This is our final task. On 2nd March 2012, we have done our presentation on how Malaysian Culture Affects English Language. Our group did the presentation on how historical influences affect English Language. We need to find in the internet and books the information needed for this task. In my views, I do believe that English in Malaysia is strongly influenced by many factors, such as multicultural society which refers to major ethnics groups and dialect groups, urban and rural settings, political and historical influences and also educational policies in Malaysia.
Based on my experience, there was a lot of information in the internet, so we didn’t encountered difficulties in compiling the information. We just need to arrange the event in sequence according to the date. For me, obviously, I can’t deny that this topic was boring. When we saw other’s group presentations, which I can say, were very interesting and well done, it affects my self esteem too as I know not everybody loves listening to History especially when it was about the development of education in Malaysia. On the day we did our presentation, for me, we did quite well as other groups tough we need to rush since we were running out of time. We just focused on the important event of English development in Malaysia and emphasize on the impact of English development to our education system in Malaysia. Though we manage to finish our presentation, I was not satisfied with my own part during the presentation. I was pretty sure that my other group members also felt the same. This was because; we had already planned to present the historical development in detail. Again, the time was not at our side and we need to skip so many parts. Through this presentation, it helps to improve my self-esteem and my interpersonal skills. Now, I felt more confident to speak in front of the lecturer and my classmates if compared to previous semesters.
In addition to that, based on my readings from the reference books, journals and internet about the development of English Language in Malaysia, I had learnt that the influence of English language in Peninsular Malaysia can be traced through history as early as nineteen century. It all began when the British Empire expanded its mission of searching for Gold, Glory and propagating of Gospel to the South East Asia including Malaysia. They took control and intervened in the local and administrative affairs of the traditional Malay states.
Nowadays, as we can see, the importance of English in Malaysia and in the world generally needs no further elaboration. The spread and influence of English has reached almost every area in Malaysia. The government has, since a long time ago, declared English as the second most important language in Malaysia after Malay Language. The Ministry of Education also makes suitable changes in its policies with the objective to arrest or reduce the declining standard of English among students.
For me, there are some challenges hindering effective use of English. First, the government policy which emphasizes the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language has discouraged the public to use English. Some people also develop a negative perception that having conversation in English rather than Bahasa Malaysia would make them less patriotic. Second, lack of qualified English language teachers or instructors is another obvious challenge in using English. Third, incompetent English teachers is an ironic situation in Malaysia that sometimes, there have been complaints made by students and parents that some qualified English teachers are, in reality, not be able to speak in English properly. They do not have the confidence to have direct conversation with other people and sometimes they prefer to speak in a mixture of languages.
I really hope that, as the English teacher-to-be, I am able to speak fluently in public using English. I do believe that practice makes perfect. Through the interactions with lecturer and through reading English books, I hope that it will help to improve my level of English. I also strongly agree that people should take the initiative to not only learn the language but also practice it as frequently as possible. Even the best English teachers could not help students who do not have interest and refuse to use the language themselves, in particular, in their daily activities. In my views, parents also should motivate and guide the students to improve their level of English.
Therefore, it is clearly shown that English is the language of progress in many aspects of life. Thus, I feel that, negative perceptions such as speaking English will make people less patriotic should be responded to.
From this task, I have a better understanding on the crucial role of English in Malaysia. However, as I said before, the understanding on the essential functions of English in communication and development of country changes nothing. All parties, including government, the society, students, teachers, should realize their parts and potential towards English language. Thank you.