Saturday, February 22, 2014


By Mansor Puteh

The truth of the matter is that there won’t be any clamoring for the establishment of universities or colleges that offer courses in Mandarin or Tamil only. The reasons are obvious. 
          Can we see universities with these names in the near future: Universiti Mandarin Melayusia (UMM) or Universiti Tamil Melayusia (UTM)? No way.
          Yet, all the non-Melayu students clamor to enter the national schooling system at the university level with many complaining about not being able to secure places in them.
          If the national schooling system is not good, why then bother to study in the universities?
          The truth is that the vernacular schools are only good as prep schools. This is what many Chinese parents have admitted, so that their children are conversant in Mandarin and be able to write in it, while maintaining their identity and culture.
But alas, many Chinese children and adults have all ‘rejected’ their Chinese identity by assuming totally different personalities with many even ‘rejecting’ their own Chinese names that their parents had given them. They are happy also to change the color of their hair and trying to look western.
          A Mandarin radio station has the announcers or ‘DJs’ who use English names. 
          But whatever assertions that the non-Melayus have of the national schools and their own vernacular schools will dissipate once the Melayus have passed beyond the 30% national equity and when the population of the Melayus has reached 80% of the total population of the country.
          Even now Mandarin or Tamil is not relevant in the public sector. So no wonder not many non-Melayus can enter it because they are not proficient in the language despite many of them who have university education, yet their Melayu is passable for social communication but not for official communication. 
          Melayusia can then become more like Siam, the Philippines, America, and United Kingdom which have a small Chinese or Indian population who could not insist on having their way all the time and who have been ‘sucked’ into the mainstream of society, by them even accepting the majority religion which is Thai Buddhism or Catholicism and  Christianity. 
For the moment, the necessity of the vernacular schools in Melayusia may have some validity. But their standing or relevance may not be so in the future.
          I predict such schools to be assimilated into the national schooling system much like many of the former Catholic and Christian missionary schools which could not exist if not for the support from the Melayu students who now make the majority student population. These schools cannot exist anymore if Melayu students refuse to study in them anymore.
          The non-Melayus, particularly the Chinese and Indians in Melayusia must be thankful that they are not like their brethren in Thailand, the Philippines which had decided to do away with the vernacular schools long ago, so that today, their non-native populations have become fully assimilated with them, so much so that their prime ministers and presidents can come from their own kind.
          Many of those in Melayusia who had studied in the vernacular schools feel increasingly isolated. They can blame their parents for their failure to fully integrate with the national crowd and aspiration, and will forever be ‘condemned’ by scholars of race issues as being stuck in Hong Kong and Chennai, as can be seen by their penchant for things Hong Kong and Chennai.
          You can see small groups of Chinese and Indians who are mostly in their own little worlds of fantasy, thinking and feeling how they are in Hong Kong and Chennai. They hardly have Melayu as friends.
Even the non-Melayu politicians are not known to have their children and grandchildren who are involved in the arts with their Melayu friends.
          I can tell it if they do not have Melayu friends or have seen a Melayu program on television and gone to the cinema to see a Melayu film. The Mandarin and Tamil media discourage them from doing that.
          In Melayusia, different groups of people can have their own schools. The vernacular Mandarin and Tamil schools were described as ‘Independent schools’, so they could insist that they were so. But not anymore.
          Times have changed; the so-called ‘independent schools’ are not so independent anymore. They want to be ‘parasitic’.
They have realized that they could not become independent anymore and have started or even begged and worse, started to threaten the government to offer them ‘grants’ and other ‘incentives’ so that their schools which face fledging student populations from breaking down and collapsing on their own weight.
          In the past their communities were able to sustain these schools, but not anymore and getting aid from the government was repulsive to their nature.
          This must surely mean that their economic standing of the Chinese community is now not as strong and solid like it was before, as the standing of the Melayus become more stable and increasing.
          The students know this and this are affecting their ego and that of the teachers and administrators of such schools.
          The latest statistics on the student population of the Mandarin schools and the national schools show that the student population for Mandarin schools rose by 80% since Merdeka, while the national school population rose to more than 400%.
