As I was browsing through Dawama (the bookstore of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka) today, my enthusiasm of choosing books for my kids turned sour when I came across a certain book that promotes the Malay language as the SOLE language to be respected in Malaysia. Well, at least that was my impression when I read through the introduction section and chapter 1 of the book. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Bahasa Malaysia. On the contrary, I love Bahasa Malaysia. As much as I love English and my own mother tongue. In fact I love languages.
But it dissapoints me to know that people can actually write in such a way that makes it seems like using English and other languages in Malaysia is a crime. The author blasts the aspiration of certain people to encourage people in Malaysia to learn English more in order to obtain more knowledge. To the author, that is unacceptable (at least that's how I interpreted it when I read the sentences), unpatriotic, unMalaysian.
I wonder what's the author's agenda. If the author were an academic, I would have to say their writing style doesn't reflect a broad mind, unless of course, the author is an academic with some other agendas. I am sure his intentions are good, but to me, to write in such a way creates a bad consequent. It might corrupt the young Malaysians' minds (or people who are not used to thinking for themselves I might say), making them think that English shouldn't be learnt at all.
It saddens me that this kind of writing is being circulated in my country. Yes, I support the idea that Bahasa Malaysia should be given due respect, and that other community languages should be helped to thrive in this era of modernisation. But the key word is BALANCE. While doing that, it is wrong to give the impression that English should be left out. Even a primary school kid knows that without knowing English it is almost impossible to go on the internet!
My hope is that Malaysians (the extremists) will learn to be more balanced. There is a good side of everything. But then again, I am a Libran, and my middle name is BALANCE.