Seriously, What The Heck Is Wrong With The System?

Posted by M ws On Saturday, December 1, 2012 8 comments
It is the school break and two of my friends sent their kids to me this morning to knock them into shape.

It has been one looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong Saturday morning and I am fully convinced I have lost at least one kilo from frustration.

One of them attends an international school in Penang. Last week, I asked him to study a table of irregular verbs and I tested him this morning. I nearly had a massive cardiac arrest when I marked his answers. Here's a selection of some of his 'unforgettable answers'. After writing this post, I must check my floor to see how much hair I have lost from the shock of it all. :-(

1. awake : He wrote awaked (past tense) and awaken (past participle).
Correct answer: awake-awoke-awakened

2. bear:  He wrote beared (past tense) and beared (past participle).
Correct answer: bear-bore-borne

3. begin:  He wrote began (past tense) and begar (past participle).
Correct answer: begin-began-begun

4. bend: He wrote bended (past tense) and  ben (past participle).
Correct answer: bend-bent-bent

5. bleed: He wrote blead (past tense) and blead (past participle).
Correct answer: bleed-bled-bled

6. break: He wrote breaked (past tense) and broke (past participle).
Correct answer: break-broke-broken

7. drive: He wrote drove (past tense) and droven (past participle).
Correct answer: drive-drove-driven

8. kneel: He wrote kneeled (past tense) and kneel (past participle).
Correct answer: kneel-knelt-knelt

9. shake: He wrote shoke (past tense) and shaken (past participle).
Correct answer:  shake-shook-shaken

10.  swell: He wrote swelt (past tense) and swellen (past participle).
Correct answer: swell- swelled-swollen


11. keep: He wrote kept (past tense) and  kepten (past participle).
Correct answer: keep - kept - kept

As if this was not enough, he told me that the previous weekend, he was at Pulau Song Song with some PSC  members and how two girls were attacked by sea sergeants.

Sea sergeants?

Having been to Pulau Song Song a couple of times during my snorkelling/diving days decades ago, I asked if he meant sea urchins and then he smiled and nodded.


A few weeks earlier, another friend's son who is a fourth former at a premier school wrote:

The car slew down before it reached the traffic lights.

Slew? Sarcastically, I asked him what he meant. Quite confidently, he said 'slew' is the past tense of 'slow'!!!

So I told him it is 'slowed' and he pronounced it as 'slow-ed' in two syllables.

"Slow-d? Got such a word meh?" he asked in typical Manglish.

Just yesterday, I spent thirty minutes teaching a Year 3 student from a premier local school all about the apostrophe. She did not know how to write contractions and it was an ordeal for both of us.

Even after I explained many times and wrote the rules clearly, highlighted the apostrophe etc, she wrote:


It was only the fifth attempt that she got it right.

If you think all this is incorrigible, I had a college student who misinterpreted a past year question on how super powers have impacted the world negatively. She wrote about the horrors the world might have experienced if Hitler had the powers of Spiderman. I am not joking. After I explained why her answer was wrong, I asked her to either a) re-write that essay (with the correct approach) or b) to choose another question and then send me the answer. Unbelievably, she sent me a corrected version of the original essay with a short message saying she followed the rules I taught in class etc and how she hoped that even though it was largely nonsense, she hoped I would mark it. She dropped out of my class.

The sad reality is that many school students do not have the ability to think for themselves. I have written about this tragic scenario so many times that I am sick and tired of it. Suffice to say that our country is likely to be in dire straits in the future for there is little that workers/graduates can offer. In terms of knowledge, discipline, innovation, quality of human/natural resources, we have fallen way behind that of our neighbours.

A significant number of my acquaintances are making big bucks in Indonesia/India and some have migrated there, started business there and keep telling me that 80% of the urban population is largely middle class and how despite the existence of similar problems, the populace is well aware of the need to invest the best in education to be on par with or better than neighbouring countries.

There are so many horror stories I have seen for myself and heard from my friends in education, even in industry(horrible slide presentations filled with grammatical/spelling errors and presenters who cannot pronounce words correctly) and in the legal sector (e.g. Can you told us what you saw?).

With the deplorable standard in education, teaching standards, curriculum and the lack of fluency in English, it will be a long, winding and rocky road ahead.....

Pardon my pessimism but while such problems worsen, many are still fighting as to who will win the next GE.

