I was planning to write about sth else, but then I discovered an article on Raja Zarith Sofia’s speech @ UKM recently. It is very refreshing and inspiring I decided to post the excerpt here:-
“Having a good mastery of the English language does not make a Malaysian pro-British or less patriotic.
Rather, she said, fluency in English and a good and strong command of it as a language was necessary in the 21st century, whether in daily life, at social gatherings or at work.
It has nothing to do with being pro-English or pro-British, or with glorifying our British colonial past. It has nothing to do with us being any less nationalistic or patriotic.
Raja Zarith Sofia said she chose to speak on the topic as she felt it was an important and timely issue.
Last year, we celebrated our 50th year of Independence after having been a British colony since the 19th century.
In view of this, I suggest Malaysians, especially our young people who are at school and university, be given opportunities and encouragement to learn how to speak, read and write in English.
She said Malaysians must be able to think on the ability to converse in English as an advantage.
We don’t have to fear the English language. Studying English as a language won’t change us from being Malaysians to being pseudo-English or pseudo-Americans or pseudo-other native English speakers.
Raja Zarith Sofia said Malaysians already have their historical and cultural roots within them which would not be taken away unless they were given up willingly.
She said having a good command of English also meant Malaysians would be able to transmit and convey their knowledge about themselves as a society and as a country to people from other countries.
We can also share and exchange our views about national and world events with foreigners who use English as we do, that is, as a means of communication and as a global language.
Offerring herself as an example, she said she is a product of both the Malaysian and Englsih school systems.
I didn’t dye my hair blonde, I haven’t started using blue or green contact lenses. I wear my baju kurung with a great sense of pride.
She acknowledges Malaysian bloggers and their reach – far and wide — using English as their tool to communicate.
As most of us are aware, for good or bad, we too have many bloggers — ranging from ex-journalists who write about political and social issues, usually courting what is controversial, to the young housewife who tells us about her daily life, her children and,during Ramadhan, what she had cooked for the breaking of fast, as well as for “sahur”, complete with colourful photos.
It remains undeniable that blogging cannot be dismissed easily as just a new fad or a new trend of rumours and allegations.
Quoting Thomas L Friedman, she said a new blog is created every seven seconds.
Technorati says there are more than 24 million blogs already and the number is growing at about 70,000 a day, doubling every five months — from Iraqi bloggers who give their own take on news from the front, to bloggers who follow and critique golf-ourse architecture, to poker bloggers, investment bloggers, to just plain you and me bloggers.
Perhaps the reason to write in English is to get a wider readership. The borderless internet world that we are part of means that we can no longer afford to be the proverbial Malay katak bawah tempurung or the ignorant little frog hidden beneath the coconut shell.
We have to try and be bigger frogs who are no longer ignorant and who are merely satisfied with that little world beneath the boring coconut shell. We can still argue and discuss local issues but let’s be more daring and confident, and take our place in the global, blogal world.
Interesting huh…Read the full speech at the following link:
<3540 Jalan Sudin>
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