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But why Dong Jiao Zong wants to demo? (malaysiakini on English)

I just cannot figure this out. Re the malaysiakini report. Previously, I know some of the Malay parents want the Education Minister to revert back to teaching Science and Maths in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English. Now, the Chinese group Dong Jiao Zong, said to be an influential education group, wants to hold a massive street protest if the government continues with its policy of teaching Science and Maths in English.

This makes me very confused. I am a product of teaching every single subject in Bahasa Malaysia. I was the first batch of students who had to study them in Bahasa Malaysia and Matematik Tambahan, Fizik, Kimia dan Biologi. They had all those funny funny terms. They Bahasafied the English terms, making us even more cuntfused. So, as a result, my Bahasa Malaysia is good but my English is only so-so. I am the few lucky ones who did not do too badly with my English subject because my father provided my siblings and I a whole library of books as we were growing up. However, all my Cina friends all sipiking Inglit with a Chinese slang and their English sucks.

So, when the Education Minister finally introduced back English in Science and Mathematics to my children, I was ecstatic because they have better command of English. My eldest son only started studying Science and Maths in English when he was in Form Three. My second son entered Form One and my #3 son entered Standard One with English in Science and Maths.

I had been keeping my fingers crossed that when my youngest boy entered Standard One in 2010, he will also study these two subjects in English. And I can now be pretty sure he will ‘coz it will take a few years before they can implement any changes.

Now, my argument – I don’t see why both the races, Chinese and Malays should be jittery about their cultures, roots or their kids’ performances. Our children can absorb any languages if we are positive about it. Why do these Chinese group want their kids to study the subjects in Mandarin and ended up with lousy English? Think of the long term gain where our kids can confidently speak English and not pee in their pants when confronted with people who speak English. Admit that many of our Chinese young working adults cannot speak well or even write well enough if they attended a Chinese school all their lives.

One old Chinese sinseh once perli me because I cannot even write my own son’s name in Mandarin. He went on and on about how important China is to the world economy and how vast the business opportunities are. He said every Chinese must be able to speak and write Mandarin or else people will laugh at us. I was like WTF lah, China doesn’t have enough of their own Chinamen to fill up those places meh, somemore want to take us meh? Tiu, so much for Bangsa Malaysia.

In conclusion, I think everyone of us, Malaysian Chinese, Malay, Indian, dll can benefit if we stop feeling so jittery about our original roots. Do what is best for our kids. That they study these two subjects in English and be competitive in the world rather than being shackled by these so called patriotism to their mother-tongue. Dah ma de.

And to this Ong Chiow Chuen, please be realistic lah. How is the Education Ministry going to switch back within such a short time? You think playing masak-masak meh? La la li la tam pong kah? Must train the teachers, get the books printed, prepare the teaching materials etc etc.

On Monday, Jiao Zong president Ong Chiow Chuen told Malaysiakini that the education group wants the mother-tongue language to be used in the teaching of Science and Maths in all vernacular primary schools starting from next year.

Failing which, he said, DJZ will join forces with other vernacular education groups and Chinese associations to initiate a massive nationwide protest.

Wang pa tan. Why am I so ranty wor. But hor, if we adults start being so negative about the English subjects, how are our children going to embrace the language?

You read the full news on Malaysiakini. Wong Chun Wai’s thoughts here.




24 Responses to “But why Dong Jiao Zong wants to demo? (malaysiakini on English)”

  1. I guessed, without Mandarin as main language in teaching, DJZ has nothing to talk about.

    Graduated from vernacular school myself, i would still prefer all the subjects to be taught in English, and leave Mandarin itself as an optional linguistic subject and of course, Malay as a compulsory subject.

    The funny thing bout all these opposition of using English in school, they will still choose to live in Malaysia if given options to choose between MY or CH.

    Hypocrites…

  2. Lays – Yalor, it just doesn’t make sense at all why they demanded the change and threaten demo. Have they been lobbying for it since it was first implemented? Do they have any statistic to prove that there is a drastic drop in the results? Do they do any survey on how the children’s English have improved as well? I don’t think I have heard of them before this. So, yeah, just an attention drawing drama, I guess.

  3. Though I was from government schools, I do find that those who came from chinese primary schools generally fared better in mathematics and science compared to those from government schools when I mixed with them in secondary schools.

