LOS TEROPONG

Los Teropong (Teropong means binoculars) comments on current issues in Malaysia, and sometimes the world, and put forth another opinion and perspective. BY THE WAY - THEY HUNG THE WRONG GUY ...

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Monday, May 30, 2005
My Good Friend Luigi
For those of you who are interested in Online Collaboration and Web Conferencing issues, I have added in this Blog the respective link for your perusal. It is a great site by my good friend from Italy, Luigi Canali De Rossi, an IT guru. I had the opportunity to meet him when I was a participant at the 4th Trainers Workshop on Improving Training Quality (ITQ4) through Interactive Learning Technologies and Distance Mentoring in Penang in 2002.

He was one of the coaches in the Workshop. Since then we have become good friends and when I was on my way to L'Aquila, Italy in 2003, I had the opportunity to meet him again in Rome. He picked me up at the airport and even put me up for the night in his guest apartment which happened to be just across the road from the walls of the Vatican. I have never been to Italy before this; you can almost 'feel' the aura of Italy and things italian in the environment and scenery. He took me around Rome the next day (this is really cutting a long story short - sorry Luigi but thanks for a wonderful time!) before sending me to the Bus station where I left for
L'Aquila (I attended a conference there). Since then we have communicated mostly via the Internet. Go take a look at his sites .. and he is also known as Robin Good. Puzzling huh? That's the guy ..

posted by Rozhan @ 5/30/2005 01:38:00 AM   3 comments
Revenge of the Sith
Saturday - 28 May 2005 - took my kids, except the youngest one who has a date with the Mum to see Madagascar, to see Star Wars. The movie was good, good story line, action all the way, good tie up to the fourth one that was produced in 1977. Wow ... talk about foresight. The way I look at it, it is not even necessary to re-produce Star Wars IV, V and VI, unless they want to make MORE money. Not surprisingly, there were numbers of 'oldies' like me at the movie. Can you blame us? The action actually started in our time in 1977 when I was only 18 years of age. The saga has extended itself for almost 30 years. So naturally, we would like to be there for the completion of the whole episode. It's good fun .. go see it.

posted by Rozhan @ 5/30/2005 01:18:00 AM   0 comments
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Changes in the Education System..?
I was intrigued to read (NST 28 May 2005) about the remarks of the DPM, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak regarding the need for in depth study before any change in the education system is made. Hmmm .. allow me to share my views. He said the Government had made changes by introducing English as a medium of instruction in Science and Mathematics. I sat for my MCE (SPM) in 1976 and it was ALL in English. Two years later the medium was changed to Malay. Now, English has been re-introduced. My generation would argue and still belief that there was no reason to change from English to Malay, at least my wife and I would argue about it. I still wonder till this day .. what was wrong with it? We did OK! .. excellent English ... excellent Bahasa .. what was the problem? We are no less MELAYU. It fact we are BETTER Melayu with good command of English and Malay. Now, English berterabok, hancoq ..

On another note (as per printed in the neswpaper), it was mentioned that implementing the smart education concept actually led to quality education and to the methods of teaching and learning which differ from the old ways. Fuyooo .. this word quality is not easy to quantify. Please don't use this word so easily. WHAT IS QUALITY EDUCATION?? If you can answer this, I salute you.

Was the quality not good during my time in school. I had a GREAT time in school. I can still remember my History teacher, Mr. Arul (in Kepala Batas) who came in class without his book. He did not waste his time REPEATING the text but told stories and was very animated to the point that I can still recall his gestures vividly till today. Nowadays, the students are asked to REWRITE the text in the books into another book .. WHY?? True .. of course .. my children also go to school and I know that is what they do. I asked them why and the said, cikgu suruh. I said why don't you just photocopy the flipping book. Depa tak berani ...

With all due respect, I have five chidren in school (the eldest is now in UPM) and I dare say the methods has not changed. I see my children and what they do and compared with what we did. I beg to differ but I assure you, we had a better time. There are no doubt some new tools like the computer but please do not have this naive faith in technology. It does nothing more than what YOU do with it. It has never been about technology per se, it has always been the HUMAN potential that use technology. You can have a jet at the back of your house, but if YOU do not know how to fly it, you can always dry your clothes on it!! You don't believe me, call me to give a workshop. I am not very expensive. Aiyaa .... tak tau lah ..

posted by Rozhan @ 5/29/2005 01:32:00 AM   4 comments
Friday, May 27, 2005
King of Fruits in Colour
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From left; the Alau, Anggunang & Tenom .. (The Star, 18 May 2005 - front page - STARpic by G.C.Tan) .. watch out Fear Factor, add this to your menu. Actually we can have a Malaysian Fear Factor minus the crap they eat. No need for rotting, maggotty, and smelly stuff. Apa punya merapu daaa.. We have enough 'natural' stuff such as the Petai, Petula, Jering, Durian, Akar Seruntun and lot, lots more. Hah . try eating those my friends. And we also have local concoction of belacan, sambal belacan, budu, cincalok, ikan pekasam and many more.

