FACT: Only six percent of non-bumiputera students enrol in sekolah kebangsaan.
Meanwhile, 90 percent Malaysian Chinese parents choose to send their children to Chinese medium-schools. This “nine-out-of-ten” statistic is, however, close to a decade old. The figure would be even higher today.
How divisive is this choice by Malaysian Chinese to marginalize themselves from the mainstream?
The commentary below by one YS Chan in FMT misinforms from the article headline onwards.
Satu Sekolah proponents are not pushing for Malaysia to be monolingual as depicted through the misleading label of “one-language champions”.
What the 1Sekolah voices are rightly advocating is a unified – one single medium of instruction – education stream so that we can achieve the elusive national unity.
So enough lah from the SJK(C)s apologists. Tanjak responds to YS Chan who provides the most spurious excuses for the continuance of the vernacular education stream that segregates our children.
Below is a list of the most common rhetorical devices employed by these Chinese language chauvinists. We provide the suitable rebuttals.
1. Why is Switzerland so united when it speaks so many languages?
ANSWER: Switzerland has arguably the strictest requirements in the world to qualify for citizenship. An immigrant aspiring to be a Swiss through the process of naturalization has to pass the most stringent of citizenship tests.
(a) For one, you would have had to live in Switzerland for at least 12 years before you can apply for citizenship. You need to be well integrated into Swiss society, and of course, be able to speak the language(s) and adhere to the native customs.
(b) Authorization for granting Swiss citizenship must not only be obtained at federal level but also from the canton and municipality.
In some very strict cantons, the immigrant i.e. wannabe new Swiss national is required to be vetted by his neighbours (townsfolk) in the municipality who will then vote on whether they agree to the new citizenship application being approved.
Conclusion: Although it is difficult to strip MyKad holders of Chinese descent of their Malaysian citizenship acquired automatically through birth, nonetheless, going by Swiss standards of naturalization, these Chinese language chauvinists would not be able to qualify should they apply for Malaysian citizenship due to lack of integration into our national culture.
(c) Compare apple to apple please; different languages are used in Switzerland without discounting their collective national identity.
Article 4 of the federal constitution of the Swiss confederation states that its national languages are German, French, Italian, and Rumansh.
Under Articles 152 and 161 of the Malaysian federal constitution, Bahasa Melayu is the sole national language of this country.
Conclusion: If the MCA-DAP Chinese language chauvinists want the status of Mandarin to be uplifted, they would have to first amend the federal constitution through a majority vote in Parliament.
But before that, the DAP-MCA leaders must take over Putrajaya … with a little help from their new-found Malay friends.
2. Outlandish claim by YS Chan: “Patriotism and civic-mindedness are given greater emphasis [in] … all Chinese primary and secondary schools than in national schools”.
Really? Where did Mr/Ms Chan pull his/her assertion out from? A magician’s bunny hat?
In the same breath, Chan claimed that Concerned Lawyers For Justice is unable to “clearly define what is nation-building and also patriotism”.
Well, how does Chan him/herself define ‘patriotism’?
Is the refusal of some Malaysian Chinese to stand up when our national anthem is played in cinemas during Merdeka month something patriotic?
Is the rejection by an overwhelming majority of Malaysian Chinese of a career in the armed forces to protect our nation’s sovereignty something patriotic?
We eagerly await Chan’s illustration of the ways in which products of Chinese schools are more patriotic than national school alumni. Go on, tell us.
3. YS Chan’s one-swallow-makes-a-summer cheerleading:
“Farah shared her experience and views about Chinese school education, where racial discrimination was non-existent, and was of the opinion that Chinese schools promote unity.”
Racial discrimination non-existent? Chinese schools promote unity?
Or in Farah Halijah Halim’s (pix above) own words:
“It’s the same as going to expensive international schools, right? Does that mean that international schools do not promote unity by segregating the rich from the poor?
“And what proof do we have that national schools really promote unity among the races?
ANSWER: No, not the same.
(a) Expensive international schools do not ask the Malaysian government for money or land; our Ministry of Education does not pay the salaries of international schoolteachers nor bear the operational cost of the schools.
(b) What proof do you have that Chinese vernacular schools really promote unity among the races, aside from your own singular and personal experience, Farah? Are you speaking on behalf of anybody else except yourself?
4. Isn’t it true is that countries sharing one language are not necessarily united?
ANSWER: Oh, do you mean the Divided States of America?
What to do. The name-calling Democrats, like Dapsters, are darn divisive.
One striking example of a country divided by language is Belgium. Belgians living in Flanders in the north speak Dutch whereas Belgians living in Wallonia in the south speak French.
In 2007, Belgium was without a government for six months due to the enmity between its Dutch and French speakers. In 2010-11, Belgium went nineteen months without a government.
Another country with two rival languages is Canada where there has been a long-standing secessionist movement in French-speaking Quebec that seeks to separate from the rest of the English speaking country.
In Korea, Japan and Thailand for example, their people identify themselves as Koreans, Japanese and Thais.
Here in Malaysia, the Dapsters – just like the Democrats in California and New York – are enamoured of inserting hyphens into their identity marker.
If the hyphenated Malaysians truly want to be Bangsa Malaysia, then they should stop sending their children to ‘Chinese’ school which belong in China.
5. YS Chan: Don’t we still have two Koreas (despite that the two countries share one language)?
Unfortunately the north of the Korean peninsula has the tyrannical Kim dynasty, just like a small northern state in peninsular Malaysia has its own Lim dynasty.
History has however shown us that ethno-nationalism always prevails. North and South Vietnam have reunited. East and West Germany have reunified.
6. YS Chan needs a mirror
“I salute the French for promoting their language and culture by setting up 1,106 Alliance Francaise centres in 135 countries around the globe.
“We may not have the budget to go abroad, but surely it is not too difficult to open up just one centre to cater to some foreign workers and their children.”
ANSWER: Alliance Francaise teaches French to foreigners. Goethe Institute teaches German to foreigners.
Such a Malay institute to teach bahasa Melayu is not at all necessary “to cater to some foreign workers and their children” as our Bangladeshi, Nepali, Cambodian and Burmese guest workers are learning BM fine.
Such Malay language centres would best serve the DAP-MCA Malaysian Chinese.