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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 15 February 2009

Education vs. Legislation.

What actually is the Malay problem? Well, figuratively speaking, between a Malay and a non Malay, the Malay is a primary school leaver. And the problem facing the primary school leaver is this: there are not so many vacancies for messengers, peons and thambys and the less skillful jobs. Even the less skillful are now being overtaken by Indonesians, Nepalese, Myanmarians, and some others from God knows what country.

But there are many job vacancies for skillful jobs, machinists, engineering and other skills demanding jobs. Those require skills upgrading, training and education, college and university education. Those require having diplomas, degrees and advanced degrees.

So the problem for the Malay is still largely education and acquisition of skills and expertise. It's time we move up the value added chain.

Whether we realize it or not, education seems to be an answer to redress the imbalance between the races. If the Malays become aware that education and acquisition of more skills, the valued adding skills, they will know that it is one important answer to address the economic imbalances between races.

Awareness that education is an important key helps in removing the preponderance of relying on legislation as a means to redress the economic imbalances. Education leads to employment and employment leads to better incomes which in turn go some way into achieving a better standard of living.

This idea of using education as a liberating force is lost on UMNO leaders. It's lost because our leaders compounded our reliance on legislation to redeem us. The baneful influence of power and intoxication in them appears to give leaders a false final solution to economic and social problems.

The problem is legislation cannot create the 'want' to work; it cannot create the 'want' to do better, the want to self help, the want to acquire wealth. What legislation does it to transfer wealth temporarily and easily after which it is dissipated quickly. Unless the wealth transferred receives valued added touch in the form of education and skills, the wealth so acquired stays with the recipient only temporarily. Education enhances wealth creating capacity while legislation gives a false sense of perpetuity.

This idea that legislation becomes the definitive means to redress economic imbalances between races seems to permeate many levels of thinking within the Malay establishment. It has set in for instance among politicians, administrators and among local leaders. It is this idea that somehow, we can legislate our way to prosperity without the attendant skunk work, that lulls the Malays. But more damaging, it pushes them to increasingly accept undemocratic and even authoritarian means to solve problems.

Hence among politicians, the over-indulgence in using licenses and quotas for example to secure economic advantages and benefits. They always failed when those freebies are never fortified by education and skills. We will quota our way and license our way to riches is the mantra.

Among administrators, benefits and advantages are secured by way of regulations, licenses, quotas, bylaws and so forth. Many of these are applied indiscriminately believing that such application confer on the recipients, long term benefits. They failed because those gratuitous benefits which are not worked for, are unfortunately not supported by genuine skills and education.

But perhaps the biggest flaw in using legislation as a means to solve social and economic problems, is the damaging disregard that it is but a superficial adornment which fails to create the necessary 'wants' within the person. How do you legislate an 'urge' for instance? You cannot but do it through education because education empowers the person from within.

Probably this disregard is the biggest single factor that gnaws at the effectiveness of the NEP. And it takes a new and courageous leadership to unscramble the system.


Anonymous,  15 February 2009 at 20:50  

you hit the nail spot on.

and what happens to our education standards? one way down and our venrable UM has disappeared from the radar screen of top 100 universities.
Oh before I forget, the Minister came out celebrating when one of our universities improved from 300+ placing to just below 300. Thats the quality the populace is now drilled to accept and the consequence is stagnation in real income.

Pak Zawi 15 February 2009 at 20:59  

Quality education is the keyword. During my working days I have helped off campus university students with their assignments in English to help him pass. He did graduate but his quality was so far below par that many of his applications for jobs outside our own organization turned him down at the interview stage. He was a graduate alright but a low quality one of no use to anybody.
Legislation alone definitely cannot help such people.

Anonymous,  15 February 2009 at 21:36  

may be you should borrow Doc Brown DeLorean, goes back in time and tell that to Tun Razak.

malaysia wasted 50 years.

Anonymous,  15 February 2009 at 22:06  

We have politicians as Ministers of Education; we also have appointees to very senior positions in the MoE who cannot act professionally because most often they are not qualified to be there in the first place (some may violently disagree with this). Combine the two and we have a disaster.

Just take a look at the secondary school principals and primary school headmasters and you see mediocrity permeating the education system.

What we need are thinking people who dare to be innovative. But whatever innovation that manage to see the light of day today is most often stifled. If you talk too much in a meeting, you will not be invited to the next. You must never be better than the other guy whose way to the top is via patronage.

So what kind of education system do we get? When everyone is busy politicking, competing, manouvering, sabotaging then the business of educating suffers. Do you know Dato', a culture of envy exists in the corridors of power? And of course the warlords at state level - they can make or break a national initiative.

I once attended a seminar in Lumut, Perak, where one Principal complained he never got help to buy computers for the school. But when I asked him how that Chinese school headmaster in the fishing village managed to acquire 4 for a student population of 28, he had no answer. Imagine that school, in the 90s had 1 computer to 7 pupils and this was way before the Smart Schools came into being. This is just one case; I know there are many others like that if we only take the trouble to look.

Another instance is the case of the professional course taker. You could see one officer attending so many courses during the year you wonder what kind of work he did. Apparently those not seeing eye-to-eye with their superiors are sent to courses the year round so they won't cause trouble in the workplace. So workplace problems are transferred to other locations and manpower is wasted.

I believe "educators" don't seem to have time for education. If we can somehow have great educational leadership throughout the system then there is probably some hope for us. If we see educational issues as being educational, and act accordingly to resolve them, then I believe we would be on the way to having a great system.

I don't want to sound simplistic but it would take a lot of space to talk about this. Suffice to say if we leave out the kind of approach to education you wrote about, then maybe we can begin to be serious about educating our young; about setting real goals and objectives and finding the means and the wherewithal to achieve those goals and objectives.

We all need to really get serious about the national educational enterprise and get rid of all the unnecessary baggage. We need to be less political and chauvinistic about education. Maybe when we old codgers (don't mean you Dato')are gone and the young inherit the earth, maybe just maybe then we will have a real national educational agenda where everyone in his/her own way benefits, where education can really be seen as equalising life chances for all.


Anonymous,  15 February 2009 at 22:09  

We have politicians as Ministers of Education; we also have appointees to very senior positions in the MoE who cannot act professionally because most often not qualified to be there in the first place. Combine the two and we have a disaster.

Just take a look at the secondary school principals and primary school headmasters and you see mediocrity permeating the education system.

What we need are thinking people who dare to be innovative. But whatever innovation that manage to see the light of day today is most often stifled. If you talk too much in a meeting, you will not be invited to the next. You must never be better than the other guy whose way to the top is via patronage.

So what kind of education system do we get?

I once attended a seminar in Lumut, Perak, where one Principal complained he never got help to buy computers for the school. But when I asked him how that Chinese school headmaster in the fishing village managed to acquire 4 for a student population of 28, he had no answer. Imagine that school, in the 90s had 1 computer to 7 pupils and this was way before the Smart Schools came into being.

Another instance is the case of the professional course taker. You could see one officer attending so many courses during the year you wonder what kind of work he did. Apparently those not seeing eye-to-eye with their superiors are sent to courses the year round so they won't cause trouble in the workplace.

I believe "educators" don't seem to have time for education. If we can somehow have great educational leadership throughout the system then there is probably some hope for us. If we see educational issues as being educational, and act accordingly to resolve them, then I believe we would be on the way to having a great system.

I don't want to sound simplistic but it would take a lot of space to talk about this. Suffice to say if we leave out the kind of legislation you wrote about, then maybe we can begin to be serious about educating our young; about setting real goals and objectives and finding the means and the wherewithal to achieve those goals and objectives.

We all need to really get serious about the national educational enterprise and get rid of all the unnecessary baggage. We need to less political and chauvinistic about education. Maybe when we old codgers (don't mean you Dato')are gone and the young inherit the earth, maybe just maybe then we will have a real national educational agenda.


kuldeep 15 February 2009 at 22:44  

1. The govt is providing a lot of opportunities for Malays to acquire an education through vocational,polytechnics,colleges and universities.There is more Bumi than Non Bumi graduates going into the job market each year.

2.There is the always the question of the poor quality of the graduates from the local institutions.One of the issue is their poor command of English.

3.It is interesting to note that graduates from Taiwan,Korea and Romania among others,are also weak in English.These countries however have progressed and recognised as being technically proficient and innovative.

4.There is also the concern that tertiary educational institutions have become an uncontrolled factory lines i.e quantity before quality.This argument is supported by the low ranking of our universities.

5.The economy is controlled by the non Bumis and the Multi Nationals.Thus,they are the bigger generators of employment opportunities.

6.Many Chinese companies have preference for chinese speaking candidates..and in many cases have even advertised it as one of the required qualifications.

7.For entry level jobs in the MNCs the selection is normally by middle management.In many companies there are more non Bumis at this level than there is Bumis.

8.The best form of learning is always "on the job".The academic training only provides the necessary tools and discipline.Being exposed and working in the right company (especially small to medium size companies) provides the skills,norms and tricks of the industry as well as establishing the networking.Many non Bumi businesses grew from these ex employees.Unfortunately not many Bumis are in in these types of jobs.

9.Working with govt may not give any real "hands on" industry exposure.However it does provide an opportunity to create the "who do you know?" network.This "skills" is much valued by the non Bumis businessmen.

10. The govt gives licenses,APs,quotas,negotiated contracts to Bumis to assist them to compete in the biz world.The non Bumis have other advantages inherent due to their longer exposure in biz bought by their great grandpa,distributorships of major brands secured in the 40s etc.

11.By assisting the bigger boy Bumis with the start ups,the govt hopes to create a genuine and thriving bumi business ecosystem.As such,smaller boys Bumi will have more of the downstream opportunities.It will also create more "hands on " job opportunities for young Bumis.

12.However,there is no control once the special privileges are given out.More often than not,the opportunities are given to the wrong people.Thus the leakage and "outsourcing" to non bumis.The Bumis only maintain their core competency i.e get rich quick.

13.To resolve this is easy..pick the "right bumis" and let them compete.Possibly allow maximum 10 % pricing edge over the non Bumis for the first few opportunities then no more.

14.Focus more on the supply chains to create the SMEs and the supporting industry.

I believe this will create the "want" to succeed i.e people will begin to believe that their efforts to learn (formally and on the job )will be rewarded as opportunities to be in business grows.This is very much the thinking of non Bumis now i.e the current job is the learning process for starting a business.

Anonymous,  15 February 2009 at 23:02  

You got the guts to state the facts as most see them. Our politicians in the corridors of power are behaving like ostriches much to the continued deterioration of the educational systems affecting Malays in particular.

The Chinese are, independent of the government, educating their children to a level that can fit comfortably in a commercial environment and indeed many are gainfully employed in multi-national firms around the globe.

Hence in spite of the NEP, there appears the emergence of an ever increasing disparity between the two major races.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 03:11  

Salam Tok Sak,
Sorry, after your previous few postings on KJ and related topics, I couldn't help but thought this one too "smells" of KJ... you know the importance of getting good education (Ivy League, like, Oxbridge... is the best of course!?) to get the Malays out of their "holes"... but then again, do we have "realistic role models" that Malays in the street could relate to? I mean, KJ though Oxford-educated, IS THE SIL of PM, and dapat jadi Timbalan Ketua Pemuda UMNO without even going through election; Dr. Raja Nazrin... well again, he's not really "typical" Malay... you know his blood is yellow not red, who else? Mukhriz? He got the TDM baggage, unfortunately... haiyah! manyak susa lor!? No, no, no... wait, how about itu Lalo' Seri' Khir Toyo? He's even demonstrating in support of the Raja2 ma... Now, he's a son of a "nobody", sweated it out to become a qualified DENTIST, right? Is he a good role model of educated rag-to-riches Malay? Now this could be a double-edged sword, "rag-to-riches"... some people are saying he's becoming TOO RICH from leveraging on his "political rags" to be a good role model pulak! So who's a good & EDUCATED Malay role model who made it through honest-to-God, blood, sweat & tears means? Can you suggest a few names Dato'?

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 05:37  

Salam Dato,

You’re absolutely right that legislation or policy alone will not help NEP. The want and desire to acquire knowledge or wealth should be the key ingredient in all Malay people’s heart. However the NEP itself is flawed. The NEP set quotas, giving out licenses but never actually deal with the real world of business. The real deal in business is not just about acquiring licenses and furthermore those given licenses most are not actually qualified. Climbing up the rank should be a natural process, for example in the 70’s and 80’s most backhoe or tractor drivers were Chinese, then the Malays took over the job. The Chinese then became a full fledge contractor but the Malays got stuck at that job and couldn’t climb higher because all class F or D licenses were already given out to UMNO cawangan’s people who had never pegang a cangkul before. The Chinese have their cousin’s or uncle’s big companies where they can take sub contract job.

Sometimes, government agency being set-up to help the bumiputras are run by not business minded people. They have the policy to use and money to spend but short of ideas. Mara only gives out loan but not exactly an enterprising body, just look at the way they design and build bangunan or kedai MARA . Who wants to go there ? Maybe those looking for kain batik and songkok will. Why can’t they build proper shop lot. If they want to help the Malays, please do it full heartedly and properly. And the non-malays call this a tongkat…but actually only a batang pokok ubi kayu.

Lets look at FELCRA, I met the MD of Felcra Niaga and he said he couldn’t plan anything because of internal politicking. The East Coast management team vs West Coast management team. I said hey, you have the money why only promote tikar mengkuang and kerusi kayu? Why not you become the importers, bring in hundreds of containers of goods from china or Vietnam or Indonesia and become the distributors. Let the malays set-up RM2 Ringgit shop or anything of that kind. If you’re a bumiputra, try and go to Port Klang and ask the Chinese distributor that you want to set-up a 2Ringgit shop. His answer will be “ semua franchise sudah penuh ma..”.

Hey, I can go on forever…but this is Dato’ Ariff’s blog not mine. Thanks Dato.

nightcaller 16 February 2009 at 06:16  

Talking about Malaysian education, most Malays are primary school leavers due to the failure of Malaysian education system. The govt keeps on changing the concept from english speaking to Malay medium and not teaching maths and science in english. Then, everytime a minister of education is named, a new policy. Thus the schools keep on changing to suit the new policy. In the end, the students are victimised by the everchanging policy.

Another aspect that we all have to agree is the "entertainment culture" that has been ingrained into the Malays. For every Raya, Jom Hebohs', gangstarz etc are lulling our youth to entertainment. Its just concerts, concerts and more concerts resulting in our youths to go astray and lose it purpose and sense of directions. Look at the pusat serentis, who are the occupants? Look at the pusat pemulihan akhlak, who are they?

Politicians come and go but along the way, they forget to serve the nation. Instead, they serve their own bellies, enriching themselves, families, close friends and their political sponsors. The politicians are only good in providing fiery rhetorics when it comes to education for the Malays. Heck, even some of those politicians that we proudly called malays are not malays but 2nd or 3rd generation turkish, indians, chinese, sumatrans whilst some are mixture of caucasians and what nots.

How do we improve Malay educations? By building their self dignity, minimising the pestas and the free concerts, arming them with stronger "jati diri" so that they can withstand the social ills of dadah, social problems etc. But then again, to say is easy but to implement it needs sincere joint efforts from all, regardless of political beliefs which Malays are known near impossible to do.

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 09:13  


Education is only a tool, a stepping stone and a means to get what one wants in the modern world.

According to Sir Ken Robinson (, the education system with have today was a byproduct of the industrial revolution, and he is right to a certain extent. In the modern context, education does take one places in the world today.