Plus during our kenduri in the kampngs - now the School holidays are coming up and we are in for a deluge of kenduris, ramai nak khawin. And there will also be ample supply of kari perut, sup kepala kambing, sup lidah lembu and a coctail of sup spare part. In fact only the kulit and bulu are not used in the cooking, the rest will end up in the pot. Prepare a pot of air asam .. viola, we have a feast!! 'nuff said.


posted by Rozhan @ 5/27/2005 04:05:00 PM   1 comments
Thursday, May 26, 2005
English
This may not be a new story, but it is amazing that it is still going on. Remember in my last posting that my father was not well, bad enough for us to call back our siblings from KL. So yesterday morning (25 May) I went from Kepala Batas (I spent the night at my father's house) to the Bayan Lepas Airport to fetch my younger brother and younger sister (lecturer in UiTM, Shah Alam). In the car we got talking about our children and my brother mentioned that he is pulling his second daughter out of a 'boarding school' in Putrajaya to come back home and enrol in a nearby school. He related that the school ran a very tight schedule and all his daughter did upon returning home over the weekend was SLEEP. After 'recuperating' on Sunday, it was time to go back to school. He is of the opinion that they were trying to cramp too much in any time avalable and belief too that that is not the 'right' way to do it. My hats off to him for making a decisive decision. We should know, we all came from Sekolah 'Kampung' and we are Surgeon, Professor and Lecturer.

And another thing, the one that is still going on, and I am not sure if the teachers know about this. The daughter also related that the ENGLISH speaking students, that is the students who spoke English in the school were shunned by other students. Depa tu cakap 'speaking'. Huh .. ??

My first daughter had the same problem when she was in Pusat Matrikulasi. The other students kept away from her because she spoke English (very well and fast too, very fast, I assure you). At home, we speak more English than Malay, and there is nothing wrong with my KEMELAYUAN, or my ability to speak and write in Malay. So don't bull me about mempertahankan BM and all that crap. Can someone tell me what is going on here. Here we are talking about being competitive and yet we cannot shake this 'kolot' attitude. Whichever way you look at it, a language, any language is knowledge. Knowledge is POWER, especially the lingua franca.

One of the weaknesses cited for our graduates is their inability to converse in English, well. If we are really going for a progressive Malaysia, I am surprised we think excluding English is one of the ways. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...
posted by Rozhan @ 5/26/2005 12:45:00 AM   14 comments
Condolences - UUM VC dies
My sincere condolences to the family of the late Brig-Jen Prof. Datuk Dr Ahmad Fawzi Mohd Basri, the Vice Chancellor of the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) who died of heart complication on Tuesday. He was 56. His demise is a great loss to the world of academia in Malaysia and his latest involvement was with the National Service Programme as the Council Chairman. Moga-moga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atasnya. Aamiiiiin.
posted by Rozhan @ 5/26/2005 12:13:00 AM   1 comments
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Busy, busy ... but ..
I say man, can't find anything interesting enough to write about from the papers. Hmmm ... Yesterday (Monday, 23 May), went back to Kepala Batas to visit my 83 year old father. He suffered a mild stroke about 5 years ago, and recovered pretty well ... as well as a person recovering from stroke, of course. He was doing ok, even prayed standing up for the first half, and sitting down for the remainder. He still walked to his wheel chair as part of the exercise and downed a cocktail of medication to sustain his health.

He has always been an active person, being a former inspector in the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID as it was known before), a vocation that required a lot of walking inspecting the canals and irrigation of paddy fields. Even the day before his stroke, he was still cutting grass with that motorised contraption on his back. He has never been sick all his life with the only one-time admittance to hospital was because of itchy fingers that required some attention.

Then, naturally he got tired very easily, spend more time on the wheelchair and as a natural progression too, the joints got stiffer and for almost a year ago he has been in bed all the time, sitting up once in a while to be fed, have his smoke and his favourite canned drink. But his memory is first rate. He can remember evrything, and I mean everything, everyone and every joke ever told to us. I may have inherited some of his sarchastic nature of joke telling although I assure you my younger brother has more. Btw, my younger brother is a Specilaist in Damansara Medical.

