Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Friday, 25 March 2011

How Chauvinistic!

A friend just told me that a speaker in a course he attended contended that the majority of Malays cannot be successful because they cannot understand commitment as the word supposedly does not exist in the Malay language, so by not knowing commitment means someone is on a doomed road towards failure as if commitment is THE key ingredient to success.

With a simple check you may only find the Malay translation is the naturalised komited seeming to confirm such a Malay word does not exist. I can assure you it does, and as I responded being "komited sungguh" in my pursuit of my wife 'wink' meant that I was doubly committed to achieving success.

So is this a subtle put down by a prejudiced and bigoted speaker on a whole race? You decide.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Prelude To Earth Hour!

Shouldn't all mobile electronics be switched off too during Earth Hour if you fully commit to to the spirit of it. Where do you think those devices get their juice or power from?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

So Stop Testing Already!

Well the matter is decided. So stop testing already. Respect our sensitivities similarly as you want us to respect yours!

Non-Muslim's bid to challenge Syarie lawyer ruling quashed

KUALA LUMPUR: In a test case, a non-Muslim counsel has failed in her bid to challenge the requirement that a Syarie lawyer in Kuala Lumpur must be a Muslim.

High Court judge Justice Rohana Yusuf dismissed the application by Victoria Jayaseelee Martin, 49 to challenge the ruling, Thursday.

Justice Rohana also dismissed a preliminary objection by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council against Victoria's judicial review application.

Victoria was granted leave on May 14 last year to get the High Court to hear her case to compel the council to admit her as a Syarie lawyer.

In her affidavit, Victoria said she applied to be admitted as a Syarie lawyer in Kuala Lumpur in February 2006 but was rejected.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hendak Pergi Berotan, Jangan Takut Onaknya!

This is a good comment on the state of command of the English Language by our young people, especially since I have received comments that it would be better to blog in Malay since I tend to blog in English. Quite reminiscent of similar comments made by so called nationalist students when I speak more English than Malay when studying, to which I responded the same that I wish to participate in the international arena, and whether you like it or not, Malay is no longer the lingua france. Take the peribahasa in the title to your heart will you.

A handicap we must overcome

There’s no two ways about it – universities have to give importance to English if they want to produce employable graduates.

IT’S preposterous, really. Most Malaysians must be horrified upon reading that some Universiti Malaya students are angry with the Higher Education Ministry’s call for universities to give importance to English to enhance their graduates’ employment prospects.

The call is timely and certainly appropriate but students at the Academy of Malay Studies (AMS) are regarding it as a move to sideline Bahasa Malaysia. The students have submitted a memorandum to the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Ghauth Jasmon, demanding an apology.

The controversy began when Dr Ghauth told a gathering of 2,000 students that the ministry wanted all public universities to improve their students’ skills in English to increase their graduate employability rate.

He delivered the message because the AMS students had the lowest graduate employability rate in comparison to all other faculties six months after they completed their studies.

He made the call based on statistics provided by the ministry out of concern. But rather than accept the fact, the students have instead demanded that Dr Ghauth state his stand on the national language. Some individuals have even left nasty comments on YouTube, calling him biadap (recalcitrant) and khianat (traitor) for delivering the message.

But the good professor is sticking to his guns: he is prepared to clarify the matter with the unhappy students but he will not apologise to them.

Good for him. The demand is unreasonable. In fact, the students should be appreciative of the call by the ministry as it tells them what most employers already know – that the standard of English among many of our graduates is so poor it has become an alarming situation.

Many employers have adopted a pessimistic approach, accepting the situation as beyond repair because many school leavers and graduates are unable to construct a decent sentence in English. Many have no grounding in English grammar and are unable to even tell the difference between present and past tenses.

It is not just school leavers and graduates who are in this situation, as poor command of English can also be detected among university lecturers and teachers through their conversations and written work.

In fact, one deputy minister’s English is so bad, his writing has been circulated on the Internet as an example to show how bad the situation is.

He purportedly wrote a review of a play in English and posted it on his blog. With cyberspace being the open domain that it is, his weakness, unfortunately, was widely exposed. The horrifying part is that his portfolio is related to education and it does not help that he is also known for his anti-English stand.

The pattern seems to be that those who are the most vocal against the use of English are generally weak in this language. In their attempts to cover their weakness, they try to project themselves as nationalists and defenders of the sacredness of the national language. Denial syndrome, one may say.

