Mind Blowing

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Not-So-Idiot Box

i was quite suprised yesterday to read that the Education Ministry has urged students to watch more TV to improve their English. actually, it's been something that i've believed in for quite some time. i'm no English professor or something to say that my English is top-notch (though being Spelling Bee champion in Second Grade really boosted my confidence..hehe), but i would have to agree that my fascination with the English language was mostly due to the telly.
it's true. before i could read, i remembered watching cartoon shows as a kid and bit by bit...i started picking up on what they're saying. u don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand Tom & Jerry or Popeye, but from the words that they utter, u get an idea of what's going on even though u're just 5 and the world seems to be irrelevant to you.
one show that really stands out in my mind is Sesame Street. if i could pinpoint one show that really helped me in the process of learning...it would be Sesame Street. i really owe it to Big Bird and Gang. i kinda miss the show too.
and it's something that i can see from my own eyes as well, watching my little cousins growing up on their staple diet of Cartoon Network and Playhouse Disney. they start to pick up on what the characters are saying, and it's funny too watching them talk like grownups without understanding a word they're saying.
from my own personal experience, TV really helped me grasp how the English language was used. for me, language is not about nouns and verbs and whatever things. i never understood all that. that's why i think i'll never make a good English teacher. it all depends on how it sounds. if it sounds okay, then it's probably right. i think most people are like that. i mean...just like using Bahasa...u don't give a damn about ayat penyata or ayat whatever ke...it just rolls off your tongue coz it sounds okay laaaa.
but i have to say that TV alone is not enough. i think the best advice my English teacher told me was to read. A LOT. because watching TV and picking up the lingo is one thing, reading and writing is a whole different ball game. i once read that Stephen King reads more than a hundred novels a month. i don't know if it's true, but reading his novels certainly proves that. no wonder he's so good at what he does. what are my chances as someone who only reads newspapers and other people's blogs?
with the current Education System which relies heavily in English, i kinda pity the students from rural areas. it's not what u would call a level playing field compared to schools in the city. and to make matters worse, they have to rely on the RTM channels for their exposure to English. and we all know how crappy English shows are on RTM.
but we have to face the truth. English is a powerful language to make it in today's world. like it or not, we have to learn it and that means for everyone. so turn on the telly and let's sing along together.....

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street...

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o