The Dandelions

.. the mutual admiration and bashing society.

Science and Maths in English or Bahasa Malaysia? PART 3

Posted by jingoisticbuthornydesperado on November 18, 2008

There have been heated discussions of late in Bongkersz’s blog and Noktah Hitam’s blog on the role of BM in our education system. Losing BM as a national identity because Science and Maths are taught in English is just a histrionic bugaboo, in my humble opinion.

Education is important, even if it means introducing English in economically beneficial subjects. One can always have the homework to read, collate data and analyse text from English books but making a Malay presentation of the work done. Of course, it doesn’t have to be fixed roles for both languages, the roles can be reversed. This way we kill two birds in one stone.

Education leads to economic prosperity. Without economic prosperity, what is going to be our bread and butter or Bahasa Malaysia alone? I wish I can eat my own words without trying to earn a living, pun intended. Teaching science and maths in English isn’t going to make BM go extinct. There is always poetry, local judiciary process, public bureaucratic procedures, Siti Nurhaliza and our local poster boy, MAWIIIIIIIIIIII! Okay, okay, it is a chutzpah for me to scream out for Mawi so stop taunting me over him!

Who would cater for the Malaysian market if there are no BM users? Unfortunately, Malaysians are not Chinese in China (pardon me for being emphatic about the latter to prevent causing unwanted confusion with chauvinistic Malaysian Chinese). With their (Chinese in China) stupendously gargantuan demand power, foreigners who want to make business dealings with China have to kowtow to Chinese language. Malaysia unfortunately is neither the supply superpower or demand superpower. Malaysian economic prosperity is based on export rather than domestic demand-pushed economic growth. In a dog eat dog world, we have to learn English to maintain (if not decay into oblivion) one of our economic advantage which IS/WAS the language barrier or rather, the lack of language barrier with foreigners. We may not beat China in demand power but at least we do not just surrender to China with our white flag, forsake English and so making Malaysia even more economically unattractive than it already is.

My selfish instinct wants to stick by to libertarian principles: that everyone is free to do what they want to do. If others are stupid enough to cocoon themselves, it will be their fault, no? Unfortunately, one only gets more freedom to choose wisely from having more knowledge and the access to knowledge is restricted by wealth. In this specific case, I would stick by to Marxist and Confucius principles. According to the former, individuals aren’t exactly ‘free’ to do what they want. They are to a certain extent, controlled by the level of ignorance laid upon them. For the greater good of the society (a combination of Confucius and Marxist schools of thought), I would probably incorporate English into Science and Maths classes though not necessary to replace BM completely. Free people from the ignorance-induced limitations: that is true freedom. I believe THE JOB that should be done is rather to create a ‘no holds barred’ environment for everyone. Only upon doing as such and if there are still some who would still like to cocoon themselves, it will then ultimately be their responsibility.

As for improving the standards of BM

1) Leadership by example: If our PM or any of our other politicians are great orators or writers, they can revive the interest in BM. Astound public with beauty of the language to arouse the public interest in the language like Shakespeare, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill. We learn from their leaders and idols, and we will quote beautiful phrases from the greats while learning.

2) Cooperate with Indonesia in area of science and technology. Teaching English in science and maths classes doesn’t mean that we can’t publish papers in BM. Not just any papers, but scientific journals for example, palm oil technology where Malaysia has got a decent head start. This will encourage a greater number of cross referencing in BM between both countries increasing its usage. People will be willing to put in some extra effort just to get hold of the knowledge from a good science journal. It doesn’t matter if they employ a translator to do the job because if they do, they also create a demand for BM/English linguists for translation jobs, increasing the usage of BM.


20 Responses to “Science and Maths in English or Bahasa Malaysia? PART 3”

  1. Madame said

    Economically beneficial subjects, Jingo? Arent all subjects sposd to be so? 😉

    I read The Flaccid Mind and NoktahHitam too and I must add that both have presented very good arguments to the subject as you have done as well.

    A solution that would satisfy all would be to find a middle ground. This would entail a complete re-vamping of the Education system. There should be 2 types of national schools…one English based, where BM is a mandatory 2ng language and a 3rd choice of language is also available… Another should be a BM based national school, where English as a 2nd language would be mandatory. Enforcing strictly English schools in rural areas may not go down so well, I suspect.

    India has followed this system very successfully since Independance and it works!!! 🙂

  2. Hmm… its always about money Money MONEY! What about identity? What about self worth? What about passing on traditions?

  3. jingoisticbuthornydesperado said

    NOKtah hitam,

    I am not proposing that we ignore bm completely, but i am sure asking students to read english science books but having discussion in malay is not that hard? The germans you speak of speak much better english as a 2nd language than many Malaysian politicians with their BM.

    the french, the germans are more globalised than either one of us. they understood the importance of learning an extra language more than malaysians. It will be some time before Malaysians are as globalised as them. let’s not forget that french is widely spoken in many countries too and german language is good to follow up on crazy german scientific discoveries aspecially in mechamics.

    money unfortunately is important. who is going to sustain us if we have a group of incompetent workforce?

    identity can be taught using BM in history cultural subjects like literature. pass on the hang tuah legend, he seemed to disappear from education. self-worth willk be nothing if everone is suffering from economic doldrums

  4. missjolie said

    Jinggo, for someone who supposedly used to get ‘ling ji dan’. you sure damn write well!! 😉 i agree with madame, all three of you (Noktah Hitam, Bongkers & Jinggo) have put forth very strong arguments.

