Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I disagree with Dong Zong

Yesterday the United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong), backed by DAP, had a rally in Kajang. Why Kajang? I don’t know lah… maybe the organizers had plans to whack satay kajang after the event. In that case, at least some of the satay sellers in Kajang would have benefitted. Otherwise, I personally cannot see how the nation benefitted from that event.

Dong Zong was unhappy over two things. They were first unhappy about the lack of teachers in Chinese schools. And then they were unhappy because the government placed non-Mandarin speaking teachers as a stop gap measure to overcome the shortage.

And at the rally, Dong Zong demanded that the government :

1. Immediately transfer out all teachers who do not have the required SPM Mandarin qualification (meaning they want most of the Indian, Malay, Iban, etc teachers out of the Chinese schools even though these teachers could be just teaching English or Bahasa Malaysia)

2. Conduct special courses for Chinese language teachers who have taught Bahasa Malaysia or English for at least three years so that they are qualified to teach all three languages.

3. Reform the teachers training syllabus so that more qualified chinese-speaking teachers can be trained with the possible establishment of special divisions to train language teachers for Chinese schools

4. Review the Education Act to ensure that vernacular schools are accorded equal status and safeguarded as an integral part of national education system.

The news of the rally (and the disgusting fact that someone hit a Deputy Minister) sort of ruined my Sunday. Although Fernando Alonso winning the Malaysian Grand prix cheered me up a bit, nevertheless I felt pretty pissed.

Let me tell you what I think.

Shortage of teachers in Chinese schools
I acknowledge that there is a shortage of teachers in Chinese schools. I also know that there is a shortage of teachers in Tamil schools. I also know that there is a shortage of teachers in national schools in Orang Asli areas. I also know that there is a serious shortage of teachers in many national schools in Sabah and Sarawak.

Following DAP’s mantra that assistance must be given to those have the greatest need, I think the government should focus on overcoming teacher shortages in national school in Orang Asli areas and in Sabah and Sarawak first. The problem is far more serious there. Furthermore being mostly in rural areas (note : most Chinese schools are in urban areas), the students in these schools also lack access to tuition centres, computers, internet access - even getting daily newspapers is a major challenge.

To the folks at Dong Zong, please go and visit the Orang Asli schools and schools in rural Sabah and Sarawak. You talk about shortage of teachers and you are specific about wanting only Chinese teachers. The kids in some Orang Asli schools do not even have books, tables and chairs and sometimes schools even have their roofs missing. Go to national schools in rural Sabah and Sarawak – you will feel like crying. Their problems are a lot more serious that yours. At least the Chinese community has money to part finance Chinese schools. The Orang Aslis have nothing. Rural communities in Sabah and Sarawak have nothing.

I find it very difficult to sympathize with you on this issue.

Orang Asli - Some of their schools don't even have roofs

Transfer out all teachers who do not have the required Mandarin qualification
Dong Zong wants all teachers who do not have Mandarin qualification to be transferred out IMMEDIATELY from Chinese schools even though these teachers could be just teaching English or Bahasa Malaysia. This means they want all Indian, Malay, Iban, Kadazan, etc teachers to be transferred out immediately (how many non-Chinese teachers sit for Mandarin at the SPM level?).

I find this demand stupid and bloody racist. OK if government transferred these non-Chinese teachers out now (immediately as DZ wants it), the shortage of teachers in Chinese schools will only worsen.

Secondly, why is it necessary for teachers who only teach English and Bahasa Malaysia to know Mandarin?

Someone from DZ gave a pathetic excuse that the out-of-classroom conversations and announcements in schools are in Mandarin. Hello… you don’t have enough Chinese teachers, government gives you Malay and Indian teachers to help you out – why can’t you accommodate these “alien” teachers. Make announcements in Malay also lahh… airports can do it, stadiums do it, MCA and DAP do it during their conventions, many national schools do it, you also do it lah… what’s so difficult.

Let’s use Dong Zong’s brilliant logic. If we were to bring in an Englishman to teach English in our national school, then according to DZ, we must make sure that this poor kwailo learns to speak fluent Malay. Why? Simply because the public announcements in the school are in Malay? Using the same DZ logic, if we bring in a Frenchman to teach the optional French language in a national school in Kota Bahru for example, we must flog the Frenchman until he learns to speak Kelantanese because that’s how announcements are made in schools in Kelantan.

Have you wondered why there is a lack of Chinese teachers?. Maybe not many Chinese in this country want to become teachers. The salaries are not very lucrative- so it better to go and do business. You really cannot blame the government for this and you cannot force the Chinese who do not want to become teachers to become one. [BTW, can DZ also point out if there are Chinese teacher who can’t get a job?]

Special courses for Chinese language teachers
Dong Zong wants the government to conduct special courses for Chinese language teachers who have taught Bahasa Malaysia or English for at least three years so that they are qualified to teach all three languages. I can’t, for the monkey in me, fathom this demand. Why must we conduct special courses for these teachers? Are their language skills so poor that they need additional special courses? If this is the case, why the heck have they been allowed to teach all this while?

