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24 theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 12 2008

speak up!

letter
letters@thesundaily.com

Feeble attempt at
FIRST they came armed with “facts and
figures” as well as executive councillors who
acted as their spokespersons. They regaled
us with successful hillslope development
examples in Taiwan and Hongkong and
Single school
spoke of cutting down hills and dumping
them in valleys as though it was admirable!
system

public relations can work


And now with the Bukit Antarabangsa
tragedy, they have gone into public relations
overdrive by offering their services in the
rescue efforts and (this is laughable) audit I REFER to the controversy over the medium
landslide-prone areas! of instruction in primary schools.
I am not calling the Real Estate and Language is a medium to bring people
Housing Developers Association together. Assimilation into the mainstream of
(Rehda) members bandits, but as a multi-cultural society can only be achieved
the saying goes, how can you ask Abdul Khalid at Wednesday’s Zolkples Embong regarding my by having a common denominator – a single
the fox to look after the chicken post-exco meeting press column on Dec 2 about perceived school education system from primary
coop. conference exclaimed: “They shadowy figures in our sports level onwards. Only then will culturally diverse
And enough of this sandiwara. find me stubborn!” administration. groups be visible and audible.
If Rehda was really concerned Well done Sir, and may they Zolkples has pointed out that the Language is a tool rather than a means of
with public safety, it would on continue to hit a brick wall when person mentioned in my article is cultural identification. In the present day sce-
its own accord get its members it comes to getting the state to go only a member of the National Athlete nario, we need to equip schoolchildren with
to be responsible developers and back on its word. Welfare Fund (NAWF) and does not knowledge and skills that can be transferred
abandon all plans for hillslope I think Pakatan Rakyat is manage the fund. globally. This is only possible when the minori-
projects. aware that it cannot win the next “Any athlete who wants to enjoy ties in any country take a broader perspective
But no. At RM10 million a election on Rehda members’ the benefits and assistance under the and accept that vernacular schools are not
votes alone! NAWF must become a member first. favourable for future job prospects, national
bungalow (as in the case of Down2Earth integration and continued prosperity of the
Damansara 21), the call of the And to those who are That’s all and they have nothing to do
by Terence Fernandez country.
ringgit is too alluring to ignore. So threatening the state with with running the NAWF,” Zolkples
what, if there is another tragedy? lawsuits. In the public interest, said. While having a single school education
Even after the Pakatan Rakyat if this is the price we have to He adds that the NAWF is chaired by system and offering a bilingual education
state government had in April declared pay to save more lives, so be it. But in doing former sprinter Datuk Paduka Mumtaz programme, the mother tongue is promoted
its ban on Class Three and Class Four so, these developers can forget about getting Jaafar, whose appointment is by the in school and the concepts, language, and
hillslope projects, Rehda members were still approvals for anymore projects in all Pakatan youth and sports minister, not the NSC. literacy skills that children learn in the major-
attempting to get the state government to Rakyat states and risk closing shop. Thank you, Datuk; I stand corrected. ity language can be transferred to the home
reverse its policy. So here’s where political might should I must say though that it is up to language. In short, both languages nurture
This was evident at a dialogue on Aug 17 come in. everyone – those in the administration each other when the educational environment
where they tried to pull every trick out of the and watchdogs such as the media – to permits children access to both languages.
hat to justify building on slopes. ******************* be vigilant over individuals who embed Multilingual children (within the framework
Of course the overtures towards Mentri themselves in our sporting institutions of a single school system) have an enormous
Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had I RECEIVED an alert from National Sports to pursue their vested interests and not contribution to make to their societies, and
proven unsuccessful. Council (NSC) director-general Datuk the greater good of Malaysian sports. to the international global community, if only
Having said that, I am curious educators and politicians put into practice
as to how the ministry, the NSC, the what we believe are true for all children.
Malaysian Hockey Federation or the Cultural values of shared language, tradition
Olympic Council of Malaysia will and beliefs are mostly an acquired culture as
honour the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye. they are imparted by parents and other fam-
Kind words alone are insufficient to ily members who have a common ancestral
pay tribute to this great champion and background and experience. It is misguided
gentleman of the game for all he has judgment to transfer such a responsibility to
achieved for Malaysian sports. the educational system. It is also myopic to
One of Koh Chye’s greatest passions presume that having a single school system in
was the welfare of former athletes. He primary schools will erode the body of cultural
had once said that while he was lucky tradition that distinguishes a specific society.
to have a longer shelf life by being After 50 years of independence we have to
appointed to various positions within accept that the cultural differences between
the administration, there were many members of the subculture and the dominant
more who had just faded away and are national culture have blurred. We should all
even finding it hard to make ends meet. see ourselves as being part of the cultural
Perhaps the NAWF or an extension of mainstream of the nation.
it should be renamed in Koh Chye’s There is an urgent need to rethink our basic
memory? political and cultural concepts, reinterpret
them and be bold to emphasise them through
Terence is deputy editor special reports the educational system.
& investigations and can be reached at
terence@thesundaily.com P. Renuka
Kuala Lumpur

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