Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mental Block

It's been a tiring last few weeks. Too many things occupy this little space that houses my gray matter; personal, work... I guess just about most things.. Work is not much fun this year. Of late, and as the years pile up, I begin to feel more the ugly racism at work place, not only because it involves me but because I see not merit at work even for those with the 'same' skin colour. For most of us Non-Malays who work in schools like mine, we're hardly ever considered.... But even for my Malay colleagues, I feel sorry for those who are overlooked... Seriously, a few of them actually have the right attitude in place. But in a system which does not value ability, even 'their own' suffer. One thing for sure though, those with minds of their own will less likely ever be acknowledged. Patronage at work because integrity and all those nilai-nilai murni supposedly practised are but lip service.

Then there were the STPM and SPM results. This is supposed fo be the year when scholarships for SPM are supposed to be cancelled. But apparently not; somewhere a U-turn got executed again, in typical Bolehland way. Like many, I can't see why scholarships be awarded for this level... which means they get 1-2 years of scholarship for Foundation, A-Levels and what have you not. Just makes no sense, except that this is Malaysia, where pre-university education goes along racial lines too; the easier Matriculation for the Bumiputera and the more difficult STPM for the non-Bumis. Funding for them and pittance for us kinda thing. And another funny thing, it seems that the 'us' pay most of the income tax. It's more sensible for scholarships be awarded at tertiary education. Yet, we don't act sensibly.

SPM 2011 - The best SPM in 5 years. A record number of 559 students scored straight A+(s). This I think doubled from 2-3 years ago. BTW, there are 3 types of A; A+, A and A-. And so will all 559 get scholarships? What about the other 10803 straight A(s)? Even if it's 11A-(s), it still counts as straight A(s). So now we have 11632 students who should be given scholarships... I wonder how many will continue to score straight A(s) in the next level.... of if at all the A(s) count for everything. Again, what about the STPM people? That's why 1Malaysia sounds hollow. And our Minister of Education claims our education system is better than countries like the UK and US. Yet, employers still complain that many of our graduates lack the necessary skills? Baffling cos I don't see people from the world coming in droves to clamour for places in our UM or USM.

I was looking at Daughter's breakdown of subjects taken school recently. And we just realized that of the 700 possible marks for her exam, 500 marks come from language - BM Penulisan, BM Pemahaman, Chinese (Writing), Chinese (Comprehension) and English. The remaining 200 marks come from Math and Science. In Kebangsaan school, the weightage is 300 marks for language and 200 marks form Math and Science. Going by that, I guess it's okay to assume that we're a nation bent of producing linguists... Studying one language is difficult enough. Studying 2 is tough. Doing 3 languages is crazy. From my own kids, I see how the 'agony' of learning the languages turned them (and the teachers) into harried people. Many become casualties of their inability to cope with the differet languages they need to master.

For some other reason, the planners of our curriculum don't seem to remember what they've learned about the different types of intelligence. Looks like our education system is a graveyard for non-linguist kids. Face it, some kids struggle with language. I know mine did! In a system like ours, many kids get buried by language learning... But nah! In the name of race preservation, the community leaders are trying to show their own that they are championing their rights, heritage, culture... call it what you want, kononnya to protect them from threats.... it feels like here in 1Malaysia, races feel threatened all the time, mostly from imaginary or concocted fears. And guess what, personally I think mastering 2 of the languages actually don't mean much except to satisfy some ego built along racial lines. And English becomes the casualty... the language of science of technology, international relations, commerce and trade, blah, blah, blah.... A BM expert; beyond our shores, it's of not much use. It used to be the same for Mandarin too, except that these days it's good to know it because China is too big of a market to ignore. Still, a working knowledge of the knowledge is sufficient to get by if you want to be able to do business in (with) China.

So while the rest of the world has stepped up their learning of English because they understand the need to, we bury our children under so many language papers because we're ethno centric, and because we want to be seen as champions and defenders or our race.... The joke of course, is on us, the little people cos while we get worked out whenever somebody touches on this issue, our leaders aka politicians are busy lining their pockets with cow money, and directing godzillion amount of money to some other lands.... Of course that money comes in handy in sending these people's kids to the best boarding schools.... where they learn English in the most conducive environment.
In the mean time, we continue to mistrust our fellow citizens because the skin colour or name is different...... small fries' battles. Letih..

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