Friday, April 6, 2012

Why English Can Be So Fun....

Bonsified.... I had a good laugh when I read how Hishamuddin Rais coined the word. And that's why I've always found English fun. It's dynamic, adaptable and moves with time. When Google did what it did to information search, it was only a matter of time before it was made a verb. Same goes for Xerox and countless other words such as ululate... It's fun to see how new terms are coined. Proper nouns turned verbs...

Bonsai are plants which continue to grow but remain small. Bonsai is about controlled growth. How the plant turns out and grows are dictated by the grower... and I guess one can also coin up words such as bonsifist or bonsifier.

To some bonsais are pretty. But to me, to turn a plant into a bonsai is to restrict its ability to reach majestic proportions. I think we can turn any tree (or shrub) into a bonsai. All we need to do is to exert control, i.e. control the amount of nutrients and space for growth by placing it into a pot. The next step is to trim. You trim it down to whatever size and shape. And in the process sometimes restrict or direct growth by applying pressure, tie or bend certain parts....

And that's how our education system has bonsified most of our brains. The curriculum has been bonsified to the point that we no longer can stand tall among the best education systems in the world. International assessments have been pointing to a downward trend of our students' abilities. Our local graduates cannot meet the requirements of even our local labour market.

Our executors are also products of the bonsification. One of the byproducts of intended bonsification is the lowering of standards in the quality of people recruited into the teaching profession. A bonsai needs care because they are potted. They cannot draw nutrients from the ground because they are not rooted to other sources of food. Food has to be administered by the bonsifier. A bonsai depends on the bonsifier. Without its master (or caregiver), it will die.

But then again bonsais are pretty. However, a big majestic tree provides shade. It provides oxygen. I am sure the amount is definitely way more than that of a bonsai. It helps to cool the environment. It keeps the top soil from being eroded. It becomes the homes of squirrels, birds, insects.... an oasis of life. The biggest plus point? Its roots are long enough to find its own nutrients! And of course, it it ever is sacrificed, it can keep a fire going, provide enough wood to build a small house, be made into furniture, turned into paper.... Now try asking the bonsai to be all that!!!!!

Unfortunately our current education system is like the bonsai. It has been bonsified because the bonsifiers want to be in control. Control benefits the one who exerts it. You can help yourself to everything and dictate everything, and no one to answer to in the case of total control. Our schools are a pale shadow of their former glorious past. Bonsified minds think small. Bonsified minds can be rather myopic. Keeping a bonsai is more about appearance more than anything..... And that, unfortunately is what's happening in our schools.

I have seen teachers being forced to hold extra classes. School ends at 2.10 p.m. Extra class begins at 2.30 p.m. Teacher goes into class at 2.30 p.m. and comes out at 2.40 p.m. to pray. She performs her prayers till 3.00 p.m. and then goes back into the class. Class ends at 3.30 p.m. I think Zohor prayers is between 1.15 p.m. to about 4.15 p.m. (approximation). Teacher does not want to rush after her last class. Neither does teacher wants to stay back at after class to pray. So teacher steals time from extra class hours. In the first place this teacher probably has most days where her classes have to end at 2.10 p.m. cos of the possibility that last periods may have been blocked for some people.... So tell me, isn't the bonsaification of the mind taking place? Appearance over doing it right... but curi-curi the time and then make excuses. And if you were to pass a remark, you'd get an indignant look as if a sanctified ground has been tresspassed... bonsification a success!

You see bonsais are pretty... looks nice to behold. But apart from providing that pleasure, they don't contribute much else. And sometimes if we take a closer look at the bonsai, we'd also find all these unsightly bumps or 'benjol' potruding here and there.... again some may argue that that gives it a natural look. You don't get much of those unnatural bumps on tall trees which grow into awesome beauties in most places....

But then again, all of us become bonsais every now and then too....
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Walk down a road lined with bonsai, pretty as they are, you get no shade. And you go only a short distance before the heat gets to you. With bigger trees, you might last longer. And if you have no food for yourself, those big majestic trees, perhaps among them, under the boughs and branches, you might find some water or food, that might sustain you a little longer....

English is memang fun... don't you think?

4th May, 2012
Interesting developments from the Scorpene submarine scandal. Due to the bonsification of our minds all these years, the bonsifists have been helping themselves silly.... It's now labelled The Great Malaysian Robbery.

No comments: