How to make a difference ?

Be an Innovative Society

Whenever I am overseas, in the so-called developed countries, one thing that strike me is that life in Malaysia is so much cheaper. Things are so much more expensive, even a fried Hor Fun in Auckland can cost around 15 NZ $ , more than RM 30, compared to about 4-5 bucks in Malaysia.

What strikes me is that hourly wages are so much higher in the West than in Asians countries like our own. Because of the much higher pay, the workers have a very laid back lifestyle, unlike their Malaysian counterpsrts who often work themselves so hard but still find difficulty in making ends meet.

The problem is , in most of the so-called developing countries, we are unable to raise our wages much higher without losing our competitive edge. If Malaysians are paid the pay of the Americans, for example, we will probably priced ourselves out of the market and killing our economy. This is because what we are producing are also being produced by other countries , and if our goods are dearer than other countries , we would lose our competitive edge and no one would buy our goods, killing our economy and in turn , our workers would lose even their low paying jobs.

So the way for us to go is we must lift our technological level and create, not just manufacture, new things that will become a world trend. Like what IBM did wit the personal computer , and microsoft did with all its softwares.

If we can create certain ideas and translate these into things that can will of demand all over the world, we could charge a higher price than , say just a ton of palm oil or a proton car. The latter , if the prices are raised too much, people will always turn to alternative sources.We must be able to produce things that are in demand but not readily produced in other low wage countires, in order to raise the wages of our workers and raise the liviing standard of our people.

To be able to do that, we need to not only revamp our whole education system,  but the ways our worfkorce think and functions. We must create an innovative society. We need to change the whole concept of learning, the whole concept of education. It is no longer enough just producing graduates for the sake of producing graduates, especialy the types that are not easily marketable.

The whole concept of education must be changed. For the first step, creativity and not spoon feeding must be encouraged. Basics like Maths and Science (how things function as they are) must be emphasised, but apart from that, students must be taught to be more creative and teaching should channel towards producing thinkers.

I am unfortunately not an educationist ( i always have the utmost respect for those in the education field, because they are the architects for the future of the country), so I would welcome any ideas that can make our chiidren and our workforce more creative. For one thing, I always believe that a person who is too overworked and have no time left to think for himself  cannot produce new ideas. So a child must not be overloaded with too much of spoonfeeding. A lot of things are now readily available in the internet and it will be more important to teach a person how to look for those info rather than just spponfeed certain facts to the students.

It is another form of teaching a person where to look for fish, in addition to teach him how to fish, rather than just give fish to the person.

For another thing, I think the ability to master the English language is very important, especially because new knowledge and ideas are being produced so fast that any ‘people’ that need translation of new knowledge into their own languages would find that when the translation is done, the new knowledge would be old thinking already and these people will always be behind time in knowledge. There are a few exception like the Japanese, the germans and now the Chinese, because these people have already a vast base of knowledge and hence new ideas can easily be reported in these languages. But basicaly, for a people to move forward, a good command of the English language, which is the internet as well as the world language, is necessary.

It is a pity that Malaysia, which had such high standard of English language even as late as the 60s, has lost a generation of good English teachers. To retrain a new breed of good English teachers wil probably take one or 2 generations, Maybe the idea of bringing back the English school is good and maybe now is the time to bring back the English school. Do not let the so-called narrow nationalist thinking retard our way to move forward, if we really want to have a better life for our people in future. ANyway, the younger Malaysians all have a very good grasp of the national language and the time is ripe to bring back the English school perhaps.

I would welcome your views on how to make our education system produce thinkers rather than just plain graduates with no marketable skills.


57 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robertchai48
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 09:45:24

    Time to reform our education system. Too much of ad hoc situation in our education
    curriculum. Imagine taking a reverse gear for even our English instruction in vernacular schools. Having English medium school is not the answer to all problems.

    Having a lower standard passing in PMR and SPM have make our education system look bad. Go back to the basic that is emphasis on reading, writing and calculating. Have more proper vocational training for those weak in academic.


  2. omo
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 10:01:14

    50 years under BN, the only change we have is going backwards. Just look at HK, S. Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. We started maybe Malaya was slightly ahead of them blessed with rubber, tin, no natual calamity, rich resources with plenty of water and evn oil.

    Sime Darby and Golden Plantation did nothing much to to mechanise the oil palm planting and harvesting and rely on labour like pre WW2 days in the 1930s.

    Even in the 1995 until today, we are importing cheap labour for cleaning, petrol station, hyper market and factories.

    I heard a guy employ a Burmese to cook in his food stall and overtime to continue his stall until midnight. He may be getting RM2500 from 9am to 12pm for 7 days a week.

    All thse time, BN Government is trying to make malaysia cheap and Dr M said that ringgit is as big as bulllock cart with big purchasing power.


