Archive for the ‘Ethnic languages & Elective Subjects.’ Category

Going the extra mile

Sunday, March 26th, 2017
Yallene (seated left) showing her SPM result slip to Pandiyan, Pathma, Kanimolly and Kaaviyaan at their family home.

Yallene (seated left) showing her SPM result slip to Pandiyan, Pathma, Kanimolly and Kaaviyaan at their family home.

FORMER fifth former P. Yallene went the extra mile when she scored A for Tamil Literature in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination last year, although the subject was not taught in her school.

Now 18, the former SMK Taman Tasek Mutiara student also turned out to be the school’s top SPM scorer by scoring 5A+, 5A and an A- in the exam.

Although much of her success in the Tamil Literature subject is attributed to the fact that the school does teach Tamil Language, which she scored an A+ in, Yallene said she would not be able to pull off the feat without guidance and proper revision.

“We have four periods, or two hours of Tamil language subject taught in the school every week, but the teaching covers grammar and essay writing.

“To get assistance in Tamil Literature which covers novels, poems and drama, I asked for advice and extra lessons from the Tamil language teachers.

“I’m thankful for having Ms. Prema and Ms. Uma Devi in school for their help,” she said in an interview at her home last Tuesday.

Yallene also said that due to the new format in Tamil Literature introduced last year, there was little reference that she could obtain outside of school.

“There are no past-year exam questions to try out. Even reference books are limited at bookstores.

“I’m glad for the help and support from everyone in guiding me,” she added.

Asked about her secret, she said studying hard and paying attention was key, besides the willingness to always seek help from teachers.

“I also attended tuition for all the subjects, seven days a week.

“It was very tiring, but the reward is worth it,” she said.

Yallene said she has applied for various scholarships including from the Public Service Department. She hopes to pursue medicine and become a doctor.

Her parents who are both teachers also expressed pride in her success.

Her father A. Pandiyan, 47, who is a Maths teacher in SMK Simpang Ampat said he was happy with Yallene’s success and hopes that she will never give up learning her mother tongue.

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Adenan: Christmas, a time of great rejoicing and celebrations

Monday, December 26th, 2016

KUCHING: Christmas is a time of great rejoicing and celebrations for our Christian friends, and people of other religions share in the joy and festivities, as this has been our practice, said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

He said in Sarawak, people make it a point to send greetings to their friends and make an effort to visit them according to the open house tradition.

“The open house tradition is a unique facet of our shared culture that we must continue to nurture and cherish for the sake of our unity and harmony which is so vital for the continuous development of Sarawak,” he said in his Christmas and New Year message here on Saturday.

He said Sarawak is a land where people of many different races and religious beliefs live together happily side by side, like brothers and sisters who have much respect for one anothers culture and religion.

“In some parts of Sarawak there are Christian and Muslim families that stay together under the same roof, and religion is of no issue because they belief that “your religion is your religion and my religion is my religion,” he said.

“That’s the way it has been for us in Sarawak for the last hundred years and that’s the way it should be all the time in the future. Of late, when there was a great deal of social tension on issues of race and religion, we in Sarawak kept our cool and refused to be drawn into debates that are very divisive in nature,” he said.

“For so many years, there has been no hindrance and issue at all to religious freedom in Sarawak. We are free to worship as we wish; Christians are free to use the word “Allah” as they used to and there will be no “Hudud” in Sarawak,” he added.

On economy, Adenan said Sarawak cannot forever be a commodity-based economy, as it is time for the creation of more downstream industries in order to process its raw materials such as natural gas, timber and silica sand into products that can fetch much greater value than when they are exported raw.

He said with the implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy Programme (Score), Sarawak is well on the road to industrialisation with more and more investment from overseas.

He pointed out that Score has attracted 21 investments worth RM33.50bil, generating over 17,000 employment opportunities, especially in the Samalaju industrial zone in Bintulu.

Adenan said Sarawak has high hopes that the Pan-Borneo Highway will become another factor to propel its economy in the decade to come.

“I believe many of you who travel from Sematan to Miri have seen that works in some packages have already started. Pan-Borneo highway is not empty talk and it is steadily becoming a reality,” he said.

Adenan also wished the people of Sarawak ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’


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Vital to keep mother tongue

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

CM says this is to prevent it from getting extinct, preserve racial identity and heritage

KUCHING: The multi-ethnic communities in the state should document, enrich and enliven their language as a way to prevent their mother tongue from disappearing with time.

In giving this advice, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said it is important, especially for the small ethnic groups, to conserve their mother tongue to avoid a ‘language death’ – a situation when future generations shift to another language and no longer learn their mother tongue as their first language.

