Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Think For A Moment

A Minister in the Malaysian cabinet says that despite 2% shy of 'dangerous level of national debt, we're okay. Apparently the leaders we entrust the nation's welfare have been borrowing and borrowing. I was brought up with the mindset that borrowing beyond my means is bad... and that saving money for a rainy day is good. Now I am told that borrowing to the danger point of bankruptcy is okay... Scary!

A Deputy Minister of Education gets heckled by his own race. Cos apparently promises to look into the problem for the last 40 over years to overcome the shortage of teachers in Chinese vernacular schools have remained empty promises. If cannot keep promises, don't make them in the first place. This era is a bad era to be making promises cos the promises take a life of their own in cyber world. Then it's also interesting to see how opportunists take advantage of this to stir trouble... There will not be a need for vernacular schools if there is equality....

To be born the children of Cabinet Ministers in Malaysia means it's a gold spoon allnthe way. You get to drive super expensive cars that most of us can only dream about; cars with road tax over RM20K! You get to have bodyguards follow you everywhere; who might even perhaps throw a few punches at people you feel should not have the audacity to question your every act.

A rare earth plant, of cows mooing everywhere and former a Chief Justice turned road builder. Then you read about how the authorities chase to the ends of the earth those study loan defaulters; they get their wings clipped and cannot fly out of the country.... But the former boss of an airline gets all his 'hutang' swept under some carpets. And he can still fly. It seems the small fries get fried hangus while the big fish swim away.

We condemn apartheid. We condemn bribery. We condemm white supremacy. We condemn injustice. I tell you, the list of things we condemn is pretty long. And then we claim to do it for bangsa, agama and negara... the skewed version. What bangsa? Cos whenever politicians talk, bangsa seems to take the form of the audience; very flexible. The agama part, I find difficult to comprehend cos to condone all these acts and then claim to be pious.... Now that demeans everything. The last part, demi negara.... we should all wonder why our best wander off and never return. Or how we naturalise citizens blindly.... How is it we are lagging behind those Asian Tigers which started on the same footing or behind us? We are sitting at the bottom of that ladder today.... Taiwan, Korea, Singapore. Those leaders of ours, are they serving their own ends or ours?

And guess what... many people were indignant at Indonesia's insistence of one maid one task thingy. Wake up! The poverty level in Indonesia has gone down a lot. At the rate they are going, who knows, someday our children will be going over there to look for jobs???? Thinking skills anyone?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Makes No Sense

10 or 11 years of schooling and what have we to show? A glaring lack of language skills. This year, 4 out of my 5 classes are 'bottom' classes of their respective forms and teaching English to them is horrendous; how I ended up with these classes is another long story. More than half the time in class is spent going after them, chasing their attitude. When attitude fails, everything else slows down to a sickening crawl. That goes the same for us, teachers too.

I've tried different ways to make them understand. Breaking into digestible length, writing out meanings, highlighing in different colours... the progress is exceedingly slow. I think it's a hopeless cause. Read, explain, read some more, explain some more.... I am not getting anywhere. And they don't seem to want to see the light at the end of the tunnel. One or two of the 17-year olds seemed to want to snap out of their stupor, but not having much success. Their doors to their 'central processing unit' seems be wedged with too many things. The key to their CPU is rusty and cannot seem to turn. Well, if they could, I guess we'll be needing lots of WD40 lubricant too. And the public wonder why PPSMI cannot work. It could have never worked in most schools. The comprehension is simply not there. And the kids, especially the boys are bored. They become disruptive. They can see through teachers most of the time. Talk to a slightly smarter kid and he'll be able to tell you the disdain and lack of respect they have for their teachers. And mind you, a lot of what they say hold water.

The quality of teachers play a very important role. There are way too many teachers who cannot discipline their classes because they care (or pretend to care) in the wrong way. Actually whether one cares is entirely a different matter. What matters is the ethics.... the right work ethics must be there. Teaching hardly can take place if a class cannot sit through the lesson.... and that's a major problem which I see now. Many teachers do not seem to mind that their students are talking and even moving about as lessons proceed.

