Singaporeans to teach English in Malaysia

Let us be honest about this quagmire that continues to haunt us.

JD Lovrenciear, FMT

Malaysia’s overdependence on migrant workers has now reached newfound heights.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s discussions with his Singaporean counterpart to explore the possibility of having Singapore citizens teach English in our schools would have woken up any slow loris.

Firstly, have we finally reached the bottom of the pit, where a population of 34 million cannot source its own English teachers but has to reach out to a six million-people neighbour for resources?

Secondly, did our prime minister not recently state that government officials should not attend to any correspondence in the English language in his attempt to drum up passion for our national language?

Thirdly, did netizens not cry out in vain all these past decades, warning of an erosion of our mastery of the English language, and plead fruitlessly to our policymakers to correct the plunging ratings?

Fourthly, pray tell me, would Singaporean teachers want to sacrifice their good-paying jobs to come and hole up in some sleepy hollow rural school or take a boat to get to work or spend days and months on end struggling in non air-conditioned, wooden schools to help our young master a language that continues to be under the claws of political masters?

Let us be honest about this quagmire that continues to haunt us.

Have we considered redeploying English teachers here who quit out of sheer frustration with the education system?

Have we considered rehiring English teachers who retired, but out of necessity, have to settle for lesser paying, mundane jobs just to keep going in this climate of runaway inflation?

Can we not headhunt citizens who may not be in the teaching profession, but are capable of teaching the language given their interest and involvement – especially in the media or corporate corridors and in professional engagements?

Do we have the courage and conviction to reset (never mind realign) our dual language (Malay-English) medium of teaching without yo-yoing till this day on whether to teach maths and science in English or not?

Do our politicians, above all, have the humility to admit how they politicised education merely to serve their narrow political advancements and machiavellian agendas, which explains our dire “sitz im leben” (situation in life) today?

Indeed, are we racing to be the world’s best court jester, I wonder?