Adenan was officiating at the launching of the ‘Comprehensive Iban-English Dictionary’ by Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) yesterday.

“What happens today (yesterday’s launching) proves that the Iban language is still alive, well and prospering because of your care, concern and love for the language. I urge other races to do the same before their language disappears. Put it on record, who knows, sometime in the future, certain languages might become extinct,” he advised at the event held at Hilton Hotel here.

Deputy Chief Minister and DCF chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, patron Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, the foundation’s managing trustee Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah, including two of the book’s authors Janang Ensiring and Dr Robert Menua Saleh were also present.

Adenan cited native North American languages such as Apache and Cheyenne (among others) as examples of mother tongues that were critically endangered because there were only a few native speakers of the languages around.

He believed some of the said languages could be found in digital forms in museums and research facilities.

“We hope this would not happen to the natives here,” he added.

The 1,980-page Iban-English dictionary aims to preserve and promote Iban culture particularly in the fields of performing arts, language and literature. Bilingual in nature, the dictionary has Iban as source of language and English as a target language.

The dictionary is the result of many years of collaboration among Janang, Robert and Jantan Umbat from the Tun Jugah Foundation, with Prof Emeritus Dr Vinson H Sutlive Jr and Joanne Sutlive, who were commissioned by DCF to compile the dictionary two years ago.

It contains over 30,000 entries of headwords and derivatives with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, idioms, pronunciations, etymologies and examples of phrases and sentences.

To this, Adenan said: “The launching of the Iban-English dictionary is a reflection of what we are doing today, a reflection that when we do have culture, when we do have tradition, we have civilisation. The Ibans not only have words to describe things, but also words to describe abstract thoughts.”

He stressed on the importance of learning and practising languages of the multi-ethnic groups in the state, especially at the secondary school level, in order to keep them alive.

“I always remind our brothers and sisters in the peninsula that when you talk about Bumiputera, in Peninsular Malaysia there are 99 per cent Malay Muslims but not all Bumiputeras in Sarawak and Sabah are Malays or Muslims. In fact, most are Christians. You must give them recognition, don’t categorise them as ‘lain-lain’ (other ethnics),” he added.

by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith.

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Documentation Of Ethnic Languages Needs To Be A Continuous Effort – Mary Yap

Friday, August 12th, 2016

TAWAU, Aug 11 (Bernama) — Documentation of ethnic languages and local dialects needs to be a continuous effort to avoid their extinction, said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching.

She said this was crucial as the current young generation lacked exposure to their respective ethnic language inherited from their family, as they preferred to speak in the national language or other languages such as English.

“The effect is that ethnic language usage could not flourish and eventually could face extinction, and this is worrying.

“Thus, the documentation of various local languages which is now in implementation is among the best measures to maintain the precious heritage, culture and language of any ethnic group,” she told reporters at the UNESCO 2016: Preserving Ethnic Languages and Local Dialects programme, here, today.


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Keeping dialect alive

Sunday, August 7th, 2016
User friendly: Tan poses with a copy of the dictionary which took her more than three years of research to compile.

User friendly: Tan poses with a copy of the dictionary which took her more than three years of research to compile.

THERE are over 6,500 languages in the world and almost half are in danger of extinction.

Tan Siew Imm said Penang Hokkien, which uses words loaned from Malay and English, may just be on this endangered list.

So, Tan set out to ‘protect’ her mother-tongue.

She came out with the Penang Hokkien-English Dictionary, which carries over 12,000 entries.

The dictionary, compiled after more than three years of research, was launched at Sunway University.

Designed to be user-friendly for both native speakers and learners of the language, it lists Hokkien words and terms, and their definitions in English.

On top of having direct translations, it also provides the cultural context for certain words. For example, ong lai hua, literally an unripe pineapple, is an offering during Chinese New Year prayers.

The dictionary also has an English-Penang Hokkien glossary which translates common phrases such as, turning over a new leaf, taking a lion’s share, and a bad workman blames his tools.

Tan used to be a lecturer at Sunway University’s Centre for English Language Studies but retired six months ago.

The dictionary is funded by a research grant from the university and is published by the Sunway Education Group as part of its commitment to community development.


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Shot in the arm for science education in Tamil schools

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Young minds: Dr Mohamed Yunus with a group of students at the National Level Science Fair for Young Children 2016.

Young minds: Dr Mohamed Yunus with a group of students at the National Level Science Fair for Young Children 2016.

PETALING JAYA: Science education in Tamil schools has been given a shot in the arm, thanks to the vision of environmental consultant and education gamechanger Dr Mohamed Yunus Mohamed Yasin.