During the long Labour Day break we all decided to have a get together and a family BBQ in Kepala Batas and re-celebrate his birthday (was on April 7th) with cakes and all. We even hauled him out in his wheelchair to the dining table where we assisted with the candle-blowing.

Yesterday, he looked totally different. He has not eaten well in the last two days, not spoken much but just remained very quiet and looked absolutely frail. All we could do was sit on the floor beside him, and hold his hand. No words were necessary. A few verses were read for him and in our hearts, our prayers for the best for him.

Made me think too that one day, I too will be in that position. The finality, the lone journey ... how nothing around you matter anymore, how getting up, getting cleaned, getting fed and just staying alive (more of a conjecture) is a challenge. Made my hair stand on ends. We are very familiar with the fact that all that live will one day die, but it does not make it any easier when you put yourself in that position. It is NOT the end of the story you know. There is the hereafter ..... and it is not so far away either after one has left the world as we know it ... but I won't go into that. Such is life ...
posted by Rozhan @ 5/24/2005 03:41:00 PM   1 comments
Monday, May 23, 2005
Pay for your health
Teropong up - hmmmm, in the news (NST - 20 May) about the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme that should take off at the end of next year. And most Malaysians are required to make manditory contributions.

A consultant (from ??) was appointed to identify details under the scheme, including the quantum of payment, criteria & ceiling for contributions, collection mechanism, nature of basic health package and how the ministry will pay clinics and hospitals. Looks like it is ALL ready to go.

Ok, to cut a long story short, the news said that the scheme would provide better care, access to facilities and financial risk management in the event ill health.

Too, as for healthcare providers, there would be
  • better incentives to cover the rural population,
  • greater opportunities, improvement in the reimbursement system
  • increased efficiency, and
  • better use of technology
Further, the system would see greater integration, efficiency and quality, besides optimal rsource utilisation and the focus on preventive programmes.

Look, I don't mean to be a pain in the neck, but as far as terminal objectives are concerned, the goals cited mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! and I mean NOTHING!

For ALL the issues cited as areas of 'improvement', what WAS lacking in the present system? WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS?? What did not work, what was not enough? What was not well supported. What are the justification to introduce the scheme?

We are very fond of doing things like this. There is no identification of real issues and problems and suddenly we want to introduce something to improve it. Huh ..? Show us something!! Show us an issue, why it exist, how and why what we have now does not work or cannot cope anymore, and why if it persist, we are going to be worse off. Show us some timeline data, some extrapolation that would make it clear of where we are going if we don't do something about it. Show us that it is costly to maintain present position and an improved system would save money in the long run. Please show us something!!

Better care? What was bad about it and WHY?? Come on people, look at the Theresa Gomez case, need I say more?

I have been trained in TQM (Total Quality Management) and there are techniques to ensure quality assurances and controls and also tools to identify the implementation mechanisms. Thsoe are basis for continuous improvement and the statistics and FACTS generated will support any further plans. We have the PDCA cycle and more mumbo-jumbo. Man, there was NOTHING presented to justify any of the wonderful things promised in the scheme.

Can the public know of the inquiry into our healthcare system? Even the MMA are urging that we improve the healthcare system BEFORE introducing the NHI, or at the very least, show us the data that show the areas the badly need attending to. We can do better than this .. we are trying to be WORLD CLASS remember?? Please laa, don't do like this. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...


posted by Rozhan @ 5/23/2005 01:56:00 AM   0 comments
Saturday, May 21, 2005
NS Dodger - Final Episode
Read in the Star (and in other dailies as well) that the National Service dodger Ahmad Harizal Ahmad Fauzi has left home to learn new skills. He has accepted an offer to take up a four-month building course in Kedah. According to the papers too, he stopped schooling at Form 2. He would also be given a RM45 during his training at the academy and the ABM chief operating officer said that the boy would be given a job after he completes his course and COULD be earning as much as RM1000 a month compared to his current RM300-400 of working in the fields. Something is STILL bugging me. So many things not right about the whole episode .. so I'll just pen a few more words. It is the whole PRINCIPLE of it.

