Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Close Down All Tamil Schools

This article was first published by malaysiakini.com on 21st Sept 2000 and not surprisingly, never came in any mainstream newspapers.

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Recent figures released by police on the increasing number of Indians involved in gangsterism is a cause for concern.

While many has commented on the issue and some even blaming government for not helping and taking action, I hold MIC solely responsible for all the ills in the community. After all, it is MIC who claims that they are the only party representing the Indian community.

MIC leaders have been issuing one statement after another, outlining their strategies and proposed activities only after the issue of gangsterism among Indian youth was highlighted and widely debated in the media. What were they doing all the while?!

One of the contributing factors leading Indian youth to gangsterism and other criminal activities is their inability to excel in education, particularly when they enter secondary school.
The new environment and being not conversant in Bahasa Malaysia which is the medium of teaching in secondary school have resulted in students dropping out after their PMR and SPM.
The reason this happens is the poor quality of Tamil schools in the country. Most of the Tamil schools in the country are poorly managed, lack facilities and are helmed by substandard headmasters and teachers.

Is there really a need for Tamil schools in the country? What are the pros and cons of being Tamil-educated in this country?
Indians may benefit if they are in Tamil Nadu but here in our country, the most one can achieve from being conversant in Tamil is to become a Tamil school teacher. Do Indian parents want this future for their children?

I studied in a national school and learnt to read, write and communicate in Tamil without much problem although my mother tongue is Malayaalam. Isn't that enough?

I believe most of the problems would be solved if we were to close all Tamil schools and have children enrolled in the national schools. This will put them on par with students of other races and not disadvantaged due to poor command of Bahasa Malaysia.

Tamil language can still be taught as an alternative but a compulsory subject and classes can be held while agama classes are being conducted for the Muslims. This measure will also help in our aspirations of seeing a united "Bangsa Malaysia" in the future.

MIC should stop pointing fingers and seriously think for the future generations of Indians in this country. It is not enough just to claim to be the only party representing the Indians.
I ask Indians, especially those who are Tamil-educated, to come forward and support this view.
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Recap: This article met with fierce criticism from various quarters including this (http://www.indianmalaysian.com/violence_tamil_school.htm). I would still stick to my assertion that Malaysia should have only one school and that should be the school for everyone regardless of race or religion.

A compromise would be that languages such as Mandarin and Tamil must be taught or even made compulsory.

Educationist (I would rather label them education extremist) may not agree and staunchly defend the need to have mother-tongue education.

That's fine, can the same educationist defend the rights of mother tongue education for minor ethnic groups such as portuguese, Punjabis, Malayalees, telugu and many other ethnics in Sabah and Sarawak. Everyone know that this not possible as it would really bring about various issues and stretch government resources. But these education groups or political parties are not bothered as these minorities mean nothing in terms of votes or influence.

Various groups also opposed to the idea of having Vision Schools mooted by Dr Mahathir, giving lame excuses that they fear losing their identity. What a lame excuse.

The simple idea of having different schools in the same compound has met with fierce rejection. Are their vernacular education quality is so poor that they fear that their children would be easily influenced by kids of other races within the school compound and lose their identity.

As far as physical identity is concerned, I never seen any non-national schools with any different stuctures as compared to a national school. So it's quite baffling to hear their reasons for rejection of Vision Schools even though Dr M promised that government would assist financially.

The recent debate on teaching of Science and Maths in English has also brought about the worst in all of us. Every other group released and published research papers favouring their point of view.

Most of these research papers highlighted the failure of the policy citing recent UPSR, PMR and SPM results and concludes with how well the students education & upbringing and career would be if they are educated in the mother tongue, i.e Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil.

In a malaysian give and take style, a compromise is apparently being worked on where teaching science and maths would only be in secondary schools. I cannot see what is the benefit of this.

Fed up with the nonsense by education and political groups, a group of Parents (The Parent Action Group for Education-PAGE) has sprung to the defence of the policy and now we have a good fight.

When cornered, everyone runs to hide behind their favourite curtain or kain ; their rights within the constitution.

In the end, race still matters to most in this country. How many actually have Mandarin and proper Tamil as their mother tongue? It's all about the quality and the systems in place and not really language.

Children can be multi-lingual if they are taught various languages at young age. How do we explain the enrollment of thousands of non-chinese in chinese schools? Have they (mainly Malays) lost their identity, faith or even forgot their mother tongue or dialects?

