With the 13th General Election looming ahead, there are many demands and manifestos which will be made by the people and the political parties.
I am not a politician but an ordinary citizen of Malaysia who is impartial to politics. Here is just a question for PAKATAN, which is a strong opposition group in my country.
As there are many complaints over the decline in the standard of the English language in Malaysia, my simple question is: Will your coalition introduce Esperanto in the schools to help to nurture more talents?
Esperanto or Internacia Lingvo, which means International Language, is very effective in helping learners, especially the young, to learn better.
Look at how the British, once discouraged by the Thatcher government, is now spending even more on Esperanto research. The Spring Board project is a four-year, on-going research programme. Despite the fact that the propaedeutic effect of the language has been discovered from the first research in Britain back in 1920, many people still have doubts or unwilling to teach Esperanto in schools. These doubts are founded on political agendas rather than considerations for the good of the people.
However, the Ukranian Minstry of Education thinks otherwise and will introduce Esperanto in schools. Brazil has unofficially introduced it in its schools and more than half of the schools in Brundi are teaching Esperanto.
The maximum amount of time required to learn Esperanto is two hundred (200) hours but that for English is two thousand (2000) hours, after which the learners may nevertheless still not be able to speak and write well in English. Many argued that the standard of English in Malaysia or I should say in Malaya was good then, but do not forget that how many percent of people were able to go to the schools, how many percent of elites were able to go to the university, and how many more are pushed out of mainstream society to be the marginalised group. The poor – the urban poor as well as the people in the rural areas – are always victims of the English language, for they do not have the money to fill the pockets of the British or American book publishers and film producers.
The Esperanto comes in a full package. The AIS, more fondly known as the Esperanto University, in San Marino, has not only internal courses from Bachelor degree to Ph.D. programmes, it also has external programmes for those who reside outside the campus. The external degree, according to the El Popola Chinio, a China Esperanto monthly magazine, costs only 250 Euro per annum. The tuition fee for this external course is even lower than local university fees.
Out of the many planned languages, UNESCO only recognised Esperanto. The circular was sent to all the members in 1954 and again in 1985. We missed out on the first circular (despite the allegation that we were not colonised by the British, as someone said and then later admitted that Malaya had indeed been colonised). However, the second circular should be known by government bodies who had attended the UN meeting in the 80s.
Esperanto has an office in the UN building and each year the representatives of the Universal Esperanto Association would present reports and findings. The 100th International Esperanto Congress is going to be in 2015. The Vietnam Esperanto Association is hosting the 97th International Esperanto Congress in July 2012. The Esperanto Scout Movement is also celebrating its centenary in 2018.
Look at China, the Esperanto Radio is almost 50 years old and the Esperanto magazine spans more than half a century. They even have the Esperanto Merchant League and of course, the Ministry of Education recognised Esperanto as early as in the 60s. Most official websites are available in Esperanto. China just started the Esperanto TV last year:
Not only China, of late, the Kansas state government in United States of America also provided an Esperanto version of its website. The British parliament also employs Esperanto translators for translating various reports.
The benefits of Esperanto do not only include the ability to learn other languages faster. According to Tony, a past President of the Chicago Esperanto Association in a comment in Change dot org, Esperanto could help the autistic children too.
None of the political parties or the NGOs, particularly the DONG JIAO ZONG, in Malaysia are willing to conduct research on Esperanto. More aptly put, they are neither caring to the poor nor the rural folks. We have an acute shortage of qualified English language teachers in the rural areas, and all races will suffer from the lack of an international language if they were forced to leave school early. But in the age of the internet, no one can conceal the truth from the people. Again, this internet service is still not available in many rural areas, and even if it were, the charges are so high that poor families will hardly be able to subscribe to the service.
How difficult the English language must be, given that even English kids fail examinations for their mother tongue. English is more of a commercial lingua franca but not a general one. Within the ten ASEAN countries, in how many countries would you be able to use English comfortably on the streets? How about countries in Europe or Latin America countries like Brazil, Colombia etc.?
Dr Robert Phillipson claimed that English is an imperialism language. What would be the trend of the usage of English in the future? In order to pursue equal rights, many people in Europe are joining the political parties based on Esperanto.
Would it be a loss to teach one year of Esperanto and reap its countless benefits?
I leave it to PAKATAN and the like to do the research although many reports have been long published.
Do not leave the people on the margins out of mainstream society. Malaysia is a country which is full of natural resources and of course human resources too.
P.S. This article was originally submitted to a local online news portal which claimed to be a nuetral in news reporting but trashed my articles when the content of the article is about Esperanto whether the articles are in Chinese or English languages. I have set up a blog to republish those articles.