No.1 - Rightly or wrongly, he was hauled up because of the NS. Makes you wonder!! He stopped schooling at Form Two. THAT was not a point of bother but not attending the NS was. Hmmmm .. so you can stop schooling (he WAS working to support the family, mind you, bukan dok lepak macam anak orang kaya), stop getting education but you must go to the NS. ooooook ..
No. 2 - After the whole episode of being fined and jailed and someone paying for the fine, he has been given a place at the Akademi Binaan Malaysia, with an entry qualification of Form Two. Is this the entry point for other candidates? I don't know.
No. 3 - We are assuming, or we assume or decided that he needed a skill ... and hence ABM.
No. 4 - Now that he is away at ABM, there is no one to help in the paddy fields, or maybe the mother has hired some help.. of course this is pure speculation on my part .. but this is what goes through my mind, even if I don't Blog.
No. 5 - Had he not been hauled up, he would still be in the paddy fields with a Form Two qualification.

So, any other boy (or girl for that matter) that has NOT been hauled up and left school early, would still be doing what they are doing now. No one is going to offer them any special training and give them a monthly allowance. THAT IS WHAT IS BUGGING ME!

We are always reactive in an knee-jerk reaction and there are no long term efforts to address the likes of Ahmad Harizal. Just because he caused a nation-wide stir, he got the public's attention, naturally. But what about those is the same situation??

Remember that girl with no legs (a few weeks ago, tak ingat dah nama dia and dari mana) who was going to stop schooling because what was PROMISED to her did not materialise?. If it was not highlighted in the newspaper, she would have just stopped schooling and just remain at home helping her mother. After the exposure in the news, THEN only ada reaction. For the next few days, you get bet there will news about her (which there was!!) and after that, everything is back to normal. Must we be like this? Then again what about those who did not get public attention? There must be a better way to address the BIGGER picture, after all we are talking about the YOUTH of the nation, those future leaders and citizens that will govern OUR children. We are not going to live forever. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...

posted by Rozhan @ 5/21/2005 12:38:00 AM   0 comments
Friday, May 20, 2005
End of E-Village
Reported in NST - 19 May 2005 - Sad to note the failure of the E-Village Project in Dengkil. Hope they did not lose too much of the RM3 billion budget from the 2002 launched prpject. Banyak duit tu ... Reason cited was 'just a real estate failure'. Hmmm.. There must have had a Master Plan. Perhaps the project was too far ahead of its time.

posted by Rozhan @ 5/20/2005 01:40:00 AM   3 comments
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Educational Technology Convention
The 18th Annual Malaysian Educational Technology Convention 2005 will be held in Marang, Terengganu Darul Iman from 16-19 September 2005. You can check this out at http://www.freewebs.com/ptpm2005.

Calling all academics from Schools, Teacher Colleges, University Colleges and Universities in Malaysia to participate and present their research findings and meet fellow academics in educational technology in Malaysia. The Convention is an annual congregation of the Malaysian Educational Technology Association (META), an association formed under the auspices of the Educational Technology Division of the Ministry of Education Malaysia.

This year, we will have an international Keynote Speaker (as we had last year, which was a first for the Convention) from Canada. Associate Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ally, the Director of the School of Computing and Information Systems of Athabasca University has agreed to be with us and deliver his Keynote. We have yet to obtain a title from him. The Convention has been conveniently packaged with the inclusion ofconvention fee and accomodation. A refereed and edited Proceedings will be published with an ISBN. Selected papers will be invited for revision for publication in the Malaysian Journal of Educational Technology and the Malaysian Online Journal of Instructional Technology.

Anybody need a hard copy of the brochure, give me a buzz.
You know where I am.


posted by Rozhan @ 5/19/2005 04:12:00 PM   1 comments
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Strategising the increase in prices
This afternoon, I went to Gelugor to buy some extra dishes for lunch. So you get to listen to the public, that is the seller and the eater grumbling about price increases .... chicken gone up by 50 sen, what to do?. Soon, the price of food will also increase; perhaps an end to one of the better luxuries of Malaysian life? How can man, petrol go up only 10 sen a litre, chicken go up 50 sen per kilo (something like that, if I caught or eavesdrop correctly). Mana depa kata mau pantau? Pantau apa, harga naik juga!! This is REAL life, people. No matter what the PM say, no matter what is urged in the media, in real life, at ground level, the story is different. They can make all the comparison they like in the newspaper, in reality it is different.

As consumers, we have to be smart too. We have to change the way we shop so as to register our response to the current condition, unless you are a rich person. If you are well off, no price increase will be of any bother to you. I am comfortably off, alhamdulillah, but that does not mean I do not have to be prudent in my expenditure. With 5 kids, I have a long way to go, inspite of the wife working as well.

