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.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A bit on learning English and our Education Blueprint

The Education Blueprint is supposed to be the mother of all blueprints in our effort to be a top-notched advanced country. Most people have doubts about our policies which normally have impressive objectives, and most times, let down by their implementation. It is almost always form over substance and our people have short memories anyway.

To quote Dr Kua Kia Soong: 'Like the other blueprints of the past, including “Vision 2020”, this latest effort is full of the language of educational correctness – “improving access to education, raising standards (quality), closing achievement gaps (equity), promoting unity amongst students, and maximising system efficiency.”
'Sounds good... but can it deliver?'

The main problem seems to be the lack of competent teachers proficient in English. I see the main reason for this lack of teachers was our past education policies which sidelined English because of our fervour for our national language, Bahasa Malaysia. We all know this was due to political expediency of Umno (its relevance lies in championing Malay race and Muslim religion) in pandering to our major race. Unlike India and Singapore where the emphasis had all along been English which helped in their excellence in information technology, we thrashed our excellent English-based education system left by the British and now lack teachers in English! We are even worried about students not being able to pass English as a compulsory subject in 2015!

The Education Blueprint, among other things, emphasizes on improving the standard of English in schools to correct our weaknesses due to past policies and to keep up with the times. We argue on the hours of learning each language in schools. Yet, my common sense tells me that if only our government is serious in uplifting the standard of English, the use of it must be encouraged in public places. Public signage should include English, as often, students confuse the spelling of words between Bahasa Malaysia and English (not to mention the deliberate use of commercial names playing on misspelt words). It helps in directing foreign tourists who know English, which is a more international language.

In our recent visit to the National Zoo in KL, I commented on a faded bunting which boasts 'Towards a world class zoo'. Yet, at the showplace, narration was only in Bahasa Malaysia which most foreign tourists (and even our Chinese-educated locals... blame it on our educational system) could not understand, especially when visitors were invited to stand in line with money in hand so that a parrot will fly and pick it for the trainer.

We can excel locally but if we want to excel internationally, we have to pander to foreigners too. Where IT is concerned, English is the second most used language, next to Mandarin which happens to be used by the world's most populated country. We can neglect it but at our own loss.

Learning any language requires practice, the more the better. I find it amusing when some parents are willing to spend much on education, yet would not encourage daily use through conversation, reading English newspaper, viewing English news and serials on television. Personally, I am learning Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese by watching tv serials in Mandarin with Bahasa and Mandarin subtitles. It is slow but with genuine concentration, helpful to me. I even do Wonderword found in NST which many might think is childish, but which I find useful in knowing new words (usually based on a story or topic) or reassuring me of certain facts which improves my general knowledge or just the spelling of words.

Some links to views relevant to our Education Blueprint:

English is blueprint’s biggest challenge by Azman Bujang
Blindspots in the Malaysian Education Blueprint by Dr Kua Kia Soong


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