TENGAH HARI tadi, saya menerima satu pesanan ringkas daripada Hajah Che Siah PENJAWIS katanya: “Baca isu tulisan Jawi dalam kalangan orang muda dan pendapat Pakar Jawi Dr. Ding Choo Ming dalam Sunday Star Today. Ustaz tolong simpan akhbar ini.”
Jawi is indeed last, if it is even on the list of many young people, but can you blame them, asks local Jawi expert Dr Ding Choo Ming.
Although there have been various efforts to promote Jawi among the young, many are still not interested, he says.
“The main reason, I think, is because it is not used in the mass media these days and there is no pop culture or fun element in it, unlike Korean or Japanese. There is also less economic value in the script, so many young people are not compelled to learn it,” he adds.
Ironically, it was for the same reason he got interested in Bahasa Melayu studies and mastered Jawi when he was younger, Dr Ding recalls.
“I used to listen to the radio all the time Malay literature and culture was big in the popular culture then. Of course, Jawi was also more in use then, and we had Jawi paper,” says the 50-something Sitiawan local who studied in a Chinese school. Crucially, he adds, there was more economic value in it.