Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Letter to a Malaysian Education Publisher: Penerbitan Pelangi

Recently, I wrote a letter to a malaysian publisher, Penerbitan Pelangi. It was the 7th of July when I forwarded the email to both their Headquarters (in Johore), and Marketing Office (in Kuala Lumpur).

My Letter To Them:
My name: xxx
My Address..xxx
Tel number..xxx

To: Penerbitan Pelangi

Re: "Hutan Berhantu" in- Bijak Baru 4 Text. (Haunted Forest)

I write here related to the subject above. It was brought to my attention from a Principal & Owner of a Kindergarten in Kuala Lumpur of the story above, published by Penerbitan XX in your Bijak Baca 4- "Belajar Membaca dengan Sukukata" text by Aliza Ali.

The story published in the book depicts the tale of animals in the jungle taking revenge on the wood loggers that were cutting down the trees, which were the animals home.

The story may be a fascinating one to much older readers, but in moral terms & values, it does not provide the right values that teachers should inculcate to children, as it does not teach the right way to pursue justice- which is through exacting revenge on others who have wronged us.

This is not the appropriate kind of values that should be passed on to our children, or the next generation, where everyone would 'go tit for tat', which would create a never-ending vicious cycle.

Second, I bring to your attention the picture of the "figurine with long fingernails & dark shaggy hair" on page 30 of the same text. It has come to my hearing on certain reports of numerous children having sleepless nights after looking at the drawing of the figurine in the story.

As this text is targeted towards children aged between five to six years, the publisher MUST take into consideration the psyche of the children's mental & emotional development of that stage.

The report given by the Principal was the children "had the impression that ghosts had "long fingernails and shaggy hair", and some had trouble sleeping for days.

The "Hutan Berhantu" (Haunted Forest) story is not appropriate to be included in a learning resource, which should instead be focusing on teaching & creating better strategies to pursue justice than the use of revenge.

The text should also not include stories of the supernatural, which has incited fear in the children's hearts, as has been demonstrated from the reports given. This is of utmost important to not do so, especially in the early developmental up to the teenage years, where children are at the impressionable stage, and will internalise these images. Having fearful fits is not what parents want happening to their own children.

To end this, I ask that the Publisher seriously take what has been reported, to understand that young minds are not a matter that is to be played with, as it will not only affect the children for the rest of their growing years, but ultimately the rest of their lives.


Bach. Early Childhood (Uni. SQ)
Int. Dipl. Montessori Pedagogy (UK-MCI)

Their VERY SHORT but careless reply to Me:
Dear Ms XX,
Thank you very much for your email. We will definitely take note of your comments in our future publications.
Once again, our sincerest thanks.
Yours sincerely,
Jan Giam
Penerbitan XX Sdn. Bhd
It has since been a week at the time of this writing. I am still waiting for a response.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Something tells me that short reply is all you're going to get.

Maybe the original author or illustrator would be willing to help out?

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