Jan 27, 2006

spiak ingrish RETURNS

just finished ward round with Dr. Sanjiv, a great lecturer, humourous and informative guy.

rather "attracted" to a letter sent in to News Straits Times…

Please clarify

I AM totally amused by the recent controversy and statements by by Datuk Ismail Merican, director-general of the Health Ministry, regarding the failure of our medical students from foreign universities in the special professional entrance examination.
To add insult to injury,
Ahmad Ikmal Ismail, chairman of Education Bureau of Umno UMNO Youth, has commented further without checking the facts.
On behalf of all parents who had no chance to send their children to local medical universities, I would like to ask Datuk Ismail to clarify a few things:
First, are our public medical universities recognised by the British Medical Council, which is the highest board for medical graduates all over the world? Even Singapore does not recognise our graduates.
Second, are our lecturers who prepare these questions from our three universities really qualifiedto do so?
Third, is the exam conducted in English or Bahasa Malaysia?
If it is in Bahasa Malaysia, surely all the foreign students will fail because they have studied in English, whereas the local graduates study in Bahasa Malaysia.

Are you very sure that all the graduates from local medical universities are good?
You just have to be in the hospitals and listen totheir graduates’ conversations in English. You would be shocked.

Shah Alam

I was thinking "for goodness sake, why are you condemning our own national language?"

and so I wrote in, too…

English or Bahasa Malaysia

Regarding the letter "Please clarify" from K.BALASINGAM of Shah Alam

I am currently a medical undergraduate at our local university. I would like to clarify that the language issue plays a major part of our curriculum and of course, at the end of the day, passing the exam. In my humble opinion, both English and Bahasa Malaysia play a major role in our path of becoming a good and safe doctor in the future.

English is vital as it had long established history of being the standardized language for communication between doctors all over the world, be it Africa, China or India. Any miscommunication about details of the patients would be perilous.

Yet, in our local setting, our national language, too, is an important language, as it is the main communication tool in our daily conversation between people of different races, especially the elderly in our country. Therefore, the real scenario in the exam would be best if the medical students from other countries are able to communicate effectively with the patient and formulate the best management plan for the patient.

Wouldn’t it be horrendous if in sickness, you are being seen by a doctor who had to talk to you only through a translator, or if without the translator, he would just look at the test results and treat you as a disease, not as a person?

I believe those professional medical terms had to be learnt in the university, but basic english should be taught well in primary and secondary school, not in the university. During my second year, there used to be english classes for the undergraduates, which is a total waste of time, as it seems like drama classes to us. Luckily, these classes were taken out of our curriculum.

It would be best if other basic languages, such as Tamil, Mandarin, Cantonese or Hokkien to be taught to the medical students so that they could communicate better with patients, and i believe, in emergency, it would be life-saving.

I believe everyone would expect the doctors in our country are capable of saving lives and respecting the patients, not just being good in English, right?

my thoughts:

though not written in the letter, i would really like to admit that some of us, especially at times of pressure like exam, our english is really ingrish. But where is the problem? The problem is with the Education Ministry. No doubt about it. We were chosen into the undergraduate study program partly looking at our MUET (malaysia university english test) as a relatively important criteria … read it carefully… malaysia university english test… yet in an esteemed faculty, it would take in more than two handsful of students who failed their MUET and had to reMUET in the university.

sungguh meMUET(muak)kan!!!


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