All About Good Parenting Part 1


Read these first:-

It is a slow start for 2016 when it comes to blogging but on the other side of the spectrum, I am making some positive changes this year when it comes to personal health. All weekends and on alternate week days when I am back from office early, I am spending at least an hour or so playing badminton to keep myself in shape. My badminton partners are the usual suspects – my kids (when means I get to pick the shuttlecock most of the time, be very patience and be gentle with my returns) and my wife (when I can practice my smashes, ha ha). It is just a start but I still sucks on other things like the food I eat and the amount of sleep I get on daily basis but as they say a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, it is a start for the moment.

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(Parents who let their kids on the motorbike for daily commute and without any license should be charged under the law for recklessness. It is one thing giving them to learn to ride a bike in a controlled & safe environment but it is another thing to allow them to use it for daily use without proper training & license and worse, riding without any helmets)

Young, Unlicensed Motorcyclists

Couple of weeks ago, I read this on the papers:-

“No mother would want her child to suffer like this. My heart is broken,” said Maimunah Md Razali, the mother of 13-year-old Siti Nuraisyah Sahrin, who lost her legs after being run over by a lorry.

“She is so brave. But as a mother, it is hard for me to be strong. It breaks my heart to see my daughter going through so much,” said the 48-year-old at the hospital where her daughter is being warded. On Monday, Siti Nuraisyah was on her way home from SMK Bagan Terap in Sabak Bernam on a motorcycle with her stepsister Shamim Amira Roslan, 14, when the incident happened at about 3.30pm.

A Perodua Kancil was believed to have overtaken them and brushed against their Honda EX5. Siti Nuraisyah was thrown onto the middle of the road when a lorry coming from the opposite direction ran over her legs. Shamim suffered a sprained ankle from the impact.

A composed Siti Nuraisyah, who underwent surgery earlier, said: “My wounds hurt,” adding that she wanted to walk again and was hopeful of recovering soon. Her left leg was amputated above the ankle while her right leg was amputated below the knee.

(Source)

At first I thought “Damn, it is a tragedy” and I seriously felt for the young girl who have to contend with such tragedy at a very young age. Imagine having your both legs amputated when you have so much things to see and do and at such a tender age? As a parent myself, I can understand the situation and I do get so emotional when it comes to young children – I hate to see bad things happening to them due to some idiots making the wrong decisions. And there is no exception with this one as well.

Then I was angry with the Kancil driver for being so reckless and caused the accident in the first place. To be fair, I don’t have all the details on this incident. The driver may have been innocent. But on average, some of these small sized car drivers think that they are driving high powered Formula 1 cars on the road and I have seen one or two zig-zagging between the heavy traffic when I drove back home. So, I was not surprised when I read that there has been another tragedy involving Kancil.

I then realised I missed an important fact in the news – the girls on the bike was aged 13 and 14 years old. It does not mention anyone else riding the ride. Then what the fuck a 13 & 14 years old kids were doing on a bike when in Malaysia, the minimum age to ride a bike is 16 years old? Are they trained to ride a bike in the first place? Now a tragedy had happened, there is no point of not doing this and that.

If you ask me, even at 16 years old, I have seen and encountered far too many young kids on bike who:-

  1. thinks that they are riding on their grandfather’s road and therefore all other traffic should make way for them (which is why they often ride on the wrong side of the road)
  2. their head is made from the hardest material on earth, thus nothing will happen if they fall down and thus there is no need for a helmet

I said this many times before – safety of the children must come above all other things and this includes inconvenience. Unfortunately even at my own residential area, I can still see young kids riding around the residential areas without wearing any helmet and obviously without any licence. It is another tragedy waiting to happen and due to parents who care less on the safety of their kids and other road users.

Pearson_English_Language_Learners_Infographic

(Mastering the national language is a must for every citizen but there is a limit to how much of the national language can be used to master certain skills and knowledge on a global level. Infographic source: http://www.english.com)

Reality of Mathematics & Science

In case you had missed, there was a good letter from PAGE over at theSun couple days ago:-

In this case, that medium is the language of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) which is English. Therefore let us ponder a little on the role of the English language in this matter and pose a few questions.

What was the language used to present their research findings? If it was English, then it has to be English at a level that has to be well understood by the panel for that evaluated his application and research. In order to do that, applicants for such awards have to be proficient in the scientific language required.

What was the language of the main sources of reference – were they written in English? If they were, then the person sourcing for this reference will require a good command of the language in order to get the most accurate information from these sources.

