31 May 2009

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday May 27, 2009
Sports and studies do mix

Our children need to be assured that three A’s and a good sports record are more than fine; they are just what the country needs.

THE Education Minister announced recently that there will be a limit to the number of subjects students can take for their SPM. Well, it’s about time!

I have never understood how students can take 16 subjects and more. In my day, you didn’t actually need more than five subjects because your overall grade would be based on the aggregate of your top five subject grades.

Typically, we would take about eight subjects at most in order to have some leeway in our potential total. There was no reason to take more than that.

If someone got seven A’s, they were pretty much regarded geniuses. Today, there are people who get more than double what the geniuses of my time did. But are they doubly smart?

I spoke to officials at some private tertiary institutions and they confirmed what I have always feared: that students entering university, particularly those doing very technical subjects, had to do a lot of remedial work in their first year before they could really be considered up to par.

Their 15 A’s were simply not “real” A’s.

In my time, the students who got seven A’s were immediately offered scholarships to do matriculation in Australia, after which they went on to university there, mostly in the sciences or medicine.

I don’t hear of those types of offers to current students with multiple A’s. Perhaps, it is because often their English is just not up to the mark.

Or, perhaps, their A’s are not quite of the same standard as the fewer ones of old.

I often wonder why our media don’t do follow-up stories on our multiple-A students a few years later.

Would it be because there is really nothing to follow up, that they all fizzled out when it came to real studies?

I’m not saying that they did not work hard to get their A’s.

But perhaps, when getting as many A’s as possible became their sole goal in life, they could not thrive in higher education which demands less rote work and more actual thought.

So limiting the number of subjects a student can take would be the first step.

The next step would be to raise the standards of our education all round so that to even get one A would mean something much more than the current five or six A’s.

The other thing to do would be to provide space for our children to shine in ways other than the academic.

I am glad that the Education Minister has also said that we should improve the standard of sports in our schools. The low standards that we have today are, of course, related to our obsession with examination results.

How do we force our kids to get at least seven or eight A’s without stopping them from doing anything but study?

We have now created a culture where if you shone at sports, you’re not considered as smart as if you were a pale child tied to your desk and books.

Yet it is possible to combine both; indeed one complements the other, Nicol David being the best example.

If one does sports, one is simply fresher and healthier, and therefore more alert in class. We have to go back to the days when sports were compulsory.

At the same time we should stop the nonsense where we are more concerned about what our children wear to play sports than actually ensuring that they play well.

When we make our girls dress in uncomfortable clothes for sports, they are unlikely to find playing games very attractive.

Nor should we keep presenting sports to our girls as something unladylike.

If we are serious about training world-class athletes and sportspersons, we should equip them with the best training and equipment. Otherwise, let us just forget it.

Sports, as has been pointed out by others, have other benefits besides health and fitness.

One of them is the fact that they are able to create team spirit and unity in ways no amount of Rakan Muda activities can.

We root for an athlete because they are Malaysian, not because they are of any ethnic or religious subgroup. We are all collectively proud when one of our sportspeople does well overseas.

Sports are, and have always been, “one Malaysia”. I would venture that one of the reasons we have so much disunity is precisely because getting many A’s in exams is a solitary sport, not a team one.

It’s not too late to reverse the damage.

Just put our money where our mouth is and change our children’s mindset by telling them that three A’s and a good sports record are more than fine; they are just what the country needs.

25 May 2009

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday May 13, 2009
Hot heads don’t solve anything
Musings by Marina Mahathir

After the events in Perak last week, where everybody seemed to lose all sense of proportion, the appropriate thing to do now is to chill.

GERTRUDE Stein the writer once said: “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” Stein lived from 1874-1946, so this was way before what we now call the Information Age. So you can imagine how much common sense we lose these days.

Nothing seemed to exemplify this loss more than the events of last week.

Everybody seemed to lose all sense of proportion and was reacting in ways that were totally unwarranted.

The chief culprit would be the police.

Why was there a need to arrest someone who was asking people to wear black clothes? Since when has wearing black been classified as dangerous?

Then we should arrest all those women in top-to-toe black burqas walking around, both local and tourist.

So wearing black was meant to be a political statement, and that was deemed offensive.

But people wear political statements on their bodies every day, whether in the form of slogans on T-shirts or even the very clothes they wear, especially on the head.

Are we going to go around and arrest everyone?

And what was the need to arrest people who bring a cake?

So you don’t like the joke. But, by any measure, cakes are not dangerous weapons, except perhaps to those with high cholesterol.

If I were a policeman with common sense, I would have taken the cake, said thank you, sent the cake-deliverers on their way, and then dumped the cake in the rubbish bin. End of story.

Instead, the police gave the cake deliverers exactly the publicity they wanted.

Even worse was the reaction towards students protesting against the arrest of their lecturer.

Was there a need for armed policemen?

Private university students are generally a docile lot, bent on getting the degrees their parents paid so much towards.

But surely loyalty to, and support for, their lecturers is something to be encouraged?

Instead they were made out to be troublemakers.

What is likely to have happened now is that those 20 students, having now observed an injustice first hand, have become politicised.

No guesses on how they will vote in the next general election.

It only got worse. People holding vigils got arrested. People sitting in coffee shops got booked. Lawyers trying to provide legal advice got taken in. Does any of this make sense?

The minister concerned may praise the police for “keeping the peace” but the cost of it is deep anger at the police and the Government, none of which will be soon forgotten.

There may be outward peace but absolutely none deep inside the psyche of the people affected, nor among the observers.

Yet how much would it cost the minister to instruct the police to exercise restraint? Nothing at all, yet it reaps greater rewards.

In fact, if anyone needed arresting, it was probably every single person inside the Perak State Assembly, regardless of political affiliation. The crime? Bringing down the dignity of the entire institution of the State Assembly.

How can screaming, shouting, trying to strangle people and tearing up money serve as a good example to the public?

Increasingly, I think the common sense thing to do is to dissolve the entire assembly, have new elections and hope that none of these people get voted in again.

What is most interesting about this episode is how information is now gathered and passed around. I followed the proceedings in Perak on Twitter, the microblogging application.

Various people were twittering up what was happening, and these were relayed to a large audience.

All this information was not only first hand but being sent out much faster than any mainstream media could ever hope to do.

The news alerts from newspapers that I received on my mobile seemed already stale when I got them.

This is the new challenge to the Government.

You can get the mainstream media to report what you want, you can try and go after blogs and online news portals, but with the advent of Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, and individuals posting up news as soon as it happens, it is almost impossible to counter any of it at the same speed.

Even photos and videos can be uploaded right after they have been taken and passed around.

The appropriate thing to do right now is really to chill.

Everyone needs to go to a yoga class to calm down.

Hot heads never solved anything so every politician should go for compulsory head clearing sessions.

Common sense should prevail. And perhaps it will tell us that asking Perakians who they actually want to govern them is the only sensible thing to do.