Freedom of choice

update: This is now posted in my column in Malaysian Insider .

This morning on my way to work, there was a discussion on the radio ( whether parents should act as friends to their children. There were of course different opinions expressed, ranging from parents should be very strict to parents should give their children more freedom.

The world is no longer what it was 30 to 40 years ago. Children grow up today with influence from their peers, tvs, movies and recently internet portals such as youtube .

The children of present era would want to enjoy greater freedom than what was given to us when my generation was growing up. They want to exercise greater freedom in their choice of friends as well as material things.

Any unreasonable restriction of choice and pressure would be resisted.

If the child of the past few decades grows up in such an environment and becomes an adult, would this adult be willing to subject himself to too much restriction?

The answer is no. The people of today know their rights better than any time in the history of mankind. They want to have a choice. They want to be able to exercise their right to choose.

They want to have the right to choose their spouses; the right to choose their houses; the right to vote for their representatives; the right to use either the tolled road or the alternatives;  the right to choose the schools for their children.

The society is moving rapidly from hierachy based one to one that is being flattened, thanks to the rapid expansion of the middle classs –as well as  the internet revolution that is changing the perspective of  such middle class — all over the world. With this expansion comes a realisation that they are the masters of their own destiny.

They would not want too much of restriction. Any restriction or compulsion will naturally meet with resistance.

Recently, the issue of the existence of vernacular schools has become a hot topic of discussion again after Mukhriz raised it. Even Prof Khoo Kay Kim expressed support for a single schools system as reported in  Sun.

I disagree with both of them and had issued a statement on this.

Firstly, I do not think that racial unity can be achieved by having all parents sending their children to national schools.

At the present moment, about 90 % of the Chinese send their children to vernacular Chinese primary schools. The rest 10% send their children to national schools. Do these 10% of Chinese Malaysian children mix well with their classmates from another ethnic group?

The answer, sadly, is no. Helen Ang, the Malaysiakini columnist, wrote in a well argued article  ” Di mana bumi ku pijak” this :

“He (Mukhriz) should visit the national schools during recess and see how pupils sit in their own racial groups while eating in the canteen. He should drop by after school hours and see the kids play within their own racial groups when waiting for the bus or to be fetched home. He should meet with the PTAs or read in the news, or in blogs how teachers in national schools bully and victimise Indian children.  

Racism and religious supremacy is becoming endemic in national schools. Therefore putting all the kids under one roof will not solve what’s in essence a problem of communal politics.”

What she wrote is a common phenomenon in national schools.  Polarisation will exist even if the government converts all schools into a single system. The phenomenon exists in National secondary schools, as well as tertiary institution. The phenomenon exists in national service camps , too.

Secondly, as I have mentioned above, the people today want to have freedom of choice. They are not like the my generation and many of the decision making leaders of the govornment are from my generation. SO these decision makers must understand that the people now want to have a choice– and education is a field that they want to have the  freedom to choose for their children.

Looking at history, vernacular schools actually faced the problems of being phased out in the sixties, not because of any forced closure, but because more and more parents at that time were sending their children to English medium schols, where job prospects and upward mobility were seen to be better.

Vernacular schools got its life back again thanks to the conversion of all English medium schools to Malay National schools. Parents, after the conversion, began sending thier children to vernacular schools as they shunned national schools, no thanks to the perception that the conversion of English schools were seen to be forced integration of school system. There were other reasons but resentment was certainly one of them.

Anything forced upon people would naturally meet resistance.

The rest is of course history. Vernacular Chinese schools, after being given the second life, lifted their quality and produced better quality students, so much so about 60000 of their students now are from other races, including Malays and Indians.

The lesson here is integration must be let evolved naturally and slowly. People must be willing to mix, and cannot be forced to mix. People must be given the freedom to choose; any force or compulsion will meet with the opposite result.

So, let us not hurry the process of integration of schools. In fact, choice begets competition and competition begets excellence. Excellence and upward mobility will ultimately be what attracts a parent to make the choice of which schools or stream to send.

In fact, we should allow English schools to make a comeback and let there be more choice for parent.

The existence  of different streams  has nothing to do with polarisation of race, which arise from the race politics practiced by too many race politicians in Malaysia. Until and unless we do away with the race issue, polarisation will always exist no matter how much compulsion is used to force integrate.


49 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wassup
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 13:19:44

    want vernacular school, cannn….
    all in Bahasa but geography subject in Chinese while history in Tamil. Fair?

    ok lets do it for unity, have fun learning….


  2. klm
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 15:17:26

    Dr . Hsu.

    There is nothing wrong with chinese vernacular schools. Except, the objective of DJZ is to perpetuate a 5,000 years tradition and culture that has changed even in the homeland. We need quality education in the future and we need to change the vernacular system to fit into the 21st century. The best way is to a modified chinese school system. When i have more time, i put up something to say why chinese education system is not suitable for innovation.

    The children are in a lose-lose situation now, with DJZ not trusting the govt and not willing to make any necessary changes.

    The indian and malay vernacular schools are essential dysfunctional.

    As noted in my diagram, there are only three working education systems.

    1. chinesess vernacular
    2. national type
    3. international baccalureate

    There are many paths crossing over from each sytems offering many options. It may cost more money and options may not be available to all.

    I can sent you an updated chart. (you can post this chart if you want)


  3. klm
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 15:56:51

    Also, i don’t care about unity or polarisation.

    I only care that my children get a good quality education. If the national school offer good quality education, I will sent my children here. I will handle the issue of learning chinese and culture in a different way. If the Chinese school is the best way, i send my children that direction.

    Let the parents choose.

    I think the rest of the other arguments are just excuses. Politicians, academicians, teachers etc all have their own interests. These may not coincide with the interests of the parents and their children.


  4. wassup
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 16:32:49

    Democracy is about having choices and one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
    SJK Heng Ee (Pg) used to be a nest for young gangsters but now it turned out to be one of parents favourite in that area because of it having a new headmaster that established discipline among students. Why not if education and dicipline is the end product? even though it’s not a national school.


  5. Dr Hsu
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 16:51:13

    The key word is choice. People must be given a chance to choose. the world is very different now.

    If someone can make the school the best school in the area, I am sure parents around the area will send their children to that school. It is really a matter of excellence, a matterof seeing their children receive a good education.

    Parents also want their children to be better than them. So upward mobility, in social terms as well as in jobs, are important. In the past, English schools were favoured because students from such schools could easily get employment as civil servants, as clerks in prestigious western companies or go for overseas education.

    Chinese school students can go to 60 independnet high schools to further their education , and then if they pass the United School exam, they can go to more than 300 overseas universities, in the west, in Taiwan or china.

    So there is a possibility of upward mobility.

    Malay school students can only go to our own tertiary institution where Malay is the medium of instruction.

    That is why, most UMNO ministers are sending their children to private international schools, so that the upward mobility is there. Only the rural malays will suffer, because basically they have very limited choice…


  6. A true Malaysian
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 16:58:23

    Diversion a bit here. I was attracted by an article posted in ‘The Might of the Pen’ titled ‘MUSLIMS CAN EAT PORK’.

    You can read the article here

    I reproduce my comment below :-

    I respect people’s choice to consume or not to consume pork. Some non-Muslims also don’t take pork out of their own reason(s), and some Muslims take pork, their choice though it is against their Islamic teaching.

    Yet, I have no problem in this, since I respect their choice.

    What I can’t understand is why some Muslims refuse to attend an invitation where pork (for non-Muslim) and halal food (for Muslim) are served.

    This is just one of the example where I find why Malaysian of all races couldn’t mix with each other, resulting in the problem of racial polarisation.

    The non-Muslims, realising this Muslim’s behaviour, ensure no pork is served in a function, and yet, Muslim friends still reluctant to accept invitation, for the reason that they know best.

    So, is Islam a factor for racial polarisation? Frankly, I do not know.

    Maybe you guys would like to comment, not in Dr. Hsu’s Forum, but on the original blog.


  7. romerz
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 17:16:19

    And yet it is the rural Malays who provide the support for UMNO.

    From the point of politics, we must think of ways and means how to reach the rural Malays and educate them that their blind support for UMNO is to their own detriment.

    By the way doc, you sound like my Lib Dem friend Jay whose politics start and end with the individual, which I happen to agree with to a certain extent.


  8. klm
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 18:03:28

    Dr Hsu. A tiny correction of your statement.

    1. A malay vernacular school student (sekolah agama) cannot go anywhere – except maybe pakistan or egypt or some of these places

    2. Only malay student in national type school can go tertiary education

    As for romerz, i believe that this trend of rural malay supporting UNMO is weakening. Their children living and working in the cities will influence their voting. But this will take time.

    We saw this trend in the last election and it will grow. From a strategy standpoint, do a reverse
    link from city to kampung.


  9. klm
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 18:26:13

    My apology for hocking the airwave. I just got to post this. In spite of objections from many circle. This is the real truth.

    Undergrads lack general knowledge, says MP
    UNIVERSITY students are intellectually weak because they are lazy and not because they are spending time in politics, a backbencher said yesterday.

    Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) said these undergraduates only read notes provided by lecturers or those obtained at tutorials.

    “They don’t go to the library and pursue additional knowledge to improve their minds.

    “They don’t read reference books as these are in English. They said it is difficult, gives them a headache. They go for examinations equipped only with the information obtained from the lecture hall,” he said during the debate on the Universities and University Colleges (Amendment) Bill 2008.

    Tajuddin said his observations were based on his experience interviewing undergraduates for work in his company.

    “I have interviewed many of them and although they were graduates, they had little general knowledge. What little general knowledge they had was poor because they did not read enough,” he said.


