Crime, Crime, Crime


I will be on a long hiatus from next week onwards – I will be away on a “mission” and internet connection may be almost non-existence. Besides, I intend to use whatever little free time I have on finishing on a very thick book that I had put away since last year (it was just too thick for me to start and I always opt for a thinner one) and of course catching on sleep (the new Boss is back to be very active at night). Hopefully when I come back, the police had score the big one by nabbing a good number of hired killers and sent them to the gallows for cold blood murders.

shootingsgraphic302e

(The biggest headache for the nation at the moment – we have multiple shooting and hired killers on the loose. The next question is whether it is just a tip of the iceberg in the wave of crime confronting the country. Image source: http://www.straitstimes.com)

In the meantime and while the Government seems to be at lost over almost 23 incidents of shooting over the last 2 months and only now they want to stand-up and “wear their pants” on beefing up the police force (shouldn’t they done that eons ago?) and tighten the preventive laws, as a parent myself, I think we should not also miss the focus of stopping crime at the start and ensure there is no rise of young offenders who in turn end up becoming the filth of the filth in the country. With that, go ahead and read this:-

The father of a 14-year-old boy who was found murdered near some bushes in Taman Mewah, Kamunting, suspects that his son may have been killed due to a misunderstanding. Supervisor A. Manimaran, 46, claimed his son M. Nathaniel was involved in a minor accident with a group of youths a week ago. “My son, who was riding my motorcycle, had been involved in a minor accident with another motorcyclist. There could have been some misunderstanding from there.

(Source)

Lost in translation is the question how could the 14-years old be riding around in a motorcycle when the minimum age to ride a motorcycle in this country is 16 years old and that too with a valid license. It’s obvious that no only the deceased was under-aged to ride a motorcycle; he was also riding around without a valid license. I won’t be surprised if the deceased was not wearing a helmet at the time too. And such problem is nothing new in many housing areas in the country where we have under-aged riders riding around unsupervised and without license (the usual “tak apa” attitude). It is quite understandable if we don’t have the police rushing into the housing area to round these youngsters up for riding around without license or helmet – these cases very likely to be rated the lowest in the police’s list of priorities when it comes to fighting crime (seriously they have a bigger issue at hand and that includes the alleged involvement of the police with the criminal underworld). It is quite understandable too as some of these youngsters are also our neighbour kids and we know them from small and thus not keen to chase them with a baseball bat to stop them (whacking snatch thieves to a pulp on the other hand is another ball game all together).

It does not matter if there were some misunderstanding or there were other idiots in the picture – the end of the story is tragic – someone’s young son is dead. Thus it is indeed important to relook at this nuisance (and breaking of the law) from the aspect of parenting and how some parents could be dumb enough to be allowing these youngsters to ride around without any license and helmet (let’s leave the impact of the education system on the young minds for now – there have been too many flip-flops on the education blueprint on the simplest thing like language to use for Science and Mathematics). Of course, some takes the notion of dumbness to a whole new level by allowing the young “abang” to take the infant “adik” (both of course riding around without wearing any helmet) for ride around the housing area and without any supervision. One cannot blame the kids to riding around without helmets and license – the fact that the parents themselves allow the kids to ride a motorcycle (intentionally or unintentionally) means that the kids could do anything. And without a good parenting and a good sense of discipline and education, some of kids have been spoilt to the core and became a bigger nuisance to others.

And when some of these harmless law breakers started to venture to something more sinister for cheap kicks and quick money, you will have this in the papers:-

The police have arrested two men believed to be involved in the snatch theft and attack on Dr Delaila Ahmad, in her 50s, in Subang Jaya on Tuesday. Selangor acting police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan said the suspects aged 20 and 22 years old respectively were arrested at about 6am today in SS17, Subang Jaya. “They were arrested based on information from the public and family members of one of the suspects,” he told reporters at Subang Jaya district police headquarters today.

The police are still investigating the case and the victim is still being being treated at the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya. Delaila, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, was attacked by parang-wielding men as she was leaving her polyclinic in Jalan SS 19/6, Subang Jaya at 1.20am on Tuesday.

(Source)

They are barely into their twenties and yet they are brave enough to rob a doctor with parang and slash her fingers without any hesitations. And despite their young age and some argument for reforms instead of punishment, the rest of us (I am very certain) would be praying that they would be locked away behind bars for the rest of their life (although unfortunately Section 326 of the Penal Code only carries a maximum imprisonment for 20 years). We do not need selfish & dangerous youngsters like these in our society and making it a living hell for the rest of us. It is just too bad that the Government had not thought of making armed snatch-theft (or any crime that causes injuries to others for argument sake) punishable with mandatory death by hanging. Do that (and of course couple that with good enforcement of the law & prosecution) and you will see how fast the serious crime statistics drops.

Back in 2011, this was reported:-

“The rate of crimes committed by youths has increased over the past two years although the overall crime index in the country has decreased,” he said after launching the “6 in 1” Crime Prevention and Healthy Living Community Service Project at Seri Petaling here. He said according to police statistics, students’ involvement in crimes had increased from 1,409 in 2009 to 1,947 in 2010, causing the crime index involving youths to increase by 38%. “As for non-students, the crime cases have increased from 2,245 in 2009 to 3,218 in 2010, marking an increase of 43.3%.

“Youths are increasingly involved in violent and property crimes like physical aggression, rape cases, snatch thefts and robberies,” he said. He reminded parents to make time for their children even if they were busy working.

