Sunday, August 19, 2012

Loss

We will always feel a sense of loss, I feel. It's part of life. We lose things. We lose bits of ourselves - hair, eyesight, teeth, memory, etc. And we lose the people around us. People come in and out of my life. Death, moving away... They're all losses. In the last 2 days, I've spent time with friends who are moving away. Both to faraway places; one is uprooting for good, another is half uprooting.... It's a sense of loss... One couple is nearing retirement age. Another couple is just starting together in life, with a young kid in tow. And both are leaving in search of better life, to be nearer kids, to have a better shot at career advancement.

It's sad. The older couple is leaving because our country cannot give their children fair opportunities. The younger couple is leaving because our country cannot give them further training in their career... The opportunity to advance one's career, especially in the civil service is very much dependent on your race. Both husband and wife are our cream and have much to contribute. But they'll most likely be denied the opportunities despite their abilities and talents; and it boils down to racial prejudice.

A sense of loss... cos these are people who mean something to me. And they're leaving... because we are still very much a country divided by race which has caused us to compromise our values and act in a skewed manner.


These are rubber bands which snapped soon as I stretched them in my attempt to use them to tie a bunch question papers together. I took 6 from a new bag of rubber bands. I was not able to use a single one of them for my intended purpose because they were of such low quality. And there was a whole big bag of them. Somebody ordered from the supplier. The funny thing is, it wasn't returned to the supplier even though they were mostly defective. That's how it is with our system now. We continue to accept mediocrity or worse and not do much about it. We think that like these defective rubber bands, one day the mediocrity that we've been promoting will magically evolve into excellence. But the rot is setting in, values are getting skewed.....

These are spools of strings. I cut them into shorter strands to be used by students to tie their scripts together. The string needs to be of a certain diameter so that the students will be able to tie their scripts easily. But guess what, we did not get the specified thread from the supplier. Is somebody making extra profit here? It happens a lot. The sense of accountability and public funds are skewed. I attended a briefing once where we were told that even if prices quoted by bumi suppliers are higher, we should get it from them. Taxpayers' money are not well spent. The AG reports after all, have highlighted exorbitant sums paid for stationery, etc. This might be no different. The school is short changed. The students too... And we seem to be okay with it. Poor management of resources and we accept it (or are told and forced) to accept it.

That's how it is with our management of our country's human resource. No effort is made to retain our best and brightest, if not from the 'right' race. But these days, even those from the 'right' race are sidelined because the end product of what is skewed will be skewed. Every effort, on the other hand, is made to give identity cards to any unskilled immigrants who can speak Bahasa. A former revered leader said they should be given, as long as they speak the national language. Never mind if they are unskilled or have very little education. We accept breakable rubber bands. We settle for inferior quality strings when we have already spent for better strings...

Racial politics that divides... brain drain... it adds on to the losses of life, hastening it prematurely....

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