Monday, December 24, 2012


In St. Xaviers, Penang our Form Five class had a teacher from India. He was an OK chap with a very thickly heavy Indian accent.

 He instructed me earlier to get the class to meet him in the lavatory. As class monitor for the month I got my classmates assembled and told them that Dr Sinna wants us to go to the lavatory. Why? Nobody queried. We all thought that he was up to introducing some practical science topics that necessitated visit to the lavatory. When the bell rang for period change we lined up  “two by two” and walked down to the lavatory with our Science text book and exercise note book. Outside the lavatory we waited in silence. As Dr Sinna was not in the toilet we continued to wait…..for close to 10 minutes. The best course of action was to look for him in the Staff Room which was next door to Lau Hor’s (Bro Michael, Canadian, was our Discipline teacher nicknamed Tiger in the Penang Hokkien dialect.) I told our form teacher Mr. Robless that I was looking for Dr. Sinna. I immediately went next door and before I could greet Bro Michael, Dr Sinna barked, “I was waiting for the class in the lavatory” The Lau Hor asked, “Where is your class now?” I replied that we were lined up outside the lavatory. Bro. Lau Hor understood my predicament and just said, “Take the class to the LA-BORA-TARY!” As though for the benefit of Dr Sinna, but addressed to me, “ Science Lab!” This was the same Bro Lau Hor that suspended me from school for two weeks before the Senior Cambridge Certificate Exam for reading Zane Gray whilst the others were revising for the SCC exam. He stepped into our class and announced, “Bernard, for being the only student who can read two books at a time. Go wait for me in my office!” I had camouflaged Zane Gray over my Geography text book. Undoubtedly those two weeks gave me enough time to accelerate my revision.
I became a teacher and for 19 years I taught English and English Literature. I think I was a good English teacher. I have nothing against teachers from India. But you must be able to speak and articulate correctly, putting emphasis on the key verb and the correct accent on the correct syllable….and discard ethnic and cultural foibles when teaching English.  An English teacher’s bible on proper pronunciations and phonetics should be Daniel Jones. My generation was taught by local Malayan-bred teachers!
The English medium schools were largely of two types: missionary schools and government schools. Historically, the English medium schools offered pupils a chance of upward social mobility. English medium schools were the best organized and most developed of all the schools in the country Success in these schools meant better jobs and white-collar employment which was preferred to manual labour. English medium schools were the prestige schools, and it was felt that the type and depth of knowledge they offered were superior to that of the vernacular schools. This situation had implications for the society as a whole, because these English medium schools were mainly urban schools. Together, the English medium sectors of the ethnic groups formed the English educated of Malayan society. My parents were the beneficiary of this. My generation inherited this legacy and opportunity to be educated in Engish.
However by the time I went to school our generation was taught by local Malayan-bred “Normal-Trained” teachers! The only expat teachers were principals of the Government schools and the remaining mission school teachers like the Mill Hill Fathers of Sarawak and the La Salle Brothers  in Peninsula Malaya.
The deterioration of English began, to quote a revered former Director General (Malay of course),”when our Teacher’s Training colleges were churning out some half-baked (yeastless, as in not getting a CREDIT in English, he qualified) scums of society were recruited into the teaching profession. Over the years, there has been a lot of kneejerk and quick fixes to no avail. And now this new recruitment drive…….when will we ever learn?

If we continue on these cosmetic changes we will continue to have ministers like Zam Zam alaka Zam telling the world thru Alzeera during the 2007 Bersih protest that we were having an erection in 2008



wandererAUS said...

First they introduced Bahasa Melaysia as a medium of instruction to slow the pace of non-Malays in their education advancement. Failing that, they worked on the English medium schools,(while the UMNO elites send their children overseas for English education). This UMNO/BN regime intention was to starve all English medium schools with half past six teachers!...using financial aids as a mean to force acceptance by these schools to their evil intent. Gradually, the deterioration in these schools were expected. This is UMNO for all!

Anonymous said...

I remembered when we had an AFS(American Field Service)science teacher,her slant was so strong that she pronounced 'water' as 'wa'rer'(sounds like a vogour indian word). Haha!

Anonymous said...

The blueprint is a real disaster.

DPM is gambling with our children's future.