    What I am given to understand is that the Mandarin language can be mastered such that mathematics can be learnt in a much simpler, effective and faster form compared to English or even Bahasa. You will have to ask those who were trained in Maths and Science using the Mandarin language (and subsequently learned using Bahasa or English) to tell you why Mandarin is the preferred choice and hence, the passion of these educationists.

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  4. pablo – I still remember my young nephew and nieces memorising the multiply table – er er si, er san liuk, er si pak. Meanwhile, dua darab dua empat seems like a longer path to remember hor?

  5. I think being patriotic and true to our roots aside, the realistic and practical aspects of acedemic and corporate worlds still make sense for the subjects to be taught in English. Let’s face it, like it or not, the main core of knowledge are written in English. Majority of the global economy and corporate world are communicated in English.

    Our era of students had to study the scientific and mathematical terms in translated Bahasa. Then, for those further their studies in overseas, they had to readjust the learnt terms to switch back to English medium.

    For those in local uni pulak had to attend lectures in Bahasa and go read/do research from books written in English (as most of the books in the library are in English), and then come back to do assignments and sit for exams in Bahasa. Walaui, LPPL!

    Why can’t we be like our parents/grandparents decades ago, study everything in English and leave the Bahasa Kebangsaan and mother tongue as a subject by itself.

  6. I’ll keep my finger cross that my nephew will be able to study these subjects and language suit them most…

    These 2 subjects are extremely important in shaping the children’s future interests and future results academically…

    If the children are to use the language they are totally unfamiliar to deal with these subjects, it will just further shut off the children’s interest to learn…

    These 2 subjects are very important components in the 12/13 years of lower education, and even another 4 years in tertiary education… If the children lost their interest due to that language barrier in the very beginning, I can’t foresee how my cousins continue to survive in studying in school…

    No, I would keep my finger cross so that my newphew will get to learn these subjects in their own language (only)… until his late secondary school… I went through such system, I know it works…

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  7. I can imagine the ketuanan guys rubbing their hands with glee. This is like walking into their trap.

  8. I’ve been studying my primary & secondary education in Chinese schools, and yea, if I didn’t work it out myself, I would probably get stuck speaking in English, and even write it out.

    I strongly agree that the subjects to be taught in English as it provides a better understandings of the terms & concepts so that they won’t find it so difficult in the tertiary level.

    Those who ask for the subjects to be taught in their mother language is either fame-seeking dudes, or short-sighted people who couldn’t think far ahead.

    CLF´s last blog post..Not So Free Lately

  9. i think, the government mmg takde kerja already you know. either that, they are too fickle to figure out what they actually want. i mean, come on la. it was first in english medium back in those days, then, BM medium (this is where i come in. but lucky for me, when i was in high school in KTJ, regardless of what the gov implemented, we were taught in english medium), then english medium again. and now, to make matters worse (i.e. confuse the young minds), they want to bring it back to BM medium.

    haiyaaa…. susah2 for what?

    i agree that patriotism and whatnots aside, english is very important. yes, at the same time, we musn’t forget our roots la. takkan nak speaking with an accent when all your life you have been living in malaysia, eh? but that does not mean that we should become the english-not-speakables either.

    as aunty chan said, kids absorbed language like spongebob absorbs water. i am a medical student and according to the last posting i did in the paediatrics ward, i know for sure that their developmental milestones meant that their brains are programmed to take in anything new, no matter what.

    so, why want to shy shy cat if kenot write or read in chinese? nothing to it la. the malays also ada yang kenot write or read jawi, so what? as long as you tak lupa daratan, that should be kool, eh?

    the important thing is, education must be given at its best.

