Mind your own language
“Oh blimey!” That was my reaction when a colleague of mine, during one of our usual mengeteh sessions asked me on the issue of PPSMI. My colleague, who considered himself as a ‘pejuang bahasa’ and a self-confessed freedom-of-speech fighter, not contented with my answer trying to poke me again with the question.
“Seriously bro, what do you think?”
Seriously, I don’t want to think. At least on this issue. Because seriously I don’t know what the issue is all about or whether there is any issue in the first place. However, if somebody seriously seek my opinion, then these are my two cents (or senses) …
For a cool and simple guy like me, ‘Bahasa’ is just a medium. People communicates with each other using some sort of ‘bahasa’. Melayu talks with another Melayu in Bahasa Melayu. Chinese talks with another Chinese in Bahasa Cina and Indian talks with another Indian in Bahasa India. If any of those ‘bangsa dan kaum’ talk with one another in ‘bahasa itek’ for example and just for the sake of fun, then this world will be full of crazy people.
wahid isnain salasa arbaah
They all give the same meaning.
According to our ‘ilmu tawarikh’ , Bahasa Melayu was once used widely in this Archipelago as a lingua franca. Munshi Abdullah, the great Malay scholar wrote to the Kings in the far land in Bahasa Melayu and wrote it in Jawi. Bahasa Melayu was accepted and well respected at that time. That was so long time ago.
“Walauweee…. lansi liao”
“lu Ganu kite, how come you didn’t talk like one meh?”
Once upon a time in Malaya, our education system used to have LCE, MCE and HSC. All subjects were taught in English. I am sure in the beginning it was very hard for the student, especially in the rural area to embrace the foreign language, and yet at the same time to master the subjects. But nobody was complaining. Because they knew, what they really want was knowledge. And many went further even to oversea to further their jihad and succeeded.
PPSMI? It has been six years now, and millions has been spent for this project. Millions of taxpayer’s money. Teachers were trained and retrained. ABMs (alat bantuan mengajar) were upgraded. Pupils mind has been tuned and realigned. There were surely hiccups here and there, which is normal. If there is any loopholes and venue for improvement, why don’t we just improve it? To make it even better. We must start somewhere. Don’t you think?
Recently, some of our brothers and sisters who eat nasi lemak and roti canai came out to the street demanding for the system to be abolished. Honestly, I don’t blame them. Naturally that is what a ‘pejuang’ will do. They will fight for whatever on this earth they believe is correct and worth fighting for. Korek? korek…korek…
Pejuang bahasa will fight for their bahasa. Pejuang bangsa will fight for their bangsa. Pejuang kucing will fight for their kucing (PAWS) and the list can goes on and on. Otherwise they don’t live up to their name 🙂
Personally, I don’t really care if my kids were to learn many languages in their schools. In fact it is a privilege. You can conquer the world if you master many foreign languages. Let be more realistic and leave all the rhetoric behind. Let look at our current scenario. Do we have sufficient academic books or references written in Bahasa? Would, for example other scientific communities “ambil pot” if our local researchers write their finding in Bahasa?
and something to ponder. Do you think reciting a doa in Arabic is more ‘afdal’ than chanting the same one in any other languages? Or do you become less Melayu by simply learning few subject in English? And who is Melayu and what is bahasa? (that is another serious topic, of which I don’t really keen on cracking my head on at the moment).
Again, bahasa is just a medium. At the same time it can be complicated but funny too. Not trying to be funny or make fun out of it, ‘besar malunya‘ has a totally different meaning from ‘besar kemaluannya”. And in Arabic if you miss one consonant or a vowel, your habibi will be left in a very embarrassing situation as in “This is Zakaria” and “This is Zakari“.
Language is so beautiful and full of surprises!
On a more serious note, if we want to fight, let fight for what we really believe for. Fight for the ONE, for Addin and fisabilillah. That is what I believe and that is what we must fight for.
That is my 2 cents.
Masterjee, a thousand apologies!