I regret that few non-chinese in Chinese schools and non-malays in national has come forward to defend the policy and strongly espouse the notion that young malaysians can be taught various languages at the same time in any type of school without losing their identity, culture, faith or their mother tongue.

We can do away with insignificant subjects such as history, moral studies or geography in primary schools and replace it with language classes.

Issues relating to racial unity and national intergration will continue to haunt this country generations to come until and unless young malaysian go to the same school, Full Stop...

27 comments:

Rakesh Kumar said...

As you said we always hide behind something. If not language, its the race, if not the race, its the clan, if not the clan, its my blood and not theirs.

I dare say that our neighbour Singapore are more united racially mainly because majority of them go to English school. That's it. I think there are still very very few Chinese schools there, not sure about it, but I remember very few.

They may have their failing, but racial issue it is not. Tamizh school have long outlived its function in Malaysia, just as Indians who migrated from India has now become Malaysians.

Like Singapore, Tamizh can be made compulsory in national school (we were not fortunate to have that subject in our school, but we picked it easily on our own).

And again, speaking of quality of students from Tamizh school...I know some from Tamizh school who speaks horrible Tamizh. What the cow did they learn in the school. A non-Tamizh school educated folk like you and I can speak better Tamizh than them.

I expect more outburst of comments here...similar to the ones you received for your Hindraf writeup (same people)...so brace yourself.

Dreaming said...

Agreed.. one national language (Bahasa Malaysia), one national school (malay main language, second language english, mandarin and tamil optional curricular classes), no main religion (we are secular), no race based policies, multi racial parties, and NEP for the poor and needy regardless of age, religion and race....

ok wait..i must be dreaming...

Ridzzy said...

Dear Sir,

A very good write up and being half indian, i cannot agree more with you.

I am going to take the time to read your other posts. This one hits home. I think Malaysians of Indian ethnic origins need to focus on issues that really matters. There has been too much politicing and too little do-ing. .and seriously, i dont consider HINDRAF as a catalyst for change.

We need a change of mentality. We need more Balans and people your commenter rakesh. Energy needs to be focused on pressing matters and I am glad some people realise and dare speak out. As a proud Malaysian of 1/2 ethnic indian background, I strongly agree with you. From what I notice, Tamil schools have done close to nothing for the general well being of Malaysian indians, except for a cosmetic sense of pride.

Best Regards

kucau said...

im happy to throw the NEP IF all non Malay have this kind of thinking :)

Sinatra_Z said...

Eh apa punya panjang daa alat blog encik. hahahahahaha

Saja datang lawat.

Kembara Politik said...

Close Down All Tamil Schools? Well, I would like to wish you all the best sir.

P/S: I'll put you on my blog list.

Anonymous said...

Listen my friend, i am an Indian who went to Malay school and even studied Islam while i was there and I am fine with it. So did my whole family, english medium even some chinese schools.. but today i send my daughter to Tamil school, why? Because 1) i really do want her to master the lingo for an extra edge.. ive been 'put down' many times by ur self-righteous Indians (who cant speak a line of English actually) because i cant read Tamil but i dint care much about it. My uncle (from English medium) is a well know computer programmer who programmed a Tamil software Nalinam and distributes it for free but guess what was the main chip with our average Indians, he dint speak the language. But let's say a Malay starts dancing Bharata Natyam, they will pay hundreds to go and see him dance not unlike the white blooded Bombay girls that rule our Indian cinema.
That is their silliness, i want my daughter to stay in touch with her roots and let her decide what she wants to do with it. But my MAIN REASON in sending her to Tamil School today is i dont want a young mind to be polluted with 'undercurrent racism' in Malay school. Come on, admit it, it is there. It was there 30 years ago and it is becoming bolder with recent events. I dont want her ending up with some complexes because she is not treated equally. Children don't understand that. Let her deal with it when she gets mature enough. Now the tamil schools are not perfect either, but at least for the time being, it is a lesser of two evils..
Now, another point, i think the only cause for an Indian's downfall is another Indian. I think Hindraf was just a shame. We were used by some parties (DSAI) who went on a free ride on the whole issue and we ended up having 5 capable Indian leader jailed and no one can do anything about it.

