Over to you, Khaled and Hishammuddin

Hi, i am student from Penang … can help us check for second semester PTPTN loan when can issue? now already mid semester. Dunno why PTPTN still like this “late issue the loan”, by this was make a lot of student feel suffer in finance. i already send mail to PTPTN, but no have any respond. i hope can get a good news as fast as possible. thank you for your help.

I received this email seven hours ago from a student in Penang crying for help as PTPTN is so inefficient and inconsiderate when PTPTN loan is still not disbursed although it is now mid-semester.

I have put up this email hoping that the Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin would be as Internet-savvy and blog-sensitive as his predecessor Datuk. Mustapha Mohamed, as Mustapha would respond promptly to complaints touching on his Ministry on my blog.

Can Khaled shake up the PTPTN and release all the outstanding second semester loans within 24 hours or at most 48 hours?

There is another reason I have put up the email – to show the atrocious English standard of our students.

I do not blame the student who wrote the email but the national education system. If any Cabinet Minister must be blamed, it would have to be the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his predecessors!

I believe that the English in this email is probably the average standard of our present crop of students and the worst would be horror tales of total incoherence and incomprehension in the English language.

If Education Ministers have to be assessed professionally, one key performance index will be the attainment of English language by our students – and Hishammuddin would have failed badly in such a KPI assessment.

There is no shortage of formula to restore English mastery or at least fluency among students in Malaysia but only whether there is political will and professional commitment by the Education Minister and the Barisan Nasional Cabinet.

Over to you Khaled and Hishammuddin!

  1. #1 by Mr Smith on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 7:48 pm

    The standard of English of our English Languagecteachers in secondary schools is no better than this one. Those in the primary schools are even worse. Some can’t even string a proper sentence.
    Honest, I am not joking.

  2. #2 by isahbiazhar on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 8:05 pm

    What about our lecturers in our universities?They were the product of the system which got rid of English.Those who went overseas had some semblance of English.Do not blame the teachers because they were the leftovers and they had to struggles to learn to teach.English lost its place from 1970s onwards and any teachers from that era had only a qualification which can be equated to our UPSR.So it is not something surprising to see the student writing such an email though he himself would have felt the confidence.Unfortunately it did not measure to the University /college standard.It is a startling discov ery but had to be accepted.The Ministry of education must make it compulsory for English teachers to sit for the O and the A level when they are undergoing their studies.At least we can be proud that they had sat the overseas native paper.Hishamuddin and Khalid should think it over.

  3. #3 by backStreetGluttons on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 8:07 pm

    i feel the so malu for our minsters one because they always go for seminas to improve us even to taiwan but result also don’t have.

    they got fat fat pay and always talking so much but in end doing nothing ! we are the ones always the suffering !

    please ask them to resign fast fast to stop torturing us students feeling so shameful if talk to our nigerian friends . they think we are like congo so bad

  4. #4 by de_Enigma on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 8:07 pm

    I have even heard stories of ‘Teachers’ crying and left the classroom when corrected by students on English language.
    Judging from such incidents, I doubt education solely under current system will bring our next generation anywhere.
    Sorry for the bleak reality check…… our leaders are still into Malaysia Boleh.

  5. #5 by dinotim on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 8:27 pm

    It is not entirely the education system’s fault.

    The students, parents and teachers are to blame.

    I presume the chap who wrote this is a Chinese.

    Every single Chinese that I met in university spoke to me in Mandarin and Mandarin are not used as medium of instruction. A chap in UPM which I knew can’t even differentiate between ‘live’ and ‘life’.

    90% of Chinese children in Malaysia go to Mandarin-medium primary schools, but less than 5 per cent go on to Mandarin-medium secondary schools. 85% have at least 5 years to master English in secondary school or 7 if they chose to go public university, just like the chap here.

    And, as Mr Smith pointed out:
    “The standard of English of our English Languagecteachers in secondary schools is no better than this one. Those in the primary schools are even worse. Some can’t even string a proper sentence.”

    Which I partly agree.

    Educate the people, make them understand the importance of English. Lambasting each other with words won’t help.