    The two schools system practised in India, as proposed by madame is also interesting and worth a consideration. However I have my doubts about it. Mainly I am worried about the issues this system may pose in the long run with regards to setbacks affecting social class of those schooled in rural schools. Would this create and perpetuate social hierarchy in the long run? It would be beneficial if there was empirical data to support its effectiveness.

    From a utilitarian point of view, it would be easier to manage if the whole country just stuck to one system in my opinion. On top of that, I’m also thinking of the training, policies, syallabus differences if two systems existed …. This would mean different sets of criteria. With our country’s lack of human resources, this may be a daunting task.

    As I’ve mentioned in Bongkersz’ blog, the old system worked. Why was it abandoned? I mean it worked for us then. Not only did it work but it worked well. If the issue is of loss of identity. Were we any less ‘Malaysian’ than we are now because English was the medium used in school? Are we more identifiable now that BM is used as a medium? How much have the previous generation lost as a result of this? Ask any malay from the era who were schooled in English medium. From my personal observation, I’ve gotten the impression that many lamented when our government decided it was time out schools were taught in BM. Our forefathers should have questioned and challenged this motive for change. Was it done for political purposes of self interested politicians to gain vantage point? Your guess is as good as mine!

    The system I am talking about that worked is of course the ‘British system’ we referred to when our public schools were taught in English medium, we churned out quality then. It was also during this era that the ranking of UM, was an impressive one, as opposed to its pathetic position now, suffice to say.

    Now this does not mean I’m saying we should follow the British system. We can have our own syllabus/system. However, with that in mind, we seriously need to first have an overhaul of the people who are currently in the education ministry! What is their experience? What are their qualifications? What is Hishamuddin’s qualifications may I ask? again No wonder we have a world crap ranking when it comes to education!

  5. jingoisticbuthornydesperado said

    I like the first choice Madam!

    I have seen EU students reading journals in German or Spanish but writing their reports or thesis in English. What can’t we do the same for Malay?

    Missjolie, i think it is due to all the protein that i have eaten while getting leng ji dan when i was in my adolescent

  6. erniejean said

    Good one Jinggo….

    Quite frankly, even if we were to adopt the best education system ever invented by mankind, it’ll still fail miserably if our teachers/educationists suck….like they do now 😛

    P.S. : Oh, and add our Education Minister too….

  7. barbie said

    Just get it done with just one system. Too many systems are confusing. BM or English, it should not be a problem. Now, the issue often raised by people is if you use choose BM over English, BM standards will go down the drain, likewise. That has nothing to do with Science and Maths.

    It is very simple. You want to have better command in English, learn the language. Study hard, smart, phat and rat whatever shit, just double your efforts to learn the language. How to have good command of English by learning Maths in English? Learn English lah! Same goes to BM, if you are poor in BM, learn the language like no tomorrow, spend more time read Utusan Melayu, (not for the propaganda, but the language), Metro, Majalah Siswa.

    The problem is the syllabus, implementation and the teachers. Another problem is meritocracy. If you allow stupid students that can’t read to continue to Form 5, what kind of standards you are expecting? Those who cannot continue their education, let them be. Find other ways to help them – vocational schools, technical trainings, but not by absorbing them into the system and polluting the quality of education.

    Of course, by upholding meritocracy only we can have good students. Good students should have no problem learning what ever shits thrown at them. Capisce?

  8. mesoso said

    mesoso thinks french would be even better…science and mathematics will take on a whole new meaning..

    un baiser plus deux baisers égale trois baisers
    que pensez-vous, ma chère barbie ?



  9. barbie said

    Un baiser s’il vous plaît? I don’t think so 😛

  10. mesoso said

    barbie ah…vous dont savent un baiser jusqu’à ce que vous avez embrassé mesoso



  11. jingoisticbuthornydesperado said

    mesoso and barbie use my blog to flirt, what the….

    voulez vou couche avec moir, any one?

  12. missjolie said

    Jinggo, etes vous sur?? 😉 Mesoso et vous devriez obtenir une chambre!

    Mesoso, vous etes trompon de! ;P Barbie aime les filles!:P

  13. mesoso said

    hahahahahaha..jinggo.. least, french sounds so much more polite than TNM, KNN, CH, CBB…no?

    ah..but missjolie…is only becoz you have not met mesoso but i assure suis mieux que n’importe quelle femme..


  14. snappy said

    ceci est intéressant..

  15. jingoisticbuthornydesperado said

    ohhhh snappy,

    vous désirez vous joindre à nous?

  16. missjolie said

    i thought you were a male mesoso. now u have me confused! so are you male or female? why are you so mysterious?!

  17. mesoso said

    missjolie mesoso’s little world no such distinction or differentiation one leh…like is pikachu male or female?, is doraemon male or female..? can be anything you want mesoso to be lor…


  18. missjolie said

    halo! doraemon is male lar so is pikachu.

  19. mesoso said

    huh?? ya meh? male mah male lor..i thot those cartoons asexual one…nvm..hehe


  20. My daughter is less than 2 years old and she can understand both English and Japanese, and later will introduce Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese.

    I can’t see why we cannot take 1 step forward to integrate the BM textbooks few years back with the current English science and maths text books. Its a lot of effort, but why move backward instead of forward. We can allow students to use either English or BM to answer in the exams as long as the maths and science principles are correct.

    Some good will surely come out of the dialectics at work between both languages instead of choosing either one. We need new advancements. We need Malaysia Boleh. Not some power struggle between languages.

    When will Malaysia advance and not hold on to race and language as stumbling blocks but embrace our differences as advantages?

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