Worldwide internet usage

The following graph is taken from Internet World Statistics.

 world internet users

(click to enlarge it )

In the first quarter of 2009, it is estimated that there are 1.59 billion interent users in the world, and ENGLISH is by far the most used language with 464 million users, and next come Chinese 321 millions users, and Spanish with 131 million users.

In fact, most of us in Malaysia, even those from National Schools, use the English version of Window.

I leave my readers to draw theri own conclusion here.


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. clearwater
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 13:21:24

    ”Hey, BM belongs in the ‘All the rest’ category which with 258 million users is in the 3rd largest group. That ain’t half bad!”

    Conclusion of a 4th Form student from a national school.


  2. klm
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 14:24:46

    Dr Hsu.

    There are some people, who, no matter how may times we hit them on the head, will refuse to accept the idea. Their common excuse – what will happen to the rural student.

    First, we need to recognise what need to be done. Then figure a way to solve the problems. Rural and weaker students will have problem with English. The correct way is to find a good solution. It should no be an excuse to drag the whole system down. Using this is an easy way out. But in the end , it will not do anybody good.


  3. Rhan
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 15:18:37

    If can’t understand, teach slowly, why hit on the head?

    A hypothesis question, what if the next 5 years China GDP overtake US and Mandarin user on Internet exceeding other language or Mandarin become the number one Internet language? Same arguments still stay?

    Classification base on rural and urban is for our easy understanding, the solution is as suggest, provide option and let the parents / student to choose. And don’t simply tell us the importance of English and conclude that everyone should listen to that so-called best advice. Human mind doesn’t work that way. Perhaps we all agree to each other on the solution, but doesn’t convey the message in a right way?

    处在一个风雨飘摇时代的华校能存活下来, 我们就不能让一些有民族意识之士发表想法? 也他妈的太武断了吧?


  4. KB
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 15:41:30

    We can’t ignore the rural problem, it is a real one. Instead of being dragged down in one (non-compulsory) subject, they are dragged down in 3 subjects.

    Personally, I believe teaching technical subjects in English is not the best way to improve command of the language. This is like teaching a person to cook using French cuisine.

    The way to improve English is by better English teachers, language related activities like debates and essay competitions, encouraging reading and making English a compulsory subject.

    In fact, our decline in English standard can be traced to the short-sighted act of dropping English as a compulsory subject.

    Yes, the language of Science is English but to access the body of Science literature all you need is a good general grasp of English. All technical terms can be explained in basic English.

    Knowing technical terms in English without a good grasp of syntax, grammar, vocab, sentence structure and phrases does not imbue the ability to read technical literature. You may know what all the individual words mean in a sentence but you may not be able to understand the sentence.

    The govt is not abandoning English by dropping teaching of Maths and Science in English, rather teaching of English is going to be enhanced. This is where the proper effort should go to.


  5. Meng
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 15:43:18

    Most of the umno guys I spoke to were against the change…but they have to play along with Najib hopefully to recapture the lost states.

    This is Najib’s move to regain malay confidence in those states for the next GE and Anwar has to neutralise it by agreeing with the change.

    Meanwhile Najib is also in a delimma. A large number of malays and chinese esp english speaking ones or whose children are well educated in english and are well employed are against the change and this may be translated into votes in the coming GE.


  6. ck
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 15:53:50

    We can’t blame our students for not mastering English well, afterall they are ‘students’. We must question why a person can’t speak english or pass thier english test can become a teacher? what happen to our KPLI? why we produce so many of disqualified ‘teachers’? Muhyuddin and previous education minister should answer it…


  7. by
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 17:41:45

    Further to ck comments, the problems plaguing our education system lies in the quality of teachers and lecturers that we inherited due to non-meritocracy policies. Even if English is introduced at all levels, the fact remains that our kids may not benefit if the teachers themselves are not conversant and capable in nurturing the right values and imparting the right knowledge. And is the same when BM is used except that it’s not politicised. Whatever language is used, it makes very little impact to raise the quality of our education system, if the teachers themselves dont excel and strive for excellence


  8. A true Malaysian
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 18:20:05

    Severe damages have been inflicted to all systems by the present government. No point to cry over split milk. Still, we need to “restart” from somewhere to put the systems right again.

    The best point to “restart” is next GE. Let PR governs. Of course, it will not be easy for PR to correct those messes they will be inherited, as what we see in Penang and Selangor, but, we still need to start from somewhere.

    PR cannot be worse than BN….. 🙂


  9. vsvsv
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 23:08:27

    By: Rhan on July 14, 2009
    at 3:18 pm

    “If can’t understand, teach slowly, why hit on the head?”

    You are right, but why the government took such a drastic move by changing all system while the government can tackle this problem by trainning more english teacher and guilde the rural students? Why hit the “englsh” head??