There are, of course, those who speak impeccable English and would gladly trade our iconic teh tarik for English afternoon tea and scones but they project themselves in a similar fashion in the most hypocritical way for political expediency.

Most of us are sure that the problem is not confined to graduates of AMS alone. I dare say the problem of poor command of English has affected all faculties in all public universities. And, let’s be frank, it’s in private universities too.

It would also be most unfair to say that the poor standard of English is confined to Malay students. It is a problem among Chinese and Indians too because of our education policy, which has clearly abandoned English.

Young Chinese seem to have become almost monolingual. Walk into a shopping mall and, if you are Chinese, you will be approached by salesmen speaking in Mandarin or Cantonese. When you reply in English, they will struggle to converse with you.

Dr Ghauth has taken the right approach. He could have gained popularity by playing the racial card and told the AMS students how great they are and that they would be future leaders of the country. But he would be leading them down a false path.

When they remain jobless, like the thousands who already are, they will conveniently blame the government. They will also blame the private sector, claiming that they are showing preference for certain sectors of applicants. They will hope to be employed by the public sector which is increasingly bloated.

Many of our graduates have never been motivated to become entrepreneurs. Rather, the aspiration is to become civil servants. This is one serious area of concern if we wish to compete effectively with other countries. But this is another story.

In China, they are putting emphasis on the teaching of English. The young are being taught to pronounce English words correctly, whether the American or English way.

In India, English is still given priority even as nationalists there are trying to push Hindi.

Malaysians with a poor command of English are entering universities. There they find that the academic books are in English but the medium of teaching is in Bahasa Malaysia.

Many struggle to understand what they read and to help themselves, some turn to similar books in Bahasa Indonesia, which they again struggle to comprehend. Most of the contents in the Internet are in English and are therefore of no help to these students.

In cases where students are required to take an English course because their command of the language is so pathetic, these students try to memorise essays, hoping that the same topics would be in their tests. That’s how low we have sunk in our standard of English.

Unfortunately, most of our politicians are not brave enough to grab the bull by the horns to tackle the problem. Many of them, of course, would have sent their children to schools overseas to ensure they have a strong grounding in English.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Janda Tak Baik, Janda Baik

As I am writing this, my family is still sleeping off their tiredness after a topsy turvy two days of stay in Janda Baik, Bentong Pahang. The bad thing about the past two days is that this was the first time I had to move hotel because the first really did not live up to our expectations, and it was God's will that we got an excellent hotel room to make up for the crummy stay in the first hotel.

The problem with the first hotel is that after their media blitz in the media and what they promised in their website, I can say that Cherengin Hills definitely fall far short. I have never been to a hotel that could not serve lunch to the guests checking in just because their restaurant is serving buffet to a convention group, and due to the same they offered a so-called dinner buffet of less than ten items at Ringgit Malaysia thirty five, and like me I can say I found those guests with family drove out for dinner in droves for both lunch and dinner that day. And that was not the only reason we had to drive out, because such a big hotel did not even have a single newspaper for guests to read in the morning. Come on man, if you can't afford to give individual newspapers, at least have some public newspaper in the lobby. And the rooms, if you can get past the paint smell, you are surprised that there is no fridge to cool your drinks and the view you get is actually the roof of the next building instead of the supposed "Courtyard/Hill/Pool" view that they promised. I don't want to say much more on this but what I can say is that you may meet the "Convention" needs in your name, but you fail miserably in the non existent "Spa" portion and also to meet family guests need.

Well at least the trips out for meals managed to introduce us to great meals be it at Saufiville for excellent and affordable western meals that definitely meets our expectations as shown in their website, with a great view to boot, or rest house reminiscent meals prepared by young chaps at Andak's Place Jungle Cafe, or a simple yet great tasting malay fried meal at a kampung warung where the son of the owner emphatically said that they do not do Siamese style food when I mistakenly asked for my favourite Nasi Goreng Daging Merah.

And what is the baik or good in this, well we manage to snatch a stay in the sought after connecting rooms at Suria Hills Country House, which is all they claim and more. As the adventure is not over yet, I will blog further on this later but let me leave you with the photo of the river in their backyard, and yes my friends that are fishes in the clear river water.