There is a silly CEO who wrote in a blog about a lady bitching about the standards of English among the Chinese educated students in Malaysia. The students were said to be incapable of speaking proper English, do not take initiative to learn the language etc etc. That invariably reminds me of the 1952 Barnes Report in which the then British government proposed that the educational system be reorganized in such a way that there would be a national school system where primary education for 6 years would be provided in Malay and English. Before this, of course, Malaysian Chinese in the then Malaya had their own Chinese schools and the Tamil and Malay had their respective Tamil and Malay school. The British government was hoping that the attraction to have separate schools in Chinese and Tamil would dissapear but unfortunately the Barnes Report drew flukes from the Chinese community. Henceforth, schools in Malaysia evolved into something that probably is just one of a kind in the world. Today, you do not just find Malay schools here where Malay and English are taught, the latter being taught as a second language and as a subject; and in Tamil and Chinese school, there is this three language solution - Tamil, Malay and English are taught in Tamil schools while Chinese, Malay and English are taught in Chinese schools. The curriculum for all schools, however are all the same and after six years of education, the students would go to national secondary school where the medium of instruction is Malay. Chinese and Tamil are still taught as elective subjects and only if there is a demand. The British government had hoped that a national school system would evolve but among the Chinese community, there evolved too, two groups of people - the Chinese educated and the English educated. And you really don't have to read the silly CEO's post to know that these two groups are often at loggerheads. But I really don't know if there are English educated Indians and Tamil educated Indians or Malay educated Malay or English educated Malay around who are also at loggerheads.


Anonymous said…
Hi Footiam

I am national-school educated myself and honestly, I was once prejudiced against my Chinese school counterparts, mostly because we don't understand them
enough which can be attributed to the differences in school culture

People who are "bananas" tend to
be more snobbish and western oriented. I'm not saying it applies to all, but it did occur
when I was schooling.

As I grew up and got to know them
more, I learned that we share more
similiarities than differences after all. For starters, we feel
like 2nd class citizens in the land we are born and we share a love for food... a common trait for
all Chinese.

I'm glad to say that I have learned to speak Chinese, and with
this, the divide has closed. Lots
of Western educated parents are also sending their kids to Chinese schools as they realise the value of Chinese education. I for one would not hesitate to send my future kids to Chinese schools.

Having said that wouldn't it have been better if all schools taught
Chinese in the first place ?....
footiam said…
Yes, wouldn't that be better indeed. Then, we will look for other things to be loggerheads at.

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