Classes in schools like mine are often unruly. And I think that's a norm. There is apathy, from both ends but however one views it, the kids lose out and our country emerges the biggest loser cos these are our future workers. A friend of mine said someting which I think is most true... Teachers' apathy and frustrations... A lot of them stem from inept leadership. Makes no sense how our politicians keep harping on our 'world class education'... Our recent best in the 5 years SPM results is one such example. There were almost 600 straight A+(s) out of the more than 10 000 straight As for the total exam. We are a brilliant nation going by our exam results... but 60% of our local graduates don't make the grade of what constitutes employability. I guess one can infer from the results that we have more than a fair share of geniuses than the norm..... Then again, if one were to take a good look at the exam slips, there is something quite telling there. A student can score an A for English, marked according to our local standards. Yet it is also not uncommon to see the GCE-O grade (on the same exam slip) which is also based on the same answer script with a 4B grade or even lower. Our A can be equivalent to a 4B GCE-O level (or worse than that). Go figure the discrepancy... And then try taking public exams from Singapore or Korea or even Taiwan and compare it with the rest of the world and see. Or just be dumbly flummoxed...

And some people claim that the passing mark these days for Add Math is lower than 10! With such kind of grading, how do we separate the really talented ones from the rest. And a whole bunch of kids go through SPM thinking that they are really good..... Ah well, this is typical Malaysia Boleh way...

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Cycle of Crap

Don't confuse this with Krebs Cycle....

Like everything else that is trapped in this vicious cycle that we're all in, crap is also unavoidable. Even happy people crap! Lol! Crap comes in different forms. Some crap can be funny. Others are downright frustrating. Anyway, I think this is another cycle of crap coming around. Crap is excreted by living organisms but the one by the two-legged creature called human is probably one that can stink most. But due to the presence of some gray matter in this crap producing creature, one easily gets duped, especially in this age of convenience. We want everything easy.

Crappy people say all kinds of things they cannot keep. Crappy people justify everything with more crap. There's been a lot of crap flying around lately. Not that I don't add to them too. I do cos I am also a crap producing two-legged creature. I recently had to sit through a session where my poor eardrums had to process lots of crappy stuff by people who talk a lot of crap and other crap associates. Oh crap!

And oh yes! I am feeling particularly crappy too cos this is the time of the year when school administration shove down our throats extra classes. In our own idiotic way, we seem to believe that all that extra cramming after a long hot crummy day will help. Actually, the crap here is just the paper show. They actually don't really care. We are even told that instruction need not take place place. We are given classes not our own and expected to just sit in class and complete photocopied worksheets.... in other words babysit them. There's also blatant copyright infringement, by the way from, all these rampant photocopying. Students are so incapacitated by their own lack of inertia these days that they need to be spoonfed all the way. But if you ask me, I think this is merely a paperwork exercise so that glossy reports (crap) can be produced.

The solution to real improvement lies in better instruction. Most students are getting half baked instructions these days. The real work involves going through students' work, marking them correctly. Just take a look at your kids' exercise books and you'll know what I mean. Where English is concerned, you'll probably find lots of errors not corrected; and it's not because of oversight but reflects the poor command of the teacher. You know, English teachers get BISP, an allowance supposed to be used to further improve themselves. I wonder how many actually take the trouble to improve themselves. Poor instruction... and still students get A(s). These are the same people who grade the public examination papers too. Then these A people go to unversity, graduate... and then employers say they lack skills. We produce a lot of toilet paper material for the job market.

Crappy week.... and that's just the instruction part. There's this other more insidous aspect.... racism. Anyway, we are a society waiting to implode... once you get too many wrongs, it will beget more and more. That's human nature too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our World Class Education

Raden had some stamps. When he arranged them into pages of 6 stamps, he had 3 stamps leftover. When he arranged the stamps into 7 pages, the balance was 6 stamps. Finally, when he arranged them into pages of 8, he had 5 stamps left over. What was the least number of stamps Raden had?

This was a question which was set by a teacher for her Form 1 students. It's not surprising that our students can't solve such a question because of the systematic dumbing down over the years. But wait... A teacher I knew came up with the answer 9 for this question and confidently gave it to her classes. A friend's son took the question paper and asked his teacher at another school to solve the question. He was told that there is something wrong with the question. Over the years, I have come across Physic teachers who can't explain simple concepts to her students. In my early years as a teacher, I knew a Commerce teacher who could not tell the difference between a credit card and debit card. And she was a Business grad. I've also seen Math graduates asking those old timers with HSC qualification solutions to Additional Math questions.... And about a decade ago, I also knew a Chemistry teacher who was a Master teacher who had not heard about buckyballs (buckminsterfullerrene) 15 years after it was discovered. Don't get me started on English..... The thing is I don't ever remember having teachers like that when I was schooling.

