- Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja,
Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt
On the 7th May 2017 Sunday, the day before the writer left to attend an international forum in China, appeared in the highly esteemed Daily the Global New Light of Myanmar, Debut launch of Sunday Special which ran into 8 pages alphabetically A to H. The writer’s delight was beyond measure. The esteemed paper had already announced about that Special some weeks ahead. An article translated by U Khin Maung U [Tada U] epitomized the aims and objects of the Global New Light of Myanmar. English being a lingua franca of the world today and Myanmar people already well acquainted with English since British colonial days, were quite at case with English language that was used as a second language in daily life-bazaar, market, schools everywhere. But due to nearly five decades of break with English on the unfortunate policy of extreme anti English colonialism, generations who grew up in those dark five decades had difficulties in learning English.
The Sunday Special targets new Myanmar generations. As the writer began his careful perusal, he saw English Grammar Lesson 1 on page B for Basic students “of any age and any entry level”. “The very Basic Level of English Grammar which is essential for you to read, to speak and to write your correct English Basic students- any student from any class and any school or institution who wants to study English grammar, so explained in the headlines.
The lesson 1 began with Eight Parts of Speech with a diagram. Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjection, with examples and Exercise.
The writer was transported back to his primary and middle schools’ days when English was taught directly by very efficient teachers some of whom were Anglo-Myanmars. The text book was English Grammar and Composition by P.C Wren [Wren and Martin] which was used up to High School Level. Even when we became college students we often referred to that book.
Turning to other pages, the writer was encouraged and delighted to read the contributions of new generations. Judging by the style and standard, the writer noticed that they belonged to different age groups and different socio-cultural standards. Ranging a wide variety-essay, articles, travelogues, commentaries in prose, translation and comics, the writer found to much of his delight and praise that they made a good start. The writer being a late octogenarian could not understand or appreciate some of the comics on page F. But their proses are excellent. They must be written by University students or junior teachers.
But no verses appeared in this debut launch. Paraphrasing and appreciation of poems and composing couplets, triplets, quatrains and sonnets were lessons we had to learn in middle school and post middle school classes in our days. For such lessons, specially qualified teachers are needed. Rhyme, metre, syllables and musical scale and timing are basics of verse composing. The writer looked forward to reading poetic pieces of new generations in next issues. Read simple English poems, you’ll come to love them and feel like composing poem yourself, young ones keep going.
It is too early to expect drama or play from the young generations. But the writer does not mean to say that young ones cannot write plays. The writer had one or two of his classmates who won prizes for one-act play writing competition [ wcef;&yf-NyZmwf ] very popular at that time. So young writers, try your pen at writing short plays. You have new ideas, new themes and new experiences. But bear in mind that plays are mostly social satires, mocking at human vanities and frailties but with a good heart to improve human society. The writer has found that some of his students possess inborn humour. They could create jokes about any difficulty or in any situation. Such humours release stress and strain and can lead to find a way out from an impasse. Perhaps next Special will bring out such young play wrights. In our younger days at school or at collage, the urge to write was stimulated by extra-mural activities such as picnic, excursion, talk by outside speaker, extempore short talk usbrf;pum;aNym on every weekend, brain trust and debate, bill board newspapers [eH&Huyfpmapmif] autographs, and annual magazines. We used to write about our extra mural activities in these media. Every month there were debating competitions held between hostels. Besides we kept autographs to pass around among our teachers and classmates to write anything in them. Teachers write their advice, quotations from famous authors, proverbs, old sayings and sometimes their own short rhymed poems. Some friends’ writings contained jokes, nostalgia and remembrances with colourful sketches. Some male students would take the chance of writing a love letter in the autograph of the lady student of amorous beauty. The writer still has one autograph of his college days which luckily escaped ants and Nagis. It contains writings of Zey Ya Maung U Ko Lay, principal of Mandalay Collage, Mr. John Moonie and Daw Hla Shwe of English Department Saya U Ba Thaung and Daw Than May of Burmese Department, Dr. Htin Aung, U Myo Min, U Ba Nyunt and Daw Mya Sein of Yangon University and Dr. Maung De, who passed away a couple of years ago. Their writings in my autograph do have good impacts upon my pen to write both English and Burmese. The writer would like to suggest that such kinds of extra-mural activities should be resumed in today’s Myanmar education. Young generations, keep corresponding among yourselves by means mentioned earlier and turn your pens to all media at hand.
The last suggestion for new generations of English writers is please keep press cuttings for future reference. Chronologically file them. News, Editorials, Articles, Poems, Translation, messages, speeches even advertisements and announcements. You’ll find it very rewarding. The writer is doing it every day.
Finally in hailing the Debut Launch of The Global NLM Sunday English Special the writer wishes to request the Editors of this esteemed Daily to compile these Special and English grammar lessons in book form and circulate them with affordable price for the benefit of Anglophile teachers, students and readers.