Thursday, November 22, 2007
A GOOD COMMAND OF ENGLISH (Part 1)
I’m prompted to publish this write-up after receiving an e-mail from a good friend of mine and viewing some of the video clips in YouTube with regard to an interview between Al-Jazeera TV (English) and a Cabinet Minister pertaining to the so called “illegal rally” organised by BERSIH on Saturday, November 10, 2007. One of the video clips had been viewed by almost 10,000 users at the time when the writer is publishing this post.
I am not going to comment on the video clips neither the verbal English of the concerned Cabinet Minister nor his way of managing the international press. A great number of the local bloggers had done that by expressing their independent views with regard to the interview between Al-Jazeera TV (English) and the Cabinet Minister. I just love this quote from one of the bloggers "His style of answering questions posed by Aljazeera- an international TV interview, downgraded him from a status of statesman to a mere ketua kampong or perhaps even less." The titles of the video clips posted at the YouTube are self explanatory.
The readers can access the video clips from YouTube as mentioned above to appreciate the different between good and “not so good” command of verbal English albeit the Cabinet Minister’s journalistic experience / back ground and the portfolio he is holding in the Government.
The objective of this posting is to create awareness amongst the Kadayan / Kedayan people in particular and non-Kadayan / Kedayan in general on the importance of a good command of written and verbal English and how to generate interests amongst our children to position English as a second language.
It is a known fact that most of our university graduates and school leavers particularly amongst the bumiputeras are weak in written and verbal English. My personal experience in conducting job interviews in a GLC (Government Link Company) since the 80’s until Y2K were the testimony of such predicament. Being an interview panel chairman / member, I insisted the candidates to speak English through out the interview session. It was a sad affair, where majority of the bumiputera candidates were not proficient in English, even those who were graduated from overseas universities of English speaking countries (United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) were equally poor in verbal English.
A good command of English does not necessary mean that you have to speak English in British or North American accent or slang. In simple terms, it means correct grammar, correct pronunciation, moderate speed and above all the listener understands what you are saying. Avoid using jargons and words difficult to understand.
Now is not the time to blame our National Education Policy for producing school leavers and university graduates not proficient in English language, particularly amongst the bumiputeras. I’m not going to repeat what has been widely said in the media, parliament, and by the two Education Ministers about the issue, suffice it is to mention here that the government is aware of the issue in hand and the way forward is to formulate effective & working action plans to remedy the weaknesses.
……to be continued