  3. KP
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 12:18:53

    Yes, you are right. For my family in Australia, eating outside is only a weekly affair (normally weekend). A fried Hor Fun is about AUD8, but not as good as Malaysia. But if one is willing to cook at home, the food expenditure here is not very high (sometimes, it is cheaper than Malaysia, dollar-to-ringgit).


  4. KP
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 13:03:32

    To me personally, language is just for communication and the key to knowledge. I studied in SRJK (C) and then another 6 years in Chinese independent school. After that, 5 years in local university (first and second degree), with BM as the main medium.

    When it is my turn to teach, I found that this is not an easy job. Most of the reference books are in English. So our role is to translate into BM, and communicate the knowledge to our students. For those who are weak in English, they can’t go beyond the BM lecture notes. That is why advance courses that aim to produce thinkers can’t achieve the stated objectives. In these courses, students are required to analyse critically a specific issue, but all the information and frontier knowledge in internet and journals are in English. At the end, they just copy and paste.

    I agree with your idea to bring back the English school. I do share the view of Tun in this article:


  5. KP
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 16:38:42

  6. clearwater
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 18:11:28

    I don’t think our political overlords want the education system to produce thinkers for obvious selfish reasons. Thinkers easily turn into doubters and independent thinkers into dissidents and activists. Change this fossilized government first. Then reverse the decades of mediocrity and discrimination in education before bringing back bilingualism and a culture in excellence comparable with world standards.


  7. Kenny Gan
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 18:33:52

    It’s not just our education system which must be reformed, it’s also our political system which engender racial policies while meritocracy takes a back seat.

    Lack of meritocracy means we cannot achieve our full potential. It also cause many brilliant young people to migrate overseas where they are appreciated for their skills rather than reminded of their skin colour. This brain drain makes it difficult for us to be an innovative society.

    Our defective political system has also damaged our education system. We now have two streams for university entry – an easier one year matriculation course for Malays and a harder 2 years STMP course for others whose skin colour do not qualify (save for a token 10%).

    The easier matriculation route should give a kickstart to Malays but even then quotas have to be imposed to limit non-Malay entry in universities in another kick to meritocracy. Little wonder that our varsity standards have declined drastically.

    So Dr. Hsu, it goes deeper than reforming education at the primary and secondary level. Unless the political situation changes, we’ll still be stunted as a nation.


  8. A true Malaysian
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 19:19:53

    I am also a product of SRJK (C). Quite a handful of my peers succeeded in becoming professionals but there are even more flopped half way due to lacking in command of Bahasa Malaysia and English in secondary and tertiary education.

    Let say if our education system did not switch its language medium from English to Malay, will there be more professionals amongst our friends and Rakyat and we can see a level of economy that is on par with the developed countries?

    My view to this is a big ‘YES’ as undeniably, English is no more a language to the native in England but a world language to science and technology.

    I believe one’s proficiency in English does not make us a lesser Chinese, Malay, Indian or whatever.

    So, ideally, we should see an education system that put emphasis on mother tongues at primary education level and English based at secondary and tertiary levels.

    The sad fact is, since Malay language was being used as language medium in our education system, polarization has becoming more serious than before and our competitiveness weaken.

    While nationalists may argue otherwise by offering examples like Korea, Japan and China which use their own languages and not English, the fact is that they are of homogeneous society and thus no polarization problem like us.

    Singapore, a country more similar as ours, stick to English language as the main communication language, has managed to unite its people and develop its economy to a higher level, why not Malaysia?

    Of course, I do not mean copy wholesale the Singapore formula as we can still emphasize on our mother tongues and cultures. We just can’t afford to go back another 50 years, even if we need to use another one or two generations to get back to competitiveness.


  9. Amin
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 22:53:38

    Dilemma No.1 – there is no regard to meritocracy. Bright ‘nons’ are not admitted to courses of their choice in local universities, thus their talents are stifled if they chose to remain.

    Dilemma No. 2 – because of above discrimination, the very bright nons take up courses in universities overseas and they remain to work after graduation for reasons of fairly play and job-satisfaction. Hence these countries are directly benefiting from Malaysians’ talents contributing to the higher end of their economy.

    These trends are increasingly pravelent. The ideas put forth by Dr. Hsu seem too far-fetched for a Malaysia where bright minds are depleting progressively.


  10. Meng
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 23:02:07

    I do not think the present government has the political will for a complete change.

    Even now there are calls from the malays to revert the teaching of science and maths back to malay. See the problem??

    Lets say the system is changed to english and malay as a compulsary subject, it would mean that merit would be emphaised, would it be accepted by the malays and politician. They will argue that malays would loose out as the field is now levelled.

    For Pre U entrance , have a standardized study either Matriculation or Form 6 for all, will it be accepted by the malays or umno politician???
    It is just a joke when our ministers equate matriculation with Form 6.

