Thought of the day

I thank whatever gods may be / For my unconquerable soul. / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. ~William Ernest Henley, Invictus

Government's promises are like the Ringgit, they depreciate with time.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Nothing in this world is worth to make you commit suicide, even least for not getting good grades for Bahasa Malaysia

This post was inspired when I read the news of a girl who committed suicide after scolded by her parents for doing badly in BM test from gnap’s blog and comment.

The memory of attending tuition for Bahasa Malaysia during my primary and secondary school days are still vivid in my mind after more than a decade. I still remembered the first day when I went to Cikgu Samin’s house for BM tuition during Standard 5, I was trembling in fear. The first task was to construct sentences based on 10 vocabularies which made me stared blankly at the exercise book, as for a Chong Hwa primary schoolboy back in those days, I did not know what those words meant although they are simple common vocabs. Check dictionary la, some would suggest. Yes, of course that’s the logical thing to do. The thing is –I did not know how to check the dictionary. Yes, boys at my age in those days ran and bounced blithely in the rubber estate, hunt parrots, net fishes and played colorful glass marbles all day long. Who would sit still just to check a word from the dictionary? Pft. And so, I timidly asked this little guy beside me, Arthur Ang, on how to utilize the Kamus Dewan.

That was a start and slowly I built up my vocab and grammar and wrote better and better in BM over my mother tongue. Heck, I was even more well-learned in BM than the Mohd Rashid, Azizi bin Apom and Sharidah bt Kassim in my class altogether. I did so well in BM in the UPSR, but due to a “B” for my Chinese essay, I had to endure the transition class (Peralihan), a one year class to prepare the students from non-malay schools to adapt to the sudden change in education media – as if I am no brighter than the students from Malay schools to understand Newton’s Law or the Faraday theorem, or I needed more than average time to solve my maths problems. Thanks to the father of May 13, Abdul Razak who single-handedly altered the education media from English to BM.

And so, I continued to take tuitions for PMR and SPM because the tatabahasa (grammar) of BM is like a function of time, it changes in time by a bunch of old Dumbledore look-alikes in the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as if they themselves could not really understand their own language either. At one time, I attended 2 -3 BM tuitions at once and different tutors posed different views. Really felt mind-fucked in those days. And I used to think that BM is a sophisticated language to master which in fact it is. Because, I really don’t understand why would I need to learn and excel in a redundant language which will not be useful to me in future. Why would I need to learn about force as in daya, copper as in kuprum, refraction as in pembiasan?

And what’s with the pronunciation? Bahasa baku? You don’t see that the British requires other people to speak English in a particular slang or pronounce as in the dictionary, do you?

During my college years in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, all syllabuses in the first 4 years were all taught in BM with BM notes and textbook written by local lecturers. Again, I was wondering why would they take the trouble to translate from international references to teach? Isn’t it more efficient, effective and beneficial to train our undergrads in a language used world wide? I do not need to scheme a coup or riot to overthrow the Prime Minister to understand this simple fact. Thanks again to Najib’s father’s short vision.


In the end, the local government universities produce ten of thousands of undergrads handicapped in English. However, the major casualties are those who were sheltered under the NEP umbrella. When engineering degree holders are supposed to graduate as an engineer, most of them became factory workers, technicians or worst still, jobless. What do they obtain from the NEP? More of NEP! The government recruits them into retraining programs and provides financial aids.

After more than a decade after SPM, now I am thinking back. If I were to relive those days in school, I wouldn’t spend a single cent on BM tuition. Not to say I am totally against the national language. I personally think that BM is just a tool to unite all races and to accentuate our identity as Malaysians, but not substantial enough to play such important role in academia. Most certainly, it is not worth it to make me claim my own life just because I fail my BM, and of course, not a reason for me to screw my kids if they did badly in BM.

On a different note for students out there, if you put an end to your life after one gaffe, you lose a chance of a lifetime to correct the mistake and be better.


Treasure life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

fyi.. i din get to do Form6 bcos i did not get credit for BM, despite attending tuition for it. i re-sat my BM but got a 7 again. My BM was really pathetic. finally, attended a private school ie A levels in English. some of my friends who got worse SPM results, but had credit in BM, got into form6 and later on into local U. i was a reject bcos my BM was bad, and having A1 for English meant nothing.

since my family was poor, no local U means no U for me cos they cudn't afford it. I had to come out to work, and then continued my studies part time with my own money.

Chic soup mom :)

Anonymous said...

i have nothing against learning BM as a compulsory to learn language since we do live in Malaysia. But to make it as a compulsory-to-excel language, ie stopping a good student's education path just bcos they did not get a credit in BM, is sad and meaningless.

Chic soup mom again.. :P

Gnu said...

Chic Soup Mom: I agree with you. That's why I think that Bahasa Malaysia shouldn't be taken into account in our credits and subjects like Geography, Maths, Science, Account should be taught in English. Fortunately these days, students are still able to continue to pursue their studies despite getting poor grades in BM.

~RuNAwAy~ said...

Well... There is only one phrase i can share with you...

Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung.

My BM is not excellent too. I rarely attend tuition classes but I am lucky enough to have survive till now. Faced the same problem when I was in University of Malaya. Especially when I am in the education line. The problem is even more obvious.

We are in M'sia. So there is nothing much we can do but just to follow the country's law and regulations even though we know clearly that many of them are actually useless and meaningless.

Changes may occur. But it need time and we won't know when will it truly happen. So, we can just wait and see, and maybe try to do something with our right as a resident (and it did happen on 8th of March).

Whatever it is, all of these have make the people (especially the so-called 'non-bumiputera') more persevered when facing challenges.

At least, we are independent and no need to depend on some funny cum stupid gov policy.

Gnu said...

~RuNAwAy~: Yeah, I knew you went a long way. The thing now that I hope is a noticeable development in economy, and changes in political climate. Peace