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.


The Language of Imperialism (Malaysiakini)

I found this article in a blog called "Politics 101 Malaysia", they didn't write this article, but they took it from Malaysiakini. This is an interesting article, I hope to show the readers in my blog. I will write my own opinions in the next post as I actually spent some times thinking about the same problem before I found out about this article. - Choy

The Language of Imperialism

As in capitalism’s seed of destruction, in any language there is the seed of its own imperialistic tendencies. We must look at the long-term impact of the use of the English language in the teaching of Mathematics and Science.

Language, as linguistic anthropologists would agree, is not only a mirror of reality but also shapes consciousness and installs ideologies. The Hindu-Buddhist languages of Sanskrit and Pali did it to Southeast Asia. The Arabic language did it to the Islamic world. All institutions we see around us are built out of the transplantation of concepts.

And now this language of Celtic-Germanic origin called English is advancing the “civilising and consuming mission” of the postmodern Anglo-American Empire. Some language will teach us to be more spiritual, some will train us to be more technical, and some will educate us to be good consumers in the global capitalist market.

Language policies produces the homo economicus (the economic human being) who then produce ideologies that then produce institutions of knowledge/power that will then inscribe better institutions of mind control and ultimately rob humanity of its freedom.
From logos become flesh become machines in the landscape of humanity.

McDonaldisation of English

What we see around us is the consequence of what sociologist George Ritzer would call the “McDonaldisation of Nothing” in which materials sold and consumed has no real value.
What McDonaldisation of products, goods, and services – spread through the use of the English language – are goods that satisfy wants and not basic needs.

This is the epoch of the global reach of the English language that is neither neutral nor spiritual. The English we are asked to use to teach Mathematics and Science may further shackle our nation in a more complex Center-periphery, Metropole-submetrople, Coloniser-colonised, Brown skin –White mask relationship – if we are not careful with our policies. The English language in its present form is advancing the cause of the military-industrial complex of the Anglo-American empire of this millennium.

Already, our economic and ideological landscape is predominantly English. We argue that we are slow in technological innovation and therefore we are behind, arguing that the process of translating bodies of scientific and technological work is at a turtle’s pace whereas our material development projects are moving at break-neck speed.

Therefore, the argument goes, we change policies of teaching the two languages, not realising the long-term base-superstructural implications we will see in decades to come.

English-speaking geeks

We will create more than just the new Malaysian administrative, English-speaking elites of the Eton mould and gung-ho multicultural corporate raiders and robber barons of the Wall Street ethos, but also a new breed of English speaking and geek-talking cybernetic beings that are technologically-savvy and ready to collaborate with foreign capitalists to plunder our nation’s economy, displacing local cultures and creating linguistically-deranged citizens.

What is happening to the Multimedia Super Corridor and the future of Biotechnology Malaysia project is a good example of the impact of our obsession with the lingua franca. We fear that we may not be able to “compete” in the “world market” that speaks English to global power.

But are we gearing up our education system to merely meet the ideology of globalisation? We are chasing “progress” but sacrificing “human development”, making 60,000 graduates unemployed and unemployable?

Even worse, the children of the multicultural poor will continue to struggle with the complexity of the bilingualism in the educational conveyor belt of a win-loose Malaysian education that filters human beings into class stratification so that the winners will become successful technocrats and cybernetic Malaysians whose allegiance is to globally-linked English-speaking corporate elites.

Children left behind?

The children of the multicultural poor will continue to be left behind year after year in the hands of teachers who not all of them are proficient in English. These teachers will be handing them watered down concepts of these two subject areas and hence unable to bring the students to the commanding heights of the study of Mathematics and Science.

A teacher affects the lives of hundreds and thousands of students in his/her lifetime. How might we create a good scientific and technologically-based middle-class when there are still problems with the teaching language itself, especially when it is taught to children in their formative years?

This is what we are confronting as the fundamental issue of language, national and technological development.

We are caught in a debate on language. We must understand how it colonises our physical and psychological consciousness turning nations into beings and nothingness in the matrix of the evolving empire.

The debate over language rages on – whether Mathematics and Science need to be taught in English. Language, from the time of independence continues to become a contested terrain in education and social development. What more if we are talking about the language of technological progress – of Science and Technology.

What is the real issue here? Where will the English language bring any nation if we are to adopt it into building our ideological-technological landscape? Is the English language neutral? Or is it imperialistic, carrying with it the lifeline of the Anglo-American Empire, in an age of globalisation that is creating dire human consequences and threatening our fragile environment?

Reconstructed neo-colonialism?

Who owns the means of the production of scientific knowledge? Who owns the global production house of knowledge? Who owns the most advanced knowledge base of informatics in this Age of Information?

The language of business and industry, of marketing and advertising and of cutthroat competition thrives on the power of the English language.

Major multinational corporations continue to spread their wings and bury their tentacles of imperialism by structuring nation-states with the lingua franca called English.

Look at the landscape of Malaysia – her hypermodern urban landscape. What do we see? Installations of ideologies that transplanted the English language onto the otherwise lush forests, exploited hence by those who profit with the aid of the English language.

