Saturday, 22 August 2009

So you wonder why they stare at you.

Tonight it's 8 rakaat Tarawih and 1 rakaat Witir like yesterday. At least that's usual. This is not a usual post. Something just crossed my mind and I would be God-damned if I don't voice it.

To those of you who found peace here in Germany, primarily, or any where else in the world, sufficient enough to make you prefer a foreign land to your own country, let me remind you that it's plastic. Why am I bringing this up. Well, first of all, I know quite a number of Malaysians who whole-heartedly embrace the above idea, whether by way of being blind to reality or by way of denying it. Secondly, I ran pass some self-righteous Germans on the way back, complaining aloud about how I use the wrong side of the road (upstream). I don't blame them. Maybe they've just experienced something bad, maybe they were shocked. In fact, I apologized. Thirdly, when I got into my room, I saw the Malaysian flag on my table, what I usually, idly see, but this time with some sense to it. So I thought: This is the flag that would shelter you when you need shelter the most, when others of different origin deny you from any form of allegiances. This is the flag that represents constitutions that protect you unconditionally, constitutions uphold by those who affiliate to you. The flag that you could count on, even if it couldn't count on a majority of its own people. I am of course seeing it in a collective manner.

So why are we whining all the time? Why do we point fingers? Is it not due to our own incompetency that we have to look to other nations out there to point us to the right direction? Is it not our own tendency to hate our own kind or take advantage of them that lead us to associating ourselves with our enemies or blatantly speaking; the invading forces of the whites? So I am being racist. But you know what? I couldn't help it after going through several bitterly experiences of racism here. So those racists bastards think that somehow we are of something lesser. How can that be when we know more than them!? How can that be when we earn more than them!?

Sadly, collectively, that's just a dream now. Malaysians who never thought of this or like this think they don't have to answer to future generations. At least when they decide to be idle. That's why their lives are too damn simple.

I am not like them, and I would be God-damned if one day I become one of them. I need to know more and earn more than those self-righteous white supremacist bastards. God send them all to hell. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

PPSMI, from the oven.

The abrupt decision.

Even if they did validate the conclusion they came up with, that throughout their unethical experiment on Malaysian students, the mastery of English language as well as science and mathematics did not improve, there are still 'voids to be filled'.

It is almost like an underestimation of the importance and significance of the educational system, how they suddenly decided to revert back to Bahasa, for Science and Mathematics. Before we get to the comparison between English and Bahasa as languages, let us first look at the nature of this decision.

'Pedagogy is central in any debate about posing threats to educational freedom', (Michael Berube, 2006).

The first thing I thought of after reading that excerpt is that the need to revert to using Bahasa for Science and Mathematics is an immediate product of the incompetence of government study groups that came up with the 'English for Science and Mathematics' plan, a priori, if not a mere political stunt or an act of appealing to the anti-PPSMI folks. In any of the three cases, they would base their conclusion on reasons with regard to the competitiveness of Bahasa while failing to address the negative effects of this abrupt decision on educational freedom, generally, and how through this, the key components of the educational system (the teachers and the students) would be seriously affected.

More on the nature of the decision: strategy and tactics.

Most of the problems faced by huge organizations, governments included, are not caused by insufficiency of good ideas or ill-nature of plans. It is in fact because they have different individuals doing different things at a time, and unfortunately in this case, humans really love to have their own thoughts be heard and implemented.

So we have the plan-makers, the minorities in this chain. PPSMI is a brainchild of this group and yes, like many other strategies of theirs, there's nothing impossible about this one. The problem starts when they pass the baton to the next group, the majorities, those in charge of implementing it through tactics. And like a contagious disease, it spreads like crazy down the line.

It is natural to be repellent to new ideas especially if it requires extra efforts. But to proceed, we need to force our way through and that's just how the world works.

So it's the tactics we should blame, not the strategies. Don't cancel the plan by reverting to Bahasa. Improve the tactics and implementations, because PPSMI is an enterprise. And like many other enterprises, there's a sense of good liberalism and pluralism here and that is what we, Malaysians, need in order to secure freedom of education for generations to come. And I don't need to explain about the importance of freedom of education here, as we all could see the degree of acceptance and resistance Malaysians showed in the past several days after Dato' Seri Muhyiddin's announcement.

