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:
4th UiTM INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FIESTA
19 – 23 November 2009 FUTSAL-RUGBY 7- TENPIN BOWLING-BADMINTON
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
Universiti Teknologi MARA
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: