10:57 AM

Read..Read..& Read..

Today, I've found an interesting article on the net..
And I think I would like to share with all the readers..
Especially to all My Lovely Cohort 5 friends.. :)

The title of the article is Hope yet to improve English

It seems like a huge task to restore Malaysians' standard of English but it can be done if we put our hearts to it.

IN November 1996, a Saudi Arabian Airlines 747 jet collided with an Air Kazakhstan cargo plane near New Delhi, killing 349 crew and passengers.

Investigations later revealed that the accident was partly caused by the Kazakh pilots' insufficient fluency in English in understanding the instructions given by air traffic controllers.

Today, the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation require all pilots to be fluent in English.

English is not just the lingua franca of civil aviation. In this Internet age, it is also the lingua franca of the web.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Malaysians were credited for having a supreme command of the English language in the region.

Then, we had no lack of personalities like R. Ramani, a former Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations and president of the Malaysian Bar.

His impeccable command of English, both written and spoken, often impressed the world body and made our nation shine on the international stage.

I attended an English primary school in Yong Peng. In the 1970s, it was still a rural village.

Entering Form Four, if one chose to study in the Science stream, it was as good as studying in an English school because General Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, General Science, Pure Science, Chemistry, Physics and Biology were taught in English.

For those who chose the Arts stream, subjects like History and Geography were taught in Bahasa Malaysia.

As my parents were illiterate, learning English, particularly understanding the English grammar, was a great struggle.

The problem was compounded because my classmates, particularly those from Chinese primary schools, preferred to speak Mandarin.

Consequently, we would first think in Chinese before forming our sentences in English, resulting in many of us speaking and writing broken English.

This explains the origins of “where got?”, “some more who?”, “some more what?” “you go where?” and “you eat already?”.

Looking back, I understand now the frustration of some English teachers who, at times, had to resort to using a little bit of Hokkien or Mandarin when explaining the English grammar and vocabulary.

I am, therefore, not surprised if teachers in rural areas today have to resort to use, perhaps extensively, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia when explaining English grammar and vocabulary.

During my secondary school days, the main challenge came whenever there was an inter-school meet at district or state level.

I observed many of my schoolmates would feel inferior and inadequate when mixing with students from better schools due to the poor command of English.

As the head prefect, the duty fell upon me whenever a school representative was asked to address the occasion.

I guess being laughed at and ridiculed was the best learning method because after suffering from the embarrassment, one would not possibly repeat the mistakes.

At this juncture, I must pay tribute to three of my English teachers Yap Teong Hoon, Rose Anne Easaw and Lau Yen Fung whose passion for teaching had given hope to a rural student like me to build a strong command of English.

In those days, it took me at least five hours to finish an English newspaper because of my poor vocabulary.

I then started having a little book, jotting down all the new words I had learnt and used it whenever an occasion arose.

Two books were of great help to me Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis and Common Mistakes In English by T.J. Fitikides.

Joining the English Youth Fellowship of the St Stephen's Church in Yong Peng as well as the singing of hymns and studying the Bible with English-speaking adults also helped immensely.

It can be quite distressing at times to notice that even some senior lawyers are not able to differentiate between simple pairs of words, such as borrow and lend, come and go, principle and principal, and dependent and dependant.

But nothing can be more stressful than to see lawyers incapable of grasping basic grammar concepts.

A few years back, I was shocked to discover law examination questions set by a local university containing many grammatical mistakes.

I must add that grammatical mistakes committed in legal documents can have serious implications. Take for example, the Freedom of Information (State of Selangor) Enactment which was published in the Government Gazette on July 2, 2010.

Clause 7(1) states: “Every department shall response to the application ”. The grammatical mistake is obviously the word “response” which is a noun.

In this case, the proper word is “respond”. It follows, if the enactment had been passed by the Selangor State Assembly without any amendment, this mistake can only later be corrected by way of an amended enactment.

It is pivotal that our education system must not be allowed to progress at the pace of the slowest learners if we want to achieve excellence.

It is illogical to say that we must revert to teaching Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia in all schools because students in rural areas are not able to cope with it or compete with those in urban areas.

If we do that, we are only perpetuating mediocrity and not moving towards excellence for students to have a chance to become world-renowned doctors, scientists, engineers and lawyers.

While it appears to be a gargantuan task to restore Malaysians' standard of English to the glorious days of the 1960s and 1970s, we must not lose hope.

The elixir to the problem is simple just let our hearts and minds follow the old true saying, where there is a will, there is a way!

Source: The Star Online

2 comments:

Oh Nanan said...

kalo la aku serajin die, mst aku dah pndai skang. hee. nice article oney. thanks for sharing! :)

MohdIzwan said...

nanan: ala..ko pn rjn gk sbnr nya..mgkn la x serajin die..tp rjn la jgk kn..hehe..
Welcome..