How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chinese education: government's hypocrisy

Education is very important to any individual, but because the decision is normally made by parents, how they decide can well shape his or her future and destiny.

My parents had no formal education but somehow my father, the decision-maker, decided that all sons should study in an English-medium school and all daughters in a Chinese-medium school. The most obvious effect of siblings who were taught in different languages, was the frequent quarrels over whether to listen to the English or Chinese section of Rediffusion!

Today, it is common to notice students speaking mainly Mandarin (if from a Chinese school), Tamil (if from a Tamil school), Bahasa Malaysia (if from a national school), and English (if from a private or International school), with some variations and exceptions. Those who speak English are likely to have parents who speak English at home, regardless of race or type of school, and so on. The choice of TV channels are likely to be based on their preferred language, almost to the exclusion of others. With Astro and DVDs, some ignored national channels totally, including the news.

The problem with national schools is the deterioration of standards because of nationalistic aspirations, inept ministers' frequently changing policies, biased civil servants in the ministry, poorly trained teachers, and so on. Among non-Malays, one of the reasons for not choosing national school is the Islamization and overzealous teachers who do not respect other religions. Even Muslims themselves face problems created by some of their colleagues.

Basically, I believe in the freedom of choice, initially by the parents and later, by the students. But, the decision would depend on the availability of sufficient choices to suit the needs of the people, the market and the country. Ultimately, it would depend on whether the parents can afford according to student's choice. It would have been easier if we cater according to the demands of the market, but politics, race and religion would, as we have witnessed, complicate matters.

As is typical of BN leaders, what they say is different from the actual policy or how each policy is being carried out. We know of justice, equality, freedom of speech and so on, but we also know we do not get them. While we have racialist parties like Umno, MCA and MIC to look after their racial interests, we also know Umno makes all the important decisions and MCA and MIC exist in name only, to reflect some semblance of multi-racialism in the ruling coalition.

To the ordinary folks, despite having MCA to look after Chinese interests, why are the Chinese schools decreasing in numbers? Logically, with increasing population and increasing demand (even from non-Chinese), Chinese schools should be increasing in numbers instead of decreasing.

Dr. Kua Kia Soong has the statistics and explanation in his letter published in Malaysiakini:

Highlights from his letter:

"More Chinese and Tamil Schools in 1957

For the uninitiated, at Independence we had 1350 Chinese primary schools, more than 800 Tamil primary schools and 78 Chinese secondary schools.

Today, with our population doubled, there are only 1285 Chinese primary schools, 550 or so Tamil primary schools and 60 Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary Schools (MICSS).

In fact when the Education Act 1961 was legislated, the number of Chinese secondary schools shrunk to just 14 because the rest had to give up their mother tongue education system since they could not survive without government aid. From the Seventies, the number of MICSS grew steadily to sixty.
The most obvious question Malaysians might want to ask is, how did the education policy and Education Act 1961 allow the number of MICSS to grow to sixty between 1961 to 1980?

The next obvious question to ask is: how did the policy and the law suddenly insist that there cannot be one more MICSS once the sixtieth school had been built by the end of the Seventies?

Before the 1996 Education Act, the mother tongue lobby had protested against Section 21(2) of the 1961 Act which stipulated that the Minister of Education "may at any suitable time convert all national-type primary schools to national primary schools."

When the 1996 Education Act came in, as expected, Section 21(2) of the previous law was no longer there. However, under section 17.11 of the new law, all schools in the National Education System had to use Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium of instruction. (Note that under the 1961 Act, only primary schools were affected.)...

Double standards over English-language schools
The recent proliferation of international schools in this country and their liberal enrolment of rich Malaysian students also make a mockery of the government's claim to implement a National Education Policy (specifying Malay as the main medium of instruction) for all Malaysians.
Why does the English-language have priority over the mother tongue of Malaysians?
If the government can allow hundreds of institutions in the country to use the English language, what is the problem with allowing one more MICSS school in which BM and English are compulsory subjects?

The contributions of MICSS to national development
The 60 MICSS have been surviving all these years through the support of the community which subsidizes their tuition fees. Although the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) is recognised round the world, our own government still refuses to recognise it.
Despite being treated like step children, graduates from the MICSS have been contributing to Malaysia's development and growth. The inventor of the thumb-drive is a product of the MICSS and he has since come back to invest in this country.
The Chinese community has been paying double taxation while also nurturing these 60 schools since they have been forced to be self-financing."

I have selected a few short quotes on the importance of education by famous personalities:

  • Aristotle
    The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
  • Benjamin Franklin
    Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
  • Helen Keller
    The highest result of education is tolerance.
  • Victor Hugo
    He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
  • Nelson Mandela
    Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    The secret in education lies in respecting the student.


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