught to our children. We see so many unsavoury characters in the cyberspace trying hard to re-write history based on fiction and malicious motives.

In any case, like how the Americans are accepting their history, Malaysians must accept their country’s history from the eyes of Orang Malaysia.

The need for racial posturing when it comes to history must be stopped. Only desperate politicians would look through the racial lense and try to skew history to further their agenda for power. People must not look at history as if it is a disease that must be eradicated.  - Full article here.

You may also like to read this.

Mat Sabu, Selamat Hari Merdeka ke 54!

Dalam hari-hari terakhir bulan Ramadhan yang lepas, kita mendapati satu pembohongan besar telah di lakukan oleh Timbalan Presiden Parti Islam Se-Malaysia yang bernama Mohamad Sabu.

Ianya dilakukan di satu ceramah politik di Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor. Video tersebut boleh di lihat di bawah:

Ada beberapa perkara kejam Mat Sabu sudah lakukan dalam ucapan beliau tadi. Pertama, beliau mempermainkan lagu Negaraku. Tidak perlulah kita mempertikaikan asal usul melodi lagu kebangsaan kita sendiri. Yang penting, ianya diterima dengan sebulat suara dan hati yang terbuka sejak lebih 50 tahun yang dahulu hinggalah sekarang.

Tabiat memperlekehkan lagu kebangsaan sendiri demi perjuangan politik yang muflis seperti apa yang Mat Sabu bawa ini amatlah menyedihkan. Apatah lagi, beliau adalah orang nombor dua tertinggi di dalam parti yang mempunyai ahli teramai di dalam pakatan pembangkang.

Kedua, memperlekehkan Hari Kemerdekaan itu sendiri dengan mengaitkannya dengan filem Bukit Kepong arahan Jins Shamsuddin. Tujuan beliau sebenarnya adalah untuk memperkecilkan perjuangan Umno menuntut kemerdekaan tanahair kita ini.

Akibat satu nyamuk, habis satu kelambu di bakar… akibat musuh politik, sejarah negara di tukar-tukar.

Beliau mengatakan bahawa penyerang Balai Polis di Bukit Kepong di dalam tahun 1950 merupakan hero sebenar kemerdekaan. Jika Mat Sabu buat buat tolol, yang menyerang balai polis berkenaan adalah ahli Parti Komunis Malaya. Secara langsung, mereka adalah komunis.

Mungkin Mat Sabu terlupa atau terlampau dangkal fikirannya hingga boleh melupakan kekejaman yang dibuat oleh komunis ke-atas rakyat Malaya ketika zaman darurat tersebut. Ianya boleh di baca di sini dan di sini. Komunis telah melakukan huru-hara di dalam negara kita dengan membunuh ramai rakyat yang tidak berdosa. Bagaimana pula Mat Sabu boleh mengangkat komunis sebagai ‘hero’ Malaya?

Oleh itu, Mat Indera bukanlah sekadar ‘hero penyerang’ balai polis. Dia adalah salah seorang ahli komunis yang menjadi sebahagian daripada Rejimen ke 4 Parti Komunis Malaya yang diketuai oleh Goh Peng Tun.

Di dalam suratkhabar The Star pada 30 Ogos 2011, Mat Sabu mengatakan bahawa:

“What I said in my ceramah was that Mat Indera was a hero because he fought independence. He was a labour leader, a freedom fighter,” Mohamad said when contacted.

Mohamad said he did not use the word ‘communist’ in his speech.

“Yet, Utusan claimed that I said ‘the communists were heroes’. Also, Utusan mentioned that Goh Peng Tun led the insurgency at Bukit Kepong.

“I never heard this name before, until Utusan mentioned it.”

Sebab itu, kita berharap supaya Mat Sabu tidak hanya menghadkan pembacaan beliau kepada komik sahaja. Pelajarilah buku buku sejarah agar tidak menampakkan diri sebagai orang yang amat cetek ilmu pengetahuannya. Semestinya, jika beliau banyak membaca, beliau akan tahu siapa itu Goh Peng Tun.

Tidak menyebut perkataan komunis bukan bermakna kita tidak menyebutnya secara tersurat. Mat Sabu kelihatan amat terdesak hingga alasan beliau seperti kebudak-budakkan.

Manakan tidak, ketua beliau yang juga Pengerusi DAP Malaysia, Karpal Singh mengeluarkan kenyataan yang secara tersiratnya merujuk Mat Sabu sebagai amat tidak pintar sekali. Kenyataan tersebut boleh dibaca di sini.

Suka diingatkan kepada Mat Sabu, jika anda mengangkat senjata dan membunuh orang awam dan anggota keselamatan negara, anda bukan lagi dianggap ‘labour leader’ atau ‘freedom fighter’.

Ketiga, mengatakan bahawa kisah Tok Janggut dan Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy tidak diceritakan di dalam sejarah negara. Ini adalah tohmahan yang tidak tepat sekali. Kita boleh membaca kisah mereka di dalam buku-buku teks sejarah pendidikan negara. Mereka ini di anggap pejuang kemerdekaan negara.

Bahkan nama Rashid Maidin juga disebut di dalam buku-buku teks kita. Walau bagaimanapun, memandangkan Rashid Maidin adalah komunis, maka tetaplah dia di anggap sebagai musuh negara. Ini sejarah yang tidak mungkin bertukar walaupun terdapat seribu Mat Sabu di dalam negara kita.

Saya merasa sedih kerana sejarah negara kita diputar sewenang-wenangnya oleh para pemimpin pembangkang yang bankrap idea untuk mengetengahkan perjuangan mereka. Seolah-olah tiada sifat terima kasih kepada mereka yang bertungkus lumus mempertahankan negara kita sewaktu waktu dahulu.

Mentaliti Mat Sabu senang sahaja difahami. Beliau mahu rakyat Malaysia menidakkan segala usaha dan budi pemimpin-pemimpin Parti Perikatan yang membawa kepada kemerdekaan negara. Salah satu daripada parti tersebut adalah Parti Umno – musuh politik PAS.

Tidak kisah jika kita menyokong pembangkang atau kerajaan ataupun atas pagar sahaja; yang penting sejarah negara kita adalah kebanggaan kita. Apa yang telah terjadi, begitulah yang terjadi.

Adalah membimbangkan jika orang seperti Mat sabu diangkat sebagai pemimpin nombor dua negara. Menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia. Apa mungkin beliau boleh menaikkan taraf negara kita jika pengetahuan beliau hanya berbekalkan ilmu seperti murid darjah satu sahaja?

Apa mungkin beliau dapat memberi keyakinan para pelabur di luar negara jika cara percakapan beliau lebih mirip celoteh kedai kopi sahaja?

Sempena Hari Kemerdekaan kita yang ke-54, marilah kita bersama-sama menguatkan iltizam dan bersatu padu membanteras gejala meremehkan perjuangan para perajurit tanahair yang telah berkorban tenaga dan jiwa raga menentang kezaliman komunis dan British.

Sesungguhnya, negara kita Malaysia aman makmur kerana semangat patriotisma rakyatnya yang tinggi dan tidak pernah goyah biar pun ada yang cuba melunturkannya.

Keranamu Malaysia!

Kepada Mat Sabu, rajin-rajinlah baca buku.

One School System – It’s now or never

If you are one of the many people that support the One School system, you can almost feel that this post is coming up.

For the past few weeks, there have been some positive development regarding this issue. After the sense of acute racial polarisation is about to take place here in Malaysia, the importance of a single stream education system, significantly at the primary level has begun to permeate in the psyche of ordinary Malaysians.

It is a simple and logical explanation and also the most profound solution for the problems on the lack of racial integration we have here in Malaysia.

Many hurdles were met along the way. The most disappointing and no less disparaging remark was the accusation from the opposition that those who support the One School system are racists.

In one hand, those who desire to see a more unified and integrated society are labeled as racists while on the other hand, those who support the chinese and tamil schools had labeled themselves as victims. Nevermind the fact that chinese and tamil schools are in fact, schools that were established based fundamentally and historically on racial grounds. But according to these opposition members, vernacular schools are not racist. The One School system is!

Are we racist in trying to get all our children to be together? I am sure we are not.

The opposition should just discontinue playing rhetorical taunts and decide if they want to support a more pertinent issue such as national unity and integration. Obviously, segregating the society into clusters of people instead of governing one seamless mass of people are much easier to do. Divide and conquer is an ageless tactic which had lent a helping hand to so many conquerors in this world.

And vernacular schools contribute greatly towards the segregation and polarisation of our society. This is undeniably the most telling symptom of our society. It is so undeniable that any effort to deny this can only be delivered through arguments incongruous with reason.

Take the reasons brought forth by DAP Youth Chief, Anthony Loke.

He argued that the proficiency of Bahasa Malaysia among the chinese is mainly due to the government’s failure in giving enough emphasis and assistance to those who were weak in the language.

He said:

“I think that probably this is because the learning of the language is not really enhanced in both the primary and secondary levels. 

“I am sure that there will be critics blaming the vernacular schools but I disagree… because even there, BM is a compulsory subject and after that, they go to secondary school where BM is even more prominent. There is just no proper programme in place to help these Chinese primary school students to adopt when in the secondary level,” he added.

We have a solution. That programme that Anthony Loke mentioned will be called the One School system.

A study was made by the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) whereby it was revealed that significant number of secondary school dropouts with Chinese primary vernacular education have little, or zero, command of English or the national language. To be precise, it was found that one-third of students from those schools cannot understand either English or Bahasa Malaysia (BM) when they transfer to national secondary schools.