          However, an English language daily controlled by the Chinese quickly tried to confuse their readers by saying how much the enrolment in the Mandarin schools had increased tremendously while neglecting to highlight the enrolment for the national schools which is even more stunning than that.
The truth of the matter is that the vernacular schools are practicing discrimination by neglecting the other dialects, and concentrating on Mandarin and Tamil, whereas the Chinese and Indians in Melayusia comprise of people from various other communities such as those speaking in Hokkien, Cantonese and Indians who are Sikhs, Melayualees, Chingalas, Telugus, etc, all of whom do not have schools of their own.
          And these Indians do not send their children even to the Tamil schools but the national schools. So no wonder, most of their children were able to get better quality education and rose up in the social ladder compared to the Tamil students who dropped out of school at a young age.
          Not many non-Tamil Indians are known to be involved in petty criminal activities like stealing metal and electric cables.
Herein lies the danger and disadvantages of such schools, in that they do not offer much promise to the students who stop schooling after Standard Six or even Form Three, as most of them would do.
          This caused the relevant political party leaders in MCA and MIC to become alarmed.
          But none of them dares to admit that their vernacular schools which are off-tangent with the national aspirations have caused many young Chinese and Indians or Tamils to also fail in life, with no proper education. They can’t speak Melayu or English and a smattering of street Mandarin and Tamil that they cannot use anywhere outside of their own small communities and limited confines.
          The vernacular schools in Melayusia are only good for the parents of the Chinese and Indian students, but not their children whose future is not bright. They will grow up not being able to mix freely with the Melayus and whose views on life are often limited. 
          Ironically, the only language of communication for them is still BAHASA MELAYU, although it is ‘bazaar Melayu’ which they use in their own special way with bad pronunciation and limited vocabulary, when they communicate with the REAL WORLD OF MELAYUSIA which is dominated by the dominant Melayu race, which prefers to speak in Melayu, despite many of them who are conversant in English with some of them having studied abroad.
          Only those small groups of Chinese and Indians who have managed to continue their studies at a higher level and sometimes at universities abroad are the ones who are enamored with the English language and use it mostly for social communication.
Many of them had studied in the vernacular schools, but who could go on with their studies at the NATIONAL SCHOOLS where they study in MELAYU, and who also managed to study at universities abroad, and they are the ones who are insisting on speaking in English.
And they are also the ones who thought that the education they managed to get from studying in the respective vernacular schools had made them who they are now.
          They had totally neglected to admit that the reason why they are ‘educated’ is because they had managed to enroll at the NATIONAL SCHOOLS where they were also able to get some measure of self-respect and feeling good with themselves.
Whereas, those who did not manage to study in the national schools often become lost in the crowd; especially if they fail at the end of the primary school or drop out in the middle of secondary school with no real academic qualification to talk about. They are the people who are now feeling jaded and useless with themselves. Worse, they do not know what had hit them.
          The vernacular schools are only good for CHARACTER BUILDING, but only if one wants to know how to read and write in Mandarin or Tamil. It is not good if one wants to learn how to speak in the other Chinese and Indian dialects.
          But this does not mean that those Chinese and Indians who did not study in the vernacular schools are not Chinese and Indians enough.
          One of the worse reasons why the Chinese and Indian parents do not want to send their children to the national schools is because they feared their children to become Muslims.
This is too far away from the truth. Most of the Chinese and Indians who left the religions of their parents are those who converted to Christianity or Catholicism.
Those who convert to Islam only do it at a later stage in their lives, and they are mostly those who had studied in the vernacular schools.
          Just look at the non-Melayus who are registered with Perkim and one can see how their vernacular school background was the reason why they decided to convert. Some of them are now seen in Islamic religious programs speaking in Mandarin and Tamil.
          The other unrealistic reason why the non-Melayu parents do not want to send their children to the national schools is because they think that such schools are dominated by the Melayus.
          The whole country is dominated by the Melayus. Everywhere we go, there are more Melayus than the non-Melayus.
          The situation is made worse, when the non-Melayu parents deliberately do not send their children to the national schools so that their population becomes smaller than the national percentage.

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