Yet if we take a look at the books from our neighbour down south, such questions as the one above can be found in books for kids in Primary 3 or 4. Apparently they have a section called Thinking Skills in their Math. I supposed that's to train their students to think. Year 4, made up of 10-year-olds are taught to solve questions like the one above. Our 13-year-olds have problem making sense of such questions. And to add more insult, apparently our teachers' ability to figure out problems like this is questionable too.... So is it surprising that 60% of our local grads are deemed to be lacking employable skills....

Something is wrong but no one wants to admit it. Singapore has consistently ranked very well in the PISA, breaking into the top 5 of the world in some areas tested in PISA. PISA tests students for Reading, Writing and Math. We are very far behind and it's easy to see why. The systematic dumbing down because of politics has caused us to lose our standard and quality. We take in instructors who are uninspiring and lacking in desire to upgrade themselves. We have administrators whose preoccupations seem to lean towards playing politics and producing glossy reports on papers of programmes claimed to have been executed.... We sorely lack good and capable people in our education system. Racial politics has seen the recruitment of sub par teachers. It has created an apartheid education system. Our politicians are well-known for their knee jerk reactions which inflict damage after damage to our once reputable educational institutions. Just look at UM! NUS was its offshoot... The world ranking speaks volume about our standing today.

I've been busy reading up about tertiary institutions of late since Son is in the process of applying for his courses. I learned one thing though. If nothing is done to tear down this apartheid system which we practise in our education system, it's only a matter of time before some of the more reputable private universities overtake our public universities in terms of quality and ranking. And that also means that our government has failed in one of its core duties of providing an education that will provide our people with the competitive edge needed in this global economy.

Sad, sad state we're in. Depressing too..... cos there seems no one up there willing to admit our malaise and administer the bitter pills.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jade Blossom Restaurant

It was quite late when we arrived at the restaurant. We were in Penang cos Son had to sit for this IELTS the next day.
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Jade Blossom Restaurant is located in 1st Avenue, which is part of the Komtar Complex and adjacent to Trader's Hotel which we were staying. I would have love to go for the chee cheong chuk near the Sunway Hotel but it was raining and we were quite famished by the time we checked in.
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We ordered their Roasted Duck with Mango in Lemon Sauce on recommendation from the waitress. It was okay as in the meat was tender enough. For vegetables, we actually wanted the yam ring but had to replace it with Seasonal Vegetables with Garlic. Can't go very wrong with vegetables. The third order was Soft Shell Crab with Salted Egg Yolk and Butter. Soft shell crabs once fried usually absorb lots of oil. These weren't exactly very oily but 2 pieces are about the maximum I could take before the oil starts to get to me. And they have to be eaten warm.
Now what do I think of this place? We had problems trying to make ourselves understood by the waiters. The 2 whom we talked too couldn't even understand what we requested. The only waitress who happens to be only laround noticed could understand us didn't do a very good job of taking our orders. We ended up one soup short from our original order. By the time we checked with her, we had already finished our meal. One of the waiters left the tea pot on our table and disappeared when I told him that it wasn't hot tea that we ordered but a cold one. Daughter wanted ice water but what came was warm water. Service was poor due to staff who could not understand us. They were nicely dressed in their uniforms but their service was definitely lacking, which was rather frustrating.
But at least there was a bright spot. The room we booked at Trader's got bumped up to a suite. And it was nice walking into their bathroom cos what greeted me on the shelves were these!!!!!!
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Locitane personal care products!!!! 8) Nice touch! Been a while since I last enjoyed being surprised by the contents of a hotel bathroom... of all things. And in terms of service, this is one of the better hotels we've stayed in recent months.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Indah Khabar Dari Rupa

In this age where everything can be photoshopped, we can't quite trust our eyes. Similarly, what we see on glossy magazine covers (or inside) cannot be relied as totally true. There is always this illusion that they play on our eyes.

Recently we were at Tesco and saw this new biscuit and thought we'd give it a try. The wrapping was attractive enough and the biscuits looked quite yummy and the taste was actually not bad. They tasted like merry biscuits and the cream, though was a bit too sweet for my liking.

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This is a look at the biscuits on the wrapper and the real biscuits. See the difference? The real biscuits don't have cream 'spilling' out of them. The ones on the wrappers looked downright yummy!

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This is why. There is only a slob of cream in the middle of the real biscuits. I guess it's easy to make the biscuits on the wrapper look yummy by 'photoshopping' it.