We should be pragmatic and follow the trend of the times. Being literate and educated are two different things. Age old agricultural knowledge, the arts and crafts are all Malay strengths - kris making, woodwork of intricate design, traditional boat making, etc., has been sidelined in pursuit of keeping up with the Jones, or in our case the Lims and Yeohs.

Boon Siew was an illiterate grease monkey turned tycoon and there are numerous newspaper distributors that started off with a small wooden shack in the heart of town. It is about seizing the opportunity one is presented with.

I have to disagree that education will solve all the problem. Look at those sent abroad under JPA/MARA scholarships, the fact that there are people failing their courses means the selection process did not picked the best or those simply worthy of going. And now we have further training schemes upon university graduation, instead of plugging the leak by looking at the actual cause which is within the university, we have now another quick band aid and project for the 'entrepreneurs'.

Yes, education is necessary for modern living, but merely it is a means to an end. A look at the history of immigrants in this country will see that did whatever it took to further themselves whether by working the tin mines, tap rubber or plant padi. And when the time came for the next generation to further themselves, they embraced the education opportunity provided by the Brits.

As the majority population of the country, the best bet now is still to legislate and better yet to realize that technical skills are just as worthy as a paper qualification. This is so that those living away from the cities and choose a different kind of path can still enjoy a decent standard of living.

People should be motivated according to their strengths and, to some extent, fancies. Or else it would be like giving a flower to a monkey.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 09:13  

Dato, what U have mentioned is an up-hill task at best.

Yrs of educational mismanagement, has produced first a weak & collapsible foundation based purely on ethnic consideration, second a group of mediocre 'educators' (I'm not sure they should be called that at all), whose main aim in life is to sustain their grip of that positions come what may. And the only way to do that is through bodek via politicians & wanton discrimination against others.

Here is a true story I was told during the CNY gathering with my kindred.

A scholastic nephew was 'luckily' awarded a JPA scholarship to do a tertiary course in NZ. The university actually offer a 3-yr instead of 4-yr duration due to his academic result. A subsidised tuition fee is also in standing too. Instead the JPA insists him to go with the 4-yr normal duration or reject the JPA scholarship!

Just imagine how much money JPA can save & channel that saved money for another student's fee! This is done during the current world economic 'upheaval'!

Here U have a bunch of idiot napoleons, doing whatever their intentions r! Economic consideration? Best for the country? My foot!

Whatever angle one look at this incidence one can only conclude that THIS country is truly going to the dog.


Jonas Lee 16 February 2009 at 09:53  

Is there any new insights in this discussion about the futility of legislating our country into a knowledge-skilled society?

Since we can't achieve academic excellence among our graduates thanks to a politicised educational system, perhaps parents and citizens should adopt a different approach to motivate the young, especially the Malays.

Create more local competitions that award students with the honours (with some reasonable prize money of course) of being the most widely read or smart in every field of arts and science.

Look at how the "one in a million" or American Idol created a generational passion to be the best singer. Same goes for Donald Trump's The Candidate.

Malaysians must realise that friendly and fair competition among students of all races is similar to exercising our physical muscles. Without such physical training and competition, we will be intellectually slack and academically backward.

And finally, the private sector + government should be co-sponsors of any efforts to revamp the educational system.

walla 16 February 2009 at 12:14  

I wanted to write my magnum opus on this important topic that, again, this particular blogger has astutely identified but after reading all the intelligent and persuasive comments above, perhaps you will let me just pepper some views here and then (and i sincerely hope for Malaysia's sake, they will write some more).

The blogger asked what actually is the Malay problem. I don't think it's just the Malay's problem. It's probably universal but maybe more pronounced in the Malay community at the moment. That means the approach to solving that problem hasn't yet been fleshed out more efficiently in some quarters.

Sometimes when you walk the street you will see some men huddled together over a small table. They're playing chess. I don't see the Chinese and Indians do that as much as those groups of Malays. In fact along KL's Jalan TAR, some of them are indonesians. And if you're in Jakarta, you will probably see that too. Now, chess is not just a pastime. It's a serious game which can expend more calories of energy than a boxing bout. It's a game of strategy, logic, imagination, combination, calculation, memory and will. A good player must also be disciplined and press on his mental stamina without relent.

I think if the Malays are enthusiastic about chess, they already have the internal wherewithal to be good in acquiring knowledge because those are the same basic qualities you need if you want to study well.

Secondly, moral knowledge. This is just a generalization but perhaps you will also agree that the Malays' approach to moral knowledge is probably higher and more regimented. While i would agree with others that too much regimentation in the young will stifle their mental flowering, we should also recognize that the Malays' edge in acquiring moral knowledge is something you cannot deny.

So i ask, if moral knowledge, why not the other types of knowledge? If you can sit down and assiduously study, memorize, understand and recite the Holy Scripts, why not the 'scripts' of the physical world?

If you study the Malay mind and the way it argues things, the presentations are as logical and rounded as the thought process. It may not be preponderantly quantitative but that's the magic of it. It's almost summative in its intuitive content.

So i think there's much potential in the Malays to develop their mental acuity further, acquire corporeal knowledge more expansively and deeply, and take it to the next steps of applying what they learn to the irksome task of making a better living for themselves.

Thirdly, i like to sit near youngsters to eavesdrop on what they're saying. Not because i am a busybody but out of concern for how they are getting by. Too many of such overheard conversations give me cause for concern. They lament they don't know what their teachers are saying. It seems the teachers are not customizing their approach to the students, only asking "do you understand what i have said?" and not getting any response. Then after class, the more desperate bunch will go attend tuition classes. Of course this will eat not only into the household budget already tighter than a garrot, but it will also eat into the notion of a balanced lifestyle for those youngsters. Were that all, one can look the other way and just sigh. But those tuition teachers are in many cases not as qualified and seasoned as the teachers in the national schools. Yet the students understand their teaching. How come? Even the class sizes are comparable so you can't talk about personal attention. Something that happened inside the tuition class didn't happen inside a school class. But that's not all. You also only see exceptionally few, if any, of Malay students taking tuition. Is it urban budget constraints, motivation, what? Maybe it's legislation which gives some assurance that it will still be alright to just get by which persuades the Malay not to be too bothered with walking the extra mile on his own feet because he thinks he will be taken care of from cradle onwards.

Which comes to the main theme:

Fourthly, it's all about what one wants. If you want to do well, then it must be doing well compared to the whole world. Here, the Malays think it is only sufficient for them to do well if they can hold their own in this country, and at that, any which way. And the root of it is they don't want to face up to things like global standards, probably out of fear if they do, they will feel the task before them even more intimidating than what they're already feeling while trying to 'compete' with the others in their midst. Once they are stuck in that frame of mind, other negatives will magnify themselves creating bigger imagined obstacles.

That's also why when it comes to aiming for 'glocal', one should perhaps think twice. If you try to go for 'glocal', the process involved is actually ratiocinating two possibly diverging objects: global demands and local imperatives. However the global demands are assuredly more universal, easily identified by disparate groups to be universal, common and at the cutting edge, whereas the local imperatives are perceived, parochial and, if you allow me, politically punditative.

So start with global and go global all the way, then after making some achievements, retrofit your global standards to local imperatives. You may in doing so even find that those local imperatives change their hues and miens in the very process and turning into something even better than you could have imagined.

Let me insert two small tangential examples here. Example one: sometime back i was in Mydin Melaka. Miskin-lah so went for a two ninety table clock. Be assured if you want insomnia, that's the device for it. Infernal din (no, not my-din, i mean, nor the politician too). The clock makes loud ticktocks. But it's not about the clock i want to say. It's about the tune they were playing on the loudspeaker. I recognize it from some of my Chinese friends that it was a cantonese tune. And the lyrics were in Bahasa. Fusion music. Now i offer that the song came out mightily soothing. The lyrics seemed to have fitted in nicely, enhancing the melody which enhanced the mind that was finally coaxed to buy an infernal din.

There's no disgrace in embracing change of any mien, race, whatever. If it works, absorb.

Example two: the professor in the uni gave an assignment. A difficult experiment. Many had tried. And died. The honours class shuddered. That masochist. He wore a look of disdain, not believing the people before him had any intellectual worth to claim success with his piece de resistance. That was why he gave as rationale only one funny looking equation. Accept that and go do. It was a very abstruse equation. When someone saw that, he asked himself 'why should i accept hearsay? You said, i heard, but why?' So he did some research on his own (that time tiada laman web). And after poring through tomes of spidery-webbed volumes, he chanced upon something that sparked the connecting idea. He then proceeded to derive that equation from ground up. Twenty pages of knot-tight symbols later, he did the experiment, succeeded smoothly and wrote the report with the full derivation of that equation. The effect on that professor was strange in his classes later. He kept calling by mistake the name of that graduating student when he actually wanted to call out someone else.

The seed of that idea came from another research paper written by a group of professors. In israel.

Going global is not just putting up your stall in Harrods. It's also about sucking in everything from the world in such filtered fashion that you can get ideas or short-cuts without having to reinvent wheels in order to do better and faster.

Because the real imperative about knowledge and education is time. It's actually a race.

Fifthly, the referee for that race only speaks a few languages. I would like to think if we had kept to english (for instance) in our education system, and not flip-flopped according to the levels of political desperation, we would probably have done much better than the malays down south and probably hold our own with others in the more advanced countries, like how we were in those commonwealth days when our academic excellence was what had distinguished our small country. Now, where?

When most of the world's knowledge is in english, and you say go grab knowledge but you only tool them to read hikayats, how are the poor students going to excel later?

Let me throw an example: 'find out what has been written that can fall under the subject called financial engineering as practiced in the real world so that you can understand the possible causes of the present financial crisis.' How to start? How to continue? How to finish?

None of the politicians gave a real thought from the experiential viewpoint of the Malay student. He's already feeling edgy about his confidence. Then he goes to school and learns in Bahasa. For subjects like Sejarah, he is subjected to mental torment most of the time on local and that part of international history which reduced to remembering long names of basically bland personages. Why not teach him what happened at Cannae and why that could have been important? Or what were the mistakes of Alexander the Great? For all we know, he may get to see that relived next month.

So aside from content that turns him off, he has to expand his own knowledge in a class setting that debilitates his curiosity. And to do that he has to learn in Bahasa, read in english, translate what he has read back to Bahasa, and correlate one to the other. What if he doesn't know how to do that, or to think, analyse or write critically? He would be lost before he even started. And that's why so many of them have so many problems these days. Compounded when they return home to find a house that does not instil mental and spiritual discipline to improve oneself from doing better in one's studies. Education takes second place to 999 or manchester united.

Sixthly (sickly?), the methodology of the policy makers is kaput. See a problem. Do a solution. See another problem. Scramble another solution. They might as well take a drunk man's walk. At least that is amenable to mathematical expostulation.

You have to see the big picture all the time. Why stimulate the economy now? Stimulate when it is already doing well so that when downturns hit, at least the buffer period would be longer. Why do affirmative policies without recognizing where are the productive and creative factors for the whole economy? Why still today zero-sum gaming? How much the winnings per draw? If someone is good, then regardless of race help him or her up all the way. Show that creativity is valued by removing the chains from the media so that they can create a new climate of inquisitiveness and transparency. Walk the talk about integrity and good governance. Show that you can also embrace without fear or favour the real implications of global standards. Call a spade a cangkul.

After all, if the country prospers, industry and economy will less chance to be left behind. Furthermore, if everyone becomes stupid, what happens to all when the boat is steered wrongly to be overturned by the next tidal wave?

Think very hard and seriously about creating a two-path track for everything. Argue it out from a national interest viewpoint and a historical perspective leading to where we really are today and what we must become so that we all don't go into the twilight - for the sake of the young. Ask yourselves in all honesty whether all those policies have really served their objectives or they have in fact created more gulfs, gaps and grim results that are destroying the fabric not just of our economy but also our society.

Then do the right thing.

Seventhly, don't neglect vocational training. If necessary, change the word 'vocational' to something less associated with manual labour. Instil knowledge and creativity as necessary objectives as much manual dexterity skills. Teach them how to read technical drawings as fast as Jason Bourne reads russian road maps while driving with a bleeding arm, one hand, and half a mind.

Example three: this japanese guy was in a metal parts factory in Shah Alam. He was from Osaka. His own company had won so many awards it had to take his staff two days just to list out what they make to international standards. So he was standing there looking at the locals. They had a small problem. How to clad in copper an iron pipe. He grinned, took the small copper tube and clamped it over one end of the iron pipe, then turned the vice-screw and dragged the copper tubing until it stretched all the length of the pipe. What was in play here? Knowledge that copper is more malleable than iron, and creativity that you only need to use gear leverage, not expensive electrolytic deposition.

Knowledge plus creativity plus manual dexterity skills.

Eighthly, i am out of kretek and so need to go to the flower pot.

Thanks for your forbearance inasmuch incandescent intelligence, Datuk (and everyone).

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 13:56  


from an eye of a student !,,,,,

Some UMNO politicians argue that it is because we are segregated, while we should be uniting our children in national schools. Others say that we are not building enough vernacular schools. Parents of children just starting school often complain of heavy schoolbags. Lately bullying has also become a hot topic when it comes to discussing Malaysian schools.

What is often overlooked, however, are two important factors: the syllabus/curriculum, and the teachers/school administrators. As a mere student, I cannot provide hard statistics or surveys to back up my experiences. However, I believe my run-ins with the system do indicate that something is very wrong with the way we run our schools, statistics or no statistics.

Problem #1: Activist school administrators. In early 2003, I was attending secondary school for the first time. Those were turbulent days, politically. It was the build-up to the Second Gulf War. Being kindhearted Malaysians, we formed a pressure group, Malaysians For Peace, and circulated a petition against the war. This petition reached my school, and the school administrators decided it would be a wonderful thing to pass this around for the students to sign. However, defeating the purpose of a petition, they made signing mandatory.
Exactly what punishment would be consequent should anyone dare to not sign, nobody could tell. Form one students, after all, are not exactly the type to challenge authority.

Anyhow, I asked a couple of class monitors, who were in charge of ensuring everyone signed, if I couldn't sign, as a matter of principle. They looked at me as though I was nuts. They would be the ones in trouble, they said, if anyone did not sign. Shrugging it off, I signed. I didn't support the war anyway. Later at recess, I found out that there actually were a few people who supported the war but signed anyway because they were forced to.

Problem #2: Money-crazed school administrators. At the end of 2003, I transferred to another school, mainly because of the lax discipline and isolated location of my old one. The school administration here, however, seems to be more concerned with money. In 2004, we had a jogathon, attended by the local State Assemblywoman for fundraising. Then because our target was not met, the funds raised were spent immediately instead of being kept to accumulate with the funds from the 2005 jogathon.

What was the money spent on? Carpet for the stage in the hall. We students weren't too sure what that was for, as we hardly ever use the stage except for once-a-year events, none of which ever faced a setback due to a lack of soft flooring. What else was our money used for? Raising of the stage in front of the assembly ground. Strangely enough, the students this year don't seem any taller than last year, so we're still wondering what a higher stage was needed for.

In 2005, it got worse. We were ordered to purchase and wear school socks. Now, if these had been priced reasonably and of decent quality, nobody would mind. But the pricing was outrageous (RM5 for a pair), and the socks were thin enough to see through. And the school's excuse for pushing these socks? Girls were wearing their socks too low. Strangely enough, the largest size of these socks for girls wasn't any bigger than the standard size. After a lot of complaints, the school scrapped the idea.

The school also holds extra classes after usual schooling hours for students sitting the PMR and SPM (Penilaian Menengah Rendah and Sijil Pendidikan Malaysia, or Lower Secondary Evaluation and the Malaysian Certificate of Education). These classes cost RM25 for each subject, and are mandatory. Considering PMR-sitters have about ten subjects, that works out to RM250, as much as the school fees paid at the beginning of the year. And for what? An extra hour per week for each subject.