The inability to communicate in the national language stemmed from the limited interaction with other races. If at the early primary stage the children are handicapped by this social impediment, we can be certain that in later stage of life, prejudice and paranoia will arise and will make it difficult to integrate with one another.

This will happen not only among the children from chinese vernacular schools, but also among children from the tamil vernacular schools and the national schools where the malay students are dominant.

A further study albeit a simpler one was done by The Malaysian Insider recently to gauge the command of the national language among the chinese here in Malaysia.

The most profound data that was gathered revealed that about 26% of respondents do not understand Bahasa Malaysia at all. Close to 19% do not have to use Bahasa Malaysia at all or only use it less than three times in their daily lives.

This suggest that within the Chinese community, there is a significant class whose members only interact with those who speak Chinese.

It is just a matter of time when we have a complete segregation of society where the two main race will not interact with one another in a lifetime. Do we really want this?

Anthony Loke must be delusional if he still want to blame the government for not giving assistance for the students in chinese vernacular schools to increase their proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia. But then again it is not vintage DAP if they do not blame the government for everything.

The most cost effective way is for everyone to enrol in national school where Bahasa Malaysia is the main medium of instruction.

It does not make any sense for the government to pour more resources into vernacular schools just to strengthen  the usage of Bahasa Malaysia in mandarin medium schools.

For every ringgit given to vernacular schools, a ringgit loss for the national schools.

The trick Anthony Loke is playing is for the government to give more money to vernacular schools so that his politics will continue to survive. His racist tactic has always been the bread and butter for his political party.

Too bad the government would always fall for this trick. What the opposition do not want gullible Malaysians to know is that every year, the government is already spending more than RM1.8 billion to pay the salaries of teachers in the chinese and tamil vernacular schools.

That is RM1.8 billion wasted just to produce more polarisation in this country. Not to mention the millions already spent on infrastructures and on by election ‘gifts’.

Another ridiculous statement was issued by the DAP deputy secretary-general, Ngeh Koo Ham when he opined that ‘national integration had nothing to do with a person’s inability to converse in the language and explained that it was likely that many people saw it more beneficial to master English or Mandarin than BM

Ngeh noted the civil service was taken up by at least 80 per cent of Malays, causing the non-Malays to focus their attentions on obtaining jobs that do not require extensive knowledge of BM. 

“We master a language for the betterment of our future, like finding a good job, a good career and so on. So since many non-Malays do not opt for posts in the civil service where BM proficiency is required, their focus on learning the language is almost negligible,” he said.’

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of Malaysia. The importance and the sanctity of this language is greatly determined by the way it is treated in the national education. If in a school where 90% of the time Bahasa Malaysia was not spoken then naturally, the students will not or cannot see the importance of it. This is a given.

If the students do not lay importance to it, coupled with the fact that there are minimal or zero interaction with students of other races, then almost certainly they will not master the national language. If you are unable to master the national language, you cannot join the civil service.

Therefore Ngeh Koo Ham made a malicious assumption where he asserted that because the civil service has 80% Malays, the non-Malays will not join it due to the fact that proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia is required.

Logically, the argument should be the other way around – due to the inability to converse well in Bahasa Malaysia, the non Malays failed the tests to enter the civil service leading to the burgeoning of Malays in the civil service.

This can again be traced to the existence of vernacular schools. The opposition especially the DAP frequently lamented about the unfair policies of the government and tried to colour their arguments with racial undertones when we can observe that the very core of their existence if to perpetuate their own racist politics. Working within the sphere of racism (whether playing the victim or in any other multiple levels of racial rhetorics) is the simplest and quickest way to gain prominence in national politics.

The DAP national vice-chairman Chong Chieng Jen joined this absurdity by strongly disagreeing  to the fact that national unity are affected by the Chinese community’s lack of proficiency in BM.

‘He pointed out that 30 years back, racial polarisation and segregation were less rampant than it is today despite the widespread lack of understanding of the BM language among the community. 

“Less people understood BM then but there was less segregation. People mingled better than they do today. “So at the end of the day, national unity and integration is more about fairer policies…. Barisan Nasional politicians should stop playing racial politics,” he said.’

I am not sure from which abyss he excavated this kind of logic. If there were less segregation and polarisation 30 years ago and yet the people back then understood Bahasa Malaysia even less than today, how on earth did we communicate with each other 30 years ago? Through sign languages?!

We had better national education system back then. There were less people that went to vernacular schools back then. That was why the society were less segregated. But in recent decades, the emergence of extremism in politics of both divide had destroyed our education system. The only way to go now is through a comprehensive and well coordinated effort to standardise the education system. We should start at primary level as the first phase.

The government recently announced that they are looking into the One School system to promote unity and harmony. It is high time that we should look into this.

Summarily, it was proposed that:

1) The first phase will be a co-ordinated exchange of programmes between vernacular and national schools

2) The second phase will be the introduction of a third language in both schools.

3) The third phase will be co-locating of schools and,

4) The final phase is the implementation of the 1School system.

Frankly, do we want our children to be segregated like this:

chinese vernacular school

tamil vernacular school

national school (mainly malays)

Or do we want to see like this:

Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua

Support Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua. Thank you everyone.

HAPPY WESAK DAY TO ALL MALAYSIAN BUDDHISTS!

Straigthening out YB Khairy Jamaluddin’s column

Below is an excellent article by blogger SatD of Pure Shiite. It is to reinforce the MPs into doing the right thing instead of skirting over the problem and sweeping the mess under the carpet. This mess, if left untreated, will torment your own children and grandchildren in the future. Although some of YB Khairy’s points are valid, he had completely misread the wordings in the Constitution as pointed out by the blogger SatD. I am copying the first half of his article. The juicier parts can be further digested here. You can also give your comments there. Thank you.

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YB Khairy, what “Virtual Constitutional Guarantee” are you talking about?

Dear YB Khairy.

I was recently notified of your recent column published in the Edge, thank you for having the guts to venture into the subject matter.

Allow me to reproduce your full piece for my readers.

Engage multiculturalism early on

I think the biggest elephant in the 1Malaysia room is the societal behaviour of Malaysians themselves. I do not deny that national unity suffers from politics, political parties and politicians.

People in my profession – from all parties (even those that claim to be multiracial) – are routinely guilty of ethnocentric politics, reaching out to different communities at the expense of others. Politics is also a reflection of the society that we live in. And the fact of the matter is many Malaysians still live in silos with a heightened sense of suspicion towards other ethnic communities.

But rather than philosophising about this fundamental question in generalities, I attempted to address the policy-making behind the often ephemeral question of national unity during the debate on the Agong’s Royal Address in Parliament recently.

It is often said that the reason why racial polarisation is worse today than a few generations back is simply because there is less contact and interaction now. Those who attended local universities in the 1960s and 70s will regale you with stories of how students of different ethnicity hung out together, in marked contrast to the scenes at our varsities today where posses of friends are usually mono-ethnic.

Some have pointed out that the problem starts much earlier, during the formative years of young Malaysians. The fact that today more Malaysian kids of Chinese ethnicity attend vernacular schools rather than national schools contributes to the drastic reduction in contact hours between our children.

Although many of these students end up in national secondary schools, there is already a psychological perspective that has been formed during the earlier (and arguably most impressionable) years of their education in which they grew up in largely mono-ethnic environments. Of course, there are non-Chinese students who attend Chinese vernacular schools but for the most part, the overwhelming majority of children there are from one ethnic group.

One solution to address this polarity that has been brought about by the existence of different types of schools in Malaysia has been to just have one school – the national school. Advocates for this argument say that for as long as vernacular schools exist, our kids will be separated during their formative years and will carry with them a ‘silo-ed’ worldview into their teenage years and beyond.

While there are great merits to this argument, principally the notion that all Malaysian children will be educated under one roof and all the wonderful consequences that this might have on national unity, I doubt there would be any government that would commit themselves to this. Vernacular schools are a virtually sacrosanct institution for many members of the Chinese and Indian communities for which they have a virtual constitutional guarantee for it’s continued existence.

So, rather than pursuing something well near impossible, we are left with trying to find ways towards greater unity while acknowledging the continued existence of different systems in our education system. For a few years, the government’s flagship program to break down the walls that separate our kids has been the national service stint in which SPM leaders are selected at random to spend three months in a quasi-bootcamp where they are taught leadership, teamwork, civic virtue, nation-building in a contained environment.

The architects of the program believed that this could be the magic panacea to cure racial polarisation, social ills and instill a much needed “Malaysia Boleh” sense of pride and patriotism which is apparently not pronounced enough among our youth.

As someone who served on the first national service training council (the body tasked with overseeing the implementation of the programme), I was able to visit some of the camps during the training period. It goes without saying that most participants have fun during their stint. For most young people, the opportunity for adventure and to bond with others of the same age is something that they would naturally be attracted to.

Hence, when the government releases surveys done on national service participants, it is no big surprise that most of them enjoyed their three months. But beyond a superficial analysis of feedback from national service participants, we need to ask whether or not the program has succeeded in making young Malaysians mix around better with one another and, more importantly, believe that the national interest always trumps sectarian or communal considerations.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the situation is less encouraging than one might hope, for the simple reason that many participants enter the program having grown up in relative ethnic isolation. Formative years do not begin at age 17 or 18, when perspectives – including those regarding communal identities – have most likely hardened. I dare say it has never been clear how three months after SPM can possibly overcome years of polarisation. There is of course nothing inherently wrong with the national service programme; but we need to take a step back and face the very real probability that we asking far too much of it – it is not the magic panacea.