That's life too... Everything can be dressed up to dupe. We are often promised so much but in reality get only part of what is promised. Similarly, some of us paint ourselves like the overflowing biscuit with sweet cream but when the real test comes, we actually are like the biscuit with just the slob in the middle. In schools these days, we have teachers with strings of qualifications, yet when it comes down to really knowing their stuff, they're actually just like the slobs too. Recently too again reports about the 60:40 not employable to employable local graduates have made news again.... our local graduates just don't seem to measure up because they lack the skills required. But when these same students were schooling, their abilities were glossed up. They were made to believe that they were spilling with good stuff when they actually were not by teachers who are like them. We are definitely reaping the fruits grown by the farmer who sowed the right seeds but do not weem to have enough fertilizers to grow the trees into trees which bear quality fruits. However like the proverbial frog under the coconut shell, our young (and many teachers) think they are doing very okay.... till the poor young sods hit the job market and find themselves lacking.

Recently too, I decided to give questions to allow me to size up my students' ability as compared to their peers elsewhere. Guess what? Even the teachers were found lacking.... A retired ex-colleague happened to pay a visit around the same time and I gave her the questions... She had no problems. Quality lacking but no humility to realize that. Chasing titles and positions have become the preoccupation these days cos many seem to feel that it gives them that sort of quality seal. Well, I don't know about the quality but what I do know is it won't be coming any time soon if we cannot admit our inadequacy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Me Chinese, You Also Chinese....

I was recently involved in a little accident. As I was reversing my car, I didn't realize that another car had suddenly parked itself behind me. I had looked at my rear mirror and not seen anything. Earlier I had also turned my head to do a quick scan of my back. Somehow, within the time I engaged my gear and reversed my car, that car appeared and parked itself behind mine. And so, I bumped into the car; a small dent some, scratch marks. It was my mistake but just as it was mine, it was also the other driver's fault for parking his car, in his own words, just momentary so that he could get back onto the main road, on the side of the road, with a white line that means no parking there...

I explained to this young driver that I had not seen him. When he said I was at fault, I agreed and said I will pay for the repairs. I told him to send his car to my regular workshop for the repair but he refused because he said his father owned a car repainting workshop. Not at any time during our conversation did I indicate that I was not going to pay for the damages. Anyway, to cut the long story short.... one of the thing that got me cheesed off was when he quoted the amount to pay him. I felt it was way too high. And so I said we might as well make a police report. Then I asked him again to quote me something more reasonable and he immediately brought it down quite substantially.

To add salt on the wound, the father had the cheek to say that since we're both Chinese, he was quoting a reasonable rate. I have some expletives which I would very much like to use but I shall refrain myself here. Bah humbug! To me, he was just an opportunistic vulture but since I felt I was wrong it was only right that I compensated him. Chinese and Chinese, Indians and Indians, Malays and Malays... or Christians and Christians, Muslims and Muslims... If it's not one, then it's the other. When opportunity presents itself, all will clamber to get the biggest pie for themselves. It does not matter what colour your skin is or faith you subscribe to. Even in church (of all places), I see leaders reserving 'service' for their own. Cos when we create a similarity, it's like we have this understood pact that we'll watch out for each other. But often too, this becomes an opportunity for own 'profit'.

So did both of us being Chinese really matter? If it had mattered then he would have been fairer in his quotation cos his father owned a car repainting shop and it would have cost him way less to repaint the scratch marks. It would have cost me more to send his car to my regular workshop. Had he really been oozing with kindness, he would have just quote me his cost! An opportunist will always be an opportunist... They see everything in terms of opportunity, then more opportunity. Everything is fair game to be used as opportunity for more opportunities....

This is racial Malaysia. We are so imbued with racism that when we see our own kind, we will take in that sort of tune... A couple of weeks ago, I saw on YouTube how a Malay chap tried to steak a motorbike that belonged to a Malay guard at a shopping complex in Kelana Jaya. But this video has since been made private. As the guard beat up the Malay chap, he yelled at him how could a Malay do that to a Malay. See how screwed up us Malaysians are... for everything we will run back to the race card, we make excuses for our race, we insist our rights because we are a certain race... never ending opportunities.

We, Malaysians are really sesat.... made sesat by our leaders who have been reinforcing this notion of race. It's either that or God must have screwed up when he created us in different colours so that the colours can be used against each other.