    The word Meritocracy is not found in Malaysia!!!


  11. Tomcat
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 10:15:39

    It is indeed a joke that matriculation grades are considered equivalent to Form 6 grades for uni entrance.

    A large part of Matriculation grades are based on exercises done throughout the year while Form 6 grades are based on a difficult year end exam. There’s also differences in syllabus and depth with Form 6 being the more difficult.

    The difficulty of entering public universities means non-Malay parents have to bear the financial strain of private colleges and overseas courses.

    What were Gerakan, MCA, MIC and PPP doing when matriculation was introduced for one race only with a token 10% for non-Malays? This is just one example of how component parties have failed to safeguard minority rights in the face of Umno hegemony.


  12. irika
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 13:48:09

    whichever language of instruction is of no consequence, as long as BN is in power, and NEP is still here.


  13. Meng
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 16:32:59

    If there is a push for more english lesson in schools I would not be surprised at all that some idiot ministers or MPs would come out openly to say that is against the malays and islam.

    It is norm Right??


  14. A true Malaysian
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 17:01:18


    I am not even sure what is our national language now. Is it Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Baku or whatever.

    Well, if the authority still want to emphasize on whatever Bahasa over English, I will still accept even though it is lack of rationality. All I need to do is to spend more time to polish my ‘half past six Inggeris’.

    If that is what they want, I have no problem. Just that more time (that means $$$) needed than if English is being used straight away.

    This is a fact of life, can we run away from it?


  15. daffodils
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 17:19:41

    It is not a joke but a miscarriage of justice to put matriculation on par with stpm. The odds are heavily stacked against stpmers. The shorter matriculation course is an easier pathway to gain access to local tertiary institutions.

    First, selection of critical courses are “reserved” for those who take the matriculation route. It is common knowledge that those who scored the maximum cumulative grade of 4 for matriculation would not have it easy with stpm.

    Just take a look at their spm grades. An stpm student who has excellenct grades in spm has to study hard to achieve cgpa of 4. It is for this reason stpm is widely recognised internationally and our top stpm scorers are snapped up by topnotch universities like NUS.

    Just check who perform academically better in the medicine,dentistry and engineering courses in the local universities. That is because of the depth of the syllabus of the stpm course, former stpmers are more prepared for the gruelling courses.

    Another sore point that needs looking into is the dumbing down of grades in the public examinations like PMR and SPM.

    Unlike the UK Advanced level where the marks are shown next to the grade, in SPM one does not actually know the score corresponding to the grade. In Alevels the grades are just simply A, B, C, D and E. To obtain an A, one has to score an average 80 percent and above for all the papers that are totalled up.

    It is common knowledge for “difficult” subjects like the Additional Mathematics paper a very mediocre score can be assigned an A.

    Unlike years back in the 70’s where the then form five public exam MCE was run by the Cambridge Board in UK and an A was really a big deal, standards now are compromised to allow a bigger group to score A’s and thats where the problems crop up when “top scorers” outnumber places available for scholarships. It is also a known fact that some of these “scholars” on tax payers funds fare badly in foreign universities.

    Sometimes I wonder what is the point of bringing up all these when there is no will on part of the authority to remedy the situation that is ailing our education system. Lately there have been calls to revert the teaching of the Sciences in the National Language although much has been said on the importance of the English Language. Isnt this taking a step backward?


  16. CYC
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 17:27:53

    I have no problem with language used but rather meritocracy must prevail. It all starts from competency of the teachers and the examination system adopted. Language skill can be acquired through systematic learning with the help of professionally trained teachers.

    I m for teaching Maths and Science in the respective mother tongue language during primary school. Caveats : English must be made a compulsory subject starts from primary school. The medium of instruction then can switch to English from secondary school onwards.

    Those born in 1962 and 1963 have had tested switching from one medium of instruction to another. As long as the the teacher is competent enough it would not be a problem. The real problem now is most of the graduate teacher can’t even teach at lower secondary level whereas yesteryear teachers with Senior Cambridge can teach MCE/SPM level at ease.

    Its the qualification standard, stupid.


  17. petestop
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 17:38:21

    I’m a product of govt boarding school, where we have almost 100% BM language immersion.

    Fast forward 20 years, it has been almost 2 decades I haven’t wrote a single letter or documents in BM, except filling in forms, which does not count.

    My business takes me frequently to China, US and Europe and I am handicapped bcoz I do not speak and write Chinese fluently, and have to rely on English to get by in business dealings.

    I for one, will be sending my children to Chinese school as that will be the language of commerce in the very near future and you can’t really go wrong when a quarter of world population speaks it.

    Indeed, we can continue to stick to a mono-lingual education system, with the potential of continue being katak-bawah-tempurung, while the rest of the world steam ahead and leave you behind.