  10. Dr Hsu
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 21:41:30

    romerz, I am a bit of liberal and a bit of socialist. I guess that makes me a liberal socialist, just like the liberal democrats of UK– they form from an alliance of liberal and social democrats , correct me if I am worng.

    Gerakan is more of a social democratic party with liberal leaning, a left leaning centrist.


  11. Dr Hsu
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 21:49:43

    klm, that is part of the syndrome of loss of excellence.

    During our time, we read and read and were proud of our general knowledge. We can name the tallest mountain to the deepest sea, to the first person inventing the telephone and so on.

    NOwadays, even the straight As students have problems with geography and world history which are an important part of general knowledge.


  12. klm
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 22:15:33

    Dear Dr Hsu. Now that you mention it, I like to tell you something scary. Might even get you to migrate.

    1. I showed the news article to a friend. He is a retired very senior govt officer. He interviewed these buggers for civil servant posts for several years. He agreed the statement is correct.
    (Chinese and Indian candidates are not much better)

    Reports had been made to the govt on the deteriorating standards of candidates. Except the govt is in denial.

    2. This problem had been going on for a over a decade.

    3. Many of these graduates are now in mid senior positions in the govt. I think in the teaching profession. In a few years time, they will be filling the senior positions and will be making decisions.

    The quality of decision makers in the civil service will be getting lower. I cannot imagine what it will like. I dont want to around.

    4. As it is, when some of these officers attend international meetings, they cannot articulate the country position and cannot take notes and make reports.

    What will the country become then? Zimbawe!


  13. romerz
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 03:09:41

    Dr Hsu,

    I would like to share with you and your readers here a comment made by a visitor to my blog on the topic of language.

    Brian Barker said …

    I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

    The promulgation of English as the World’s “lingua franca” is unethical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

    Unethical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

    Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is long overdue, An interesting video can be seen at Professor Piron was a former translator with the United Nations

    A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at


  14. jt
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 10:15:23

    What Helen Ang’s observed is normal. This phenomenon also happen in U.S. If you visit dining hall of any university with many international students, you’ll find mainland Chinese table, Taiwanese table, Korean table, Indian table, Arab table, French table, German table, American whites table, American blacks table, American asians table, etc. I used to pick a round table instead of a long table if I’m the first one to find a seat. That way I can have American, Chinese, French, Indian & other speaking the common language (i.e. English) – it’s more like a U.N. table.

    Pre 9/11, Malaysia gov’t used to send a lot of Malay students to study in U.S. What u see is Malay villages sprawling on some of the campus. They tend to segregate themselves also. So, you can really force Malay to sit with Chinese, Indian, & others if they don’t want to.

    The problem with racial polarization lies not in education system per se. It’s the stupid rights for DUMMI that retards the integration of all races. Civil rights of Chinese, Indians and other minorities have been trampled by the UMNO regime. Malaysia is not going to make much progression unless the gov’t start treating every citizen equally. Only mutual respect and trust can bring UNITY.

    I’m glad I went to Chines primary school, it’s one of the best education I’ve received. I still believe the best combination is vernacular primary schoold and English as a teaching medium in secondary school.


  15. wassup
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 12:49:50

    individualism is not a crime. To group or live together and have common culture and values is a norm everywhere no matter how educated you are. As for me, I would stay in a community with majority chinese not because I am anti non chinese but because I feel at home and comfortable doing my comman chinese habit like carrying ‘pork smelling’ food without having to hide them under my armpit, for example. Or being indirectly reminded that I am a chinese everytime I step foot outside my house. It’s normal.

    But for political party to remind me that I am a chinese and not a Malaysian is not very ‘nice’. Furthermore to see MCA agrees to that ideology is to feel betrayed.

    And if I want to study in Chinese it’s because that I feel it can help propel me or excel better in life. Nothing else.

    And to A true Malaysian,

    why are you wasting your time with whether they can eat pork or not, or whether they can bend like Deepak chopra. I see everywhere that non muslim is wasting a lot of their precious life debating Islam, something that is no concern to them. Muslim seldom waste their time challenging Christianity, Buddhism or any other religion. And we say ‘they’ hate everyone. Can we blame them if this is our attitude? Let’s debate whether we can eat cats… no? Why? Non Islamic?


  16. A true Malaysian
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 12:59:45

    Bring back English schools into our education system and let rakyat decide which schools they want to enroll.

    This way is democratic and should be acceptable to all right thinking citizens.

    Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, or DBP in short, was given the task to translate English books into Bahasa. Time passed, DBP failed in its task, instead, borrow a lot of English words as Bahasa vocablury. Can Malaysians be proud of this?

    Is this the way to jaga ‘maruah bangsa’?


  17. A true Malaysian
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 14:28:06


    Don’t get me wrong here. Whatever one wants to eat or doesn’t wants to eat definitely is not my problem, it is his or her problem, Muslim and non-Muslim included.