As for my car, the damage was worse than his. But what to do, it was more of my fault than his. And one more thing... My reverse sensor was beeping away when I was reversing. I thought it had gone cuckoo again which it has been doing a few months after I bought the Alza. It ever so often gives out uninhibited beeps. I paid the price for thinking that it had malfunctioned yet again. This is yet another example of how our local car industry has compromised the quality of our cars. We pay for products heavily protected and with compromised quality.

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Oh ya! Vultures come in different colours, sizes and shapes... They see other dead creatures, they zoom in and get fed. Survival... But at least they prey on dead ones. Human vultures are different....

 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Elizabeth The Queen ...Sally Bedell Smith

Queen Elizaabeth 2 is 86 this year. The last chapter of the book was on the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The queen is probably one of the most enigmatic women today. Having been the constant in British life for the last 60 years as the monarch of one of the oldest monarchy in the world today is no mean feat. And at her age, it's really amazing to watch her still.

As a young kid, she was one of the women I admired a lot, along with Margaret Thatcher. I thought she looked regal. She still does. A queen in modern times! It's the stuff that makes fairy tales come alive. I think all of us could always do with the little magic in life. And somehow, the life of Queen Elizabeth allows that little magic to nestle in our imagination. When Prince Charles married Diana, it was another magical moment for my generation. But after that, the magic dissipated bit by bit. We learned that the Royals are humans too.

Book 6 and there is still this little magic in reading this book. It's still magical to watch her, the Queen of England.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Plant Filter

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This is our very own biological filter for our pond. I got tired of bi-weekly cleaning that I had to do with the conventional filter more than a year ago. Cleaning fish muck is a very messy affair. So, we looked around and managed to find a pot with a spout and a fibreglass container. We threw in a few plants which we felt could grow well in water. Suffice to say, the filter has worked very well. The time gap for the last round of trimming was something like 9 months. 

For 9 whole months I did not have to touch fish muck. 8) And the above pic is how the roots grew to the shape of the box when Other Half and Son did some sprucing. In time, if they didn't trim them, the box will probably crack as how the terracotta pot we used to contain the green keladi plant in the box has cracked from the bottom.

This time though, we left the plants be for longer. By the time we took this out, the roots were so dense that filtering was happening only at the top layer. When we cut into the roots, much of what is in the middle had rotted. While it may look nice on the outside, there were actually a lot of rotting stuff beyond what the eye can see.

Life is kinda like the plants in the box. Without outside influence or interference, we grow... and grow too... but because we do not trim our excesses such as bad habits or have no one to tell us that we aren't doing the right things, we rot from inside. Eventually we implode. Our country too is at that crossroad now.... if we don't wake up and start trimming, one day, our container will crack. The signs of rot are all there... another MAS bailout, NFC scandal, the goon-ish behaviour of ceramah crashers, the outrageous wealth of our politicians' chilldren, Proton losses, the plight of the Kenyahs, the Baram dam. 

There is a long list... and they are all signs that the rot has set in. Boxed as the roots were, without trimming; that's how it's like in many institutions too, be it schools, churches, mosques, temples, companies....the rot sets in if we do not trim to allow regrowth, replacement, rejuvenation....
As for my natural filter box, Other Half recently put some water cress to grow. I hope they will grow well. Vegetables are so expensive these days, not forgetting coated with pesticides too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sick Schools?

I think many will go into denial mode and say that everything is good with our schools. Yet if one digs around a bit, you'll see some admissions that things are not really going well, though not that sort that has sent us onto a road of real reform. Read here for a better grasp of where we really stand when compared to other countries for characteristics of first world talent base. We are lagging and getting left behind.
Statistics show us one thing but those of us down in the trenches experience it daily. So what ails our education system.... A scene from a figment of my imagination.

A teacher is teaching in class. At a glance, one student walks out of the class and back in again for no apparent reason. The teacher continues rambling, ignoring the boy. Another stands up from his chair and walks to his friend's place. He takes something and goes back to his class. A crescendo of hootings suddenly rises. Hands hang out of the classroom. One hand is seen pushing and fiddling with the plastic bag that lines the rubbish bin which is directly outside the classroom. Suddenly 2 students run down the corridor, one chasing the other, creating a ruckus. At about the same time, the Students' Affairs Senior Assistant walks down the stairs. He hears the commotion. He pays a quick glance and he scurries down the stairs. Meanwhile the cacophony of noises continue, the sort that disrupts more than anything. Teacher, Senior Assistant, both choose to ignore.