  10. Dear Readers,
    I strongly agree with Prof. Khoo. He is right. What do the Chinese and Indians want is more important then what the Chinese/Indians politicians and educationists of the ‘perkauman’ demand. Enough is enough. Please you politicians, go champion environmental issues, at least it will save innocent lives whether they are Chinese Malay or Indians. You guys saw the names of the recent victims of Highland Towers. It was all there, the victims were one Indian, One Chinese and one Malay. Does death pick a certain race. NO. NO.
    After 50 years, what has the country achieved in terms of socialism. Zero. The politicians as usual are still barking race relations, social contract ( wonder what its all about ) and its getting louder. yOU KNOW WHY ? iTS JUST THAT THEY THE POLITICIANS WANT TO REMAIN RELEVENT IN THE RACE. COME TOGETHER. KICK OUT THE RACISLIST. Won’t be surprised some UMNO guy is instigating the old folks from DONG Zhia Zong to take to the street with some hidden ajenda. Don’t trust politicians.
    Back to the point. Malaysians that is if the Chinese and Indians and other minorities are sincere to say and proud to call themselves as MALAYSIANS, then they should stick to one path ie towards OBAMAMANIA. Don’t you guys want to be a Prime
    Minister Of Malaysia someday. Just get the relevant subjects from the minorities school curiculumn that is relevant and teach it in ONE school, ie the national type for every Malaysians. Baru lah lahir anak MALAYSIA. NO MORE RACE POLARIZATION.

  11. Iniatially, I wanted to leave a comment here on this issue. But as I typed, it got stretched so long that I think I might as well put it in my blog. From a Science student point of view, this is definitely a No!

    p/s: I think you wouldn’t want a comment which is more than half a thousand words long, right?

    aD´s last blog post..Science and Maths in Mandarin?

  12. I like to see how many people go out to protest….

  13. I support Dr Azly Rahman idea in his blog that suggest to have vernacular education for ALL the races, so they learn the basic knowledge in their mother tongue languages than spending TOO MUCH time understanding other language.

    Bare in mind that NOT ALL bumiputra use Bahasa Melayu as their mother tongue language. Don’t forget, many East Malaysian inland people doesn’t speak English. And tell me, what good about a Penan spend 10x more effort learning English when their live RARELY deal with English?

    Yes, it is a “burden” to the education system, but it also show LAZINESS of education department. Don’t forget, our education department are one of the department susceptible to corruption and wastage.

    For the “competitive part”, it is pretty common sense (that doesn’t come common) to conduct more class in English than force English in technical subject, furthermore, many teachers also confuse about tricky “test subject” term.

    I always think education is a subject of science and art. But looking the way the education department pushing the teaching English in science and math, they make education a subject of fantasy.

    moo_t´s last blog post..Ground Zero or party ground?

  14. Dong Jiao Zong actually fight because teaching maths and science in English will taint the features of Chinese primary schools. Remember what is ?? (hua xiao)? The subjects are to be taught in Chinese (except language subjects)! Never will they want to see the Chinese language is the only subject taught in Chinese. Furthermore, the Resolution 2-4-3 (2-4-3 ??) has put unnecessary burdens on the schools academically and administratively. In reality, the schools are facing difficulty in getting enough teachers to teach with Resolution 2-4-3 is implemented. China is an emerging economy with vast opportunities, so knowledge of Chinese is necessary. Having watched the recent Beijing Olympic games, China is telling the world she is an emerging economic power.

    The Tamil schools lagi cham. Teaching of their maths and science is Tamil is completely eradicated and replaced with English.

    Will the government consider reviving English primary schools? Still a long way to go.

    I am very pissed when I read about Professor Khoo’s remark. Well, looking at the way he said it (in his words), he may not meant it.

    boon kheng´s last blog post..Lim Guan Eng’s Message on Human Rights Day

  15. Auntie Lilian,

    I think your command of English very good already. From the way you write in your blogs, you are WAY much better than my other friends across the causeway. LOL.

    Well, I grew up with English as first language. That’s the way it has been for a long time in our country and personally, I think it’s good education foresight at our side. I appreciate the chance of learning it when I was very young, because it comes so naturally now.

    But by learning English as first language in all my subjects, it does not mean I forget my mother tongue. I still speak it daily and have a not-too-bad grasp of it. Haha. Although I admit I would rather blog in English than Chinese… LOL

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  16. mom, i ngam ngam read an article posted in MT abt Science & maths 1, i hope u know which 1 lar

    dunno y hor, gwei lou juz cant compete with asian in maths lor.

    annie way, i rasa kan bagus kalao technical subject dapat belajar dlm bahasa yg orang sindiri suka, macam undang undang, abang i memang pandai memandu, tapi tak pass sebab ujian dlm BM, berapa kali dah dia try, akhirnya dia kena uji oleh pegawai cina, bagus hati diorang bagi ujian dlm cina, guess wat, abang dapat 100%

    imho, on technical subject, language is juz a medium lor

  17. i think u r not fair this time…

    if really want to improve English, increase the teaching hours in English subject would b more effective rite?

