Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hati Malaya

This post is a respond to Fiqss's 'on the issue of PPSMI'. She made good points, and I unequivocally agree with her. Now allow me to make my stance on this issue clear.

Apa kecoh-kecoh ni?

1. Isu PPSMI ini sungguh fofular. Kalah Mawi dan Dato' Siti.
I see the PPSMI fuss as not just a matter of language. This issue is far deeper than that. It potrays our mentallity. Our readiness to develop. Our maturity in adapting to changes. And how far we are willing to sacrifise for the advancement of our beloved nation.

2. The reason why we Malaysian are still where we are rather than where we should be is because we always find excuses not to do something instead of stepping up to take the challenge. Stop seeing the negatives, and go all out for the positives! Have you even heard of the word 'optimism'? So now, start listing down the reasons why we need to do this.

Language vs Concept

1. As a person who suffered science stream for five years, I know how hard science subjects can be. But I also know that when it comes to science, its all about grasping the concept, theories and formulas. I was taught in Bahasa Melayu and still finds it hard to digest. You know why? Not because I don't understand the language, but because I couldn't master the concept itself. (Truth is I just wasn't interested).

2. Picture this. Ali is very good in English, he manage to understand Shakespeare's like I understand my stomach's rhythm when its hungry. But Ali has no idea what Bernoulli Principle is or how it works. On the other hand, Abu's English is so-so but all Physics concept are at the back of his hand. Which one of them is a better science student? Abu right? Because he masters the subject.

But then again, which one of them will get a better result? Is it Ali? Because he understands what the question wants. Yes he has no idea of what the teacher was babbling about in class. But thanks to textbooks, Ali applied this magical techniques used by many- 'memorization'. The Ctrl+C, Ctrl+S, Ctrl+P handy style. Read texts, copy and temporarily save it in your mind, and paste it all on the answer sheet.

What about Abu? Will he do well? He loves the subject and can sing all the formulas and theories like you sing Negaraku. Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to understand the requirement of certain question. Some terms sounds so Martian to him. So? Lets Ctrl+F a solution to this.

3.Bottomline, its not about the medium per se, but also the method.

The Lacks of the Lab

1. Dear government, stop treating students like white mice. They are not subjects of experiment. They are assets that need to be developed.

2. The Ministry introduce and change policies like women buy shoes and handbags. Impulsively.

3. Remember EST? Now, what happened to that? EST was regarded as one of the ministry's 'masterpiece' in its effort to improve our education system. After three years of 'experimenting', they abolished the subject. Kudos! How many of our result was 'spoiled'? How much ringgits were spend to send teachers to courses. Textbooks bla bla. My beloved English teacher admitted that she finds EST as something gobbledygook and doesn't even know what she was teaching about.

4. Thing is, they scrubbed off EST and came up with PPSMI. And now they are comtemplating to send PPSMI back to the days went it did not exist. See the problem? They need to shop for patience. Don't jumpstart the kids like cars. Give them time. They need a transition period. Plus, the kids aren't the only one suffering. The teachers are too you know.

5. There is also a problem with the method of assessment used. Our examination system cultivate the 'Ctrl+C' and 'Ctrl+S' culture. Kids We are somehow trained by exams to copy information and save it in our head, leaving critical and creative thinking outside our head.

Jaguh Kampung

1. Now, isu 'kasihan mereka budak-budak kampung'. The fact that the term 'budak-budak kampung' exist is sad for me. I personally believe 'kampung' is just a matter of geography. Kampung Baru? Kampung Pandan? Kau rasa kat mana pulak? Yes those kids are situated in rural areas. Yes they are not as exposed and as proficient in English as the city kids claim to be. BUT they are not any less in mental capacity and capabilities!

2. Dear teachers, why don't we adapt a Human Resource skill called 'potential development'? With proper guidance and extra attention, these kids will shine. I somehow feel that it is an insult to sympathize them. Because you know what? They can do it!

3. Back to 'Language vs Concept'. Its not just the medium, but the method.

The Malay Dilemma

1. Malaysians are better at politicizing than they are good at politics. Because everything seems to be politicized today. The Minister's bedroom affairs, religion, sports, and now education.

2. The sentiment that 'PPSMI kills BM' is to me, just another lame stigma created by some to scare the many. Horror is not just the 'in thing' in the film industry I see.

3. Certain quarters argued that if we teach our kids science and math in English, our mother tongue will be abandoned/kids don't speak proper BM.

i. Chinese and Indian kids who go to Sekolah Kebangsaan learn in Bahasa Melayu. DO they abandon their mother tongue?

ii. Without PPSMI, do kids today speak proper BM like 'Saya sungguh teruja untuk ke sekolah pada hari ini', 'Ibu, terima kasih kerana menyediakan sarapan'. Do we? Do those parliamentarians? Even most politicians today can't speak proper BM. Wait, most of them can't speak. With or without PPSMI, we are no Zaa’ba. So what is the difference?