And getting out of these classes is no easy task either. There is no opt-out choice on the form for parents to fill out. Stating on the form you refuse to enrol your child in these classes is not an option either. An official letter is demanded. Nevertheless, this method is not publicised unless you request to be excused. Otherwise, the only recourse offered is if you already attend tuition outside, in which case, a letter from the tutor is required. Some classes had their teachers tell them there was absolutely no way you could be excused
from classes unless you already take tuition outside.

The school also holds ICT (Information and Communications Technology) classes during school hours for two periods (70 minutes) each week. These classes are available only to Form 1, 2 and 3 students, and are mandatory. No option to opt-out is given; the cost of RM100 is built into the school fees at the beginning of each term. However, most of the time devoted to these classes is spent on outlining simple tricks in Microsoft Excel. For example, teaching how to add up numbers in columns makes up the lesson for the week.

Problem #3: Incompetent teachers. In a form 2 class, for example, the following conversation was overheard:

Teacher: Bla, bla, bla, Dutch, bla, bla...
Student: Teacher, where did the Dutch come from?
Teacher: Um, ah, you don't need to know that. It doesn't come out in the exam.

In that same class, the geography teacher would pass out typed notes for students to paste in their notebooks. These notes, although comprehensive, were the only sort of teaching or mentoring done in class. That same teacher's lectures were mainly her reading aloud the notes she had just handed out.

Another teacher, who specialises in English famously pronunced the name Nigel as "neegel". A number of science teachers often teach by copying the answers for exercises, as well as the variables, hypotheses, inferences and conclusions for experiments on the blackboard, and ordering students to copy those down. While the students scribble, the teacher will lecture on the topic. Most students goof off during science class and study science at tuition.

A maths teacher made secondary school students cut and paste colourful pieces of paper like kindergarteners. Another English teacher appears to suffer from bipolar disorder, being extremely nice half the time, and the other half of the time going off on tangential rants about how evil the class is. Her complaints have on occasion, reduced students to tears. On one occasion, she demanded to know the latest gossip in class about her from one student, or else she would deduct his marks. He refused, and nothing came of the incident.

One science teacher in particular deserves special attention. Her English was at best, difficult to understand. Her lessons sometimes went too in-depth for form three students (as a Biology teacher, she seemed to have been carried away on occasion by the subject). And a mid-term paper she prepared was a disaster. For example, she marked the following definition of the function of red blood cells as wrong: "To distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout the body." In addition,
a question regarding the differences between polar bears and tropical bears saw the answer, "Polar bears have thicker fur than tropical bears. This is because they require more insulation to keep warm than in the tropics," marked wrong, because the textbook example was about the colour of bears' fur.

This teacher then transferred out. Unfortunately, her replacement who graded the papers, gave the following response when asked about the red blood cell question: "Red blood cells are to protect from sick."

Problem #4: A brazen lack of ethics among students. Students in every form submit coursework for a number of subjects each year. Depending on the whims of teachers, which subjects are subjected to this requirement vary. However, at a minimum, history, geography and life skills, all require written reports, for students in form 3 and below. I decided to snoop among my classmates in form 3 just before handing in our reports (these comments were collected at different times):

"I copied a three page long essay off the internet into Microsoft Word! Damn chun."

"[name removed] copied his 50-page long report from his cousin."

"Luckily I got [name removed]'s project, otherwise I would never have finished this on time."

"Shit, John, you need at least four references! What, you don't care? Make some [references] up!"

"I copied everything off the internet."

"If you make the project thick enough, that's 10 marks already. Teacher's so overworked, she can't read through that project thoroughly anyway, so that impression's already good enough for an A."

"Wah, John, you did that by yourself ah! Never copied from the internet or a book is it?"

"You took that diagram from Book Y, didn't you?"

"I read one paragraph, and then I got bored so I just buta-buta copy sahaja."

After doing coursework for three years, and this is all we came up with: 50-page long reports with little to no substance stolen from friends and family or the internet. That no teachers appear to have cared enough to even notice such practices in itself speaks volumes. Also, these comments have only been taken from students in the upper percentile of our year. It would be interesting to see how much the less academically-inclined students plagiarised their reports.

Problem #5: A less than well thought out syllabus. For purposes of comparison, I decided to look at a couple of international examinations: the SAT Reasoning Test, which is a college entrance examination administered worldwide, but generally only used in the United States of America, and the GCE O-levels.

The SAT is divided into three components: critical reading, mathematics and writing. Aside from more probing and insightful questions in comprehension, I did not see much difference between our style of examining English and the SAT's. In mathematics, however, surprisingly, all formulae and whatever a student would require to answer the questions were provided at the beginning. Otherwise, not much difference.

The GCE O-levels are administered by two examination boards: the Cambridge International Examinations syndicate, and the Edexcel (also known as the London Examination Board) syndicate. Although the syllabi do differ slightly, both administrations of the examination are accepted as equals. Interestingly, however, a student accustomed to the Malaysian way of studying would have to readjust considerably when it comes to preparing for the O-levels.

English would be satisfactory, mostly because the Malaysian PMR and SPM formats are based on O-level English. The same goes for Mathematics and Science (in effect, all the subjects we learn in English in Malaysia). However, there is a great difference when it comes to other subjects, and not just because the syllabi cover international history and geography.

For example, Malaysian students would be used to regurgitating answers for history. Where was Tunku Abdul Rahman born? How many tanks did the Japanese have when they invaded Malaya? Describe three effects of the Japanese occupation. These are the sort of questions we usually face in our history examinations. However, the O-level papers take this further: instead of asking only what, when and where, they also add how and why.

Describe the domestic policies of Mussolini in the 1920s and 1930s. What benefits did Mussolini's domestic policies achieve for Italy? What problems faced the Weimar Republic in Germany from 1919 to 1926? Why did the Weimar Republic survive this period? Outline the career of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a civil rights leader. Why were some Black groups opposed to his policies?

In such questions, there is no objective, right-or-wrong answer. Instead of testing one's memory skills, these questions tax the reasoning and logical skills of students. It is the same with Geography. For Malaysian geography, among other important factoids we must remember are the number of oil rigs in each state, the exact location on a map of every mining area in Malaysia, the strategic economic functions of every river in Malaysia, and much more. With the
O-levels, there are no specific details to memorise. Knowing the general picture helps much more. For example, a geography O-level paper might test you on "Why is the percentage of people over 60 years of age expected to increase in the world generally by 2025?" or "Explain how and why plates move."

Although not even counted in the PMR, I have also decided to consider an additional subject: moral education. This subject has no comparable counterpart in the O-levels, but the material tested is interesting enough: about half the questions on the test are common sense, which means if you have enough grey matter to know killing is wrong, you know enough to pass. Real moral or philosophical dilemmas rarely, if ever, come out in the examinations. Most questions typically ask for the definition of a particular moral value, such as honesty, trustworthiness, belief in God, and so on. Who sets this definition?
The Ministry of Education. If the number of "key words" provided in the answer is insufficient, the student is penalised. That's where the other half of the marks on the paper come from.

Of course, strictly defining the problems confronting Malaysian education is no mean feat, and certainly a difficult task. I have, by no means, scratched the surface of the issues faced by students, educators and administrators alike everyday. Instead, I have attempted to sketch out key issues that as a student, I have encountered, without passing judgement on which is paramount. Perhaps for some it may be the idea that everyone has the same uniform definition of a
moral value. Perhaps some may be disgusted by the mixing of politics with education. Others may simply be aghast at the incompetence of the adults in classrooms these days. Whatever your specific gripe is, it is my hope your knowledge of the key problems with our schools, as seen through the eyes of a student, has been exceedingly broadened.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 14:04  


Would you be kind enough to suggest what can be done if those in authority, or even the Malays at large, do not do those things you said should be done?

I sincerely want to hear from you for example, specifically how to get the approach to solving the Malay problem "fleshed out more efficiently" and perhaps more quickly. Whether it's more the individual or the organisation (political party, government in power) to "acquire corporeal knowledge more expansively and deeply". Kindly give a few practical examples.

Considering the attitude of the teachers, the kind of supervision the Education Ministry does over them, the politicians' apparent preoccupation in politics, increasingly degenerating social values, how do we get the necessary changes carried out so that pupils get full attention, can lead a balanced lifestyle and not attracted to drugs, Mat Rempits, etc. How to get them embrace change when so many weaknesses in the system have become common practice and regarded both by the young and the not-so-young as simply the things people do, the norms of society nowadays.

I am really interested and would be happy to hear your specific suggestions.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 14:32  

Can anyone out there tell me how much the old Inspectorate System is being practised these days?

I hear a lot about teachers complaining that they have to fill up all sorts of survey forms and answer questionaires.

I think the old system of the School Inspector sitting at the back of randomly chosen classes was very effective.

I am unable to verify the claim of one boy that his Scouts Master never showed up again after a brief appearance at an overnight camping; ragging and bullying took place there. In such cases, the "want" to work or to do better would not evolve;instead the opposite would.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 15:37  

Ak47,,,,more bullets for you

,,,,ignore the question of what we should do about the Legistation but lets look at Education as an issue.
,,,, Before we can begin to define solutions, we must first establish whether there is a problem, and determine what that problem is.

The figures are quite stark. 94% of Chinese attend a Chinese vernacular school for their primary education. About 75% of Indians attend a Tamil vernacular school. 99% of Malays attend a national school.

I don't know what the precise proportions are for secondary school, but I do know that most Chinese and Indians end up in national secondary schools. However, the best and brightest Malays are shipped off to boarding schools meant exclusively for Malays. (An exception are the MARA Junior Science Colleges, which have a 10% non-Bumiputra quota.)

Now, just ask yourself. Is it good, or bad if the vast majority of primary school students interact with students from only their ethnic community? It can't be good. It's highly doubtful that it's neutral. It has to be bad, is it not?

If you're unconvinced, then think about it. Would you be more susceptible to propaganda against other ethnic groups if you have spent your life surrounded only by those of your own community? Would you be more likely to negatively stereotype those of other races if you have never mixed with them, never gotten to know them as individuals?

The answer has to be a resounding yes. The reason the government can put out so much propaganda about the Chinese being excessively rich is because the Malays rarely get to know a large enough sampling of Chinese to understand that most Chinese are lower- or middle-class.

Similarly, the reason so many Chinese youth (yes, including some educated in national schools) stereotype Indians as gangsters and Malays as lazy or stupid is because they never get to know the bright and intelligent Malays and Indians. How can we have national unity with a segregated school system?

One might think that the problem would be addressed by integrated neighbourhoods. The problem is that in urban areas, people hardly ever get to know their neighbours well, regardless of ethnic group. There is rarely a sense of community in the city or town.

The villages, on the other hand, tend to be overwhelmingly dominated by one race. My hometown, for example, is a little town near the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. It is predominantly Chinese.

With such a limited context for interaction, it is easy to see how misunderstandings can arise. The Malays might end up thinking, for example, that most Chinese are rich shopkeepers!

That is why schools are so important. They represent a neutral middle ground for different communities to congregate. The young are not racially-minded. They don't think in terms of race. If from young, they think of a multi-ethnic community as normal, they will continue to view it as the natural thing to do.

If, on the other hand, they are only exposed to one race in primary school, even at the secondary level, when they meet those from other ethnic communities, they will think it odd. They will likely clique with those from their own race, and that's where the problem of racial polarisation arises.

Am I wrong? I could be — I don't dare rule that out. But I think my unpopular hypothesis has a ring of truth to it. The government's discriminatory policies contribute to racial polarisation, no doubt. But can you really say that dividing our young according to ethnic group doesn't contribute significantly to the problem either?
All Malaysian can be better off if we can change our thinking, not only for the Malays but all Malaysian which will help the Malay students directly.

my 2 cents again-lah.

walla 16 February 2009 at 16:01  

anonymous 14.04

Allow me on behalf of everyone to first thank anonymous 13.56 for erudite rendition of the situation from a student's viewpoint. The points raised merit total attention.

Now, while trying to roll this kretek leaf, i will endeavor to make a few suggestions:

(a) immediate

get the Malay and other graduates who have studied overseas and have returned to go on tv and share their experiences - in studies, about the friends they have met, in the quality of teaching, coursework and training, in the way they have lived, the methods they had used to catch up, even how they have had to master subjects in languages they might have not been good in; and if they had studied some other foreign language, which and why. Also get them to talk about how politics and municipal services are done where they were and whether they think there are some things we can learn from those examples.

get them to also comment on why they may think their home country is in artificially delivered difficulties, and what they think can be done.

do it two-way with the audience, get it all transcribed, post it on the net, and push it as a serialized column in all the papers, including the vernacular ones.

Likewise, allow local students to articulate the problems they are facing. What anonymous 13.56 has written reflects the actual situation you get inside the classroom. Reforms of our education system is not done just because a minister says he sleeps late trying to solve administrative problems of who to post where. They are done when the customers, the students who will one day receive the mantle to this country, say so.

Now, just this two suggestions dovetail to something else more fundamental. In fact a tectonic shift in the entire national mindset about governance.

We must all shift from fear to liberation, from containment to engagement, from procrastination to closure.

All the policies so far, and their political ramifications after, are predicated on fear. Fear of reaction from either one group of citizens or another. Fear of loss of personal face or privilege. Fear of being marginalized or made irrelevant. Fear that it will be too difficult, risky or troublesome to make the troublemakers see the light that this nation cannot continue the way it has been doing for these past many decades.

The greatest shift is to shift away from fear so that all the past assumptions can be changed so that a new framework of cooperation, development and harmony can be constructed. Start by dropping the word 'wishful'.

Once you have real openness and transparency beyond just a seminar here, a conference there for those whose mindsets are the things to change in the first place, and open the whole matter for national to home debates, understanding and solutioning, the problems won't have a place to hide anymore. Then people will see that the buck stops at everyone, and the politician down to the parent each has a real job to do. Even the students themselves will see that adults are finally facing up to their problems. Maybe even the age and rural-urban gaps can be bridged in the process. That's why i would also request that the media be freed. If the media is treated as professionals, then they will have their own peer pressure to maintain enough decorum for stability - with real development.

Riots? There are only riots today because politicians have been allowed latitude to incite and no one has had the guts to stand up and call a spade a cangkul. Fundamental rights? How do they compare with fundamental relevance?
Developmental gaps? How does maintaining status quo take all of us out of this quagmire? How will the same formulaic and stunted approach parrot all of us out of limbo when the oil spigots dry up?

Push the above as the background tune. Then let's take it one rung higher...

(b) midterm

The next thing is to create a new target. In the eyes of most laypeople and especially the students coming out from schools, it's the university.

Right now all our universities are in that domain called 'i don't want to talk about them anymore.' You cannot change any one of them without emasculating the entire system.

So you create a fresh, new university outside the present group. It is to be a public university paid for using government funds. Meaning, your money. Say that out in public so that everyone will sit up. But this new university will be apex from the beginning. You hire the best from the world, you fit in the best equipment that really open tenders will deliver, you use the best coursework in english that you can copy, and you pick only the best from our student pools. No exceptions. No sms to the minister. No hankypanky by the clerks. The teaching and learning methods will be more open. If you don't ask an intelligent question in class, five marks minused by cctv. And to make it interesting: the recurring funds for this new university will rise in proportion to its performance compared to the other existing universities. In other words, if it does best, more funds from the others will be diverted to it.

Suspend that fear for a while that it will create a separate elitist track that throws against the present policies.