    The issue I wish to bring up is this eating habit of Muslim, depending on one’s attitude, has creating a type of conciousness among Muslim friends, on food and drink served by non-Muslims.

    I have commented enough on this issue in ‘The Might of the Pen’. I wish not to comment further here, being fair to Dr. Hsu.


  18. klm
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 14:28:27

    A true Malaysian.

    The French tried to keep their language pure. But when the Internet came, they were fried. Ha! Ha!
    French Fry. My French friends will kill me.

    What can DBP do, when the French failed?

    English or Internet English (which is more American English than English English, to be more precise) is the Tsunami of the 21st century.


  19. Dr Hsu
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 15:21:07

    This is the comment that i made in romerz’s blog on education:

    My views on vernacular education is very clear, and can be read from my blog.

    At one time in the 60s, vernacular schools actually faced the threat of being phased out naturally, with their enrolment of students dropping yearly, for the simple reason that more and more parents of chinese descent sent their children to english medium school at that time.

    Then come National Langauge Act 1968 which was used by Rahman Yaacob in the early 70s to convert all English national schools into Malay National schools.

    Vernacular schools were thus given a second chance, as their enrolement shot up as parents didnt want to send their children to Malay national schools as they want better upward mobility for their children. (ability to get good job, or further their education elsewhere).

    Having mention all these, I think there is a place for a vernacular school system at the primary level. Many studies have shown that children– I mean the average child not the birghtest and not those in the cities where they can have tuition and so on– learn things faster in their mother tongue. So there is really a place for mother tongue education at the primary level.

    Even Lee Kuan Yew has mentioned that he might have been wrong to change the primary schools systems to all English.

    AT the secondary level, I propose that we have English as a medium of instruction. Bahasa Malasyia will have to be a compulsory subject, and a credit in BM is a must for admission to local universities. Then the choice of a third language (mother tongue) be made available to those who want to learn them.

    I am from a chinese primary school, continuing to CHung lIng High School which was one of the conforming schools that switched the medium of instruction from Chinese to English. Chinese was taught as a compulsory subject and in subjects like civics. English and Bahasa were the compulsory pass subjects at my time when we sat for Cambridge School certificate and MCE exams.

    Most of my contemporaries from Chung Ling are trilingual. We can speak and write in english, chinese and Malay without much efforts. I do not refer just to the top students, who would have done well in any system. I refer to the avergae Chung lIng Students, who can master the 3 languages without problems.

    That was a good system and was a tested system.So why not bring back the English schools at promary level while keeping the vernacular schools , and switch to English as the medium of instruction in secondary schools?

    That is what many rich Chinese are doing now sending their children to vernacular chinese schools at primary level and then to international schools at the secondary levels, in KL especially. These students have proven to be well adapted and many are overseas now. Many fo my friends’ children are among this group.

    The Malay elites do not even bother to send their children to national primary schools. They send their children striaght inot international schools or private english scholls, which have mushroomed in KL.

    I sincerely believe that polarisation has more to do with the percieved differential treatment of people more thant anything else. We need a change of government to have any chance of doing away with this differential treatment.

    We can have an affirmative policy which , however, must be based on social strata and not on ethnicity.That will be the first step to foster better unity and do away with suspicion and mistrust which are so prevalent now.


  20. Observer
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 15:41:36

    I think the Education Ministry should be run by a panel of unbiased experts in education not affiliated to any political parties whose main pririoty is to improve the quality of education. It will be political suicide for any racial based party and the education minister to implement any policies that can be seen to be slighting their own language however good the intention might be.

    People is asset to the nation. Educated and smart citizen will be more powerful asset. It is vital that the nation has to invest heavily to recruit the best to become teachers. The teachers must be paid lucratively and well trained.

    If we have good school, good policies and good teachers….. all school would be good school.


  21. A true Malaysian
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 15:51:51

    Dr. Hsu,

    Everyone is aware what you said in your latest comments is the best arrangement for our education system.

    The ministers are aware of this, so does the Umno Malay elites, but why they still did the contrary of what they personally believes and let others go through ‘what they themselves have no faith on’?

    I am puzzled with all these contraries. A simple and fast solution is there, they are just ignorant. How come?


  22. Dr Hsu
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 15:54:47

    Observer, quality and choice, as veonszu has pointed out in an earlier post , are the main things that people want.

    klm, again, i must say you are right.

    Internet english is going to be the true international language.

    There is really no other choice but to learn English if anyone does not want to be left behind in this world of rapid change.


  23. Dr Hsu
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 16:48:07

    A True Malaysian,

    Because for these leaders, their political base is the rural Malay educated masses. They do not want these to change to become a progressive and liberal type , which will not give them the support they need to be up there to exercise power. Look at the urban Malays. They voted differently because they see things differently from their Malay counterparts in the rural area.