  6. #6 by DingDongBell on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 8:57 pm

    There is only one explanation to the low proficiency in English in our country. THE MYOPIC KETUANAN MENTALITY ! If the mentality does not change, nothing will change no matter how much effort being put in. The university will keeping turning out students who speak and write substandard English and the vicious cycle will continue ……..

    God Bless Malaysia !

  7. #7 by bentoh on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:02 pm

    I think the student didn’t realise his email will be posted like this… Perhaps he/she will write in a more formal way if he/she knows the email will be taken seriously, but I guess people are just getting too used to write in the “internet way”~

  8. #8 by AhPek on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:21 pm

    Holy Moses,can you imagine the state the English Language has descended in the hands of our present day university students!! Shocking would probably be the kindest word in expressing this state of affairs.In fact more precisely one would be compelled to say the language has been raped beyond recognition to give an honest comment.
    However make no mistake about it this student cannot be fully blamed for his incompetency,it lies fundamentally in our education system which does not place any emphasis in the importance of english language competency for if it had it would have introduced english literature into schools,introduce 2 or 3 other subjects to be taught in the medium of the english language with teachers who are proficient in the language.Most of these teachers are not to be found in present school system,they have to be recruited from retired teachers of yesteryears (people who are trained in Kirby or Brinsford or Dip.Ed from MU during the time of Alexander Oppenheim or Rayson Huang or Chin Fung Kee) and perhaps heavily supplemented by recruiting retired teachers from India and South Africa (these teachers are not only proficient in the language but also affordable).
    The person most responsible for killing the language is of course the mamak when he was the education minister back in the seventies who also have the cheek to claim that he brought back the language to the country.

  9. #9 by Loh on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:26 pm

    I believe the letter was written in other languages but translated into English by computer. Obviously, the writer thought that the computer can do no wrong!

  10. #10 by katdog on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:48 pm

    Of course, our standards of English has dropped. Not just among Malays but among most Chinese as well. The continued decline in our national education system has meant that more and more Chinese are sending their children to better and more prestigious Chinese schools.

    Their circle of friends consists of only chinese. They read only chinese books and newspaper, listen to chinese news and radio and only watch chinese/chinese dubbed shows.

    It is shocking to discover, for the new generation of chinese, their first exposure to an english speaking environment is probably when they begin university or work.

  11. #11 by gopi on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:49 pm

    I am a father to 5 children & educated from the ‘old school of thoughts’ between 1959-1970.

    In 1986,my eldest daughter was registered in SRK,Gemencheh, NS school. One day she cried to me about her English teacher having reprimanded her on a spelling ‘error’.

    The English teacher drew on the class-room’s black-board the face of a person & asked the children to name the various parts of the face.

    My daughter wrote cheek with an arrow pointing to it but the English teacher corrected the spelling with the word ‘chick’. The next day, I saw the teacher with the intention to give him an egg, however, I was shocked to see the teacher who was an elderly Malay man (toothless) and shabbily dressed, not fit to be a teacher !!

    How pathetic the education system.

  12. #12 by Kongseemik on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 11:27 pm

    Twenty years ago, I was proud of my country whenever I saw my fellow Malaysian speakers delivering their lectures in very good English at international conferences. So much so that foreign participants asked us where we learn our English from. And I used to watch speakers from Korea, Japan, China and Thailand delivering their lectures in English with great difficulty, let alone answering questions in English.

    Currently, the situation is different. Speakers from the countries mentioned have overtaken us!! They can now speak in impeccable English off the cuff!!

  13. #13 by disapointed86 on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 11:32 pm

    Loh, if those sentences were to be constructed in other languages in the first place, why is it there is the word “dunno” instead of “don’t know” in it? i thought if you translate it using Google translate or other software, the words are still correct only that some of the phrases may not be suitable..

    what appear in my mind is that the writer is a typical Chinese, writing the letter directly translated from mandarin..it sounds good if you translate the whole sentence into mandarin..haha..