The invisible hand of the market will adjust everything. First, the other universities will have to buck up or die. Some will. The new uni will become bigger, more popular, and more competitively placed. Its graduates will cream all the top posts in the nation.

People outside will say Malaysia is serious again and not flippant, not a mess, not a laughing stock no more. Concurrent with better and more probusiness investment incentives, you may even get a bigger chunk of FDI. Which will create the jobs we need.

Some of those graduates from the new uni will go into the government sector. Putting in world-engaged brains again. Performance shorne of politics. Others will take to industry. They may not turn out to be leaders and captains but they will be the new wave of people trained by the best of the world to do the best for Malaysia.

This will create envy; the japanese institute of radiological science recently identified the part of the brain where that emotion starts so it's alright. We know where it is and so it needn't be feared anymore.

While it will create envy, it will also create targets for new standards.

Targets and standards are something taken too laconically in this country. If i say in two years time i want the farmer household in Kedah and Perlis to average eight K a month, and then work everything to make that target achieved, that's something tangible compared to a government program that says let's put in money here, there and everywhere and then give it a name.

Once you have a family of standards and real targets, then you can start cracking on how to craft real solutions. If all are equally bad, what are the standards and targets to achieve?

In other words, the system that is strangling all of us can be turned into the system that massages all of us.

..talking of which..

(break for a kretek?)

The second midterm thing you can do is to go back to basics. If a student needs extra coaching, get him or her into a school that can provide that. It doesn't matter if the system of that school finally graduates the student a few years later. Better all the foundational stuff be laid properly than pass the student out half-baked and unequal to the next hurdle. You're only postponing the inevitable.

Now this is going to create problems. Half the parents will rankle and say, 'what, you mean my son is not good ah? Prove it before you put him into that school.' Go by the results. If marginal, get him into the second path. It may meander more but he should be able to reach the same destination, or even a better alternative one, albeit later in life.

There's nothing like success to beat the sour taste of failure.

The third thing is the cocu. If you look at the way the cocu's are done, more lines on the forehead. I can write on this but..let someone else. For example, why can't it be more efficient so that new batches will have to find new ways to add to the content and objectives? Cocu is like project management. Student-style.

The fourth thing are the counselors. Take them apart and reconstitute them to show exactly what it is they have been doing. Then tell us whether they have been doing the right things right. And accurately.


Actually this can be immediate. This country needs a sharp jolt. It has been suggested that all cabinet members sign their conditional resignation letters which will say that if they had come up to their posts via money politics (not money orders) or if they take advantage of their posts in any way, even if it is a sweet from a little girl, no amnesty shall be shown to them, regardless of their title, position and what not. The letters will be made public and deposited in the vault of the central bank. If a charge is filed by anyone later, the minister concerned shall have to publicly answer the charges; if it is not satisfactory, the cabinet disciplinary board will convene to decide. A negative decision and he (or she) is out. No exceptions. Including the PM.

This slightly draconian measure will also be replicated downwards to every other department, agency, even party division.

Once the young see that real standards are practised, and not the double standards we have been acquainted with so far, then we can start anew as a well-governed and better country.

So that old people won't sigh too much when they see those empty bottles at the footways of seven-elevens at two in the morning.

I think enough grist is contained for you to think where all can be applied to the mat rempits who as office boys soon won't have to face slow services at counters where they visit on mad hot rounds on clumsy motorbikes that they use at night for bet-winnings from life-threatening races.

Another post another day on how they can make extra pocket money to fight the onslaught of poverty that threatens to engulf the urban poor in this country.

Ok so far, anonymous 14.04?

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 16:46  

Follow me to a mamak's restaurant and I'll show you many with degrees and masters...local graduates and oversea graduates. We are not dearth of qualified people.

Can education make you become the best person or wanting to be the best person in anything you do that will make you a successful person?

To be the best goreng pisang seller, security guard or mechanic is more admirable than to be a mediocre doctor, accountant or engineer. The collective pride and attitude of our citizen will make this a great nation.

If education is the only answer, what education or training can you give to our footballers to win a tournament?

Our mindset must shift from thinking that education will solve everything to creating the desire to be the best. TDM tried to instill this by promoting “Malaysia Boleh” but instead of trying to be the best, we try to do things other people will not do because its silly and stupid like sending Proton car parachuting off a plane in Antartica or making the biggest roti canai in the world.

kuldeep 16 February 2009 at 17:02  

Reading the comments>>

too much emphasis on academics...and sadly a presumption that overseas education is superior.

I have managed a wide spectrum of graduates..young,old,gals,guys,in betweens,Chinese,Indians,Malays,UMIST,UKM,MIT,TaiChung Taiwan,IT Bandung,UM...and odd ones from Iraq,Turkey etc.

Can I see the marked difference in quality from their "pedigree"?No way unless I am a bigot who buys Malaysian last.

Tertiary education only provides the tools and discipline..on the job experience and training is the key to creating a strong workforce.

Lets be more objective rather than making such broad brushed assumptions.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 17:34  

Outdated system is an outdated system. Our education system is outdated and it is in the midst of 'puberty'. Its kinda prolonged and painful 'puberty' since there are many 'invisible hands' hindering the self-correcting processes. One of the 'invisible hands' is the legislature itself. A bad legislature by a bad group of people will translate into bad education system. The other one might be the racial segregation that we are facing right now. We have at least three major education systems, if not mediums, to perfect with. Give this task to even the Germans, I bet they will fail too.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 18:30  

Walla, AK47 and guys,,,,more of my 2 cents ?

,,,,the problems with our
education system lie in the primary schools of Malaysia. We see the symptoms at the university level, but in reality, the root causes are mainly at the formative years of primary school.

,,,,As I've suggested in the earlier, racial polarisation in universities can be traced to our voluntarily segregated primary school system. But a lot of other problems similarly stem from the primary school level. If a student has a terrible primary school education, it is difficult to see how secondary school can remedy this — even with one year of remove class.

,,,,The poor academic standards of university students and unemployed graduates are often lamented. But what is done to solve them? Almost nothing, and worse still, most things that are done focus on improving the state of university education.

,,,,There is nothing with fixing our admittedly far from perfect tertiary education system. But what's the point of focusing on the apex when the base itself is in tatters? Our primary and secondary schools are generally inadequate when it comes to preparing students for the rigours of academia. (As an aside, it's questionable that all students are cut out for academia in the first place — university education should be for those who are intellectually capable, not for any Mat,Chong and Samy.)

,,,,For example, I am willing to bet that we could cut down the number of unemployed graduates and abysmally performing university students if only we either reformed education at the primary school level or provided tuition for them. The present higher education system admits just about anyone who applies, so if it's going to do that, the focus should be on improving the quality of applicants — and we need to go back to basics for that.

,,,,Study habits, as consequence says, are also set in primary school. If students become used to rote memorisation and reliance on tuition and workbooks at that stage, they will never be used to doing the real intellectual work that a university education requires, nor will they be prepared for the kind of skills required to cope with daily life.

,,,,In secondary school, I remember that many of my classmates copied their coursework reports and essays from friends and relatives who had written similar such works before. Was it because these people were dumb? No — it was because they had become used to not having to deal with any sort of such work in primary school, and furthermore, because they knew they could get away with it.

,,,,Our education system is in dire need of reform. And this reform is most badly needed at the base of the education system — the primary and secondary school levels. It is no good to have a brilliant higher education system, but to have primary schools only capable of churning out mindless zombies unprepared for either daily or university life.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 19:00  

Would like to add that a Malay problem is a Malaysian problem for obvious reasons.

In India, children go to school at 6 and enters university by 18, over here you only start at 7 and enter uni at 20, those lucky enough to enter through a one year matriculation course gets in at 19 or 21 for those forced to go through 'peralihan'. And we don't even have a compulsory military national service stint like in South Korea or Singapore.

Anon @ 13.56 is most likely John Lee ( who also writes for Education in Malaysia, though it is doubtful if he wrote it or someone did a c n p of his writings. He was bright and disciplined enough not to succumb to the education system as he wrote here: (

The education system does a good job of providing basic education but fails at identifying the cream of the crop and groom bright students into outstanding citizens that will later help build the country.

Anonymous,  16 February 2009 at 20:37  


Thanks for your suggestions. The next few sticks of keretek are on me.

It's that kind of teachers and headmasters/ mistresses that Anonymous 13:56 spoke about that I was referring to. How do we change them? The Ministry Officials responsible for syllabuses. The Department Officials responsible for ensuring the teachers and headmasters do a good job. The Education Minister who shouldn't just listen to and be guided by the Officers but think out, guide and direct them.

How do we get RTM to put up the kind of shows you suggest? The kind of politicians who would direct the immediate implementation of your longterm suggestion - I agree this must be immediate.

I am quite surprised that not many people speak about corruption. I think a lot of the problems we face even in the field of education has been due to corruption and corrupt value system. The selection and recruitment of teachers and administrators in schools and universities, the maintenance of academic standards. Was the basis for the setting up of so many universities correct and not influenced by unhealthy factors. Is the appointment of the Minister of Education based more on capabilities than on political expedience. UMNO the traditional source has been said to be corrupt to the core. How to correct these?

Icarius 16 February 2009 at 22:29  

From the analysis by many (perhaps especially by Walla), I think we already have a direction to start planning an improvement program. If only the relevant people read this blog and its commentators.

I just want to throw in an additional view (so that we can further explore) through a few observations, questions and speculations.

* Education (broadly defined as learning things that can be made useful to society) is critical, but is not sufficient. It is like water, without which we cannot make soup. However, you dont get soup by merely boiling water.

* Schooling is one form of education. There are some who went through the other informal school of life (hard-knocks). Many craftsmen are "dropouts" from the formal schooling process.

* Why is it that some find an effective way to make a proper living despite a lack of schooling?

* Why some others cant find a job despite having tertiary qualifications?

* Is it considered "bad" by some (peers) to do well in school? And yet it is considered "good" if you make money?

* Perhaps it is thought that it wouldnt matter because employers are bias for or against some races regardless of paper qualifications, skills or experience?

* Perhaps some feels that the government will "take care" of them and therefore does not bother to put in reasonable effort?
* Maybe others feel that the government will not help and therefore fights to be financial strong?

I am sure that the list can go on. So perhaps we need to find some kind of incentive to motivate the "underperformers"? In quotation marks because I doubt if any one is handicapped in any way by virtue of his race at birth. Maybe the upbringing? Or perhaps financial success is prevented merely due to the lack of motivation.

Hope I didnt deviate too much.


Anonymous,  17 February 2009 at 07:16  

You can legislate whatever you like but if the policy makers and implementors are not good you don't get far.

At the Ministry of Education, you have the elite civil service officers, the Pegawai Tadbir Dan Diplomatik, from the Assistant Secretaries to the Chief Secretary. Then you have the Education Officers rom the lowest rank to the Chief Education Director or Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran. These categories alone total at least 40-50 people.

Then you have the Directors of Education and various grades of officers in all the states. These total hundreds. Not counting the support staff at the Ministry and at the State Education offices.

The Education Ministry and the State Offices can run on auto pilot. With the amount of politicking among the political masters, they often run on auto pilot. The Minister only attending meetings, decides on advice of the Ketua Setia Usaha and the Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran. The minutes in the files contain the word "Setuju" very often.

Now, selection of the Minister of Education, we know. In recent times, hardly any selection. Selection of the Ketua Setia Usaha is by "The Top Three" of the PTD -the Chief Secretary to the Government, the Director General of the Public Services Department, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. The basis of selection had been seniority and acceptability of the candidate to the political master.

The selection of officers for the Ministry are not always based on their aptitude for the job. In Government service, seniority is of paramount importance. They never sack the imcompetent. Only very few cases of deadwoods being put in cold storage carrying important sounding designations but no real responsibilities in their job specifications.

Selection of teachers and headmasters - suddenly some one noticed too many females, then they recruited more males. The rest I don't know. Can anyone help explain? The criteria used, the interview questionnaires, the aptitude tests?

Basically, the service would not likely improve much if the Education Ministry and all its Departments are on auto pilot. We need a dynamic and on-the-job Education Minister and a like-minded Deputy Minister to effect changes.

No doubt, parents also must bring up the children properly but the kids spend their time more at school than at home outside working and sleeping hours.

walla 17 February 2009 at 11:49  

I read many good comments above and would humbly like to add a few points:

First i think we should recognize that the government does try to improve. It tries to modernize by adopting systems approach. That's conventional wisdom all over the world. However, most well-meant systems end up creating one-shoe-fits-all situations which in turn creates other problems that the systems cannot solve, especially in our complex society where education is preeminent but commoditized although carrying a huge budget. So far the approach to those spinoff problems is to add on other diverging approaches to the core system. Which however creates even more problems since the integrity of the original system is then called to question.

How to cut the gordian knot? As anonymous 7.16 has written, it starts with how we appoint the key people. The criteria has to be better set. The process of appointment itself must not fail stringent tests of integrity. Professional abilities and not political affiliations must be the prime factor, in fact the ONLY parameters put to preview to sit side by side with the performance record under review. In other words, promote or appoint someone to a high(er) post if and only if the person has (a) performed outstandingly in his (her) present post, (b) shows persistent initiative and creativity in the present post, and (c) has ALREADY displayed some of the qualities needed for the post in view. The appointment committee shall itself be appointed under the same set of criteria. And made known they will be measured in like manner.

Because we are talking about intangible assets and human potential, the consequences of not holding fast to integrity can be incalculable. A wrong guy in a responsible post can wreck havoc on millions, not to say the future of our nation. Not only that, if he (or she) doesn't defend the original code of ethics, then misconduct will become mainstream and gets embedded into the very system constructed to avoid it. This rationale should form part and parcel of the education charter that forms the core principles of good governance which will build a defensible tradition that can carry the educationist throughout his or her life. In other words, make 'tokoh' ubiquitous so that what starts as a battle within education to fight our own human gremlins becomes the qualities to spill out into society later in whichever organization we find ourselves. Political, too!

That's something for the government to think about. However, the story doesn't end just there. After the person is appointed, he has to operate within a firewall of checks-and-balances. Why is this important and what forms can the firewall take? It is important because human nature tends to want to help. When one cannot help everyone, decisions will be made to help selectively over and above what the system allows. When that happens, it becomes cronyism which will develop into corruption. Whether it is to change a posting from one place to another, or to decide who gets to go for a career-building seminar, or even to build an extension in the school (especially for pengetuas who are about to retire), it's all the same. Special favours made behind the shadow of the official's chair. Now, the usual method is to balance out the forces by doing everything in a committee. However if the committee members themselves don't display individual presence of minds, then it'll be tantamount to vested-party decisioning based on silence means consent or no-objection.

Maybe any request should be done online, so that letters, sms'es, phone calls will not be processed. Once it's online, records will form which are kept not at the recipient's side exclusively, as if creating an invisible third party, the guardian of integrity. Will there be exceptions for this in the case of remote places without even a telco line? That's also something to assay. Meanwhile the requests and complaints must be made data and presented as statistics in the annual reports which should be made public. You create a new level of transparency to show that the system works. That will instill confidence which will diminish mistrust. This is important because, for instance, teachers and lecturers are mostly extroverts, and the first question of an extrovert is "i want to be confident that i won't look like a fool in front of my audience, so have you played by the rules all the way with regards me?".

That is also why no aggrieved party is to be witchhunted for making any complaint against a decision. X may get something by favour. Y should not be penalised from filing a complaint. It can be anonymous. The objective is to get a flag alert in the system (i don't mean just computing system here) that a decision has been possibly compromised somewhere and investigation must be done. Now, the important thing is closure. Never leave anything hanging because that will reinforce the suspicion the original complaint has even greater weight than one might think.

