CENTRAL KALAHARI — Bushmen leaders expressed their dissatisfaction today with the ongoing debate in Malaysia as to whether to continue teaching the subjects of Mathematics and Science in the English language, or revert back to doing it Bahasa Melayu.
Speaking from the main hut situated in the middle of the Nalu!ai village, the committee of the Tri-village Elders is unhappy that the Malaysian government had not considered the Bushmen language, the Khoisan, as the lingua franca for Malaysian schools. The language, with its intricate series of tongue clicks and nasal noises, is the main language in the South and Central African pre-modern tribes, collectively also known as the ‘San’ people.
Chief Mol/thwe M!kalaka, the head of the Watu!Hoi tribe said, “It is sorely disappointing, to say the least. Our language has been around for so much longer, compared to English and Bahasa Melayu. So why wasn’t it even considered as the medium of choice in teaching Math and Science in Malaysian schools? What, are we not ‘good’ enough for the kids?”
Chief M!kalaka added that the Bushmen language was far superior in relaying relevant information, especially technical ones. “For goodness sake, our language is built for Science and Maths. Aside from having the complete number of vowels and consonants, at par with the two languages being debated, we also have the various types of clicks and nasal expressions,” he said, before demonstrating a series of Khoisan clicks. “!-!-!, /-/-/ and |-|. Now, didn’t those sound more scientific to you? Perfect for any empirical discussion, I tell you.”
X!uianu, the female elder from the tribe Huiga was equally adamant that Bushmen language is the perfect choice. “All this talk about using English or BM is pure nonsense,” she said, while breastfeeding her two-year-old son, KuiX!on. “I mean, these new languages are so elementary, they’re hardly adequate to get a full appreciation of mathematical theories and scientific concepts.
“I remember when I was back in school, learning mathematical equations and memorising scientific formulae was a breeze,” she enthused. “The Khoisan is so concise, precise and ultimately perfect for learning any subject, that we hardly use any book in our schooling. I pity the students in other parts of the world who fallen prey to the advocators of the English and Bahasa Melayu languages — they’ve got tonnes of books to carry, simply because the languages are so archaic in its function. The Khoisan is perfect.
“In fact, it’s a !”
X!uianu said that she ‘couldn’t get’ why some quarters in Malaysia were so uptight about teaching the two subjects in either BM or English, and quoting ‘silly’ reasons such as ‘preserving the national language’ or ‘global language’.
“Look. for the love of Klo!xah/ui, it’s very simple. Instead of fighting and getting all emotional over the two inferior languages, I strongly suggest the Khoisan language,” she argued. “No need to do protests, clash with police, get arrested and all. Our language is leaner, meaner and much more precise in delivering its message. One click and you’ll get my drift. Get my drift?”
Chief Mol/thwe M!kalaka said that the council may sue the Malaysian government, in an attempt to put the Khoisan in its rightful place. “We’re deliberating that option. We’re prepared to go all the way to the Hague to argue our case. And I think we do have an airtight case,” he said.
“Adding to the fact that we’ll be filing our case in Khoisan is already an advantage for us. The judges — and the Malaysia policy makers — will be swayed by the beauty and simplicity of the Bushmen culture and language.
“Before you know it, Malaysian students will be having heated but productive discussions in their scientific labs in clicks and nasal noises. Now wouldn’t that be simply Ony!xJ/|ly?”