Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Passion



Happy Easter everyone. Yesterday was Good Friday, Christians take time to remember the crucifixion of Jesus, and on Easter Sunday he was said to have risen from the dead. Christians believe that Christ was the Son of God who came to earth to die and take away people's sins. The Bible says that he arose from the dead three days later, on Easter Sunday, and ascended to heaven. This is pretty much the fundamental story of Christianity. Christians started observing Good Friday in the fourth century AD.

Each of us has many parts to their identity. I am a Malaysian, I living in Bunbury, Australia. I am an accountant. However for each thing that we are, there are many more things that we are not.

I am a Muslim, which means that I believe in Islam. That automatically means that I do not believe in any other religion, except where the beliefs of that other religion overlap with the beliefs of Islam, such as believing in one God. For example, I don’t believe in Christianity, although with Christianity the overlaps with Islam are very many. Indeed I don’t know of any other two religions that are closer to each other.

If you support Manchester United, it automatically means that you don’t support any other football clubs. You don’t need to apologise for not supporting those other clubs; it is simple logic.

Not believing in Christianity does not stop me reading the Bible. You don’t weaken your own faith by learning about the faith of other people and by understanding them. The same goes for my reading of other religious texts.

For Muslims to live in in the world while being ignorant of the beliefs of 77% of the people around them is just not good enough. Each of us has the same obligation to understand our fellow men and women, regardless of whether we are Muslim or non-Muslim. We need to understand other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and so on. We also need to understand how agnostics and atheists think.

You cannot get that knowledge from other Muslims, just as non-Muslims cannot learn about Islam properly if they stick to non-Muslim sources. You have to go to the people who believe in those other religions, and to their books and other writings.

To Non Muslim, Islam is also the religion of about 1.5 billion people around the world, about 23% of humanity, in 57 Muslim majority countries. To work with people, to trade with people, you have to understand them. You cannot understand Muslims without understanding something about Islam.
 
For a peaceful co-existence people have to understand each other’s faith. Relationship should be based on the best morality and justice. If we keep these things in mind in our relations with Non-Muslims then we reflect a brighter picture of Islam and Muslims.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Race To Nowhere




Recently, results of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) was announce. For generations, students in Malaysia have had to mug for the dreaded year-end examinations, in addition to other crucial ones like this one. As a result of the exam-oriented system, their grades are seen to determine their career prospects and define their capabilities, to the extent of limiting them.

For so many decades, public and professional bodies have called for a review of the misuse of exam results in so many different ways. First, exam results are confused with intelligence. Second, results are regarded as permanent and irreversible. This would neglect two factors, namely readiness for learning and stages of maturity. For example, at 17, a girl is brighter than a boy but at 19, it is the other way round. It should not be simplified in terms of examination results.

A student's self-confidence must not be solely tied to academic achievement in one or two exams. It must be grounded on the schooling and socialisation process beyond just academic and paper exam.

Some of the first standardized intelligence tests, called the "Imperial Examinations," were developed over 1500 years ago in China. For over a millennium, the government chose its regional bureaucrats based on their mastery of five basic areas of knowledge, including the arts, law, and military strategy. Some historians call this the first state effort to create a meritocracy, though of course many citizens found these tests unfair and biased towards the elites.

Perhaps the most famous measure of intelligence is the so-called IQ test, which is actually a broad term for a whole range of tests that have been used since the early twentieth century to test people for a range of things. Over a century ago, the term "intelligence quotient" was used by educators and eugenicists alike, but it was first invented by the German psychologist William Stern in the nineteenth century, mostly as a way to characterize developmental disabilities (called "retardation" in the language of the day).

Of course IQ tests have changed a lot over the years since, but the basic scoring system remains the same. How is IQ measured? You'd be surprised at the range of ideas. Generally these days, IQ tests focus on verbal abilities (comprehension, word fluency, number facility, spatial visualization, associative memory, perceptual speed, reasoning, and induction), but in the early part of the twentieth century they focused on non-verbal abilities too.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What's the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQ really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

There are many kinds of IQ tests. Various studies — all of which have been disputed at one time or another —Few would dispute that IQ seems to measure a person's ability to succeed on standardized tests, a skill which often translates well into getting good grades . And those skills can help a person get a college education, and a middle class job. But is "success" the same thing as being smart? Many would argue that it isn't.