The underlying principle of what has been said above, i suspect you already know. It's this: that every single person involved in the education sector is in the end individually and personally responsible for maintaining and growing his or her own integrity in much the same way a person grows his work skills. It is a skill that is to be cultivated all the time. Rationale, discipline, knowledge of consequences, the importance of the larger good, the impacts on those who depend on him if he subscribes to laxity and so on, these should reside within the person. As in all of us in whatever we do.

There is one other thing relating to this area of integrity which comes to mind. Allocations. It is fine to give an annual allocation to, say, a school and leave to its administration to manage it. Often the allocation will be persuaded by what has been submitted as requests before, rounded by some aggregate with the others, and justified against fiscal realities and objectives. What i would like to ask is whether there is a learning curve in the school administration with regards budget planning that will over time minimize the need for things like variation orders, off-budget purchases and under(over)provisions. In other words, budget planning should become sharper and more accurate from one year to the next because the administration already knows how to do it smoothly and efficiently. It is in fact a skillset for all projects. The pomp and hyperbole of marketing campaigns reduce to a night wrangling over spreadsheets with a calculator next to the coffee cup.

I have not forgotten the pengetua and the senior assistant. The pengetua is the patriarch of the school family. The senior assistant is the proxy administrator of the school. Something should be done for them that will continue to tap their skillsets AFTER they retire. Here i am going to make a 'walla suggestion' (;P):

In primary, the student starts the first walk towards education. Words are few, communication brief. Friends are made, life beckons. When he gets into secondary, more new friends are made, and the world of knowledge expands. As he finishes secondary, it coincides with being a teenager. There is an explosion of energy and communication. Mostly exploratory. Behaviors are affected, adopted, discarded. Icons and fads come and go. They talk about their teachers, the schoolwork, but mostly other things in life as they exchange their experiences with their peers. The parents of primary who have held their hands and brought their food, waited at the gates and ironed their uniforms have given way to peers and friends from different family backgrounds who don't do these things. Just impact on the mind and the personality as both develop to the next stage. There is fierce independence but some unspoken dependency. They want to be adults before their time. Meanwhile the parents fret that they may come to harm, either by themselves, or from being in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time. There is also pressure by some on performance, some caused by just worry that they will not be able to keep up with their peers, others because they have given up and find other pastimes less harassing on their formative minds.

Then some will leave school and enter the world of work carrying the entire baggage of their school experience while others will continue their education, mostly away and in different settings with new circles of friends and other influencers.

There is no anchor. Everything is untethered. The student leaves at incipient adulthood. If he (or she) has some unspoken problems, and if the parents themselves are too busy facing their own problems, then the last resort is to turn to friends. But if they have dispersed, who next?

So the walla challenge is this: a permanent whole-life alumni mentoring system for every student who comes out of secondary school. What forms this system can take, there will be many happy suggestions (i believe ;P).

So that it becomes an idea by everyone, i am just going to make some minor points on this. You can change it to anything else you like.

It's like an individual facebook of every Malaysian student coming out of highschool. Not necessarily web-based. As the mentee goes through life and accumulates wisdom and experience, he can in turn become a mentor to others, just like we are now sharing our thoughts with one another (whom unfortunately we may never meet). The pengetua, senior assistant and teachers can provide some of the mentoring inputs, and when they retire, they should be paid some per diems for their continuing effort to be virtual anchors to our young. Even parents can jump in and mentor other children. And organizations can sponsor such mentoring programs. No less our students overseas who can even add new knowledge into the network from wherever they are, shrinking the world to one. The mentee.

Additionally, what is online can become offline in family-day gatherings, national youth day programs, interest group and kampung activities. It doesn't have to be computing. Mobile also works. Plain vanilla letters should not be discounted (then you will have an address). It doesn't even have to be two-way. Imagine a small simple card that can be put in a wallet. One side contains the key Holy Verses (or respective wise counselings for the others) abbreviated to say ten mind-calming and uplifting sentences. On the other side a list of critical telephone numbers and emails. The card is laminated. The student can refer to it as and when difficulties arise, or when seeking Higher Counsel.

It is a virtual safety net acting as a badge of society, a civilizational and career kit reflecting the worth of one's identity in a larger reality. And the appertaining responsibilities and status which comes with that!

It's a perpetual safety net for life beyond the cloisters of education that could be an antidote against the balkanization of individual identities, providing the connectivity from poor to rich (with attendant ideas for 'legislative' transformation), problem-facers to solution-enablers.

I wrote the above thinking of the mat rempits.

Now for the last bits of my please-forgive-me overly long rambling.

The RTM bit one phone call from the Minister can do. Just assemble a team, work out a budget and get cracking. Make it a repeated project. You can start with local uni's, expand to overseas graduates, say from Imperial, include people from all communities and so on.

Penultimately, some piecemeal thoughts about not having enough education, knowledge etc and success in life. I think the first principle is the dignity of a person independent of what he or she has. Someone who has less education but display better qualities is at least equal if not superior to someone who is educated and rich but recurringly self-serving. There is simple dignity in the simple man. The Almighty wants to increase the pool of goodness in society so the Perintah is already out. Secondly, hands-on-the-job training and IMG skills are fine. We should get ambitious and think about things like meistership programmes to find our own vocational niches in the world. But to have good instructors to climb the next rung of the value-added chain, we must have a proper training programme for instructors. Somehow we must elevate the standing of our own 21st century industrial inputs. What is industrial here also applies to the services sector. In fact, education is also about capturing and maintaining learning curves so that they can be passed on from one generation of leaders, administrators and instructors to the next in seamless manner that retains a tradition of excellence coupled to core principles.

For instance, a surgeon is facing some new difficulty. It's life critical. He is not sure what to do. He should in the operating theater be able to use his blackberry or some terminal to tap straight away into the entire store of experiences recorded of similar situations solved by surgeons in other hospitals.

We have broken too many learning curves. Reinventing wheels is costly and inefficient. Time, resources and opportunity costs are the essence.

Lastly, the matter of primary schools and national integration. This will add another chunk which may spill out of this screen so i will just say a few words. See the full picture first from the very beginning to the end. Any legislation of the beginning part of an integration process that doesn't take into consideration what happens at the other end when things are being done and perceived to be counter-integrative will only serve to magnify the very emotions that one wants to avoid. We may need to think a way around the entire matter. I don't want to end by starting another walla suggestion (;P): Malaysia as a concept.

You're all great people. I bow out here. Thanks.

kuldeep 17 February 2009 at 12:53  

Mr walla...its a great honor to have access to your thots on this issue..obviously ur very knowledgeable and a person who can think beyond the confines of a Mamak shop.

My concern is really how can one get the students to "want" an education?How can we motivate them to excel beyond just the passing mark?How can we make them inquisitive and questioning in their search for knowledge?

Knowledge that I am referring to here is a loose term.Its about being the best in any chosen field of "productive" endeavor.It could be brain surgery,financial engineering,materials technology..(and even JimmyPagethology,Kakalogy,Nadalogy etc etc.)

Even with the current education system...we have created a vast pool and educated workforce with some really smart,intelligent and highly qualified individuals too.
And with the internet..those with the interest can find their way to knowledge much easier then the good old days.

The issue is then how do we motivate the rest?

Doc 17 February 2009 at 13:44  

a well articulated piece. I enjoyed the analytical comments even more. I would very much like to see those who walk the corridors of power engage in this kind of constructive discussions. Keep up the good job.


walla 17 February 2009 at 17:10  


I have always thought your comments elsewhere insightful. Thus i must break my self-imposed silence maybe just once in honour of your presence. The kipas is not working well so my comments may be a bit scrambled. This one will be just off-the-cuff shoot-breezes.

You asked how to motivate a yearning for knowledge, education etc.

Maybe one reason for any lukewarm interest at the moment is because people including students don't know what's out there or if they do, how to make it relevant to them. As someone once told me, what we don't know (or had) we won't miss.

As a small diversion, you must know the salary theorem applied to knowledge. It starts with two postulates:

knowledge is power
time is money
but power is defined as work divided by time
so that knowledge replacing power by postulate one equals work divided by money by postulate two
which transposes to say
money equals work divided by knowledge
which implies that when knowledge reaches zero, money reaches infinity,
in other words, the less we know the richer we be.

(oops, no educationist around, i hope ;P)

So how big is the store of knowledge out there? Just a quick and simplifying stab at it. If what we have in total today in Malaysia is Tasek Chini, then what's out there in english are both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans combined, the mediterranean sits russian, chinese, japanese, and korean, and a sea or two in french and the latam languages.

Of course all knowledge in essence should be language-independent, since one can translate from one to the other. But that humongous task aside, that's about the sizes we are missing. Anyway, that's my assessment so feel free to disagree.

How is all this knowledge added?

People research and then write for commercial and institutional reasons. Research reports, theses, lab reviews, analyses and opinion pieces. Sometimes there are market spikes. For instance when the dotcom boom started, you can catch the spike as thousands of analyst reports poured into the web. Some were really meaty stuff running into hundreds of pages just on the industry profiles, technologies, valuations and so on. One curiosity and i think we can afford to bear that in mind is that some of those authors were not taught-specialists in the industries they were covering. You have a literature major writing on a telco technology or a botanist on some software or even a history buff on a new business model. Maybe the motivation was money which turned ordinary men into great experts!

So where are the atlantic and pacific oceans today?

Those in our local uni's will have some in their library databases and bookshelves, in the notes of the lecturers and the researchers. Those in the commercial sector in their intellectual property patents, formulas, operating manuals and design plans, those in other areas of services perhaps in their heads as much hard disks.

Taken to the extreme, what if someone, just one person, has access to everything except the secret stuff in both those webified oceans - all the electronic journals, notes and theses, online books, commercial reviews, political and economic analyses, investment bankers reports, databanks of statistics by country, sector, year from all the institutions, publishers and universities in the english-speaking world including Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Texas, Cambridge, Oxford, London etc on all the subjects of knowledge from aaa to zee, including the who's who, and everything in english that was ever written about everything in Asia. How would he 'feel'?

Glorious (and probably demented ;P)

How would this knowledge be applied?

For the instructor - in his notes; for the administrator - in insights on more efficient methods; for the hands-on doers from surgeons to drivers - in the new methods, advances and safety features; for the engineers and builders - in the new materials, methods and processes, for the politicians - in the demographics, philosophies, strategic data, and development plans, for the militarist - jane's reviews on weapons systems and military strategies, and for the ceo's - the market opportunities, buying trends, costings and target-hitting marketing. CEOs, for instance, play golf to network for business information and know-who. That's also knowledge. Of course for the bloggers, it could be exotic boxing and bestselling machine guns, but i may be wrong(;P).

Now if i post the question for students? The answer will be to get A and move on. Many have lamented they don't know why they're studying a particular subject. Or they consider some just rote learning.

The curiosity is stifled. The harry potter intrigue is missing. The alices have no wonderland. Whether it's mathematics or morals, the gigantic iceberg that sits behind the buku-buku panduan is not seen.

I am not saying outright the content needs to be changed. Maybe the teaching method needs to address how to tease out the curiosity of the young and to show them where one piece of knowledge sits and how it relates to something else. I know you have some structure in the panduans but if i start by not knowing what is a, how can i know a to z at the same time?

Or it could be that the scope needs to be reviewed so that the teacher can pace the lesson to draw out by new examples and diverse analogies those features of the topics that can tickle nascent interest so that the students can relate to them in their own personal ways. Like if you start on kaliam permanganat, you could say it's a cleanser for wounds in your sister's ward and for your mother's garden vegetables but not as a sirap anggur for the next kenduri. Or if you're about to start on pulley maths, start by telling them you know how to make their motorcycles go faster with the gear ratios. Or if trigonometry, you'll now reveal the secret of David Beckham's penalty curled kick. Even throw in mnemonic tips on how to remember facts for those exam-requirements, for example "vi boys get your oranges ready" (for the colors of the rainbow) (cough). Since i notice some of the girls like korean movies, there you go - get the names of their latest heartthrobs and turn them into memory tips on the topic. Desperation is the mother of all inventions.

So the system as it stands doesn't say anything about why the customers are given that particular menu. In which case they just eat what's in front of them and cannot connect all the way to what they may be secretly aspiring to be later. One shouldn't blame the teachers; they have to cover the syllabus and time is short because the other teacher just got pregnant and the replacement has sat through two weeks as a figurehead (why not pull in a hungry unemployed graduate majoring in the subject?)

Is there a general thing students must be coaxed to develop that can be developed by everyone?

Others will have their own suggestions. I can think of one. Alertness. If a student is alert, he will tell his father 'see, it's bernouilli's principle which makes the smoke always flow out of the car window as it moves to say you should stop that obnoxious habit'. Alertness is the key to avoiding accidents and building empires. Also good health.

Another thing i can think of in this heat is the role of the library. The library shouldn't be a place where people tell you to wear shoes and please pay the fine. It should be quiet but maintain an air about it that's cozy and inviting. It should have books you don't want to miss as an adult (no, not that) inasmuch a student.

too tired to drive out?
(only for adults)[seriously - and you will know why soon enough]

The library should be everyone's research centre. There should be as many libraries as there are cybercafes. They needn't be big. But they should carry the research function thoroughly. Webification of knowledge. What the layman is curious about in the way that journalists would think about should be served in such mini-libraries. By extension, what the student needs for his homework and further studies, projects and so on, should be made available. Particularly in the smaller towns which may not have home internet access - before the student gets on the bus or bicycle, he surfs a bit and gets the ideas. For business reasons, those places can also sell handphone reloads, and stationery, thus relieving the poor MOE official from worrying where to find the money to do all these crazy things (.P)

Of course i didn't forget about talks. The counselors can organize talks by experts or personalities on how specific knowledge can be used; those in the outskirts can get it beamed to tv or even a dvd to watch.

There will be some students who are more hands-on and who relate more to tactile or sensorised learning experiences. Why should a national school student be excluded from having short stints in a vocational school during some off days in order to do something under strict observation? The same JIS specialist i mentioned earlier liked to hold and feel steel pieces, especially those precisely made. He was in his sixties then.

Of course, parental involvement is also paramount. But you can't do as much when they hit their teens. And the only time is over dinner so one should try to have one. Meanwhile the teacher can get the peer factor moving too. Pakat with the more vocal students and get them to interact with the teacher wearing a face of feigned delight that she is being asked questions, so that the others will also jump in. If they don't, those are the ones who will later be politicians (;P).

Ah, the rain has come and it's cooler. But rain also means slower broadband.

Isn't life the great equalizer?

thanks for listening to insensate (demented) me.

kuldeep 17 February 2009 at 20:17  

Thanks walla..especially on the adult link.Interesting diversion after a rigorous afternoon of chasing a small white ball.

Knowledge can be so ephemeral,the relevance transient and sometimes often never reaching the endpoint.Remember Black-Scholes and the Frankenstein they created?And the brainies and rocket scientist on Wall Street.

I was a smart student until I reached puberty.Then I realised nerds don't get the birds;only solutions in their hands in the mornings.I muddled through university academically but had a better life than the guys in the high index goggles at the library.

Fortunately,I landed a job in a multinational (those days they had less options and my Mat Salleh interviewer was impressed by my vast knowledge of Graham Parker and the London garage scene)..and I had a great apprenticeship in an actual operating environment.

I was given lots of freedom to do propose work on the designs to effect those changes and to project manage the plant modifications.For 5 years,I had more wet dreams of heat exchangers then of Sharifah Aini.

That was my real training..the point where I value knowledge as the key to creating real value....( and the money,and the birds too).My University education provided me with the tools and discipline to search and sieve information efficiently for the specific end result but eventually its the street smarts that build the credibility.