    There must be change, there is no 2 ways about it. And the change will come the next GE, believe me.


  24. klm
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 17:23:59

    A side track – on the internet and the french. This is a real story told by my daughter’s sister-in-law. She teaches French in high school.

    When she was in France last year, the French told her they invented the Internet. (this lady is totally not into technology). Since the French cannot win the language war, they want to claim the Internet. Wounded pride.

    Again, my French friends will kill me.

    (France used to have some thing minitel in the 80’s. This was a service like the internet where one use a small computer to search for telephone numbers. The French telephone company also sold advertisement on it. 80% of the adverts were for escort services. Anyway, the Internet was never based on this technology)

    I apologise for telling stories. Hope you dont mind.


  25. daffodils
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 17:33:33

    94% of Chinese attend a Chinese vernacular school for their primary education. About 75% of Indians attend a Tamil vernacular school. 99% of Malays attend a national school.

    And the reason is crystal clear why this is so. As long as the national schools are not up to its mark with problems like students left on their own because of teachers taking maternity leave or teachers attending courses and not making up for lost lessons. When you have lax supervision over underperforming teachers, students end up getting a raw deal. You also have over emphasis on a certain subject for a certain group so much so the others are not given due attention. I am not so sure of the situation in vernacular schools.

    I was a product from an all girls’ mission English medium school in Kuala Lumpur. Then English medium schools were multiracial in nature and we were studying alongside with our Malay and Indian friends. We were never racially minded and think in terms of race. School then was a neutral ground for different communities to congregate.

    If the vast majority of primary school students interact with students from only their ethnic community do you not think it will contribute to racial polarization? It is not just at the primary school level. It continues until the secondary school and universities. With institutions like the residential schools which exist solely for one race the problem is exacerbated. It is not just the vernacular schools that are the cause of polarisation.

    Our children are mixing mostly with their own kind. That is the reason why there is distrust and lack of understanding of each other’s culture and customs. No doubt the government’s discriminatory policies contribute to racial polarisation.

    As long as the national schools do not measure up, parents will still flock to vernacular schools. They are more concerned with the quality of education.


  26. A true Malaysian
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 17:51:51

    The root of these problems, not National School, not Malay School, not Chinese School, not Tamil School, but xxxx.

    You know, I know, everyone know, except xxxx.

    Only if I know how to amputate it, how nice. I know the change will come next GE, just that I have no patient to wait.


  27. pohwatchdog
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 18:51:34

    Whether we have a Chinese, Tamil, Malay or English type school in our beloved country, we should ask ourself what we really want from this type of education? It all depend on the qualities of an individual. We have seen many successful personalities from vernacular school in their chosen field of profession. We must not be narrow minded that only Chinese, Tamil, Malay or English medium create disunity. I would say the one sided government policy created this unhapiness or polarisation. Why not we let this type of school continue their medium instruction? Diversity in education have create a model of harmony in the last 50 years. Do we need politician, academician or NGO to remind us that only one medium instruction is the best? Let have English medium school back in Malaysia especially the mission schools like La Salle, Methodist and Convent. This is what we called a choice for Malaysians


  28. klm
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 22:09:30

    Trends In International Mathematics and Science Study 2007 is released in December 2008.

    Highlights (for grade 8)

    ———–Score–Position–Highest– Average Maths—– 474—–20——–598——–500

    Science score is for 90 percentile (high performance)

    Top maths country : Taiwan
    Top science country : Singapore

    This underscore the point Malaysia education is not the worse ( a consolation) – just average.
    Not a very good story if you are planning to send your children to overseas universities.

    go to this site to download reports


  29. irika
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 13:51:25

    Not true vernacular schools cause racial polarization, back in 1963 when msia was formed, we had more types of schools (malay, chinese, tamil, ugama, english, missionary), but different races mix much better than now.
    Rather, it is bcos of NEP, ketuanan, bumi/non bumi, housing quota, pendatang, one race colleges (Mara), Uni entrance quota, scholarship quota, etc, that caused these polarization.


  30. monsterball
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 23:23:18

    You shit what you eat and your body becomes what you have eaten.
    Your personality depends on your brain…and in Malaysia….race and religion dirty politics by UMNO…have produced a sizable fanatics..idiots and lazy Muslims… in fantasy world.
    Lets talk about UMNO on what I have written…than wasting time …talking eating habits….which all Human beings have their roots….and all back to eating anything that can crawl…walk or run.
    wassup wants to talk cock..lets talk cock… he thinks he know so much about fairness and rights in our country…managed by the most corrupted Muslims on Earth.
    No doubt…wassup is pro UMNO…and feeling no shame…no regrets…..what UMNO did to disunite Malaysians….especially under Mahathir for 22 years.
    And if he wants to talk about Islam…no problem.
    What does he know about his religion…when the Torah and Angel are the same as the Bible.
    What does he know about ” RELIGIONS “….at all!!
    So he better humble himself…talk nice…as I know…he is a braggart and an idiot…from UMNO trying to agree to disagree.
    So wassup…..”come..drink with me”..or shut up!!