No worry for OKU (orang kaya umno) as they could send their kids overseas to learn proper English.

Yang Bo said...

It is a sad state of this country's education system. I'm despair to read this:

The deterioration of English began, to quote a revered former Director General (Malay of course),”when our Teacher’s Training colleges were churning out some half-baked (yeastless, as in not getting a CREDIT in English, he qualified) scums of society were recruited into the teaching profession.

I truly believe, not only the govt must and the current education system must be chnaged, but also the attitude of the people. Most of the 3 major specimens are supercilious chauvinists.

Each of this race thinks that they are more important than the rest. Each of them thinks that his dick is the biggest one but he doesn't acknowledge that there is a bigger dick stuck in his bunghole. This is the prevailing problem. Even when PKR has overthrown BN, this problem is very daunting.

Anonymous said...

say thank you to the politicians. All their manipulations lead to what we are today. Try interviewing a degree holder esp from public uni for a white collar job? Only the fast food centres are happy with large supply of labour. What a pity.

Anonymous said...

hello zorro
last i heard that zam zam has to look for tongkat ali for an erection.
for goodness sake, asked him to stop embarrassing the government with his england.

patrick said...

Zamzam alakazam...there's a long line of more of them filing out of places like UitM and such!When one mean to say 'election' but instead pronounces it as 'erection',there can only be one conclusion....he's a dickhead!

passion1 said...

A smart student need not necessarily be a good teacher. A graduate need not necessarily be a good teacher.
I had a bad experience with a graduate who was my form teacher in year 6.
He will walk into the classroom, write a sentence on the black board, and said, 'That's it. I have finished today's lesson.'
For 5 years I maintained top 5 positions. That year I dropped to last 5. Simply cannot comprehend.

Zorro, I think if the government were to rope in all the former English educated, Malaysia still have quite a lot, including non Malays.

Anonymous said...

murid : teacher, i go tandas ah !?

cikgu : ok, go your-head (ahead) !!

Anonymous said...

MOST of the former ENG-ed teachers, macam zorro, are non-bumis woh & u think gment mau meh !!??
Gment mau teachers from India hoping 4 Indian votes ma !!

Ellese said...

Why do we have selective memory. I distinctly remember Anwar and Hadi and Bersih coordinator Samad marching down to the palace demanding that our bm n science be taught in bm.

Or believed it'll be bm. There is no policy on education. And don't forget Anwars role as education minister. Most likely with pr our education becomes "abu"ed.

wandererAUS said...

Down under, the heat is on…our Lord has decided to give us a “Hot Christmas”!
So all of you, this is X’mas, cool down with us in our icy waters. Zorr, you too take a break, let us get ready for the war!…let us kick all the UMNO scumbags out of Putrajaya. Return Malaysia to the rightful owners, Anak Malaysia!

May I take this opportunity in wishing all my Malaysian brothers and sisters, “Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!”

Muhammad Azman said...

Di mana bumi di pijak, di situ langit di junjung.

For those who are illeterate in Bahasa Melayu,it means "when in Rome, do like the Romans do.

Welcome to Malaysia, you idiotic Malaysians who find English Language as the saviour of the nations ills. How disgusting you morons are.

Making fun of our national language seems to be your favourite past time.

Walaupun saudara sekalian mempunyai tanggapan rendah terhadap Bahasa Melayu dan mudah memperlekihkan bahasa tersebut, jangan sekali lupa bahawa, walaupun pada andaian anda bahasa Malayu itu adalah bahasa kurang mantap, akan tetapi berbanding dengan hampir 90% negara di Asia, Malaysia adalah lebih maju walaupun Bahasa Melayu adalah Bahasa pengantara dalam bidang pendidikan.

If our students are performing badly in English then please by all means blame the parents, the students or the teachers. But remember it is never the fault of our National Language, that is Malay.

Martabatkan Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Kebangsaan Kita Semua.

Hidup Malaysia Sejati, Dulu, Kini Dan selamanya.

Khun Pana aka johanssm said...

During my schooling days, most of the teachers were from Kirby.
They are strict and good teachers.
Sadly, bn phased them out.

Young Malaysians will be parents one day. Hopefully the young generation will vote wisely and decide their future.

zorro said...

Muhammad Azman....point out in my post where I made fun of our national language. Put your brain in gear before you engage with us!