    Dr M for all his dictatorial failings, at least tried to turn this around. For that we should give him credit where credit is due.

    Anyway, wait for the UPSR result and we will see how the Education Ministry going to flip or flop on the decision on English language for Science and Math.


  18. Pak Lah
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 19:48:08

    I cannot agree with you. We are


  19. Meng
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 21:18:24

    True Malaysian

    Irrespective of what or how they want to call the medium of teaching but I am of the opinion that English must be made a compulsory subject for the good of our children. No compromise on the maths and science in english presently implemented.

    However sending the children to chinese schools as mentioned by petestop is a wise move as there are many professional who has had their grounding in such school. Take the Chinese School in Malacca “Pay Fong”,
    I was told their students are accepted in more than 300 universities. Their students are well tutored and disciplined to take on challenges with confident on graduating from their higher studies..


  20. novice101
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 02:12:51

    Doc, I hope you don’t mind me using this space to help someone so that they may do more for others.


  21. romerz
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 02:13:21

    By taking politics out of education and by these I mean the Malay, Chinese and Indian politicians who think along racial (and ancestral) lines.

    Let Malaysian education policies be formulated by pure academics without external interference and we may have a chance yet to recover lost ground.

    Let Malaysia succeed or fail based on its gray matter and not what UMNO/BN deems it should be.

    So long as politics is involved (like in religion and most other aspects of life in Malaysia), the cream will never rise to the top because the cream is deemed a threat to the power of the ruling class and their selfish interests.

    But luckily for us, these UMNO goons (and their gutless counterparts) can’t keep time at bay forever. As a nation, Malaysians are getting more aware of the injustices and very soon, those who would retard this country for selfish reasons will be shown the truth.

    More and more Malaysians today are capable of critical thinking much as UMNO/BN would like to be in denial and think otherwise.

    I’m reminded of the saying by Rene Descartes; “I think therefore I am”.


  22. Meng
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 10:14:10

    Be an Innovative Society, Do you think we can achieve it. Bullshit, nothing but plagiarism right from U to the government department.

    Many years ago I submitted a development plan to build around 400 mixture of houses, shoplot etc. The plan was submitted to the state through normal channel and all the fees paid. I was called up to clarify certain things and was told there were another 6 submission. I requested to look at some of those submission and to my horror they were all photocopied from my original. My layout plan and landscape were in colours and the photocopied one in black and white.

    I told the officer off and asked how can they copy my plans and make a submission. The officer kept quiet like a dog.

    See how corrupted the government servants were/are. I was full of anger and became racial thats how I felt. Those bastard son of bitches just stole my plan and gave it to their cronies.

    Later on I met the developer and told him off , reply was , thats how the game is played

    So Dr Hsu how can we be Innovative???


  23. Meng
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 10:26:36

    Working Papers for a new project. Years ago I was requested to submit a working papers for a certain project which is not available in this country. There were funders willing to back up my project.

    I consulted some friends and was told off!!
    “”Your project paper will be stolen and a few amendments made here and there and their cronies would be given the project.”

    Those idiots just don’t have any ideas at all.

    So how to be innovative in this country.!!


  24. petestop
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 14:00:44


    Unfortunately this is very typical story of local biz especially those linked to politicians.
    They just want to sit there, do nothing and take
    their cut. Totally not adding value at all.
    Even more so, they steal your ideas.

    Personally have involved in such projects before,
    and see first hand how political meddling and narrow-minded self-interest can screw up a multi-million project, launched by no lest than Badawi himself, but still failed to take off due to political infighting and greed.

    Ever wonder why everything here is more expensive than even developed countries like US!

    After those blunders trying to do business locally, we have wised up and just doing oversea business nowadays.

    With advance in communication and Internet, doing business globally becomes easy and accessible to smaller companies.

    Ever wonder why Robert Kuok already shifted his base to Hong Kong ?


  25. A true Malaysian
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 15:27:45


    Thanks for sharing.

    Malaysia need a ‘revolution’ to correct all these wrongs.


  26. A true Malaysian
    Nov 11, 2008 @ 16:47:54

    Our political system need to be reformed first before other systems like education system as politics is where ‘power to reform’ derived from.

    In short, political will must be there, if not, we can talk until all the cows come home, things still remain unchanged and abuse of power like what Meng and petestop experienced will continue and become from bad, worse, worst and hopeless.

    If one wants to reign ‘supreme’ over another, lets do it in equal and level ground instead of using your power at hand indiscreetly against ‘natural justice’.

    ‘Supreme’ or ‘Ketuanan’ must be in the ‘true sense’, not look nice or ‘superficial’ one. If I lose to you who claimed yourself as ‘Tuan’ on equal and level ground, so be it. I can still come back to win if I work hard enough.