(Source)

And in 2012, something similar was echoed:-

Students from Form One to Form Three have been identified as the biggest contributors to juvenile crime, according to a research by the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MPCF). The agency said there was a three-fold increase in crimes committed by students aged between 13 and 15 compared with other age groups. Its national vice-chairman, Datuk Kamarudin Ali, said many students in lower secondary level had fallen from grace upon reaching adolescence, partly due to unsupervised Internet use such as social networking sites, especially Facebook.

(Source)

If one argues that it is a case poverty and lack of education & opportunities had led these youngsters into committing serious crime, then think again. There are thousand others who are in the same predicament but have held their heads up the water and turned around things for them and their family (still remember the girl who passed her exams by studying under public street light?). It’s sad that some parents simply don’t give a damn when it comes to looking into what their kid do and say and when the situation requires for it, discipline and educate them. I call my son “The Boss” but if he does something wrong (and it rarely happens), he knows what’s coming from me and my wife – punishment old school (I am sure many of us would recall how our parents and some of our teachers used to whack us with a thick cane for the smallest mistakes we did when we were small).

When it comes to parenting, one aspect of making sure that the kids do and say the right thing is by setting a good example – if some adults themselves are riding around the housing area without any helmets (and acting like primates on the road), then how one can expect their kids to be wearing one. In the case of 20 years old snatch thief – at least the parents did set a fine example to other (parents) – if your kid is in fault and you know that he is in fault, do the right thing and turn them in to the police for due process. Yes, it is hard for any parents to see their kids behind bars but if they had tried their best to discipline the kids and failed for one reason or another, they have no other choice.

Good discipline and setting good examples at the end of the day must be coupled with good education and high morality. There must be a constant preaching of “do the right things” and “do what’s fair” to our kids to ensure that they are often reminded on what is wrong and what is right. Yes, “doing what’s right and fair” may be something very subjective but most parents just have to put a bit of the thinking cap and a good dose of reasonableness and fairness (simply do to others on what you expect others to do to you and you are on safe grounds). If we do that effectively, we will not have delusional 20 year-olds walking around with parang and cutting off people’s fingers for quick cash.

Have a good weekend and in case I could not get “online”, happy holidays and Selamat Hari Raya…

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Missing: William Yau Zhen Zhong


william

All we need to do now is to keep our eyes open and pray for the safe return of little William to his parents (finger pointing and certainly charging the parents with sheer recklessness can come later once he is safe and returned without any harm).

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.

Setting Right Examples


Pathetic on how some adults act like children in front of their children!

bad-parenting

(There are parents who have bad influence on their children whilst there are others who opt to do nothing when their kids misbehave. In both situation, they are nothing but bad parents. Image source: http://www.reviewjournal.com)

Yesterday I took the family to shopping and we realized that there was a clown (I meant professional clown) in the middle, giving away free balloons (the one that can be sculpted into various shapes). I asked my son whether he wanted a balloon as well but he at first refused to go (I suspected he was nervous with the clown. He had bad experience with them once). But the more he sees other children getting interesting shaped balloons, he quickly changed his mind and braved himself (we standing next to him helped too). We walked towards the clown as he was busy making shaped balloons and taking time off to take snap shots with the kids.

We reached the place and we heard the clown keep saying – “one line please!” and any kids who decided to cut queue was promptly asked to go back and line up for their balloons. I got my son queue up and he impatiently waited for his turn for the balloon (he wanted a sword shaped balloon) and snap shot.

As we waited, a lady with two small kids jumped queue and walked all the way to the front and to everyone’s surprise, demanded for the balloons (demanded to be given to her own kids, over the other kids who been patiently waiting for their balloons). Thankfully the clown did not give way and insisted them to go back and line up just like everyone else. The lady however ignored this and continued to stand at the front and keep asking for the balloons and the poor kids keep looking at the lady (perhaps they were embarrassed?). The clown continued to ignore her and only give balloons to those who lined up.

After long and seeing the lady’s kids standing rather innocently (and perhaps having enough of the lady’s nagging and interruptions), the clown did a quick sculpt and passed the balloons to the lady’s kids. Unfortunately that did not drive the nasty lady away – she saw what other kids got and decided that the sculpture that the clown did for her kids was not good enough and insisted for the clown to do another one for her kids. This time, the clown had to put his big foot down (literally) and insisted them to queue up (without frightening the small kids of course). Other parents who were not amused with the antics of the lady (including yours truly) decided that enough is enough and started to make noise too. That helped to get rid of the lady from the area.

I wondered what kind of examples that this lady is setting for her kids? That queues jumping and demanding things from other people is good?

That reminded me another incident that happened when I was very young and when I followed my grandma to the local post office to pay some bills. It was unfortunate that particular day, only one counter was open and there was a long queue. One of the persons queuing up is a lady who had brought 3 kids – hyperactive ones. They were running around the post office and were shouting aloud, much to irk of other people in the post office. It did not take long for the post office staff behind the counter to stand up and told the lady to control her kids. He asked – is this how she had taught her kids? Something then happened – the lady called her kids to come over and when they stood in front of her, she gave them a strong slap each and told them to sit down quietly at a corner. Thereafter, the post office became quiet and peaceful.

Back then, parents still worried on making sure their kids acted and carried themselves in the right way. Some of the current parents simply too thick skinned to understand that things they do and say influences their kids and in turn instill the same negative elements in them.

As I looked at lady who jumped queue and insisting for the balloons for her innocent kids, I wondered whether she realize what she is doing by setting bad example to her kids? Just how many of the parents these days set bad examples to their children by doing the wrong things and saying the wrong words (one good reason why I don’t curse at others when my son is sitting in the car)? How many of the parents decide to keep silent and opt not to correct the mistake of their children?

Food for thought for parents and parents to be…