Why the argument of the Opposition is invalid.

We don't instill sense about the importance of Bahasa into younger generations by having them learn Science and Mathematics primarily in Bahasa only to put them in a difficult position of having to coup up with Science and Mathematics in English at higher level, later on.

If I were to say that the true appreciation of Bahasa as a National Language lies in the correct usage of it at times when we need to use it and the denunciation of pidgin languages as a preferable medium to unite Malaysians or even having thought of that idea, people would call me a language purist as if the title 'language purist' is a slur itself.

Making the students learn science and mathematics in English is not a weapon to fight this multiple fronts battle of glorifying Bahasa, how A. Samad Said potentially thought of it when he decided to join the picket in Kuala Lumpur, when the students can experience for themselves how ridiculously numerous, the changes Dewan Bahasa make to Tatabahasa from time to time, how the leaders proudly practice 'Bahasa Rojak' (sometimes, due to weak mastery of Bahasa or even English), how they proudly respond with English when asked in Bahasa during press conferences, when the youngsters can experience Chinese, Indians or Malays preferring to use English or their native languages over Bahasa.

Let us unite in assuming these obligations as responsible adults and not burden our children.

Politicizing education and the good old bandwagon.

In some articles explaining Malaysians' social behaviors which I wrote in my blog, I always included the term 'bandwagon mentality'. It's a necessary variation of 'bandwagon fallacy' or 'argumentum ad populum', that explains why people are inclined towards sharing the idea of the majority. Unlike 'bandwagon fallacy' which is relatively easy to detect, 'bandwagon mentality' is a silent but effective killer of a sound society.

The increased severity of this symptom is prevalent in Malaysian culture because most of our politicians tend to politicize social issues for their own gain or popularity. A good example is the pressure exerted by Opposition leaders onto the government in regard to PPSMI.

Some other examples are government policies that tend to narrow the choices available to the people, nearly causing descent into acceptance, although recent progress shows an astounding improvement.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Why Malaysians should not complain.

The culture of 'us' and 'them' with regard to the government and the people has become increasingly popular in Malaysia, up to a point that it is being adopted by the younger generation as a trend. If examined, one could not possibly find a clear distinction between rioters hoping for a better Malaysia and rioters who just couldn't resist watching a riot without participating.

So here are the possible cases:

(1) Because the people (majority) are incapable of consuming the notions related to greater goods, or at least let it flourish without perverting it, due to the insufficiency of education, a path they took, a reputation they assume (assuming education of good quality was initially open to all). This can be seen by the regards they have for smaller but collectively considerable issues.

1)Public sanitation.
If Malaysians in general still couldn't comprehend the simplest thought of putting garbage in its designated can or not throw garbage while on the highway;

If Malaysians still choose to prioritize picketing political issues over issues concerning humanity like poverty widespread and the growing concern of deteriorating education quality in the suburbans (these later issues are merely political tools attended to, only during campaigns);

3) Behavior.
If Malaysians still condone violence and intolerance be it on the road, among households, or to foreigners; workers or tourists;

etc., or in general, insist to continue having and practicing (>3) world mentality, how could the government expect them to make sound decisions, without any influence by the 'preying hands' that feed them with lies.

Due to the attributes of the people and the hardship government put up to contain the consequences over the years, the government has become autocratic or semi-autocratic, in which case, its the people's fault.

The second case is the simplest: After years of being in power, the government eventually became corrupted from the inside, and by natural restoration, they will be replaced.

This fairytale case doesn't require further elaborations. It is a dream come true for both conspirators and fanatics (with mala fide intentions or just plain irrationality). Although it is obviously of much lesser credential, there's a chance that it might be true.

But people tend to go for the 'shortcuts'.

This is an example of the famous causality dilemma of 'chicken or the egg'. We, Malaysians, are infatuated by the drawing of 'Tacuina Sanitatis'. We shall take the 'contents' for granted until we come to realize that this dilemma is altogether, futile!

Drop the ball, start to work our visions.

The sweat from substantial works and progress towards development is the true bread for future generation.