    What I am disappointed is to see Meng’s lose even before the competition started. Same like those who gone through Form 6 to enter university vis-a-vis those through ‘matrikulasi’.

    As a rakyat who aspires ‘fair play’, I feel being ‘short-changed’ even Meng and petestop were the one who ‘kena’.

    Is there any more ‘natural justice’ left in Malaysia?


  27. pohwatchdog
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 09:20:38

    Have one system for Form Six rather than dual system thai is matriculation or STPM. The education ministry should set up Junior College that cater for Form Six only.

    Look at Singapore for a model. Fair and just can create a innovative society. Emphasis on meriotocracy.


  28. langchiapek
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 11:27:00

    as long as there is article 153, forget about education equality in Malaysia

    you non malays/mamaks can continue to whine until cow comes home, it will remain the same.

    best bet, work harder and educate yourself in private or foreign university that does not discriminate base on skintone and religion

    Just follow the example of Dr Hsu, he sent her dotter to NZ for tertiary education


  29. petestop
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 16:24:29


    what you proposing is but the status quo, which if
    you haven’t notice have but resulted in a racial
    polarisation with most Malays heading for govt job,
    while non-Malays heading for private sector.

    You tell me, how my parents, both primary school teacher with pay only above RM1,000 on their last few years before retirement, going to afford alternative education and/or send the children overseas ??

    Wonder why most non-Malays can’t survive by just working for govt ? nor the fact that they can only afford a small family, in order to give a decent chance for their offsprings ?

    Does anyone still wonder why in the private sector, there is a big resistance to hire Malays, although many of these graduates are flooding the job market ?

    What goes around, comes around.

    Unfortunately, our country does not have any visionary leaders since Tunku Abdul Rahman who can unite all the races, since TAR, we only have a UMNO PM, elected (or rather in their own words, “pass down”) by a handful of UMNO delegates.


  30. A true Malaysian
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 16:36:09

    Below is an article copied and pasted from Malaysia Today, a must read article.


    IN the 1960s and early 1970s, children from poor families could study at English-medium schools free of charge.These children could enjoy comics such as Beano and Dandy. When they reached Standard Four or Five they could already start reading English newspapers and books by Enid Blyton. By the time they were in secondary school, they could move on to Shakespeare and great poetslikeWordsworth. At this stage too, they were generally knowledgeable in world history and geography.

    Schooling was enjoyable then as the teachers were dedicated to their jobs. And, of course, the students respected their teachers and vice versa.

    “Change” is indeed painful.

    In the name of narrow nationalistic sentiments, the present generation, a product of the Sekolah Kebangsaan education system, is not as lucky as their parents who studied at English schools.

    Currently, only privileged children of the rich and famous can afford to study in private English schools. They have the advantage of an English education which enables them to be competitive in the job market.

    What about those in Sekolah Kebangsaan? We ridicule them because they are poor in English. They can’t read, write or converse properly. Even the teachers who are supposed to improve their language skills and knowledge are no better as they too are products of this system.

    We blame students for not taking English seriously. We blame teachers for not taking their profession seriously. We blame parents for not guiding and encouraging their children to be proficient in English.

    We blame everybody, except the system.

    How can someone who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan be proficient in English, compared with the son of a minister or a diplomat who studies in an international school? It’s a pity we adopt amyopic view when addressing the problems faced by today’s children in their quest for proficiency in English.We continue to experiment on them and make mistakes along the way.

    We refuse to reintroduce English- medium schools while retaining vernacular schools.

    While politicians, academicians and nationalists indulge in rhetoric and debate, the children suffer in silence.

    After completing school, these children would envy those who are articulate in English. They envy their colleagues who are able to debate in English at international forums.

    They envy those who can enjoy the latest bestsellers from the West. And should they buy a book of nurser y rhymes, they would face prob – lems in teaching their young ones.

    They wallow in self-pity and would try their best to improve their English. They would condemn the system in silence, condemning the politicians and nationalists. And now, their own children will also have to attend Sekolah Kebangsaan as they can’t afford the fees in inter national schools.

    The British and Americans were once surprised that we could speak very good English.

    Today, our students have to pass a special English test to be admitted to British and American universities, where the failure rate is high.

    If Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants to leave a lasting legacy before March next year, I suggest he reintroduces English-medium schools to Malaysia.

    Hassan Talib is frank to write this article. We can be proud that our Bahasa Melayu is ‘A1’, but come to international stage, we are crippled.


  31. langchiapek
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 16:59:49


    now everyone can study, thanks to Gerakan, there is Wawasan Open University 😉

    Unless i see a complete rewrite of the constitution of Malaysia and get rid of the racist and discriminative lines, there is not much we can do even.

    weather you like it or not, it will remain status quo with UMNO and its apple polishers around

    Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya …


  32. robertchai48
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 20:12:03

    Change..if you need to move Malaysia into a innovative society. Do we have the political will to change for a better system. Let our children to have their best in education.