  31. romerz
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 01:07:21


    How very true! I believe the removal of NEP will do wonders for this country. All else will flow naturally.

    Sigh monsterball, if only you could temper your anger with a little social etiquette and you could become a formidable proponent of the cause for change.

    “So he better humble himself…talk nice…”

    The same applies to all of us who even if we disagree with wassup.

    monsterball, I wonder if you realize how powerful your arguments can be if only you could be a bit more polite?


  32. klm
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 10:30:10

    Dear All.

    Are we talking about education or are we talking about unity?

    Issues on education are tough enough. Adding unity problem in education make the equation impossible to solve

    I am a bit selfish. I rather work on fixing the education as I can see immediate benefits for me and my children.


  33. Dr Hsu
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 10:55:48

    romerz, i am a great admirer of Dale Carnegie. He did not believe in scolding people. Once you start scolding by using harsh words and so on, people’s ears will be shut and your ideas will never get in.

    So the best way, is to talk nicely about the strength of that person you wish to influence, and having gain his confidence, then go for the kill with your argument.And when you sense that his resentment may come, swicth to gaining his confidence again.

    That is how Toastmasters all over the world are using to motivate their memebrs. Sandwich your criticism between priases, and people will be receptive to your ideas of change.

    Modern world, as I have mentioned many times, there is little place for compulsion except maybe political posturing.

    Having said all these, I extend my welcome to Monsterball . I have never banned him as i have said inJustin’s blog. And his being back could bring a lot of good ideas to us, if only everyone keeps to this blog ‘s policy of no personal attacks, foul languages or attacks on religions.


  34. Dr Hsu
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 10:57:33

    klm, thanks for your ideas and links on education. Great work and a big help to a novice like me.

    Pls carry on your good work and i am sure you will enlighten all of us with your wisdom and vast experience, both local and overseas..


  35. klm
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 11:20:16

    Dr Hsu. Thank you for your kind words.

    Again, I feel I need to share this bit from yesterday TheStar on a comment from Badawi. Underlying this, again is the result of the education system and attitude in Malaysia.

    People dont think. They just wait for instructions.

    – no need to name people. you know who they are.

    JOHOR BARU: Authorities managing four of five development corridors have to follow through and “cannot just depend on me to think for them,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

    Abdullah said that with the exception of the Iskandar region, which has attracted RM40.2bil, the other corridors had to be more proactive in drawing in investments.

    “I leave it to the respective authorities to think,” said Abdullah who told off the authorities managing the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) for not doing enough.

    “I’ve created the opportunity, a very big area for them and given them the money. So start thinking, start looking for investments,” he said.

    . . . . . . . . .


  36. wassup
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 11:28:57

    wow… monsterball, don’t feel like getting up every morning or you just couldn’ get ‘it’ up? muahahaha….

    Dying? Time running out on you? muahahaha….

    You need help old man or you’ll die with eyes wide open with grudge against the ‘wrong tree’.



  37. klm
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 11:32:51

    The above comment by Badawi link back to earlier post on undergraduates of Malaysian universities. This is another manifestation of the same problem.


  38. klm
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 12:01:23

    Following is an article from an English newspaper.
    It give the quantitative reason, why English is the universal language. (this article was written in 2006)

    No emotion, just plain number. The truth is in the number.


    English language nears the one million-word milestone
    By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
    Thursday, 13 April 2006

    It will not be of much comfort to President George Bush and others who, on occasion, struggle to make themselves understood. But some time soon the English language, according to at least one reasonably authoritative source, will create its one-millionth word.

    The Global Language Monitor (GLM), a San Diego-based linguistic consultancy, reckoned that on 21 March (the vernal equinox) this year, there were about 988,968 words in the language, “plus or minus a handful”. At the current rate of progress, the one-million mark will be reached this summer.

    And how does the GLM know? It started, it says, with a base vocabulary drawn from major dictionaries that contain the historic core of the language. Then it created its own algorithm, or formula, called the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), that measures the language as found in print, electronic media, and on television and radio. That establishes a rate of increase in the creation of new words, and the import and absorption of foreign words into English.

    No one argues about the huge richness of the English language – fed by Germanic, Scandinavian and Latin streams, unrivalled in its readiness to borrow from every language, and mercifully free of tiresome bodies like the Academié Française to decide what counts and what does not.

    The process is only reinforced by the universality of English. True, more people (more than a billion) may be native speakers of Mandarin Chinese than of English (an estimated 500 million or so, roughly the same as Hindi). French, incidentally, only limps into the top 10 with 130 million native speakers.