(Source)

The point is you cannot simply dissect English away from the core subjects of Science and Mathematics. Even if you have Science & Mathematics books translated in Bahasa, without understanding English and it’s usage in these two subjects, you will not going to learn anything more. It is as simple as that. Science especially is on a constant move – new discoveries are made on daily basis and most of them are often documented in English. If you don’t understand English, you will not know about them and you will be left behind.

Early this year, I attended a briefing in my son’s school and at one point, the Headmaster got up and brought up the subject of Science and Mathematics and how the students had performed last year and the school’s expectations for this year. It was obvious that most students do best in Bahasa Malaysia subject (that is because most of them speak Bahasa on daily basis and at home), then followed by Religion and then very poorly in English and trailing far behind was Mathematics & Science. More than half of the students had failed these two key subjects and I can see the clear correlation between English, Science and Mathematics – all three was on a declining trend.

And it is not only due to the language that we use, we are also not following the standard trends. Take for example – the movement of the moon. We already have a Bahasa word for that – “peredaran bulan” or “fasa-fasa bulan” but instead of that, the good people at the Ministry decides to bring in an Arabic word instead – Takwim Qamari. Why the further confusion to students? No one at NASA will even going to be bothered with this Arabic word in the day to day space mission (fusing the subject of Science and the modern Arab is like trying to mix water and oil. They are hardly the trend-setters in the subject of Science). We should stop such nonsense and get back to reality.

The good thing is my son excelled in both subjects, partially because we enforce the urgency & importance of the two subjects which was not so difficult due to his ambition to a scientist one day and another thing was, we ensure that knowledge of Science and Mathematics does not come from school text books alone – real life experiments and plenty of magazines & books in English (as such as “All About Space” and BBC’s “Knowledge”) was another effort we had put in (and it paid off). We speak English to him all the time and whenever possible use the right terms (having a smartphone by side becomes very handy). And considering that he is very responsible for his actions, we have also had decided to allow a greater internet quota to be allocated for him to do his research and make the necessary cross references (in the past, he is barred from using the internet without close supervision and we often do the research on his behalf).

But that school briefing did highlight a general notion that there is a high decline of these two key subjects – no thanks to the Government’s flip-flop on the education policy for past few years and using Bahasa instead of English as the lingua franca of Science and Mathematics. The school is very concerned of this decay and have decided to take pro-active actions from the start. For start, they have organised the briefing for the parents so that the reality of things would be out in the open and they run through some of the trends in the past and what they have planned to address the issue in this year (weekend special classes, plenty of past year exam workshops, parents taking up active role at home, etc). It is a good thing that the school gets the parents deeply involved so that we get to know the facts, the latest changes in policy and exam rules and what part the school & parents need to play to ensure the students get their knowledge and pass the exams.

And I personally have taken up the challenge this year to spend more time with my children’s studies and indirectly “go back to school” learning some of the subjects that I dislike the most when I was in secondary school many moons ago – Additional Mathematics. Whilst I can cope with other “Science” subjects, Additional Mathematics somehow was something that was hard to crack and where I often go blank whenever I open the book for studies. It is my personal opinion that without the parents understanding the subjects, they are of no use to their children when it comes to assisting them on school works and preparing for the exams. Some of the structures may have changed but the fundamentals remains the same. And “going back to school” is not a bad thing for the parents – it improves knowledge which in turns improves the help that the parents can give their kids and it is also another avenue of leading by example.

And on a funnier note, going back to school also means that me and my wife have to go back to the basics – the very basic of speaking A, B, C and that is for the youngest one who have started to speak and write these basic items.

To be continued…

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Art of Reading Part 2


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Read Part 1 here

BBWB2

(The scene at the BBWB book sale at 2 am in the morning – there was enough crowd to keep things lively in the convention centre but it was not so crowded to have us fighting through to get our books. In other words, it was just perfect. I hope that BBWB will do their 63 hours marathon on yearly basis)

Firstly before I proceed further, I would like to say many thanks to the people at the Big Bad Wolf Books for taking the trouble, time and resources to organise the world’s largest book sale, year in, year out. We went for the sale last year and we had best of the time picking the good books, cheap. You cannot get 75%-95% discount anywhere else – I have just checked one book at one of the local book stores – it was going for almost RM90 at the book store but was only going for RM15 at BBWB (that is enough savings to take the whole family out for a good dinner and I am only taking about one book here).

