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Robert Raymer’s thoughts on teaching of Science and Maths in BM/English

Long, long time ago, when Robert Raymer was working in some office in Jalan Bawasah (the road behind FIMA?) and I was working in Jalan Larut, I used to bump into him during lunch hours. He wrote for The Star and also wrote a book, title of which I can’t recall now.

I lurveeeee his stories because it is so ‘local’. He is a mat salleh, obviously…..married to a Malay. So, he can describe our local scenes like he is a Penangite. There was once, I bought his book and wanted his autograph. I cornered him and asked him to sign for me. Now, it seems funny why I bother because I cannot even remember the title of the book and his face is just blurry blondish mat salleh, fairly good looking image.

He wrote something about the teaching of Science and Maths in English/BM. He said :

My son started Form 1 at Penang Free School that very year and he had a lot to say about that matter. He and his classmates were frustrated because when they asked questions in English to clarify what the math teacher was telling them, the teacher kept brushing their questions aside because his English was so poor.

The teacher probably didn’t even understand the questions let alone how to answer them. Basically, he lacked the necessary language skills in English that is required to teach a complex subject like math (and science for that matter.)

I think my son and his classmates can related to these frustrations. My #2 son also entered Form One, switching from BM to English. He has no problems at all because he watched a lot of those boring documentaries and we speak English with the kids when they were young.

If I allow him, he would tell the world how funny and crappy their teachers are. How some cannot even pronounce ‘one’ properly. And these are not just Malay teachers but Chinese teachers who speak broken English and good Mandarin. But of course, I told him Bro. Paul is not in SXI anymore and if he kena, I also kena and have no one to cover our arses. So, son, you shaddap, ok?

So, it looks like we are doomed. Let’s change government and try our luck and see if there are smarter politicians in the Pakatan Rakyat midst?

Full article by Robert Raymer on The Borneo Post




5 Responses to “Robert Raymer’s thoughts on teaching of Science and Maths in BM/English”

  1. Yes I remember Robert Raymer. His book is entitled ‘ Lovers and Strangers’.Good read. Last I saw him was at ‘Little Penang’ where I bought a book of short stories by various local authors from him.

  2. momo – Ya!!!! That’s the one! I have it somewhere, love how he described the scenes in the Bayan Baru market, the taxi ride, and those little nuances that we feel but never express.

  3. Lilian, do you know that 90% Chinese in China, Macau & Taiwan didn’t know what AH1N1 means… they might cofuse which one is correct AN1H1 or A1H2N3. When is the last trip you have to China?? Overthere ppl will only understand when sombody talk about “Swine Flu” even in thier News. Pity Old Man Rais Yatim bcoz he really old and the China Government have make a big mistake to follow what he already fail to implement here…?

  4. IMHO, I bet e-Otak cannot read mandarin, and he never access to world news other than the mainstream media.
    Those place e-otak mentioned are not as “ulu” as E-otak try to stereotype. Duh, those place are MORE Globalise than people like E-otak can imagine.

    moo_t´s last blog post..Another economy crisis will erupt from China soon

  5. Hi Lilian,
    That was a long time ago, 1993-1995! I now live in Kuching!
    The book back then was Lovers and Strangers. Now it’s out by MPH, Lovers and Strangers Revisited, nominated for the Popular-The Star Reader’s Choice Awards 2009 (today is last day of voting, 15 July, but the book is 20% off at Popular through August, or until they run out of stock!) These are all my stories set in Malaysia. The book that MOMO might be referring to is 25 Malaysian Short Stories, Best of Silverfish New Writing 2001-2005, stories by different Malaysian writers, with one of my stories included.

    Thanks for mention about my article. All the best!