There were two major announcements in the last week. One I agree with, and the other, I strongly oppose.
I support Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s reminder that all correspondence from companies and universities to government agencies should be in Bahasa Melayu.
He also told government agencies to return to sender, correspondence in any other language, other than the national language.
Anwar said this in his speech when launching the National Language Decade Carnival, and the National Reading Decade on Wednesday.
This is fair, as we are Malaysians after all, and there is nothing wrong in communicating in the national language.
Our neighbours Thailand and Indonesia also require all correspondence to be in the national language, while it is the same in China, Japan, South Korea and basically every other country where English is not the national language.
Anwar said the reminder to strengthen the national language was an integral aspect of nation-building, and not to disparage other languages.
However, some have opposed the decision. The Sarawak government has said it would not follow the directive.
Its state secretary, Datuk Amar Mohd Abu Bakar Marzuki, said the reminder did not apply to Sarawak.
Bahasa Melayu is a beautiful language, and we should all embrace it.
The announcement I am opposed to is from the Education Ministry, which wants schools and colleges to organise a ‘Palestinian Solidarity Week’, from Oct 29 to Nov 3.
While I am against the atrocities in Gaza and Israel, we should not involve our children.
That belief was reinforced when a video was widely shared on social media showing a group of teachers dressed in Palestinian garb, waving flags and carrying fake weapons!
But the Education Ministry said the programme was to educate students on human rights and compassion for others, including fostering empathy for those suffering, regardless of their nationality, religion, or social status.
Several non-government organisations had voiced their opposition, as well.
Anwar, however, was quick to address the issue and said schools would not be forced to hold the ‘Palestinian Solidarity Week’.
He also said if schools do go ahead with the event, “they have to ensure it does not go out of control”.
My fear is that, even with the prime minister’s warning, it might still spiral out of control.
Anwar had already strongly condemned what was happening in the Middle East at the United Nations General Assembly last month and in a rally at the Axiata Arena on Tuesday.
There is nothing wrong with educating or explaining the situation to school kids, but we should not involve them in something political.
As mentioned last week, let us hope the conflict in the Middle East ends soon. Too many innocent lives have been lost.
BE CAREFUL WHEN PAYING VIA E-WALLET
Fast food is not good for your health and your wallet, too.
On Thursday, I was at a burger joint and ordered via its mobile application, as there was a promotion.
Payments via the mobile application had to be via e-wallets or through a registered debit card.
I opted for the e-wallet, but as the internet line was bad, the order did not go through.
However, the amount was deducted from the e-wallet.
According to the counter staff, I must wait 24 hours before receiving a refund. In the meantime, I had to make another order and pay again.
I am still waiting for my refund.
BB MUSIC FEST
Experience the Heartbeat of Kuala Lumpur at Bukit Bintang Fest, happening this weekend and on Nov 4-5, from noon to 9pm, around the iconic streets of Bukit Bintang.
Over 60 groups of local performers, artists, and dancers will put on a wide range of music, dances, and cultural performances. Also on the cards are photography exhibitions, and other hidden gems.
FIVE-INGREDIENT MINI LOAF RECIPE
Try this recipe for a little loaf of bread that requires little preparation, bakes quickly, and has a short ingredients list.
Given Anwar’s call to promote the use of Bahasa Melayu, the legendary Tan Sri P. Ramlee plays us out this week with ‘Bunyi Gitar’.
Until next week, stay safe.