    You said ” Classification base on rural and urban is for our easy understanding, the solution is as suggest, provide option and let the parents / student to choose ”

    The problem now is government is not taking your advice here and that is why we are discussing and writing our comments here. Oh…by the way, most of the students and we parents would like to choose english as the most common language for our kids. Again you fail to notice….sigh…how pathetic…just like our government.


  10. Atila
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 23:12:47

    Dr Hsu

    Got to smack this data on the Menteri Pelejaran Malaysia’s face.


  11. vsvsv
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 23:19:35


    They won’t understand this english data.


  12. Rhan
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 08:09:51


    1. I am not the government and I never say I agree with the government action.

    2. If you are not happy with the government, please do as ATM suggests, kick them out.

    3. Most is your delusion, it is not all and don’t even represent the majority, otherwise why such a political motivated move?

    4. If you don’t like to classify it as urban / rural and wish to use those who choose English and those who are not, I am fine.

    5. So can those pathetic that don’t choose English give our opinion and having a discussion here?


  13. Rhan
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 08:11:35

    Mandarin will grow to be the number one language in many aspects due to one simple reason, the huge population in Greater China and the overseas Chinese. However, this doesn’t mean Mandarin will become a widely use language in many specialised field such as science, technology, economy, legal and etc. And no doubt English will continue to be the most preferred second language for the global citizen particularly China and India.

    Hanzi in pictorial form / logographic is perceived to be one hard to grasp language.
    There are calls from many scholars that the survival of Chinese largely depend on the reforming or alphabetized of Hanzi.
    左翼作家瞿秋白说:“汉字真正是世界上最龌龊最恶劣最混蛋的中世纪的茅坑。” 鲁迅认为 “汉字是愚民政策的利器”,是“劳苦大众身上的结核”,“倘不先除去它,结果只有自己死。”
    However, the purported relative complexity Han character if compare against the alphabetical English doesn’t stop the many common Hanzi (Kanji) user country from rising up to one of nation leading in science, economy, technology and with fairly high literacy level. In contrast, the 26 alphabet that looks simple doesn’t guarantee the extinction of illiterate. Hence, language may not be the only decisive factor by looking at the brief history of Hanyu / Hanzi.

    Apart from this, there is a notion that we don’t really need to know an unlimited Han character in order to be prowess in this language simply because a combination of two Han character could create a new meaning. 例如车,电车,马车,手推车,汽车,火车 . In English or any alphabetical language, all this is totally new word. This combination of Han character is a great help in creating new scientific term not subject to the limit of 26 alphabet. Of course the ability to read classic text thousand years back and “书同文” is another plus point.

    As long as the Chinese learn the bitter experience of French and German which emphasize too much on exclusiveness, 以海纳百川、开阔明朗的心态对待文化的开放与交流.
    Mandarin have the equal chances to become another universal language. I think most of us love to see a more balance world instead of a dominant one.

    In my very personal opinion, Bahasa Melayu (Malaysia) which are base on alphabet should have less difficulty to deal with the problem face by Mandarin. What we need is one politician who is braves enough to break through the Nationalism sentiment, and daring enough to merge the Malay language with Indonesia language. Number still count in a world that upholds democracy values.

    But, I would stress here again that English will remain as the most popular second language whether we like it or not.


  14. klm
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 10:18:21


    You mentioned some good points. But, I think you miss a few finer points which I think are important.

    1. A language spoken by 1.3 billion people is a popular language. But it is not a universal language.

    2. We should not treat English as a second language. This is where things start to go wrong.
    We should treat it as a universal language, a lingua franca:

    A lingua franca is a language systematically used to communicate between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both persons’ mother tongues. – wikipedia

    English is the language to communicate scientific and mathematical ideas and knowledge.

    English is the vernacular language in England and the US. But it is a lingua franca everywhere else.

    So, English should not be place on a par with other languages like French or German as what the minister was suggesting. Treat it differently with more emphasis.

    3. Let me give some examples.

    (a) Once, I had Finnish, French and German engineers from one company, in one place. This company is a pan European company. What language do you think they used to communicate?

    (b) A few years ago I was hosted by a leading Chinese technology company in Shenzen. This company had successfully entered the world market. They had young enthusiastic engineers. The people I met had good understanding of the English language but were poor in speaking the language. (This campany was recruiting 10,000 engineers a year from China’s top universities). But you can see the effort they were making to pick up English. You can see the effort and money invested to prepare its employees for the world stage. My guide, a new employee who was 6 months in the company and still under training, announced that she was selected to attend a course- a basic course that could easily be held in China. But the company wanted to send her to the Netherlands – for the exposure.

    Today, this company is a global leading technology company, with a revenue of 10s of billions USD. And it operates in every major countries in the world.


