Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Should we abandon our "mother tongue."?, Part 5

"English-speaking geeks"

We will create more than just the new Malaysian administrative, English-speaking elites of the Eton mould and gung-ho multicultural corporate raiders and robber barons of the Wall Street ethos, but also a new breed of English speaking and geek-talking cybernetic beings that are technologically-savvy and ready to collaborate with foreign capitalists to plunder our nation’s economy, displacing local cultures and creating linguistically-deranged citizens.

What is happening to the Multimedia Super Corridor and the future of Biotechnology Malaysia project is a good example of the impact of our obsession with the lingua franca. We fear that we may not be able to “compete” in the “world market” that speaks English to global power. But are we gearing up our education system to merely meet the ideology of globalisation? We are chasing “progress” but sacrificing “human development”, making 60,000 graduates unemployed and unemployable?

Even worse, the children of the multicultural poor will continue to struggle with the complexity of the bilingualism in the educational conveyor belt of a win-loose Malaysian education that filters human beings into class stratification so that the winners will become successful technocrats and cybernetic Malaysians whose allegiance is to globally-linked English-speaking corporate elites.

"Children left behind?"

The children of the multicultural poor will continue to be left behind year after year in the hands of teachers who not all of them are proficient in English. These teachers will be handing them watered down concepts of these two subject areas and hence unable to bring the students to the commanding heights of the study of Mathematics and Science. A teacher affects the lives of hundreds and thousands of students in his/her lifetime.

How might we create a good scientific and technologically-based middle-class when there are still problems with the teaching language itself, especially when it is taught to children in their formative years? This is what we are confronting as the fundamental issue of language, national and technological development. We are caught in a debate on language. We must understand how it colonises our physical and psychological consciousness turning nations into beings and nothingness in the matrix of the evolving empire.

The debate over language rages on - whether Mathematics and Science need to be taught in English. Language, from the time of independence continues to become a contested terrain in education and social development. What more if we are talking about the language of technological progress – of Science and Technology.

What is the real issue here? Where will the English language bring any nation if we are to adopt it into building our ideological-technological landscape? Is the English language neutral? Or is it imperialistic, carrying with it the lifeline of the Anglo-American Empire, in an age of globalisation that is creating dire human consequences and threatening our fragile environment?

Circumstances in the birth of linguistic nationalism and 'natio' below, circa late-1700s France



... and of Japanese nationalism.



in Yukio Mishima...

9 comments:

ylcw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If only I had taped one Ah Beng's dialogue (from School of AstroToon no doubt) speaking with posh Aussie slang in his usual Manglish sintax telling girlfriend with open jaw blinking eyes that his

"jinjang house near kepong is next door to damansara oredi...so close to mont kiara one leh..."

"You never come so long..no see how to find out?"


Said it with aussie/yankie tongue.. That's how i heard them young punks talk nowadays..I swear! No bull

Economist Kampong said...

One has to look at what is needed to have young Malaysians get and hold to the best jobs in world.

The concept of "best jobs" is not cliche. Unless Malaysians are able to do the best jobs - these jobs will not come to Malaysia. We we can forget about holding on to such jobs. It would become oximoron situation as we did not have the jobs in the forst place.

These jobs will land elsewhere in the world. If we have then - they will leave to the places where their young can be the worlds best.

So the basic arguement is simple. How can young Malaysians be the best in the world - in today's terms - without being very very good NOT ONLY in English but also in communication, thinking and working in English.

The short answer to this very very long debate is - learn that damn thing in English. Empower our young to think in English. The rest of the world do!!

If we can compare ourselved to others who had been successful - the Japanese, French, Spanish, who are good and have done it in their own mother tongue - and then argue that we can be the same - think again. Are we ready to do whatever the Japanese had done??? ARe we ready to work as hard as them?? Are we sure that they are not as mad about English as we should be and have been all along since independence???

Let those who want to stick to the mother tongue do it their way. The rest of us who know better should embrace English, and maths and science in English.

The folly of those who champion mother tongue will soon be exposed. And those who are not informed enough and will become their ardent followers - will be victime. Regretabbly their childred will pya a heavy proce for their folly.

Economist kampong

Anonymous said...

Teach the young ones how to think then talk first.