    But if there is such a thing as a world language, it is English, spread first by the British Empire, then by the economic, cultural and military juggernaut of the US, and now by the internet. And, at every stop on the way, new words are coined, or scooped up from other languages.

    But how many and how fast? The GLM claims that its projected figures are conservative – and in fact some estimates put the total of English words at two million or more. The devil lies in definition: what constitutes a new word? Does slang count? And what about archaisms and obsolete words? Another study, the Life and Times of the English Language, by Robert Claiborne and published in 1990, puts the number of words at no more than 600,000. The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains more than 300,000 head words, and some 615,000 “word forms,” that include the head words, plus combinations and derivatives. By contrast, Websters Third International Dictionary has 54,000 word families – base words, inflections and derivations.

    But no one should feel intimidated. The average vocabulary of an educated native English speaker is about 24,000 to 30,000. Shakespeare used 24,000 words – 1,700 of which he is claimed to have invented.

    Nonetheless, with an active vocabulary of just 3,000 or so, you can get along pretty well. And if you are stumped for a word, just make one up. It seems to have worked in the past for the most powerful man in the world, so it could work for you as well. The chances are, it will soon be swept up in the boundless net of the Global Language Monitor. You never know, it might even be the coveted number 1,000,000.

    Comparing languages

    * Up to 20 per cent of the words used by Global Language Monitor come from hybrids such as Chinglish and Japlish. Words from Chinglish include the business terms “drinktea”, meaning closed, and “torunbusiness”, meaning open. Bushisms such as “uninalienable” and ‘misunderestimate’ are included.

    * English is evolving faster than other languages. This year’s additions to the Oxford English Dictionary include “podcast” and “offshoring”.

    * Spanish linguists say there are 225,000 words in contemporary use.

    * The largest edition of the Duden German-German dictionary contains about 200,000 words

    * The Russian language has just reached the 125,000 mark.

    * French has 100,000 words, one-sixth of the figure used in the UK.But the Academié Française, the body that defines the language, recognises 25,525.



  39. Dr Hsu
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 12:36:52

    Dear readers, please keep to the rules of this blog and no cursing and personal attacks.



  40. monsterball
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 12:51:30

    Romerz .Thanks for your advise. But no can do. I am what I am.
    At my age…I have enough good faithful friends….and re4spect from all walks of life.
    No one..have not told me…they have learn way or another …from me.
    That’s good enough.
    But once I smell a hypocrite or a braggart… wassup…..I will not let him/her go.
    And noting Doc’s compliment..I am touched by it too. guys….get used to my style…and if it turns you off…that’s too bad.
    Wassup…whether I die with eyes open or shut…I am after you..all the way..
    Barking at the wrong three you say?
    Well I am glad…you know…your brain is made of wood.
    I die with eyes open…OK….you will be chopped off…one nice make furniture.
    Peace on Earth to all mankind….that I accept…but if you keep picking others…like “true malaysia” to challenge you…lets see you challenge me..any subject…..starting from your root…..the Melayu or your religion.
    Only a pondan or a girl will laugh like.”muahahahaha”
    I guess you are a gay.
    Lets see…you outlive this old man…and see who needs help.
    hi Melayu…don’t try o be too nice.
    You are another great hypocrite.
    I can smell a rat….when I see one.


  41. monsterball
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 13:22:57

    Blogging is faceless and nameless by most commentators.
    It is entirely different….like..talking to one…you can see and touch.
    With live people…I do not talk this way. I am quite diplomatic. I am a true cultured gentleman…as Doc have seen me so….meeting him….face to face.
    Many of you are newcomers..and I have been commenting…since blogging started…5 years ago.
    I have had few pro Mahathir political bloggers….out to find ways and do me up..for a good 2 years.
    All quiet down…and one was brave keep apologizing in internet….until I told him to stop.
    I have experienced near death…one year ago…by fake robbers!!
    So guys….in blogging….what is there to be so respectful to faceless and nameless hypocrites…..but if they stay as nice guys/gals…OK…we talk nice to them.
    I fear no one.
    Those I have met….know me better…as times passes by.
    In the end…monsterball will b known as the most sincere commentator….talking from his heart…and a smart person too…if any blog owner care to admit.
    Yes…I choose to provoke with no selfish ulterior motives….but solely to let those I choose….to prove me wrong…..on my messages…not keep focusing on my character.
    I will again….apply less commenting..after this…to give peace to Doc’s blog.
    I am sure…he is working overtime again…deleting rubbish …..because of me …back again.


  42. A true Malaysian
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 15:50:23

    Hey guys,

    Romerz has posted a great article that all true Malaysians should read, it titled ‘What is Malaysia to you, Datuk Wong?’.