4. When it comes to educating the youngs, I believe its a matter of 'do or die'. Problem is, some look at this issue as 'di telan mati emak, di luah mati bapak'. Owh really? Is it so? Because I believe there is nothing to lose.

Hilangkah jati diri anda sebagai seorang Melayu hanya kerana anda belajar dalam Bahasa Inggeris? Adakah anda menjadi kurang Melayu apabila anda bertutur dalam Bahasa Inggeris? I personally believe equipping yourself with good command of English does not make you any less Malay. It only makes you a better Malay by having that advantage.

5. Plus, that guy who almost became UMNO Youth Leader who married you-know-who's daughter, wasn't he fully educated in England? He is very much Malay still. All for Malays in fact.

SO, the fear that Bahasa Melayu will soon dissipate and be forgotten is no longer relevant

Pak Cik Einstein kata 'Change is the only valid constant'. Selang satu minit kau tukar status facebook. Hari-hari kau tukar baju. Setiap minggu kau tukar handphone. Now you just have to make a change with a bigger scale. Change your mentality.

Wahai bangsaku, please be more receptive. Challenge 6 of Vision 2020: To form a progressive science community. We will only progress if we are able to keep up with the world. And that is by assimilating its language.

There's no harm injecting some Kiasu spirit -to not lose out in a highly competitive society today. Lets cross SELF PITY like this.

So this is my stance: Saya sokong PPSMI sebab saya sayang bangsa saya. Saya sayang negara saya. Dan saya tahu, Malaysia BOLEH!


fiqss said...

well said myra=)

one thing though,

2. The Ministry introduce and change policies like women buy shoes and handbags. Impulsively.

women buy shoes n handbags every other month/week/day/hour! LOL. bahaya :P


sarah said...

oii terasa i! =P but ya lah girls fall in love with bags n shoes at first sight haha

pencari sejati said...


penerangn yg bez..

ad sokongn n bukan ckp atas angin..

kire nyer.. nie finally la keputusan yg di buat..

menyokong PPSMI..


p/s: g blog komen erk

Anonymous said...

thumbs up..aku sokong!

Fitri Ezwan said...


hehe, frankly, ms. mahirah, you really made a good and valid point here. (as expected from SEMESTI's legacy of excellent debaters)

but, might I, as another humble malaysian citizen who equally (i think) share the love and passion with you to see our nation stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world, voice out my my concern regarding this issue?

it's not a rebuttal, really, to any of your points, nor it is my nawaitu to prove you wrong in any sense.

but before i start, allow me to make myself clear on this very point;

1. i acknowledge the many benefits that one would gain if one master the English language. especially in this very region, in this very country.

however, in the light of PPSMI, I found myself, which is an irony to earlier my statement, riding against the pro-PPSMI current.

the main objective of PPSMI, i believe - and as what the mass media so vividly reported to be - is that so we can produce a 'better' and 'global' malaysian; in the sense of competitiveness, modern, education, stay abreast in the fields of science and technology, research and invention etc.

hence, if we are to rely on this objective and all the benefit that goes along with it, it is not that surprising to see that the one who oppose this movement to be quickly labeled as counter-revolutionary, 'anti-kemajuan', 'kolot' etc...

it is a very 'noble' objective, i must say, even though it made me wonder why such movement and awareness came very late into our politician's clear mind, as in, like after how many years of independence, remind me? =)

but, to achieve that goal by the means of PPSMI , as how i see it, is not really a very good approach.

let me put it diagramatically:

the goal : a fluent English-speaking Malaysian (and then came all the benefits, or so we hoped..)

the object : English language

how are we going to do it: by mastering English through math and science.

Forgive me, but I can't see the rationale in this. I believe, to learn a language effectively, is to learn it as a language, not by any other means. That is to say, learning it through observing its grammar, enriching its vocabulary, enjoying its literature, understanding the culture embedded to it etc.

If we are not still being able to see the current Malaysian students, which the majority of them are -unfortunately- Malays, speaking English as if it is their second nature, and excelling in their maths & sciences courses, then is it really wise to put the blame on the Malay language as the medium in teaching math & sciences, explain to me?

If they can not speak English well, despite their averagely 11 years of formal English education in school, then wouldn't it be more sensible to see what went wrong in our English syllabus? How come they can not still talk the language despite the extensive years of teaching in school? Is it the content of the syllabus? Is it obviously that boring? have we not encourage them enough to speak it?

I believe, if we are really sincere in improving the current dwindling situation, the change must firstly be done in here, not in some other fields.

If the Malaysian students can not still excel in maths & sciences, again, is it the fault of BM? I believe one had nothing to do with the other.

Didn't we sent enough students to the English-speaking countries out there to learn math n sciences? and despite they learning it through English, how come, comparatively speaking, our our nation's technological and engineering advances are still not up to the par? (forgive me, if there is any engineer out there, i just trying to make my point out =)

they have learn it through English, haven't they? Then how come the reverse result did materialize in front of our very eyes? So, would you agree that if we come into a consensus that it is not the fault of the language? It must be something else, say attitude or mentality perhaps?...