This year, the sale is held at Mines Convention Centre (the sale is still on until 23rd December) and the folks at BBWB went one notch up with their 63 hours marathon (God bless them!) which made it a whole lot easier to go and buy good books without the need to fight the crowd at the queue and parking lot. We went again this year and thanks to the 63 hours marathon, our time at BBWB started at about 11 pm Friday night (there was some traffic jam towards the Mines CC, no thanks to queue jumpers but once we entered the parking lot, it was a breeze – way too many empty parking lots) and ended about 2 am Saturday morning (p.s. what’s up with some parents dragging bringing their kids to the place at 2 am? Shouldn’t the kids be in bed by now, sigh?). I got a box full of books that should last me for a couple of months. And we have one whole year to save up for the next BBWB sales next year.

Secondly, I am happy that my son is also picking up the same reading habits that I have. Instead of watching TV all day long, he would instead go to his room (where he has his own collections of science comic books and history books) and bury himself with reading a book (and ask plenty of questions once done). And I bought 2 books for him this year from BBWB and certainly, it was not enough for him (he already done reading half a book within a couple of days) so I am expecting another visit to book store in the coming months.

Over the weekend, I went to my brother-in-law’s house for a visit and I caught him as he was leaving the house to buy breakfast for the family. I decided to join him and whilst the old aunty under a makeshift stall was packing hot thosai and nasi lemak, we decided to have our coffee and chat. I told him about my book purchases at BBWB and he remarked that whilst he liked to read, he does not have the time to read as he was too busy with work. The reason that he gave for not reading somehow hit me and was in my thoughts for rest of the day, more so when I take up a book to read at least once a day. Then a couple days ago, I was chatting with my buddy at work and he remarked the same thing – he was too busy to have the time to read a book.

BBWB1

(War, history and general knowledge – the themes of my books that I bought at BBWB book sale this year. I also read ebooks and surf the net for knowledge but somehow nothing beats holding a book in your hands and lay down some where comfortable to read. One thing is for sure, I need to buy another book cabinet by early next year. The current book cabinet is so packed with books and there is only enough space to squeeze another 1-2 books)

Frankly speaking, this is highly understandable as it all depends on one’s interests, available time and priorities. It is the same thing here with me. There are about thousand things (such as doing a blog post on daily basis) that I don’t do because I don’t have time for it. I wished I had 25 hours in a day. However I do think that we need to make an effort to pick a book (it can be on any subject) and read something (even if it is only 1-2 pages and not the whole book) at least once a week (especially when you don’t have much choice other than watching TV). After all, the benefit of reading a book is obvious and cannot be dismissed.

INews India reports “10 benefits of reading” and it does make a lot sense:-

  • Reading is an active mental process
  • Reading improves your vocabulary
  • Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Builds self-esteem (the more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction)
  • Improves memory
  • Improves your discipline
  • Improves creativity
  • You always have something to talk about
  • Reduces boredom

Life Dev adds further the benefits of reading:-

  • Enhanced Smarts
  • Reading reduces stress
  • Greater tranquillity
  • Improved analytical thinking
  • Increased vocabulary
  • Improved memory
  • Improved writing skills
  • Helps prioritize goals

My son reads something once a day (on Sundays, he reads the newspaper) and it is the same thing with me but there’s a catch to it. Both of us do not have time to complete one whole book in a day (my son still has to do his school work). I am not sure about my son – he has more time compared to me and he can finish one whole book if he wants to but as for me, my target have always been to finish at least one page per day (if I miss reading for the day, I will try to cover back the next day by reading more pages). Just one page to focus at a time and it does not take that long for me to complete reading that one page (especially it has plenty of images).

Back to the conversation that I had with my brother-in-law over coffee, I remarked that he can start with one page or half page if he does not have the time. And I highlighted the beneficial side of reading, something that made sense to him too. Other than it being a good way to gain knowledge and building up of vocabularies (a must for bloggers), it is one of the best way to get mental exercise. Sometimes we are watching too much TV and it does not simulate the mind in the same way a book does and in healthier way too. After reading a passage in a book (or magazine), I would stop for a moment and imagine how that story that I just read would have been in real (even it is a fiction – my version of The Lord of the Rings was far more exciting than Peter Jackson’s version). For me, that is a good mental exercise and a superb stress buster.

Think about it…1 page is not that hard to cover, does it?

P.s. since Christmas is around the corner, why don’t you give away books as Christmas gifts?