  14. #14 by ongtf on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 12:02 am

    Dear LKS
    I am also one of the produk that produce under that education sistem. Even though i am a graduan from UM, but if you ask me to teach science subject in inggeris. It will be koyaklah. Our teacher (those age 25-45) can’t even master Inggeris and how to teach our children in inggeris? Perhaps it will take 30 years to get things right.

  15. #15 by 10J on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 1:57 am

    hehe, The English used sounds exactly like what my fellow schoolmates would use back in high school(till now). The nostalgic feeling is definitely there.

    I admit that I too share your sentiments about it being a sad thing, his command of the language, but I wouldn’t be quick to blame the quality of the educators and teachers as quickly as many others here did.

    Firstly, let me put forth my assumption that the student who wrote the letter is from one of the prestigious SMJK (chinese) in Penang – as a few other commentors have pointed out.

    Having graduated from a SMJK (Chinese) in Penang about 5 years ago myself, I would like to assure you that the language capability of English teachers should not be questioned, or at least, not as terrible as you think. I would like to continue believing that SMJKs in Penang do not take lightly the quality, knowledge-wise at least, of their teachers.

    Rather, i have always believed that it is the lack of practice that produces such weak command of the language. I believe many too agree that the best way to learn a language is through practice. Hence, consider this – all the subjects have all this while been in BM, all the conversations with classmates have always been in Mandarin/dialect.. How do you expect student’s command of the English to be good if there’s no usage of English beyond the classroom whatsoever?

    To prove my point. I would suggest that you do a comparison of the English language proficiency of SMJK students against SMK students who generally converse more in English.

    Having said all that, I guess it could be fair for one to blame the system that lacks the practical element in language education, but it is surely unfair to place all the blame squarely on the teachers and schools, like many have done here.

    As for my take of things, I sincerely believe that for weak English arising from the lack of practice, students have only themselves to blame. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.

  16. #16 by sheriff singh on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 2:13 am

    I shokking am!! Bud dey learning de England flom waching 2 mani EPL ploglams and Amelican moovis and hear the Mud Salih song on ladio dan waching 2 mani TB lealitti shoes.

    MayB dey soot lead more Shaking Spear play or Blitney Spears songs. Mcdonna asso can. Den dear England soor implove one. Bud is OK. Dear plofessore aqsso can not speaking de gud England. Dia all cum flom Ma Lai Si Ya.

    Wai de PTPTN no sending dem de monie? Bekause dey dun unnersand de massage in England. Beeside, dey don having de monie. All spending on “ekonomi steamulasi” dan “lawatan sambil belajar”. Yew unnersand? No monie. Pokai!! Habis!! Eeeelak!! Boe looi!!

  17. #17 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 8:18 am

    It sounds like the student translated the English sentence from BM.
    As soon as they find job in the government, where English is not needed, it will be ok.

  18. #18 by taiking on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:43 am

    That is the trouble with english language. It has been internationalised. A language is closely related to the culture and race of its speaker. So, to speak it well, one must know something about the cultural and racial background of that language.

    English spoken outside britain, australia, nz, us and canada often is completely removed from its original culture and race. The language then would naturally adopt the culture of its speaker. After some time, the language itself would have to undergo some adaptation. And the end result, depending on the degree of adaption, could be really horrible.

    Look at singlish for example. But that is for spoken english. When writing, the issue is altogether different. You see, one can get by with horrible spoken english as long the essence of one’s idea can be put across. People normally would attribute it to bad oratory skills.

    But horrendous written english is always revolting to read. It does not matter if the expression is bad for that again is a matter of ability or skill. But to get the language structure, grammer and spelling wrong really reflects poorly on the writer.

    And worse. Now we have sms / email language culture. Short-form expressions like “U” for “you” is not enough. Condensed expressions like “BTW” for “by the say” have gained popularity. As if that is not enough, language structure is often ignore in the name of condensation.

    And as if that is not enough, the idea is that its kinda cool to write the way one speaks. The anyhow and any which way fashion. Hei man. I dunno know and I dont care man coz it aint gonna stop me man. That is american. The revolting thing written by that chappy from penang. Now that is malaysian punya style. Good? Is it Bad? Make your own judgment.

