Tuesday, 1 November 2011


This is a topic I used to write about, some two years ago (please refer 2009's entries) and never thought I would write about it again. Why? Because as time gone by, I gradually realized that it was useless even to try to make our people understand about the issue. It was useless to tell the people it was not the English Language that was of interest but the Mathematics and Sciences acquirement was instead, the sole purpose.

But one of the reader to this blog, AGENDA RAKYAT has somehow reminded me of the issue (a natural sequence of the recent reemerging of the issue in public, of course). So, I think why not I rewrite about it but in a different style, that is in a dialogue forms as follows (if you notice, this has been the forms of my recent entries) :

Why they would not understand the issue?
Because many of them had never gone through the need to read the more than 1000 pages of Thomas's Calculus or KJ Bathe's Finite Element Procedures and alike.

Why the need to read these books?
If nobody in our society reads these books, than our understanding on science and technology is vague, fragile, futile etc.

Are not you reading these books, is not it enough for the society?
Me alone and maybe a couple of friends of mine are not enough. I should have made it more detailed, when I said nobody, I referred not to a single person but more to a portion of the society.

How big this portion should be?
As big as in the societies which our society want to be. If we really want to be an advanced society, it should be about those say in the UK, US, Japan, Germany.

So, how big that would be?
I do not know exactly, but based on my experience and observation, much bigger than having me and just a couple of my friends.

Are not we producing engineers which have managed so far to build structures, bridges, cars etc?
Hmm, if that is enough, then we would not be discussing about why our country is still not making any money out of 'knowledge', in the first place, would we? The analogy would be, if we build our own house, we will not get paid, but if we build someone else house, we will be paid. Yes, we have been and are still producing engineers but only for our own 'household chores' purposes. So when we talk about innovation, sustainable economy and development and things like that, it is about doing someone else 'household chores', if you know what I mean.

Let's go back to the part of reading Thomas's Calculus. What PPSMI got to do with it?
Everything. Ok, before we discuss further, let me remind you that when I say Thomas's Calculus, I do not mean it literally but as a representative in terms of magnitude. Ok, about your question, how about you go around and ask engineering students or the engineers themselves about what they really understand about 'calculus'. Or just ask them for the things they remember from the book. I can't help from being prejudice but the majority of the answers you will get is that they do not understand it or do not remember it. You know why? Because they can not read 'the story telling' inside the book. As I keep saying, math and science is not about the numbers but it is about the way of 'thinking' which is hard to grasp if we cannot read the 'story telling'. And on why we cannot read the 'story telling' it is because our English is poor. PPSMI is supposed to resolve this problem.

What if the engineers say that 'calculus' is not important, too theoretical, not relevant in practice or something like that?
If they say these, then it would be an immediate proof of how our society has failed to produce 'real' engineers. No engineers in his right training would say that, ask those in advanced societies, you would not get such answers.

What is your opinion on the statement that the Germans, Japanese and Mainland Chinese for examples, are using their mother tongue in teaching and learning Math and Science but still advancing.
I have written on exactly this so I do not want to repeat it here. Those interested please click JANGAN JADIKAN GERMAN ALASAN.

Do not you love your Bahasa Malaysia?
Of course I love my own language but I love my people more (especially the young ones). And, please, this is not about perceiving English as superior than Bahasa Melayu, not at all. This is about the world is changing rapidly and yes, we can learn Math and Science by our mother tongue but we just have no time left. We have missed that period and we are about 100 years late.

Why you said there is no time left, why the rush?
You see, ohhh you should experience it yourself to know. If you go to Malaysian universities, you will see that our students read.........


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