Moving Forward with Science & English


(This is hundred times better than some of cheap comics out there and it is my son’s favourite book at the moment. It is also starting to be mine. Image source: http://www.gempakstarz.com/)

The flip-flop direction in regards to the use of English in our national schools over the past few years is showing its ugly side.

Read these first:-

The Education Ministry is looking at ways to encourage more students to take up Science subjects due to the current low take-up rate. Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said currently, less than 20% of students were in the Science stream, a shortfall of the 60% target set by the ministry.

“We found that many students are interested in Science subjects but there are no follow-ups probably due to lack of support from parents as well as lack of appropriate facilities in schools,” he said after visiting students who are sitting for SPM examination at SMK Taman Kosas, Ampang Tuesday morning.

He said the ministry was considering giving incentives to both students and parents to encourage more kids to take up Science subjects such as free books and grants for students, and tax breaks for parents.

Earlier this year, Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the ministry was viewing the matter seriously as there was a 37% drop in students taking up Science and Mathematics, and a 29% decline for pure science subjects. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin had warned that the drop in interest in Science subjects may stunt efforts to improve technological innovations to make Malaysia a high income country.

(Source)

And

It has been revealed that two-thirds of 70,000 English teachers in the country failed to reach a proficient English level. Education Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said it was one of the two major findings of a survey which required the teachers to sit for the Cambridge Placement Test.

Dr Khair added that the other major finding of the survey was that two in three students failed to meet the basics in English proficiency. “This was based on the comparison of the students’ results in SPM English and Cambridge 1119 standards,” he said, adding that the survey was conducted among 13,000 students.

(Source)

And

Students will suffer from the Education Ministry’s preoccupation with the Malay language at the expense of science and technology, according to the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE). “Why are they pretending that the language of science and technology is Malay?” asked PAGE chief Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim. “They are definitely in a denial dream.”

She was commenting on the new education blueprint that the government unveiled this morning. “The blueprint is a total letdown since they played safe by not addressing key issues and recommendations,” she said.

(Source)

My son is very interested in Science and wants to be a Scientist one day (he has ideas that is out of this world but don’t say it is not possible in the near future). He has a good command of English (as far as I am concerned) so he watches more science related, complex documentaries than brainless cartoons (Marvel or DC cartoons however is excluded from this list) these days and even his comic books are all history or science related. He actively checks on the 3 large encyclopaedias (and me) whenever he has the slightest doubt of anything under the sun and he gets excited whenever he does any “experiments” in his room. He simply questions everything and is not happy when he cannot get a good answer.

Now, when I read the Education Minister’s comment that there is a major decline in Science stream students (not because the fucked up policy of not teaching Science in English?), I view this with great concern especially when my son has high interest in Science and is in the same education system. It is highly improbable that there is a lack of Science students due to “lack of support” from parents, not when most of us are aware the importance of subjects like Science and Mathematics. It is understandable if you say it is due to “lack of money for books / tuition” or “lack of means” to ensure their kids take up Science stream but I don’t think it is due to “lack of support” (unless Art and Religion are far more important than Science subjects for some parents). What is more probable is lack of facilities in schools – how many of them have a well-equipped lab with proper Science teachers and lab assistants? How many of them have the necessary funding to finance Science projects at schools?

The other item in the news – teachers in the country failing to reach a proficient English level was not a big surprise though. You can’t blame them entirely on this – they did not fail, the system did. The flip-flop on use of English in schools, over emphasis of the national language, lack of the necessary English trainers and sometimes the unnecessary hatred on mission run schools produces student who are weak in English and end up being teachers who are weak in English and the vicious cycle continues.

I was a Science stream student too but I did not do that well in all the science subjects for STPM but I did rather well in SPM. I don’t blame the teachers who taught me all those years though. I found that the teachers who taught Science when I did SPM were simply more brilliant (all of them have at least a degree or masters in actual science subjects), speak better English, more dedicated and more understanding (to weak, struggling students) than those teachers who taught me for STPM. Perhaps different school had different culture. I may not have done well in Science subjects for my STPM but I was lucky enough to go through schools (all secondary schools) that had proper well equipped Science lab which made learning Chemistry, Physics and Biology fun (still remember when you dissect the frog with the heart still pumping?). Those science labs were well equipped so we were able to conduct all experiments and more.