His steely resolve to make a difference led him to organise science fairs for Tamil schools.

The Science Fair for Young Children (SFYC), a series of events aimed at promoting science in Tamil schools, has been in place for the past 10 years.

It is organised by the Association of Science, Technology, and Innovation (Asti), a body founded by Dr Mohamed Yunus to help create a positive environment for pupils to explore science.

The SFYC involves some 80,000 schoolchildren aged 10 and 11 from 300 Tamil schools nationwide.

“Our kids have won national-level competitions and international ones including in Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, and New York,” said Dr Mohamed Yunus, who holds a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Recently, five 12-year-olds from SJK(T) Mentakab bagged gold medals at the 2016 International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN).

The winners, J. Jayashri Selven­dran, Mutu Paramasivam, Darshana Jayasangkar, Puventhiran Jayara­man and Thesiigan C. Selvanayagam, who designed an innovative calorimeter will also be going to Jakarta for another competition after the UPSR later this year.

In March last year, three students from SJK(T) Ramakrishna, Penang, beat 300 international contestants to bring home the first prize at the 35th Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition.

Durgashini Srijayan, Kumurth­ashri Ponniah and Sugheson Ganeson bagged the gold medal under the Excellent Youth Science Creation category for the eco-friendly thermo container they created.


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Keeping alive a dying language

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Motivating mentor: Shi himself had learnt Manchu from the older residents and is determined that the language must not become extinct. – AFP

Motivating mentor: Shi himself had learnt Manchu from the older residents and is determined that the language must not become extinct. – AFP

Spoken by China’s upper class up to a century ago, the country’s only Manchu speakers now are a handful of old people trying desperately to teach their mother tongue to the younger generation.

IT was the language of China’s last imperial dynasty which ruled a vast kingdom for nearly three centuries. But 71-year-old Ji Jinlu is among only a handful of native Manchu speakers left.

Traders and farmers from what are now the borders of China and Korea, the Manchus took advantage of a crumbling Ming state and swept south in the 1600s to establish their own Qing Dynasty.

Manchu became the court language, its angular, alphabetic script used in millions of documents produced by one of the world’s preeminent powers.

Now after centuries of decline followed by decades of repression, septuagenarian Ji is the youngest of some nine mother-tongue speakers left in Sanjiazi village, one of only two places in China where they can be found.

“We mostly speak Chinese these days, otherwise young people don’t understand,” he said, in his sparsely-furnished hut beside cornfields, before launching into a self-composed Manchu lullaby.

Manchu is classed as “critically endangered” by the United Nations’ cultural organisation Unesco, which says that half of the more than 6,000 languages spoken worldwide are threatened with extinction, a major loss of knowledge and diversity for humanity.

Saying it loud and proud: Students of the Sanjiazi Manchu village school reciting phrases during a language lesson. – AFP

Saying it loud and proud: Students of the Sanjiazi Manchu village school reciting phrases during a language lesson. –AFP

But schemes to save Manchu are spreading as ethnic conciousness grows among the 10-million-strong minority.

The sign for the village primary school in Sanjiazi, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, is in Manchu’s vertical script, with posters in the language written by pupils lining its corridors.


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Teaching of Tamil to continue in Sabah

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Kalamanathan and those attending the special prayers in conjunction with the Teachers’ Day celebration

Kalamanathan and those attending the special prayers in conjunction with the Teachers’ Day celebration

KOTA KINABALU: The Education Ministry will ensure that the teaching of Tamil language will be continued in the selected schools in Sabah.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said that if there was a request to increase the number of schools with Tamil language classes, the ministry would also give due consideration.

“In the meantime, because we appreciate the concerns of parents in their children learning their mother tongue, we will strengthen and continue to support the teaching of Tamil language in primary and secondary schools in Sabah,” Lalamanathan said this when met after a special Teacher’s Day prayers held at the Sri Pasupathinath Alayam Temple in Bukit Padang here on Monday night.

SK Lok Kawi and SK St Agnes Likas and in Labuan, he added that as far as the ministry was concerned, it would not neglect the need of learning Tamil language in schools and it was ready to improve on the service if there was a need to do so.

On the setting up of a Tamil school in Sabah, Kalamanathan said that it would depend on the need of the local community.

“If there is a need, the Education Ministry will give due consideration. At the moment there is no request for a Tamil school in Sabah but we have given the emphasis that Tamil is taught in identified primary and secondary schools,” he stressed.

Kalamanathan also expressed his appreciation to all teachers in Sabah as they have played a huge role in shaping the students in the state.

The deputy minister said he was impressed with the achievement of teachers in Sabah especially those from the Indian community serving in the state.

