Saturday, 30 November 2013

Dead Poet Sociaty


In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays a private school English teacher who attempts to encourage his students to think for themselves. He encourages them with quotes like, "Carpe Diem- seize the day", "the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse- what verse will you contribute?"

Philosophy opens our minds, pushes us to reason, question things, which thus prepares the perfect grounds for critical thinking. While some human capital is best placed in the industry to produce tangible economic outcomes, there must be space for those who are best to appreciate great works of past thinkers that built human civilizations, to research, explore and retrieve solutions to some of the most pertinent problems that plague society currently. 

Engaging a Malaysia that thinks, we cannot run away from attacking the problem at its core, and that is education. In the past, education has focused too much on producing doctors and engineers, that the quality and development of the linguistic and literary sciences has been pushed back too. Even with commerce, natural and physical sciences, the critical thinking element is overshadowed by the pressing need to digest knowledge and facts.

Even at its most basic level, philosophy is one of the best ways to get students of knowledge to reason, because it is the foundation for every subject which will lead to the understanding of philosophy of religion, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of sciences, philosophy of social sciences, philosophy of economics, thoughts and the list goes on. Whatever his or her field of discipline is, credit hours on philosophy will provide basic tools to keep them grounded to the purpose of studying, and the purpose of the particular field they are studying.

The Dead Poets’ Society preaches was simple: in the world of economics, math, law, and medicine, there still exists the need for the human spirit to be fulfilled by something other than money, acclaim, and job satisfaction.

Note:- I totally agreed with Anas Alam Faizli regarding teaching of philosophy at school. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Education For Employment




Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the challenges? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions.


In 2010, it was reported that 30,000 graduates could not find employment six months after graduation. Malaysia’s world class education system appears to have produced unemployable graduates.

Graduates emerging from the Malaysian education system fail to meet the expectations of prospective employers due to a lack of critical thinking skills and poor communication. This has resulted in employers having to provide additional training to fit them into their respective job scopes.

The reason for the lack of confidence evident in young graduates is that educational institutions are not placing enough focus on equipping undergraduates with skills that will enable them to think out of the box and adapt to the demands of the working world.There should be a sound foundation in critical thinking to be incorporated into the education system to prepare future generations for the employment market.

To address the graduate unemployment crisis will require action by the goverment and graduate themselves. However, in existing education and employment systems there is little incentive for employers and universities to reach into each other wand engage in the type of collaboration needed to help graduate succeed.
  
We cannot run away from attacking the problem at its core, and that is education. In the past, education has focused too much on producing graduate, that the quantity over see the quality. Relentless economic pursuits have backfired. The lack of critical thinking is arguably why we lack innovation, and thus limited economic abilities
 
Trans-formative solutions must involve government, educators, and employers working together to solve the skill gap at a sector level. Government must play an important role as a convener and initiator of these sector-wide collaborations.

We need an education system that is inclusive, does not neglect academically-struggling yet vocationally-advantaged pupils, matches industry requirements, yet streams students into disciplines where they will excel most.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Emperor’s New Clothes


It seems our society now is now operate under the Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome. This is a children’s story but it sums up a deep problem in societies, known in sociology as pluralistic ignorance. The people in the fairytale all see that the Emperor has got nothing on. But because of their fear to be considered stupid or being punish, they don’t speak up.

Most people have a desire to be liked, to be part of the in-crowd. Despite some employee's opinion to the contrary, supervisors are people too. Most people were raised to "be nice" even at the risk of honesty. Most have never developed the ability to present negative feedback in any other terms then in an attack mode. When delivered negatively, this feedback has the subtly of a falling anvil, usually causing the message to be garbled by resentments and anger thus failing in it's basic efforts to be informative.

So, too, do we seem to have developed in society a pattern where those who see and speak the truth are ridiculed and encouraged or forced to keep quiet. We are taught that if you question the rules you will be outcast as a troublemaker. We are living within dysfunctional systems that we have been told to accept as normal.

We can stay in denial or we can all do something to help put our society back on track so that we can redeem ourselves from this ridiculous state of affairs. It only takes a child who sees through the lies, reveal the truth of a naked king and knock sense into that vain royal head.

Omar Ibn al-Khattab, Prophet Mohamed’s companion and a Muslim caliph, used to say, “God bless the one who gifts to me my defects.” When a scholar was once asked why he abandoned people, he said, “And what would I do with people who hide my defects!”