Move forward to the future, if nothing is done to curtail the lack of Science stream students and poor use of proper English in schools (yes, the education blueprint seems to address some part of this but it did not reverse the decision to teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa instead of the more acceptable, universal English), the deterioration will only continue – couple that with lack of facilities due to lack of funds to schools, it is only going to get worse. It is not good news for the advancement of science and technology in this country. It is good to know that there are people both from the Government and the concerned citizens have not given up and continued to work towards improvement of the education system to meet real world challenges and demands. But such change is slow and faces many hurdles (quite a number political) before we can see a positive development.

So whilst we wait for the Government to reverse its unwise decision on not teaching Science and Mathematics in English and whilst we wait for our teachers to improve their command of English to a standard that we can really be proud of, it looks like it is up to you and me take up the challenge to ensure that our kids is inclined to use proper English and incline towards the subject of Science and Mathematics – ok, never mind Science and Mathematics but at least proper English. I am concerned about the state of education in the country and me and my wife have given a lot of thought on what we can do as concerned parents. What we can do to ensure that our kid do not slack on the subjects of English, Science and Mathematics and at the same time, master the national language and all other subjects (including Tamil).

No doubt, we cannot change everything overnight but let me tell you on what I have done for my son in the last few years.

My son’s first spoken language was English (we have been talking in English to him since he was born) so it was slightly easier to start him off on reading and learning things in English. So we already had a good foundation to start with. When he was small, it was not easy to get him to read (we read to him instead) – so we started with something highly visual and colourful – TV kiddies programs and we were quite careful on what we pick for him to watch. Anything that teaches him on reading, words and identification skills was on top of our list. My son got his share of children toys but in between we also try to add something that will provide mental exercise for him. And that continued even after he had started studying in kindergarten. But at the end of the day, all this was to build up good foundation. The real work starts for us when he started his schooling in national primary school.

For the first year he struggled with Bahasa but it did not stop him from keeping up with the school work (although we had to do some serious translations and plenty of checking at home). Kiddies shows was drastically reduced (although he gets to see whatever he wants to see on the weekends) and more educational shows (Discovery, National Geography, History channels) take more time when we switch on the TV. It is back to the highly visual and colourful method of getting him interested on at least some of the current development in science and technology. TV is just one of the tools we deploy for knowledge and understanding. At the end of the day, it is back to basic, so my son have to do some kind of school work (alternating between Mathematics, English, Bahasa, writing and colouring exercises) at least for one hour before dinner everyday (if he has more time, then we extend his revision time as well). After his dinner, he has his adventures comics (such as this  – he has collected a few over the last few months and intends to collect the whole set) which provides humour and general knowledge.

And we have been  learning too – the last thing we need is for the blind to lead the blind. We had to be very sure that whatever answer we give is the correct answer. We had to make sure that we can back up our answer with the right evidence (thanks for the internet for that). We had to be sure that we can explain the unproven theories and provide the various options. And when it comes to English, we also try to drop that “lah” from our conversation and with the right grammar and we keep a close eye on our son too. No doubt, it is tough to keep him interested and maintaining him in the right path when it comes to English and Science (after all he is still a kid and undue stress is the last thing he needs) and it would be more helpful if the education policies are changing in the right path too. Until then, it is up to the individual parents and students to make the big difference on how they are going to handle the shortcomings in the education system. We have to take the first steps and maintain at it.

MIC’s Take On One School System


Oh dear, after all these years, they still clueless on why they took a hit in 2008?

(In the picture – MIC on the wrong side of the Tamil schools. No doubt Tamil schools have been the key factor when it comes to MIC and its claim that it is fighting for the community and yes, that they have helped out the schools in the past with financial assistances and others allocations but are they playing the crucial role in the next evolution of the education system in the country by looking at quality instead of quantity? Image source)

From theSun:-

Question: Why are Tamil schools so important to MIC? You yourself come from a national school and the majority of Indians are in national schools.

Answer: Tamil schools are part and parcel of Indian culture – they go to Tamil schools not only to learn Tamil, but also to learn culture and religion. If Tamil schools go away, then tradition and culture will also go.

Question: Why are young professionals shying away from MIC?

Answer: They don’t see MIC as a fun party – the president has plans to rejuvenate the party with younger representation – we have also Putra MIC for the youths. The young must be patient – MIC has only four parliamentary seats and seven state seats.

Question: Is the concept of catering to only one race not attractive?

Answer: Yes and no. But only in MIC one can write, speak and talk in Tamil – but even for non-Tamil speakers, they are not left out as some of the meetings are conducted in English and Bahasa.