OK, ok, enough about me. I think people should get together as a group and buy things in bulk. This can then be distributed within the group. This may even be good for friendship and community life at large. Big hypermarkets can give good deals on many basic items such as cooking oil, soaps and amny more daily necessities. Look for offers (I do that all the time), discount vouchers introductory offers. Most importantly, manage your finances well. The wife does that for me.. and she is good at it. Men somehow enjoy driving than managing money, for me at least. But really, keep aside your monthly allocation for those annual things. Road tax, car/motor insurance, health insurance, credit card subscriptions and more, put them aside on a monthly basis. Throw in your allocation a family nasi kandar outing. Then you REALLY know how much you have to spend or to save for that matter. Try lah .. that's life. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...

posted by Rozhan @ 5/17/2005 05:42:00 PM   1 comments
Monday, May 16, 2005
TEACHERS DAY 2005
Today we honour the 'Teachers' in our life. Although the focus is on teachers in the Schools, I would like to include teachers in all walks of life. Otherwise, we will have to have Lecturer's Day, Ustaz's Day, Trainers' Day, Mentor's Day, and so on. Tak habis celebration nanti. Everyone is a learner as much as being a teacher at the very same time. Levels and roles interchange, and we celebrate that 'teachership' as the part that we all play, at one time or another and in one form or another.



[Photo by Nudin from Berita Harian, Malaysia - kalu tak bagi guna gambaq, habaq mai, kita boleh delete. Terima Kasih. Promote local artist]

A teacher who played a major role in my life was Cikgu Mat Nor from the Technical Institute (TI) Penang (1976), as can be seen in the photo taken in his room in the hostel.



He was our Engineering Workshop Practice (EWP) teacher when he was offered to pursue his further studies for a Bachelors Degree in Engineering in Sunderland, England in 1976. That was a major motivating factor for me and he was an equally caring and attentive teacher, but with a Kelantanese slang. Gets hilarious sometimes as most students are from the 'North'. That's him in the horizontal stripe T-shirt with chest showing and me on his left. Hensem tak? Well, it worked, for me at least. In September 1977, I too was on my way to Grimsby, England to do my 'A' Levels and I subsequently returned to Malaysia in May 1986 with a Ph.D in Physics. However, I have not been able to locate him until today. Maybe our paths will cross one day.

The schools I attended were:
  • Stowell Primary School, Bukit Mertajam
  • St. George's Primary School, Balik Pulau
  • St. George's Secondary School, Balik Pulau
  • Kepala Batas Secondary School, Kepala Batas, and
  • Technical Institute, Penang
Anyway, HAPPY TECHER'S DAY - SELAMAT HARI GURU 2005 TO ALL MY TEACHERS - Jasa mu dikenang selamanya.

posted by Rozhan @ 5/16/2005 11:25:00 AM   18 comments
Sunday, May 15, 2005
EPF Office in KL
Wow, heard about the high praises for the services provided by the EPF office in Jalan Raja Laut, KL (NST - 14 May 2005). 'The service you get at EPF is the kind you would have to pay through your nose in the private sector' - so reported in the news. I am so glad we now put top consideration on basic human behaviour and not have the behaviour, decency and courtesy governed by hard cash!! Do we really have to get paid to Smile? Also reported that traffic at counters have been reduced by 40% and customers who only want statements get them in less than one minute. Congratulations. Keep it up.

I am sure the LHDN will also be featured soon. To me the LHDN has improved tremendously over the years and have been very pro-active in getting the public to respond to attending to their taxes. Stalls at Shopping Complexes, visit to Government institutions, advert on the radio, rap music some more.

Still, these DENDA phenomenon can be improved in Malaysia, generally. If you send late, DENDA. Even in schools, Standard One pupil are scared stiff (I wanted to use a stronger word but I will let you figure out what it is) when asked to do certain things or bring certain items because if they don't, they will kena DENDA. Let's play fair. If you get FINED for late submission of the Income Tax Returns or anything else for that matter, would you be REWARDED for being on time or for delivering?? FAIR??

It is not fair that we only harp on punishment but never reward those who abide by the rules and regulations. Don't you think? I am sure we can find a way to do this, knowing Malaysians. Some kind of vouchersystem to be redeemed at bookstores or something for those who hand in their forms on time. I don't know, maybe something like that, or if someone has a better idea. That should make those who took the trouble to attend to their taxes feel justified, ain't it (Cockney accent). There is black and white, heaven and hell, right and wrong and naturally Fine and Reward. Can ?? Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...


posted by Rozhan @ 5/15/2005 01:25:00 AM   2 comments
Linn Sondek
Aha, calling Linn lovers. Read in the NST (14 May 2005) about the Linn Sondek LP12 Turntable presentation in Kuala Lumpur. Aiyaa..KL only, why not come to Penang too. If they know better, I am sure people from Penang do not want to carry their LS to KL, get it tuned and aligned and carry them back to Penang. Lari lah alignment.

