Monday, 6 October 2008

Tamil Schools: Pride & Prejudice

RPK Forever!!!

"By ‘culture’ the writer doesn't refer to what is commonly assumed: temples, festivals, dance, music, attire, obsolete ways of life and so on. Today what is meant by culture revolves around education, healthcare, social equality, gender equality, harmony with environment, freedom to choose the ways of life, economic and human resources, elite formation in the society, and above all, the capability of a society to contribute to humanity in general."
- Tamil Youth Of Malaysia: Question Of Culture And Empowerment

Many an "indian" Malaysian would take pride in the effect of the Hindraf rally that kinda woke many Malaysians up from their 50 yr slumber party. However, speaking of the awakening of the Malaysian "Indian" (Tamilian, actually) psyche, it has barely dented it. The rally itself has simply been a source of pride - nothing beyond that.
Many barely seem to realize that the real question here is the economy, and how to break out of the psychological ghetto which the "education blueprint" of the NEP has subjected the poorer "Indian" to.
This doesn't actually refer to all Malaysians of "Indian" descent - but merely those who defend the "Tamil schools" as their "cultural bastion" of sorts, despite the socio-cultural impediments it "equips" the students with.

Of late, the Tamil schools issue was discussed quite a bit on MT, despite the fact that it wasn't the main topic in several articles published.
Obviously, it is a topic that's close to the heart of many "Indians" (specifically, Tamilians) - and hence could be termed "sensitive". We all know that discussion on "sensitive issues" are actively discouraged by the authorities, as many are "hypersensitive" to these things, for reasons only known to those who deem them so.

The strangest thing about this Tamil schools issue is that many the advocates whom I do know personally aren't themselves a product of Tamil school education. They however, would shy away from discouraging Tamil school education, for fear of appearing to be "unpatriotic" - much like those "silent majority" who shy away from condemning violent "Islamist" jihad openly.

As expected, some were apparently "disgusted" with my arguments against these "Tamil schools" - they obviously don't see the economic handicap the "pride" & "tamil school ghetto" "equips" the students with- which works to the benefit of their competitors.

I may be wrong in my perception that a Tamil "ghetto" education in Malaysia is a handicap, and would only be to happy to be enlightened on it (with sound argument). However, before anyone should seek to use "pride" or "pity" as the reason in defense of "tamil schools (or equating it "chinese education") - allow me to say that "pride" has no economic value, as compared to "chinese" or Malay education in Malaysia (and hence, 'holds no water').

One apologist even cited govt sponsored "studies" showing that Tamil schools performing better than "chinese" or Malay schools!
He (temenggong) says,
"Lots of misinformation about tamil schools.
As I posted before in MT with
statistics by the Education Ministry,
tamil schools are today
performing better than
national and chinese schools
in terns of exam results and in terms of attendance by students, meaning less dropouts.

I'm so impressed - Yeah, Man! I am!
That's definitely as true as MSM peddled "studies"/stories from our Ministry of Misinformation - that's as true as my pinky being longer than my middle finger,
the UiTM PhDs being on par with that of Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
or even
unlike Ahmad Ismail - RPK, Teresa Kok and the Sin Chew journalist (Ms Tan) are threats to national security .....

Before anyone chooses to lambast me for my opinion, let me make it clear that I don't care much about these Tamils schools, whether they keep it or or not, as it doesn't affect those who truly wish progress (as I see it) for their countrymen.
All I know for a fact is that it is an impediment/ handicap, for all those poor kids who need (the scorned upon) "remove class" in secondary schools which they have to attend in order to "assimilate" to national schools.
(I wonder if these classes still exist - either way, it's a "double whammy" for the argument against Tamil schools!)
The following was my last comment on this issue, in response to some other comments on MT:

No offense intended - As far as I know, that foolish pride of the "mother tongue" taken to such extremes is what is spelling some people's economic vulnerability.
I spoke of "economic feasibility" here - You just don't get it do you?
You cannot sacrifice economic feasibility at the altar of your mother tongue! Talk to me about the mother tongue and your mother, when people suffer without realizing it - just out of "pride".
And it always comes before your fall - as is seen now!

Malay may not be feasible in the globalised world - but they have had the means to make it comercially sustainable nationally thus far.
Same goes with Mandarin - however they are much stronger numerically/economically, and the economic might of China/Taiwan can help to a great extent, though.

Do Tamilians have that capacity?
I don't think so - Not by a long shot. Not even in India as a whole.
Maybe, just maybe in tiny and impoverished Tamil Nadu.
In Malaysia, they cannot even go beyond decent primary education.
Even in India many are opting for an English education to stay competitive. It's about assimilating and adopting every possible competitive advantage - not "pride". Civilisations have died becos of this pride - you become sitting ducks to cultural hegemony!

