Thursday, March 25, 2010

Young Malaysian hockey players have to learn English in Holland.

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.


Teo Loh said...

This is such a truism that unfortunately it is a problem throughout the Asian region. The Koreans too suffer from this affliction to the extent that they are continually being disadvantaged on the international scene. With the video referral system being a feature of the rules, it is imperative that all hockey players have a rudimentary command of English to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of hockey.

Anonymous said...

Learning english is good...but I think the players were sent for playing and as such nobody bothers for language aspect. Do you think all the Malaysians who go abroad for participating in sports know English? Comon Gandhi... later you will say if they had to go to Germany and play.. then they should learn German..I am sure that that these lads know a bit of english to understand game.. perhaps in communication they may do blunders..

Anonymous said...

Communication begins at home
You start communicating when you know how to respect and behave towards the other. That means towards parents,elders, friends coaches, team mates, officials.
How athletes behave towards others reflects how they were brought up. We have seen and heard comments by athletes in the media and it does says alot about the individual. There should not be any barrier to communication at this day and age
Do we want to learn/ adapt/ to various situations is the question Although we have seen MANGLISH - Malay + English freely used in Malaysia, I am sure our young boys should not be that bad with their English
On the other hand just because an athlete trains or works overseas does not necessarily make him/or her a good communicator or leader .We have seen too many with heads like Humptey Dumpty sitting on the wall- They think they know it all......
The older generation of athletes were a class of their own- they have stood the test of time by being good leaders, communicators and they really earned their degrees with pride and dignity- of course eventually they will phase out... Que Sera Sera Sera......

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:34AM,
I am surprised to know that communication does not play a part in gaining knowledge? No wonder our players are like frogs in a coconut shell. They will be wasting their time and tax payers' money going to Holland then if all they are going to is play hockey without be able to improve their cognitive domain? I have not come across any sport skill that can be improve without communication?

Gandhi, said...

The comment has been edited.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Young Malaysian hockey players have to learn Engli...":

Just listen to Dato' Lee Chong Wei's post match interview at the All England championship (available on Youtube). The current article just reflects the present scenario of the deteriorating standard of English in the country,(sentence deleted)The inability to converse in the universal language also affects the player' confidence.
On the other side of coin, we wonder how top EPL foreign players (e.g. Tevez, Ashravin etc) who do not speak a word of English and yet perform excellently with their respective team mates?

Publish this comment.

Anonymous said...

Tahniah kepada Jurulatih kita (TBH)yg telah menaikkan ranking negara kita ke tingkat 14.

Minta maaf cik Gandi, saya terkeluar dari tajuk.

Berkhidmat tanpa berpolitik telah menujukkan keikhlasan TBH untuk menaikkan ranking negara. Syabas...

Encik GM, kalau nak lihat hoki maju, tolong jauhkan diri daripada politik kotor.

Anonymous said...

never mind lah. there are dutch learning english from us here

Anonymous said...

What is the because kahkahkahkah we also have coaches that r the same kahkahkahkah.

Anonymous said...

Brothers,hockey has only 1 language and that is hockey language.Eventually, the boys will learn other language along the way. language is only 1 aspect of the game. there are other important area to improve. if a player,playing a good hockey, the language wont be the issue.