Now, if our goal is inculcating a sense of national identity over and above communal persuasions, why not begin at precisely those formative years of a child’s life? During my speech, I touched on the Student Integration Plan for Unity (RIMUP).

Initially introduced in 1986 but never gained a foothold until its revival as a key initiative under the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010. It has since withered away once again. Involving primary school students of different races from national and national-type, vernacular schools to regularly engage in a range of usually co-curricular activities, we have in RIMUP a practical and actionable initiative to encourage early inter-ethnic interaction.

It is actionable in as much as it does not require us venturing into the constitutional and political labyrinth of arguing for a single school system or sidestepping political landmines associated with the Vision School proposal (putting one national school, one Chinese school and one Tamil school in the same compound). It is practical because its nature as an activity-based program on school grounds means RIMUP does not involve extensive infrastructural commitments.

The potential and relative ease of implementation thus makes it rather curious that, across the levels of policymaking and discourse, RIMUP is not given anywhere near the attention it deserves. A study conducted by school inspectors in 2007 revealed that only 27% of schools were extensively and regularly involved in RIMUP activities. Further, only 12% of them conducted post mortems or discussions on how to improve activities organized under RIMUP.

The figures on fiscal expenditure are not much more flattering. RIMUP was allocated only RM25.8 million in 2007. Compare this to the public spending on the national service programme, which stands at an average of RM595.7 million per year from 2009 to 2011 – twenty times more than RIMUP. The glaring asymmetry is further illustrated by the fact that no details on RIMUP were provided in the Federal Government Spending Estimates for 2011.

When I finally received an answer from the Deputy Minister of Education on how much the Government has allocated for RIMUP in 2011, I almost couldn’t believe my ears when he said RM2.4 million. National service will receive RM564 million this year. You do the maths.

I urge the Government to immediately remedy the situation by revitalising RIMUP as a central initiative of promoting national unity organically, as it were. The national service has its many advantages but why pin the entire unity project on it when it can be supplemented by a rather understated program that is so readily incorporated into a child’s everyday life at school?

At stake is no less than the viability of this nation’s multicultural and multiracial character. For too long we have taken a disengaged stance about multiculturalism, self-enchanted by the rhetorical allure of ‘unity in diversity’ without necessarily promoting cross-cultural and cross-communal engagement.

This approach, I believe, is mistaken. A multiculturalism that is satisfied with leaving each other to live in parallel lives is inherently self-destructive; it engenders precisely the prejudices and paranoia that ‘unity in diversity’ is meant to displace.

1Malaysia implores us to move beyond tolerance for good reason – tolerance of the alien is never enough. Rather, a Malaysian identity requires, first, an empathic recognition of each other’s cultural particularities, and then an embrace of the ways in which cross-cultural contact may enrich our own lives. Postponing this project to age 17 or 18 will not do. Source here.

As a strong advocate of the Single School, allow me present to you our side of the story more clearly so that going forward you may have a better bearing in navigating the “constitutional and political labyrinth” with regards to this issue.

First of all there is No such thing as a Virtual Constitutional Guarantee with regards to the Continued existence of Vernacular School.

In fact it is actually against the Constitution of Malaysia and the National Language Act. Allow me to refer to two court judgements where the issue of medium of instruction in a Foreign Language have been put to test.

Case 1 Mark Koding

The question therefore arises as to the true interpretation of proviso (a) to Article 152(1). Having regard to the words used in the proviso, viz. “teaching or learning any other language” as opposed to “teaching or learning in any other language”, I tend to agree with the restricted meaning enunciated by Abdoolcader J when dealing with schools or other educational institutions. In my view, under proviso (a), although the National Language shall be the Malay language, the usage of any other language other than for official purposes, is guaranteed; so is the teaching or learning of any other language in schools, be it Chinese, Tamil, Arabic or English. But there is nothing in proviso (a) to justify the extension of the protection to the operation of schools where the medium of instruction is Chinese, Tamil, Arabic or English. This strict interpretation is consistent with proviso (b) which guarantees the right of the Federal Government or any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation. Thus, the preservation and sustenance of usage of language of any other community is guaranteed. So is the preservation and sustenance of study of any other community’s language, but again there is no justification in extending the guarantee to the preservation and sustenance of study in the language of any other community in the absence of specific words to that effect. Any other interpretation of proviso (a) would result in abusing the words used in the proviso. It is absurd for instance to think that the proviso gives constitutional protection to teaching or learning in school where the medium of instruction is Russian or Japanese. To my mind, the protection only extends to language but not to medium of instruction in schools. In other words, no person shall be prohibited or prevented from teaching or learning Chinese or Tamil or, for that matter, any language which is not the national language in any school as a language subject, but such protection does not extend to the teaching or learning in a school where the teaching or learning is in any other language. As correctly stated by Abdoolcader J the omission of the preposition “in” after the words “teaching or learning” in proviso (a) makes the distinction necessary

Case 2 Merdeka University

Reading Article 152 together with the National Language Act, in our judgment, the law may be stated as follows:

* Bahasa is the national language;
* Bahasa is the official language;

A person is prohibited from using any other language for official purposes — subject to exceptions as regards the continued use of the English language allowed by s 4 and of other languages by other provisions of the National Language Act;

* No person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (to be specific) Chinese for unofficial purposes;
* No person shall be prohibited or prevented from teaching Chinese;
* No person shall be prohibited or prevented from learning Chinese;

The Federal or a State Government has the right to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any non-Malay community — as indeed the Federal Government is doing in school and at the Institute of Technology, Mara, and in the Departments of Chinese and Indian Studies and in some other departments at the University of Malaya where even Arabic, Japanese, Thai and other languages are taught. (This right belongs to Government).

Government cannot legally prohibit or prevent MU from teaching and offering courses to enable students to learn Chinese.

But the crucial question is: would MU be prohibited from teaching in Chinese as the sole or major medium of instruction? It certainly would if it is a public authority, for then the use of Chinese there would be use for an official purpose which the Constitution read together with the National Language Act says is prohibited.

And this is their decision

In any event, bearing in mind the history of education in this country and the divisive results of allowing separate language schools and the lesson learned from the experience of our neighbour with a private university and the determination of Parliament to so regulate schools and universities and education generally as an instrument for bringing about one nation out of the disparate ethnic elements in our population, we have no choice but to hold, as we have already held, that MU if established would be a public authority within Article 160(2) of the Constitution and that accordingly teaching in Chinese there would be use of that language for an official purpose, which use may be prohibited under Article 152.

As there is no right to use the Chinese language for an official purpose, accordingly in our judgment it was not unconstitutional and unlawful of Government to reject the plaintiff’s petition to establish MU.

We would therefore dismiss this appeal with costs.
For more details on the Legal Basis go here

To be completely honest with you YB Khairy, I’m bored of writing about this subject, especially to address the misconception with regards to the “Constitutional Guarantee”, too many people are walking around like zombies believing in this “Virtual” non existence guarantees.

If you don’t mind me asking, which part of the Constitution says that there is a “Virtual Guarantee”? As an MP you of all people should have studied the document better and to actually look at Article 152 and our National Language Act and perhaps inquire further how they have been interpreted in the court of law.

How did you come up with such strong conclusions that it is impossible and you actually use the words ” I doubt that any Government would commit themselves to this….” YB Khairy, is it not the objective of the Government and the Members of the Parliament to ensure that all the provisions of our Constitution and the National Language Act is adhered to?

MORE QUESTIONS WERE ASKED HERE

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Similar articles to this subject can be read here and here.

The aftermath of PPSMI policy

Anak desa masih di pekan
Mencari bunga buat kalungan
Terima kasih saya ucapkan
Budi tuan menjadi kenangan

First and foremost, I would like to thank YOU for all the kind compliments and words of wisdom I received in the previous article.

Obviously I am very appreciative towards any feedback be it positive of negative. But the sincerity I read within the lines gave me a lot of courage to continue doing what I have done for the past 3 years.

Therefore, again, for the millionth time, Thank you.

This time, I would like to add something about the recent announcement of our government leaders and a recent announcement by EF EPI, an international organsation that had recently measured the English proficiency ranking of non native speaking countries.

Back in 2009, the Government had made their decision to reverse PPSMI and gradually abolish it. Starting from 2012, the subjects on Mathematics and Science in all schools will revert to Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin and Tamil in respective schools. By the year 2017 in primary and 2016 in secondary, all children in both primary and secondary will learn all the subjects in Bahasa Malaysia, with the exception of the English subject of course.

And, with the exception of children in vernacular schools too.

All children in national schools will learn mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia again, while all children in mandarin and tamil schools will learn those subjects in their respective mother tongues.

That is the outcome of the opposition’s relentless pursuit to oppose anything just for the sake of opposing. I mentioned the opposition because Pakatan Rakyat leaders were involved in the various platforms conducted by the Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) which incidentally headed by A. Samad Said, an iconic ‘pejuang bahasa kebangsaan’.

Much is left to be desired when this so called pejuang bahasa kebangsaan stopped short in asking the vernacular schools to switch its medium of teaching language to Bahasa Malaysia. Hence I find it really hypocritical of him when he assumed that GMP will bring dignity to Bahasa Malaysia among Malaysians.

In fact, his foray in politicising the national language will further alienate the races between each other.

I believe the PPSMI would be one of the factor that would attract Malaysia parents to send their children to the national schools. The other main factor is the lessening of Islamic /Arabic influence in the daily routine of activities of the school. But that is another matter altogether.