The objective of education is to create a holistic person, a human capital resource relevant to the present and future, not the past. The current system is very much exam-oriented as most schools rely 100% on the year-end exams. The review in the context that there is so much of IQ (intelligence quotient) assessment now but very little of other quotients such as emotional, spiritual, physical and financial, which are all very much needed in the current situation. Too much emphasis on IQ is not in line with our education philosophy.

It is impractical in the sense that students should be geared towards lifelong education but our system makes them do last-minute preparations for year-end or public exams.

The only was can we create all-rounders, we need to include elements of critical thinking and communication skills right from the primary level. I do not think it would burden the teachers because if we diversify in relation to what is being needed, it would be a happy occasion for all.

Note:- Congratulation to all Malaysian Student.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Glocal


"I dreamed of a unified Japan. Of a country strong and independent and modern... And now we are awake. We have railroads and cannon, Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from" Emperor Meiji from The Last Samurai
 
"Glocal" serves as a means of combining the idea of globalization with that of local considerations. By definition, the term it refers ‘to think globally & act locally’ 

It’s true that globalization and local traditions don’t always fit neatly together. There are tensions that come with change, particularly in this context of global culture with western roots taking up residence in rapidly developing culture with different and diverse values.In short, successful thinker will need to ensure they have an inclusive, global culture that is flexible enough to reflect a local mindset. 

Beyond characterizing the emergent nature of our operating environment, such mutually constitutive relations between local and global levels also influence our identities — a complicated, evolving notion of who we think we are. Consider, for instance, something as simple as how we respond to the question, “Where are you from?” Most of us tend to identify with multiple places and sustain multiple levels of loyalty to them, which are sometimes overlapping and sometimes conflicting. We are simultaneously citizens of a locality, a state or province, a country, and the planet we all share. In this sense, we are all “glocal” citizens. 

As Malaysia progress, we tend to forget about our past. Destroy the very unique heritage that once shape out forefathers.To abandon it is like to forget oneself; it is tradition that define us, that unite us. Knowing that modernization is around the corner and we should embrace it, or we will be left behind, but that doesn’t mean we should trade modernization with traditional. Solutions such as innovate tradition to suite today’s time should be taken into consideration.

At the global level, we must have the ability to represent Malaysia’s not just by stating our own position, but to do so with a clear understanding of what’s going on globally.”

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Mind Your Language (Oh My English)


While the government and various parties are still quarreling over making English as Compulsory to pass in SPM (Malaysian Education Certificate) , lets deviate and talk about another related issue – the Manglish vs. English 

Manglish is our Malaysian take on the English language, with added flavours of exotic words and syllables. They are one-of-a-kind and unique, but is it in a good way?

Obviously, sentences like these totally confuse any visiting foreigners, but to Malaysians they somehow make perfect sense. So is Manglish a useful communication tool or does it prevent Malaysians speaking English properly?

The Malaysian government hasn’t taken a strong stance, unlike the Singaporean government, which is trying to ban ‘Singlish’. Therefore, to help you decide whether to embrace Manglish or not, we present the Pro and Con between Manglish and English:

* It sounds ‘fake’ for Malaysians to speak proper English
Many Manglish speakers worry that if they talk properly, their friends will think that they are putting on airs. ‘Why you tok liedat ah?’(Why you talk like that?) ‘You ting you are a Mat Salleh, is it?’ (You think that you are Caucasian, is it?)

*If you speak proper English, many Malaysians won’t understand
After all, there are many people in Malaysia who have an extremely limited grasp of English. If you use bombastic words and phrases (like ‘bombastic’), they will not understand. So to be understood, you need to speak Manglish.

 * Manglish isn’t even English
Manglish can be classified as a pidgin or creole language, a simplified form of English mixed with Malay and Chinese, which is becoming (or has become) a separate language from standard English.

* Speaking Manglish makes you sound uneducated
“That one no good oledi!” How are you supposed to impress people if you walk about saying things like that? At a job interview, you will die-lah.What happens if you have business overseas with foreigners? They will all laugh at the way you speak. It’s not that difficult to speak properly with a bit of effort, so why sound uneducated?

* Language is a communication tool
The purpose of language is to communicate. Manglish actually helps people to communicate better because it is easier to understand. Even in the world of business, people give presentations and write reports in Manglish.

* Manglish prevents Malaysia from being competitive
The reason the Malaysian government encourages the use of English is to boost the nation’s competitiveness. However, Manglish has exactly the opposite effect. For example, call centres in Cyberjaya are shutting down and moving to other countries because overseas callers are fed up with hearing ‘no-lah’ and ‘ya-lah’ when they call up with a technical problem. Meanwhile, Countries like Thailand, Korea and China are succeeding in raising the level of English over there.

* It’s better to speak broken English than not speak English at all
People who speak Manglish are trying their best. Just because their English isn’t perfect, you shouldn’t judge them. After all, the Government is trying to improve the standard of English in the country and everyone needs to do their part.

* Even if Manglish is okay for spoken English, it is not appropriate for written English
It is not realistic to use words like ‘oledi’ and ‘liedat’ in written English Imagine what the newspapers would be like if the whole country could only understand Manglish!

* If you learn Manglish, you will never improve your English
Once you get into the habit of speaking broken English, it is really difficult to speak proper English. It’s better to learn correct English from scratch.

* To communicate effectively, you need to speak properly
Manglish is a simplified form of English. To express yourself well, you need to understand the nuances and subtleties of English. Imagine if Shakespeare had spoken Manglish. Instead of ‘Romeo, wherefore art thou?’ it would be ‘Eh, Romeo, you where-ah?’

* Malaysians have a right to speak their own kind of English
In America, people speak American English. In Australia, people speak Australian English. What’s wrong with Malaysians speaking Malaysian English? After all, every country has its own slang and accent. For example, Americans say cellphone, Brits say mobile phone and Malaysians say hand phone. What’s wrong with that? 

* Manglish has become part of Malaysian culture and heritage
Manglish has become something we can be proud of. Why try to hide it? It’s part of our cultural heritage. And it’s something that all Malaysians can participate in, no matter which ethnicity. Muhibbah! Plus tourists think it’s cute when they hear people saying lah all the time 

Our American cousins across the pond, tend to churn out at least 10 new English words every year. Many are so specific to the USA that they are simply known as Americanisms. Many English language purist's, think that all of the above, as a kind of language abuse. 

The truth is that this is actually the forge fire of the new English of the world. Singlish, Manglish and all the other influences continue to enrich the English language. In order for English to continue to evolve, it needs to adapt and adopt regional words and phrases. English is a global language and is enriched by diversity.

Note: I speak Manglish in Australian English environment

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Paying it forward





What would you do if you had no money—and someone accidentally gave you something very valuable? Would you return it to the person or would you assume that fate was smiling on you and take the money?

Recently, Billy Ray Harris, who lives in Kansas City. The decision it wasn’t a difficult at all. Harris is a homeless man, who sometimes sleeps under a bridge. When a woman dropped her diamond ring with her spare change into Harris cup and came back a day later explained that she may have accidentally dropped her ring into his cup. He responded by returning the ring which he had kept safe after realizing it was not intended as a donation.


When homeless man returns a diamond ring and it's a lesson for us all. How many times have you seen a homeless person begging on the street and walked past

People who are homeless are just like everyone else. And even more so, it’s important to never judge people harshly; it would have been easy to dismiss them on a morning commute, but the real truth is you never know what people have to offer.On the flip side, those who are poor or in poverty aren't automatically thieves or cheaters. Just like the man in the story, homeless people can have values and character too.

The homeless man who returned the diamond ring has a lesson for us all. The next time you see someone with a hand out try not to judge them any differently than you do anyone else. I think that's a lesson that we can all walk away with.

 
Back in Malaysia, a 13-year-old Amir Azizan Hashim returned a handbag with S$15,000 (RM37,500) to the rightful owner, a Singaporean woman left her bag containing $15,000 on the roof of her car while in Johor and drove off without realizing it. But luckily for the her, a boy saw the bag fall off the car and picked it up, cycling 200m to catch her and returned it. She immediately thanked him and offered him S$10 (RM25) as a token of appreciation but Amir refused the money.
By simply doing the right thing, Billy & Amir have set an extraordinary example of honesty in the world which seem now an unfriendly & threatening place. Both of them did not expect the massive media attention that followed but it would be for a good cause and to spread the message about honesty.