Geng Bas Sekolah

February 11, 2015


Bahasa Malaysia sebagai bahasa utama di negara ini sebenarnya sudah ditolak oleh golongan cina. Rata rata dari mereka tidak mempedulikannya. Nilailah sendiri bagaimana keturunan pendatang ini yang lahir dan mengaut keuntungan di Malaysia tetapi dalam masa yang sama mereka memperlekeh bahasa Malaysia dan menganggapnya ianya bahasa yang tidak membawa apa apa keuntungan.

Chinese youth who cannot speak Bahasa Malaysia (BM) told The Malaysian Insider they had few problems surviving in the country without the language, although their handicap limited the number of places they could go to and the people they communicated with.

They also did not feel a connection with the language, which they learnt in school by rote. Some also said they did not feel BM was all that important as it was not widely spoken elsewhere.
Katarina Law Jen-Yu, who went to secondary school at Wesley Methodist, came from a Chinese primary school and said she “could never complete a verbal sentence in BM”.

“I try to avoid having conversations with teachers, but when I do, I mix English with BM or write a sentence in Malay on a piece of paper then repeat it to the teacher,” she said.

Another student, Har Chee Hou, a Johor Foon Yew Chinese Independent School graduate, on the other hand, used broken BM to communicate with Malays while helping in the 2013 general election campaign for Liow Cai Tung, the DAP candidate for the Johor Jaya state seat.

“I ran errands amidst preparations for the election campaign then, and it gave me the opportunity to communicate and interact with Malay representatives from PKR and PAS.

“But even with the most crooked BM, they were still able to comprehend what I was saying,” he said.

Speaking "rojak" – the mixing of English and rudimentary BM – sometimes helped, such as in the case of Pin Hwa High School graduate, Chan Kah Fai, who said he was forced to pick up BM and mix it with English for his job at the customer service department of a telecommunication service company.

Otherwise, it would have been impossible to communicate, he said.

Carrying out daily activities like shopping, ordering food or going to banks and offices with Malay employees were not much of a problem as most youths interviewed would either find someone else to speak on their behalf or resort to speaking "rojak".

“I often have to get people who are good at BM to accompany me when I’m out," confessed Tan Jia Mun who attends a national secondary school in Puchong, Selangor.

Another student who only wanted to be known as Wong from SMK Assunta, Petaling Jaya, regularly mixes English and rough BM as she found Malays could still understand her.

“It’s really hard for me to find a Malay who doesn’t speak English at all,” she said. “All my Malay friends around me speak English anyway.”

Rote learning

Not being able to speak BM does not mean one cannot read or write the language.

All the youths interviewed said that as long as a student read more and memorised model essays, Malay words and idioms, one could easily score in exams or at the very least obtain a passing grade.

“I always flunked my BM or passed it by the skin of my teeth, until I attended tuition classes that forced us to memorise at least one essay every day and other sophisticated Malay words and idioms because including them in your essays earns you extra marks in exams,” Tan said.

“Memorising” was a common practice among students when she was in school, she added.

Wong has her own way of passing BM exams. She would write a sentence out in English and then translate it to BM.

“I don’t do badly in exams,” she pointed out. “It’s not that I don’t want to excel at the language, my family did send me to a Malay school after all but with everyone around me speaking English, I never really had the chance to practice it.”

National integration

The inability of some Malaysians to speak the national language has been fodder for some politicians, such as Umno's Datuk Shahruddin Salleh, the Jorak assemblyman who last year said that those who failed to master BM be stripped of their citizenship.

In 2010, Loh See Mooi, 51, was verbally abused by a police officer when lodging a police report after falling victim to a snatch thief. She was told to "go back to China" for addressing the officer in English instead of BM.

A street poll conducted by The Malaysian Insider back in 2011 found that 28 out of 107 respondents had almost no command of BM or could not understand the language at all.

The poll was conducted after a school survey by the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) found that one in every four Chinese students would drop out of a national secondary school.

Asked if they felt BM was important, the students held two views, with some saying that it was necessary given Malaysia's multi-racial population, while others felt it was of little significance.

Chan for instance, felt BM was necessary because there are Malaysians who can only understand that language.

“Living in a multi-racial country, I think it’s about being considerate and understanding when it comes to learning BM,” he said.

“But not knowing it doesn’t mean you can’t survive, there are tons of examples of people living a good life despite not knowing the language”.

Har also agreed with Chan’s views, saying that “the only element one would require to survive in this country is tolerance.”

Tan, however, felt that BM wasn’t as important because it was just a “language used in a small region”.

“It’s not even an international language, so as long as you can speak on a basic level, that should be enough,” she said.

Wong agreed, saying that it was not right to consider someone as being unable to survive in Malaysia without speaking BM.

“If expatriates can survive without a word of BM, why can’t we? It’s just so double standard,” she said. - TMI




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Anonymous said...

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