Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mangling The English Language

Hantu Laut

It is the most widely spoken language and spoken in more parts of the world than any other language and by more people than any other tongue except Chinese.It's the official language in most Commonwealth nations and lingua franca in many parts of the world.

The English language which falls within the Anglo-Frisian group of the Western Germanic language has evolved over 1500 years and has the most extensive vocabulary.

It is estimated that the English language has over 1 million words and is growing.It is also a bastardised language as it borrows words from other languages.It is the dominant international language in
entertainment,diplomacy and the Internet.

How could you go wrong learning and knowing this language.

Mahathir must be heart broken when he was told by the Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that the government has decided to drop English as the medium in teaching Science and Maths.The government has decided to teach English only as a subject.Muhyiddin said it was not politically motivated but read what he says here in Manik Urai.

The irony is Muhyiddin said it has been explained to Mahathir and they have convinced him and he has accepted the government decision, but here Mahathir rebutted the claim and said they only briefed him and did not take into consideration his suggestions. This certainly is not good for Najib and it will not be the last he heard from Mahathir. The old man is known for his consistency, persistence and the will to pursue his beliefs with missionary zeal.

Raja Petra of Malaysia Today posted an interesting article on 'Why English should not be taught in Bahasa Malaysia' (I believe pun intended) and posted a circular written in English from a student from one of the leading universities in this country. I reproduce the circular below:


Dear Sport Friends,

Regarding about the global issue H1N1 happens around the world, sadly to be informing that our UiTM International Sports Fiesta will be postponing to 19-23 November 2009.

For all teams which have been confirm to participate in our events, we have to say sorry for this announcements and our Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health also advise to us to change the date for this current situation.

By the date have been confirm incoming this November hopefully your teams still can participate in our event and don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

And again, we would like to say sorry about the date change for the sake of our health among us.

See you in this November at UiTM Malaysia!!


Mr. Mustaza Ahmad
Sports Centre
Universiti Teknologi MARA

The message is clear and well understood.The writer should have written it in the Malay language and saved him the embarrassment.

You can read Raja Petra's full article here.Whether the letter is real or fictional is hard to tell.

Why is the government giving up so easily, taking the easy way out? A survey conducted by Merdeka Centre showed 58 percent of respondents wanted it to stay. Why not bring in good English teachers from overseas to teach the students as well as teach those local teachers who are not proficient in English.The other bigger aspect which the government overlooked is the availability of these teachers domestically.I am sure there is a big pool of housewives who are proficient in English that could be enticed and turned into English teachers. The other possibility are wives of English speaking expatriates.All of them could be tested for their standard of English before accepting them as teachers.

The standard of education in this country get screwed every time the Minister of Education changed.Each have their own idea of what the curriculum should be.Adding to the problem are the government educationists in this country taking little or no pride in their jobs.Teaching just for the sake of earning an income is the worst misdeed of a teacher. Teaching is an honourable profession and teachers are supposed to have conviction, dedication and love what they are doing, that is imparting knowledge to their students.

I remember in the old days when most teachers were feared, you either love or hate them, but with respect.They were look upon as mentors and people of knowledge.

During my time, English was the medium of instruction and you have to learn the language from young at primary level or if you come from a Malay or Chinese primary school you have to attend 2 years of bridge class to polish your English before going to secondary level at government English school.Those days most English schools were Christian mission schools and here you start learning English from the first year.

Although, language can be learnt at any age, to bring back proficiency of the English language the government must introduce and make it compulsory at the primary level, in all schools in both urban and rural areas.Just teaching English in Science and Maths may not be sufficient to make the students more proficient in the language.One must learn the basic structure of the language and starting young would be the best option.

Malaysia will gain much from bringing back English as the lingua franca.I agree with Mahathir that the government should at least retain the teaching of Science and Maths in English at the secondary level.

I remember well my principal in secondary school, a strict disciplinarian English man whom we students hated and called the "Bulldog".He made it a point to teach every class once a week with his version of the English language. When Rawcliffe teaches everyone listens in fear, those who missed a breath, mispronounced a word, spelled a word wrongly or didn't know the meaning would end up being called "rotten cheese", "sour grape" or the ultimate insult of being told "your grandmother would be kicking in her grave listening to you murdering the English language" but in all honesty Rawcliffe was the best English teacher I ever had in my secondary years.What goes in stays in.

Below are few examples of mangling of the English language Malaysian style:

i just want to ask...i matriculation's student...i got band 2 in muet 2008...if i repeat muet as calon persendirian bout the result that i'v obtain from muet 2008? is it might be effect for my courses that iv been chosen before?

A teacher in a primary school said this to the class "7 push 4 equal how many". What he tried to teach was "7 - 4 = ?" and he simply translated it from "7 tolak 4".

At least the Singapore government is trying its best to stop Singaporeans speaking Singlish, Are we going to promote more Manglish in this country or teach our children to speak proper English.


eddy said...

Education for our young in Malaysia has once again been sacrificed on the altars of political expediency.I do not believe for one minute that the cancellation of the PPSMI has got nothing to do with politics. It is inconceivable that just a little over 6 years a study could be made to show that it is a failure. I agree that the PPMSI has weaknesses in its implementation especially the teachers needs further training to speak english fluently, so, the teachers needs to be trained but no need to take the extreme step of cancelling the PPMSI altogether, we are actually moving steps back and ultimately handicapping ourselves when competing for FDIs against our neighbors in the not so distant future.

I GOOGLED the following words:
sains, science, matematik bahasa melayu, mathematics and the results are as follows:

sains 14.1 million results;
science 1 Billion results;

matematik bahasa melayu 192,000 results;
mathematics 134 Million results.