In another class, 2 girls and 3 boys go missing from their class. The teacher writes down their names in the Discipline Book. Next lesson, teacher questions the missing students. Students tells teacher outright that they were in the library, knowing well that they had skipped their class on purpose. Their misbehavior is noted.... No action taken. In the assembly students are told that these are merely misdemeanors, nothing major. In the meantime, announcements can be heard off and on, reminding teachers that they have relief duties, interspersed with announcements admonishing students to enter their classes. Welcome to the school of our future - where the administrators sit in the office and with a mike barks out directions! The voice booms everywhere. Presence via voice. Welcome into the school of work smart....

Discipline is a problem these days. We promote Sekolah Penyayang cos it projects the right image. I listened with great incredulity one day when I was told that some teachers resort to cash incentive so that students don't skip school. This was told with some pride. There are still many teachers who genuinely want to make a difference, but the system works against them in a whole host of ways. Promotions, racism, poor leadership, a system of patronage.... You name it, a school like other institutions have begun to reflect the bigger picture of cronyism and patronage.

One day I bumped into a student who came in looking for the Biasiswa (Scholarship) teacher. He is given a stipend in the form of such scholarship! This is a student with no academic achievement to show, no good conduct.... and he is given a monthly stipend to come to school. Recently a colleague told me about this Chinese boy who has been abandoned by his parents. No scholarship for him. Such scholarships which come under the purview of the Federal and State Governments are hard to come by for non-Bumi students by the way. For no performance, a student gets an incentive. For being of certain race, you get preferential treatment. It's the same with the 1Malaysia Netbooks and so many other things. It's actually quite sickening to see such practices, which is sheer hypocrisy.

In one generation we have seen South Korea becoming the 13th largest economy in the world. They were worse off than Malaysia when we gained independence. So what happened? We pale in comparison today. They have brands like Samsung, Hyundai which have become quality products in their own rights. Samsung is head to head with Apple in smart phones and tablets. Our Proton is still trying to make a name, without much success. The company made a loss this year. Take away Government protection and it will close shop in a couple of years. Let me not even start with MAS which is bleeding the taxpayers' money, yet again. Another 2.5 billion ringgit! Gosh! How come Air Asia can make money? Take a look at Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak could have had it better had they gone Singapore's way, perhaps. We kicked Singapore out of the Federation thinking that they would come crawling back to us because they have no natural resources. Obviously we forgot that they could develop their human resources, which they have done with great success. When our oil runs dry, I think our tears will begin to flow.

And what did we do? We grew a bunch of politicians who divided us first by race, then seal the segregation with religion and stoke it with fear of our own shadows. Then for decades, in the name of race and religion began a systematic 'purge', in the process creating our very own apartheid system, lending it credence by stating how oppressed the Bumis were, creating a siege mentality for namely the Malays. Juvenile behaviour. But a group of even more authentic Bumis, the Orang Asli was conveniently left out. It is with this backdrop that the education system which used to be one of the best in this part of the world began spiraling ways downward. Now we have facilities but not that kind of knowledge workers to compliment them. It's probably just a matter of time before we begin to implode from within. The kind of people we have running the schools today... there is much left to be desired. There is a lot of talk going on. Sometimes you even see real effort.... but effort without talent or the knowledge.... you can only go that far before you stonewall.

The EPU has seen the need to improve our education system. They have a released a report on actions to be adopted. The thing is can we move on. Where education is concerned, teacher quality is one of the first that needs addressing. The thing is many of these teachers grew up at a time where they have been told that they are good when there is much room for improvement. A simple illustration. For English, I often come across teachers who speak bad English, i.e. not able to use the correct grammar yet think they are good. And that's where another problem shows. Years of being told that they are good when they are not have made them lousy lifelong learners. And so we have many half baked English teachers who think they are good teaching many wrong things to the students.... a typical case of the Malay idiom where the mother crab who cannot walk straight trying to teach her offsprings to walk straight. I often cringe at the language that comes out from their mouths. And sometimes when I take peeks into their students' work, wrong answers are marked wrongly. Double jeopardy for the learners!

So is our education system sick? There might be some who will say we are doing great. But I think it's sad to see the state of our education. It's even sadder to see most of our secondary students not on par with their peers from Korea or Singapore. It's not that we lack talent. It's just that we lack leaders. And we the people are foolish enough to allow ourselves to be played out againt each other and wake up to our lack of things.