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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's Not Englishication

This post was originally my comment on Fatih Syuhud's blog, but since i have this bad habit; i can't stop talkin' when i'm on - my comment became too long and i had to cut it short. Then I decided to proceed writing on the issue and post it later on my own blog. And here it is.

From his observation, the fact that Indonesia is more known around Asia as TKI/TKW exporting country despite the abundance of skilled workers is partly because of the lack of english skill.

It's an actual fact that english has always been the first international language and inevitable in any international job fields. It's the most widely understood world language. Without adequate english ability, our workers abroad would remain usual TKI no matter how skillful and expert they are. The ITB graduate Fatih Syuhud met with in Saudi should have become an expatriate working for some prestigious company rather than a driver or a store keeper if he had english skill. Better job would mean better income and better respect. Respect is what our nation is lacking now.

Indonesia is full of these kind of young proficient workers who deserve more than their current jobs. I'm not saying that all those skilled youths should leave the coutry to work for foreign companies because we need them more to stay and build our country. But if they're not provided reasonable jobs that fit their skills, they'd better "flee" the country for sometime and get the proper jobs - not as usual TKI but as skilled expatriates (please don't get me wrong, i do not regard what TKI/TKW do as a humble work, we must recognise their contribution to our country devisa). Their experience in foreign companies would be in turn, useful when they're back to Indonesia. I'ts sort of transfer of knowledge. But to do so, people must be equipped with the ability of speaking international language.

Our english ability is the worst among asean countries (as you can see obviously in me). In some occasions i happened to speak with malaysians with various jobs and different ages (i was tempted to speak english with them because i don't understand when they speak malay), i learned that most of them were good in english. Average high school coeds in malaysia speak english much better than our university students. They are acquainted and familiar with reading english stories since they were in elementary school.

Much to the dismay of Indonesian students studying overseas, our diplomats are no better. We used to think that our diplomats are a bunch of smart creatures speaking many international languages, serving as envoys defending and promoting our country with diplomacy. Apparently they're just like those incumbents in any other departments who enjoy their current positions just because they are related to big boys. Some of them achieved it by committing bribery.

When my friend, a new diplomat was sent to Cairo for three-months-tryout mission, the local staffs at the embassy said to him: "hey you speak arabic", and my friend was like yes, and what's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing wrong, it's just right, said they. Apparently they sent wrong people before. They used to send here people who speak no arabic and no english.

British government once offered scholarship to NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) students who want to study in some universities in the UK. The NU officials selected some 20 students to be sent to UK but when they got there - as Hasyim Muzadi told us when he visited Cairo a couple of years ago - all those 20 were rejected by the univ due to the lack of english skill. Even though this embarrassing incident occured likely because NU officials didn't really select qualified candidates to send, instead they just picked some "gus" (i prefer call them ghosts) and relatives of the officials (typical uncivilized society behavior). I don't believe they can't find people in NU with English skill. This However, advertises our poor english. And the opportunity was too good to be neglected.

Inductive Method

We don't have enough english lesson at school and starting to learn english in SMP (junior high) is too late. Other countries like Egypt, India and Malaysia start to acquaint english to students earlier. We only have few hours english lesson in a week. It's even worsened by the teaching method. Our teachers focus on teaching grammar (apparently this is because of their poor english skill, they can barely speak or write in english). English is not math nor physics. Learning any language is not by memorizing formulas then apply them on solving questions.

Inductive method is the best way in teaching languages. An Indian english teacher once said; the less grammar the better it is for students. Sometimes grammar becomes more of a hindrance than a help. We often see students fumbling for words because every sentence they speak is preceded by a mental check-up of the grammar of the sentence. The more reading and speaking the better it is for them. Grammar could follow later. Teachers should not confuse their students with grammar. What's the point in knowing passive form of perfect continuous tense for instance, if someone can't used it in real conversation? 5 year old kids in english speaking countries speak almost perfect english when they barely know alphabet letters, let alone grammar.

I always have this fear of making mistakes when i have to speak english. I believe it's because of this grammar-oriented method of teaching they used at school (trying to find an excuse for my poor english).

I need your advisements please!
When i commented on Fatih syuhud's blog a couple of days ago, i tried to write it in english; rarely i do this unless the blog owner is not an Indonesian. Fatih praised my english (knowing my poor english, It was much an adulation though, but thanx) and suggested me to start blogging in english.

Among the reasons i'm not blogging in english is i want to make it easy to my readers to understand what i'm trying to convey. My readers are Indonesians and so much my topics are about nationalism and Indonesia. I posted "Questions On Democracy" a few months back in english. The case was quite the same with this one. I commented on Juwono Soedarsono's blog and i couldn't stop talking so i had to post it here for it would be improper and indecent to fill other people's space with my too-long tiresome comments.

I'm not a chauvinist neither unconcerned about world issue and humanity, i'm just trying to encourage and invite our fellow countrymen to love our country and to think what should we do to serve her. If i blog in english, would they understand my points? I do not believe in "art for art". We do not eat for the sake of eating, do we? (well no, i'm not a communist, in case you're wondering). One should not blog or write just because he/she likes writing. One must have objective in doing whatever he/she is doing. We can not do something just to meet our passions. The latter sounds to me like masturbating. I remember Rhoma Irama once said on tv when he was asked about his religious lyrics. He said: "Music is not just for fun, it is also responsible to god and people". He's talking about music, a fun and entertaining art, what would we say about writing?