Right now just how many cud string anything - sensible or otherwise

Bet horning these two skills wont be easy seeing even the old ones are just world class hopeless as they come

Anonymous said...

It all boils down to basic - yakni the philosophy of manners they are taught there :

* where respect has to be earned and not deserved *


Hence, thank Lao Si Old Teacher repeated by Mother's tongue - Expect none

Anonymous said...

I think the imposition of teaching of science and mathematics in English language has an evil motive by the TDM regim. Let us have a more liberal attitude towards the education system. Learn any subject in any language as long as you do not show any unpatriotic towards the nation.
Alcohol is not haram. Drinking alcohol is not haram. Uttering slanderous remarks against any one or even your enemy is haram even though after drinking alcohol. It is your characters doing things which are haram by the religions.
Peace!

kinglee said...

Is multi-multiculturalism and multi-linguistic still our asset that we have exploited for our selfish -and short term political mileage so far 'still intact and applicable ? I wonder? Leave the choice to the people ,don't try to monopolize education by meant of language.Language is more than a tool, especially for those who are handicapped by their mono-linguistic background or those who do not read their mother-tongue, I feel sorry for them,especially people like professor Khoo Kah Kim (after all not all people of similar background with Professor Khoo think alike.

That is further proof of our liberal attitude towards a lot of non-conformity, Many thanks to Malaysian educationalists whom perseverance and belief and contributions to our multiculturalism, making Malaysia a brilliant mini Asia of which we are proud of.Continue to move forward with our cultural asset!

komando said...

How can we abandon our mother tongue?
The first words are your mums, when she caress you in her arms and feed you and suckle you?
WE are doomed if going by the recommendations of the morons in power in putrajaya!
That is why it is called "MOTHERS TONGUE" NOT FOR ANY OTHER REASON..IT MAKES THE CHILD LEARN FASTER AND EASIER!
HE LISTENS TO ALL FAMILY MEMBERS TALKING AT HOME FOR THE FIRST 6 YEARS, THEN ONLY HE GOES OFF TO SCHOOL...LEARN OTHER LANGUAGES..TRY AND MASTER SOME OTHER AS HE MOVES ON IN HIS LATER YEARS...

SO PROF PLEASE EDUCATE THE UNEDUCATED MINISTERS WE HAVE!

kinglee said...

Perhaps Malaysia is the only country in this world that practices everything you can imagine that has a mundane value on their head for political mileage.One of the uneducated professors is the renown khoo who claimed to be more Malaysian than average nyonya and baba and the unenlightened Chinese .

In this country many people attempted over most of their life span to champion the cause of One Malaysia by meant of demanding other community to drop their mother-tongue and their seems to be alien culture in their colored sight of which has been flourished over last few centuries in this multi ethic and diversified cultural reality.

And this attempt and sabotage to our treasured diversity has been allowed to go on in their narrow and exclusive interpretation of Malaysianess or bangsa Malaysia without

It is highly regrettable and waste of energy and resources to continue the fisca,perhaps the flourish of others' mother tongue education can be living proof to the unchangeable and narrow nationalists scope to impose their view on other people's basic right to receive their education in their beloved mother tongue, and make Malaysia a land of proud cultural diversity, a living testimony to Asia that diversity is strength.

For people like prof Khoo kindly keep your idea to yourself ,as you have been provened wrong not only now ,but a few hundred years before you were borne and if possible start learning the forgotten mother -tongue of your ancestors if you still remember ,perhaps it is not too late to add a rich cultural asset to your rich cultural background and for once balance up your perceived exclusiveness of Bangsa Malaysia.

by:booikheng

Lecture: Edward Said

Loading...

Lecture: Noam Chomsky

Loading...

Lecture: Jacques Derrida

Loading...

Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre

Loading...

Movie: 1984

Loading...

Movie: Animal Farm

Loading...

Movie: Chicken Run

Loading...

Poems: Rumi

Loading...

Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong

Loading...

Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith

Loading...

Islam

Loading...

Humanism

Loading...

Jainism

Loading...

Sikkhism

Loading...

Hinduism

Loading...

Bahai

Loading...

Confucianism

Loading...

Taoism

Loading...

The Bhagavad Gita

Loading...

Jesus of Nazareth

Loading...

Siddharta Gautama

Loading...

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

Loading...