Question: How has MIC been preparing for the next general election (GE), especially after the bitter defeat in 2008?

Answer: MIC has stressed that we must win back what we lost and retain those we won. We are doing everything that we can to get the numbers we had in 2004, we know it is difficult, it may not be possible. Compared with his predecessor (Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu), MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is not much in the news. You cannot compare the two leaders. It is not easy to take up the leadership at this time especially after the bad showing in the 2008 election. His style of working is different. We are reported in the Tamil papers. Yes, it is not enough, and we have also put MIC TV available on YouTube and are also communicating with urban Tamils.

I could have just ignored the interview but there was one thing he said that made me stop in my thoughts and wonder.

I am referring to Kamalanathan’s “reason” on why we still need Tamil schools in this country. Kamalanathan is saying that without Tamil schools in this country, the tradition and culture will also go. No doubt Kamalanathan is looking from his point of view as one of the MIC’s leaders but there must be reality check somewhere there. It is important  to understand the role of the school these days. Is it to encourage and propagate tradition and culture? Or is it another means to get good education with a different language as the main base (due to students’ background and mastery of language)?

I think we need to get the priorities right – education & discipline should be confined to schools and tradition & culture (and religion) confined to temples and cultural centers (like the Temple of Fine Arts). The moment you start to mix the both, you going to get in trouble and leave room for abuse and misdirection – certainly not with young innocent minds. It is downright unfair too – what about other races who does not share the same tradition and culture, are we going to built separate schools for them? Surely they want to preserve their traditions and culture as well.

And why we are continuing to break-up the schools into various sectors and race when it is crucial to have one school, one language for all? If the concern is losing the hold of the tradition & culture, then we should relook into how we can fuse tradition and culture in our temples (we seems have too many of them) or cultural centres (and perhaps with more tradition & cultural segments on public media like TV and newspapers). There are alternatives on how we can continue to maintain the tradition and culture without going through the schools. But please, let’s keep the race, tradition, culture and religion crap out of schools.

The reason for it is rather simple – it defeats the progress to greater unity as reasoned below:-

Historically, the British built separate vernacular schools to maintain racial divide and prejudice to lord over us. It is indeed expedient and shrewd and one of the things that should have been kicked out right after Malaysia gained independence from the British if our leaders truly want to see a united Malaysia turn up without jeopardising our national language, our official religion, our monarchy and our Rukun Negara.

Vernacular schools impede national unity at the primordial stage; there is no room for vernacular school in a multi-racial society.

(Source)

And if the concern is losing the hold of the Tamil language (still remember the controversy on the extra language SPM papers?), this is because not enough attempts made to provide alternative language classes at national schools – all we need is the classes & qualified teachers in national schools (MIC can play a strong role here) and not a whole school with different emphasis, language, structure and funding. At this juncture, I must recap what OutSyed the Box said on the need to have common language (hence different schools in the same country) – it makes more sense than what Kamalanathan is trying to say:-

The time has also come where we must seriously consider merging the school system into just one school system i.e. based on Bahasa Malaysia and English only. We need to abolish the Chinese and Tamil language school system. The Chinese and Tamil language heroes say that if Chinese and Tamil schools are abolished, their language and culture will also disappear. Wrong.

There are 1.5 billion Chinese in China who will make sure that the Chinese language, culture and the Chinese people will never disappear from the face of the earth. The same argument applies for the 1.0 billion Indians in India. This however is Malaysia. It is not and cannot be China or India.

When Chinese, Indians and anyone else migrate to Australia they learn to speak English in a jiffy. No one asks for Tamil or Mandarin to be made national languages in Australia. No one sings the Waltzing Matilda in Tamil or Mandarin in Australia.

The same logic applies to Malaysia. It is high time non Malays in Malaysia learn to speak Malay like a native Malay. Getting straight As for Bahasa Malaysia in the SPM does not mean anything if you still say ‘saya api kereta naik mari’ or ‘saya naik keleta api mali sini.”

It is not cute anymore. Actually it is quite embarrassing. Please, let’s speak the language the way it should be spoken.

Now, coming back to the need for Tamil school – it is not an issue of losing tradition and culture if the Tamil schools are closed down that we need to fear of (yes, there will be some impact but not to the point where the future generations would be clueless on tradition and culture). Just look at the Indians in US and UK who are doing well in maintaining their tradition and culture despite going to a non-Indian language based schools.