At that time, if GMP and the Minister in Education said that Bahasa Malaysia has finally and correctly ‘dimartabatkan’, then so be it.

The aftermath of the decision has led to various lobby groups being set up to lobby for the return of PPSMI. The most prominent is called Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE).

The stark contrast between GMP and PAGE is the absence of street demonstrations. We all remember the pretentious street demonstrations organised by GMP and led by several opposition leaders back in early 2009. It was pretentious because Bahasa Malaysia now became the domain of the Malays; not the rest of Malaysians.

Only the Malays should dignify the national language. The non-Malays can continue strengthen their own mother tongue. Only the Malays are chastised if they use English as their main language to converse. Non-Malays can use English with impunity.

Nevermind the fact that Bahasa Malaysia should be used by all Malaysians. GMP forgot to support the one stream education system which suggested the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium of learning in most of the subjects.

GMP, if they were serious, should make Bahasa Malaysia the mother tongue of all Malaysians.

To me, it doesn’t make sense to chastise Malays who wanted to learn mathematics and science in English when Bahasa Malaysia is already their mother tongue. Being the mother tongue of approximately 17 million of the population is already a dignified accomplishment of Malaysia. What they should have pursued is the usage of Bahasa Malaysia as the mother tongue of 100% of the population.

Hence the one stream education system is the way to go. But GMP seemed more interested in looking at narrower view i.e., looking only at the Malays and not the overall populace.

That is why they are labeled as pretentious and not serious enough in their battles for Bahasa Malaysia’s survival.

Fortunately and finally, PAGE’s objectives had been heard by the Government. Last week, the Minister of Education, announced the possibility of a dual medium of instruction in schools.

Although the details are sketchy, I believe the MOE will give schools the power to decide which language to teach mathematics and science. The Parent-Teacher Associations of  each school will undoubtedly be given the voting power to decide on this matter.

But what is unclear is whether this will cover vernacular schools as well. Those  powerful vernacular cartels such as Dong Jiao Zong will almost certainly and vehemently defend their racial turf.

We all know a lost cause when we see one. The only way for them to see beyond racial lenses is to have a strong national leader that can make them see the benefits of having one stream national education system.

All things considered, I think this is the best time to propagate PPSMI. In 2009, the MOE made a good decision to limit the number of subjects in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) to 10 subjects.

With smaller number of subjects for the students to study, all the excess energy that was used to gain 15As, 18As and even 20As  in the previous years can be channeled into learning mathematics and science in English. Also, extra co curricular activities will automatically be emphasised more by the students as they would certainly want to make their curriculum vitae more marketable than their peers.

Being in sports, clubs, societies and uniformed groups will enhance their social skills and leadership qualities.

Those are a couple of great assets for an aspiring student to venture into the realm of tertiary education and beyond.

The recent survey made by Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) listed the ability of good written and spoken English as the main criteria to employ new employees.  Out of ten traits, 68% of employers listed that as the most sought after attribute of a prospective employees.

Good academic results came out 7th at 37.9% while 56.2% of employers valued interpersonal skills as the 3rd most sought after trait.

Bottomline, your paper results will not be nearly as important as your social interactivity skills. And the ability to write a nice business letter and to speak English with confidence top everything else.

You will be a star employee if you can master scientific or business terminologies with ease.

Anyhow, we hope the Ministry of Education will not forget to improve the overall standard of education in our national schools and continue to produce more positive news and good results in order to promote the national education to the masses.

It is enlightening to read about the news that among the non native English speaking country in this world, Malaysia is ranked at 9th position and the 1st among Asian countries with population that has high proficiency in English.

It is ironic to note that Singapore which has Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil as their official languages  is not considered non native English speaking country anymore. In other words, Singapore is now considered an anglophile state according to international standards.

They do speak good Singaporean English.

But Malaysia, that had laid so much importance towards her national language, can strive to be among the best English speaking country in the world, speaks a lot about our education system.

We want to be global. Yet, we retain our identity as Malaysian.

Orang Malaysia bukan sahaja mesti pandai berbahasa Malaysia tapi mesti pandai berbahasa Inggeris juga. Baru boleh duduk sama rendah, berdiri sama tinggi. Boleh mengharung globalisasi tapi tak hilang jati diri.

Terima kasih. Thank you.

Arguments and excuses over Bahasa Malaysia

I am very much amused with the slightly acrimonious exchange between Khoo Kay Peng and Datuk Ahmad Rejal Arbee over the issue of national language.

It started off when Ahmad Rejal wrote about the inability of some citizens in this country who cannot speak or do not understand Bahasa Malaysia. He then summarised this observation by saying that the ability to converse in the national language is part of the national identity of every Malaysian. Lack of national identity equals lack of patriotism. In other words, those who love this country must also be proud of the national language. Simple as that.

Khoo Kay Peng retorted with some personal attack towards Ahmad Rejal (calling him mediocre, silly and ignorant) in his own blog which was picked up by The Malaysian Insider as well.

Naturally, the aggrieved Ahmad Rejal felt slighted and posted a comment in Kay Peng’s blog. The younger man was magnanimous enough to publish that comment and made a rebuttal of his own.

And today, the veteran editor made his final say on the matter which was shown once again in The Malaysian Insider.

My own opinion is simple. In order to cultivate a strong national identity and to foster better understanding and empathy between Malaysians, we must streamline our education system into ONE NATIONAL SCHOOL SYSTEM. The proponents for this policy calls it Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua.

We must do this so that we can prove to John Mallot that we can lessen the purported racism in Malaysia.

Below are the exchange between the two people I mentioned above.

_________________________________

In Berita Harian:

Rakyat patriotik patut bangga bertutur guna bahasa Melayu
2011/02/03

RAKYAT bukan Melayu negara ini, khususnya yang berketurunan Cina begitu sensitif apabila ada pihak yang mempersoalkan semangat patriotisme mereka atau kesediaan mereka menjadi rakyat yang memiliki jati diri terhadap negara ini.

Lantaran itu, pernahkah mereka bertanya pada diri sendiri kenapa masih ada orang Melayu yang sangsi terhadap pendirian sesetengah daripada mereka. Saya hanya mahu ajukan satu persoalan saja.

Apakah semua mereka yang mengakui sebagai warga negara ini tahu apa itu jati diri sebagai rakyat Malaysia? Bolehkah sesetengah daripada mereka menunjukkan sikap bahawa mereka menerima sepenuhnya jati diri itu yang antaranya menerima bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan negara ini dan menghayatinya?

Kenapakah sehingga kini pun masih terdapat pelbagai puak yang sengaja memperlekehkan penggunaan bahasa Melayu hingga ada yang tidak langsung menunjukkan rasa menghormati kepada bahasa kebangsaan negara yang mereka sendiri akui sebagai tanah tumpah darah mereka?

Persoalannya ialah kenapa selepas 53 tahun merdeka pun masih ramai tidak mengambil kisah penggunaan bahasa kebangsaan negara ini? Sebagai warga negara yang taat setia, mereka sepatutnya berbangga dengan bahasa kebangsaan negara mereka sendiri.

Apa kesetiaannya kalau bahasa kebangsaan negara sendiri pun mereka tidak berusaha mempelajari dan menggunakannya. Bahasa Melayu yang mereka pelajari di sekolah Cina pun hanyalah untuk lulus peperiksaan saja. Selepas menduduki peperiksaan, mereka terus melupakannya dan langsung tidak bertutur dalam bahasa Melayu.

Maka itu, Kementerian Pelajaran patut mulai tahun ini menetapkan semua pelajar yang mengambil mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu diwajibkan lulus ujian lisan seperti ditetapkan untuk Bahasa Inggeris. Kalau mahu lulus Bahasa Inggeris, pelajar dikehendaki juga lulus ujian lisan bahasa Inggeris, kenapa ujian demikian tidak boleh diadakan untuk bahasa Melayu juga?
Kini ramai di antara mereka memberi alasan usaha kerajaan meningkatkan penguasaan bahasa Inggeris untuk terus mengabaikan bahasa Melayu. Kenapa demikian? Penguasaan bahasa Inggeris tiada kena mengena dengan pengabaian bahasa Melayu.

Seperti yang pernah dinyatakan Prof Dr Teo Kok Seong dari Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu (ATMA) UKM, bahawa bahasa adalah medium untuk meningkatkan perpaduan dan semangat nasionalisme.

“Bahasa Malaysia ialah bahasa kebangsaan kita dan diperkenalkan demikian ke persada dunia. Walaupun dalam masa sama kita pelajari bahasa Inggeris, ia bukanlah bertujuan mengetepikan bahasa Malaysia,” katanya.

Apakah keadaan ini yang menyebabkan akhbar Melayu hanya dibaca oleh orang Melayu saja? Edaran akhbar Melayu kepada orang bukan Melayu tidak sampai lima peratus pun dari jumlah keseluruhan edarannya dengan hanya dua peratus dibaca orang Cina dan tiga peratus orang India.

Apakah kesimpulan yang kita boleh buat dari perkembangan akhir-akhir ini hinggakan risalah iklan pelbagai barangan dan pembinaan rumah hanya diadakan dalam bahasa Inggeris dan Mandarin. Seperti juga sesetengah kopitiam yang dilanggan orang Melayu pun tidak menghormati bahasa Melayu dengan menggunakan bahasa Inggeris dan Mandarin saja di kedai-kedai itu. Apakah mereka bukan beroperasi di Malaysia?

