Generally for people to understand one another they must know how to communicate and preferably in a common language. The dictionary defines "communicate" to mean to convey, to transmit, or to make it known. As for "language" it is a system of sound or words by humans to communicate their thoughts or feelings. The idea is hopefully for people to know what one another are expressing. Can you imagine what would happen if people speak in languages that are not understood by one another? Chaos would be the situation.
So when the Deputy Prime Minister as Minister of Education said that there would be extra English classes, he knew how important it is as a common language particularly when you have foreigners or you are in foreign nations. He probably wants our young kids to equip themselves early to face the future challenges in communication.
This brings me to the field of sports. Most of our national teams are playing foreign teams or visiting foreign countries or even having foreign coaches. To make matters simpler and to expedite matters, it is fundamental our lads have some sort of skill to communicate in a language that is commonly used in the international arena. This is for better expression and understanding thereby facilitating their activities and thus enjoying every moment. Usually the language is English.
Therefore when Malaysian hockey sent 2 young lads from the Project 2013 squad to Holland to have a few months of stint with the Dutch Club, we made great strides continuing what was already done in the past where players were in Germany, France, Austria, Australia and New Zealand. Again the players who went had not much of a problem with communicating skills and if they did they had their colleagues with them who could be of assistance.
Having the Project 2013 boys in Holland is visionary and both MHF plus NSC must be praised for giving our young lads such an exposure. The exposure is not limited to the game but also training and probably to the various sciences if the club is one of the progressive clubs in Holland. I used such a term because even the club's website is in Dutch language therefore it is not easy to assess the club. Still the fact that the boys are there and playing in a foreign league would give them a different outlook, thereby strengthening their grit to play hockey in a different style by adopting to new techniques and tactics. All these will augur well if the players are able to comprehend and understand what is communicated to them. Equally the foreign club would also be pleased if the players train and play to their instructions.
Based on information coming out of Holland, a situation has developed where the 2 Malaysian players are finding it difficult to communicate. They cannot hold a proper conversation or fully comprehend English and this has created a dilemma for the club. In fact one of the players had his first test with the Dutch Immigration when he was held up for some time at the Airport as he was unable to properly communicate the intention of his trip. It was with the club's intervention that the whole process was facilitated. Indeed the club had to pursue matters with certain officials in Malaysia on who is to pay for the English course they have to attend to make any sense of their stint in Holland.
Either there was an oversight or it was just the rush to get the players there that various assumptions were made which obviously backfired. It is extremely strange why such trips were not carefully planned looking at various aspects from the players, club's and Malaysian points of views recognising strengths and weakness. Thereupon, what should be done to facilitate matters that works for the best interest of all parties. I think this was what that was missing and the net result is a state of confusion. Maybe because all was done based on personal friendship with the coach of the Dutch club, as he had played in the Malaysian Hockey League for a number of seasons. This "kawan-kawan" basis is good and helpful but it should not in anyway overlook the professional approach to such matters.
This is a lesson for NSC and MHF and i hope such oversights do not repeat. It does not provide a good image to the foreign club as they would think we have taken a "kacang putih" approach to such matters. Further we have unnecessarily stress this young players in a foreign land without equipping them properly. This "slip shot" approach may give the impression what Malaysian hockey is all about today. I hope not !!!!
It would also be interesting to see how the proposed Dutch coach for the national team is going to cope with our players. Would our boys be able to appreciate the "Dutch English" he is going to speak or would our local coaches spent most of their time acting as "interpreters". Maybe the various national teams should go for English classes to facilitate matters ie "belajar inggeris sambil main hockey untuk negara" Of course the much easier solution is for the Dutch coach to learn Bahasa, something MHF & NSC may want to consider. Lets not have an oversight here too.