Most of them are from Peninsular Malaysia and they have made Sabah their home as they have served in Sabah for more than 10 years.

“I am also impressed with their ability to build the nation and to me the Sabah Indian Teachers have been carrying this responsibility well. It is my hope that they will be able to strengthen their spirit to ensure that new teachers posted to Sabah will do well by giving them the support and guidance so that they also can carry out the responsibility entrusted on them,” he said.

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Sabah students learning French as third language

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

PENAMPANG: The French Embassy and the Ministry of Education through public schools are making efforts to encourage more students to take up French as a third language due to the various benefits of being fluent in the language.

One of such efforts was translated into the Immersion France at Borneo programme initiated by the French Embassy Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia France University Centre and Sekolah Menengah (SM) St Michael Penampang through the Ministry of Education, which was held at the school here yesterday.

“The programme is aimed at highlighting the importance of mastering foreign language, French in particular, which would not only enable them to converse in the language but also provide them with the opportunity to further their studies in France as well as other French-speaking countries,” said French ambassador to Malaysia, Nicolas Gouletquer.

He said that with education being free in France, with students having to pay only a registration fee of up to RM1,500 a year, they would be able to secure a high-quality diploma in any field including Engineering and Business, at a very affordable cost.

Six out of the eight schools in Sabah that offer French as a third language took part in the programme yesterday, namely SM St Michael, SM Sains Labuan, SM Sains Lahad Datu, SM Sains Kota Kinabalu, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sanzac and SMK Elopura Sandakan.

The schools are among the 85 public secondary schools in Malaysia that offer French as a third language, with a total of 13,060 students.

Although schools such as St Michael had taught the language for the past five years, it was the first time such a programme was held, hoping to do more in the future.

Gouletquer said that various programmes had been held in Kuala Lumpur, but a few here in Sabah.

“One of the biggest annual events we are holding is the Le French Festival, a one-month festival organised by the Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur and the Embassy of France in Malaysia to promote French art and cultural exchanges,” he said.

While no such event has been held in Sabah, Gouletquer said that there were plans to do so, by setting up Alliance Francaise here.

Alliance Francaise is a non-profit making French cultural and language association that currently has two centres in Malaysia, namely in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Gouletquer said that the growing interest in the French language and culture here led to this plan, which could serve as a French hub in East Malaysia.

by Amy Dangin

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Celebrate Malaysia Day in harmony — Subra

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Four best friends from different cultural backgrounds (from left) Then Siew Yeng, Shaberline Zami, Zara Amani Adi Imran and R Surendar proudly showcasing their very own Jalur Gemilang costumes at Dataran Raub, Pahang. They were among thousands who turned up at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration officiated by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob. — Bernama photo

Four best friends from different cultural backgrounds (from left) Then Siew Yeng, Shaberline Zami, Zara Amani Adi Imran and R Surendar proudly showcasing their very own Jalur Gemilang costumes at Dataran Raub, Pahang. They were among thousands who turned up at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration officiated by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Day should be celebrated with various activities that can reflect unity, peace and harmony among all races in the country, MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said.

He said Sept 16 had been declared as Malaysia Day to commemorate the formation of Malaysia via consensus between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

From the formation, comes a harmonious society made up of various races in the country, including Dusun, Kadazan, Iban and others from Sarawak and Sabah, he said when launching the Malaysia Day Unity Ride 2015 organised by MIC Youth here yesterday.

“That is why the Malaysia Day has to be celebrated with events that will involve participation of various ethnic groups including those from Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Earlier, Subramaniam also flagged off a convoy of 30 high-powered motorcycle rider who will ride and fly the Jalur Gemilang flag around the city centre.

In Kota Baharu, over 1,798 people from 58 contingents participated in the state-level Malaysia Day celebration which was held at Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium compound here yesterday.

The event which was officiated by Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah started at 8.3 am and was also attended by 8th Infantry Brigade commander Brig Gen Zarondin Md Amin and state executive council (exco) members.

The celebration also saw a parade mounted by various security agencies, such as the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysia Police, the Department of Civil Defence and the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela).

In Langkawi, rain did not dampen the spirit of about 150 high-powered motorcycle riders to participate in a Kembara Sehati Sejiwa convoy held in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.

The convoy was organised by Kuah assemblyman’s service centre in collaboration with the Langkawi Development Authority, Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) and several government agencies and private organisations.

It began with an aerobic exercise session held at the Underwater World, Pantai Chenang here, followed by acoustics performances by several local singers and the convoy participants.

The convoy then moved from Jalan Pantai Chenang to Padang Matsirat before heading towards Kuah town here, where the participants ended their road trip at the Langkawi Tourism jetty.
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