    if u can read Chinese, then u will understand y we strongly agree to revert back to teaching Science and Maths in Chinese …in the chinese primary school

    if parents don’t like Chinese, just don’t send the kids to chinese school lor

  18. Here’s my 2 cents worth. I dunno Chinese and attended an English medium school many years ago. Don’t agree with much of the views of the DJZ but I think they have a point. We sent our two kids to a kebangsaan school (in the mid 90’s), the main reason being if we’d sent them to Chinese school we would not be able to help them in their homework, etc. My neigbour did the same thing & sent his eldest child to the same school. Needless to say, most of the teachers were hopeless and plain lazy. I bet he was horrified of what he saw and subsequently sent his other 3 kids to a Chinese school despite he & the wife not understanding more than a few words of mandarin.
    I guess the fear is if English were to be continued to be used to teach science and maths, slowly in time to come some of these teachers in the kebangsaan school (who may not know Chinese but profess to speak Ingerlish) will migrate to the Chinese schools and bring the rot eventually to all the Chinese vernacular schools. And with hop step and jump will end up as senior assistants, or guru besars ? That will be the end of what’s good in the Chinese schools. I bet the school my kids went to had gotten worse since then.

  19. as of now, my bahasa, ingglit n cinese are all ‘puah tang chui’ (half filled bucket)!!
    know wat i mean?

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  20. The notion that China will dominate the world in the immediate future is a false hope harbored by those Malaysian Chinese who hope to capitalize on the advent of the Chinese Century.

    I wonder how many silly Chinese parents sent their children to Chinese vernacular schools on the wager that China will win the coveted Tai Kor status from the Yankees, whereby proficiency in Chinese will bestow super advantage on their offsprings.

    My analysis is that China will end up a mere unofficial state of the USA….its sweatshop. Japan was touted to overtake the Americans in the 80s such that poor TDM looked East and became a disciple. Did it happen, the Japanese taking over the world economy?

    Many months back before the financial turmoil erupted with Wall Street itself the epicenter, many economists talked about China, India and the Asia-Pacific countries decoupling from the US economically. This is proven to be completely false right before our eyes now.

    The simple test of decoupling is if trade between the US and any country is halted, will that country suffer economically? Will other country replace the American market? Apparently all roads ( mercahandise ) still heads towards the USA.

    Therefore, despite the great strides that China had made, it is still a Johnny come lately. Walk in space, what’s the big deal? The Americans and others did that decades ago.

    I am not trying to put China down. She deserves to be one of the best. What I am trying to say is reality is undeniable and should be our guide instead of fantasy which clouds our judgment. English is more important than the Chinese language and we need not be sore about it.

  21. i think we should study 10 languages and make them all compulsory !!!

  22. ppl never learn…

    look at singapore… claimed to be controlled by chinese with mandarin as their national language… but their street signs and everything is in english.

    zewt´s last blog post..Losing my vigilnity

  23. Back from a busy period…

    Yes, that’s one of the things I wanted to emphasise. There is something about the mandarin language which helps the young ones to learn Maths and Science a little bit easier and faster. DFZ is only asking that these two subjects revert back to Mandarin at the primary school level.

    As far as I know, my classmates who were from the Chinese primary schools (and my wife too) had no difficulty adapting to the change to learning Maths and Science in Bahasa during my school days.

    If we really want to integrate, then close all vernacular schools and go back to English medium. Then each student can student their own language during their people’s-own-language class. Get rid of all schools, colleges and universities which are race-based. Then we can dream Obama style.

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  24. It’s the debate on teaching of both subjects in mother tongue again. Really can’t understand why must we insist on teaching them in mandarin? How many of us are going to send the kidsto Chinese medium universities? I was so happy when the govt announced the teaching of math and science in english, at least there are plenty of resources in english available. It is time to change the mindset of if you’re a chinese then u must go to a chinese school. I went to Convent school and I can speak and read chinese too. Why torture the kids by putting them in chinese school and they have got loads of homework to do? I would rather my kids spend the time learning more things than attending extra classes everyday.I intend to put my kids in kebangsaan school so that i can guide them by myself. How many of these teachers in chinese school can teach the subject properly, i think that some of them may not even be able to pronounce the terms.