Robin the Hood

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Robin Hood, legendary hero of English folklore, stole from the rich to give to the poor. In Malaysia, for more than fifty years the BN government at district town/city council, state and federal levels have kept their eyes and ears closed to widespread corruption, malpractice, abuse of power and administrative misdeeds, notes our Thinking Allowed column.

Year after year the Auditor-General’s report is a catalogue of this pernicious disease.

Umnoputras, their families and cronies with the connivance and collusion of civil servants have apparently indulged in unbridled robbery of the nation’s wealth.  The plunder continues and the loot is probably hidden overseas.

Without an independent print and electronic media, ineffective enforcement agencies and a shackled judiciary, anything is possible in Bolehland.

Right-thinking Malaysians are sickened by the low-cost housing scam in the Petaling Jaya Town Council.  This is the tip of the iceberg.  I have no doubt whatsoever that in every town/city council, state and federal low-cost housing projects for the poor, similar scams exist.  These “robbers” have gone laughing all the way to the bank.  A Royal Commission should investigate thoroughly this scam.  The flats meant for the poor should be taken back from the rich and given to the poor.  Those guilty should be punished severely.

In Malaysia, the rich are robbing the poor to give to themselves!  These are the Malaysian “Robin the Hood” of both genders.

English: Plumetting standards

The great legacy left to us by the British upon independence was English, the standard of which was on par with many developed countries and advanced Commonwealth countries.

With the switch to Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction in schools and universities, the stage was set for the decline in the standard of English.  Short-sighted people believed that if the dominance of English in the life of the nation was not checked, BM would not develop.  The language policy formulators got everything wrong.  Can you believe that now English is not considered a critical subject in the curriculum?  So English, like Mandarin, comes under the BM head who enjoys the promotion post.

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We have heard enough horror stories of mistakes made by teachers of English at school, teacher-training colleges and university professors.  Remember the citation written by someone at Universiti Hussein Onn when Raja Zarith was given an honorary degree?  The citation was totally incomprehensible.  Citizen Nades has often commented on the atrocious English, be it in government releases, advertisements on the website of government ministries or model answers like the ones provided by the Selangor Education Department.

Everything about government policies with regard to English has gone frightfully wrong.  At all levels of the education system, those teaching English are not up to the standard. Now the government wants to import a few hundred native speakers of English from Australia or England.  The government did this in the 1980s.  The two hundred teachers imported then had little effect on the standard of English.  It was indeed a failure.

Neither have dozens of consultants who have come to our shores done much good.  They always collect their cheques when the consultancy period ends and depart.  MU experienced this with regard to their Scientific English Programme, which ultimately was completed by their own staff.  The consultants always have the incorrigible habit of recommending their second coming!

It is time for some radical change with regard to the teaching and learning of English.  If teachers are selected on merit and trained well, then we will be on the right, long and arduouos journey.

On a lighter note let me tell you a story of a teacher of English desperate to improve his students’ English. He had made them memorise idioms etc and given their equivalent meanings.  For example:

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•    Pull someone’s leg = tease someone
•    Bite the dust = experience defeat
•    The hand that rocks the cradle = mother
•    Kick the bucket = die  etc.

For his strenuous efforts the teacher got this linguistic monstrosity from one of his students:
“The hand that rocked the cradle has kicked the bucket.”

The morning after the night before

The above phrase is usually used in a light-hearted way to refer to bingeing or sexual hanky-panky the night before. During the World Cup tournament, it referred to those who came groggy to work after watching matches into the wee hours of the morning.  But teacher Alias Ismail, Tokok Nilam, Trengganu, has candidly said that sex every night with his wife and reading in bed is what ensured his professional performance and productivity. (No pun intended.)

There is a mistaken belief that too much sex will wear out a person and adversely affect his work.  It is for this reason that managers of World Cup football players keep way WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) of players when they are training or playing matches.  Cikgu Alias proves this wrong.

It is popularly believed that to be a good teacher one needs education, knowledge, training, knowledge of learning theories, pedagogy, methodology etc.  It appears that in the case of Cikgu Alias, these are secondary.  What seems to be important is nightly sex and reading in bed.  It can be assumed that the reading material is non-academic.  It must be romantic and sexually stimulating literature.

Recent news reports indicate that he is a much sought-after man.  Already he has been invited by groups in Negeri Sembilan and Perak to conduct courses.  Our ever-vigilant Ministry of Education, no doubt, will consider him for conducting in-service courses for teachers.

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I wonder how unmarried teachers who spend their nights preparing their work or marking students’ exercise books feel.  I hope they do not develop an inferiority complex.  

Malaysians who are not teachers will surely seek Cikgu Alias to gain some “Ilmu” regarding his enviable sexual prowess.

For a start, Cikgu Alias has donated 300 of his books to S K Jenderis where the majority of students are from poor families.  Even if the books are unsuitable for them, the teachers may want to devour them in the hope of emulating the great Cikgu.

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