Who owns the means of producing highbrow, lowbrow, and popular culture? How do we Malaysians enculturalise these industries and get caught in the conveyor-belt of global-ideological production?

But there is still the progressive strand in the English language – one that will build foundations of civilisations better than the philosophy of Oriental Despotism, be it derived from the Malay, Chinese or Indian cultural philosophies.

It is the strand of liberalism and humanism of the language that needs to be brought to the linguistic forefront of our national language policies. It is the dimension of the critique of capitalist greed that needs to be enculturalised and used as a foundation for our education system.

We have not started exploring because we are busy blindly adopting the technocractic aspect of this language of Anglo-American corporate dominance, so that our power elites can profit from the creation of “globally-linked” and “governmental-linked” companies that will continue to plant the seeds of destruction – through borrowed words of a language that has spread through guns, guts and glory.

Malaysiakini column by Dr Azly Rahman, December 2005.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Am I a Coward?

I was like usual having dinner with my Korean friend about a week ago before he went back to Korea for Christmas. I can’t remember for what reasons, we talked about fighting. He is a hot tempered person although his face doesn’t show that. Plus his 2.5 years in Korean Special Forces and his well built body definitely made him a strong man who can fight. Unlike him, I am much weaker and never really fight in my life, although I am a hot tempered person sometimes.

We agreed that in order to start a fight, you must be right in the first place. However, as we talked and we came to this point which we didn’t agree with each other. He said that when you fight, you must play fair. 1 on 1. No weapons allowed. You fight because you are bullied by others and you have to fight back to show that you are right, no matter the opponent is stronger or weaker. OK… here is it. This is where I didn’t agree with him.

I told him, for me, fighting is divided into 2. First, I fight because I am attacked, without ready for the attack earlier. In this case, I have no choice but to fight to defend myself. If it is possible, defeat the opponent, if not run. Second, which means I am the one who starts the fight. I am the one who attacks. I told him that, if I want to start a fight, that means I have to win. If I can’t win, I do not start a fight. I start a fight because I have planned, everything is in my control, I will beat the hell out of the bastard(s) who bullied me. Also, if necessary, gathering more people or carrying weapons are ok for me.

Korean friend: “You are not a man, you are a coward. How can you attack quietly? Carrying weapons and gathering people…...”
Me: “Why not? If I fight, I have to win. Otherwise why should I fight?”
Korean friend: “Then you will not fight as you will not have time to plan normally. You will only avoid since you are weaker and your way of thinking”
Me: “Of course I do not fight normally, who wants to fight?”

Perhaps I am weak, so I see fighting seriously. About whether I am a man or a coward? I do not think if I get whacked will make me looks like a man or hero. If you are going to play fair, like my friend said, 1 on 1, no weapon, no attack quietly… then tell me, how you are going to fight if your opponent is Mike Tyson? If like my friend said, then there will be only 2 outcomes. 1st, you get whacked and end up thinking you are a man in the hospital. 2nd, you let him bully you and keep quiet. For which I think it’s the act of coward too. So why not let there be a 3rd outcome? How do you fight with someone stronger? Plan your fight or grab a weapon! By doing this you can turn your stronger opponent into the weaker one. What is the most effective way of defeating your opponent? SURPRISE ATTACK! I seriously can’t find a better way than this.

If you think about it more, even heroes we are familiar with do not fight with bare hands with stronger opponents, so why should I?


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Vision 2020 ?????????????????????????

Look at this article in the BBC website. Note that this is the BBC, which means, the world knows.

The sad thing is, probably the majority or all of Malaysians do not share the views of the barbaric chiefs of police. How can such seemingly uneducated morons be in charge of a national force that is supposed to protect the innocent? They have once again permanently tarnished the already hopelessly tattered reputation of our country.


I've been thinking about this whole thing, and I came to the conclusion that maybe we should not accuse the police of certain things before knowing the whole story. What if this Chinese lady was suspected, or known, to have been smuggling drugs? Perhaps this stripped squatting procedure is a form of cavity search to induce hidden packages to be revealed? Or maybe she was under the influence of some drug, and they were testing her balance or something?

The police need to come up with a clear and concise report after some sort of investigation to explain to the people, and also to gain our confidence.

UPDATE 2 (By Choy):

I want to point out something about your update Ruben. I agree we shouldn't see something from 1 side, but

1. You should ask your dad if what the police did was legal in human rights?
2. There are better ways to do the 'search' and 'test' that you meant. Perhaps let a professional like a doctor to do that?

Why we are angry? You should try to listen to what Noh Omar said, the way he spoke. Here are a few lines that he said which I think those lines really prove that he is an idiot. I translated them into English:

"You have to respect police"
"Don't try to demolish the image of Malaysian police!"
"If foreigners think that we are cruel, go home, don't come to Malaysia."
"Why foreigners still come here to work if they think we are cruel? Go home-lah! Somemore the Malaysian citizens have to spend millions to protect them! Go home-lah!"

Let's now have a look at what Mr. Bush said when the world found out that American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated,"
"Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America."

See the difference? Bush is a man who 'holds a book and a sword', but Noh Omar is a barbarian who 'holds a keris'.