Why can’t we have only one type of school?

*This is a non-political/non-racial/non-religious personal musing. Just my thoughts as a student and my wish for my children.*

My father sent me to an English school which eventually turned to Sek. Kebangsaan after one year being there. I was the only Chinese girl in class. I grew up with Malay and Indian friends. So, I am very, very at ease with the different races in Malaysia. Both my husband and I speak loghat Penang like Malays. We make sure that we never make any racial jokes in front of our children.

Admit it – each of us Malay, Chinese and Indian do have our own racial jokes. I grew up listening to them but somehow, I know it just doesn’t seem right to openly joke in front of the children.

The reason being – my kids are all in Sekolah Kebangasaan and they have close friends with all these races. Therefore, I do not want them to have any misconceptions about their friends.

However, I notice that nowadays, Chinese go to Chinese schools, Indian goes to Tamil schools and Malays go to Sek. Kebangsaan and Islamic schools. Once in a while, I may heard of Chinese talking about the other races and some of these talks, makes me cringe. Many of these are because the Chinese never got to know the other races and understand their way of thinking.

It does worry me, as a mother, what will become of us when children are flocked into their own races with very little chance of mingling together as a muhibbah nation? So, I do wonder……is it so hard for our country to have only one type of school, fit for all races?

Why must some dumb people up there, making fusses and doing circus? Don’t they realise that the future of our nation depends on how well our children grow as rakyat Malaysia? Can someone tell me why children must learn Mathematics, Science and etc in Mandarin? Can’t they just learn Mandarin/Tamil as a language? (Do you know that those poor Chinese school kids have to take two exams for each paper? In Mandarin and in English.)

Is it too far fetched an idea that we just have one type of school? Lump all the children in one melting pot and let them grow as Bangsa Malaysia?

I pray that our country leaders are aware that all those bloodsheds in our neighbouring countries are the result of these races/religions conflicts. Let’s make sure that our kids have a peaceful, harmonious, multi-racial, multi-religion Malaysia to live in.

16 thoughts on “Why can’t we have only one type of school?

  1. to form the younger generation as bangsa malaysia by melting ’em all in the same pot means the appropriate main language to be used would be the bahasa malaysia, which is the malay language coz after all, it’s our national language. some (or should i say, most?) people are sensitive when it comes to this, thus all the objections.

    nevertheless, nowadays, the number of malay children attending chinese schools have increased too…well, at a chinese school in my place, tat is 😉 rly puts me to shame wen i hear ’em speaking chinese more fluently than i do =P

  2. Hahaha, autumnmusic, I do have an issue with that. All these mother tongues is pretty confusing. Our mother tongue is not Mandarin, it is teochew, hainanese, hokkien etc, isn’t it? Our national language is Bahasa Malaysia, that is our mother tongue too. Ignore me, I am very patriotic. (and maybe some people call idiotic)

  3. I fully agree with you, Lilian. While we shouldn’t forget our ancestry, we are born and bred Malaysians and should be proud as such. One can still learn Mandarin or Tamil if such language is taught in a ‘kebangsaaan’ school. It is all a matter of emphasis. If it is treated as a POL subject, sure-lah, nobody will bother but if serious attention is given, I am sure students who opt to learn these subjects will excel too.

  4. Sexymama – Wah you very scary wor. Power of what? Which language rules the world? I rather see things in simple terms, i.e. our little backyard. Frankly, I wonder why people want a piece of China. They already are over populated, leave them be lah. If do business, just hire a few guys who knows Mandarin only lor. Mandarin as a language. Period.

    Bkworm – Glad you share the same sentiment. Our ancestors have sailed the high seas to this country so I am sure, we should treasure this country rather than trying to look back. Remember, they (our ancestors) ran away from there, why now we want to look back, right?

    BTW, my husband did not approve my #3 son (or even the others) to attend the Mandarin class. So, #3 hangs around doing nothing while his classmates study Mandarin. Don’t ask me why. My atm made that decision and I can’t change it.

