Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: Speak Malay!

Speak Malay!: Course in Simple Malay for English-speaking MalaysiansSpeak Malay!: Course in Simple Malay for English-speaking Malaysians by Edward S. King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did some research before I bought this book, but maybe not enough research. I chose it mainly because it had a sequel and I thought that would be a good choice to further my Malay.

The book grew out of a series of radio programs meant for English speakers to learn Malay, so it was a bit odd that the book doesn't have accompanying audio. This, however, isn't important to me, as there are plenty of online audio resources.

The lessons are spread out over a period of 12 weeks, with each week containing 5 lessons + a revision lesson. The lessons are divided into 3 sections. The first has sentences to teach certain patterns. Sometimes these sentences form a dialogue in later lessons. The second section has the vocabulary from the previous section (usually limited to vocabulary mentioned in sentences). The third section contains grammar explanation.

The grammar section often refers to the first section of the lesson for examples rather than give more examples. In some cases, the explanation is shortened and the reader is asked to reread the examples in the first section to get the hang of it. I found this a bit disappointing.

The revision lessons include exercises which are mostly translate to/from Malay, make sentences. The few times there is a reading exercise, it's followed by translate into English rather than comprehension questions.

The book has key answers to the exercises, as well as Malay-English & English-Malay vocabulary lists. Words that show up in the grammar section have the grammar point number next to them, but given the format of the book, I found it a bit difficult to actually find them.

My opinion is mostly based on my experience with Minna no Nihongo books, but overall I would say it's a decent book to start learning Malay with.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heading for Tahrir July 8th

(Disclaimer: I haven't been following the news very closely lately, so I may be misunderstanding something/s. But to me, when all put together, it's just plain fishy, and it stinks.)

July 8th
The Revolution First
We want purification for real, a trial for real, a government for real
Originally, July 8th was going to be for supporting the "Constitution first" movement (as opposed to elections first and then the new constitution). Some saw the call as going against the result of the referendum. However, others saw that as untrue given that the referendum turned out to be a big fat joke. We were asked to say yes or no to 9 articles (or was it 11, forgot, but doesn't matter). Well, after the result came out SCAF (the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces) came out with a constitutional declaration with 63 articles (!).

February 11, 2011 Mubarak stepped down. The regime, however, has yet to be overthrown. With recent events I caught myself thinking that SCAF is worse than Mubarak. Oooops, sorry, he's a great example to follow, that's just it, especially when a lot of his cronies are still in power. So, he still gets the credit for what's happening in Egypt.

Since February 11th what has changed? At first there were calls for patience (as in stop protesting in Tahrir), that change can't happen over night. But the way things are going, waiting will no longer be called patience, but stupidity.

Has the former president been put on trial? Not yet, last I heard they said it'll be in August. o_O Have the big shots from the regime (those of them who have been arrested of course) been put on trial? Hmmm, sort of, but with postponements, not having all charges pressed against them, and recently some of them being cleared of some charges. Have the officers who ordered and/or shot protesters been at least suspended (so they hopefully can't intimidate victims' families or witnesses)? No. Has anyone been put on trial for protesters' deaths? Only a few, but postponement after postponement. (Note these are all civilian trials.)

On the other hand, civilian protesters are being handed over to military police and facing military courts. Police are as brutal as ever (there are decent police out there, but unfortunately, the bad ones overshadow them). Just last week, some of the martyrs' families were beaten up by thugs and then when the police showed up, they arrested, beat up and sent some martyrs' family members to military detention in wait for military trials.

Then there's the government to think about. The vice prime minister had handed in his resignation, the prime minister accepted it, SCAF however didn't. And there's talk that the prime minister would like to get rid of at least 6 or 7 ministers (who were part of the old regime), but SCAF won't let him. And the minister of interior says he's satisfied with the police's performance. It's either he really doesn't know what they're doing, or he really is satisfied, either way he should be changed.

When the prime minister first came, he came to Tahrir to talk to us. He said if he can't do anything, he'll come to Tahrir and tell us. Well, he hasn't come and he hasn't said anything about what's going on.

Some people blame the revolution for the current situation, but come on, the country was in pretty bad shape under Mubarak. You can't possibly think that all these problem mushroomed just because of the revolution (or because our dear father isn't here :S). Not to mention that people who were benefiting from the old regime have everything to lose if the revolution succeeds.

Some people say it's not worth going to Tahrir square anymore, it hasn't been the same since Mubarak stepped down. They mean the type of people there, the atmosphere and such. I felt that as well the last few times I went there, but I'm not there for the people who are there. I'm one upset citizen and want to voice my opinion. So here I come Tahrir square, ohisashiburi desu ne!