SYED NADZRI: Boo-boo that must haunt us all
THE English language was mutilated and murdered in one clumsy cock-up two Saturdays ago. And the worst part was, the whole boo-boo got published most awkwardly in this newspaper.
It will go down as one of the most appalling bloopers, blunders or bungles of our time, gravely aggravated by the ironic fact that it originated in a respected university and meant to honour a regal personage.I think I would faint were I to repeat that whole passage of roughly 600 words. But for those who missed it, let me give you an idea of the madness that has crept into our education system by quoting verbatim this one line: "Yang Amat Mulia also is a linguist follow several courses including language Mandarin at the tertiary level, French and Italy language."Mind you, this is, believe it or not, the least offensive line, one of the less contemptible ones, and is picked as mere illustration and not meant in any way to further demean Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah, the consort of the Tengku Mahkota of Johor, to whom the write-up was dedicated.It was an advertorial in honour of her. But it turned out to be anything but that because it was written in horrendous and incomprehensible broken English.
An advertorial is an article that is paid for by someone or some organisation to promote an interest or a product. It is essentially an advertisement couched in the style of an editorial or journalistic report.This one appeared on page 43 of the New Straits Times of Aug 23. It was prepared and paid for by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn to commemorate its conferment of an honorary PhD in Education on Raja Zarith Sofiah at its seventh convocation.It happened, and disastrously so, that the citation was submitted rather late for the next day's publication. In the ensuing rush, the diligent process the paper prides itself on went haywire, the mistakes somehow escaping the hawkish eyes of everyone until it was way too late and the paper had hit the streets.And what an embarrassment. The misadventure was an editor's nightmare that could have pushed his stress level several notches up or speeded up his aging another 10 years or so.While everyone is now scrambling to plug the loopholes that led to the muddle, the whole episode has come as a useful reflection, unwittingly exposing many weaknesses of a university of some standing. And with that, perhaps, the whole education system in the country.In this instance, it is even more painful because the university carries the illustrious name of the country's third prime minister, whose son is now incidentally the education minister.The university has since published an apology, with a much improved and intelligible version of the advertorial three days ago.
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HONORARY DEGREE AWARD 7TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY UNIVERSITY TUN HUSSEIN ONN MALAYSIA TO YANG AMAT MULIA RAJA ZARITH SOFIAH BINTI ALMARHUM SULTAN IDRIS AL-MUTAWAKIL ALALLAHI SHAHD.K.II, S.P.M.J., S.P.C.M.
Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah has born on 14th of August 1959 in Hospital Batu Gajah, Perak. Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith is a third son to Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzwan and Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Mazuwin binti almarhum Raja Arif Shah.
Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah get early education in Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Datin Khadijah Kuala Kangsar in the state his birthplace namely in Perak. After end of the education in primary school, Yang Amat Mulia continue the education to form one at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Raja Perempuan Kalsom Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
In the month of September 1972, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah have set forth to England for further education in Chaltenham Ladies College, Gloucestershire to form six. Then, Yang Amat Mulia continue learning it in Davies College London in September 1977 and his following year in receive enter to Somerville College, London after having passed Oxford Entrance Examination.
After graduated at Oxford University with Bachelor of Art in June 1983 and follow the traditional University of Oxford, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith will receive Master of Art after three years in 1986. Yang Amat Mulia also is a linguist follow several courses including language Mandarin at the tertiary level, French and Italy language.
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