Sadly,I believe ,nowadays not many Bumi enters into such "hands on" work environment at an early stage of their careers.Many are administrative,supervisory or processing functionaries.

Whereas there are still many non Bumis in SMEs given nuts and bolts apprenticeship.

And because Bumi businessman prefers to outsource everything and only maintains the core competency of getting rich quick...there is virtually minimal Bumi controlled value added supply chains.There are exceptions.. a few companies in certain industries ..but not enough to absorb the influx of Bumis entering the job market..

If only ALL the Bumis given the lucrative concessions,licenses and contracts had placed knowledge ahead of easy profits.

To me thats the tragedy.

By the way..if ur in civil service,regardless of your academic excellence you will be reporting to an Arts graduate.And if ur in GLC ,I am sure your CEO decided on accountancy cos he can't get his head around Add Maths and Physics.

Thanks..walla...ur the man.

walla 17 February 2009 at 21:07  

Thanks, kuldeep. I was ready to jump into the ring to help bro sak out but he seems to be holding his own nicely. The frightful thing is that he may want to do a rocky balboa shuffle next ;P

What you have written rings true. It could be a tragedy for the Malay man (and lady) who given a chance to change his destiny takes from the helping hand but only sees the food in sight because he has been hungry for too long.

A peer once asked me in uni why i ate so little. Teasing her, i replied it was so that others would have more food. She replied no, you must eat more to be stronger to grow more padi.

The Malays, anyone for that matter, must face up to their own situation and take examples from others on what to do to climb out of their own chasm. Care, precision, meticulous attention to details, hard work, thrift, sacrifice and foregoing present enjoyment for future progress are what count in any milieu, any place, any race. If others can do so, no less the Malays and the marginalized.

What you had written also triggered something. Having seen and tasted all the fruits of knowledge out there on any topic in any field you can name, i have come to a situation where the appreciation of knowledge in its rounded form gets only incrementally enjoyable. The threshold has gone off-positioned with each bite. As someone said, a bigger tragedy to not having something is to finally have it.

If you were to ask me to sum up all the knowledge of the world including what one can read from all the articles in all the papers in any english-medium country, running back say one hundred years, and extract just its essence, i would say it's the ideas and principles involved behind each push on the frontier of knowledge. Not the details; these are just data, bytes, diagrams, calculations, configurations and so on. The essence is just those basic ideas and principles.

I don't think the ability to be creative or to appreciate principles is something alien to any race or people. So no one anywhere should be impeded from believing in himself that, given the right formative environment and guided encouragement, he should be able to soon enough come to that stage where he can also partake the fruits of knowledge. And therefore develop a sharper socratic examined life.

But to get to that stage calls for the same expressions of effort that i have said above for the basic qualities shown by others.

In other words, there is no excuse for not trying harder. And smarter.

walla 17 February 2009 at 21:23  

ps: i once hired Sharifah Aini (and Sheila Majid and Sudirman and ...)for a one-hour jig for an industry do; lowest was forty grand each that time.

maybe we're all in the wrong business. ;P

kuldeep 17 February 2009 at 21:57  

Thats nothing Sir...smaller heat exchangers (the Sheila Majids) cost about usd 300k those days...and when we get to the Sharifah Aini's range ur talking millions.
And I can assure u they can heat u up lots quicker than all those artiste u mentioned.

I wonder if any of the participants in Raja Lawak uses the internet to research for ideas.I know local indie bands uses internet a great deal for ideas,communications and promotions.

I also wonder why we do not use the internet as a tool for education and creating the respect for knowledge?
Its not only about taking but also giving back..adding to the pool of knowledge.

Think wikiminda,malaysia travel guide,malaysian schools daily online,skooltube can work?A few million bucks is all that's needed to seed the programme.

That not even enough for a decent London/Milan shopping trip for some.

walla 17 February 2009 at 22:28  

With 300,000 wage-earners soon to be out of jobs, how can anyone think of London and Milan? Those who have been out in the wilderness for one eighth of their lifespans will know what crippling destitution is all about.

selamat malam.

Anonymous,  18 February 2009 at 10:27  

Walla & Kuldeep,

VERY enlightening exchanges!

Just like to add a 'fairy tale' to Walla's summation about all the knowledge of the world;

In ancient China, a wise Emperor finally united & created peace to the land after many yrs of 'bloods, sweats & tears'.

To prolong his legacy for a benevolent society he asked his group of scholars to come up with a group of theses for GOOD governorship.

The scholars vexed through all the old & current writeups & came up with a series of twelve books.

Upon presenting the books to the Emperor, they were rejected. Too long windings & theoretical, said the Emperor. Anyone, more so the commoners, will be bolted down with these theories & forget about reality! This was NO good!

So back to the midnight oil again, went those scholars.

After a few months of heartburn, the scholars came back to the Emperor with A book, containing the integrals of all the best within the first twelve.

Upon scanning through the book, it was rejected, once again for NOT been practical.

Back to the sage's mill with those scholars. What to do? This book was the summation of all the best knowledge throughout the land & yet it was not GOOD enough.

Then, one day these scholars chanced upon a meeting with an old farmer, while out pondering about the dilemma.

Few days later, a scroll was presented to the Emperor, with a phrase of only FIVE words:

Loosely translate; all government policies must be people centred.

The Emperor was pleased & the scholar rewarded. The Guiding principle was then the core of ALL policies from now on. And the dynasty lasted for 800yr until the humane core was forgotten by the decadents emperors.

So all knowledge must be return to been human centrix - cf The Tangled Wing - H. F. Meyer.


Anonymous,  18 February 2009 at 11:56  


Your were trying to pass on the moral of the story above. Good on you.

But not all emperors of China produced good morals. Chin Shih Huang Di burnt not only books but also scholars. That may be thousands of years ago but Mao Tze Dong also allowed burning of books and humiliating scholars and elders as recently as 1960s during the so-called Cultural Revolution that turned China topsy turvy.

I am very conerned about corruption. But we cannot learn about reducing corruption from China. The eunuchs and palace functionaries started becoming corrupt and corrupted almost all government officials since over 2,000 years ago.

We need to find lessons we can learn closer to home - in Malaysia.

Anonymous,  18 February 2009 at 12:38  

Anon 11:56,

History knows NO boundary, so do human lessons!

Do tell what can WE learn from the Malaysia context, except the best of political bigotry!

Try my last catch phrase, if anything Chinese makes u jump!


Anonymous,  18 February 2009 at 13:46  


Walla above has made many suggestions. Kuldeep and others, too. I wish the relevant authorities read them, incorporate and implement at least some of them.

All Government Ministries should add to the job specs of their press/media/public relations officers the task of reading relevant articles and comments in respectable and responsible blogs and submit summaries to their top bosses. This will keep them abreast with the rakyat's feelings.

On your point about making the Malays "want" to acquire skills and expertise, go for jobs like machinists, welders, instrument technicians etc instead of the easy clerical and administrative jobs, I think that while legislation might not create the "want", it would make them aware of the opportunities and in time want to try.

The vocational schools have produced some results. Where before Malay boys have been merely washing cars and handing over spanners, screws and bolts at Chinese workshops, there are now quite a few Malay motor workshops.

But I have not seen any Malay heavy machineries workshops anywhere in the whole country. And hardly any Malay-owned tractors, not even the usual "backhoe" often used for simple drain making, cable, pipe and road repairs. Malay operators yes, not owners.

We need more Malays in the construction contracting industry. There are tons of money there. There's so much sub-contracting of entire contract works, the old Ali Baba-ism, the Malays ending up taking what amounts to only commissions. There's the bulk of the Malays there. Those who do not understand about corporate strategies, financial engineering, company take-overs, reverse take-overs and management buy-outs.

Perhaps we need an extension of the vocational schools where youngsters are taught the entire A-Z of becoming contractors, right from how to move the many backhoe tractor gears to produce extra cubic meters of earth moved, to estimating or basic quantity surveying, preparing tender bids and contract implementation. Many of the lower Class contractors I suspect do not know how to have a land survey done to ensure that they start digging the drain or build the concrete kerb at the correct spot and avoid penalties later.

We need also more formal training than seminars and short courses perhaps for Class F to D contractors to enable the serious ones to not only know their job but convince banks and financiers to lend them money to implement their contracts.

Those proven enthusiastic and capable should be assisted to purchase the necessary machines, tractors and earth moving equipment. There have been cases
of the Bumiputera contractors waiting for rented machines to comme from time to time until the wet season comes and they still have 70% of their contracts not completed. Those owning the machines and tractors may have been bidding for the very contracts the Malays got. Naturally, why should they help out. They can easily get clients from others known to and trusted by them. They may therefore offer their service to the poor Malay contractors when others don't work - during the rainy season.

Still, it would still be a problem in getting the Malays want to take all the available opportunities that can make them successful contractors and businessmen.

I think it's the Malay culture. Attitude. Mindset. Surroundings, precedents. It's the Malay way of life. The Chinese have gone through all sorts of dificulties and hardships from harsh weather, failed harvests to man-made disasters throughout their long history that they, by character, have become hardy, resilient and never missing to exploit opportunities. The Malays don't have this kind of experience. The polite colonial British referred to the "Malay tidakapathy", the less polite simply called them lazy.

How do we change this attitude? To be fair to all of us, there has been change - even before Dr Mahathir wrote The Malay Dilemma. But we need to change faster.

We have heard various suggestions on changes to the school education system above. Can we hear about changes in other respects?

Perhaps Walla, Kuldeep and others can give further comments on these.

Best wishes.

kuldeep 18 February 2009 at 16:32  

Mr Sepadu,

If you look at general construction companies globally, the profit margins are pretty low..3 % net is already cause for celebration.Construction is low margins,high risk , capital and management intensive.

The government introduced schemes giving Bumis preferential or negotiated contracts.The reason is because it is said that they can't compete with the more established contractors.It is also to create and develop a real Bumi's presence in the industry especially in the support activities and materials manufacturing and distribution arena i.e the supply chain.

Unfortunately,the whole scheme was hijacked and seen as "instant wealth" program.

The Bumi contractors are given negotiated rates with at least 30% margins ( cos they can't compete with the non Bumis )...but they still expect any Bumi subcons/suppliers to compete with the other players.A favorite term is ..all things being equal,we will give to a Bumi.And the big guys drag payments as well.

And there is no long term investments to make themselves more competitive in the longer term ..the heaviest piece of equipment they may have is their Mont Blanc pens.

This has been going on for years and billions of ringgit have flowed out.Unfortunately even the the GLCs are not doing much to genuinely develop the Bumi supply chain.

Thus essentially we still don't have a Bumi Construction Industry as u pointed backhoes,dozers,heavy equipment workshops..etc,etc

It is time for a re look at the whole structure...

I believe govt should look into using Nominated Supply Contracts and Nominated Subcontracts (NSC )to ensure that genuine Bumi supply chains can be developed.

With the assurance of longer term contracts from the govt direct,assured payments and a slight premium rates (15% max ) >> these guys will invest in plant/eqpt and employ/train the necessary staff and operatives.Its SMEs...not immediate profits but decent long term investments.

And govt saves the main cons will only be given profit and attendance of 3% for the NSC rather than the 30 %.

Of cos..there will be more management on the govt's part which can be done internally or outsourced...but the bottomline is it will cheaper and will develop a Bumi supply chain.

I am certain that if this scheme is introduced and executed well the Bumi SMEs in foundation works,P&E and rigging ,precasting,fabrication,M&E..etc etc..will be competitive within 5 years.

If there is no change ..well,some will get rich and forever come back for more of the same...forever.

Sometimes the obvious is so difficult for our masters to understand.As an example,giving taxi license to individuals is better than giving to a single company.Thankfully,Mr Noh have seen the light..I was told his dad was once a taxi driver .I hope someone whose dad is a subcon will appreciate this comment too.

Anonymous,  18 February 2009 at 21:55  


I was making an honest comment based on what I know of Chinese history. I even complimented you.

But when you said "what can we expect of the Malaysian context except the best of political bigotry!", I realised that you must belong to the group that speaks about "the stronger culture dominating the weaker culture" in this country. No wonder you told the story of the Chinese emperor being happy about policies that are people-centric. You meant that the Malaysian Government should listen to you people. And yet you talked about bigotry. Sad, you people.

I was hoping that you look at the contributions your forfathers made when first coming to Malaya and what your leaders like Colonel H.S Lee and Tan Siew Sin did at the time of Merdeka. I suppose you cannot, because your mindset is the "stronger culture" and those Chinese leaders were not that kind because they agreed on Bahasa Malaysia, special Malay rights in exchange for citizenship for you people, etc.

What warped minds people in your group have. Think unity, think of Malaysia, the country that has given you citizenship and a living all this while, don't think about Mainland China any more because, if you are a true Malaysian, you should look at it as a foreign country, and be loyal to your adopted country for goodness sake.

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 09:12  

Those people talking about "stronger culture dominating the weaker culture" - do they know what culture is?

Is this the line of thinking they teach in vernacular schools?

I should not have read these comments before starting work - it spoils one's mood.

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 11:11  

Anon 21:55,

Using yr twisted logic can I consider u a ‘ketuanan kaki’? Ohoo.. isn’t ‘ketuanan’ incubates politically strong dominating the politically weak? No?

Btw where did I shown/indicated/wrote/implied "the stronger culture dominating the weaker culture" in this country within my write-up?

Or did I sense that siege mentality, with the in-born inferiority, again? Perhaps!

I’m a reader of history & I’ve put in enough yrs of looking back in OUR history to know craps from facts. Though history is NOT my basic training but numbers IS!

So I know VERY WELL about the part ‘the contributions your forefathers made when first coming to Malaya’ BUT I have TONS of doubts about yr claims of ‘they agreed on Bahasa Malaysia, special Malay rights in exchange for citizenship for you people, etc.’

What warped minds? Ya, here I see! Think unity, think of Malaysia? & yet times & again I’m been reminded about ‘pendatang’ & ‘ketuanan’! As if my forefathers’ blood, sweats & tears’ & MY contributions have been nothing, except to continue contributing to the uplifting of the weaklings even with the handicaps of NEP for the past 40 yrs. Yet, saddly at here I continue reading comments about policies favour a single race as if all the DLLs r of inconsequent to the Malaysia unity, more so by the ‘highly educated’ one, judging from the writings.

I’m a TRUE anak Malaysia, for been staying put while I can easily get out & give-up, with many choices, too. Self-praise? NO. I’ve earned IT single-handedly.

Dato Sak has a very legitimate title for this blog; ‘Education vs Legislation” & I think Dato has also been too mindful about his harsh words.

So far many who had commented favoured the continuation of legislation over & above the more potent education! Why?

As someone mentioned “Follow me to a mamak's restaurant and I'll show you many with degrees and masters...local graduates and oversea graduates. We are not dearth of qualified people.” What r these academic achievers have done so far? Entrepreneurs, civil servants? Leaders, followers? What’s the difference? One is opportunity creater, the other is paper pusher – that’s what!

For the past 40yr, the NEP has legalised a group of educated rent-seekers, highly trained & yet always try to find short-cuts to achieve economic gains. They used their trainings to manipulate the legislations, pertaining to religions, Constitution & kindred emotion, to sustain their ‘tongkat’ted positions. That’s the sole reason for the high Gini coefficient among the rich & poor Malay Malaysian. ABN? Please-lah. NBA? What’s that!

For an initiate start of the first 15yr handicaps during the formation yr, the first batch of ‘NEP’ers should have reinvented themselves, thought out of the box, AND helped uplift their own kindred, through self-helps & further educational opportunities. Do take a lesson from how the Chinese Malaysian funds the vernacular schools, despite all the obsticles.