There is a greater concern when a politician from a race based political party insists on preserving the Tamil schools – we fear that attempts to breakdown this segregation and forcing everyone to go to the same school and speak the language will be derailed or sabotaged by race based policies and race based political party who hold them as the trump cards to be still relevant. And this is what is happening in our education system – it has been screwed up to a point we are still having different schools in the country.

Surely there will be specific issues that will face certain communities more than others from time to time but we need to consider which one is more critical. If it is on education and national unity, let’s fight for the good of the country and not just for each others communities. Do that and you will earn our confidence and our votes in the next general elections.

Playing with Semantics


If you had blinked, they would have shoved it in your….oh, you get the idea

(Unbelievable! Sometimes you really, really need to read in-between the lines especially when it comes from the local politicians. Image source: http://rulingsnarl.wordpress.com/)

Never mind, just read these very slowly:-

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will step down as Minister of Women, Family and Community Development when her term as Dewan Negara member ends on April 8. The decision was made after giving it much thought, she said. “I want to do the right thing. I think for me now, the right thing is to leave my post as a Cabinet Minister. The time has come.

(Source)

And

Despite overwhelming opposition against the controversial Board of Computing Professionals Malaysia (BCPM) Bill, the government is still convinced it has support. More than two-thirds of the groups surveyed by the ministry did not approve of the bill. “The number of official feedbacks was 70, received from both individuals and organisations. 29% supported the proposed Bill, but nonetheless, this number may not reflect the overall segment of the ICT (information and communications technology) community,” the ministry said in a statement.

(Source)

Shahrizat said she is doing the right thing and she said that she did this after “giving it much thought”. But is she? If you have read it well in between the lines, she is not really resigning. Do you voluntarily tender your resignation on the day you retire from work or the day you are fired from work? Yes? No? If you do that, don’t you think you would look incredibly stupid? And it seems like that is the same case here.

You want to resign? You resign immediately – not 1 week from now and certainly not 3 weeks from now. In the political world, you don’t have to give the usual 1 month notice. So, with the end of her Senatorship, her Ministership ends automatically as well. It is crystal clear – even her former boss echoes the same thing:-

Former Wanita Umno head Tan Sri Rafidah feels that Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s announcement of stepping down as Family and Community Development Minister sounds hollow. “There is no issue of stepping down or resigning!” Rafidah said. “There is nothing to step down from as she is legally no longer a Minister on April 8. “She is not resigning on April 8, it is just that her Senatorship expires that day and her Ministerial post automatically lapses.” Calling Shahrizat’s quit announcement as a “sham of a statement”, Rafidah said resigning meant Shahrizat should quit immediately – while she was still a Senator.

(Source)

And for a person who was somehow linked to the mismanagement of public funds amounting to millions of Ringgit and refused to accept responsibility and refused to heed the calls to resign immediately, what rights they to use words like sacrifice and doing the right thing.

Then there is the news that the Government still expecting full support on its controversial Board of Computing Professionals Malaysia (BCPM) Bill but hold your horses there. Didn’t they also said that “more than two-thirds of the groups surveyed by the ministry did not approve of the bill”? With almost 71% opposition to the Bill from the industry, would you say that there is support? I don’t know – the official 70 feedback was too small to be considered as a valid size, I may agree and perhaps with a wider scope of response, things may be different. But with 71% opposition, one should not make say that they have the support to continue – the opposition is simply overwhelming.

But then again, when is playing with semantics, anything is possible…

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Crazy on Luka Chuppi


One for the weekend…

(This song was sung by Kuhoo Gupta and Pradip Somasundaran who did a fine job rendering the song from the original singers, Lata Mangeshkar and A R Rahman)

Damn, it is the song that I have been listening all day long for past one week and I can’t shake it off.

I saw the movie Rang De Basanti starring Amir and the duo from the 3 Idiots sometime ago, liked this song (especially the fast guitarist music in the  background which later transcend to a haunting tabla music) and this song has been one of the must song that I listen at least once in the morning especially when I am starting on my journey.

A R Rahman is simply brilliant with his composition (the other compositions – Tu Bin Bataye and Roobaroo are brilliant as well) but equally brilliant is the lyrics (I don’t understand Hindi – it is not necessary though, music is an universal language – you can just sense the meaning without you realising it).

It makes the song more touching with the beautiful lyrics is the scene from the movie – where a mother loses her loving son and his friends losing a good friend and they know that he will not be back.