  5. I’m from a the Sekolah Kebangsaan stream and I enjoyed it. I had and still have friends from all races and all backgrounds. Some very poor, some very rich but mostly average just like me. My boyfriend on the other hand, has zero Malay friends in his secondary school because he went to a private school (methodist college KL), a school where 80% of them are Christians and 99.9% are non-malays. I found it very hard to believe at first but yes, there are people who don’t have Malay friends. I find it a pity that he did not get to mix with such a group.

    And yes, we should only have one type of school. National school. No chinese school, no tamil school and no private schools. We should all learn how to mingle with other races and be content with the syllabus that our government has for us. I survived national school for 11 years and I’m sure everyone else can. The move to teach the Tamil and Chinese language in schools now is a good one.

    Do you think this is a step to abolishing all vernacular schools in Malaysia?

  6. “Let’s make sure that our kids have a peaceful, harmonious, multi-racial, multi-religion Malaysia to live in. ”

    think again, if there were only one kind of school, will there be multi-racial? the multi-racial will only be skin deep, just look at the neighbouring country as said, there’s a lot of chinese in indonesia can’t speak mandarin or even their own mother tongue, hokkien, teochew, etc, there’s only one race you see there, indonesian, stuffing all the kids of different races in the same school won’t promote peace and harmony automatically, it’s the education that matters, children’s behaviour are usually molded from their parent, I see many grown-up themselves don’t mix well with people of other races, and guess what? this pass on to the next generation also.

  7. Andy – Have you observed children in kindies? They made my heart melt because they are so loving and caring, regardless of colours. So, if they go to the same school, it is a small step towards that unity we hope for. If we separate them out, then, it is a bigger gap.

    Angelic Grace – Your last question may cause many parties to be uneasy. Because they will read it differently and feel terancam.

  8. i read a bit about it in the papers this morning. everyone have their own idea of what is best and there’s basically no way we can stop people from starting ‘different’ type of schools.
    i sent mine to chinese scholl coz of all the horror stories i heard about sek. keb.- teacher not interested in teaching

  9. The situation is very complexed. High expectations of parents are not met by gahmen schools. A friend of mine was very dissatisfied with a gahmen school so he pulled out his son and switched to a Chinese school. To his surprise, a Malay parent there did the same. The number of non-Chinese students joining Chinese schools is putting pressure on the number of available places in Chinese schools. The fact is, the non-Chinese are also shifting away from gahmen schools. I think it may take one generation before our school system is back on its feet. Private schools may not be the answer as their fees are expensive.
    Aiyoh….why must type in URL before commenting wan?

  10. You can’t separate larva from the butterfly.

    Chinese vernucular school has its own history thread. If you just simply look the surface, it is no different than looking at the butterfly and denied its “ugly” larva stage.

    I doubt many Malaysian do learn that there is ALTERNATIVE to “one school” solutions. Advanced country in European, e.g. German, finland, swedish etc are very protectice about their mother tongue language. However, when come to education, they give a equal chance for other language to thrive, e.g. even some “minority” represent less than 5% of the population.

    There is reason that binding a language to the education. Any culture is bind to their language. A Chinese that only know shakespear will fail to learn the hidden message behind “Water margin”, “Travel to the west(the monkey king story).

    Honestly, I don’t see a problem there, except we need to strenghten multi-lingual teaching in the school.

    And not to forget, our country allocate less money in education(by ratio) when there is more children enter the school each year. The competency of the teacher is a bigger problem compare to the language issue.

  11. I am a product of a Chinese school, one of the 60 independent ones infact. Our school made the distinction of being the only school (at the time) of choosing English over Chinese as the medium of instruction and exams, so it was not difficult to do two different sets of exams in Malay or English. Translation when learning between both Malay/English is easy enough compared to Chinese/Malay. We still have CHinese for language and the Chinese history syllabus (different and separate from the national Sejarah subject).

