Bolehland Drama

Antiques of the Land where everything crooked and upside-down Boleh! (Can do!)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Advent of new era of higher education in Malaysia

firehawk Said:March 12th, 2006 at 02: 55.03

Like Bangsa Malaysia and Sapna, my stomach doesn’t feel as squeamish as it usually does about the public university scene.

Years ago I was given the opportunity to get into a local public university. I must say that the amount of control instituted was amazingly mind numbing. Students were admitted for the sole pupose of being indoctrinated with the national agenda. There was hardly any room to breathe. Certainly not the kind of room that moulded the birth of past ‘world-class’ academicians, nationalists, Malaysians. Naturally I was disappointed. It made me wonder why great minds of ‘not-so-long-ago’ like Tun Dr M could allow such a condition, what I call the ‘no brains syndrome’ to develop. Did he not care about his people? He must have cared only about himself to approve of the insidious enactment of the Universities and University Colleges Act 25 years ago.

One thing for sure, our public universities, most of them isolated from ‘existence’ are not hot beds for future great minds. I agree with Assoc Prof Azmi Sharom about, ‘... students in this day and age who really care about matters beyond Akademi Fantasia is very small indeed…’ and ‘... most students just want to graduate and as quickly as possible get into debt to pay for their three-bedroom flat and Proton Waja…’. There are very few students around that aspire to be more than they are (think StarTrek), very few who actually see the bigger picture in life nor passionate about their future, nevermind the issues that affect the country. The ‘no brain syndrome’ is certainly contagious. It needs the intensity and resolve that has been packaged with the control measures of the current Avian Influenza culling campaign. After 25 years of ‘bad education’, we will certainly need another 25 years to restore the quality of our education. Worry that, ‘...greater freedom will make our campuses hotbeds of radicalism..’ should be allayed as there is no hope for mushrooming of intellectual thought in the near future.

Azmi also touched on the most significant of points, ‘... only the best candidates are taken in as students…’. There is much debate and unhappiness about the equivalency of the different pre-university programs offered to get into public and private universities. One clear cut way to give a level playing field to students is to make the SATs/ACTs or its like compulsory for undergrad entrance as suggested by Undergrad2. Maybe the Education Ministries would like to develop a Bahasa version of the SATs. Malaysian versions of the MSATs and LSATs could be used for medical and law school. Conversely, the GMAT, GRE can be implemented for use at the graduate level.

firehawk Said:March 12th, 2006 at 04: 05.34


There is a real problem of racial and religious polarisation in our public universities. Instead of becoming a hot bed of intellectual thought, students are mostly involved in religious and race-based activities. Im not against it as I am also heavily involved in Hindu organisations, but there is more to life than the narrow outlook that most of our students subsribe to. I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like now.

This certainly does and will not bid well for our country’s future, our future.

firehawk Said:March 12th, 2006 at 04: 15.04

I am all for the implementation of a system of positive discrimination “in order to do justice to the poor and the underprivileged from a certain race”. However, more often than not, many of those who benefit from this sort of system are Toms, Dicks and Harrys of a certain race accorded the same educational opportunities as the majority of us.

firehawk from

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Politics & the Blog

Came across a really good article in Malaysia Today on political blogging. The article applies to speaks about the global situation with special attention to US politics and blogging initiatives.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

English & the Malaysian education system

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 01: 50.31

I agree with undergrad that it is not the standard of english that is in question here. After all, the person who wrote that might have been just a recent SPM cert holder.

I don’t have to go so far as to blame others for poor command of a language. My tamil is even worse that the above level of english. I sacrificed my mother tongue for better command of english and malay. At best my command of other languages is at a basic level. I am ashamed of this and when I have time I try to improve my command of tamil, cantonese and spanish. Still in the case of my tamil, I am ashamed.

The truth is, there is little help available by the government to help the people especially when they enter the real working world as young adults and at university.My suggestion is not to insult anyone with bad english or command of whatever other languages. Its the policy that we had set in the past is the one that should be blamed for our current situation.

In my opinion, a countryman’s weakness or ineptness is our collective responsibility.

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 02: 22.05

My suggestions to the Education Ministries are as follows:

1) From Primary 4 onwards, make taking another language subject compulsory for all in schools whether it is Mandarin, Tamil etc. Make it part of the school curriculum. Cater for all levels ie. stream classes. This way, SJK may soon fall out of favour and better unity may be fostered. Exams could be split into 3 levels, basic, intermediate and advanced.

2) Same should be done at secondary schools and all public and hopefully private universities. This time standards should be raised ie. intermediate and advanced. To this end, many many more language teachers should be trained and re-hired from retirement as they have done/ are doing for english.

3) Islamic education and moral studies should be thought as afterschool classes. In the case, of Islamic studies, the traditional evening schools should be brought back to support the local schools.

4) More continuing education should be given to teachers to sustain their interest and to build their proffesional portfolio. Better pay should be given and better monitoring of teachers and schools should be done by the district departments. District/State school rankings should be introduced.

Growing up I have realised that an open mind and persistence can land a person many rewards. A sure way to have a more open mind in my opinion is to embrace another culture. Learning a language is a sure way to opening cultural doors to a person especially if it is not his native culture.

Instead of spending billions like Mahathir did for megaprojects, I agree with Pak Lah to be more conservative but not too conservative, hopefully.

Having said that, money has to be spent on education. Only with world class education and grasp of the global world can we have better ties with other countries. This will invariably lead to more business opportunities and a robust knowledge based economy.

Learning 3 languages in school must sound a handful but I feel it is a must for a country like Malaysia to prosper and embrace the benefits of our multicultural society. English should eventually play a leading role with BM only for language and literature purposes. We can be rojak, but not too rojak. English for Education, Malay for patriotism and nationalism, Mandarin/Tamil for business and general education. We can do one better than Singapore ;)

Regardless of what certain parties say regarding our science and maths syllabus, our theoretical knowledge up to STPM is of a high standard. I have studied in Singapore and UK. While standards across the causeway are certainly high, if not the highest in the world, in UK it is not up to the Malaysian standard, not theoretically anyway. We just need to consolidate what we have and improve on our shortcomings ie language command and practical components.

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 02: 38.29

Government departments and big corporations esp MNCs should also play a role and have afternoon classes for employees to be more adepth at a chosen language.

As all of you can see, my slogan essentially reads, ‘Multi-Language Command for Malaysian Globalisation’.

firehawk from