Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cultural Brainwashing of the Arabs

In todays GDN it mentions that Dar Akbhar Al Khaleej Press and Publishing House chairman Anwar Abdulrahman attended a recent conference entitled Bahrain University's second International Conference of Language, Literature and Translation in the Interdependent World. Mr Anwar said...."young Bahrainis must learn the language of success if they want to get on in the world"... and that "they should see mastering English as the key to succeeding in the global arena, rather than a form of cultural brainwashing."

I dont agree with Mr Anwar on a great many things at but I do have to agree this time. I have heard often from Bahrainis that learning the English language is tantamount to turning up their noses at their own language and culture. I dont understand how they come to that conclusion because every extra language you know is an asset that many people wish they could gain in the business world. The business market is a global entity but English is the official business voice and in order to do well in it you just have to speak the lingo. Bahrainis are doing themselves a great disservice by not attempting to learn English well enough to use it to prosper in a predominantly English language environment. You are basically holding yourself back and with the cost of living being what it is..you need every advantage from the moment of birth.

There he learned the importance of books in helping to master the language and he urged people to read at least one book a week. Not very often do I hear a Bahraini encouraging the reading of books...and I dont say that just to be mean or critical..I seriously do not hear that enough over here. Reading seems to be a lost and forgotten pastime among many many Bahrainis and I cant agree with him more on this subject...you want to get ahead in language...you have to read. It teaches grammar, spelling and improves vocabulary with every sentence read.

Some people in Bahrain often shout for their rights, but rights have to be earned, said Mr Abdulrahman.
"We will have no future if we don't take this life seriously," he said in his 19-minute speech.
"There is opportunity in this country, but are you willing to work for the opportunity, or just sit and criticise?"

That was sort of thrown into the middle of the article but its worth mentioning...todays Bahraini youth are growing up fairly lazy...believing that, while they dont have a silver spoon in their mouths. they damn well should. I hope there were many ears listening and paying heed to Mr Anwar speaking at this conference.

"Education cannot be taken lightly. Education is the best thing you can have and you ought to be very, very serious. This is absolutely true but, again, its hard to convince todays Bahraini kids that education is so damn important when their own parents are complaining the govt should give them this or that "just because they are Bahrainis"...how does that encourage these kids that their education is something valuable and without it...they are left scratching for a living just like so many others out there...like thier own parents most likely?

Mr Abdulrahman said the only reason the ideologies of capitalism, socialism or communism failed in the Arab world was because people did not take life seriously.
He pointed to the productivity of the Japanese, British and European workforces during an average eight-hour day, compared to those in the Arab world that lag behind.
"We are backward and we should admit we are backward, but the key is how to march forward," said Mr Abdulrahman.
That is the key...one of the most frustrating things I have learned about Arabs is that they revel in the "glory days of old". What the hell good does it do you to remember the past if it doesnt teach you anything about how to deal with the future? Who the hell cares if you have a Maserati if you just keep it parked in the garage and talk about it all the time? Maserati's are made for driving and driving fast...life is made for living...and there is only one way to go...foward.

Mr Abdulrahman said parents also had a big role to play in encouraging their children to pursue life-long learning. Again we agree...but parents have a very real adversary when it comes to encouraging their children to learn...its called the Ministry of Education...(cue sinister music here). The govt school system does not encourage one of the basic fundamentals of learning...reading.

Mr Abdulrahman also expressed concern about poor reading skills in Arabic in Bahrain, but said part of the reason was because there were not enough good Arab books published. Here is where we do disagree...as I said before...the Ministry of Educations teaching policy does not encouage reading to these kids. My own have been in this school system for over 14 years...they do not have book reports due on Thursday...no research in the library...hell, no trips to the library. No encouragement for reading just for the pleasure of reading...nothing. Not enough good books!! What the hell kind of excuse is that...that sounds like a lame way to blame something other than the governmental system that is churning out kids that have no interest in reading books whether in their own language or any other.

Until the teaching standards in Bahrains government schools change into something Bahranis can be proud of...a system the encourages reading, whether for academics or for pleasure, Im positive Bahrains will always suffer from this malaise and lethargy when it comes to finding enthusiasm for learning. Parents have got to do their work from an early age...and the teachers in the classrooms have go to do their part in school...but the government has got to step up and change the whole concept of learning into something dynamic and exciting....otherwise, apathy and being considered "backward" is just a short step away from illiterate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. Education is what is really going to make the difference in ME and not just Bahrain. The number of illiterate people is rising.