Fitri Ezwan said...


Change must happened if we are to see our nation to be as competitive as any of the first world country, i agree. But, change must be done in a true and correct way.

I can't see the change that we are talking about here, ie PPSMI, is going to help us effectively to achieve our common goal.

In short, I believe it is a non-effective & rushed move. And by claiming the language to be the root of all these backwardness and problems, is a diagnosis went fatally wrong.

Hehe, i think i have bore you enough. Thanks for letting me voicing my thoughts here.

I stand to be corrected, Ms. Mahirah. As for now, this is where my 'faith' stand.

p/s: I personally believe that the reasons like 'budak kampung tak boleh belajar', 'hilang jati diri' etc, are not really the arguments that rooted firmly on those people who by their own feet to come to see the ministers and governments to voice out their concern.

Listen to what the academician, professors and sasterawan have to say regarding this issue (the word that really come out of their mouth). It would be interesting to note that it is much a contrary to the popular belief of what were supposed to be their grounds and reasons of their objection.

What was portrayed on the media, well, lets just say that it is how the media wants us to belief.


I might be wrong, though!

anak pak man said...

A reply to fitri ezwan..

yes, i agree with you totally in your views. learning science & math in english isn't going to help students get any better at english. learning ENGLISH will.

like a teacher of mine once said, "Mat bangla had dok sini 6 bulan boleh cakap macam orang Kedah dah, awat yang budak2 kita yang p skolah blajaq English 11 tahun xreti lagi nak cakap satu ayat yang betoi?". It makes me scratch my head as well..

but, I must say that to reverse this PPSMI thing, would be bad. first of all, a whole batch of new text-books will have to be printed. dah berjuta2 dah perabeh kat situ. then, the students will feel victimised, as they will feel like they were being treated like guinea-pigs in an experiment. Banyak lah komplen akan turn up. and a whole lot of other things I'm definitely sure you're capable of thinking up yourself.
PPSMI should be sustained, as it has already been done. but further study in why our students can't be "reasonably good" english speakers/users should be conducted.
i'm sure the answer's already out there, just waiting for them academicians to stumble upon..


M.M. said...

Fiqss: hahaha yeah! thank you :)

Sarr: and so does the ministry. 'hey this plan looks awesome lets marry it!' ;p

Naqib: Thank you :)

Dino: Hopefully this support given wont end us up in disappointment :)

Aini Hasanah said...

Salam, hi putri mahirah. Just blog-hopped and found your blog.. one nicely written post.somehow i think that people should stop viewing this issue only from one angle, and stop politicizing our education system. their angst are not worth the future of these kids really.I seconded all your points especially on the "language vs concept", might be because I've seen those Ali(s) and Abu(s).Wooh.

M.M. said...

Dear brother Fitri Ezwan,

thank you so much for reading a piece of my crappy mind :) and more thank you for sharing your views on this issue :)

you are mostly right (as expected from one of SEMESTI's excellent student) right back at ya! :D you directed my concern to some areas i have not noticed before :)

i think it is fair to say this issue isnt about language per se. its our mentality in whole. and the education system itself.

1. the objective of PPSMI is not to produce fluent English-speaking Malaysian but to nurture a progressive nation who can keep up with the world :) if thats the goal, i'd be opposing it because, hey, saya sayang bahasa saya ;)

2. overseas grad issue: language vs concept. perhaps because they are indeed many alis and abus out there :)

3. why students find english boring/many are still unable to speak proper english despite 11 years of spoon feeding - bacause many dont see the need to learn english. 'bahasa penjajah' the say. and remember back in our beloved alma mater, those who speak english will be teased? :)
(kome cakap omputih deme ejek, tapi deme pinjam/curik omwerk english kome jugak ;p)

i agree with you. the idea is good. but its the object and implementation, perlu diperkemas and dikajisemula. takut takut, lain sakit lain ubat :)

thank you again bro! :)

M.M. said...

Anak Pak Man: thank you for your views :)

Aini: thanks for reading dear :) and yeah, they are indeed many Alis and Abus out there :)

Fitri Ezwan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Azie-Cipul said...

good..well done sis..very critical..hope dlm debte pun leh cm tu gak;)

nazrin said...

yeah aini hasanah dah start berhujah di situ.

thumbs up to the writer*phewitt* :P

ini punya hujah, AI pun malu nak berucap kat sekolah cina kalau macam ni. "kita mahukan menggunakan bahasa ibunda dalam matapelajaran Sains dan English di sekolah2 cina"(somehow macamtu la ayatnya.i wonder kalau dia jadi PM, seronok abang2 publisher buku,esp geng WIBAWA ..Woopss .sorry boo.)


M.M. said...

Thanks Abang Chip! InsyaAllah :)

M.M. said...

wooopss! Saudara Nazrin sudah berbicara, i rest my case lah jawabnya :D

hey hey! seize the day! italians MEMANG hot kot ;p

nevertheless, 454 :)