What Walla has mentioned should have been implemented there & then. And yet what we have seen is y-o-y of lost opportunity cost for both human & social developments. The NEP trap is been dug deeper for self glorification. Granted the first batch might still be on a learning curve. What about the second batch, the 3rd?

Or r u all going to admit u have no equal of Walla?

R u going to fall into the trap as mentioned by Sepadu that it’s due to “the Malay culture. Attitude. Mindset. Surroundings, precedents. It's the Malay way of life”? If it is then one is falling into the game-pit of the bell-curve! This argument has passed its due date. U want yr kind to wake-up, face the challenges on yr own & yet u keep putting excuses along the way. R u telling yr own people they r forever not good enough? 10yr no good, fine. 20yr no good umm…A generation to catch up – the die is casted in stone.

For further good reading on this argument try E O Wilson’s ‘Sociobiology’, then ‘The Tangled Wing’ by Melvin Konner.

Enough ranting. Back to work. There is a living to make, especially with the current political ongoings speeding northward while the life-&-death economic well-beings of the country & the citizen r in downward autopiloting & gaining momentum.


Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 14:00  

Anon 19 Feb 09:12,

Let's read such comments during lunch break so that if they spoil our appetite, it might help us keep slim.

Anon 18 eb 21:55,

I think this guy belongs to the so-called "Malaysian Malaysia" group whose original proponent said the Malays have no culture - he and his city state got kicked out of Malaysia by Tengku A Rahman.

This man has "TONS of doubt about yr claims of (his forefathers having) agreed on Bahasa Malaysia, special Malay rights in exchange of citizenship for you people, etc". He says he has read a lot of history - what kind of history did he read?

Obviously he does not know the Constitution where BM and Malay rights are enshrined, and the circumstances leading to the adoption of the Constitution. I suspect he knows, but he does not accept it. Yet he says he is "a TRUE anak Malaysia" - he is using the word "anak" literally, lacking in a sense of responsibility, no gratitude to his forefathers and leaders at Merdeka. Clearly no respect for the Constitution i.e lacking in loyalty, because the first ingredient of loyalty is respect for the Constitution.

This is the kind of education very much deficient among their kind and it should be legislated. Civic education, if not education regarding your own country, not so much about some big land mass thousands of miles away that's no longer your country.

He sounds very bitter, very frustrated, mainly because he cannot accept what Chinese leaders had agreed and accepted at Merdeka time and had their agreement reflected in the Constitution of the country. I think it would be very difficult to educate or even talk to this one-way-street kind of people. He talks about the "blood, sweat and tears" of his forefathers but one wonders what they were apart from making money. Is he aware that his forefathers in Penang urged the British Resident there to interfere in Perak to protect their tin mining interests which were threatened in large part by clan warfare, secret societies and gangsterism, leading to British Intervention and untold miseries suffered by the Malays under British colonial rule? Or, is he saying that the Malayan Communist insurgenncy was a nationalistic struggle of the mainly Chinese terrorist organisation?

It may not even be worth to layan this fellow.

He says he is "staying put while I can easily get out and give up, with many choices, too." I think he knows he can't get what he wants elsewhere, even in the city-state that he must be idolising - the authorities there wouldn't even allow him to talk as freely as this and they always have Big Brother on the wall (if he knows what this means). Otherwise, this kind would have cabutted long ago.

walla 19 February 2009 at 15:26  

mulla: 'I have a question for you, walla.'

walla: 'Shoot.'

mulla: 'Don't say that. There's an ak-47 lurking around.'

walla: 'Ok, go ahead.'

mulla (sighs): 'If i go ahead, how can you hear me?'

walla (eyes roll): 'Alright, please slowly enunciate your question before me.'

mulla: 'That's better. My question is this:

"why is it when malaysians of different races see one another in some overseas country, they can straightaway identify one another as malaysians and then feel something inside that wants to look out for one another, but when they are back in their own country, they are at each other's throats?"

walla: 'Simple. The law of survival. In a foreign country, they will think it more likely that their own will come to their aid without further ado.'

mulla: 'You said "their own". Now, why is it when they're back home, it's no longer "their own" but still a law of "survival"?'

walla: 'Maybe when back home here there are too many of one's own race to remind one that there are intrinsic differences?'

mulla: 'But if you can accept when overseas that the only thing that matters is "malaysianness", why not that even more when in Malaysia?"

walla: 'Maybe it's politics. Some of the politicians constantly make people more aware of their differences than what is common. Let's take a malaysian company where malays, chinese and indians are working. Now do you think race politics, for instance, will be paramount there? If it resides there in the morning, the company will be finished by afternoon. To be successful, all will have to work as a team because the problems faced by each is leveled to the problems faced by the company. No one can be good in everything. Even if someone is good in everything, there should be leeway to help the others become better. Because that's what teaming means.'

mulla: 'That's utopian thinking, walla. In real life, he who is best will generally get to go ahead first. The fastest runner wins the race. It's the law of survival fitted into the free market capitalist system running on the cylinders of democratic equal-right ideals to incrementally create new standards and bars of excellence that will propagate the next wave of progress that is the benchmark of all modern activities.

Imagine, if you will, that company is facing a big challenge to which a fast response is needed. Now if you say wait for the slowest, then it's like a train trying to move faster but its maximum speed is only limited by the slowest part - the company will not achieve the win, the train will only chug until all parts fall off and most importantly, all will finally be left with the same shrunken pie. No?'

walla: 'You're trying to catch me with a dilemma that has befuddled better minds for the last thirty years, mulla. But let's say i humour you. I think it's about Plato's truth virus.'

mulla (one eyebrow rises):'What about that?'

walla: 'Plato's truth virus says that if we keep on thinking about something, we will reach its end-destination, the absolute. The problem with the dilemma we are facing is that after thirty years and more of trying to do something in only one directional way, it is easy to think it too painful to break with tradition and try something else.'

mulla: 'You're talking about politics?'

walla: 'Not just politics. Everything. Let's take culture for instance. Some will agree that the malay culture at its finest is about equalization before the Almighty. Some may also agree that the chinese culture, for instance, is about constant visible progress leavened by humanistic considerations. Now in this shattered world of materialism, there is some premium today for the malay culture. Those facing the present financial hunger after years of gorging rich food are asking whether happiness or human inner equilibrium can't be better sought by a more reasonable and moderate approach to progress as what has been commonly defined so far. However, let me add that just equalization before Him has an inherent problem. When you subscribe to it passively, it becomes easier to not want progress. However when you subscribe to it actively in the sense of getting to the essence of Him, it can be quite enervating, even for mortals like us.

On the other hand, the chinese culture may find itself firing too much on all cylinders to make material progress but one should not be hasty to think it doesn't have internal merits that will perpetuate survival. It wouldn't have survived that long if it didn't. However, as gwlnet has pointed out, they have also had to learn through some many years that in the end, when you talk about things like politics and governance, you will have to make it more people-centric. It's about being pragmatically flexible, i guess, you will have to ask them.

So i ask back, if it is needed for governments to be more people-centric, why not for human beings to be more humane-centric?'

mulla: 'Is that then why the dilemma has existed so long here? Because our politics are too race-geared which in turn magnifies our differences more than make us work towards a greater commonness that is the basis of your humane-centric thesis? What antidote do you have for that?'

walla: 'I'm not that presumptuous to make firm suggestions. Maybe the way to fight the Plato truth virus is to accept that there are merits in alternative viewpoints, that reality is not a one-dimensional line but a three-dimensional globe, that while we may have been born different or started from different starting lines, we should seek out what will truly make our survival more assured in a spiritualized way so that we will have more quality time to find back what may have been changed in the process of progress, in other things like culture and language. I assure you if one is hungry, it's hard to concentrate but if one has unfettered progress, human nature will tend to follow too form over substance.

Now some people will say one culture is superior to another. I will ask in which elements do you think that is so. In other words, my approach is more molecular.

My point is when i say i am ready to defend my culture, for instance, to the end, am i saying it as a "culture" defined by and for myself, for 'me', or is it defined by me for what are the good elements in it across generations both seen and unseen? If i can't answer that with Platonic certitude, why don't i then let it go for today, like throwing a boomerang, so that i can using my equalization principle or constant progress method to pick it back, refreshed, tomorrow, knowing full well that a boomerang thrown well will always swing back to its thrower?'

mulla: 'That's an interesting thought, walla. Can that be applied to politics as we see it here today?'

walla: 'Maybe. I am mindful of the difficulties being faced by Barisan, for instance. It seems to be neither here nor there. Maybe the boomerang i talked about for culture and other things can also be applied to political philosophy. Perhaps you just need to tweak it a bit to avoid trying to turn the titanic suddenly which may cause it to keel over even faster, as most are thinking. Now what could be the tweak? Just shooting breeze on this one. What if tomorrow Umno says it is a Malaysian and not malay party but with a new tagline - "a malaysian party specializing in malay affairs"? Likewise, the MCA can be a "malaysian party specializing in chinese affairs" and the MIC is now a "malaysian party specializing in indian affairs", and so on.'

mulla: 'You mean multiracial membership in each of them?'

walla: 'Can be or needn't be, it depends. What i would like to see is more inclusiveness and participation by each in the activities and interests of the others. I don't mean just appearing for some festival gathering. They should instead accentuate the commonalities, reduce the perception of ironclad differences, and create a new level of teamship. In other words, They should be seen to help each other directly and thoroughly. So far as you can see, each his own, then they get together and try to parcel this one for me, that one for you, and so on. I don't know, what do you think?'

mulla: 'I have to think of that too. But can it be applied to say the construction industry so that that you won't need to legislate for affirmative actions?'

walla: 'Let me answer your question with a question. Assuming that Barisan then becomes what i have painted, namely a constellation of Malaysian parties with respective niched affairs, will contracts instead be given solely to Malaysian companies comprising all the races so that one can learn from the others and internally apportion out the rewards, thereby eliminating a lot of the problems and costs encountered today?'

mulla: 'But won't that reduce the size of the pie for the Malays?'

walla: 'But aren't you also saying that they need to be helped in a more structured way so that they will have more skills and resources to later embark out on their own, that is if by then they even want to do so, considering how well those present multiracial companies will be doing from tapping the strengths of one another with its attendant cost savings and profit maximisations?'

Look, the other day i saw an extension constructed by a malay contractor. It was ok but a bit rough. You can imagine him struggling in the hot sun and worrying in the pouring rain. What was painful was the roof. Not knowing how to cut tiles to fit curves, the roof had to be covered as a patch by some zincsheets in the end.'

mulla: 'What about institutional assistance then?'

walla: 'I think if the associations and clubs care enough, they can start by noticing such things and help input the right advisories to take such contractors up another level of capability. As i had said before, it's all about being "alert", add "care".

Talking of which some of my chinese friends had asked me a question i have till now not been able to answer:

"if we don't care, wouldn't we have just kept quiet and let you go your merry mistaken way of multiple follies?"'

mulla: 'What about affirmative policies? Do you think they should go?'

walla: 'What the chinese have said are these, and i confess i have to moderate their comments a bit:

"You can't have the cake and eat it if the original cause is perceived to be something unfair.

And people will perceive something to be unfair, even if it was originally noble in intent, when they find the policy-makers outrightly favoring one race over the others whenever any opportunity presents itself, first political, later personal, every time anything is done. It not only becomes unsymbolic of the intent, it also becomes shambolic of the relations. Especially when supporters of the policies start slamming the others for not being supportive enough of country, government and coexistence as sufficient reason why it should be expanded.

You must know, a govt's macro policy is only considered macro by its proponents. It is only considered micro by the people who would be negatively affected by it because their primary concern, or their own macro objective, is to make profits which in turn the govt concerned would consider micro compared to its macro policy because the objectives of the people are considered disaligned from what the proponents want. Then it becomes 'you versus me'.

Don't you think it's expecting the impossible to try and run a country where half its citizens think it's govt of the malays, by the malays and for the malays, just by looking at what's happening in every vista of life everywhere, everyday?"'

mulla: 'Those are interesting points, no doubt.

In fact, i think it's the way policies are interpreted by individual vested parties and then implemented in sorry ways, mostly as paybacks for political support leading to elections without considering economic, social or even national effects. Even within the same community.

Take our teksi permits. The govt starts with a mothership model. Like the AP way, one big concessionaire leases out taxis to individual drivers. They pay a rent, charges fixed rates and keep the day's takings. But things went wrong because people forgot that if you have profit motive on one side and social objective of keeping fares low on the other, then when costs go up or competitors like trains and buses expand their lines, of course the day's takings will shrink, all the more with added fuel and parts costs. Since the last nail was having to pay commissions and special "fees", the drivers ended up haggling fares with their customers. Especially when an accident can send one's earnings back by months."

walla: 'Likewise as what was said, for the construction industry. If you want learning curves, reinforce the basics first. Even the most inspiring buildings must start with the strongest foundations. So get the skills first. What are the associations doing to upgrade the skills of the contractors?

In fact, if you take, say, the matter of an ali-baba company and extrapolate it all the way to Plato's endpoint, what do you get? A multiracial Malaysian company! Think about that.'

mulla: 'Shall we stop here?'

walla: 'Let's. I am mindful that new posts by the blogger will push this one too far down for people to notice so we might end up talking just to ourselves.'

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 17:49  


No worry about ending up just talking to ourselves. There are many interested parties who read even the older postings but do not comment.

Your friend's questions that appear sincere and constructive, not sounding "Malaysian Malaysia" or having a hidden agenda are acceptable.

Affirmative action - "... if the original cause is perceived to be something unfair":

How else can you get the Malays to move forward educationally and economically without scholarships since the 1960s and the NEP since the 1970s? They can't compete with the Chinese on an uneven playing field. Many had to walk 3-4 miles to the kampung school, cycle 20 miles to & fro the town English school in the 1950s and 60s, had no experience in business except jual goreng pisang and maybe taxi driving.

Remember, when Long Jaafar found tin in Larut in 1846(?), he asked the Chinese in Penang to run his mining operations. Chinese mining millionaires became legendary, Malays hardly heard of.

It is only when Dr Mahathir started creating the elite Malay business class that we saw Malays who had benefitted from study scholarships knowing the complexities of making big money on the Stock Exchange - the company take-overs, etc.

And surely the basis, or at least a major contributing factor for national unity, is the reduction in wealth and income disparity among the races.

Those who oppose have to understand and accept the Social Contract entered into among the races, respect the Constitution and give something in return. Tun Tan Siew Sin had said the Malays have been "generous enough" on more than one occasion - agreeing to citizenship for the non-Malays at Merdeka and relaxing the citizenship laws (language proficiency, etc) for the issue of certificates post-Merdeka.

The non-Malays have used up their right to citizenship and their descendents will continue to enjoy that right forever. The Malays don't have even 20% of corporate wealth, let alone other forms of wealth. They can't blame the Malays for the slow speed to acquire the 30%. The Chinese in Mainland China with thousands of inventions, many since ancient times, and vast manpower resources, took hundreds of years to become respected by the international community in recent history.

If policy implementation is wrong e.g only a select few get rich, the vast majority of Malays still languishing with despair, or corruption is a hinderance, then criticise the implementors, but not the policy or the principle of having NEP. And least of all, the poor Malays who keep feeling they can't even enjoy some priviledges
peacefully in their own country.

By all means, have Malaysian UMNO, Malaysian MCA, Malaysian MIC and so on. And when we truly have a Bangsa Malaysia, then we don't feel envious of one another because we are all Malaysian. But, for a start, everybody has to respect the Constitution in order to dream of a Bangsa Malaysia.

