Bebel Without a Clause

Bebel Without a Clause

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why A Samad Said is wrong. Why yesterday's demo should not has happened and should not be politicized by PAS. A personal view by a medical Professor

Here is an excerpt from a recent posting from alumni groups. Some of the info had been blacked out to hide the identity of the sender. PAS is the wrong platform anyway, they are not keen on 'mertabatkan bahasa Melayu' but 'Bahasa ARAB'

From: xxxxxx To: Sent: xxxday, March 0x, 2009 12:48 AMSubject: [xxxx: xxxx] Re: GMP PPSMI - a view from Razaleigh, so what's next ?

Dear All,
I have refrained from making any comment on the language issue until yesterday's demonstration and the plea for someone in the academic field to respond. I would like to categorically state that if we love our people especially the Malays do not revert to teaching of science and maths in Malay.
We have already damaged almost two generations of Malays from a failed attempt to use Malay as the language of science. I know that there will be people who will disagree with me but I will state my reasons and narrate my experience.I would like to state my credentials from the outset. I was the foundation head of the Department of Surgery of Uxx in 19x6 and was amongst the pioneers in establishing the Faculty of Medicine. I was Professor of Surgery and was Dean of the Medical Faculty from 19xx to 19xx when I returned to the Ministry of Health as a Senior Consultant Surgeon and later Chief of the Surgical Services until my official retirement on reaching 55years of age in 2xxx. I continued service on a contractual basis and continued to be involved in teaching undergraduates from UPM, UiTM and Uni Sabah.

I am an Adjunct Professor in UKM and I am still teaching Postgraduates in General Surgery and Paediatric Surgery which is my special field of expertise.In the early years of UKM students who entered the medical school were almost entirely from the Malay medium. There was great enthusiasm to teach medicine in Bahasa Malaysia.Indonesian lecturers were recruited to teach the basic science subjects in the first two years in Bahasa Malaysia ala Indonesia. Textbooks were in English and some foreign teachers taught in English. Efforts were made to create Malay medical terminology and translate medical textbooks. Some lecturers began writing medical books in Malay.
I must say that despite all these efforts the students hardly refer to or use the Malay books. The examination questions which were mainly MCQs were in Malay and translated into English as external examiners were invited for all examinations. The external examiners were mainly from English speaking countries. Examinations were in both Malay and English during an oral examination by an external examiner.
If a student could not communicate in English the questions and answers were translated to the students and examiners.When the students entered the clinical years and placed in Hospitals the teaching was done in English as the language of communication and documents in all hospitals were all in English and has remained so to this day.
There was nobody who could teach the clinical years in Bahasa Malaysia!When I was Dean of the Medical School from 1984 to 1990 there were strong pressures from the University Senate members that we should teach entirely in Bahasa Malaysia. I categorically rejected this move. This did not go down very well for me especially by the those who saw me as unpatriotic.
Even if I wanted to have all the teachings done in Bahasa Malaysia it was impossible to implement. We were short of Clinical teachers and there was no one competent enough to teach in Malay. Worse, if we had done it in Malay the students would not be able to communicate to the medical staff in the hospital because they could only communicate in English. We had to import foreign teachers who could teach only in English and because a major portion of the clinical examinations were to be in English we had to make the students competent to present their cases and discuss in English.
I was willing to put my job on the line. The students were literally forced to learn medicine in English. The students were given English classes and had to pass 4 credits of English before graduation as a prerequiste for obtaining their degree. I have personally taught English to those who were weak.To comply with the language requirements of the University the theory papers were in both languages and students were given the option to use either one.
Hardly any student use the Malay version! only the weak ones in English were said to use the Malay version. The majority wrote their answer scripts in English.In the final examination of the first batch the external examiners were impressed with not only their knowledge also but their abiltity to present cases and discuss in English.
The first few groups were impressive and many of them were able to obtain their postgrad training and certification from the Royal Colleges of UK, Scotland and Ireland.Sadly the more recent graduate's command of English are'nt as good. The students I now teach have poorer command of English especially the Malays. The Chinese are also nearly as bad but the Indians are not as bad. Their grammar is atrocious, their diction and pronounciation are quite horrible.
Some can't even string a few simple sentences.There are still a few good ones though.Amongst doctors the overseas graduates from English speaking countries are mostly quite competent in English.The downside about the poor command of English of some of our doctors is our inability to send them overseas for further training in some very specialised areas. Countries like UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand require candidates to pass an English examination called IELTS.
They must pass in all the components of the written and oral test with marks above 7. Some of the candidates my colleagues and I have arranged for further trainng overseas have not been able to pass the test and could not be accepted to pursue their training. The reality in Malaysia is that the language of the medical profession is English. If a doctor is not conversant in English he will face difficulty in the job in this country. Almost all documents are written in English and the language of communication between doctors who graduate from Universities all over the world is English.
Doctors from Malaysia trained in the middle east, Indian subcontinent, Ukraine and Russia are taught in English. Most of the sources of information in Medicine are in English.The two main proponents of 'reversal' are not men of science and I am uncertain whether they are familiar with what is the reality on the ground in Medicine, Engineering and other Sciences. They should be more concern with the deteriorating standards of Bahasa Malaysia both spoken and written amongst younger Malaysians. I have often heared Malaysians giving their opinions to TV stations in bad Bahasa Melayu when asked to comment on some issues. They should be more concern with the diminishing utilisation of Bahasa Melayu in adverts, notices and in commercial premises. There are many so called Malaysians who have been here for generations who still cant speak proper Bahasa Malaysia. Why did'nt they make noise about it? What irked me recently was when I heard an Indian MP who could not speak properly in Malay and had to ask permission to speak mostly in English in Parliament.
Why did they not champion the use of more Jawi the original script of Bahasa Melayu? In my younger days more Jawi was used. I can ask them many more questions about what they have not done 'untuk memertabatkan' Bahasa Melayu. Reverting to teaching maths and science in Malay is not the way. It is only hiding their failures as literary figures to promote greater usage and respect for the Malay language in many areas by the citizenry of Malaysia. I have asked many of my graduates this question.If you are to study maths and science again what language would you prefer to be used. All said ENGLISH. If we are to ask the rural folks in what language they would like their children to be taught science and maths? I am confident that they will say ENGLISH. I rest my case. xxxxxxxxx

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