Anyway, I will let my friend know anout this, if he doesn't already. He brought back his LS with Ittok arm and all and apparently a bout of Malaysian dust put paid to his LP playing days. Yo Dr. Ismail, go get your LS fixed. Maybe I can get to hear it too. I have about 4 boxes of LPs. I have heard music on Linn. Man, worth listening to - right room configuration and even need right room temperature - for the serious ones of course. Happening at AV Design Showroom, Mezzanine Floor. Rohas Perkasa, Jalan P. Ramlee KL lah. eaudio@global.eaudio.com
posted by Rozhan @ 5/15/2005 01:22:00 AM   3 comments
Saturday, May 14, 2005
National Service .. continued
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This photo was in the New Straits Times (Malaysia) today (13 May 2005), showing the poor boy back at work in the fields. They call him the DODGER. How ironic. Today's Editorial supported my points yesterday. Was he afforded proper representation and counselling before it got out of hand. But then again, that is the Malaysian style. What is nagging me, was he really the first. Why him? He was hardly doing 'nothing'? He was working for his family. Nothing wrong with that either. THAT IS SERVICE!!! THAT IS PATRIOTISM. THAT IS RESPONSIBILITY!! THAT IS JIHAD!!. Like this lah .. don't be too righteous. What better example can you look for. He may be wrong for what he did, more of a childish behaviour, if you ask me, quite befitting his age and surrounding. Working and helping his family was a higher priority for him ... and like I said, I am sure there could be a better way to attend to his issue than to supposedly use him as a deterrent. Go get the real DODGERS, those who don't pay taxes, dodge rules and regulations, cut corners, jump queue, don't queue and many more marvellous Malaysian behaviour.

[Photo Credit: New Straits Times Press (no name given) in the article by Lee Keng Fatt]

posted by Rozhan @ 5/14/2005 12:14:00 AM   4 comments
Thursday, May 12, 2005
National Service
12 May 2005 (NST Press) - Heard about the boy who was sentenced to jail for not joining the National Service? Hmmmm ... maybe they have resolved the issue of thet POOR (in many ways than one) boy, but we are again MISSING the point here. Listen people, the word here is SERVICE, get it? I really don't understand why we Malaysians always do things the hard way as though we are lacking in thoughts and alternatives.

Firstly, we want the young generation to 'feel' a sense of love for the Nation, service in a way that can be experienced in Modern times. There is no Perang in our country, no Huru-hara in Malaysia. The NS will instill working together, loving each other (don't take this the wrong way aa) and working towards nation building. Patriotic feelings for the good of the nation.

But we are also dealing with 'ordinary' people. If anyone is so responsible, we don't need laws. No one is an angel. The boy may be ignorant of the implications, granted. Can he be rendered some assistance. If he is so clever, he will not be in a position that he is. So the real 'clever' people, did you provide the necessary SERVICE to him, to encourage him to participate or find out for sure, the real reasons.?? Dah buat ke?

To take the action of law is the EASIEST and lamest excuse that anyone can give. So throwing him in jail will make him PATRIOTIC??. He will be hateful for the rest of his life. The hurt, embarassment, the confusion and all he wanted to do was help his family. He is
POOR and you FINE him, how more brilliant can the solution be?? My goodness ... hello people up there ...

There are many other ways to implement the 'SERVICE'. There are many other ways to address approaches of deterrent for the skivers. Are we lacking of ideas?? Can he join later?? Can we have alternatives, like the Detour in the 'Amazing Race' ... where there are alternatives of tasks of equal weightage of difficulty?? I am ALL for the National Service and to me it can only get better. We can have NS Version A, NS Version B, NS Version C - programmes with the same basic events but with some differences in liue of location (perhaps), such as the jungle, the sea, town area. Come on, let us show our 'strength' too in terms imagination and creativity of implementation, not just the strong arm ... Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...

posted by Rozhan @ 5/12/2005 12:39:00 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Freedom to Blog
Read in the Berita Harian (10 May 2005) about a Singaporean student who is studying in the United States who was asked or threatened to shut down his Blog and apologise to someone atas tuduhan fitnah regarding the sistem biasiswa dan dasar negara Singapore. Is it true? I don't know, and the only story I get is from the newspaper. Anyway, there are a few underlying issues here. Personally, I will not condone lies or baseless allegations, anywhere. It is a matter of principle. If you find anything in my Blog that require further clarification, give me a buzz ... no problemo ... no matter who you are.

