Interlok: Your god as ‘Tuhan’ and my god as ‘tuhan’ is not a minor issue, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister!
You are becoming a complete embarrassment to this country. If Interlok has given anyone in this country an opportunity to prove anything at all, then probably it has given you the best opportunity to expose your UMNO intellectuality!
From the very beginning, Interlok’s issue has been very clear. It was a case of an unsuitable book, wrongly chosen without a thorough analysis or otherwise deliberately chosen with the ill-intention of poisoning the young innocent minds in schools with the UMNO RACISM and UMNO SUPREMACIST agenda. The book, initially rejected by the Indian community who were infuriated by the vilification of their community through demeaning portrayals of Indian characters throughout the novel, is also now being rejected by non-Indians, who are beginning to see the inappropriateness of the book as a major public examination material that carries UMNO’s hidden agenda of RACISM and SUPREMACISM!
Your excuses for rejecting the amendments suggested as ‘minute’, ‘not pertinent’, not sensitive’, ‘non-important things’ , etc. demonstrates your shallow thinking and knowledge in the concerned areas – linguistics, literature and academic assessment!
You rubbished the suggestion to correct the misspelt word ‘tuhan’ to ‘Tuhan’ as ‘minute’ ‘not pertinent’ and ‘non-important’! Is this sheer stupidity or ignorance beyond help? It is hard to figure out in UMNO’s NEP breeds! Accuracy in spelling is a basic requirement in language, literature, and all other disciplines for that matter. Simonsen & Gunther (2001, p. 104) in their research paper, Best Practices in Spelling Instruction: A Research Summary concluded that while often neglected, spelling is an important academic skill for students to learn in school. Masterson & Apel (2010, p. 35) in discussing spelling sensitivity explained that spelling is a language skill supported by several linguistic knowledge sources, including phonemic, orthographic, and morphological knowledges. Even for students with learning disabilities and dyslexia, different teaching and assessment methodologies are being used to develop their spelling skills. A quick search in the world’s top teaching research journals would reveal hundreds of research work world wide and their findings on developing spelling skills.
As Interlok is an examination reading material, it is of utmost importance then to ensure that both the examination paper and the reading material are perfect, devoid of any error. Hence the suggestion by the three Indian panel members. Nevertheless, in an attempt to belittle and vilify the Indians as UMNO racist like you always do, you had actually made a fool of yourself by brushing off those suggestions as ‘minute’ ‘non-important’ and ‘not pertinent’! Like a drunkard when drunk, becomes verbose, you too in your false sense of supremacism, become a little too pompous and seem to draw immense joy in denying people their right to exercise the God given intelligence which you seem to have very little of!
In all honesty, this (tuhan) is not merely a misspelt word, but rather a deliberate and mischievous act by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka – DBP (baashai/pustakam from Tamil) to promote Islamic bigotry and religious fanaticism. By spelling the word ‘tuhan’ with a lower case ‘t’ whenever it was Maniam or his family members referring to God, in contrast with Seman or his mother referring to God with an upper case “T” for “Tuhan” you and your UMNO goons are also telling the Hindus, the Muslim God is the only God and the Hindu God is a lower God,!!! If this is not another subtle expression of Islamic, then what is it?
“Sejak bapanya meninggal dunia, Seman cukup rajin beribadat. Cukup banyak dia meminta doa kepada Tuhan supaya …Dia teringat akan Tuhan … Barangkali ibunya sedang meminta doa kepada Tuhan supaya … Siapa tahu kuasa Tuhan? Barangkali itupun kuasa Tuhan. …Barangkali itupun kuasa Tuhan. Baru kali inilah dia berasa dirinya benar-benar dekat dengan Tuhan. Baru kali inilah dia berasa sembahyangnya diterima oleh Tuhan…(pages 293-294)
Compare this to:
Maniam tidak ada anak…Dia percaya suatu masa nanti, tuhan akan memberi kepada mereka cahaya mata. (p. 214)
Maniam berasa dia mengenali orang yang bertubuh rendah itu… Ya, tuhanku! Serunya perlahan-lahan. (p. 230)
Maniam terus mencangkul… Ya tuhanku! Mengapa aku jadi begini? (p. 244)
Hold your breath and read on…!
TuhanI Allah yang mencipta alam semesta…(Kamus Dewan Edisi Ketiga, m.s. 1478)
tuhan II sesuatu (seperti dewa dsb) yang dipuja oleh golongan manusia yang agama atau kepercayaan merekat idak berasaskan kepercayaan kepada Tuhan Yg Esa (Kamus Dewan Edisi Ketiga, m.s. 1478)
Yes, this a deliberate propaganda by DBP who is responsible for publishing both Kamus Dewan and Interlok Edisi Pelajar to promote Islam as the greatest religion in the world. Tuhan can only be Allah, and can never be Jesus, Shiva, Shakti, Buddha, Yahweh, Waheguru, or any other GOD! All other gods are lower beings than the Islamic Tuhan!!! Look at how DBP reduces the other gods into ‘sesuatu’, ‘dewa’ dan ‘sebagainya’! In Hinduism, Dewa or Devargal is/are never GOD(s)! What is DBP and UMNO trying to indoctrinate in the minds of school children? Who gave the right to UMNO and DBP to decide whose GOD is higher and whose is not???
Such spelling of words have far reaching consequences, which UMNO seemed to have capitalized on very well. A research by H.M. Olk (2002, p. 126) titled Translating culture, a think-aloud protocol study, proves that students perceive capitalized nouns as having a higher status, given that in English, all proper nouns have capital letters and that usually means they are important…! Going by the same perception, our students too will eventually be made to believe that Islam is the greatest religion in the world! We know UMNO’s shrewd mine just too well!
