Thursday, December 22, 2005


Like I promised, I will talk about language in this post. According to experts, out of 6800+ languages in the world, 50-90% of languages will disappear before Year 2100. People speak different languages and dialects in different parts of the world. Humans interacted in a simpler way in the past, in a village, in a small kingdom, so dialects could exist. The world then went through industrial revolution, and today we are in the information age. You can’t isolate yourself with the world anymore, so there comes the existing of strong and weak languages, slowly the strong languages will defeat the weak languages and then disappear one day. If a language is spoken by less than hundred thousand people, does not have enough of words, cultural philospohy as the backbone to support it, it will be annihilated.

English used to be a dialect from Germany. English people were expanding their culture later, bibles were written in English, English literatures existed… English language became strong, it threatens French, it threatens Chinese. But before English language became strong, French was used in Britain’s universities, politician fighting with French language in parliament and French was used in the churches in Britain. Ok, so we now know, when a language is strong, other languages cannot threaten it. Although English is strong, it cannot hit French, it cannot hit Chinese, it cannot hit Spanish. What does this mean? It means, those languages have enough words and culture to support them.

I understand what Dr. Azly wants to tell us. He loves our country. But I think what he doesn’t realize is what language we are now using to compete with the “Language of Imperialism” that he meant. What is Bahasa Malaysia? What is our national language? How many people in the world speak the language? I think over 200 millions. Wait a minute, what is the population in Malaysia? 25 millions? So where are the 90% of the population? They are in Indonesia. Bahasa Malaysia comes from Indonesia. There is no such thing as Bahasa Malaysia, it is a Malay language from Indonesia. Even you have everyone in Malaysia to speak our national language, including Ruben and me, you still can’t compete with Indonesia. Here comes the problem, you want to speak national language, but now there are more people speaking the same language in Indonesia, how can you say this is Bahasa Malaysia? NOT only this! The language Bahasa Malaysia does not have enough words ( open the dictionary and you will know what I mean ), not enough cultural philosophy, not enough literatures to support it. This tells us what? Basically, while some people keep talking about we should love and speak Bahasa Malaysia, but this is a weak language there is no root for this language, it is just wasting the children's time. Even 25 millions people speak it, there is not much meaning, it is going to be varnished.

I appreciate Dr. Azly’s effort to try to save us from the invasion of English language in our country. I like his spirit, but he should understand Bahasa Malaysia cannot compete with English. If he writes the same article, let’s say in Taiwan, Korea or Japan, I think more people will appreciate than in Malaysia. BUT, as a Malaysian Chinese, I do have a little to say although I think the Malaysian government will not be happy to listen to this. I saw the government putting too much efforts to stop Chinese education from running properly, which I think it endangers Malaysians who want to have Chinese education. Unlike Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese is a much stronger language, of course I am talking about Mandarin not any other Chinese dialects spoken by some Malaysian Chinese like Hokkien, Hakka or Cantonese. Those dialects are weak languages, going to be varnished in the future as well. Mandarin is supported by very strong cultural philosophy, history, literatures/books (>100,000 ancient literatures) and spoken by huge population in the world. With all these as backbone, no matter how strong is English, it cannot varnish Chinese, just like English cannot destroy French or Spanish. This is more likely a language that can overcome the invasion of English in the world today. I therefore, hope that all the Malaysian Chinese will think about it, start learning Chinese today, I mean Mandarin, not Cantonese, not Hokkien, not Hakka. Perhaps the Malaysian government will not be happy or agree with me, but I am directing this to all the Malaysian Chinese who want to have the Chinese language to continue to flourish, please think about it.

The world is cruel, we have to stay alert. We have to use our brains to analyse the information we have, that’s the way we live in information age. Do not simply accept every information, especially those from some crappy politicians. I cannot go to parliament and make comments, BUT you are not going to stop me to spread my thinkings in this blog. To the Malaysian Chinese who still love the Chinese language, learn Mandarin, not dialects, not languages that are going to disappear!

*I am not asking people to stop learning English, I am studying in a British University now, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want to see Chinese language fades into nothingness.

*About teaching Mathematics and Science in English, I think that makes no difference. I as a Physics student, Mathematics for me is a toolkit to solve problems in Physics. Science is about imagination. You do not need a specific language to use a toolkit and imagine, do you? There are great scientists from all over the world, and that tells us language is not a barrier.



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