Ok, consider this. People talk ... in the house, at the kedai kopi, in offices, in niche groups. They talk about silly things, sensitive things, rumours, half-truths, lies, accussations. They lead their own lives in their own mindset, rightly or wrongly. They are all EQUALLY dangerous. Who is going to check on them?? Who is going to ask them to stop talking and apologise (to don't know who ..). Who is going to punish them? Opinions will always be there no matter what anyone does. If you like it, you have a good opinion, if not, your opinion about it is not going to be good. As they say, one man's meat is another man's poison.

Take this Blog. Do people read? I don't know. Maybe they do, but no one commented. Maybe the Special Branch will be checking and reading all things on the Internet. If they do, fine. But the Blog is here to stay. Whether people Blog or attend a Ceramah in the kampung, people talk. But would it not be good and beneficial that you know one's opinion and actual feeling. Perhaps genuine feelings? Is it wrong to know?. NOW YOU KNOW. That's reality. Welcome to the real world.

But be positive about it. Shutting people up will not solve your problem or improve anything. Why is what is being said, being said. If it is wrong, make it right .. you would have corrected a wrong mindset. If it is right, be a gentlemen, don't abuse your authority or position. It will solve nothing in the long run. The Blog is (not to me and many others) new perhaps ... but as anything else, make the best of it .. it is not going away. It can be beneficial to Malaysia too. Those who use the Internet know that they can be tracked right up to the terminal. It is not an intention to hide. It is not an exercise to escape from anyone, far from it, it is an act to express one's opinion and be heard. This is the digital world we now live in.

I hope the Prime Minister is also reading this Blog too. Why not? How wonderful that would be. I can post my thoughts and he can read it in the comfort of his .. anywhere lah. Would be possible for me to go and see him to convey messages. One message, two messages? Would he have the time to see me? (Daydream ..) But with the Blog, we can achieve both. I can post as many messages and he can read anytime, anywhere (provided ada connection laa) and if he wants too. Bukan apa, kita pun satu kampung juga .. Kepala Batas. YAB kenai Bapak saya tu .. kata Hj. Idrus (people call him Pak Deghuih) DID dok di Paya Keladi, people know lah. Well, he is 83 years old now but his memory is still first class; only he is in bed most of the time ... got a mild (a few of them) stroke a few years back. That's life. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...


posted by Rozhan @ 5/11/2005 01:22:00 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 09, 2005
UPM's VC Asked to Resign
Teng, teng, teng .. teropong alert!! The VC of UPM has been asked to resign. Read the local daily. Apparently, what he did did not make the Minister of Higher Education happy. According to the daily too, ' The consensus was that Dr Muhamad Zohadie had soured the relationship between UPM and the Higher Education Ministry by sending a memorandum to the ministry, objecting to the transfer of the Aerospace Engineering programme from UPM to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.' Aiyooo ... apa ni ... habis lah ..

We Malaysian are specialist at making BIG things, all big, tall and so forth. Of course I can only read what is printed in the newspaper. But academics in Malaysia know that once eduaction is NOT run by an academic, finish ... need I say more. To me, Tan Sri Musa was doing an excellent job, but then again, he is not a politician. I wish you well Tan Sri.

So maybe we can forget about being the educational HUB of the region and what not ... sedih, sedih ... never mind, we eat salary and do our job lah ... things will never change. Maybe someone was right after all by coining the expression, first world infrastructure, third world mentality. The Eastern culture will prevail .. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...


posted by Rozhan @ 5/09/2005 02:39:00 PM   1 comments
Young Japanese 'Vices"
Good golly. Did you read in the Sunday Times (8 May 2005) about the 'vices' adopted by the Japanese youngsters. A list compiled by the Tokyo authorities listed 'offences' which includes using strong perfume, carrying large bags, kissing, infants crying, sitting on the floor and using an umbrella to practise golf swings. I am not saying we have the same 'quirks' but it is the principle of it.

