Friday, January 08, 2016

Oh My English

Ever since my primary schooldays, my grades have been mortifyingly average at best - approaching acceptable sometimes but certainly nothing to write home about. In fact my report cards barely earned a cursory glance from my teacher parents - no doubt just roughly scanning for those terrifyingly scarlet alarms of warning - before they attached their obligatory stamp to it. Fortunately since I did alright, there wasn't much reason for any signs of distress.

There is however one grade that I've always been inordinately proud of - and that came around only in my late secondary. The GCE O Level English Language 1119 paper marked by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. Back then, it wasn't a general paper done by everyone - since the exams came at a much earlier date and was held separate from the comprehensive final examinations done by the rest of the students.

And I guess there was a certain snotty exclusivity tagged to the paper as well since only a select few would even bother shelling out cash for it.

So in my school, getting the much coveted A1 for the paper granted a certain cachet to one's name since only a handful managed the impressive feat each year. Think we had less than ten in my state the year we took the exams.

Not to mention the English Language 1119 came with its very own awfully pretty certificate.

The things we obsess about way back in our callow schooldays. Always been a point of pride for me that I did wonderfully during the exam.

Wait, what did you say about English 1119? 

Much to my dismay though, I learned that standards have slipped.

Nay, stumbled. You know what - let's just say it has plummeted down a deep, deep ravine. Ever since the learned authorities decided to remove the separate paper for English Language 1119 only to make a vaguely educated guess on the grades from the far, far less challenging General English paper, there hasn't been much of a standard to speak of. Just listen to the plaintive wails of the Malaysians going 'Oh My English' on a daily basis.

You see, a few days back I found out Diffident David managed to deal quite successfully with the radically changed circumstances. Now that would be a severe understatement since he basically performed a freaking miracle.

David : Don't think it's all that difficult. I got an A1 for English 1119 as well.
Paul : OMG.
David : Really. 
Paul : You.
David : Really.
Paul : You. 
David : Yes. Me. 
Paul : Standards have truly fallen. 

I think I choked a little on hearing him say that.

Sure I think David has excellent prowess in the English Language - certainly enough to score on the General English paper but in the English 1119? Hell, even my brother who speaks only the Queen's English only got an A2 way back when. So yes, the bar has taken a major dip.

Yeah, way to make him believe that the English-speaking students are far more arrogant. When it comes to English 1119, I certainly am! Next thing, David might tell me that he scored an A1 for English Literature as well whereupon I shall have to set the blasted certificate on fire.

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