Wonder what your Chinese friends would say to the above points. One of the Chinese friends I have said, "Kita sama sama la, hidup, cali makan, jangan galoh galoh". I wish there are more like him.

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 18:33  

Anon09:12 / 21:55,

What a coincidence. I do part-time MLM slimming course. So for yr interest I’ll throw-in once in a life-times crash course of slimming pills for both of u. Btw no second serving, though!

1)What’s wrong with Malaysian Malaysia? Or u want it to be Malay Malaysia? Then what about the Orang Asli? The Sabah & Sarawak Natives? One solution – be inclusive & grouped them as Malay as well. Whether they agree or not, JUST say the train has moved on, SORRY, period. But then it goes again the Constitution's definition of Malay......Sakit kepala ye!

2)I was wrongly informed by the umno-ised Malaysia history during my early yrs. Then I’ve the access to the gwilo’s versions, which r more telling with a different angle. Then I think & analyse. So pray tell what Malay rights when ONLY special position of Malay r mentioned in the Constitution.

Quote “These are all lies about the social contract! There never was a trade off between citizenship and special position of malays. There is no link between citizenship and the special position of the malays. It is not a quid pro quo.

There were already 4 million non malay citizens by 1938. About one million non malays were not citizens because they did not see an urgent need for it in British Malaya, a crown dominion, and besides in 1939 the British froze granting of citizenships. Then the war delayed it further.

It was after the war and the independence movements in colonies that brought the issue to the forefront. Now the question of citizenship became important as independence was imminent and people had to make up their minds. Some returned. About 50,000 Indians returned to India, and one million non malays applied for citizenship.

This was agreed early (by 1951) on by all parties including umno. It was a condition of independence! Without this issue being resolved independence was out of the question.

It was very late in 1956 at the last minute that some malay groups wanted the special position of malays included to ensure malays are not left behind. Thats why this provision is at the back in Article 153, and not upfront in Article 3 or 4. It was a last minute inclusion, without a quid pro quo. Therefore no linkage with citizenship or any social contract.

The Reid Commission mentions no such social contract or any such quid pro quo among the races. All along in the Commission’s submissions for a year, there was no mention of any special position of the malays.

Article 153 is a negative affirmation action proviso, not a positive proviso. It provides no special rights to malays. The framers of the constitution were careful not to mention the word ‘rights’ or ‘privileges’. It is only ’special position’, and the position of malays then is that they were backward in education, employment, business, and so they need assistance. That was the ’special position’ of the malays! Backwardness. And for the Agong to remedy that, if required, as the Agong sees it.

The word ‘backward’ was not used in the constitution to give face lah!

What it merely says is that the Agong MAY mandate reservations for malays in education, scholarships and business permits, obviously, if malays are not sufficiently already represented. It is his call. This is not an issue for political parties to raise. This is one of the discretionary powers of the Agong, and to my knowledge he has never mandated this.

So the special position of the malays is that they were backward compared to the non malays, and NOT some unending eternal rights over the other citizens!

Notice the Statement mentions ’special privileges of the rulers’ and ’special position of the malays’, and that the rulers were accorded eminence to ‘ensuring impartiality among the citizens’. Impartiality among citizens is the word!

Any historian can confirm these historical facts, and any (constitutional) lawyer the legal readings.” unquote

3)Try to play syntax, eh? Ok, I’m no anak Malaysia, but tokoh Malaysia, ok? But then I’ve not born with very thick skin (ha, a MLM saleman!), so better stay back as a simple Malaysian.

4)Btw, the part about “his forefathers in Penang urged the British Resident there to interfere in Perak to protect their tin mining interests” has a role for the Malay rulers’ interest too. U forget or u don't know? I heard BTN sold this type of Malayan history cheap2, where all the Malays were the underlings, ripe to be exploited. Many dungu bought it wholesale for re-sell. Were all those colonial Malays as dungu? Please-lah do give them some credits, ok? Ha, talk about history reading!

5)Incidentally, I do think that Malayan Communist insurgency was a nationalistic struggle. Any struggle against colonial occupation for the locals IS a nationalistic by definition. Ideology–wise it is a struggle for the locals to determine their own fate. Chin Peng does earn a mention in our history for what has been happened. He deserves to be judged by the later Malaysians, NOT just a blank in Malaysian history!

6)R u sure u r not a trojan in my mind? I used to work as a janitor in S’pore, no joke. My red-dot employer said that’s what my Malaysian education qualified me for. No malice intended, just plain old reality. To me, who cared as long as the pay was good & fit into my schedule. I kept my mouth because this red-dot is no country of mine, even though I was asked couples of time to be citizenised. Then I did the same janitor job while marking time in a technical institute in US, just to supplement the cost. U know what, I’d even done some Milo-like arrow graffiti with a drummer by the name of Feynman. & yet I still ended up in Malaysia. Cabutted? Nay. I don’t get to where I’m now as a quiter! My real Big Brother will always watching & looking after me, thank you!

Do take these 6 pills, once a day for a week.Sunday rest with water only. They will definitely reduce yr daily diet intake. Repeat for a month, both of u will definitely come out slim AND with a clear mind.


Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 20:24  

Yes sir, respect the perlembagaan, so that bangsa malaysia can come out. Including the take, take, take and want more, more, more but give little.

These people. Even communists who were terror, killed innocent people they say nationalists. Chin Peng went to China, want to bring communism to Malaya. What nationalist. What buku they baca?

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 21:41  

Assumption 1: All Malays are dumb and can only be successful with govt support
Assumption 2: All non Malays are smart thus can be successful even without govt support.
Assumption 3:There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Assumption 4 : Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 22:15  

Assumption 5: He who made Assumption 1-4 can't even see the bush for the trees.

Anonymous,  19 February 2009 at 22:33  

Yes..ur so right with your assumption 5..
Assumption 1 to 4 is so dumbass, the writer must be a Malay.

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 10:36  

its wrong to say bumis are all stupid and nonbumis are all smart.

its also wrong to say only the smartest gets to be successful..

for instance,there are many nonbumis who are not smart but due to their connections have got lucrative licenses/concessions or made a pile from their inheritance.

Similarly,there are many smart bumis who remains in the lower middleclass bracket.

To clarify,my definition of smart is academic excellence and successful is on financials/wealth.Nothing philosophical.

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 11:21  


Let me offer you another perspective.

The Malays were here as an organised community with a system of government earlier than anyone else.

The Encyclopaedia of Malaysia, Early History, has articles on The Bujang Valley, The Kinta Valley, Beruas and Santubong from the 7th Century onwards, written by Prof. Dr. Nik Hassan Shuhaimi. The Malacca Sultanate from the 14th Century onwards is well known. When the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British came wanting trading facilities, they talked to the Malay rulers.

The Malays have fought and sacrificed their lives against foreign invasions like the Portuguese and the Dutch long before the British came. So, the Malays deserve more of what the country affords than others who came later.

The British colonial policy was to encourage business as much as possible so that they can send the maximum tax revenues back to England. The Chinese had the knowledge and experience in business, so they benefitted a lot. The British built only Malay primary schools in the kampongs, Malay boys cycling up to 20 miles per day to the English schools in town, hungry, many could not even afford the school fees. So the Malays suferred not only in educational backwardness but also the means to know and acquire wealth.

No doubt, many non Malays in towns also barely had enough for school fees, but they didn't have to walk 3-4 miles on slippery roads or through secondary jungles to get to school.

Then the Malays were given the special position in the Constitution, whatever the consideration or agreement of the leaders at the time of drafting it. Why not let them.

The deserving non-Malays also get helped. You yourself mentioned about your nephew's scholarship offer to study overseas. If I am not mistaken, in New Zealand a 3 year course was regarded as a pass degree, a 4 year course is equivalent to an Honours degree at the University of Malaya at one time. Perhaps the JPA had good intentions, otherwise they would not have offered your nephew a scholarship. I know many other Chinese whose children were offered scholarships to study abroad and they were happy.


Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 11:21  


Let me offer you another perspective.

The Malays were here as an organised community with a system of government earlier than anyone else.

The Encyclopaedia of Malaysia, Early History, has articles on The Bujang Valley, The Kinta Valley, Beruas and Santubong from the 7th Century onwards, written by Prof. Dr. Nik Hassan Shuhaimi. The Malacca Sultanate from the 14th Century onwards is well known. When the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British came wanting trading facilities, they talked to the Malay rulers.

The Malays have fought and sacrificed their lives against foreign invasions like the Portuguese and the Dutch long before the British came. So, the Malays deserve more of what the country affords than others who came later.

The British colonial policy was to encourage business as much as possible so that they can send the maximum tax revenues back to England. The Chinese had the knowledge and experience in business, so they benefitted a lot. The British built only Malay primary schools in the kampongs, Malay boys cycling up to 20 miles per day to the English schools in town, hungry, many could not even afford the school fees. So the Malays suferred not only in educational backwardness but also the means to know and acquire wealth.

No doubt, many non Malays in towns also barely had enough for school fees, but they didn't have to walk 3-4 miles on slippery roads or through secondary jungles to get to school.

Then the Malays were given the special position in the Constitution, whatever the consideration or agreement of the leaders at the time of drafting it. Why not let them.

The deserving non-Malays also get helped. You yourself mentioned about your nephew's scholarship offer to study overseas. If I am not mistaken, in New Zealand a 3 year course was regarded as a pass degree, a 4 year course is equivalent to an Honours degree at the University of Malaya at one time. Perhaps the JPA had good intentions, otherwise they would not have offered your nephew a scholarship. I know many other Chinese whose children were offered scholarships to study abroad and they were happy.


Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 11:30  

Mr Anon Cheers..thanks for the history lesson

My question is when will this special privileges end?There must be a finishing line lah..if not how to plan race strategy?

And why must be Ketuanan..if I understand right it means Malays are the bosses?Normally,bosses no need ask for come maa??

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 16:17  

Anon Cheer(?)(not sure this is yr call-sign),

Hmm .. history, my favour pass time, besides numbers (not the BJTOTO type ;-)).

The question that begged to be asked should be CONTRIBUTION, not DURATION - Who contributes most to the land, NOT who occupies the longest. Very controversy, u bet.

Because if one use duration as a sole parameter then the Orang Asli should have the sole credit. No matter how rudiment is their cultural organisation, they have the first claim. So “The Malays were here as an organised community with a system of government earlier than anyone else.” is wrong.

I read about Prof. Dr. Nik Hassan Shuhaimi’s book, & think that there r gaps, big one, that have been missed out. Unfortunately, I’m only an arm-chair history reader, nothing much I can contribute here academically, even though I’m tempted to speculate. A better person could be the person with the nom de plume of Michael Chick, who has written a lot about earlier Malayan history from a different perspective.

Malacca used to be like “…mahameru the centre of the universe is bukit siguntang, and kerajaan melaka ruled the empat penjuru alam, which is around the melaka straits, beyond that is not the world.” as mentioned by the other commentator, Snakebite. What then attracted those traders, from many others competing seaports like, Acheh, Palembang, Java to a late-comer like Malacca? What Malacca had that the others didn’t?

The Malacca Sultanate firstly, via a smart political attribute, linked up with the Ming Empire to push the marauding Siam back at base. Second, setup a large Chinese community, to create a trading opportunity with China, within Malacca. Thus a conducive trading environment, to exploit the geographical location of Malacca was formed. This in turn drawn in the other Arab, Indian & Chinese traders against these other seaports within the same region

Thus, the golden age of Malacca coincided with the tie-up with the Ming Empire (who has no interest to subjugate it), & the chance for the foreign traders to trade with China for tea , porcelain & silk. Those other seaports failed because they have no big brother to look after them. On top of that there was no Chinese community within to helped making business transactions with China that much easier.

I’m sure the Malacca Arab, Indian & Chinese then had also helped to defense Malacca from the colonial forces of Portuguese and the Dutch long before the British came. Who won’t when yr house, family were been threaten to be destroyed, & taken over by unknown foreigners.

So right from the start, the people of Malayan r been interwoven like a basket weaving. We r inter-dependent on each other for the well-being of this land. No one can claim more or less.

Ya, the British then was a different kind of fish – a schemer type, with the reputation of the Britannia to uphold. What’s that? Gentleman superficially, manipulator deep under. So by playing the right game Malacca was an easy prey. Malacca went to the British without any major blood-letting!

The Chinese had the knowledge and experience in business, so they benefitted a lot. So were the Mamak. (Not Malay yet as define by the non-existing Constitution then). Why not the strait Malay? After all, these group had been in constant contact with the traders for well over 300+ yrs, counting from the golden age of Malacca Sultanate. Many have written about this & many others have better theories, too. I only like to repeat what I’ve written earlier “R u going to fall into the trap as mentioned by Sepadu that it’s due to “the Malay culture. Attitude. Mindset. Surroundings, precedents. It's the Malay way of life”? If it is then one is falling into the game-pit of the bell-curve! This argument has passed its due date. U want yr kind to wake-up, face the challenges on yr own & yet u keep putting excuses along the way. R u telling yr own people they r forever not good enough? 10yr no good, fine. 20yr no good umm…A generation to catch up – the die is casted in stone.”

Cheer(?), many non Malays in far-off locations also barely had enough for school fees, but they also have to walk 3-4 miles on slippery roads or through secondary jungles to get to school. I’ve seen them in Sabah, Sarawak & even some in P M’sia!

And NOBODY, not me, that question the special position of Malay in the Constitution. If u need help u need help, period. BUT please don’t do them to the exclusion of the DLLs that also need help. That’s what I ask, no more no less.

About my book-worm nephew's scholarship, the UoA’s offer is 3yr then straight through to PhD. In that U, only those who get 1st class Upper (Hon) & within the top 10 Dean’s list get that. I offer to help paying the whole course but my brother is too proud to accept. He wants his son to stand on his own feet even though my offer is unconditional. My only hope is that he can REALLY contribute to Malaysia WITHOUT undue ceiling. I know he can but then the politics is another issue.


Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 16:44  

Mr AnonCheers ,Mr gwlnet,

very good points..very enlightening..and its fantastic that the comments even more insightful then the main story lah.Very difficult to be party to this type of intelligent/respectful discourse on sumting thats obviously sensitive...

My two cents

1.We Malaysians are all the about the same now..mindsets and potential reaching parity.
2.Politicians use the racial agenda more than the people
3.Chinese still dominant in business i.e networking better,asset base secured over longer period and appreciating with urbanization,agencies etc etc...
4.Chinese biz is tested thru few generations and the strongest hv survived and grown; thus better philosophies n understanding of biz
5.Malays..opportunities squandered by small group..and no continuity.

My conclusion>>refocus ur history lessons to last 30 years..wat hv been happening since then?Lets see wat went wrong..and how can we be sure next 30 years better.

Assistance,privileges is ok ok..but not forever right?eventually must gv to weak rather than to race also lah.


Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 21:03  

I read all the comments by Gwlnet and Anonymouses. I think I can relate to Anonymous TQ and 1-2 others but not Gwlnet.

I feel sorry for him. He find everything wrong for him. Even the government scholarship for his nephew. He read strange books, he said Malaysian history according to "gwilo's versions" (from Singapore?) and so on.

He will not change. I pity him.

Anonymous,  21 February 2009 at 08:14  

The man needs help. But he will deny it, refuse help and his problems will continue. Yes, sad for him.

Anonymous,  24 February 2009 at 02:09  

For the record, I must state that this gwlnet fellow must be crazy to say that the Chinese in Malacca joined the fight against the Portuguese and the Dutch in Malacca several hundred years ago.

Even now, with over 20% of them, hardly any Chinese in the Police and the Armed Forces.

He must also be crazy to say that the Malayan Communist terrorist activities were a nationalist movement.

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