Apakah jati diri mereka sebagai rakyat negara ini? Salahkah kalau orang Melayu beranggapan bahawa ada orang Cina sememangnya tidak mahu mendaulatkan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan negara ini.

Kita tidak pula persoalkan malah jauh sekali mahu menyekat mereka mempelajari dan menggunakan bahasa ibunda mereka. Tetapi dalam mereka berterusan menggunakan bahasa ibunda tidakkah mereka boleh berusaha dan menunjukkan kesungguhan mahu mendaulatkan juga bahasa kebangsaan negara ini?

Apakah ini pun suatu kehendak yang melampau? Mereka ini begitu sensitif apabila semangat patriotisme mereka disangsikan tetapi sedikit pun tidak mahu berusaha mengguna dan faham bahasa Melayu?

Bilakah agaknya kita boleh mengharapkan keseluruhan rakyat keturunan Cina dan India akan bertutur dalam bahasa kebangsaan negara ini dalam perbualan harian mereka. Perkara ini adalah suatu kebiasaan di Indonesia yang mana rakyat berketurunan Cina akan bertutur bahasa Indonesia walaupun sesama orang Cina?

Kita sudah merdeka lebih 53 tahun. Apakah kita perlu menunggu 50 tahun lagi baru dapat mengharapkan hal ini akan berlaku? Tetapi kalau kita lihat dari pelbagai tindak tanduk sesetengah mereka, lagi 100 tahun pun tentunya akan ada rakyat negara ini yang masih tidak mahu mengiktiraf bahasa Melayu.

Mereka memberi alasan kononnya orang Melayu sendiri pun tidak bertutur bahasa Melayu. Ini sebenarnya tidak harus dijadikan alasan kerana sememangnya orang Melayu akan dapat bertutur bahasa Melayu pada bila-bila masa. Usaha kerajaan hendak menggalakkan bahasa Inggeris tidak seharusnya dijadikan alasan kenapa mereka tidak mahu mendaulatkan bahasa Melayu.

Buat masa ini pembelajaran bahasa Melayu sebagai subjek di sekolah Cina tidak diberikan penekanan. Mereka sebenarnya lebih mengutamakan bahasa Inggeris selain Mandarin. Sebab itulah guru yang mengajar bahasa Melayu dikehendaki juga tahu bertutur Mandarin. Anehnya syarat ini tidak pula dikenakan ke atas guru yang mengajar bahasa Inggeris. Mereka tidak perlu tahu berbahasa Mandarin. Kenapa guru bahasa Melayu didiskriminasikan demikian?

Inilah yang patut direnungi kalau mereka benar-benar cintakan negara ini sebagai tanah tumpah darah sendiri.

Rejal Arbee adalah Felo Kanan di UKM

Khoo Kay Peng’s remarked:

Ahmad Rejal Arbee and shallow thinking — Khoo Kay Peng

February 10, 2011

FEB 10 — Ex-editor Ahmad Rejal Arbee wrote in Umno-controlled Berita Harian on Friday that, after 53 years of independence, non-Malays should be proud of the national language if they were loyal citizens.

“They get so sensitive when their patriotism is doubted but make no effort to use and understand Malay,” the former Berita Harian group editor said.

“What loyalty is there if they do not try to learn and use their own national language?” he wrote, adding that what was learnt in Chinese vernacular schools was only to pass exams.

Ahmad Rejal said that there were non-Malays that did not care about and deliberately “belittled Malay” despite calling Malaysia their country.

Ahmad Rejal is naive to suggest that non-Malays are not patriotic because they do not use the Malay language in their daily conversation. For the record, Ahmad should refrain from making a sweeping statement.

Many non-Malays do speak fluently in the Malay language and take great interest in understanding the Malay culture. In fact, some Chinese dialects such as the Penang Hokkien had incorporated many Malay words; for example, tuala, batu, kuih, etc.

I studied both Malay literature and Malay language at the pre-university level and did remarkably well in both subjects. Will I be regarded as being more patriotic and enjoy better privileges from the Umno-led government?

To people like Ahmad Rejal, I am still a Chinese and a non-Bumiputera. It is also a fact that not many Malays speak the Chinese language or understand our culture. To forge a better cultural understanding, the effort must be reciprocated. How much does Ahmad understand the non-Malay culture?

It is also the duty of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to expand the use of the Malay language. The language must be developed to facilitate acquisition of knowledge and skills. How many educational books are being written or translated into Malay?

The Malay language too had evolved and is still evolving. It has absorbed many English words into the language, such as diskusi, institusi, kasyer, polis, eksploitasi, ekspres and thousands of other words and terms.

Ahmad should take note of this phenomenon we call “pencemaran bahasa”, or language pollution. Replacing the original Malay words with these English terms will ultimately spell an end of the language and create a “rojak” language.

Why blame the non-Malays when there are far greater threats to the Malay language? Are the Malays faring any better in the language in exams since Ahmad said that non-Malays are only interested in passing exams.

You cannot deny that it takes a certain level of proficiency in the language to pass exams and it is the only formal yardstick to measure mastery of a language.

If Ahmad wants us to be proud of this country, he should advise the government to respect all Malaysians as equals. He should give a leader such as Dr Mahathir Mohamad an earful for suggesting that this country belonged to only the Malays.

He should advise the government to curb corruption, abuse of power, disrespect for the federal constitution, protect the democratic system and focus on addressing real socio-economic issues.

The fact that Ahmad sounds so ignorant and silly in his accusation that non-Malays are not patriotic enough just because they use their mother tongue does not give me much hope that he understands the real issues.

He was just probably a mediocre editor who was more interested in form rather than substance

Ahmad Rejal gave his reply and Kay Peng’s answers to it:

Ahmad Rejal Arbee Responds

Ahmad Rejal or a reader who claims to be him responded to my post on his statement about loyalty and the use of Malay language:

A friend e-mailed me your half cock shoot from the hip comment about what I wrote.

Please read the whole article properly and not just bit and pieces of it. And don’t be crude about it. We can discuss this gentlemanly without bringing in unrelated things.

So what was the crux of what I wrote?

I questioned why is it that even after 53 years of independence there are still citizens of this country who can’t understand and speak the national language, the language of this country?

I am not questioning the whole of the Chinese who are citizens of this country. Only those who still can’t understand or converse in the language of the country which they call home.

Is that being an extremist?

I also questioned the propensity of some housing developers and products being advertised through flyers sent to homes including Malays homes and especially in Shah Alam where I reside and where the majority are Malays, only in English and Mandarin. What happened to Bahasa? Why such disrespect? Aren’t these companies operating in Malaysia where the language of the country is Bahasa? Is that asking too much?

So don’t cloud it with fact that Hokkien having some Malay words. So what about it? I am not questioning Hokkien but only question why can’t the language of the country be given the proper respect it deserves.

And don’t go about the Malays not knowing Mandarin either. Is Mandarin the National language of this country?

It is good for the Malays to also learn Mandarin but even if the majority of them do so, BM is still the language of this country and should be accorded the respect it deserves where every citizens can understand and be able to converse in the language. Is that too much to ask?

Can we go to France, Germany, Japan or Korea and not see the languages of those countries not used at all – not even a word – in the menus of their restaurants.
But this is going on in this country. Go the White House coffee in section 13 Shah Alam and look up its menu. Its only in English and Mandarin. Why this disrespect for BM. Yet most of the clientele of the shop are Malays.

These people have scant respect for the language of their own country. If you are loyal to this country then you should also be loyal to the language of the country.

I am not questioning those who know the language and are able to use it and understand it. But knowing alone is also not enough, but you must also be proud to use it.

And don’t cloud it with encouragement being made to learn English. Yes we should learn and be proficient in English. But does it mean that we don’t need to use BM or know and be able to speak it.

That is all what I wrote about my friend. Is that being extreme? And what has that got to do with Umno?

And try not to be insulting. It doesn’t show good breeding.

rejal arbee

If Ahmad Rejal is trying to be constructive, he should not use any race label indiscriminately. He claimed that there are citizens who can’t speak or understand the Malay language. The national secondary school system which adopted the Malay language as the sole medium of instruction was implemented in 1974. It is granted that those who finished their secondary school prior to 1974 may not be conversant in the Malay language.

Today, it is not possible for any Malaysian who has completed his/her six years of primary education, in both national or vernacular school, not to be able to understand or converse in the Malay language.

However, many of them (especially those above the age of 50) are able to converse and communicate in the language through socialisation with other Malays. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Malays being able to speak in Chinese dialects as a result of socialisation with their Chinese friends.

I would like to urge Ahmad to provide me with statistics of non-Malay citizens who are not able to speak or understand the language. I dare say that they belonged to the minority. If Ahmad hopes to see more people using the Malay language, he should sound more constructive and encouraging.

If Ahmad is trying to pick an issue with non-Malays not using the Malay language when socializing among themselves or with their family members, then I would say that he is just being discriminatory. Using one’s own mother tongue when conversing with family members and friends of the same ethnic origin does not mean that he/she is unpatriotic or disloyal to the nation.

Is it trendy for editors or columnists of Malay mainstream newspapers to use the non-Malays especially the Chinese as punching bags? Is Ahmad hoping to make an editorial comeback with his unwarranted and unfair criticism of non-Malays or Chinese?

If Ahmad is not pleased with some property developers, retailers or restaurants not using the Malay language, he should just limit his criticism to these companies or persons. By using the race label, he not only being racist but also an opportunist.

I pray that he does not turn into a race extremist. I hope his statement is made out of ignorance and a lack of understanding of non-Malay Malaysians.

Rejal made his final say with this:

Apabila usaha martabat bahasa Melayu dipersoal — Ahmad Rejal Arbee

February 10, 2011

10 FEB — Nampaknya apa yang saya bangkitkan minggu lalu mengenai ada sesetengah rakyat negara ini yang masih tidak boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu dan terus memperlekehkannya sudah menyentuh saraf otak seorang blogger dan membuatkannya begitu marah hingga menghina saya secara peribadi.

Blogger ini bernama Khoo Kay Peng, memetik sesetengah daripada apa yang saya tulis itu ke dalam bahasa Inggeris dan membuat perhitungannya sendiri kononnya saya sudah persoalkan patriotisme semua bukan Melayu kerana tidak berusaha untuk menggunakan dan memahami serta boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu.

Dia juga sengaja tidak hiraukan apa yang menjadi pokok persoalan saya, iaitu kenapa ada sesetengah pihak dalam negara ini tidak langsung menghormati bahasa Malaysia dengan menggunakan bahasa Inggeris dan Mandarin saja dalam iklan dan risalah yang mereka edarkan kepada orang ramai.

Persoalan yang saya bangkitkan kenapa tuan punya atau pengurusan syarikat itu sengaja tidak menghormati langsung bahasa negara mereka dengan mengabaikan penggunaannya tidak pula dinyatakannya.

Dia sedikit pun tidak menyentuh persoalan pokok yang saya timbulkan itu seperti juga kenapa masih ada warga negara ini yang beria-ia kononnya mereka menyanjungi negara ini, tetapi tidak berusaha untuk memahami bahasa Melayu, apa lagi menggunakannya.

Baik juga jawapan saya kepada tulisannya itu sudah dimuatkan dalam blognya, walaupun ditohmahkan pula kesangsian apakah saya sendiri yang memberikan jawapan itu. Kenapa hal ini pun mahu diragui? Siapa pula yang hendak menulis kepada blognya menyamar sebagai saya?

Mengulas jawapan saya itu, dia minta pula saya nyatakan statistik warga negara ini yang tidak faham atau boleh bertutur bahasa itu. Sememangnya statistik demikian ini tidak ada sebab kaji selidik mengenainya tidak pernah dijalankan.

Bagaimanapun, seorang rakan berbangsa Cina pernah menyatakan kepada saya bahawa ramai juga lulusan sekolah Cina yang tidak boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu, walaupun selepas menjalani peperiksaan mendapatkan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

Rakan saya itu menyatakan bahawa ada murid sekolah menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina mengambil mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu pun hanyalah kerana mahu lulus SPM saja.

Selesai persekolahan ada antara mereka tidak berusaha menggunakannya pun. Ini juga mungkin kerana tidak perlu kerana mereka hanya bergaul dengan sebangsa saja tidak dengan orang Melayu.

Apa pun lulus mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu pada peringkat SPM pun tidak semestinya membuktikan mereka boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu. Maka saya mengesyorkan Kementerian Pelajaran mensyaratkan semua murid perlu lulus lisan Bahasa Melayu untuk lulus mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu.

Bagaimanapun, Khoo mendakwa kononnya semua murid sekolah rendah baik dari sekolah kebangsaan mahu pun sekolah jenis kebangsaan sudah belajar bahasa Melayu selama enam tahun dan tentunya boleh faham dan boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu.

Katanya, hari ini tidak mungkin ada rakyat Malaysia yang sudah menghabiskan pelajaran rendahnya selama enam tahun baik di sekolah kebangsaan mahu pun sekolah jenis kebangsaan yang tidak boleh memahami atau tidak boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu.

Tentunya kenyataannya itu juga tidak disandarkan kepada statistik. Ada baiknya Kementerian Pelajaran mengadakan satu kaji selidik untuk mengetahui jumlah atau kadar peratusan warga negara ini yang tidak faham atau boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu.

Tanpa statistik itu pun, kita tahu masih ada dalam kalangan rakyat negara ini yang tidak faham atau boleh bertutur bahasa Melayu. Itulah sebabnya hingga sekarang ini pun jurubahasa Cina dan Tamil masih diperlukan di mahkamah dalam negara ini kerana masih ada rakyat negara ini yang tidak faham pertuduhan terhadap mereka yang dibuat dalam bahasa Melayu apabila dihadapkan ke mahkamah.

Jika benar semua rakyat negara ini tahu bahasa Melayu kenapa perlu diadakan jurubahasa di mahkamah? Mungkin mahkamah perlu mengkaji semula kenapa perlu diadakan jurubahasa Cina dan Tamil untuk warga negara sendiri.

Tetapi ini pun mungkin boleh diterima jika tidak wujud puak ekstrem dalam kalangan sesetengah daripada mereka yang berterusan memperlekehkan bahasa Melayu. Kenapa hingga hari ini ada kopitiam tidak mahu langsung menggunakan bahasa Melayu dalam kedainya baik dalam menu mahupun di papan tanda terpampang dalam kedai memberikan harga hidangan yang disediakannya? Lihat saja dua kedainya di Seksyen 13 dan Seksyen 7 di Shah Alam.

Ada yang cuba mempertahankan kopitiam ini kononnya tidak dikunjungi orang Melayu kerana tidak mempunyai sijil halal. Sama ada kedai itu mempunyai sijil halal yang diiktiraf atau tidak bukanlah persoalannya.

Jika tidak dikunjungi Melayu, apakah mereka bukan beroperasi dalam negara ini? Bagaimana pun kopitiam itu sememangnya mempunyai ramai pelanggan Melayu. Ini boleh dilihat sendiri.

Dalam hal ini apakah yang dilakukan Majlis Bandar Raya Shah Alam? Tidakkah pihak berkuasa boleh membuat tinjauan dan bertindak terhadap pengurusan yang bersikap begini biadap?

Khoo ini juga menimbulkan suatu perkara yang saya tidak sentuh pun, iaitu perbualan bukan Melayu sesama sanak saudara mereka sendiri dalam bahasa ibunda. Siapa pula hendak menyekat mereka menggunakan bahasa ibunda sendiri bila bertutur sesama adik-beradik? Jadi kenapa hal ini mahu ditimbulkan? Inilah apabila ada pihak yang cuba mahu menegakkan benang basah dan tidak mahu menerima kenyataan.

Selagi bahasa Melayu ini tidak diberikan tempat sewajarnya dan masih ada pihak yang berterusan memperlekehkannya, selagi itulah akan wujud kesangsian oleh sesetengah pihak terhadap sanjungan mereka itu kepada negara mereka sendiri. — Berita Harian

______________________________

What are we waiting for?

You are cordially invited…

Please click on the picture below for a bigger view. Thank you.

 

 

Confusing history with racial prejudice

The Sun produced on its front cover yesterday, an article entitled “History Textbooks Biased, says writer”. I would agree to some parts of the article but in most parts, it actually had proved correct to what I have said in this original article of mine.

The reporter, Zakiah Koya, interviewed two academicians named Dr Ranjit Singh and Mr Ng How Kuen regarding their opinion about the current history syllabus. Bear in mind, these two academicians are currently working within the education system whereby they play an active part in producing what our children is currently refer to in schools.

Some of the excerpts are:

“Secondary school history textbooks have been used to promote political interests. It should be a scholarly pursuit and not politically-motivated,” said Ranjit who showed theSun history textbooks with errors and exaggerated facts.

“Five out of 10 chapters of the Form Four history textbook deal with Islamic history as compared to only one chapter in the earlier textbook. The intention of the earlier syllabus was to expose our students to World History,” he said when commenting on the announcement that the history syllabus is being reviewed and that the subject will be made a compulsory pass in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia from 2013.

He also said certain historical personalities, such as Yap Ah Loy (the third Kapitan China of Kuala Lumpur), were not given due recognition. Yap played a major role in the development of Kuala Lumpur as a commercial and tin-mining centre, particularly after the fire of 1881,” he said, adding that the Form Two history textbook had only one sentence on Yap as “one of the persons responsible for developing Kuala Lumpur”.

“There is also no mention of freedom fighters such as Gurchan Singh (“Lion of Malaya”) and Sybil Karthigesu who resisted the Japanese Occupation of Malaya,” he said. (Gurchan secretly distributed a newspaper during the Japanese occupation while Sybil, who was tortured by the Japanese, and her husband treated wounded guerillas of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army).

“The 1996 Form One textbook stated inter alia that a few Indian merchants lent their junks to the Portuguese in their attack on Malacca. I know of no historical evidence to support this fact,” said Ranjit.

“Six Chinese captains agreed to lend their junks to the Portuguese due to their hatred for Sultan Mahmud who had earlier detained them and their men to help attack Aru. The Portuguese used only one junk provided by one of the Chinese,” he said.

Ranjit pointed out that the decision to make history a must pass subject for SPM from 2013 was rooted in a wrong premise. “It is not right to assume that students will study history seriously and will be more patriotic after clearly understanding the Federal Constitution and the social contract.

“Patriotism thrives when citizens have a ‘sense of belonging’ and perceive themselves being treated equitably,” he said.

Ng, meanwhile, fears that making history a compulsory pass subject would mean one would have to subscribe to one’s version of events or risk failing the entire examination.

Ng, whose textbooks are still used in Chinese-medium primary schools, however stressed that it was timely to review the syllabus. “We always had to follow the curriculum given by the MOE and therefore the ruling parties have the upper hand in defining our history.”

As an example, he said when writing on the fight for independence, the contributions of the communists were left out.