    Practice meritocracy to employ the best in MOE for a better future. We need capable, committed and caring teachers who can produce a all rounder children.


  33. petestop
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 20:29:21


    Not sure if it will surprise you that my parents who are govt primary teachers can’t even afford to send to TARC, let alone Wawasan Open University.
    Local university was our only bet.

    Unlike what UMNO likes everyone to think, not all Chinese are rich, there are many poor Chinese in rural areas too, especially those who have started working for government decades ago with little qualification save for a form-3 level education.

    Imagine, after decades of working as govt teachers, only to see your offsprings unable to get into local universities, due to no quota.

    Wonder why we vote for DAP ?


  34. Meng
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 01:01:22

    Hey what about our education minister. Is he fit for the job or a clown. From the last election until now I have not read any concrete write up by him. Surely as a minister there are lots of things to say? Oh yes on school fees..but parents have to pay out more? what a crab free education?

    We have to ask him why he sent his child oversea to study?? Well when his child returns he/she can be at the top of the other malays and they will listen with their mouth wide opened with awe.

    A year or so ago,there was a program of retraining of graduates and they were paid a small sum as an incentive to attend. Met a guy who told me, after collecting the incentive, the following day half the class is missing. The 2nd day another half gone? What a joke!!

    Our education minister is doing well.


  35. Frank
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 01:06:09

    The problem is, we had had brilliant ideas, the fact had also spoken itself in the 60’s when our English standard puzzled even the Singaporean their don’t play play type of English! All those we had have lost to the racist hand of TDM especially when he adamantly wished to eradicate vernacular school and duck-fed our juniors with the national language unilaterally vaunted to be the greatest!

    Whilst I agree that mastering the NL is compulsory as the nationals and allowing English to excel in parallel is definitely a value added asset to the human resources, I strongly believe but sadly, their racist minds thought otherwise! As at todate, there are those gullible and fanatic racists still believe that we Chinese in safeguarding our vernacular school and mother tongue language is some form of obstinate intransigence, instead of listening to our expert scholars, they tagged on us, and treat us the leftist chauvinism ideologists and shortchanged our patriotism to the Country! Just hours ago, Dr Mahathir has just reiterated, our perseverance in upholding our vernacular language is a tumbling stone to national unity and I consider that as his shortsighted, and outdated vision probably due to his senility!

    Virtually, we had been ‘innovative’ wayback to the 60’s when only Malaysian and Singaporean are unique in calibre and trilingual talents, this is undeniably an unprecedented quality in any other parts of the world you can find! I share the same pride with Dr Hsu when even I was in China, the local China people there were so shock and admired our multi-lingual ability and while travel to the West, our English speaking capability will have stunned any white whom they are English speaking! Only our so-called Boleh government do not acknowledge that as the national asset and still feel proud of speaking their own roiled up language, cow their multi-racial rakyat to give up English, may probably ban our right to speak our mother tongue as they can and we don’t voice up any dissent! By doing the least we are branded an insult to the National language!

    Surprisingly, when TDM and all our great leaders were in overseas conference or forum, they could speak fluent English and saved from any insult to the National language! Is this ludicrous enough?

    How can we be innovative with this kind of leaders with bigoted mindsets?!………….


  36. Meng
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 11:15:10

    Quote: Dr Hsu: “The whole concept of education must be changed.”

    The Harvest:

    True Malaysian “”After completing school, these children would envy those who are articulate in English. They envy their colleagues who are able to debate in English at international forums.””

    Frank “Whilst I agree that mastering the NL is compulsory as the nationals and allowing English to excel in parallel is definitely a value added asset to the human resources,”…”the local China people there were so shock and admired our multi-lingual ability and while travel to the West, our English speaking capability will have stunned any white whom they are English speaking! “”

    Answer: Revert to the old system with emphaisis on merits as mentioned by all here.


  37. john
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 17:28:39

    well mr farnk and meng -do you mean to excel in malaysian style english and nanyang chinese or putonghua nanyang style ?

    i think we speak very bad english even in the 60’s which unfortunately the ‘adulterated’ form have persisted till this very day!!!as for putonghua i am ashame of the manner how this is been spoken and written.we cant even teach our children the proper way of enumerating in chinese-an example 10000 is term 十千(translated literally from englsih)instead of 一万

    i can go on till the cows return but suffice to say the linguistic skills mentioned may be marvel by the chinese and the caucasians initially but holding on to a 10 minute conversation will unravel the appalling and poor vocabularly of our spoken skills

    be honest with oneself11 how many of the writers here will be able to conduct a flawless englsh/mandarin conversation without the local flavour ?

    english should be taught as a 2nd language instead of the undue emphasis accorded to it now!!!!