    Because of the English factor, about 1/8 of the school’s population is made up of ‘lower Chinese’ students of various races or from SRK/Sk background. They learn a lower level of Chinese academically, but being in a Chinese-speaking environment they pick up spoken Chinese too. So we have students from different backgrounds able to communicate in three languages by the time they graduate.

    Plus, being a 6-year program (AO level), we are halfway between Form 5 & Form 6 when we graduate, thus we can enter first year at Australian Universities with our Chinese school exam results. We have to go overseas anyway due to shortage of uni places in malaysia, so why not save a year or two abroad?

    I suppose being in Sabah also made all the difference: in my opinion, muhibbah is felt more strongly in Sabah than other places. This is what I feel only while travelling around Malaysia, dunno whether you feel the same. History show that there was little or no racial tension in Sabah, only between sabahans and colonists. Want to see muhibbah? Visit Sabah! My opinion onlylah… =)

    My family background is quite mixed: hakka hokkien foochow and kadazan all mixed together. Mum and dad went to English schools (one in Malaya, the other in Singapore) so we speak english at home. Having relatives who can only speak Chinese or only bahasa (with sabahan loghat, very baku) taught how to relate and communicate in local language. HK TV series taught me Cantonese.

    Now that I’m in Australia I can communicate with people all over the world! how good is that?

  12. Both my grandparents were Chinese school teachers, so I’m obviously biased. They did more than teach Chinese to their students, it was also a way of imparting Chinese culture. Yes, and there is such a thing, not just Fujianese or Cantonese or Hakka. No matter what you think about the social benefits of having just one type of education system, the fact than an independent Chinese language school system has survived for over 100 years is a testament to the desire of dirt-poor often illiterate immigrants to have their children educated (no need to go into Nanyang U here, right?)

  13. eh you’ll be surprised; a friend was bitching to me about another Malay girl right in front of her in Cantonese when the girl caught her by surprise and asked her back ‘Are you bitching about me?’ in Canto! LOL…I just shake my head at the two =P

  14. Greetings,
    First of all, salute to the host for speaking this out.
    I’m a Malay, lived in a Malay village, schooled in all-Malay school til year 6, secondary school very few with non-Malays, and yes, heard all those racial jokes (and sad to say) even from my parents – until I can think by myself and found that it was wrong. I even had to reeducate my (Malay) wife on it when we got married. Damn! What is wrong with us? Never listened to late MJ’s songs or something?
    I’ve been thinking about this for so long but thought maybe our leaders have a good reason to put the education in such a way. Then I discussed this with my former Chinese boss and surprisingly he had the same opinion. So something must be wrong here. One Malaysia needs One School. Period. The other respective languages? Well, keep it with every existing school. Language is inspired by God I believe (or you know anyone who invented one?). While Muslim pupils go for Islamic class, non-Muslims can go for language class. Or maybe let them learn those Malaysian ‘sub-languages’ together. That will be fun. I know I would enjoy it. Plus, it will create more jobs. I’ve heard someone said that to know a certain race is to learn their language.
    I wish I can brainwash Malaysians to visualize that they get hated merely being born in a particular race, religion, or skin color – totally sick and unacceptable!
    I wish people can spend a minute to imagine a framed monochrome picture on a wall beside a colored one – which one pleases the eyes more?
    I wish after form 3, all of us with an IQ above 50 should know that biologically, we’re all the same – no point of comparing and differentiating.
    Glad that there are people with the same thought.
    For whoever with the power or knows someone with power, please do something about it.
    For those who disagree, do find yourself a cave or call me to debate.
    Again, salute to our intelligent host.

  15. I agree with you..1 scholl for 1 Malaysia,Mix them together..to make sure we going to be 1 happy family but the problem is all the political party dont agree to have 1 school for our children ,i do not know why, even our ex-PM Tun Mahathir give his opinion about this and he opinion also not been accepted.we all should push our gov to make one school for all our children before its too late.

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