    My comment to this :-


    What a great article from you. I fully agree with you, particularly the below :-

    “What WCW says may be true of a Malaysia of our forefathers, where they never regarded Malaysia as a country of their roots but rather as a place to make a living and one day to return to the motherland China/India and to live out the rest of their days and be buried in their ancestral land. For this reason, many of our forefathers who had come to Malaysia never bothered themselves in matters relating to this land except to safeguard their niche for economic advancement with the ultimate aim of returning to the motherland one day.”

    Bravo to you, Romerz.


  43. A true Malaysian
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 15:54:23

  44. klm
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 16:35:59

    Romerz .Very good point.

    A true Malaysian – thanks for the link.

    Obama did put this idea very well in his speech.
    This would be the Malaysia I want. When would we get an inspirational leader like this?

    “Each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

    The market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

    Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

    Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

    We are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper. “


  45. jeff
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 03:13:23

    Let tell this umno youth gangster and professor leave education choice decision to individual Malaysian and educationist to figure out education policy, Malaysia is still a free country, they need to find something better to do .

    Any way vernacular schools are already being marginalized so they should not worry about national school get overtaken by student graduated from those school.


  46. klm
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 14:47:54

    On teaching of maths and science in English

    Seems the majority view is to continue this practice.

    Th question is when do we do this? At primary level or secondary level.

    Looking at this issue:

    1. Teaching maths and science in English is not sufficient to for a student to learn English. One need a vocabulary to understand the words and nuances.

    2. When Dr. M propose the teaching of maths and science in English, he also proposed to tie these with the teaching of English as a language. That way, the words are applied in usage in the maths and science in an integrated way.

    The stupid minister of education then, an educationist, cannot understand this concept, and the educationists screw up the implementation.
    (May they rot in hell)

    So, we have teachers teaching maths and science, who do not have sufficient command of the language. Any wonder why the standard of english dropped.

    4. The argument is that language, maths and science must be integrated.

    It is english, maths and science (in english) or

    DJZ argument

    chinese ,maths and science (in chinese)

    5. So, when do we make this cross over from chinese, maths and science (in chinese) to english, maths and science (in english)?

    Not many people has the ability to make this cross over. We need a solution for people who find it difficult to make this change over.

    In the past, many students suffered.

    What do we do? What can we do?


  47. JFK
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 00:14:15

    The DJZ is speaking with a forked tongue. The teaching of Science and Mathematics in English is grossly neglected by Chinese vernacular schools for reasons best known to them.

    Most of the time allocated for the English M & S are used to teach the Putonghua version. So it is not surprising that students still persist in answering in Chinese. Is it blatant sabotage or lack of trained and qualified teachers.

    Anyway, the vernacularists are so adamant in getting their way that their argument for the reversal is based on distorted half-truths and xenophobia with a dash of Ketuanan Cina.

    They want to preserve the Chinese cultural purity at the high cost of creating a generation of Sino trash in this country. The over 26% drop out rate among vernacular schooled students at secondary level before even sitting for the SPM is a precursor of problems to come. And the fault should lie squarely upon the DJZ’s refusal to adapt to an ever changing environment.

    The history of China should teach us that greatness is not permanent and preserving the status quo is risky. The inherent weakness of the Chinese language lies in the cumbersome pictograph words compared to the linear phonetic texts. Therefore, in spite of the supposedly largest user base, it means nothing as it is used almost exclusively by Chinese and its diaspora.

    The often quoted fact that more people speaks Chinese than any other languages is misleading. In fact, there are about a billion Chinese speakers compared to over 1.8 billion people who can speak English although a large portion as a second language. This figure is projected to grow at a phenomenal rate with no correlation to race or boundaries.

    Almost everybody in China wants to learn English if given the opportunity unlike the vernicularists in Malaysia. Isn’t that queer?


  48. klm
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 09:46:24

    On mother tongues

    One of DJZ argument was, teaching maths and science in the mother tongue made it easier for the children to learn. Argument accepted.

    Question is what is the mother tongue. Is cantonese, hokkein, khek, or teochew mother tongue?

    A child who learned cantonese, or hokkien or khek at home , has to learn putonghua or is it beijinghua? Anyway, he or she has to learn a new language, albeit writing maybe the same. This was my crossover, when I did POL long time ago. I tried to learn mandarin, english and bahasa all at the same time. Maybe, i was not so smart.

    It is easier now, as many family adopt putonghua as the common language.

    Malay and tamil (to be specific) children do not have this problem in the national and indian vernacular schools respectively.

    But other indians would have problem with the Inidan (tamil) vernacular schools. Telegu, Hindi, and other indian languages speaker do not fit into the indian vernacular schools.

    I think people have to be open to all the issues.


  49. klm
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 10:00:34

    Adding to my comments on mother tongues. In Hong Kong schools, subjects are taught in Cantonese.

    Maybe, as a Cantonese, i insist that maths and science be taught in Cantonese, mother tongue of many people in KL.

    As a side note, many years ago, my ex-colleagues in HK said they had difficulty in making presentations in China, in Putonghua. They too have difficulty switching over.


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