Sunday, December 20, 2009

The proof that Love is not only BLIND but DEAF

Last weekend as I was riding my bike towards the hilly resort of Puncak, some 2 hours away from Jakarta…..knee dropping whenever I can…..a sense of freedom from the normal macet bangets Jakarta traffic……

Nearing the peak of Puncak, Artic Monkey's “Fake Tales of San-Francisco” hit me….The proof that Love is not only blind but deaf………..yeah…I’ve heard of Love is blind but being deaf as well is new to me……I begin to wonder how it can be applied to the current ni gua punye tu lu punye apekelancau is National pun gua tak kisah punye situation.

To me it is their ethnocentric views and the love for everything that is Chinese or Tamil that have clouded the thinking process of the proponents of Vernacular School making them BLIND with regards to the bigger agenda of nation building and at the same time DEAF to any logical and valid arguments against it.

They are unable to think with logic anymore and have gone into the engagement with one single frame of mind…..

Lu olang manyak jahat mau kasi hapus gua punye culture….

I shall now try to indulge you in this logic to see if it makes any sense or not…..

The underlying aspect of this logic implies that

Language is Culture and Culture is Language

Is that so?

Can someone learn Culture without Learning the Language of the native people in which the Culture originates from?

Or can someone learn a language without absorbing the Cultural aspects of the Language?

And more importantly will learning other subjects in another language (The National Language of The Land!) together with specific language subjects dedicated to the learning of “bahasa ibunda” create significant decay in one’s understanding or absorption of one’s own culture.

I believe these people are from the school of thought of extreme linguistic relativity….

The linguistic relativity principle (also known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) is the idea that the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of the experienced world in such a way that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it.
Or in laymans term

“Thought is shaped by Language and since Language differs, their speakers too should differ in how they perceive and act in objectively similar situation”

Before we go any further lets us now look at Culture and how it is acquired

Finding the right description of the noun itself was a challenge to me…for the purpose of the post I shall use the components below

  • the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations
  • the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence
  • the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization
  • the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic
More specifically I would like to refer to Goode, Sockalingam, Brown, & Jones, 2000 that defines Culture as

“integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting and roles, relationships and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; and the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations”

From the above one may deduce that Culture itself is NOT a discrete variable that can be measured.

How is Culture acquired?

Let me touch a lil bit on the process of acquiring Culture and its agents....

Sociologist defines the process of culture acquisition as on going process of Social Interaction known as Socialization.....

What is this process actually?And what are its agents?

Generally it involves Primary and Secondary Socialization...

Primary socialization, the most important aspect of the socialization process, takes place during infancy, usually using the family as the agent. Through the family, the child learns the language and many of the basic behavior patterns of its society.

Secondary socialization on the other hand uses the educational system, the peer group, the occupational group and mass-media as its agents...

Let us now look at the modes of acquisition such as Imitation, Indoctrination and Conditioning

Imitation begins from birth as the human baby enters the world, the initial process involves observing the adults in their behavior, the language and also the family values…….

The human child then enters another phase of Indoctrination via Formal or Institutionalized Training or Education……..

While all of this is happening a parallel Conditioning process of a system of rewards and punishment is embedded to reinforce the process of acquiring beliefs, values, norms, behavior and action....

Folks before you forget...Socialization is a continuous ubiquitous process....which means that it can actually happen anywhere and goes on forever........

I would now like to direct you to the writings of Emile Durkhiem.....the man who coined the term "consience collective"

Education is the action exercised by the adult generations over those that are not yet ready for social life. Its purpose is to arouse and develop in the child a certain number of physical, intellectual and moral states which are demanded of him both by the political society as a whole and by the specific environment for which he is particularly destined. (...) It emerges from the foregoing definition that education consists of a methodical socialization of the young generation (Education et sociologie, p. 51)
So where do we go from here?

I'm not an education expert nor a sociologist...just a concerned parent with a lot of questions about the state of Education in Malaysia and its impact to our society.......

I will not go deeper into the right type of "education" but would like you to spend some time to read the writings of J Krishnamurty

  1. Education and The Significance of Life
  2. The Right Kind of Education
  3. Intellect, Authority and Intelligence
  4. The School
  5. Parent and Teachers
These questions which he raised in 1953 remains valid in our current environment, please read them prior to commenting on this post

Back to the issue on Vernacular Schools......

Why do we need them in Malaysia?

Is it purely for the perpetuation of Chinese/Tamil Culture?

Go back to the socialization agents, formal education is only a part of this process, whereas the family, the peer group, the Mass Media and the "occupational group" will also shape the Individual far more than what the "Methodical Institution" would do or could do.....

What if suddenly there is a large "in-flux" of Malays into SRJKs......will this dilute the Non-Malay Cultural learning process given the fact that they now socialize with those who are of different cultural background?

Talking about culture, what is this Malaysian Culture that our Educators must deliver in preparing our young ones for life in Malaysia? What are its core Values?

And can this not be delivered in a Single Stream?

Before I end this post let me ask you what is the Malaysian Version of Bhinnekka Tunggal Ika ? Najib's 1Malaysia bullshit?

Ask yourself what will be the Glue that will bind us together to achieve the "Unity " in Diversity?

Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. -Lord Thomas Dewer