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IB JUNIOR YEAR

English LAL SL
Written Task 1
Thar Lun Naing
Final Draft

25 February 2016

Thar Lun Naing

Written Task 1

Part 1: Language in cultural context


Topic: Language and Identity, Language and power (Linguistic Imperialism)
Primary Text: Education affects on culture; International school students in Myanmar unable to speak
and write Burmese well (Losing Identity and culture changes, leading to language death)
Text type: Personal blog
Purpose: To express the struggles which a teenager who was exposed to many languages and cultures,
felt like losing his own identities and how the English linguistic imperialism affects Burmese
language and culture)
Audience: International school students who questions themselves where they belong to, Educational
expats, Parents.

25 February 2016

Thar Lun Naing

Written Task 1

Rationale
For this written task, I decided to write a blog post about the death of Myanmar culture and
language in international school students in Myanmar. This blog shares the feelings of blogger whose
culture and language was mixed up in English imperialist education and how it affects him. The
purpose of this blog is to alert the parents, Burmese educational experts and students about how that
education system is killing the Burmese language and cultures.
I got the idea to write this blog post from the class discussions about how English imperialist
education affects on culture which is from the units of Language in cultural context: Language and
power, language and identity. We talked about the issue of international school students in Myanmar
unable to speak and write Burmese as well as how their cultures have been shaped to a different kind.
This interests me as I am one of them and I feel that is my chance to discuss with others on internet to
explore more ideas on the issue. The combination of the strong personal ideas and the freedom from
media constraints that blogs offer, and accessibility of the nationwide online readers makes me think
of writing the blog would be the most desirable form to share this neglected issue.
I believe that I have met several of the learning outcomes for Part 1. I have demonstrated my
analytical skill on how the audience and purpose affects the structure and its context through the form
of blog. By studying various old texts as well as discussing the impacts of language change in
Burmese elite, I have shown my awareness of how the language is shaped by its culture and context.

Words count 282

25 February 2016

Thar Lun Naing

Written Task 1

A neglected issue from Myanmar: Cultures DYING due to


English Imperialist Education!
25. February. 2016, Yangon, Myanmar
By Thar Lun
What is CULTURE? Is that something that the majority group of people practices in an area?
Or, is that the origin of people? Today in Myanmar (Burma), a large number of young Burmese are
losing their cultures willingly which are caused by the affects the linguistic imperialism from the
Western world. It has been affecting us since colonization; however, it is now increasing its rate due to
the education system which some of us follow. The affects can be seen more obviously in the wealthy
young generations, who attend those extravagant international schools where the huge imperialist
waves killing the original culture which we should value and follow. So, we are killing our cultures
ourselves, arent we?
When I tried to answer my own question, I found out
one thing that imperialist education is indirectly shaping
international school students into foreign culture. It often
ends up with mixed culture where the students dont have a
single idea where and which group they belong to. I only
started noticing those culture changes because Im in that big
group.
Here is just one situation that happened to me which
made me thought about who I actually am. I was alone (Nevilles absent) at a small government
funded orphanage secondary (grade 5 to 8) school for my voluntary internship when I was in grade 8.
Most of them were ethnically Burmese, so that I talked to them in Burmese hoping that we could start
a lively conversation. But, they didnt respond. Instead, they stay still with unchanged faces. I thought
it was due to the formality rules in state school and told them again that they are free of strict rules
during my time. Even now, most of them remained unchanged and only one student respond back
with a question, leaving me with doubtful thoughts about myself.

25 February 2016

Thar Lun Naing

Written Task 1

She replied WHAT did you just say? Can you repeat it?
I nodded my head and spoke them with slow, clear and loud voice trying to best sound in
Burmese. After all, my class went well although the language barrier was between us. Since then, I
tried to know the reasons that changed my language in some way.
To know where I belong, to declare who I am; to tell what my culture I took time figuring out
the related factors and my life story. I used to go to government schools until the age of 12, one being
in Far East of Burma, Shan state and another one in central Burma, Mandalay. Those are the two
places in Burma where the language and cultures are obviously different. Then, I attended a
Singaporean International school in Mandalay for 4 years. My friends and I used to call it Mandalay
Chinatown School. Now, I am in Yangon, attending an international school with different kind of
cultural surroundings. So, you can see that I was raised in diverse communities and you can relate
how my original culture and language would have been influenced from the external cultures and
languages. The junior years at schools did not have much influence on me; however, the senior years
in imperialist education shaped me into this mixed culture and bilingual person. (Junior years might
influenced me in certain area: Foods)
Today, sadly, I can see lots of wealthy and middle class kids going to imperialist education
schools despite the fact they notice that they are adapting a foreign culture, threatening to death of our
own culture and language. It is even worse in the case of language. I can see many Burmese kids
speaking English without difficulties whereas their Burmese speaking skills are incorrect and make no
sense. This is the death of Burmese language in this 21 st century as the fourth colonization of
countrys elite cultural and language by the English imperials. Just like Domino Theory, our
invaluable history is forgotten too by the death of language. I can imagine the next 50 years Burma
without unique identities and a large population of dumb businessmen. This time, it is not what the
imperial actions led to this end; it is rather Burmese who chose to sell their culture with the cheap
price of developments to full fill their greed.

25 February 2016

Thar Lun Naing

Written Task 1

However, our culture is still lucky that the percentage of those trying to be dumb is just like
the oil on the water surface so that we still get enough time to change our attitudes and save from that
evil imperial education system trying to shape our Burmese communities, cultures and languages.
Burmese, lets save our ancestors heritages and pass on to our next generations with fruitful
beautiful independent culture and language. Let them not make the same mistakes those we had made
and let them know where they belong to, unlike us who even need to question ourselves with simple
question. Despite that, I still cant define my CULTURE that I have asked myself. How about you,
friends?
Likes 22 Comments 36
Ye Yint

: Ur jz being nationalist. We need those kinds of educations in rural areas in order to


improve their life standard and many other necessaries things.
Like 3

Shwe Yupar Myo

: @Thar Lun, I agree with your point that we have to conserve our heritage
and cultures. However, your article is extreme and offensive to the English
volunteer teachers.
Like 7 Reply 1
Thar Lun:@Shwe Yupar Myo, Thanks for pointing out a perspective that I
didnt have during my writing.

John K. Taylor: That given situation happened to me 2! I was shocked when that happened. BTW,
How is life going?
Words count 945