The award winning lyrists, Prasoon Joshin who wrote the lyrics for this song said that the lyrics was developed while discussing with Rahman the scene about a mother losing her son. Joshi wrote the lyrics about the mother and son playing hide-and-seek with the sad reality of the son being hidden forever. He confessed to have been in tears while Mangeshkar was singing the song. The soundtrack won the Filmfare Best Music Director Award, and had two of its tracks, Khalbali and Luka Chuppi, considered for an Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination (Source: Wikipedia)

The translated lyrics, from Music & Lyrics blog:-

[Mother]
Luka Chuppi bahut huyi saamne aa ja naa
Enough of hide and seek, come before me.
Kahan kahan dhoondha tujhe
I searched for you everywhere.
Thak gayi hai ab teri maa
Your mother is now tired.
Aaja saanjh hui mujhe teri fikar
Its evening and I’m worried about you
Dhundhla gayi dekh meri nazar aa ja na
Hazy is what my sight is, come to me

[Son]
Kya bataoon maa kahan hoon main.
What do I tell you about the place where I am, maa?
Yahan udney ko mere khula aasmaan hai
There is freedom and independence like the vast sky here.
Tere kisson jaisa bhola salona
Like your stories it is innocent and beautiful here
Jahan hain yahan sapno vala
Its like a dreamland here.
Meri patang ho befikar udd rahi hai maa
My kite (I am) is flying without any worries maa.
Dor koi loote nahin beech se kaate na
Nobody to steal or cut my kite’s string.

[Mother]
Teri raah takey aankhiyaan
My eyes are waiting for your arrival.
Jaane kaisa kaisa hoye jiyaa
My heart is going through various emotions.
Dhire dhire aangan uthre andhera, mera deep kahan
Slowly darkness in creeping in the courtyard, where is my lamp(son)
Dhalke suraj kare ishara chanda tu hai kahan
The sun is setting and gesturing to the moon, where are you?
Mere chanda tu hai kahan
Where are you my moon (son)?

[Son]
Kaise tujhko dikhaun yahaan hai kya
How do I show you what is here?
Maine jharne se paani maa, tod ke piya hai
I’ve drunk water from the fountain maa
Guchcha guchcha kayee khwabon ka uchal ke chuwa hai
I’ve touched several clusters of my dreams
Chaaya liye bhali dhoop yahaan hai
The sunlight along with the shade is here
Naya naya sa hai roop yahan
The atmosphere is so different and new
Yahaan sab kuch hai maa phir bhi
All that I want is here maa… but still…
Lage bin tere mujhko akela
Loneliness is what I feel here without you

Have a nice weekend!

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A Chat with D


Read these first:-

An interesting chat with my son a couple nights ago…

(D doing the Assassin Creed + Gangsta + Rap Singer impression with winter clothes and seriously I do not know where he picked the style up)

I was watching TV a couple nights ago – my son was doing his homework which was weird because he usually got that done before I come back from work. I know he was kind of rushing to complete the homework when suddenly he stopped and seemed to think hard for a moment. I noticed this and I though he was thinking about his homework. I kind of ignored him and continued to watch the TV when I suddenly noticed him walking towards me.

D: Appa, can I ask you something?

Me: Yes, what is it? (I was thinking that it must be query on his homework)

D: Appa, can you send me to English school for Form 1?

Me: English school? (he spoke about it some time ago – he has been having some problem with the National Language especially in the subject of Science)

D: Yes, somewhere I can take the plane and oh yes, there must be snow too

Me: What about English school in Singapore? (me just throwing some names)

D: We can drive to Singapore! No, it must be some where we must take the plane.

Me: So, you want to America?

D: No, I want to go to US (perhaps not understanding that America & US is the same thing)

Me: Ok, sure – if Appa have enough money, I will sent you there, for sure

D: Thanks, hmmm (D going into a “thinking” motion)

D: Maybe I continue until Form 6 here and continue my college there

Me: As Appa said, if Appa have enough money, I will send you for sure but for now, you need to study hard for now. Form 1 is still long way to go

D: Ok

My son, with a face that indicates that he had accomplish an important mission, walks back and continue with his homework.

Now that conversation got me thinking – with the Government screwing up the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, perhaps it is not a bad idea to look for school that actually teaches that two crucial subjects in English – a language that universally been accepted as the main language of Science (and Mathematics). A point that my son implied to me, considering how he like to watch Science related documentaries on ASTRO all in ENGLISH!

I guess I have to start collecting – Form 1 to 6 in US is going to cost me alot