Teachers training syllabus to be reformed
Dong Zong wants the teachers training syllabus to be reformed so that more qualified chinese-speaking teachers can be trained with the possible establishment of special divisions to train language teachers for Chinese schools.

WTF? A special division to train language teachers for Chinese schools? Using Dong Zong’s logic, then we should also have a special division to train language teachers for schools in Orang Asli area. Many of the Orang Asli kids have a poor grasp of Bahasa Malaysia and know almost no English. If we were to use our scarce resources to train language teachers, I think the priority must go to training language teachers to cater for the Orang Asli children. The situation is similar in many parts of rural Sabah and Sarawak. Many kids have very poor command of Bahasa Malaysia. We need specially trained language teachers to be sent to these places. We need special training for teachers to cater for special children, children who suffers from various ailments that makes it difficult for them to learn and communicate. We need special training for many types of children and schools. Why only for Chinese schools?

Review the Education Act
Dong Zong wants the government to review the Education Act to ensure that vernacular schools are accorded equal status and safeguarded as an integral part of national education system.

I agree that the government should allow Chinese schools to exist – this is part of the social contract agreed to by our founding fathers and we should respect that.

However I do not agree for vernacular schools or religious schools to be accorded equal status. National schools are national schools. Period. I do not agree that tax payers’ money should be used to fund vernacular schools or religious schools. Vernacular schools and religious schools can exist but they need to fund themselves. Just like private schools.

Dong Zong Done Wrong (hei... it rhymes)

Monyet King also says
1. The government also needs to seriously look at the national schools. I have already raised this before. Pakai kepala sikit lah. Ask yourself why are people shunning national schools? I can list you several reasons (a) lack of confidence in the quality of teaching (b) non-Malay parents concerned that their children will be discriminated against given that now the teachers are almost exclusively Malays (c) Islamization of national schools – actually there are many national schools which at the first glance will appear to be religious schools (d) the perceived distorted teaching that puts the Malay culture as superior to others, etc, etc. There are many other reasons. If you are from the government, I think you know the reasons lah. If you do not know, then you are stupid.

2. I am surprised that the civil society/ NGOS/ activists have kept quiet about the Dong Zong’s pretty ridiculous, bordering into racist demands. People who are quick to jump up and curse Ibrahim Ali chose to keep quiet about Dong Zong. People who are quick to rally against the flimsiest causes against the government are choosing to keep quiet about these racist demands. Can I assume that you guys agree with all of Dong Zong’s demands? Bar Council setuju 100%? Datuk Ambiga setuju 100%? SUARAM setuju 100%? MTUC setuju 100%? Women’s Aid Organization setuju 100%? Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence setuju 100%? Council of Churches Malaysia setuju 100%?

3. I have yet to hear from Dong Zong condemning the incidence where someone hit the Deputy Minister. Dong Zong condones violence ?


lordapes said...

Dear sir. I'm gonna be frank. This post, I like. The reason you don't hear people condemning these Ding Dong is because anything said against the chinese will be regarded as 'racist'. Especially if the condemner is a Malay.
Behind the scenes tho, plenty of malays are silently cursing the chinese who chose NOT to assimilate with fellow Malaysians.
I believe its a good thing MCA chose not to say anything. At least it shows that not all chinese are racist.

Ps: how do I subscribe to the comments section? The "subscribe" link is gone. :(

Monyet King said...


I don't know how the "subscribe" thingy works. Not very IT-savy. maklumlah... my school last time not enough teachers.

Lim, KS said...

Brilliant writing, MK. You call a spade, spade.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with DongZong asking for more Chinese teachers?

Monyet King said...

Lim KS
TQ.How else do you call a spade?

Monyet King said...

Anon 10:47 PM
It is a free country. Anyone can ask for anything. Whether they should get what they ask for is another matter.

oceangirl said...

I chuckled at the maklumlah..

The new comment system has the subscribe to follow-up comments missing. You have to revert to the old or it would be a little difficult for a forum to be lively:)

Monyet King said...

Thanks for the tip. I will have to crack my head to fix it (without the help of any language teachers, of course).

Anonymous said...

MM said : " 90% of inland revenue comes from the Chinese..you know !? "

Monyet King said...

Anon 11:23 PM

I pay a lot of taxes. I, as an individual, pay huge amounts of income tax. My company (which I am a majority shareholder) pays huge amounts of income tax. On income tax alone, I think I pay more income tax than 95% of Malaysians. That’s only income (direct) tax. I and all Malaysians also pay a variety of indirect taxes (service tax, sales tax, entertainment tax, custom duties, cukai pintu, cukai tanah, etc, etc). (Note : Individual income tax alone only accounts for less than 20% of the Government’s revenue).

Despite paying all these taxes, I do not ask to receive more in return compared to my non-income tax paying countrymen. It is my contribution to the country. I appreciate the fact that some of us earn more, some of us earn less but all of us have a duty to see than our nation moves forward. Despite paying huge amounts of taxes, I have never in my life asked for my mother tongue or my religion to be given preference.