  15. Meng
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 11:43:56

    Dr Hsu out of topic but can you confirm this!!

    There are news on the ground particularly from umno guys that the MB selangor would give up his parliamentary seat to call for a byelection. Zaid Ibrahim would stand in and make his way back to parliament.

    I hope it happens.!!!


  16. vsvsv
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 12:07:29


    Englsh is not second language and I being the parents of 4 still think englsih is the universal language. That is why we initially said math and scinece must be taught in english. Problem of rural can be solved but not this drastic way.

    I don know why but your comment are so mix up. But I am happy you now agree you also not happy with the government. To sum up, we should let the people to decide what is best for outr next generation. And the answer is still english….


  17. Kongkor
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 13:47:39

    A very simple analogy from a simple person like me.

    When you have a school going kid who is slacking in certain subjects, say English, Science and Maths, what would you do as parents? As for me, I worked extra hard to enable my kid to go for extra tuition classes so that my kid can catch up and improved their grades. Period.

    Likewise, this is the simple step the government should take to enable the rural kids to ‘catch-up’ if their English is not up to mark. Enable and empower those who are weak so that they can be better. Why flip and flop on the use of language to teach. Why change the policy at the expense of others?

    Nevertheless, on one hand, we have a bunch of “powerful politician” only out for political and $$$ gains running the country while on the other, we have a bunch of coalition partners who have the brains but instead choose to ‘sell-out’ their fellow Malaysian by keeping quiet and agree to the first group. Sheesh…


  18. andrew
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 14:21:26

    The people manning the education dept of Malaysia may have ulterior motives in weakening the masses of school going children. They wanted everybody to be less proficient in English and thus can’t make headway in almost anything in Malaysia.

    Whereas their children and their cronies children are all eductaed overseas or in international schools locally. Well, the ultimate game is to have less knowledgeable people that are easy to be divided and controlled. This is the politivs of divide and rule till kingdom comes unless we make effort to change it.


  19. Rhan
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 14:28:17


    1. I never say Mandarin is a universal language, I say Mandarin have the equal chance to become one.

    2. We will never agree to each other on this. Hence we shall accept that human beliefs and thought will never identical.

    3. You start to confuse me with words like universal language, second language and lingua franca. a) Mandarin is my first language, English is my second language for the sake to communicate to one who can’t speak Mandarin, so what is the different between me and that German, French and Finnish? b) Are you talking Huawei? Most Malaysian work with China engineer in Huawei knows how poor is their verbal English. But I did say English would become the most popular second language to the Chinese. And as I tell many times, Chinese don’t need to learn engineering in English from Western country and what they need is to have some grip on the Western management philosophy and make use of English for communication purpose. Anyway, just for curious sake, did the new employee expose to English in Netherlands? Because I notice many Chinese who went German would speak and write decent German.

    My point is there are people out there who wish to improve their English but never agree to make it their first language. We should respect their choice, just like we respect your choice to make English the first language, but I am not the government so what I do is continue to respect. Cheers.

    My stand is exactly the same with Hsu, the only difference is I don’t look so highly on English. I agree when you say to let the people decide but I think the changes back to BM/ Vernacular language in primary level is good for the rural people. I am not happy with the government since they introduce teaching M&S in English six years ago in vernacular school, and now I am not happy because the government doesn’t provide any option especially in the secondary level.


  20. klm
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 18:46:45

    There is one stakeholder that no one had asked when the decision was made. Politicians, parents, students, teachers,Ah Kow, Ali and Muthu. had something to say. But we never asked the employers. People who will be offering jobs to the students in the future. What kind of graduates and workers do they want to hire?

    This is what MIDA is offering to foreign investors in the electronic industry. Fact or fiction?

    Educated and Experienced Workforce
    Malaysia’s relatively young, English-speaking workforce has gone through at
    least 11 years of formal education, making Malaysian workers easy to train and
    adaptable to new technologies.

    English is widely spoken
    English is the principal language of business as well as the medium of
    instruction in many universities and colleges in Malaysia. Thus, overseas
    managers of photonics companies operating in Malaysia will have no difficulty
    in communicating with their local staff. In addition, training of Malaysian workers
    will be easier as they are familiar with the English language.


  21. Rhan
    Jul 16, 2009 @ 08:51:50

    Until today, I still have great doubt if foreign investment have anything to do with level of English proficiency in the invested country. In my opinion, the basic requirement is cheap labour and tax incentive, relatively good education quality and stable politic. Otherwise how you explain the flow of investment to China, Vietnam and Thailand? To most investor, a workforce that speaks good English is merely an extra bonus. MNC doesn’t limited to American or British Co. Gweilo have good respect toward any local culture and language, only the English speaking class Malaysian especially Chinese and India have this bias view toward one who could not speak good English.

    Something to do with identity crisis I would say.


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