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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I Support Learning Math & Science in English

Recently there was a lot of support calling for the reversal of teaching math and science in English. Much of this support comes from intellectuals who had never studied any form of science or maths in their respective college or University.
Take for example the recent PPSMI forum which was supposed to be attended by Anwar Ibrahim but was replaced by Syed Husin Ali. Syed Husin Ali is a Professor of Anthropology and Sociology from University Malaya. What science or mathematics is there? In fact I had to look up the dictionary to understand the meaning of Anthropology. The anthropologist Eric Wolf once described anthropology as "the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences." Zaidel described Anthropology as a major you take in Uni if you can't do Math well but want to seem smart by having fancy words on your degree.
And Anwar Ibrahim? Degree in Malay Studies, Oiyoooo the only Math they have in Malay Studies is to calculate the amount of credit you take per semester, which isn't much of a problem for Anwar, because during his Uni days he spent most of them shouting slogans on the street and getting angry for no apparent reason.
Why I say getting angry for no apparent reason? Because later he Joined UMNO!! Back to the reason why I support the damn thing. I came from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and trust me when I say this that a few years back this was the most Bahasa Kebangsaan University than any other local universities combined. Let's just say the first 3 years of my Engineering days were filled with Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu jargons.
Just to show you what I mean take a look at some of these examples. Engineering Term Capacitor - Pemuat Resistor - Perintang Impedance - Galangan Current - Arus Others include : Momen Lentur, Tegasan, Terikan, Pepejal, Dinamik Haba and etc... I mean those Engineering Lecturer took the extra mile to translate every single damn thing into Malay and I greatly respect this. As opposed to my sociology lecturers who like to screw up the Malay Language by prostituting English words into BM.
Take for example this term "Dekadensi Moral" When I first saw that term I was thinking what the hell is dekadensi moral, a type of resistor or something? Turns out dekadensi comes from the English word Decadence. Dekadensi Moral means Moral Decadence direct translation where as you can simply translate it into "Kemerosotan Akhlak/Moral" which is much clearer. But NOOOO he had to use dekadensi so that he would seem smart and people won't question his Associate Professorship.
Then you would have other words like kompak, visi, misi, infotainment, naratif kecil, naratif besar and penkek. At first the Lecturers (Engineering) seemed to get it all good, they managed to translate the English term to BM very well and with very clear meaning. Then things started to change as the subject get's more complex and you get newer terms.
For example:
"Motorolla 68000 Microprocessor" Which translates to Mikro Pemproses Motorolla 68000" Sounds fine.... But then as you go deeper into the subject you will find more interesting terms. For instance Timer - The clock cycle chip you use to send timing signals to the processors. It acts like a stopwatch to the processor.
BM Translation - Pemasa. Which is fine. Then we have things like this - Bistable Multivibrator - Dwimantap Penggetar Pelbagai. Apo Kobondo tu Jang?
Then in microprocessor you have this term call "Interrupt" and like it's name it means to interrupt the normal cycle of the processor and tell it to focus to doing something else.
Kinda like the phone rings when you are cooking, you stop cooking and answer the phone. The Malay Jargon Interrupt would be Sampukan. Interrupt Pin - Pin Sampukan. Sampukan? Sampuk ke? Sejak bila Mikropemproses ada pocong atau Jembalang dalam dia? Ini Electrical Engineering ke, Bomoh Engineering?
Masked Interrupt - Sampukan Bertopeng. Handshake Interrupt - Sampukan Jabat Tangan. Ko salam dengan dia lepas tu ko kena sampuk, kira dia ni macam santau laa. Then you have this thing called "Latch" which is an output chip. Latch in Malay is Selak. Selak as in Selak pintu, Selak Pagar or Selak pintu Jamban.

Mula-mula baca dulu saya ingat Selak dalam erti kata Selak Kain. Contoh - Angin bertiup kencang lalu baju kurung Fasha Sanda pun selak sikit lalu Zaidel pun telah menerima ganguan emosi akibat dari kejadian itu. Naah see, And it gets interesting when it comes to "Electrical Power" subject.
In there there is this chapter where they talk about CoEnergy in power transmission. Coenergy in Malay is translated to Kotenaga. Which is why when he gave the lecture, my lecturer would loudly proclaim KOtenaga compared to the students who prefer to pronounce it as KOTEnaga.
3-phase Coenergy in power transmission would then becomes KoteNaga 3-fasa dalam penghantaran kuasa. OIYOOOOOO, kalah Anakonda!
Just for fun here are some other Technical Jargons you can play with... Transformer - Pengubah Decoder - Penyahkod (Mak Nyah kot) Multiplexer - Pemultiplex Polarity - Kutub Instruction Set - Set Suruhan Components - Peranti (I bet you didn't know that) Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART) - Penghantar Penerima Pemasa Serentak Am
Now try translating this
Connect your Joystick into the server port, you should find little problem with the Joystick as the server has Plug and Play mode.
Masukkan batangria anda ke dalam lubang pelayan, anda sepatutnya tidak mempunyai banyak masaalah dalam memasukkan batangria anda kerana pelayan ini mempunyai fungsi masuk dan main. Hambik kau!
Tu belum dia kena sampuk ke selak ke nak nak pulak ada kotenaga. By the time I was in my 4th year, Everything was taught in English.... SENANG!

1 comment:

  1. Hi...I find this posting interesting. Agree wholeheartedly that the people who opposed the use of English are those who have very little background on the subject. I am not from a science background but I studied overseas after my Form 5. It is difficult to learn when you have very little grasp of the language ...

    I know Science and Maths are different from my field but I still think it is important that students are exposed to the language. They keep harping on "memperkasakan bahasa kebangsaan" - we already have BM medium in school, we already use BM as official language - so, studying Maths and Science in English should improve the student's capability ...added value for the future manpower of the country...