Qui tangit frangatur.

My Photo

A round peg in a world of square holes...

Monday, November 16, 2009

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action. (Bertrand Russell)

"Sir, we're surrounded by the enemy."
"Great! Then we can attack in every direction!"

Beware the leaders you choose to follow.

Bilingual policy was most difficult: MM

Jeremy Au Yong
Nov 6, 2009

INTELLIGENCE does not necessarily translate into a flair for languages.

That was the lesson Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said he learnt in implementing the bilingual policy in schools.

'Initially, I believed that intelligence was equated to language ability. Later, I found that they are two different attributes - IQ and a facility for languages. My daughter, a neurologist, confirmed this,' he said in an interview carried in Petir, the People's Action Party magazine.

Asked to pick policies he would have implemented differently, he cited the teaching of bilingualism, especially in English and Mandarin, as the most difficult policy.

'I did not know how difficult it was for a child from an English-speaking home to learn Mandarin,' he said.

'If you are speaking English at home and you are taught Mandarin in Primary 1 by Chinese teachers who teach Mandarin as it was taught in the former Chinese schools, by the direct method, using only Mandarin, you will soon lose interest because you do not understand what the teacher is saying.

'You spend time on extra tuition, and still make little progress. Many were turned off Mandarin for life.'

In the end, the Government recognised that students with the same ability in other subjects may not be able to cope being in the same second language class. It took 30 years for the issue to be resolved.

'Eventually, we settled the problem in 2004 by teaching the mother tongue in the module system. Had we done this earlier, we would have had less wastage of students' time and effort, and less heartache for parents,' he said candidly.



Nice to know that I was one of the guinea pigs in yet another great social experiment that failed. (Read other guinea pigs' thoughts here and here.)

Where's my compensation for all the sweat, blood, tears, and years I wasted?

What do the Chinese Culture Chauvinists (CCC) have to say now?

If Chinese culture is that great, then why are you in Singapore — and why are you complaining so much about the PRCs joining you here? What is it about their cultural ways and manners (or lack thereof) that irks you so?

Across the Causeway, why are Chinese wives so adamant against having PRCs as domestic maids? What's that about "little dragon ladies" and husband-stealing again? Where's your "Asian values" schtick now?

The admission of wrong — 30 years late — is cold comfort, but it's nice to know that my personal vendetta against the CCC asshats who tormented me is justified.

Expect me, you bastards.

Related posts
So this is why I never got along with Chinese [Mandarin] teachers
Why I am not Chinese
Cultural immersion
"No" to being a hangar queen
China admits taking executed prisoner's organs
The Duckling
A culture with the longest history, and one not too far from the world's oldest profession
China's Shocking Dog and Cat Fur Trade (video)


Anonymous Ambrose said...

Hi Ben, I hope the woman with the handphone didn't happen to you. Exams are here (such irritating things!).

LKY is a proud man - too proud - so proud that he can laugh off a 30-year old mistake "candidly".

November 17, 2009 11:30 PM  
Blogger -ben said...

Exams are here (such irritating things!)

Best of luck for the exams, dude!

*Off to see how many animal test subjects are (as) candid after the experiments*

November 18, 2009 4:01 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home