In translation there is a methodology called ‘back translation’. This technique is used to get accuracy in translation of difficult words, including cultural terms. A back translation of the misspelt word ‘tali’ would give an equivalent ‘kayiru’ (rope/string). Whereas the translation of the suggested correction ‘taali’ would produce an equivalent ‘maangalyam/ taali/manggala sutra’ (marriage sacred thread). As such, the marriage sacred thread should be spelt ‘taali’ as rightly suggested by the tree Indian panels!
In the English grammar, the rules of using capital letters are clearly explained. Capital letters are among others used for- first word of a sentence or a fragment, names of days in a week, months in a year, etc., names of languages, nationalities, ethnic groups, proper nouns, festivals and holy days, religious terms including names of religions, names or titles of divine beings, titles of certain important figures, names of important events, names of sacred books, name of a book, a play, a poem, a film, a magazine, a newspaper, etc… Hence it is simple logic that a special reference to god should be capitalised. Nonetheless, in Malay, only Islamic god is ‘Tuhan’ not any other god! We are tempted to ask you then, will you agree to India referring to your Islamic god as ‘allah’ and their god as ‘Shiva’, ‘Krishna, ‘Rama’, ‘Lakshmi’, ‘Parvathi’, etc? Will you agree to England referring to Muslims as ‘muslims’ or ‘Qurran’ as ‘qurran’?
Going by you reasoning, Mr. learned Education Minister-cum- Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, is it a ‘minute’ problem to spell ‘English’ as ‘english’ or ‘Melayu’ as ‘melayu or even ‘Islam’ as ‘islam’?
Your UMNO became a laughing stock of the world when it took ownership of the word ‘Allah’ which is taken from a language that is not yours. We, the Indians too have been very kind, generous and accommodating. You took many fundamental concepts and words from our Indian language and Hindu religion and made them your sole property! You borrowed the word ‘sastera’ from us and are now teaching us how to appreciate literature in context! You robbed the word ‘bumiputer’ and now claim you are the only ‘bumiputera’ in this country! We gave you the word, so let us teach you the correct meaning of the word. ‘Bumiputera’ simply means any child born on this earth plane/ on this country’s soil is a ‘bumiputera’(child of this earth/ son/daughter of this soil) . We taught you what language is – ‘baashai’ (bahasa) and now you are being very ungrateful by telling us how to spell our cultural words! How ungrateful!
After so much drama very carefully scripted, staged and exhausted, your Siti Saroja is making volte-face claiming that the panel has agreed to all the corrections suggested and it is now up to the ministry to accept them or otherwise (Free Malaysia Today, 21 March 2011).
As far as the Indians are concerned, the book Interlok cannot be amended, that will take the whole book to be rewritten.
Tell me how can the factual error in the most controversial paragraph that contains the ‘P…’ word can be amended with just replacing the ‘P…’ word and leaving the rest untouched?
Di dalam kapal ini dia tidak susah. Sebahagian besar daripada penumpang dek yang bersama-samanya itu dapat bercakap dalam satu bahasa sahaja, Tamil. Mereka yang dari arah ke utara sedikit bercakap bahasa Malayalam atau Telugu, tetapi hampir semuanya tahu bahasa Tamil. Malayalam dan Telugu pun berasal dari satu rumpun bahasa Dravidia. Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang berkaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Paria. (p. 211)
Di dalam kapal ini dia tidak susah. Sebahagian besar daripada penumpang dek yang bersama-samanya itu dapat bercakap dalam satu bahasa sahaja, Tamil. Mereka yang dari arah ke utara sedikit bercakap bahasa Malayalam atau Telugu, tetapi hampir semuanya tahu bahasa Tamil. Malayalam dan Telugu pun berasal dari satu rumpun bahasa Dravidia. Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang berkaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta rendah. (p. 211)
What about the factual error that all Indians who came here were from the lower caste? Probably you need to leave the whole sentence out …
Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang berkaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta rendah. (p. 211)
And who said all Indian men do not care for their wives safety?
“Maniam seperti orang India yang lain, tidak pernah khuatir tentang keselamatan isterinya”. (p. 218)
“Maniam, like other Indians, had never worried about his wife’s safety”. (p. 218)
Tell me Mr. Minister, why are there so many references to Indian characters as black-skinned when there are many south Indians who are fairer than you, Dr Zambri Abdul Kadir, Datuk Azeez Abd Rahim, Reezal Naina, Datuk Zainuddin Mydin and many more ‘UMNO’-Malay wannabes?
We are least surprised by your wisdom in reasoning your rejections as ‘minute’ and ‘non-important’…!
When your university intakes are not based on meritocracy, you have ‘high achievers’ of 1As and 2As with a good number of Ds and Es warming the university seats with full scholarships both locally and abroad, learning little. These special-skinned intellectual community from the supreme religion in the world graduate half-baked, some with MAs and many with PhDs. Hence, education materials of poor quality, full of factual and grammatical errors are so common these days in the education system of Malaysia! How else do you explain the many embarrassing grammatical errors in Year One English textbook and 2010 PMR English Paper as well as one Professor Turiman Suandi and another Dr. Zoharah Omar from UPM plagiarising materials to produce a guidebook from American university websites including Harvard!
Under your corrupt UMNO NEP system, many of the professors and PhDs that you produced can hardly write an article for a journal let alone the task of writing and producing a book! Coming from the same racist system, how could you be any different, Mr. Minister?
The Indians want the Interlok to be withdrawn from the school curriculum immediately! Interlok cannot be amended! Stop embarrassing yourself any further and do the right thing for once and for all!