  19. #19 by Thinking Two on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:00 am

    Let those without the knowledge of English go down the river because these people who supported the ministers who in turn send their children to Private school and Oversea to learn English.

    The ministers are indirectly sending those people, who blindly supported them, to dead end.

    But on the other hand, the government published a book on astronaut in ENGLISH.

    Why in English? Why not in Bahasa?

    Because no one will buy it. They can only force, I repeat it again the word FORCE, the school and the private Library to buy it.

    For any one who would like to know more about this topic, they can always get all these from the internet.

  20. #20 by hearme on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:11 am

    A very good proof, just walked into any Pizza hut outlet and you can notice the sign reads : “Please let us seat you”

    The proper sentence should be ” Please let us find a seat for you”

    Yet they displayed the sign very prominently. They feel proud indeed.

  21. #21 by iStupid on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:25 am

    Aiyo i fill so malu when i read mail by the student. Kit you say he is average, i say he got A in SPM. No belif you ask him lah. I think he got many many A in other subject also. Ask him lah.

    some students cannot add also got A in SPM math. i know my friend is like that. 254 + 912 also got to add two times baru got right. i fill sad cos he wants to show off so much oh! his english even more worse, but he got C3 in SPM.

  22. #22 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:28 am

    Never mind, we will have A+, A++, A++ with time.

    This is like Datuk, Tan Sri and Tun titles. There are too many datuks around, and it means something only if you have a Tan Sri or Tun.

  23. #23 by iStupid on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:33 am

    Taiking, you write excellent English. I guess you speak excellent English too. You can switch from ‘standard’ English to a ‘local’ English like Manglish or Singlish.

    The point is: the English as written by the PTPTN scholar is the ONLY English he writes and speaks.

  24. #24 by madmix on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:44 am

    As kafirs, we should not discuss fatwas. It is up to Muslims themselves to deal with the matter. if they allow a group of people whose claim to fame and power is attributed to self proclaimed greater knowledge and wisdom of their religion, so be it. Since time immemorial, high priests and shamans have controlled the thoughts and behavior the masses with their proclamations. Whether virgin sacrifice to some deity or the modern day fatwas, it is control of the followers. power to the priests!

  25. #25 by k1980 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 11:28 am

    So solly lah. No more duit left for PTPTN loans. Have to wait for EPF to approve our request for a RM5 billion injection to fill up our coffers. In the meantime, change your lifestyle and tighten your belts. For instance, the harga of roti canai has come down by 10sen, so be thankful to our great BN government. Eat more roti canai and Malaysia boleh! Demi agama, bangsa dan negara

  26. #26 by sybreon on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 1:47 pm

    My first assumption after reading this is that the person is a product of our SJK(C) education system (at least it sounds like that to me). If this is truly the case, I think it is unfair to place the blame entirely on our Education Ministers. The Dong Jiao Zhong has to also shoulder some of the blame, along with the DAP, MCA and everyone else who has put a finger into the vernacular education pie.

    The best way to improve any language is by “full immersion”. In this case, the SJK(C) students may be in trouble as many schools mandate the use of Mandarin in school (even dialects are discouraged, much less English). The idea of reverting the teaching of science/maths to the vernacular languages in primary schools is an ill conceived one.

    Let’s just hope that sanity prevails.

  27. #27 by Loh on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 5:20 pm

    ///The idea of reverting the teaching of science/maths to the vernacular languages in primary schools is an ill conceived one.///

    It gives the impression that there is no alternative to improving the standard of English in primary vernacular schools without falling into the trap set by TDM in teaching mathematics and science in English when the students were not able understand the concept processing them in English. The issue is language ability, and the universal truth is to spend more hours on the subject, that is the language.

    It is true that teaching science and mathematics in English would help in raising the level of English, but it would not be that efficient. The students can easily use English for these mathematics and science in secondary schools when they have a better foundation in the English language. Nobody says that English is not important. It is the approach that is being disputed.

