28 February 2010

Awang Goneng commented – I do it my way (part 4)

For Pak Cik’s earlier blog entry, ‘Ha Ha Ha – I do it my way (part 3)’ – the famed Awang Goneng (Kecek-Kecek blog) sent some comments. I have in the past highlighted certain individuals’ comments which deserve to be viewed by visitors to Almanar. So here are the main parts of what Awang Goneng had to say:

I am in total agreement with what has been said here about the teaching of English. If only the politicians would stop messing about with our schools, changing this and that each time a new man arrives at the Ministry, to suit a superior ego's needs. I remember a man saying this about the fate of Bank Islam Malaysia (and he was one of its founders). "I know when an incompetent person has arrived at the bank. He starts to meddle with the branches and things of that sort instead of spending his time with general policies." He was bitter that all that they had achieved had gone to nought. We have every right to be bitter too, our education system, one that worked very well for you and me, is now in shambles. And as you rightly said, we are all put into this great big sausage machine, and some of our young students are made to go through the ridiculous Matrikulasi course, which is not recognised by anyone outside our system, and which is actually eduaction-in-a-hurry for our young kids.

There must be hundreds of good, retired English teachers throughout the length and breadth of our land. Forget the Kiwis and the Kangaroos, call all these people back to work. In London there is a wonderful man (a loyal Malaysian) who has been teaching English successfully for many, many years to people from all over the world, is an expert on English verbs, and who speaks English with the clipped received pronunciation of the Beeb. Has anyone come to him to ask for advice or help? No. I was talking to him once when another Malaysian made this remark. "In Malaysia, my friend, it is not what you're worth that matters. It's how much you're worth to anyone in backhanders that counts." I once saw a group of Malaysian officers here in London on a course at an idiotic college that I wouldn't even send my cat to for a feed. And I wondered who sent them all there? And how much was that worth in kickbacks to some idiot?

Pak Cik' s comments :

I am not at all surprised if the majority of Malaysians share the above sentiment, not just the two TRENGGANU (watch the out-dated spelling) folks like Awang Goneng and Pak Cik. We may spell Cina or China, Kota Baharu or Kota bahru or Kota Bharu, technology, teknologi or teknoloji, i’lan or iklan, and what else, but the real values are not in the clothing and the way we pronounce them.

Indeed we have to change. But I do not believe, for instance, in the way Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka has made the changes to modernise Bahasa Melayu ( or Bahasa Malaysia or is it now Bahasa 1Malaysia? Pardon my ignorance.) Look how Pak Cik spell the word ‘modernise’ never mind if a million others choose ‘modernize’.

It is sad in more than one way that many of us, old timers, look with disdain at the quantum leaps in our education. Even the mind-boggling names of educational institutions in the country are too much for an old block to comprehend the difference. Here are some school categories I often hear:

Sekolah rendah (kebangsaan?)
Sekolah menengah (kebangsaan?)
Sekolah menengah agama ( or is it ugama?) negeri
Sekolah menengah- ditto – persekutuan.
SBP ( Sekolah Berasrama Penuh?)
SBT ( the latest 20 I believe)
MRSM-imtiaz ( because it has a new chairman?)
Sekolah bestari
Sekolah integrasi
Sekolah elit
Sekolah wawasan
Sekolah kelaster ( klaster or cluster?)
…… and so on

The list does not include ‘Sekolah Teknik’ group which now is about to undergo drastic changes in names and contents as quoted in the local papers last week.

I have known of the ‘loyal Malaysian’ quoted by Awang Goneng, and I have been his silent admirer. Awang Goneng is in a better position to confirm whether the man does claim himself to be a Malaysian or a Malayan. When interviewed in KL during a visit home some years ago he expressed his views on learning of English by Malaysians. I can never forget one statement he made that, from his observation, of the three main races in Malaysia, Malay children would find it most difficult to study English. Indian pupils have a definite edge. After some years of running Almanar, I realise how difficult it is for kampong Malays to express in English, as an example, a string of adjectives which precede a noun. Sepasang baju Melayu bewarna biru - a pair dress Malay with colour blue!

To help overcoming some of these difficulties Almanar pupils have to do lots of exercises involving translation work from Malay. This is my way.

Additionally, if I were allowed to dream, I would think very hard about that very person in London who had successfully run for years and years a school for English study in the very heart of England. The man has to be back and work in Malaysia, full stop. To achieve that I would blackmail him with a ‘Tan Sri’ and lots and lots of money to design and run a special school for English language without any interference. To lend credence to his work, as is our general perception and practice in Malaysia, he would be honoured by a local university of ‘taraf antarabangsa’, of course, with a PhD and Professorship so that when addressed in public he will always be referred to as ‘ …. Tan Sri Datuk Prof Dr …..’. All those in the ministry of education and the respective politicians involved, in particular, will have to earn a certificate from his new school before they are allowed to mess up their jobs in upgrading the standard of English in Malaysian schools to the ‘British’ English. This, to my simple and uneducated way of thinking, will be more cost effective than importing 365 English teachers, who probably would have to work in super air-conditioned rooms at the temperature of English winter plus six months of general acclimatisation and adjustments to enable them to usefully participate in the celebrations of Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Thaipusam, Gawai, Harvest and so forth – the 1Malaysia. And this would be my way.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Anonymous said...

Spot on Babah & Awang Goneng!!! Totally agree with the sorry state of our education system.

Oh yes, I love the typical English ( or is it British?)sarcasm in this entry too.


Wan Nordin Wan Hussin said...

I pray that your excellent suggestions are acted upon with haste. As for higher education in Malaysia, I'm pleased to see that our Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) has done serious work to attain quality teaching and learning in HE.

ARZ said...

Semua kerugian dalam pertukaran - polisi demi polisi. Yang paling rugi kita!!

Al-Manar said...

Let us enjoy harmless sarcasm now and then for a change.

Al-Manar said...

As long as we continue to have professionals and dedicated individuals like your dad, and more, there is yet some glimer of hope that we may see an all round change for the better.

Al-Manar said...

Memang betul.
Mereka yang berkenaan sepatutnya diwajibkan BERBASIKAL melawat sekolah sekolah dipendalaman. Jangan lah bergaya dengan 'derebar' dan disambut meriah oleh Guru Besar dan Pengetua yang menunggu dengan harapan kenaikkan pangkat disekolah Elit, Bestari dan sebagainya sahaja.