As for me, it does not matter who will win because either way, we are on a downward spiral....

8 comments to Seriously, What The Heck Is Wrong With The System?

  1. says:

    Bunny hello ms pessimist, is it that time of the month again?

  1. says:

    MWS Hello Bunny...

    Most certainly not at my age.:-) Thank you :-).

    I remain a pragmatic realist making judgments based on facts and trends and have come to realize how idealism can blind us to reality.

    Perceptions and aspirations are far away from reality and neither will ever meet for there are just too many tipping the scales. Unfortunately, unless one digs beneath the surface to unravel the intricate web of deceit and conspiracy spun far beyond the borders, many will remain deceived until the truth hits them smack in the face one day. And I speak from experience.

    Take care and know that it is always a joy to hear from you. Let me knowif you are in my neck of the woods and it will be a pleasure to treat you and yoyr family. My email add is in my blog profile.


  1. says:

    Bunny Hamlet Act 2 Scene 3

  1. says:

    UP41 Indonesia is progressing. Our driver /unofficial guide ( actually he is the boss) of our recent trip to Jogja, is in his 30s, speaks and writes good English. I believe the number of people like him is growing there but here , sadly, is the reverse.

    I share negative outlook of MWS but hope she and I are both wrong.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Good morning, Bunny!!

    Wow - a cryptic comment first thing on a Sunday morning! You are on the roll, friend! :-)

    There is no Act 2, Scene iii in Hamlet so I have to speculate the hidden meaning behind your comment.
    Forgive me if I am wrong and I pray thee tell the real meaning. Here are some of my

    Theory 1

    Could it be that you were hinting about a fictitious Act 2, Scene iii to use the significance of Act 2 Scene ii as an analogy to current events in our backyard such as:

    * How Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    are manipulated by all of the members of the royal family and are scared of offending others or revealing secrets

    * How Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are actually similar in character the way the main players in our country are different in name/mission but largely similar esp in characteristics :-)

    * Rosencrantz and Guildenstern propose possibilities, develop ideas according to rational argument - quite similar to the two fronts we have. Just as both of them try and then fail to understand how Hamlet feels, it is the same with the two fronts wrt to how the rakyat feel.

    Theory # 2

    You are fully aware that Act 2 Scene iii does not exist but deliberately mentioned it in your comment to hint that the script is still not written and anything could happen.

    Theory #3

    You meant to refer to Act 3 Scene i but mistakenly referred to Act 2 Scene iii because of the famous quotation:

    'To be or not to be, that is the question.'

    Theory #4

    You were hinting that what we see is not the truth because many are pretending just like Hamlet in Act 2 Scene ii where some argue that he is merely pretending to be mad. Conversely, some argue that if that is the case he does almost too good a job of it. There are those who argue that Hamlet lost his marbles when he saw his father's ghost.

    Theory #5

    None of the above postulations are correct and only you know the correct interpretation so pray thee enlighten us. :-)

    Anyway, I am almost braindead now trying to decipher the meaning of your cryptic response (again )...Thank you for a most thought-provoking response!!! Have a nice day and hope to hear from you again!


  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear UP41

    Having been to Indonesia recently, I concur with your views. In fact, quite a number of my friends live in Jakarta and are doing very well in Indonesia.

    Many Indonesians come to Penang for medical care and one of my nephews married an Indonesian. From my personal experience and observations, they are ready to pay an arm and a leg for the best be it in medical care or education - a clear indicator for their inclination for quality! Surely if this is applicable in other areas, they will surge ahead of us. That we will see.

    Yes, I hope we are wrong. However, I am quite sure the downward spiral will persist.

    I worry for my children and grandchildren.


    Take care and God bless you!


  1. says:

    Bunny Theory #6.
    There is no Act 2 Scene 3 in Hamlet so don't get your knickers knotted up.

    Just wanted to see what kind of response i'd get from your readers.


  1. says:

    MWS Dear Bunny,

    Yup, I had already stated the mon-existence of Act 2, scene III from the onset.

    I enjoyed exploring at the possibilities ...UP41 did respond...

    Anyway, sorry for this latd response. I was indulging in shopping therapy.

    Enjoy your evening and God bless.

    Thanks again for livening up my blog. Stay in touch.


Related Posts with Thumbnails