English – then and now

A few days ago, I watched this English lesson on the TV Pendidikan channel. It is probably for the primary school but unfortunately, this auntie cannot understand what they are teaching. Why do they have to make things so complicated?

Since small until now (very old lar but young also) I can never differentiate what is a noun and a verb. I have no idea about grammar rules. By just reading a sentence, I can ‘feel’ if it is wrong or right. By just looking, I can ‘feel’ if the spelling is right or wrong. I can easily remember past tense and present tense but never sure when to use them.

Have the method of teaching the English (or even Bahasa Malaysia) subject evolved so much since errr…30 years ago? A simple question like ‘What are you doing?’ is just that. But on the TV Pendidikan, alamak… they broke the thing into several parts, like ‘action’ etc etc (dang, I can’t even remember what the heck they taught within 10 seconds!).

Who are the guilty parties who brought up a generation of Manglish speaking Malaysians? It has to be these too smart alecs who screwed up our future generations. And it could be the parents also.

I learnt my almost perfect (ahem!) English by just reading, reading, reading. I read because the books are easily available to me. I read as young as 7 yrs old because life in the kampung has nothing to offer except building coconut leaves tents, playing masak-masak with real fire and sliding around the kampung on pinang leaves (frond). I read because my mother NEVER tell me to. I read because the Government NEVER tell me to. I read because the Japanese/American/other blood sucking marketeers NEVER tell me to. I read from Shakespeare to Harold Robbins, Reader’s Digests to some Communist China magazines (just looking at the pictures la) and whatever few books my poor school library can offer.

Kids today? Their parents will shove books down their throats as early as…. before they weren’t even born. Parents take great pride in showing off their immaculate routine of ‘bedtime story’ ala the angmohs. Back then, the only bedtime story I heard from my mother is the homemade version of Hansel & Grethel where old ladies eat little children. That’s my only bedtime story. (the result? I very scared of old people wan)

But look at the standard of English. Read some of the blogs from the young people. Walau eh, chia lat lor. (teruk la) Auntie never get bedtime story, never attend the British Council English class, never been to kindergarten, did not even know ABC when entering Standard one and yet… Auntie got articles in the newspapers and magazines. (some articles available for reading here) Can you figure that?

So, for my kids, I wouldn’t dare to send them for any tuition lest the tuition and the school teachers corrupted their mind with their method of teaching English. I will just dump more and more books in the house and hopefully, they will learn English and Bahasa Malaysia, my way…(singing) I did it my…… way….

PS : If you notice any grammar errors on this blog, just keep it to yourself. Thank you. I will ‘feel’ for them and make my own correction.