Saturday, June 28, 2008

Don't belok-belok

I laughed aloud when I first watched the TV advertisement showing a bunch of schoolboys in a bus giving directions to a Caucasian tourist. One of them tells her to "Just go straight aje and don't belok-belok" and it hits me hard that this isn't really funny. Its a disaster of sorts.

My youngest sister Rashadah, a teacher about to retire soon, calls them the "Lost Generation". This is especially so when many new teachers in our schools cannot even string together a decent sentence in English. In a rapidly globalising world, I am quite convinced that it is time now for us to hit the panic button.

I have noted that some young commenters of my blogs have also appeared not to quite fathom my writing and often missed my drift completely. The fact that I have always abhorred verbose prose, often use nautical terms and do not believe in membebel doesn't really help, of course. I can only blame it on our educational system which seems to gohead and gostan even on the language to be used in teaching science and mathematics in schools, for example.

Perhaps the powers-that-be need to stay focused. Don't belok-belok.


  1. Dear Capt. Yusof Ahmad,

    It's a pleasure reading your blog, because your command of English is superb. It is due to the deterioration if the standard of English in our school system today that that lead some of the readers to 'miss' your points completely.

  2. Well, as a person who deals with a lot of people from other countries like Japan, Korea, Middle East and other parts of Europe, sometimes I really think that our overall standard of English is not bad..

    But, what I admire about these people from overseas is their determination and their willingness to venture to all parts of the worlds.... Their english may not be as good, but they really have the experiences...

  3. Dear Captain,

    Is there anything else that can go wrong with our tanah air? Each and every day something new crops up that points toward our nation's continued descent southward rather than showing any solid world-class achievement that we can be really, really proud of. National FUBARation must not be very far away.

    Re your topic, I remember ordering some food at a McDs with a pretty lass once. When it came to the drinks I told the waiter to make the coke a large and to hold the ice. Pretty lass in all her blessed innocence asked why I wanted him to hold the ice?

    Also reminds me of the t-shirt which proudly stated: Before I couldn't even spell engineer, now I is one."

    So, I know bad news gets attention. But right now its stench is overpowering.

    Take care.

  4. capt., you're right. now with this hp sms business, i'm wondering where will it end.i've to deal with supposedly language graduates trained to teach english and they couldn't put a neat para without salah! looking at our MOE, they are all for publicity only! just like all malaysian undertakings, thunder is the only product heard loud and clear and then disappear, of course after spending all the budget! and now i heard they gonna fix up DSAI with some dastardly act again!!

  5. I fully agree with you Captain Yusof; the standard of English in Malaysia has deteriorated so far that many Malaysians are now-a-days unable to speak and understand the language well.

    Written English is even worse, this also includes that of many university graduates, even those holding Master and Doctorate degrees.

    How shameful it is for Malaysia, to be in such a situation.

    The advertisement on TV really is a national embarrassment, but it is nevertheless the truth.

    SNAFU in Malaysia.

  6. Hello Capt Yusof,

    Like your other fans, one of the main reasons I keep coming back to you is your flawless English - such a rarity in this tanah boleh kita! But as an ex-English teacher, I feel that we need to be given a break.

    If you've got the time, please visit me ( not shameless promotion, but a small attempt to put things in some perspective.

    I do hope you'll visit.


  7. Sir, if i'm not mistaken it was your Generation that turned Go A Stern to GOSTAN .sigh! Trust the Merchant Marines :-)

  8. knightstemplar:

    Gimme a break. I'm not THAT old ... heheh

  9. I remember when in school, I used to get a lot of flack for speaking proper English. It was just not the 'in' thing to do.

    And in uni, Malaysian students (at least the batch I was with) would shy away from piping up in class and generally not contributing much verbally.

    Quite sad, really.

    Perhaps, speaking English should become the next fad. Only then, perhaps, would youngsters pick up the language.

  10. Absolutely spot on!!

    Breaks my heart when I see how much my nephews and nieces struggle with the school system.

    The government joker is treating the scholl system like playing sand castle.


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