  38. Meng
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 22:04:44


    As long as one can communicate reasonably well and put forth his ideas and be understood is sufficient. English is not our mother tongue and to be flawless is certainly out for me.


  39. john
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 10:20:00

    mr meng
    our error strewn english will not be understand by most non malaysians or non singaporeans.
    example outstation is used ubiquitously to mean out of one will comprehend the word ‘outstation’!out of which station? fire station,police station or train station??
    in indonesia and thailand where englsih is taught as a 2nd language -proper usage of words is apparent-it will be out of town not outstation

    another common error is getting out/ does not get out of a moving/sationary vehicle.its getting off!! like i mentioned i can go on till the cows return to graze the cement instead of grass but improving our english will be to mno you rightly mentioned english is not our mother tongue,perhaps we should teach the language as a 2nd language not unlike japanese or french!!!


  40. petestop
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 17:09:56

    Wow, even PAS can change to multi-racial

    Can we expect any changes or reform in UMNO whose moto is “Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya” ??

    The last few months since Badawi confirm stepping down, it looks like UMNO is back to business as usual, with high-handed police crackdown on peaceful gatherings, and the “for show” detention of Ronnie Liu requiring 8 cops (while criminals are running all over town terrorising our security).

    At least Badawi did tried to initiate some reform, but it is now apparent that it is a formidable challenge for him, as being confirmed by Zaid Ibrahim.

    Well, keep it up UMNO, we will make sure you are buried by next election.

    Hidup PAS !! Hidup PKR !! Hidup DAP !!


  41. Meng
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 17:22:59

    mr john

    In the 50s/60s the main transport of going from the one major town to another was the malayan railway. When one refers to outstation that means he was leaving the town station and in time it became a norm and the usage was understood by all. Leaving one station to another.

    This outstation was also used by those in uniform personnel who were stationed at a certain camp or garrison. To them outstation also meant leaving the garrison.

    My 2 cts


  42. Meng
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 17:44:19


    It is easier to crack down on peaceful demonstrators.

    Our security personnel are normally very brave against those harmless , wielding their batons and war cry … chaaarge.

    Our Botak said Chow Kit beat base was/is dangerous to the police?? So let the criminal free to carryout their activities. Going after them is tough..why work smart.

    Well done police..working to the advantage of Pakatan.


  43. john
    Nov 15, 2008 @ 13:08:27

    that doesnt mean ourstaion is the right english word to use despite your exhortation to the contrary!!


  44. nick
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 08:45:36

    On Tuesday, there was a full-day consultation at the MOF. The topic being discussed was converting LMW/FIZ companies into export processing enterprise (EPE). In attendance were some ~300 participants from major Companies. I was present and this took place. Immediately after the standard doa and greetings in Bahasa, the entire seminar, presentations, discussions, Q&A, etc was all conducted in english. Need I say more?


  45. A true Malaysian
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 09:52:23

    We must admit that Bahasa Melayu is not a science ana technical language. It is not even a commercial language.

    The political reality has made the government to push through the usage of iit. This has caused much hardship for us to switch to English while studying in tertiary level and working ultimately.

    But, what to do? I personally think that Bahasa Melayu is still not ready to be used in commercial, science and technology.

    It has its limitations.


  46. john
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 11:39:17

    a true malaysian
    if BM is not a common language for business in malaysia,then what is/should be the language?
    is it not an irony of the highest order if the thais ,vietnamese koreans and chinese were to conduct their daily business in english or french?


  47. A true Malaysian
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:17:56


    Don’t get me wrong. BM is still the common language in Malaysia, but when come to signing of contracts and other business dealings, English is still the main language. There is no doubt that BM is the common language here, however ‘broken’ it maybe for some non-Malays.

    English should be used a the main language in our education due to its wide acceptance locally and internationally. At the same time, BM will still be emphasised here.


  48. klm
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:47:36

    I dont trust politicians and educationists to set direction and strategy for education in Malaysia.

    As a parent, I want to have options on how my children are getting their schooling. Getting a good schooling is about jobs – good jobs where they can do good and give give to society which gave them the chance.

    The debate about English, Bahasa etc is crap. I will sent them to Mars to study the martian language if it is what it take to get ahead in life.

    Let us get back to basic. It is all about jobs.


  49. john
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:57:49

    a true m’sian
    i am confused .on one hand u steadfastly maintained that english should be use as the medium of instruction in our education system and in the same breath you reckoned that BM should be given due respect as well.
    to make it simple-are you suggesting that english will replace BM as the medium of instructions in our national schools ? BM will be ‘relegated’ to a 2nd language instead?

    that would be a real travesty of justice and a dejavu sense of recolonisation if indeed english replaces BM as the 1st language in this country


  50. john
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:59:58

    mr klm
    what language in this country will give you a headstart then?
    english chinese thai or japanese??


