Learning English in Bahasa Melayu
Posted on March 10, 2009
Teaching Maths and Science in English will actually do very little in improving the level of English itself, however this is a great vision of the great man.
The great man, Tun Dr. Mahathir had done everything in order to provoke the Malaysians and Malays in particular for the only reason of wanting to make us more competitive.
Teaching Maths and Science in English if not one of his masterpieces, still it is a wonderful parting gift for us.
Teaching Maths and Science in English will not help cure the problem of bad England amongst Malaysians and the Malays in particular. Maths is about formulas and Science representing lots of concepts. It will not help you master your grammar nor did it help your to make a better sentence in English.
2+2=4. Whether you understand English or not, all Malaysians who had attended pre school will know the answer on their first day at year one.
Perhaps because it is about concept and it is better to teach concept in the natives mother tongue language? And the world libraries is full of reference books in Bahasa Malaysia! Yes, our Maths and Sciences professor has written trillions of pages of books in Bahasa Malaysia.
Malaysia is equals to German, France, Japan, China and Iran that our civilisation has began so early that Parameswara himself is a great engineer and without mastering even a word of English he already managed to built such a memorable structure as a symbol of such civilisation. Unfortunately, the structure was kidnap by English speaking people when they conquered us.
Reality is, we are not such a great nation that had live in the world map as centre of civilisations for thousands of year. Reality is, when we search for a book on particular subject in Maths and Science for our University assignment, the truth is we rarely find it in Bahasa Malaysia. Even if we find a few in Bahasa, we hardly understand it because the Bahasa Malaysia language used is so strange.
The truth is, learning Maths and Science will not help us to speak better English but it helped us to understand all those great books by people from those great civilisations. English is so widely used that many great books from many languages had been translated into English. You do not need to understand Latin, Chinese, Hebrew, Persian, French, and Italian etc to read those great books written by those great men who never speak English in their lifetime.
Some claimed, Bahasa Malaysia is so great that it is spoken by 300 millions people the world over. But if you check with all the publishers, an educational book written in Bahasa Malaysia rarely sells because the market is so small.
Yes 300 millions people understand and speak Bahasa Melayu but try to print more than 1000 copies in the first print, I bet you will have a hard time convincing your financer.
I bought few communication books during my last visit to Jakarta, a year ago. After six months, I can hardly read pass the first chapter of the first book because the difference in the language is so jarring. And this is the Bahasa Melayu spoken and understood by 300 million people world over?
If teaching Maths and Science will not tremendously improve the level of English amongst locals, then why take the risk and risk the future of Maths and Science itself.
Well a great stone-age man will always attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
For those who excel in Maths and Science in English, sky the limit for them when it came to reading great books on the subjects. For those who failed their Maths and Science because they hardly understand English, we ought to look at their diet because they may have visibility problem.
2+2=4. Be it in Java, Bugis, Bajau, Tamil, Hokkien or Malays.
A picture that depicts an illustration of a caterpillar is still the same whether it is in Java, Bugis, Bajau, Tamil, Hokkien or Malays.
Basics for beginners are all the same and learning it in English is an evolution.
Why not try to improve the level of English by using other subject like ‘Kemahiran Hidup’, ‘Tatarakyat’, ‘Kajian Tempatan’ and arts?
Well, if 2+2=4 is very confusing enough in English, I can imagine the hoo-ha that will come with it.
Don’t tell me Mahathir never knew that they teach English in Kelantan dialect in SK. Kusial or SK Semut Api.
Don’t tell me Hishamuddin never knew that they teach English in native language in Pontianak?
Perhaps, our so busy academicians never knew that when the students spell B-E-D, they would say LAMBED in in SK. Semut Api in Kelantan, which is just about 10 kilometres from Kota Bharu.
Mahathir knew the level of teaching degrading each day and one of the reasons why English lesson is not making any in roads in rural areas are because of the teachers.
Gone are the days when people wanted to become a teacher because of they want to help their ‘anak bangsa’. Most of those who apply to become a teacher nowadays are because of material issues. Nevertheless, material is important and we respect their decision.
Becoming a teacher is low at risk because you will get your posting as soon as you graduated. A Bachelor of Education graduate need not worry about searching for jobs, they only need to think of whether they need to buy a sampan with them after their posting. But I knew a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering who ends up working at a factory in Penang because he is not able to take the challenge of communicating in English.
So our children’s school are flooded with teacher searching for stability rather than exploring their passion. The seriousness in the teaching profession is lacking each day. Everyday is about preparing students for examination.
Teacher communicate less and teaching less due to over dependent on activity books.
Graduate in Maths and Science usually are smarter then the rest because those who get good result in examination at school levels are transferred to the science streams. And due to its competitiveness, only those with the high marks will get to do the first degree in education.
So naturally, it is safer to rely on Maths and Science teachers due to lots of reason.
Well as I said earlier, teaching Maths and Science in English will not improve the level of English but it is the easiest way to make student used to English without all the grammar hindrance. It is about making them used to English and to force them to voluntarily speak English.
They can do their calculation in their mother tongue or think of a concept in their native language before then put it in black and white in English. 2+2=4.
But it is not always as easy as 2+2=4. But sure it is an easy start to help them find some courage to converse in a language most of them never use at home or at the paddy field.
It is however not going to be easy for them, if we keep putting our political ambitions ahead of their future.
Personally, what I see is nothing but those who disagree are only because of bruised ego, shallow minded nationalistic village hero and politician trying to outdo each other.
Please stop trying to mess with those innocent children’s future. I had seen enough of my friends suffering from those same jaguh kampung of the 70s. Does the Pakar Bahasa help find them a job because they are brilliant in Bahasa Malaysia?