A good letter in The Star today:
IT was reported that many race-based organisations object to the proposed single school system for fear of losing the unique identity of their own community.
They believe that when children attend national schools their cultural character will be diluted (“NGOs fear loss of unique cultural identity,” (The Star, Nov 6).
These concerns are surely unfounded and a lame excuse put forward to disagree with the proposition. Are we just interested in our own community only in a self-serving way, or do we have the interest of the nation at heart?
Are we indeed affected by some egocentric racial attitude or have some other hidden agendas? Are we sincere enough in wanting a united people regardless of race, colour and creed? Are we for an equitable civil society living in peace and harmony in this country and beyond? These are questions these NGOs and all other like-minded Malaysians should ask themselves.
Every other country in the whole world sends their young to the same schools to enable them to develop the spirit of oneness. They recognise that this is a critical period in the children’s life when they can readily inculcate the virtues of understanding, sharing and caring among themselves.
Why should we therefore reject this globally accepted and proven practice and act differently? How are we going to make 1Malaysia a reality if we can’t even agree on a common ground in educating future generations?
Whether the NGOs want to accept it or not, the multi-stream education system is to be blamed for the current state of racial polarisation in this country. Today we see Malaysians, especially the young, mingling only with their own kind in their daily social activities.
The same scenario can be observed at workplaces, ceremonies, gatherings and functions. We adults have ourselves to blame for this sad situation. It is we who bowed to the pressure of the chauvinists among us by sending our children to specific schools that cater for our individual race only.
To physically separate the young during their primary schools is bad enough. Ironically, now certain race-based NGOs are vehemently demanding that the Government give more emphasis to vernacular secondary schools.
If the Government were to fulfil this demand, there would subsequently be additional vernacular secondary schools. More students will then be able to continue their studies in these schools, thus limiting their opportunity to mix with children of other races.
Even now students at tertiary level are having difficulties socialising, and tend to group together and find comfort only within their own community. I can’t imagine how perilous the situation will be if these NGOs have their way. It will then be a sad day for multi-racial Malaysia!
And what about the pride and dignity of having our own national language? The longer we keep the children in vernacular schools the less exposure they will have to master the language.
What can studying three hours a week in a classroom do to make a child conversant in Bahasa Malaysia? It is imperative that we acknowledge the importance of supporting single-stream schools, especially for nation-building.
The said NGOs would do justice to their own community and the nation at large if they are able to look at the big picture. They should not view everything along narrow racial lines, but instead consider actions that can contribute significantly to the national interest.
Agreed, there are many other issues that need the attention of the authorities to encourage the people to be united, but introducing the single education system should be uppermost in the list.
ZAMRI BIN MAHMUD,
As I said in the previous article; those chinese educationists who vehemently disapprove single stream education are really racists.
I wonder whether all of the chinese or indians or kadazans or ibans became less of what they are when they enrol themselves in national schools.
I have chinese and indian friends all my life. They remain chinese and indians all their lives eventhough they went to national schools. How chinese or indian do these racist educationists want their children to be? Don’t they want their children to become Orang Malaysia?
The fact is, everyone agrees that the national schools need revamping. That is why the SSS campaign specifically suggested that our education system be reviewed comprehensively. Read their memo here. They are aware of the pitiful quality our national education system is currently operating. But at the same time, vernacular schools of other languages will not help our children to integrate with each other.
How dare the chinese chauvinists calling the SSS as racist when their brethren in Dong Zong are fighting tooth and nail to keep their children from integrating with the rest of their fellow Orang Malaysia especially from at a very young age (primary level).
If you do not want to be part of Orang Malaysia, do tell us. Studying Bahasa Malaysia just 3 times a week not only make your children unable to converse effectively in Bahasa Malaysia, it also downgrade your National Language (that’s Bahasa Malaysia to you) to third class standard and really unimportant.
Is this your stand?