  51. A true Malaysian
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 14:13:38


    Usage of English as the medium of instruction in our education system does not mean ‘recolonisation’ to me. It neither means ‘disrespectful’ of BM.

    Proficiency in English as well as BM only will do all good for Malaysia. This is why it is good to teach Science and Maths in English.

    I respect your opinion, but I still think switching of English to BM was a set back for Malaysia. Hope this will clear your confusion.


  52. klm
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 03:09:28

    Dear john

    Good question – what language in this country will give a head start.

    Like our name, we usually do not have much choices for the language(s). The factors for the languages are:

    1. Language for communication – a common language to communicate with other people in the community and in the country

    2. Language(s) for knowledge

    3. Language(s) for international business

    4. Language of cultural roots

    In some country, all 4 factors converge into one – like England. This was different in medieval England. There were two languages – local dialect to communicate and Latin for knowledge.

    In Malaysia, students in vernacular school may end up with one language. Students in a sekolah kebangsaan may end up with one to two – depending on the school and teachers. Students in a Chinese school may end with two or even three languages. – again depending in school and teachers.

    To make good in Malaysia, one need to have at least two languages (1) – Bahasa (2) English
    – with equal skill and fluency. English combine factors (2) and (3)

    With China being in our backyard and with a 1.4 Billion market size – a third language is important.

    For a Chinese – learning the language of the culture and roots is also important. This combine factors (3) and (4).

    The education system in Malaysia can only manage (1) and (2).

    As a parent, we must manage the education of our children to give them the advantage in life.
    There are the 4 factors we can play with.
    That is the reason why there must be choices.


  53. klm
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 07:29:13

    One more thing. This comment is more tongue in the cheek. There is a layer of language that overlay all the factors mentioned earlier.. This is a factor that reflect that the 21st century is a technology era. This is the geek “language”. This is spoken by technology savvy and the young. Geek is an incomprehensible English based language with words not found in traditional English dictionary. It is not taught in school either. This is picked up from peers and from magazines. Geek is important because it is the language to exchange ideas on technology.

    Because geek links all the young generation world wide, all the more English must be taught.


  54. A true Malaysian
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 12:45:38


    You are right with your analysis. We can read several articles related to our discussions here in Malaysiakini. One of them is titled “Do not blame Malays for our ‘tongkat'”

    This article attracts one comment as in today’s Vox Populi by one named ‘My View’ and I reproduced it here.

    My View: The conclusion I reached after reading all the letters on this issue is that we Malaysians are quick to blame each other.

    Instead of learning why the Americans can elect a president not according to skin colour, some writers are quick to blame non-Malays for not being able to speak BM properly.

    I am curious. If non-Malays can speak BM fluently, will this mean that there will be a race called Bangsa Malaysia? Will there be no more special rights accorded to the Malays?

    Will the harping on Ketuanan Melayu stop there for good?

    To me, the culmination of one race or civilisation takes thousands of years and through natural forces that emphasise on equality and fair play.

    So long as these elements are not there in Malaysia, Bangsa Malaysia is forever a dream. I see all these ‘blaming’ business as unfortunate and unproductive.

    They are all due to ‘suspicions’ that resulted from unfair practices by our government. Please don’t find excuses to continue with your tongkat.

    I fully agree with this comment of My View. I found it weird the writer of this article justified ‘tongkat’ that accorded to the Malays.

    If usage of English language can impart knowledge to us faster than Bahasa Melayu, why still insist on usage of BM as main language in our schools? Emphasis can still be placed on BM to bring Malaysian of all races closer.


  55. Meng
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 14:06:25

    klm, good feedback.

    In my last trip to china, found most of the tour guides can speak good english though with an american accent. Was told that there are plenty of english classes available there.


  56. klm
    Nov 19, 2008 @ 22:42:24

    I am glad True Malaysian and Meng agree with me.

    There are very few countries with the range of language diversity amongst the citizen, like Malaysia. My list of these countries :

    1. United States Of America
    2. Australia
    3. Malaysia
    4. Singapore
    5. India

    The United States is especially interesting. It is able to find amongst the population, people speaking almost all languages in the world.

    I am now spending sometime in Austin, Texas. Here, the common language is of course English. But you can find group of people speaking Asian languages such as Mandarin, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Hindi etc.

    The United States is capable of dominating international trade, simply because of the sheer ability to handle all different languages.

    I am simple amaze at the ability of some young white Americans speaking and writing Mandarin.

    The point I am making is that if Malaysia do not encourage its young people to learn languages of the different communities, we will lose a natural advantage.

    The education policy must encourage and give incentive for students to learn languages beside the base BM and English.


  57. Trackback: Some thoughts on coming home « Dr Hsu’s Forum

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