The Indian attitude is the reason why we are not progressing much. Not unlike India that was betrayed by the Indians themselves. We worship the fairer race when trodding on people of our own color. Our old traditions and cultures may hv suited a long gone era, but today it is only evolved into suppression and control. Look at our politicians... they never allow young blood in the field. (i attended a Indian journalist seminar some time back and saw how new ideas and potential leaders are stamped on before they are given a chance) The 'elders' want to keep everything for themselves. 'Respect the elders' they scream.. because that is what we have been brainwashed since young. But some 'elders' dont really do nothing great.. do we still have to adhere to their ways? No one dares to ask that! There are so many cowards in our society who are just 'yes man' to get whatever handouts that they can get! Take care of their own back yards. If I were to go public and state all this, they will shoot me down in a second. Because, many Indians also live in denial of their own setbacks. A race with some much of inferiority complex, that has got to change. But when, God knows!

Kay said...

well from wat i see, there are pro's n cons to this. I would like to see our national schools have a good curriculum for tamil as well as chinese. Although i am from a tamil school, much of my life, till today ppl think i am one of those indians with no knowledge of indian culture nor their language. This is because of my close association with my childhood frens of chinese and malays.till to this date hang out and stay together.

So, it doesnt matter where you school but the environment at home and around your neighbourhood.The national malay/english schools doesn't hv much resources/experience in teaching other languages. Worst, the budget for POL(peoples own language) classes.limited Teaching materials and cramped classroom with one teacher catering to the language yearning students.

This was the case say, 6-7 years back. Don't know if there are any improvement now. I was quite grateful for being educated in a tamil school as the teachers were totally committed to the upliftment of indian students. Seen teachers spending their own money every other month to help those needy student. Even more their precious time and coming to think of it, they sacrificed so much for these young indian children. Trust me, i know how i had to slog it out, day and night. In stark contrast to wat i saw in malay/english schools...

As i said earlier, if the school(malay/english) has enough resources and materials to provide these students who yearn to learn other languages,why not, i would surely support them as it further binds us to be malaysian and not indian/chinese/malay/iban/eurasian/etc..........

p/s: point to note> at least the indians can speak english and malay bcoz of national secondary schools, but alarmingly, the chinese nowadays who are educated in the chinese primary and secondary have hv little knowledge on other ppl's customs or language...go to a mamak and see for yourself, a grp of chinese would not utter a single word of english or malay...they do learn english in schools but, no practise maybe? is it the upbringing at home or the school?

Tam Dalyell said...

No wander deminegara speaks of you.

Regards.

P.nip said...

A good piece there Balan. I might not agree with all points that you made, but in terms of race relations here in Malaysia, I think everybody needs to "Bikin Serupa Cakap" more, rather than plain political rhetorics to please some groups (yes, race-baced).

I think sekolah wawasan is a good idea to start with. If the Chinese and Indians are afraid of losing their identity, and if there is proof that sekolah wawasan may lead to that, let's work on how to solve it. I'm sure there are enough intelects that can figure out how. Plainly rejecting upfront shows the racist nature of those people.

townguy said...

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thanks

Anonymous said...

Kau benar-benar anak Malaysia yang boleh diterima jadi PM walaupun kau orang India.

Knights Templar said...

Anonymous who sends his daughter to Tamil school ,i really pity your daughter.What bloody roots are we talking about here ? Tamil schools are not there to remind you of your roots macha! thats the job of the parents.I malas nak layan you sangat ...so why not we meet up in a toddy shop (the indian thing to do i suppose) and be closer to our roots and we'll discuss about it!

samuel said...

u malayalee stop talking about tamils will u???? the tamil people will know how to manage their tamil school, malayalees can go back kerala or shut up....

balan said...

Another emotional outburst by one Samuel here.

I can say the same, Tamils can go back to Tamil Nadu and run Tamil Schools there. But that's not the issue here.

Only those who can stop and think rationally will understand the article, comments and the discussion that ensued.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that there is a national school in Kulim that try their level best to reduce the mark of an Indian student so that he will not become the top student of the school. When I was in school they upgrade by themselves a Malay student mark so there will at least one Malay in top student category. And that fellow got scholarship to study in USA.

