It's been like a hundred years ago since my school days when life revolved around memorizing the periodic table, or math formulas; perhaps coupled with frequent nightmares of my teachers casting a spell on me, thus transforming me into Buku Matematik Gunaan. Oh! those were the days.
It's rather strange when I come to think of it, but back then my Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language) was much better than my English! In fact, to a certain extent, sometimes I think my Malay is still better than my English today! But only sometimesat other times, I feel my knowledge in Bahasa Malaysia is way too outdated.
I'm not sure what has happened to the language over the last few decades since I left school. Perhaps it went through a kind of modernization process; or maybe there was some sort of mind shift in the way those who consider themselves as experts in the language, but I find the questions that they ask in the exams these days are quite outrageous; and I'm trying my best to be nice here. Consider this question which is found in my daughter's workbook (she is in Primary 4)click on the photo to get a better view:
The task is to fill in the blank with the best answer (paling sesuai) from the 4 given choices, A to D. Now, before choosing the answer, one must first understand what the whole thing is about. The question tells the reader that "Siti is crying because ________ died after [it] was knocked down by a car."
What was it that was knocked down by the car? Well, it can be anything at allit might have been a person or an animal that Siti liked so much. But in this case, it's quite likely that the question is about a pet. The reason that it's most probably a pet is because the available choices for answer are not likely names for people!
While I was thinking about pets in general, I suddenly thought about my friend, Eric. I have of course posted about Eric in the past, although not relating to pets. Eric has a curious inclination whenever it comes to pets. While most people would keep, say, a gold fish as a pet, he would rather keep an ikan toman. Instead of keeping say a cat, he'd keep an iguana as a pet. I dare say he likes exotic pets, you see.
So anyway, it occurred to me that Siti's pet might have been anything ranging from an iguana to a hamster, to a python; hell! even a mouse named Ben. I once had a pet dog named Boomer. A friend of mine had a pet dog too; he named him Nitro. Yet another friend had a pet cat that had stripes, and he named that cat Tiger. Some years ago, my sister, Bridget, had a pet dog which she named Samy Vellu; and another named Rafidah Aziz. But of course admittedly Bridget is weird in her own special way. You see, when it comes to names for pets, it can be almost anything at all. If, for example, my pet is an iguana, maybe I would name it Sang Rangkak, and less likely Pak Belang. But if it's a cat that had stripes on its body like a tiger, then I might name it Pak Belang. On the other hand, if it's a dog or cat that had black spots on its body, then I might name it Si Tompok.
I'm thinking this kind of question is really a no-brainer, and I'm not sure what it's trying to achieve with the students, really. I'm hoping perhaps some of the readers of this blog can suggest a good reason or purpose of this question, please?