Monday, 15 September 2008

Paradox of Choice

More choices far better than none.

More choices far better than none

Things are coming to a full circle to some in India from reading International Herald Tribune’s “the paradox of 'choice' in a globalised culture” .

One sentence in the two-paged article reads: “They tell of brigades of young men shattering the windows of shops and restaurants whose signs declare their names only in English, not in the regional language Marathi.”

It is disconcerting to note some similarities in the examples quoted in the article with what is happening in our country where job opportunities and mastery (or the very least, being conversant in) the English language are invariably intertwined.

How many of out local graduates loose out when it comes to the real world due to poor command of the globally accepted business and commercial language?

With India being a well known location for outsourcing, being conversant in a language once deemed colonialists is well nigh important and a way out of poverty for many.

The article it very much open-ended and does not draw any particular conclusion, but the author seems to suggest that choice in the cut throat global scenario is not really a choice, but a necessity borne out of a need to survive.

It also spoke of early and late adopters: the former having formed a barrier to the entrant of the latter in a circle of elitist.

Back to here.

Our country had such a strong foundation to build from, where our global commercial capabilities were concerned.

Imagine it: we could have been a nation on multi-linguists. We should have had a nation of hard working populace who could speak English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, Arabic, Dutch, Japanese and others; given our diverse lineage of races and cultures.

We could have exported our expertise to any corner of the world.

Detractor might say that the United States had a bigger melting pot and yet they did not adopt such a move. To that I say, who cares about others.

It was unfortunate that we did not embark on such a liberalized education systems those days that would have given birth to such a gifted populace much, much earlier.

A sporadic few who are multi-lingual are testament to what could have been.

Instead, more than 50 years after being allowed to decide on our own future, we are still bickering whether or not we should be using English in the teaching of Math and Science when in fact it should be a given choice in order to improve our standing in the global world.

The so-called paradox of choice becomes irrelevant when one is stuck with but a single option, isn’t it?

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