I am for sekolah wawasan if there is fairness. Do you think we can get that? DREAM ON!!!!!!

indian84 said...

well balan i respect ur opinion.. but balan 1st must ask u few question.. are u from tamil school?? is tamil ur mother tounge?? ur family members speak in tamil among them? did u send ur childrens to tamil scchools? did u talk in tamil with ur frens or 'hey wats up dude'?

well balan u said that ur from nation school...well i tink u dnt f any right 2 talk or give any comment bout tamil school... bcoz u nvr experience tamil schl environment.. if u studied in tamil schl n faced so many problems thn yes we will agree wit u...but u r not..

wellim from tamil school n i manage to pass my STPM wit good result and enter our primier U... and im frm a midle clas family...

balan u must agree that most of successfull people in this country f tamil education backgroud... can you show us the proof that nation schl stdnt are more successfull compare 2 tamil schl stdnt...im talkin abt indian coomunity only here....can u show us in number??

well u say tamil schl can bac 2 tamil nadu...gud in that case u shld go to india cz u r a indian.... anthr ting if u speek tamil thn u shld go 2 tamil nadu...
but if i didnt talk in tamil n claim u r not a indian thn u dnt f any right 2 talk abt either tamil schl or indians.. for those who not frm tamil schl u dnt f any right 2 talk abt tamil schls... well tamil schl stdnt nvr giv any comment abt national schl or abt indians who stdy thr..
mind ur own business!!!!
this is a warning from a TAMIL SCHOOL stdnt!!!!
and i challenge national schl indian stdtns proof 2 us that u ppl are better thn us n had achieve better thn us... till thn shut up!!!!!!

if u dare publish this comment.

balan said...

Balan : Again, another emotional outburst from indian84.

Ind84 : well balan i respect ur opinion.. but balan 1st must ask u few question.. are u from tamil school?? is tamil ur mother tounge?? ur family members speak in tamil among them? did u send ur childrens to tamil scchools? did u talk in tamil with ur frens or 'hey wats up dude'?

Balan : You said you respect my opinion but your writing suggest otherwise. I did provide my background and that I can speak, read and write Tamil.

IND84 : well balan u said that ur from nation school...well i tink u dnt f any right 2 talk or give any comment bout tamil school... bcoz u nvr experience tamil schl environment.. if u studied in tamil schl n faced so many problems thn yes we will agree wit u...but u r not..

Balan : Many of my friends are from Tamil school. I agree that there are cream of the crop who do well, what about the rest. I have seen and experienced how my friends from tamil schools struggled in secondary school, hence came my observation.

IND84 : wellim from tamil school n i manage to pass my STPM wit good result and enter our primier U... and im frm a midle clas family...

Balan : Like i said above, top students will survive, what about the rest. Are you sure you are from a Premier University. I can hardly understand what you wrote. Is this the quality of universities nowadays.For your information, I am not a graduate.

IND84 : balan u must agree that most of successfull people in this country f tamil education backgroud... can you show us the proof that nation schl stdnt are more successfull compare 2 tamil schl stdnt...im talkin abt indian coomunity only here....can u show us in number??

Balan : Again, this article is not about who is succesfull or not. Do you have the figures to substantiate your claims?

IIND84 : well u say tamil schl can bac 2 tamil nadu...gud in that case u shld go to india cz u r a indian.... anthr ting if u speek tamil thn u shld go 2 tamil nadu...
but if i didnt talk in tamil n claim u r not a indian thn u dnt f any right 2 talk abt either tamil schl or indians.. for those who not frm tamil schl u dnt f any right 2 talk abt tamil schls... well tamil schl stdnt nvr giv any comment abt national schl or abt indians who stdy thr..
mind ur own business!!!!
this is a warning from a TAMIL SCHOOL stdnt!!!!
and i challenge national schl indian stdtns proof 2 us that u ppl are better thn us n had achieve better thn us... till thn shut up!!!!!!

if u dare publish this comment.

Balan : Mr IND84, I did not say Tamils can go back to Tamil Nadu. I think you have serious reading problems. Please read what i wrote carefully. It was a response to one Samuel to tell him that that (going back to India) is not the issue.

I think you have a real problem of comprehending the whole article and some of the comments. Please read the article again to understand the whole message and discussion.

Please seek help if you still can't. Perhaps some lecturers from your premier university can help.

shashi raj said...

guys
im a product of tamil school and many of u who are product of tamil school who have done equally or even better than the sk students... one thing that i would like to stress here is its no what ur root, race or what religion u are... but the most impoartant thing is who u are? i dont mind there is a tamil school or chinese school or sk school as long as u know who u are n what are u gona do for ur family, friends n country thats will be fine for ur life...

mykirukalz said...

Balan


It is better to light a candle, than curse the darkness.


I believe blog is a platform to voice out our point of view despite the grammatical error. You are demotivating others to express their opinion in by pointing out their mistakes sarcastically. Do you mean, only those people with strong English command can use up this space.

Since you stressed that, this very article was published on 2000. So why do you need to publish it again? For publicity? And what sorts of changes do you expect when we ourselves contribute nothing for the change to happen. I believe the recent UPSR result shows the difference.

