Do you believe that there should only exist in this country singular-language "sekolah kebangsaan" and that vernacular schools should be abolished?
Do you second the call for the government to look into making this a reality?
If you do, do join the Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua campaign and sign the petition.
If having sekolah kebangsaan for all will help fortify national integration and unity, I am all for it.
It is easy to get emotional over this issue, as we have witnessed all this while. Arguments become racial and racist.
Let's not be tempted to fall into the broiling racist stew.
Just ask ourselves if doing away with vernacular schools will help in further forging national unity.
I believe it will. Indeed it will. You need to start somewhere and some time. It will be a long process. But healing.
But I must say here that in tandem with this, the ministry must ensure that national schools are not run like "Malay" or "Islamic" schools.
Because, if we all want national integration and unity, we must eliminate segregation in schools. And segregation cannot be eliminated if our national schools are hotbeds of racial polarisation because the system promotes that. Having very narrow-minded teachers who themselves are poor examples of anak Malaysia does not help.
Indeed, Bahasa Malaysia is our national and official language.
And yes, our schools should have Bahasa Malaysia as its medium of instruction (with the exception of a few subjects). No question about it.
But. let's not force Malay-ness down the throat of our pupils. Because, if you do that, you're not going to get that integration or unity that we so want.
I know of standard one non-Malay kids being humiliated by their teachers for not understanding Malay. I don't know how widespread this is but in 1997, a friend of mine was forced to take her 7 year-old out of school because the child was in fear and trauma from his teacher's unrelenting humiliation and harangement.
The little boy was struggling with a language he was just beginning to learn. His teacher was unforgiving.
But...aah. I am digressing.
In my own secondary school experience, (from 1968 to 1972), I remember classes known as "remove classes".
These classes were of pupils from the Chinese-stream schools. The girls would be placed in these classes to prepare them to be enrolled in regular classes.
Every year, there would be large enrollment of pupils from these schools.
Being proficient in Mandarin, I had many friends among these girls. It was a strange relationship as I'd insist on speaking Mandarin while they insisted on improving their English. (The medium oif instruction then was English.)
Today, more and more Chinese kids are being enrolled in Chinese schools because I believe their parents are either concerned about the prevailing "Malay-ness" and "Islam-ness" of national schools or feel that the standards of these schools have declined, or both.
Meanwhile, we are also seeing more and more Malay children enrolling in in Chinese schools.
My hope is that as we work hard to achieve this objective, we should, at the same time, ensure a high standard of teaching English (in the English language subject) so that our future generation will not lose out in this competitive world.
Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa!
Satu Bahasa, Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara!