Monday, 4 October 2010

Excuse me, what is wrong with vernacular schools?

I really do not know what is the hoo-hah about these vernacular schools except that it is just any other regular national schools, except maybe the medium of instruction is not in Malay. 

Recently there are spat amongst the Malays (I'm not sure left or right wing since I can't differentiate it) and those so-called very Malaysians inside out to the core called for the abolishment of vernacular schools. Outrageous I tell you! For the record, I did not graduate from vernacular school but I'm still going to speak for it nevertheless. I'm all for learning mother tongue.

Point one - Regular National type schools does not offer mother tongue subjects

Ya ya..we all know the pride of Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa (language the heart of a race) and the super importance of English being the international language. Everybody is rushing to brush up their fluency in English (some refused to improve their English because they think being monolingual in Malay language is sufficient to survive in Malaysia) that mother tongue seems completely obsolete.  So they start attacking those who are determined to learn and speak mother tongues by saying that these people refuses to assimilate. Anti-social they call them. :-(

  • Mother tongue = adopting the Singaporean definition, it means the language of one's ethnic group regardless of actual proficiency.
Mother tongues are symbol of cultural identity. Speaking any other language besides Malay or English does not make someone less Malaysian. Malaysia is made up of many many races and religions. So being strictly monolingual or bilingual doesn't look very Malaysian, don't you think? Ok, at the very least, it doesn't hurt to acquire a third, fourth or fifth language. Vernacular school is the solution.

Point two - Malay language is a compulsory subject in vernacular schools

Clearly, if vernacular school students are 'retarded' in communicating in Malay, the solution is to call for more quality language education in these schools. Get more proficient Malay language teachers perhaps?

Hate their squarish accent? Not everyone is perfect lah. We don't poke fun at those who can't speak fluent Mandarin aside from giggling from an out of tune pronunciation. Look, I've mis-pronounced hell load of times. Lantak lah!

p/s: Speaking about fluency, does anyone actually speak Bahasa Malaysia BAKU?

Point three - the Laws does not prohibit it

Please refer to Article 152 of the Federal Constitution and Section 17 of the Education Act 1996. 

Article 152: (1) The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law provide:
Provided that -
(a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and
(b) nothing in this Clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.

Section 17 Education Act:   National language as the main medium of instruction.
(1) The national language shall be the main medium of instruction in all educational institutions in the National Education System expect a national-type school established under section 28 or any other educational institution exempted by the Minister from this subsection.
(2) Where the main medium of instruction in an educational institution is other than the national language, the national language shall be taught as a compulsory subject in the educational institution.

Am glad that Malaysian laws are supportive of allowing everyone to learn other languages. As a matter of fact, Malaysians are envied because we can are multilingual. Never mind if we can't master a language 100%. Who cares, as long as the message can go across. 

Point four - Hindrance to unity?!

Look, enrollment to vernacular schools are not limited to that particular type of race only. There are so many Malays and Kadazans who are fluent in Mandarin that I have to beat myself to shame for being illiterate in the Chinese characters.

With due respect, openly name-calling Chinese as 'mata sepet' (squinty eyes) and Indians 'si botol' (drunkard) is more hindrance to unity especially if it's coming from a  person representing the National Civics Bureau. Though I do not have squinty eyes but I can't understand what is so hard about referring to a group of people properly. 

Further, the curriculum in vernacular schools are approved by the Ministry of Education. They learn the same Malaysian history and geography as other national typed schools. So what unity are we talking about here?

Actually, the truth is that malicious prejudice against others is much much more a hindrance to national unity. Eg: stereotyping ethnic Chinese as 'ultra-kiasu' or 'pelacur' (prostitute), stereotyping Malays as lazy pigs, stereotyping Indians as cheaters, snakes. There may be favourable percentage to the truth of those stereotypes but I'm sure there are much more positive ways to address the problems rather than to express ourselves in the negative manner.

I believe in the sayings of 'birds of the same feathers flock together'. I too get ostracized whenever I don't belong to the same wavelength with others but hey, that's the reality of life.

You and I have been of school age so we know that kids are skin colour blind. It is the parents and teachers who should re-educate themselves or refrain from sowing seeds of discord and disharmony on their kids. But with cases like Siti Inshah's, I think well....I rest my case. 


Until and unless the government provide mother tongues as subjects in national typed schools, I think it's only fair to keep those vernacular schools.

2 Yawns:


I agree with the statement that national schools should provide mother tongues as subjects. I used to stay in America and some of my Arab American friends don't even know Arabic! It's too bad I know their mother tongue more than they do...

Dun Play Play said...

A truly worthy comment. A wake up slap for those ignorant bastards.

How long it took you to write this judgment ?


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