Can we compare our youngsters with our 'old' ways. At the dinner table, we would wait for our father to turn the fish. Nowadays, you'd be lucky to get a morsel.I bought a tin of butter cookies. The next day, not only could I not find a cookie, even the tin was missing. But we have to expalin by reiterating the 'old' days and 'proper' behaviour. We would never dare to stretch our legs in front of elders, pass behind them or even sit 'higher' than them. This too was related to my children. I will not be accussed of bringing up 'rude' children. It is tough these days with the rubbish they see on TV, but I used it in an educational way by pointing out what should NOT be way. Just have to get round it as there is no way to keep them cocooned as it might be worse when they are exposed when they are on their own. What say you ... Aiyaa, tak tau lah ...

posted by Rozhan @ 5/09/2005 12:59:00 AM   1 comments
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Technology in Malaysian Schools
Read in a local daily that the Government is going to launch a research initiave on ICT in the Ministry soon. Among others, the Minister said that, "Dengan mengambil kira semua perkakasan, perisian dan kandungan serta latihan yang diberikan dalam inisiatif ICT utama kementerian, boleh dikatakan sekolah-sekolah kita sudah berada separuh jalan ke arah pembestarian sepenuhnya,'' katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini, hari ini." I am all for the use of technology in schools, but let us not miss the forest for the trees.

Further he said that, "Dalam proses pembestarian sekolah, sasaran kementerian ialah untuk meningkatkan nisbah komputer kepada murid, masa dedahan murid dan guru kepada penggunaan komputer dan mengaplikasikan teknologi yang berkesan dari segi kos,'' katanya.

Ok, just to share a few pointers with all of you;

  • Media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction, but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition (Clark, 1983) - this was identified along, long time ago. If you want the reference, give me a buzz;
  • Media will never influence learning’ – differences in instructional design and learning activities, applicable to almost any medium, are the causes of differential learning outcomes under different media treatments.
Instructional design, that is the key word, not technology per se. Has effective ID and pedagogy (I throw this in at this point in time) been implemented in Schools. I know what is being done in schools, I have four children in school and the picture is far from rosy. Aiyaa, tak tau lah ....

posted by Rozhan @ 5/08/2005 06:41:00 PM   0 comments
Lifelong Learning Centres
Read in a local daily that the Government is asking all public and private tertiary institutions to set up centres for lifelong learning to cater for mature students. OOOOOk, this is not a new thing. Many lifelong learning symposium and conferences have been hosted in Malaysia, both at local and international level. I had the opportunity to attend a Conference or two. I was hoping there would be some lessons learnt.

Hmmm... with this latest proposal, I dare say that nothing has been learnt from past experiences. If there is a plan from the Minstry from Higher Education, I am of the opinion that perhaps it should be discussed and proposed collectively by HEs. After all, there must be a reason why education was split to two Ministries. Who is behind this plan? Can we know? I would like to know.

I attended the ASEM Lifelong Learning Conference held at the Asia-Europe Institute in University Malaya in 2003 and one of the resolutions is to set up a NATIONAL LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE. This institute will then coordinate Lifelong Learning centrally nationwide, and the institutions of higher learning can offer their respective courses via the institute. Accreditaions of prior learning and the like can be likewise coordinated centrally.

Otherwise, there will again be all round duplication with the lack of coordination with everyone doing their 'own thing' and I have been in education long enough to know that this will again be a release of cough at the ladder (you have to interprete this, Malaysians). Please, please do it right, and don't repeat past practices that does not work ... Aiyaaa, tak tau lah ..
posted by Rozhan @ 5/08/2005 05:56:00 PM   0 comments
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Petrol Price Up 10 sen
Petrol price will cost consumer 10 sen more per litre. That is a change. What is constant is the puzzling human behavior that accompany it - at least from my teropong. So what do the public do? yeah babeh, rush to the nearest, I presume the nearest petrol station to fill 'er up. Yup, we are gonna get the better of this price increase. Hmmm... ok, how much can you put in your tank? Depends on what car you drive. A Hyundai Getz - full tank around RM42. Ok, Ok, say you put in 30 litres ... how much do you save? RM3.00 only. Huh? Really aaa?

And for that you rush out in your sarong or seluaq pendek to the petrol station ... waste how much of your precious time, drive there (also use petrol, you know), queue up behind all the other drivers (car still running and using petrol some more), fill up and save a few RM, aaaaaand drive back home (use petrol some more) with a sense of achievement. You have just wasted a lot of time and petrol just to save a few Ringgit. May cost more than what you thought you saved. Aiyaaa tak tau lah .....
posted by Rozhan @ 5/07/2005 12:35:00 AM   2 comments
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