He said history books should be written by historians and not teachers as the former were not bound by the curriculum. “Students do know the truth but as textbooks are written according to approved curriculum, students end up learning history that is skewed,” said Ng

I mentioned earlier in this very article that people must not view history of this country from racial perspective. The fact that both of the academicians above chose to highlight the contribution of their own race just gave proof to my assertion that racial kind of thinking (instead of being Orang Malaysia kind of thinking) had made them suffer from one-upmanship. i.e., the ‘kiasu-ness’ that his particular race contributed more than other races; or his particular race should not be found guilty of any mistakes made in the past.

First and foremost, the reporter above did not do a thorough homework in getting enough information from all parties. Did she interview Professor Dr Khoo Kay Khim? Have she interviewed a representative from the Minister of Education. If The Sun wishes to have a balanced view in their reporting, Zakiah Koya should have at least given the view from the other side of the divide so that the party accused of being biased can have the right to defend themselves within the same opinion piece.

Now that is what good and ethical journalism is. News reporting must not be similar to the one sided propaganda machine of a political party say for example, the propaganda news that are coming out from the office of the PKR’s Information Chief.

Anyhow, both academicians above failed badly in the effort to be professional. Writing history textbooks must be based on events that were so prominent that they actually changed the course of history.

If we want to put every single bit of information within the textbooks of our young ones, their textbooks will be voluminous and super thick. And that is just on Malaysian history! Together with all the massive volume and information on the rest of the world, our children will have to study history syllabus as huge as our national library!

Thus, when Ranjit Singh wanted the history books to include the adventures of Gurchan Sing and Sybil Karthigesu, as mentioned before, he was thinking from his own racial prejudice. No doubt that both historical figures were important. But in the larger context, were they more prominent than say, Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) and Malayan Union?

If that is the case, all descendants of gurkhas and all the unknown malay heroes would want their respective historical figures to appear in the history textbooks. Even I would want my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather to be included in the history textbooks as he and his comrades fought off Dutch army in the battle near Serkam, Melaka about two hundred years ago.

The point is, you must not be looking at history using racial perspectives when it comes to history syllabus. George Washington, in the textbook of American children is a noble founding father; not the owner of black slaves.

Abraham Lincoln in the American textbook is a great leader who catapulted America to become the land of the free and of liberty. Although some historians deemed him as racist with his anti-blacks remarks, he is revered by all Americans as a great leader.

Now what can we learn from these two academicians of ours?

We know that they are a couple of ‘exclusionist historian’. They want to exclude the whole generation of the young from learning about their country through a standardised version. History must be standardised so that children can be instilled with knowledge of their country.

And mind you, history that we know is not a total lie. Those two merely wanted more information to be included in the textbook so that the contribution of some race be prominently shown in the textbooks.

However, I was disappointed with Ng when he said that the communists contributed to our nation building too. Now that is a total blasphemy. Yes, Chin Peng fought the British and the Japanese. But to what end? Were their intentions pure? Were they really fighting for freedom? Chin Peng admitted that they fought because they wanted to pursue communism ala China in this country.

He wanted this country to be the Communist Republic of Malaya (or any other name besides Malaya). That is why he continued to fight and kill the Malaysians among us even after we had achieved independence. In Perjanjian Baling in 1955, he suggested to Tunku Abdul Rahman to secede half of Semenanjung Tanah Melayu to him so that this nation will be like North Vietnam and South Vietnam. One is communist republic with him as President, while the other is democratic with constitutional monarchy.

So Ng, we want to celebrate Chin Peng this way?

Chin Peng and his CPM is relegated as butchers of Malaya and this is how our children should remember them. How do you reconcile the fact that they killed many of our citizens in the past?

Again, racialised thinking from this Mr Ng.

But fear not dear exclusionists, Malaysia has never banned any historical journals from the public. Even Chin Peng’s book can be purchased in the book stores. I read more about KMM and Mustapha Hussain not from the textbooks but from MPH.

I read the achievements of Thutmosis III and Khalid Al Walid well in my early 20′s from encyclopedias.

But I sure studied the date of independence and the list of Kings in Malaysia as well as the basic history of this country when I was seven, in school. I learned how to be Malaysian and how to love this country before I reached eight years old.

If Ranjit Singh wants to highlight the exploits of the people he mentioned, he can always publish books like how Chin Peng did.

Mainstream history will unite the young Malaysians and make all races think like Orang Malaysia.

Yet, Ranjit downplayed the importance of history because to him, patriotism is instilled when the children perceived themselves as being treated equally. What a strange premise that is. Does he think children that young  would think they are treated unequally? Do you think they are concerned with affirmative action at that age?

And if Ng thinks that the present history syllabus is skewed, what kind of history he think is not skewed? A history where Chin Peng is a hero?

I wonder whether those two academicians are wearing their correct hats. Or were they thinking more like a politician?

Overall, yes, the syllabus needs to be improved. But not to kow-tow to these exclusionist and racially charged historians because the arguments they brought forward will be a huge contributor to further segregate our society and will give rise to apathetic Malaysians.

Thank you.

(Jebat Must Die is a part time blogger who wishes nothing more than to see the Battle of Serkam, Melaka be included in the history textbooks but understood the fact that the brain capacity of a child from the age 7 to 17 may not be big enough to digest a billion information contained in the history of the world. They have other subjects to study too).

Inclusive history in our children’s education

 

History subject is one of the most vital medium in schools to turn our children into becoming Malaysians. During my schooling years, History was taught to children as young as 7 years old. These days, I learnt that history lessons are only learned by secondary children and even then, it is an elective subject.

Who came up with the idea that History is not an important subject to be learned by young children? After a few years, we now have young adults who do not even know the history of their own country.

Ask them what is the name of the 1st Agong of this country? How did Raja  James Brooke become the King of Sarawak? How did Francis Light take over Pulau Pinang from Kedah?  Who was the first Deputy Prime Minister? And who designed our Malaysian flag? Most will not even score 2 out of 5.

When I first learned that History were to make a compulsory pass subject in SPM, I think this is a very good move. What is more important is to make this subject a must learned subject from the primary stages. The recent announcement from the Ministry of Education was a welcome relief.

Back in primary school, I learned Bahasa Malaysia, English, Agama Islam, Geography, History, Science, Mathematics, Health, Civics, Arts and Music. Students from other faiths took Moral Education instead of Islamic Studies.

In the afternoon about twice a week, I had to go to ‘kelas mengaji’ to study and recite the Quran and learn the Jawi.

In the Penilaian Darjah Lima, we took 5 subjects  in the exams – Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics, Science and a paper that combines Geography and History.

We must get 5As in order to enter a good secondary school. It was simple. It was not complicated. It was workable.

But when KBSR and KBSM came about in the late 80′s, the education ministry changed the whole dynamics of the system and began to shift the focus of education to be more results oriented than to focus on the learning experience itself.

Students began chasing results. Parents began to be more competitive in order to bring the best out of their children. Students with 12As, 15As and even 20As began to appear. Teachers became lethargic. Students with good results couldn’t handle the more demanding, independent world of tertiary education because during their primary and secondary years, they were not focused in human interaction much due to the fact that their entire lives till then were spent in front of books and computers. Coupled with the flip flopping education policies in the recent years, the whole education system is down-spiraling out of control.

Going against the tide of the ministry of education is the noisy opposition movements  that are motivated by ulterior motives.

PPSMI was reversed after the ministry of education bent over backwards to pacify the Anti PPSMI Movement or GAP (Gerakan Anti PPSMI) for short. Nevermind the fact that PPSMI was only introduced 6 years earlier.

Even before that, the Education Act 1996 was adopted to sanctify the existence of vernacular schools after the then minister of education succumbed to political pressure from racial pressure groups. Nevermind that the very existence of the Education Act 1996 runs contrary to a couple of acts in the Constitution.

It is amazing that everytime there is a change of minister in the education ministry, our education policies would change as well.

All the policy changes regardless whether it is a reversal of previous policies or mere improvements from the current ones will have severe affect on to the students. It is worse if these changes are not substantiated with indepth studies by the relevant ministry.

The last time we had a comprehensive, 360 degrees study of our education policy was in the 60s through the Penyata Razak.

It is high time we have a similar study after nearly half a century had lapsed. Anybody from the cabinet dared to suggest this? Or is everyone up there is just looking after their own interests (instead of the nation’s)?

Anyway, I digress.

The History subject must be made compulsory from the early stages of education. Those who have seen the Tv Show – ‘Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader’ would immediately realise that kids in America as young as 6 years old are taught about the history of their country with such zest and pride.

But what kind of history are we suppose to teach our children?

History as a subject has two pronged objectives. One, to instil patriotism into the heart of every citizen from their childhood stage. Two, as source of knowledge on their surroundings and how they perceive their world.

In America, History was a touchy subject for the people especially with the advent of multiculturism among its people. With the influx of foreigners and the calls for equality among the afro-american movement, history as a subject was a sensitive issue indeed.

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington

For example, how do you reconcile the fact that George Washington, the founding father of United States of America, has many black slaves and treated them harshly?

How can one see Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest President the United States had ever had but at the same time he ‘supported projects to remove blacks from the United States’ and said that ‘blacks could not be assimilated into white society and rejected the notion of social equality of the races’?

Multi-culturism pose a big threat to the learning of a country’s history because history in the eyes of each community living in a particular country is different from one another.

Was the Great Settlement of the Mid West by the white colonials in America a great human achievement for the whites? Or was it a mass extermination of the native Red Indians and their way of life by the europeans?

All this needs to be addressed by the policy makers of the United States of America. Their solution?