  28. #28 by AhPek on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 7:01 pm

    It is so obvious that if you have to teach maths and science using english as the medium of instruction the first requirement would be that the puplis would have to be comfortable with the language for an understanding of mathematical or scientical concepts to take place.Otherwise learning of the 2 subjects would not take place (in fact it would most likely worsen)for it would be like putting the horse before the cart.That is precisely why schools are clamouring for reverting back to using the pupil’s mother tongue to teach these 2 subjects since the pupils cannot handle english language well.It is perfectly good argument.
    The whole problem to this outcry started from day 1 when Mamak thought it best to bring back english to this country (maybe out of guilt since he has destroyed it ?) and the best way is through teaching maths and science using the language.In fact when he first mooted it Pro.hyacinth Gaudat a professor in English pooh-poohed the idea and proposed that the best way to revive the language would be to introduce english literature back to the schools.Mahathir was definitely not happy with that challenge and immediately next day the msm became silent on this issue and no other comments were forth coming from hyacinth gaudat!

  29. #29 by limkamput on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 7:58 pm

    Hi, my advice to this student: It is best that you find something more worthwhile to do. Don’t waste your time studying and don’t waste PTPTN’s money.

    The government should seriously shut down half of the universities in this country. They are a waste of national resources. Everyday we are inching toward a typical third world country, setting up half baked universities and producing half baked unemployable graduates. Why can’t we do one thing right?

  30. #30 by tingtt on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:22 pm

    I am a Kampung Girl (now late in my late twenty) who with poor English. Now, everyone seems like blame us (70,80 born ppl) for cannot speak fluent English…. Is our fault????
    No one tell me the importance of English untill I enroll in University……..
    During our education system, we had learnt English during BI classes and there were only 6 hours English classes in a week!!!
    When i was in Secondary School. I still remmember when i was sitting for my SPM, teacher said “among the subjects, BM is the most important subject. If you could not get a credit for your BM, you cannot enroll to Form 6!!”. All of us worried the consequences for failure getting credit in BM, no one cares about the result of English because our parents are not afford to send us for oversea university or local private colleage!!
    Is the education system implemented by the Government mould us into such way (poor English)!!!
    In kampung, you don’t have opportunity to communicate with the people with English especially the usage of internet was not popular in my student time.
    Please, don’t blame us, instead of blaming us, you guys should encourage us!!!! I am trying, we are trying, everyone of us is trying to polish up our English now! Support us, pls!!!

  31. #31 by chakde on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 - 12:25 am

    I agree with Kongseemik

    Currently, the situation is different. Speakers from the countries mentioned have overtaken us!!
    Its so sad to hear graduates speaking broken english these days.

  32. #32 by taiking on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 - 9:06 am

    The good thing about language skill is that it can be learned for it is an acquired skill. It is nothing like the colour of your eyes or the size of your nose. No one is borned with an instant ability to speak and write. And the skill may be acquired anywhere, anyhow and at anytime. I can think of only two pre-requisites to learning and improving one’s language (any language or knowledge for that matter) and it is that one must have the heart to learn and the persistence to continue learning. I took trouble to improve my english. Yes train loads of trouble.

    So tingtt do not despair.

    At the same time one must never be persuaded by umno’s style of improving themselves by peddling backwards. I am not saying that they are wrong or that their style will never work. In fact I strongly encourage them to carry on for persistence will definitely find them success.

  33. #33 by aje on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 - 1:31 pm

    It is true to say that the standard of English is very low in Chinese primary schools except those pupils who make an effort to attend extra English tuitions.IF the MOE were to scrap PPSMI in SJKCs I predict the standard will go down further.I went to Chinese primary school before moving on to English sec school.I had to drop Mandarin and concentrate on BM and English coz it was tough for me to be trilingual.So guys you have to set your prorities right before it is too late.

  34. #34 by kcb on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 - 8:25 am

    Aiya, why komplain so much, nowadays, BM also like English oleidy.
    Spelling little bit different only mah, see:

    komunikasi = communication
    teknologi = technology
    debat = debate
    quisen = cuisine
    polis = police
    talipon = telephone

    So where got problem one, teach in BM or English sama sama can one.

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