On the other hand I fully understand why Fatih suggested me to consider blogging in English. He has always been encouraging Indonesian bloggers to blog in English to promote Indonesia. Like he said: "So that the world knows and understands more about Indonesia by reading anything written by Blogger Indonesia". He made a point by that because blogging in English would mean broader segment of readers.
Comments are welcome in English, Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic.


Blogger Kristin said...

wah postingannya boleh jg LEx.. cmn ak bacanya mesti berkali² biar lbh ngerti lagi hehehehe...
ayoo.. gmana neh jadi mo ikan gak? ak mesti share kemana dung??
aiii... blognya ganti kulit ya Lex?? hehehe

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

Another person inspire by my beloved friend Fatih. English is a great English, full of nuances and depths, unlike any other. It also portrays equality and straightforwardness.

Best wishes,

Jennie S. Bev
(Fatih's number one supporter.)

9:08 PM  
Blogger Alex Ramses said...

@kristin, Iya kristin mauu ikanya hehhee,,, gimana cara dapatnya nih, terus mau diganti apa?

@jennie,,, Thanx for your comment. Kunjungan anda ke blog saya merupakan sebuah kehormatan bagi saya.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous pangapora said...

Shout boOoOoOoOoooOoxXxXxx...! :D :P

9:13 AM  
Blogger fuddyduddy said...

Wah, pakek bahasa inggris...
harus ada BABYLON ini...
Om Alex, kok tumben pakek bahasa Inggris sih...

12:11 PM  
Blogger - h a n a r a - said...

Hey! What's wrong, kok rombak rumah genee?? :D

3:59 PM  
Blogger Alex Ramses said...

@pangapora, @fuddy, @hanara, I was tempted to klick the "switch to new blogger" button. Trust me it was teasing. after i ignore it for some time i couldn't help my hand from touching it, and yeah,, damn it feels good hahahha.

Hey i'm just a man, and men do such things. What do you think you're gonna do if u see a FART BUTTON on ur screen and it appears so frequently? Trust me u'll klick it. u don't klick it to smell the fart, u just want to satisfy your anxiety.

That's what i exactly did to the button. When i got inside i was tempted to taste more buttons, sounds like one simple sin leads u to serious disobediences. I just klick and klick, i didn't really notice any warning, and when i viewed my blog,, everything was gone. My shoutbox's gone, the header's gone, my friend list was no more there, my read more feature didn't appear. It was pretty much messy.

Now i'm trying to put them all together again.

As for why i wrote in english,,, you should have found the answer when you finished reading the original post.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Mae asti said...

For me...the only reason is that TKI/TKW are working for money, not because they really want the job.

And....the reason why I'm not blogging in english is just because I feel more comfortable to write it in indonesian. Anybody who wants to read but they can't, just learn Indonesian whehehehe *narsiiiis*

I was also starting too late in studying english. But....let's not complaining. Let's doing and practicing :)

My english is not bad laahh *dengan logat malay*

8:57 PM  
Blogger Nata said...

bosss... new skin? Congrat!!! I was thinking lately to write my thought, idea and story in English, but still I don't believe my English skill. someday if someone read thought or story of me in English, wish they will understand I'm a beginner even though honestly I've learned English for several years from junior school :D

English is a must, instead of learning Indonesia as national language. Hope I don't miss the point :D

6:22 PM  
Blogger Mochtar Hahn said...

your blog nice look now, mbah. lighty for reading, cos black not gud healthy :D still getting exam mbah ? when we "tajawul libahtsi alsouwariah" ? dho' soutbox hinak, ahsan kay fiihil hiwar, ahlul baith wa dhuyufiha :) sembah-nuwun-samingan

7:17 PM  
Blogger Mochtar Hahn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Bunda Ira: Bundanya Nanet & Nadya said...

hiks2..ga ada sb! btw, thats true..our indonesian english so awfull, so we lose 'for a kind of opportunity' from another asian people (philipina). We suppose to improve our english language, coz, indonesian people (means asian) more smart than the other..thats a fact in education in usa.

1:48 AM  
Blogger aroengbinang said...

The first simple step to materialize any changes towards the direction we want is by changing ourselves. Only then we may effectively influence people to follow the path.

I shared my view and experience in this post http://aroengbinang.blogspot.com/2006/10/forming-of-english-speaking-community.html that even though I always got excellent marks in English since junior high school, it didn’t help until I decided to continuously read books written in English, diligently opened dictionary to understand new words, and speak English every single day with my colleagues in office.

It’s a matter of changing mindset, promoting a new paradigm. Education and knowledge sharing accessible to all people, research on both theory and applied sciences, language proficiency and communication skills, are some of key drivers to achieve a more dignified and prosperous Indonesia that we are longing. Let’s be the contributors.

2:13 AM  
Blogger NiLA Obsidian said...

aku suka yg gini nih...jadi maksa kita buka kamus....

emang kudu di paksa....
karena emang betul metode kita dari dulu2 nya juga ga bagus sih...
jadi parah hasilnya

btw...rombak rumah ya?

7:33 AM  
Blogger Iman Brotoseno said...

unfortunately we got occupied by dutch !..most commonwealth country speaks english very well.
nice posting you have

12:00 PM  
Blogger NiLA Obsidian said...

om alex......SB nyaaa donggg...huhuhuhu

4:37 PM  
Blogger susie said...

Duh ganti leot lagih ..........

welcome comment di arabis ? hahaha ajarin dulu dong .

url baru : www.thekannes.nl

11:49 PM  
Blogger sili frebrian said...

that's one of the reason why I prefer raise my children here. to be honest, it's so painful and extremely hard.

11:12 AM  

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