Language has become a popular issue lately, especially regarding PPSMI. To me, I'd prefer PPSMI to be maintained, because in this fast-paced globalisation era, it is important to master the latest development in science as soon as possible. If one is not well-verse in English, then they will not be able to understand, let alone master new skills as soon as possible because most of the materials are available in English. Translating takes time, but time and tide waits for no man, especially in this world today. Sometimes the knowledge we learn today might be obsolete tomorrow due to fast developments made in other more developed countries, and we need to catch up to that, if not, we will be left behind.
Yet again, the question of the indigenous people's mastery in English that becomes a hindrance to their acquisition of knowledge pops up alongside the question of the deteriorating appreciation for the Malay language that has become our identity for so long.
I disagree that PPSMI deteriorates one's nasionalisme, because PPSMI is actually for a patriotic cause, which is to ensure that Malays are able to compete on the global market by quick mastery of the latest sciences and technology, i.e. through the English language.
Then again, people question, wouldn't PPSMI widen the knowledge gap between the indigenous people and the urbanites? The thing is, even without PPSMI, there has always been a huge knowledge gap between the urbanites and the indigenous people. The solution to this is to provide equal education opportunities that is easily accessible for the indigenous students.
Then again, teaching skills might also need to be revised so that as the teaching and learning process proceeds, the students will develop an awareness to the importance of the skills obtained from the lesson, and prehaps make more efforts to better themselves at the subject, instead of merely studying for the exams.
I don't actually want to elaborate much on PPSMI, it is a sensitive issue, and most of what I will say is alike to that of other justifications to defend PPSMI, that you can probably read from other blogs. (another factor is that I am too malas to do so and I will be going back to school soon, maybe I'll elaborate in my later posts.)
Personally, I am more comfortable with English, since I was familiar with English ever since kindergarten. I think in English, and it is easier for me to express myself in English. Not that I'm boastful, but even in my school, people have come to associate English with me. It goes as a blessing and a curse.
For one thing, I get opportunities to participate in competitions and I easily understand lessons which are conducted in English, but socially, I become a freak. Some people actually are scared to talk to me because they are afraid that they have to use that 'dreaded' language when talking to me, and some just regard me as a stuck-up 'mat salleh celup'.
However, I am glad that the few of the friends I've had actually changed their perception on the language, and when they try speaking in English with me, they improved, even though slightly, in their command of English. It is a good sign.
Even so, some people find it strange that my command of formal Malay is not as good as my English, i.e. my karangan. The answer is simple. Others think in BM and translate it into English when they answer their essays. In my case, it is the other way around.
When asked to give opinions, I'd prefer English, when it comes to BM, the cat gets my tongue, sorry, Cikgu Mad, that's the truth. I take time to 'translate' my ideas.
Due to that, many condemn me to be unpatriotic. Unappreciative of my own race. This sometimes causes an inner emotional turmoil, but truth be told, I am more 'patriotic' now than I was before, that is, after I began reading about politics.
It is not as if I don't speak Malay at all, in fact, I speak Malay more often than I used to before this, especially in the Kelantanese dialect, given the fact that most of the time I am around a majority of Malay. (This has somewhat, I shamefully admit, aroused a subtle sense of 'xenophobia' in me when interacting with other races, but I want to change that!)
Now the question of patriotisme lies in one's capability to represent his or her own race on the global arena. Of course, knowledge becomes the measure of a man.