I find your attitude “Chinese pay more tax” and therefore implying that they should get preferential treatment somewhat arrogant and condescending.

Anonymous said...

Mr Monyet King, I love this article. I also find it very strange that all the normally vocal NGOs are keeping quiet about this.

Bravo, my King.

khengsiong said...

I wrote an essay and sent to Oriental Daily. I am happy that this Chinese newspaper hasn't kowtowed to Dong Zong yet.


Anonymous said...

Some idiot..."Behind the scenes tho, plenty of malays are silently cursing the chinese who chose NOT to assimilate with fellow Malaysians."

Behind the scenes, many non-malays are cursing the malays because 90% of the tax-payers are non-malays who is supporting this country.

Too much to ask a little money back to support their education system?

Who's the racist???

I don't agree with ALL the DongZong demands, but getting funding from the Goverment is certainly not "too much".

Jessie said...

Don't say Chinese are not interested in teaching. In my family, my sister (5As), my 3 nieces (21 with 4As & 2 with 5As) applied but zilch - not even an interview. How can you say they are not interested or qualified?
Maybe the authorities can release figures of non-bumis applications?
But I agree with you that non chinese speaking teachers shouldn't be transferred. Orang Asli folks needs someone to speak out for them but who????

Octopus said...

The thing that annoys me the most is the Dong Zong's demand that all non-Mandarin speaking teachers are transferred out immediately. Such arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Teachers being almost exclusively of one race will not necessariy lead to bigotry, but it does because of institutionalised brainwashing and apartheid. If an ordinary person of the majority "race" thinks this travesty of democracy is going to play out in his favour, he should look at the current situation of ordinary US whites - the "99%". That is the unstoppable dialectic of fascism.

Our education system has been going downhill since we abandoned English as the default language for schools. Most of the other problems of quality (not the injustice of misallocation) flows from that. Today, a secondary school leaver here may only be as educated (or less) as a 1950s primary school leaver.

Even some former French colonies have switched to English. Guess why Singapore is not gung-ho on Mandarin now. The country having the largest number of English speakers today is China. In other words, the mighty ship if state that is China has changed course, but some local rednecks don't seem to have noticed.

Global TESOL said...

According to me to teach English in Brazil is really a fun job that's why their is shortage for teachers in Chinese school.

Anonymous said...

Its time for the nation to have one school ssystem..close all vanicular school..since we are 1Malaysia..muast have 1 bahasa 1 shool system. If Dong Zong want to champion in these we have to kick them aout..after all what can we gain from Dong Zong accept stupidity and endangered our unity. If Dong Zong disagree with this we better ask them to go back to China and never come banck ti Malaysia. What so special with Dong Zong? they are rasist and inhuman..errogan dan bustard.

Anonymous said...

all reasons and arguments make sense, of coz i do agree with u for most points here too. However, what Jessie mentioned above, its fact also.

Pls, I hope do hope less racist words or comments like go back to CHINA etc etc. Enough of separation, after all, there are second, third, fourth generation or even fifth generation Msian Chinese/Indian born, grow up here! Hatre wont do any good too.

MinyakMan said...

Dong Zhong is as racist as Perkasa. Racism is still alive and well in malaysia. Just because some stupid rally like Bersih had somewhat of a mixed race participation in it, doesnt mean that racism is dead. Because orgs like Dong Zhong is protected under an unspoken political sanction. Not supporting them is akin to not supporting the opposition (DAP) and thatll get you free hatred all over the internet.

Every race has some stupid thing that they fight for to make themselves feel exclusive. They just want to feel special. But these things are the very thing thats tearing the country apart. The Malays have their halal industry and their religion, the chinese have their chinese schools.

The Chinese pay more taxes so they deserve some special support? Cmon, thats such a silly argument, identifying taxpayers by race is simply one of the most racist statements ive ever heard.

The govt is already supporting their screwed up cause by giving them teachers and they want to boot them out because the teachers dont know mandarin? Whats the official language again? BM first and english second right? Phew, for a minute there i thought i woke up in a different country

Anonymous said...

I think what the chinese really mean with the word equality and justice is when they manage to get full control of this country politically, socially and economically and we Malay need to be subserviant towards them, am i right?

Anonymous said...

Based on personal experience, (friends and family) those who studied in chinese schools are surrounded by almost 100% of chinese students who communicate in chinese, are thought in chinese by teachers who are mostly chinese. It's like little china. When they graduate and find themselves surrounded by (gasp!) The Other races, they simply do not know how to socialize let alone communicate with them. Sometimes because of this unfamiliarity, they resort to being racist without a cause. And because of years and years of communicating in mandarin, they have a poor grasp of bm and english. Not all are like this, I'm sure, but certainly many I've come across. So to kick out all non-chinese teachers and to establish a mini mao nation, certainly does more damage to the chinese youth, they become so 'katak di bawah tempurung'!. It's so sad when they refuse to speak english or bm cause of the lack of confidence!or worse, because they deem mandarin to be a "superior" language.