Pride is good. But it only helps it can be put to good use. If you wish for your "people/Identity" to be successful, they need liguistic/economic/technological edge. With neither of these, you're nothing no matter how much you shout out your mother tongue - and it would spell the doom of your people and your pride! People may not wanna come to your door, even when you lay out the red carpet if you have nothing competitive to offer.
When knowledge is lost to worthless pride, you'd only be able to live by backbreaking labour! Just take a good look at those who refused to give up "ancestral ways" - you'll see what I mean.
As the saying goes -"It the economy, it's the money, stupid!"

Nobody said you cannot or shouldn't learn your mother tongue - and nobody said you cannot learn it in national schools either.
I have American friends who think, speak and act American - and also speak and write their mother tongue flawlessly becos they take extra classes.
Some even learnt it on the Internet for free! Some don't speak or write - but contribute to the economy by being good at what they do, and know more about their history and heritage than many of us put together. They are very much in contact with all their brethren in India and have made their Indian brothers' intellect "marketable" and sought after in the world!
That's true pride - they have helped propel their brothers onto the world stage!

You know what - President Reagan was the guest of honour their very small association AGM!
President Reagan said in his speech then, "Never in history, has any community as small, contributed as much as you to the USA!"
Now that's respect earned!
It wasn't about their language - it was about their economic well being!

Another very successful friend passed SPM Tamil papers. He knew quality when he saw it! He knew that he would end up a failure had he opted for Tamil school education, even though his father taught in one.
He did it on his own out of interest - now that's true pride that's worthwhile!
I don't see why you need Tamil schools to preserve the language, if it cannot fill your belly or your minds with something competitive!

Whatever lah - Have it your way loneranger and you "proud" Tamilians. I've had just about enough of talking on this topic. It keeps going back to some worthless empty pride.
It's just like talking to someone who wants an "Islamic Republic" but doesn't know how it works. But they do "know" that they should be proud of it!

Take a good look around - Pride as sure as hell comes before the fall .... and you reap what you sow.
The world is a lonely place when you go hungry and have to beg for handouts ... even if you are full of pride for your "mother tongue"!

Peace guys!
For what it's worth - Makkal Sakthi Vazhghe!


If you don't design your own life plan,
chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan.
And guess what they have planned for you?
Not much.
- Jim Rohn


  1. Hiya Doc,

    This is a timely reminder. I've been meaning to write a piece on the Tamil-in-Malaysia (Tim)question for ages but never got round to it. This lapse is part of the great invisibility of the Tamils in Malaysia which Hindraf make visible by leaping onto the Malaysian festive stage through a paper partition separating it from them, Hanuman style!

    To understand Tim, we have to first journey to India and see Him - I mean Tim - in His original setting. Then we can plot the coordinates and relate the resultant picture to His situation in Malaysia.

    We don't have to be monumental in our effort, suffice for a blog-size essay to assign Tim his proper place under the Malaysian sun.

    I hope to come up with the essay soon at my blog,

    Thanks for your serendipitous visit, together we'll see what we can do give Tim his due.

  2. Thanks mate!
    Nice name you got for "Tim"!

    The beauty about Timmy is, he'll only take advice from Timmy - everyone else's intentions are suspect.
    If a Tim does agree with what I've mentioned, and refuses to champion "tamil education" - he's considered a "sell-out", and wouldn't stand a chance at leadership.
    The one's who accept constructive criticism are too small a minority among them.

    Even the some who have agreed with me, would deride what I've tried to communicate later - and I've paid a stiff price.
    The irony of it all is that I was deemed a "racist" for saying what I believe is their handicap!

    Most of these guys would be quick to condemn Umno for being racist but fail to realize that they actually promote Umno's racist agenda.
    "temenggong" even goes so far as to say that "it has all been agreed upon in the 1956 negotiations (aka ?social contract)".

    Look at how their leaders clamour to champion the cause of "tamil schools" as a political platform - that hypocrisy at it's best working.
    A large majority of them aren't exactly a product of "tamil education"! They all ride on the spirit of "ignorance and chauvinism" and the emotional appeal of "pity" (whatever that means).

    Zaharan - I wish you luck.
    What I wrote was the last piece I'll write on this matter.
    Thanks for dropping a line anyway, mate!

  3. I respect your wish not to comment on the subject.

    This comment is by way of letting you know that I've just finished writing up a piece on Hindraf which you might want to take a look - zveloyak.blogspot.

    Btw, your pic looks like someone who was very much in the news some while back but whose name for the life of me, escapes!


  4. What a hilarious piece Doc! Where did you get the idea of chauvinism and pride? You are way out on your analysis. I shall write a short paper on Education and Tamil Schools.


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