Assimilation of their citizens through schools.

Schools became the pillars of nation building.

With thousands of ethnicities coming in to America on daily basis, schools are the places where they transform immigrants into Americans.

The need to transform each and every people living in the USA as a person that live and breathe as an American came about 200 years ago when it’s 6th President, John Quincy Adams wrote that immigrants ‘must cast off their European skin, never to resume it’.

An American education reformer, Horace Mann stated that ‘a foreign people cannot be transformed into the full stature of American citizens merely by a voyage across the Atlantic’.

Very poignant and astute observation indeed.

Hence, the education system must be streamlined in order for the students to see themselves as Americans so that history is viewed without any racial stereotyping attached to it.

So what if George Washington owned slaves? So what if Abraham Lincoln was racist?

Each and every American out there reveres them both as the founding father and a great leader based on their achievements alone and what good they had brought to the Americans even centuries after they had passed away.

In other aspects, the native Americans in the USA are very patriotic regardless what happened to their people in the past.

Back in Malaysia, we hear so many negative opposition from the people who are against the subject of history made compulsory in schools. This is precisely because their views came from the racial angle.

All the prejudice, the stereotyping, the paranoia are the by-products of segregated education they experienced in their early childhood. At the very least, their views were contaminated by the very people that champion the need to segregate our children.

In the end, history is being promoted by these clustered group of people as evil and should not be taught to our children. We see so many unsavoury characters in the cyberspace trying hard to re-write history based on fiction and malicious motives.

We know that this country has a history that spanned thousands of years. We learned that this land was populated by people more than 2 thousand years ago. There were, in existence, great kingdoms and dynasties.

I learned a great deal about Langkasuka, Gangga Nagara and Patani in my primary schools. Everyone then knew about the establishment of Melaka Sultanate as well. We learned about the centuries of struggle for independence from foreign conquerors ever since Sultan Mahmud was defeated by Alfonso D’Albuquerque.

Names like Sultan Abdul Jalil Riayat Shah, Raja Haji, Datuk Maharajalela, Datuk Bahaman, Tok Janggut, Mat Kilau, Datuk Dol Naning were remembered in history alongside  Mustapha Hussain, Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun V.T. Sambathan.

Cheng Lock, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Sambathan

The pillars of the nation are addressed in the History lessons by teachers to our children on weekly basis. They learn Negaraku, the national symbols and the basic history of our country. This is the seed of patriotism that is sown in the hearts of every Malaysian.

It amazes me how some people find this irrelevant and that history must not be a compulsory subject to be learned.

The problem with this simple issue is that we are a segregated society. The existence of vernacular schools made it impossible to even discuss this very beneficial thing in a positive manner.

Suddenly, there are quarters that said that immigrants coming to this land in the 19th and early 20th centuries must be given due recognition in the history textbooks. This is actually a political problem.

Several decades before this, when history is learned as a subject in schools, we learned about the immigrants coming in to our country and started a new life here. Nobody ever protested about this bit of information. Apart from this being the true historical fact, it has also recognised the fact that Malaysia now, is made up of many cultures plainly due to economic problems and the migration of the immigrats here was how the colonial masters solved those problems.

This is nothing new and so, the demands of the these quarters are at best, redundant.

And yes, the immigrants had made the country livelier and what we are today is partly due to their existence. But we must also remember, this country is far older than 1957. History of this country does not start in 1957. Due recognition must also be given to those who had lived in before that. In fact, if not for the achievements of the great civilisations especially the Melaka sultanate, we might be left in obscurity.

The quote – “He who is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice” will not exist. Other civilisations would have not looked our way.

Therefore, the current contention on the issue of history in schools are merely political tools to further the agenda for power using racist means. It stemmed from being schooled in vernacular education; where the feeling of being sieged and lack of inter-racial mingling had urged them to play the one-upmanship game.

In any case, like how the Americans are accepting their history, Malaysians must accept their country’s history from the eyes of Orang Malaysia.

The need for racial posturing when it comes to history must be stopped. Only desperate politicians would look through the racial lense and try to skew history to further their agenda for power. People must not look at history as if it is a disease that must be eradicated. A person would not want to learn history only if he has a terrible past that needs to be hidden.

Academician never think twice when analysing history. They see it as it is. They do not wear the racial ‘hat’ whenever the subject of history is raised.

It is suggested that history must be inclusive, honest and without malice. But what is more important, history must be taught in classrooms of a single stream education system to eradicate any deviation from its set objectives.

Only then this subject will not be maligned by unscrupulous, characters populating our political platforms. If one follows the slogan 1Malaysia carefully, there is no need for vernacular schools at all.

Muhyiddin with (from left) Khoo, Rosli, Freida, Adi Badiozaman, Ibrahim, Sidek and Wan Mohd Zahid

The newly set up Education Advisory Council must look into this matter diligently. I hope it has a strong mandate to steer this subject into the correct path and once and for all, Malaysia will produce Orang Malaysia who are patriotic enough not to disgrace his/her own country.

Because, at the end of the day, regardless whether you are the 4th generation chinese whose great grandfather came to Malaya in a junk, or your ancestors were from South India, or some of your ancestors came from Siam, Sulu or Acheh, everyone now is Orang Malaysia.

You must have the characteristics of an Orang Malaysia, not the characteristics of the people from your ancestral land. To be otherwise only proves that some of us have not integrated well with the rest and are not inclusive in nature.

Thank you.

Racist Dong Zong is at it again. Where is Lim Kit Siang?

The racist chinese group called Dong Zong, had time and time again come out in the open to attack the single stream education system. This time around, they had lambasted the sacked radio DJ from StarFM, DJ Jamaluddin Ibrahim for opposing the vernacular schools.

The details from The Star is sketchy. A departure from their usual in depth analysis whenever news involving chinese education system is concerned.

Dong Zong hits out at radio host over his remarks

PETALING JAYA: The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) has hit out at former 988 Chinese radio station host Jamaluddin Ibrahim for allegedly making remarks opposing the vernacular schools system.

“His call for a single-stream school system shows that he does not respect the Federal Constitution and people’s right to mother tongue education,” Dong Zong said in a statement.

It said Jamaluddin did not understand the importance of having access to Chinese language education, which was different from learning Chinese as a second language in schools.

Jamaluddin allegedly made the remarks at a forum organised by DAP in Malacca recently.

But whatever it is, Dong Zong has got it wrong when they say the Federal Constitution has protection over the vernacular schools. This is the biggest myth Malaysians had been fed by Dong Zong and their equally chinese supremacist partner, the DAP.

In the Constitution, there is no provision for vernacular schools. There is no mention whatsoever about the existence of vernacular schools. Where did Dong Zong get the idea that Constitution is protecting the vernacular schools? This is what we will dissect.

I have written this before in my article nearly two years ago. I wrote:

“After all, in Article 152 of the Constitution, in which the existence of vernacular schools rely heavily upon  had stated;

1. The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law provide: Provided that-

  • (a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and
  • (b) nothing in this Clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.

6. In this Article, “official purpose” means any purpose of the Government, whether Federal or State, and includes any purpose of a public authority.

It clearly says there that you are free to learn and teach other languages. But it specifically did not say you have the freedom to learn History or Geography or Mathematics or Science in your mother tongue.

Again let me stress here, you have the right to learn and teach your mother tongue. Full stop. The Constitution did not say you have the right to LEARN any other subjects in your mothertongue.

And the term “official purposes” clearly clarifies the situation further. It means, whatever the Government thinks is ’official’, and especially if it deemed to be in the domain of public (read: majority) authority.

Thus, does the majority think the existence of vernacular schools, where the learning of most subjects are carried out not in the national language, are in line with the Constitution? Does the government feel that the vernacular schools fall under what we call as an ‘official’ education system? How can we have 3 education systems, with three separate languages as the medium of learning within one country?

It does not make sense!

The government must act on what it feels will be good for the social harmony and unity of the nation. Unpopular decisions must be made in order to have a progressive and unified citizenry.

Other communities and their languages are protected in the Constitution.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

The Dong Zong was clearly wrong when they say vernacular schools are protected by the Constitution. This kind of mentality befits the chinese first kind of thinking. This is not Malaysian. Like what Demi Negara had said, anything against the Constitution can be deemed as un-Malaysian and traitorous to the Malaysian entity as a whole.

And to throw insult to all Malaysians, Lim Kit Siang is proclaiming himself as Malaysian first, chinese second!

Hypocrite to the core that’s what he is.

At one hand he is lambasting Perkasa and BN ministers to proclaim themselves as Malaysian first and Malay second but on the other hand, he is fighting for chinese supremacy.

To worsen the situation, he is consciously denying Malaysians the opportunity to foster deep sense of unity from the very young age.

Lim Kit Siang, the DAP and certainly Dong Zong do not add value to our country. Why do we persist in giving them the opportunity to divide us further?

And by the way, where is Tony Pua? He was one of the strong supporter of DJ Jamal back then. Will he back Jamal up this time? Of course he won’t.

Tony Pua, just like his leader Lim Kit Siang is as racist as they can be.

So Malaysians, if we call ourselves, Orang Malaysia, what are you waiting for? Support national unity. Support One School For All.

To the question of where is Lim Kit Siang; what do you think he could have done after reading the piece of news above in The Star?

a) congratulate Dong Zong for their efforts?

b) continue lambasting the proponents of One School For All?

c) continue to write hate mongering articles that further divide Malaysians?

d) pretend to champion Malaysian first mentality?

e) all of the above?

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