Inept Accolade to Award

In The Star yesterday, a particular topic caught my interest. What a Howling Shame by Veera Pandiyan in his column "Along the Watch Tower" was in reference to the “impeccable” English applied in an advertorial in the NST on 23.8.08. This is what I wrote to Malaysiakini on the following day, 24 .8.08 expressing my dismay . Surprisingly it did not get published.

I reproduce the same here, please read...

University Tun Hussein Onn, published an advertorial in the NST (23.8.08) on page page 43, to congratulate Her Highness, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah, on the award of an honorary doctorate of Philosophy in Education at its 7th convocation ceremony.

Virtually every sentence in every paragraph is not only wrong grammatically, the gender of Her Highness has also been changed. One has to pause and wonder with dismay and disgust at the ineptitude of the administrators of this University who are guilty of gross negligence in allowing this advertorial to be published.

They are also guilty of committing an act bordering “Lese Majeste” (disrespect of Royalty) to not only the recipient of the award but also to the chancellor of the University, who happens to be her husband, His Highness the Tengku Mahkota of Johor.

Her Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah, is a lady who is an author of distinction who writes in beautiful English. Her writing on family values, ethical behaviour as well as her pieces on “Mind Matters” have been well received by her numerous readers.

This advertorial demeans Her Highness and all that she has achieved. If this is the level of competence in the English language at tertiary level, especially amongst University administrators and academics, then it is indeed a very sorry state of affairs.

The minister of Higher Education should ensure that those responsible for the publication of this gibberish should publicly apologize to their majesties. The Vice-Chancellor should take responsibility of this disgraceful episode and resign forthwith.

All institutions of higher learning in this country have been tainted by this advertorial. Perhaps the NIE should conduct a suitable programme to ensure all administrators and academics in our Institutions of higher learning are competent in the English Language.

This is the original piece appeared in NST ( An apology was made in the same paper later)