I was taken aback how you correlate Tamil school and gangsterism. Balan, there is no concrete evidence that shows gangsterism rooted from Tamil school. The few determinants of gangsterism include influences from peer group, individuals, parents, surrounding and mass media. And you admitted the problem arise once the enrolled to secondary schools mainly because these young buds were neglected and discriminated and they had to (forced to) carve a niche among themselves.

You also mentioned that you have learnt to read, write and talk in Tamil and satisfied with that. Is that really enough? Perhaps only for you. I’m from national school too and learnt to read, write and communicate well in Tamil. But to date, the one and only thing that I regretted in my life is that I didn’t get a formal education from Tamil school. Just by attending POL classes you can’t explore the beauty of the language and volumes of literature and philosophy writings. Tamil school is not only for the

• Lame excuse (Sekolah Wawasan) = Kepupusan Bahasa Melambangkan Kepupusan Bangsa.

• Why not – just because you are not aware of the existence of such schools, you can’t claim there’s none. There are few schools in Malaysia which caters mother tongue education for minor ethnics group. E.g : Bagan Dato’ Telegu School.

And I believe Tamil and Madarin is a standardized medium of instruction ( Bahasa Pengantar ) in non – national schools.

• Do away with insignificant subjects???
What do you mean by this statement? Please do some researches before you write. There is no history or geography subject included in primary schools curriculum. And since you argued that gangsterism starts from primary school; don’t you think that moral studies should a compulsory subject to be implemented at primary school.
* Economic value in this country – in this era of globalization, why are you narrow minded. There’s plenty of economic value for Tamil and Tamilian.

Bersama memartabatkan Bahasa Tamil.

Valga Tamil, Valarga Tamil Makkal

Dreaming Guy ... keep dreaming...hope your dream come true

balan said...

Mykirukalz,
Thanks for commenting.

Again do not get emotional. I urge you to read the whole article again and again. This article is not about Tamil Language...

I think you got it wrong here. We never commented about poor grammar here, but certain individuals not reading and understanding the whole article.

What publicity? I am republishing all articles (including one on manholes) to see if there are change after 8 years. This has got nothing to do with UPSR result or Tamil School performance.

On gangsterism I agree that I do not have the facts in hand but I do know how ex-tamil school student experience difficulty when they come to secondary school. I also had a nephew murdered by ex-tamil school drop outs (this happened recently and not 8 years ago)

I also said that substantial time can be allocated for learning Tamil in national schools.

You want me to go to Bagan Dato', where else do they teach other languages.

Yes, Tamil does not have any economic value in this country, this time, please substantiate your claims.

Mykirukalz,thanks for taking time to comment. But by looking at your response, like some others, you do not understand the article.

mykirukalz said...

you are expecting us to give you some feedback .. but the only comment you gave us is emotional ourtburst and we dont understand the article.. you a trying to hide behinds your words

balan said...

Mykirukalz,

What hiding behind words? I don't expect anyone to give any feedback.

I replied to your points, paragraphs by paragraphs.

If you still don't understand, I am advocating one school for all malaysians with Tamil and Mandarin taught substantially. That's the gist of the whole article.

This is done succesfully in Singapore and i do not see why this cannot be done in Malaysia.

indian84 said...

mykirukalz.. i tink u shld stop givin any idea or opinion 2 sum1 who doesnt or refuse 2 acept d reality... wat ever balan wrote total crap.. i can show u many ppl speacialy from SK schl dnt agree wit his writing n agree dat tamil schl far more beter... i print his article n circulate among my office mate n frens. guess wat..thy say its totaly rubish!! wel ppl lk him n his GANG wil keep talkin n wnt get donw 2 d ground n c d realty..i v shldnt waste our energy givin coments 2 sum1 who cant acept d truth...
so mykirukalz jus leave them f fun among thmself!!

Anonymous said...

Balan,

I dont think you should waste your time commenting on some of the commenters here who simply refuse to see the bigger picture...

Anyway...am proud to have you as my countrymen. The country needs more ppl with views like you.

Anon from Libya

mr khamsani said...

With this kind of Malaysian(which is you),I can throw away the NEP. I'm so sad that they claim to be Malaysian but they don't want national school with national language.

Ismail N said...

Good one Balan. Added u r blog in my blog listing. Agree with Kacau - There's no need for NEP, etc if, all non Malay have this kind of thinking. It's all about sharing & respecting each other.

P/S: Man Utd fan?