Sun, Mar 15, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network
Let it be English

I AM a 13-year-old student at a residential school in Negri Sembilan. My examination results were good, so I applied for a place in a boarding school and was successful.

I like the school and teachers, and I have made many friends.

Yes, it is different from home but I feel the routine is good for me. I have set times to do homework - during what we call, 'prep' sessions - and I get to participate in sports and activities like taekwando. My school subscribes to The Star.

The reason why I am writing this letter is because I noticed that lately, there has been a lot of news about the teaching of Science and Maths in English in the paper. There was even a demonstration about this recently.

Although I am still young, I would like to voice my opinion. I cannot understand why people would want to stop the teaching of Science and Maths in English.

When I first came to boarding school, I was one of only a few students who spoke English well. I do not claim that my English is excellent, but many of my friends and teachers seem to think so. The teachers have even chosen me to represent the school in debates. I am pleased to have been selected and hope to do my school and family proud.

When my friends first heard me speak in English, they thought that I was born in England. I found that really funny.

I told them that ever since I was young, my mother had encouraged me to read books in both languages. She gave me books in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, but since my cousins had more books in English and I used to swap with them, I ended up reading more books in English.

When I grow up, I would like to be an engineer, just like my grandfather, who studied in England a long time ago.

When my grandfather first started working in Malaysia, he used to go back to Europe on business, usually to places like Sweden and Germany. I do not think that he spoke Swedish or German. Neither could the people there speak Bahasa Malaysia. What happened is, they communicated in English.

I would like to study environmental engineering at Oxford or Cambridge University, or Imperial College in London.

Since most of the books on environmental engineering are written in English, I think it's great if I can get to improve my English while I am still in school.

People shouldn't think that I am less of a Malay just because I want to speak in English. My Bahasa Malaysia is just as good as my English, if not better.

Malaysia is a great country but my ambition is to learn from the best in the world so that when I graduate, I can return and enrich our country with my knowledge and expertise.

Thus, I would like to appeal to the authorities - please do not stop teaching Science and Maths in English.


--The Star/ANN

  School attendance checks go digital
  All 3 universities freeze student fees
  One-stop education fair
  Shame to let dialects die out in Singapore
  Will you be my third wife?
  Look at what some kids take to school
  Let it be English
  Plight of the wild geese families
  Grants for 1 in 8 new SMU students
  27-year-old pledges $100k to help students