Just simple GOOGLE will show that it would be more useful and beneficial and VERY important for our children to learn Mathematics and Science in the English Language.

Even though Muhyiddin say there should not be any appeal, I hope that the Ministry of Education would consider reinstating PPMSI as additional to the now agreed teaching of Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil.

Give Malaysian Parents the choice of what language they want their children to study Mathematics and Science. This country should not be held to ransom by the language extremists whether they are Malay Sasterawans,Gapena or the Chinese and Tamil educationist movement who threathens BN with deprivation of political votes if their demands are not met. Our children cannot earn good living or contribute to the future of this country just by reciting the sastera melayu or mandarin and tamil poems only, we need technorats, professionals versed in English and their mother tongue also to compete in this increasing globalised world.

When it is about the best education that our children should have for their secured and independent future, I say politics be damned.

So I hope that the decision to cancel the PPSMI be revisited and the views of the PARENTS who wants PPMSI for their children, and they are also a huge voters bank in the coming GE, are thoroughly considered as the consequence would be bad on the BN as I know that Pakatan will promise to introduce PPMSI as additional to the teaching of science and matematics in Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil. Don't believe? watch and see and cry BN leaders.

donplaypuks® said...

Muhy did not lie, he merely indulged in, as Churchill said, 'terminologocal inexactitudiness'.

And the sycophantic MSM has perpetuated Muhy's spin that Dr.M concurred and accepted his views.

Dr.M has long ago said the reversal of his policy would be tantamount to robbing our children of competitive abilities.

Dr.Mis now fighting back with a poll at his website. Go take a look!

doshimaitri said...

The true fact of today is that no any person is really interested in learning anything new from his or her heart, because if it was so then before to blame the teachers it is we who in the inferiority complex or due to feeling about what others will think of us do not ask them about our queries and it is also true that the teachers also are disinterested in their students.Today the study of other languages is also as important as our regular studies. Again English language is comprised of mostly Latin and Greek. Many of the rules, as we know them, stem from Latin. We have made changes over the centuries to accommodate our own styles of writing, listening, and speaking.According to me the best way to learn any abroad languages is through Foreign Language school .This may be the best way to save time and fasten the learning.

donplaypuks® said...

As long as we are on the subject of English, let me clear up this common error made by M'sians.

Ther is no such thing as 'true facts'. 'True facts' is a tautology since fact also means true.

Anonymous said...

DonPlayPuks or DonPlayWords?
Anyhow, its not to be debated whether the idea was good or great or inspired by the great Tun Dr Mahathir.

Its all about execution - and since we have no idea of knowing how the policy was executed, and have instead promoted the chief executive to the rank of UMNO VP and Minister of Internal Security, we can only debate the results.

And which result confirms the hypothesis? The Pembena study? The TIMMS study? None at all.

So the Government was forced to revert back to BM. Case answered. Let Dr Mahathir weep for all I care, in truth, there is much more that he should weep for.

Hantu Laut said...

It goes to show we don't support the government blindly.When a wrong policy is implemented we must voice our opinion.

I think our government is doing great injustice to the children and their future with the forever changing education policy.Malaysian students are probably the most confused lot.

English has become an almost indispensible language in the international arena and knowing it is an asset not liability.

I can understand Mahathir's frustration.Watch him, he is going to hound Najib from now on which is not good for UMNO.

eddy said...

Bro, this issue would not rest until the BN Government reverse their cancellation of the PPSMI or incorporate PPSMI to the decision to teach Mathematics and Science in BM,Mandarin and Tamil.

How on earth could the study in English Literature can make one understand the nuances of technical English used in Mathematics and Science is beyond me. If they carry on with their misguided decision, in about 10 years our local graduates from IPTA or IPTS will not be marketable even to the Japanese,Korean, German,UK,French,Swede, Singaporean and American investors or even our own MNCs and GLCs. Surely, the era where Government knows best in education for our young is no more applicable, the Parents and students must be enpowered to choose.

On 8 July 2009, DS Najib has made his first major boo-boo for aborting the PPMSMI and he has not yet pass the 100 days in office mark yet. The best thing now is for his Government to go into damage control mode and do not talk too much in defending what is obviously a misguided decision.

I think Dr Mahathir is almost on a war path now, the last time this kind of thing happened it took Dr Mahathir about 3 years to decide that Abdullah were not up to the mark, and DS Najib sure do not need a fiery Dr Mahathir breathing down his neck after just 100 days in office, that is bad karma.

The high vote count and the comments in Dr Mahathir's blog against the Government decision to abort the PPSMI will sure as hell encourage Dr Mahathir to go for broke, I am with him on this one Bro. It is also about BN survival as the ruling Government after the next GE. And yes, we are not blind supporters of BN, if something is not right kita mesti tegur sampai dibetulkan.

SM said...


See what I mean when I say Najib has his work cut out for him (some of your readers will now accuse me of "insulting" Najib!)?
TDM is right & I believe Najib knows it, but this decision was done for Political reasons & to appease "certain quarters".

justicenequality said...

Sad indeed for Malaysia NOT to continue teaching ENGLISH as a COMPULSORY & MAIN LANGUAGE which we have inherited from the British.
A Good Example will be INDIA. Have we follow on the same path as India, imagine what a Great & Prosperous Nation would have been!

Other nations which were former colonies of the French, choose to pursue English now; eg. Vietnam.

Even China & S Korea citizens are ACTIVELY learning without prompting from the govts.

Sad, indeed.

SM said...


Yes, very sad. Over the last couple of years I have had to interview potential employees. Out of the 200 or 300 applicants, hardly 5 or 6 of our fresh graduates can speak fluent English. I have actually adviced some of them to go get English Lessons first before trying to get a job with a Multinational company.
I don't see how we can improve the way we are moving forward.