Anonymous said...


I only learn BM up to SRP with a credit. I can converse to be understood by civil servants. But I cannot understand why BM need to be made so difficult for no-malays to study.

Bobo, UMNO/BN's worse nightmare. said...

I'm just glad we are raising this point here. It is bad enough that we have many Malaysians who still cannot speak well. Eg. The word "Develop". With an Indian Twang, many say it as "Dev-ve-lop". And even the word "Apparently". With an Indian twist, many in Malaysia pronounce it as "Up-parently". The list goes on and on.

And as for Muhammad Azman, it is a clear indication that he cannot read nor comprehend the English language and uses BM to flaunt his little phallic ego around. Doubt he will ever go far in life which is testament to UMNO/BN's screw the rakyat. ABU! ABU! ABU!

shanghaistephen said...

Then comes along a "juara kampung" to chastise anyone poking fun of our "national" language. Hey moron Muhamad Azman, it's not about BM lah mutt. It's about the standard of English here in our once colonized country. When the elitist can afford to send their kids to far off countries to master the language, the simple citizens' kids are left to learn the global medium of communication I.e. The English language, with half-past-six morons who double as English teachers here.
You want our kids to do business with the rest of the world or be A village idiot like you Azman ? Selfish and stupid opinionated fellow. Btw it is Bahasa Malaysia and not Bahasa Melayu....ala Bahasa Baku or Bahasa Indonesia, ok !

Muhammad Azman said...

Thank you guys. I got your attention.Now coming to our the real issues at hand.

English, the mother of all language, be it spoken or written, at least this is what the champions of english language care to address about.

Go to any mass media, be it BN controlled or PR lead.It is always about the standard of English, spoken or be it written.

Why go far, even our DBP, I believe from its practice is helmed by English speaking Mat Salleh."Standard Operating Procedure" is translated as Prosedur Operasi Standad instead of "Amalan Gunapakai Piawai"

Every blog, newspaper and broadcasting channels in our country advocates the standard of English used in Malaysia.

Now coming to Bahasa Melayu, our National Language, I hardly see anyone seeing it's importance or role in Nation Building.

We are so occupied in politics, to the extend we fail to realise that we are undermining our National Language when we focus only on the importance of English.

Dear Zorro, sorry if I have abused your article. But my intentions was to draw all Malaysians that there exist a language called Bahasa Melayu, the foundation language of our country.

In our behest in wanting to be another England, let us not forget that we live in Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.

And to my friend called shanghaistephen, the HongKees will address you as The Black Pig based on your picture and with your written commentaries as above I would rather call you as The Mother of All Bastardised Malaysian, if indeed you are one.

zorro said...

Brother Muhammad Azman,thank you for your comment. If you care to give my posting another read you will conclude that never once did I mention Bahasa Malaysia but neither did I promote English over our national language. Never did I say that English should supersede our national language, our heritage....the glue that binds us as a nation. My son deals with a lot of Chinese contractors. The conversation was in Bahasa. My son speaks very little Chinese dialect and the contractor spoke no English. So, Bahasa it is!

I was a teacher for 19 years and and loved that profession. When the medium of instruction was Bahasa, our tet books had one page of English and the next in Bahasa. I was just a few pages ahead of my kids. I realised that I was merely cheating them, that I was not fully equipped (3 months of learning bahasa in off-school courses was the quick fix. I gave 24 hours notice, paid one months salary in lieu, to the Ministry of Education, lost all my years of gratuity and of course did not qualify me for pension. Before this, when it occurred, I would call out the Malay boys to the front of the class and gave them a tongue lashing if they allowed their chinese and indian classmates to do better than them in Bahasa tests/exams. That was me.

Thank you again for your well composed comment but you spoiled everything with that last bit of unnecessay icing on shanghaifish.

Anonymous said...

After 50 years, why is the BN government still experimenting with our children's education? All ministers must send their children to local schools.

Muhammad Azman said...

Dear Zorro (back in the 70's you were my superhero, the difference now, you have un-masked),

If my article has potrayed your true values in a different light, my apologies again.

For the "unnecessary icing" comment, though not necessary, but couldn't help it. Must be the DNA thing.


PS> GOD BLESS ALL MANKIND (including shanghaistephen)