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Little Pinocchio in ourselves

I have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people I am talking to. And not only with random people I meet at a birthday party: also with my very own friends. But let’s be truly honest, that’s not really shocking, is it? Not because I am such a jerk, but because no-one is always completely honest with his friends, right? A more interesting question would be: should you always be honest with your friends? Being honest might hurt your friend’s feelings, so maybe you should rather lie and keep you and your friend happy, than telling the “painful” truth, right? Or would that prevent you in some way from bonding – with your friend – on a “deeper” level? A “friend” level? Or maybe the entire dichotomy – between kindness on the one hand and honesty one the other – is just completely wrong: who says that honesty and kindness cannot go hand in hand? After all, isn’t being honest always a kind gesture, even though the content of this gesture might not always appear to be flattering? Let’s take a look at that.
I am sure you know the dilemma: should you tell your friend the not so positive truth or should you rather lie in order not to cause a stir? Maybe – while in your moment of doubt – the following questions cross your mind, “What is the value of friendship without honesty? Isn’t that where friends are for, to be honest with each other, no matter what? No matter how hard the message might be, someone should tell you the truth, right? And this someone should be your friend, right?” But after having thought through the consequences of being honest, you might start coming up with different – more negative – scenarios, “I don’t want to lose my friend by being rude to him. Maybe he’ll think that I am not respecting him. Maybe he’ll avoid me in the future. Maybe I will lose him as a friend”.
We human beings are afraid to be honest. We are afraid that people – including our friends – might not want to hear us say negative things about them, even though these negative things might be said with the best of intentions. Friendships are valuable to us; so valuable, that we don’t want to risk losing them. But, what if you had to choose between (1) your friends being always honest with you (but not necessarily positive) or (2) your friends always being positive (but not necessarily honest with you)? And, more importantly, what category of friends would you consider to be “better” friends? Not the first category, right? Not those superficial and cowardly creatures, right? No. A true friend should be willing to tell you the truth, no matter what. That is what true friendship consists of.
However, that means that you should be willing to accept the comments of your friend. That you should be grateful for him having the courage to tell you what he thinks. You’d have to show him that he is a true friend to you and that he’s valued for being honest with you. Don’t criticize your friend’s comments. See them as a sign of true friendship. And, on the other side, interpret flattery for what it really is: a mask to hide feelings of insecurity and neediness.
I believe that you should always be able to tell your friends the truth. And if it turns out that they cannot handle the truth, then you probably weren’t true friends in the first place, right? On the other hand, we all want to be happy and sometimes hearing the truth might make us sad. After all, how happy would we be if everyone around us, including our friends, would constantly share their negative – but true – conceptions of us? Nonetheless, we must grow up and dare to face the storm of well-intended criticism. Because you’ll never improve if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
But what do you think?
- See more at: http://theyoungsocrates.com/2013/01/15/honesty-and-friends-a-good-combination/#sthash.1ny1gTWJ.dpuf

I have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people I am talking to. And not only with random people I meet at a birthday party: also with my very own friends. But let’s be truly honest, that’s not really shocking, is it? Not because I am such a jerk, but because no-one is always completely honest with his friends, right? A more interesting question would be: should you always be honest with your friends? Being honest might hurt your friend’s feelings, so maybe you should rather lie and keep you and your friend happy, than telling the “painful” truth, right? Or would that prevent you in some way from bonding – with your friend – on a “deeper” level? A “friend” level? Or maybe the entire dichotomy – between kindness on the one hand and honesty one the other – is just completely wrong: who says that honesty and kindness cannot go hand in hand? After all, isn’t being honest always a kind gesture, even though the content of this gesture might not always appear to be flattering? Let’s take a look at that.
I am sure you know the dilemma: should you tell your friend the not so positive truth or should you rather lie in order not to cause a stir? Maybe – while in your moment of doubt – the following questions cross your mind, “What is the value of friendship without honesty? Isn’t that where friends are for, to be honest with each other, no matter what? No matter how hard the message might be, someone should tell you the truth, right? And this someone should be your friend, right?” But after having thought through the consequences of being honest, you might start coming up with different – more negative – scenarios, “I don’t want to lose my friend by being rude to him. Maybe he’ll think that I am not respecting him. Maybe he’ll avoid me in the future. Maybe I will lose him as a friend”.
We human beings are afraid to be honest. We are afraid that people – including our friends – might not want to hear us say negative things about them, even though these negative things might be said with the best of intentions. Friendships are valuable to us; so valuable, that we don’t want to risk losing them. But, what if you had to choose between (1) your friends being always honest with you (but not necessarily positive) or (2) your friends always being positive (but not necessarily honest with you)? And, more importantly, what category of friends would you consider to be “better” friends? Not the first category, right? Not those superficial and cowardly creatures, right? No. A true friend should be willing to tell you the truth, no matter what. That is what true friendship consists of.
However, that means that you should be willing to accept the comments of your friend. That you should be grateful for him having the courage to tell you what he thinks. You’d have to show him that he is a true friend to you and that he’s valued for being honest with you. Don’t criticize your friend’s comments. See them as a sign of true friendship. And, on the other side, interpret flattery for what it really is: a mask to hide feelings of insecurity and neediness.
I believe that you should always be able to tell your friends the truth. And if it turns out that they cannot handle the truth, then you probably weren’t true friends in the first place, right? On the other hand, we all want to be happy and sometimes hearing the truth might make us sad. After all, how happy would we be if everyone around us, including our friends, would constantly share their negative – but true – conceptions of us? Nonetheless, we must grow up and dare to face the storm of well-intended criticism. Because you’ll never improve if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
But what do you think?
- See more at: http://theyoungsocrates.com/2013/01/15/honesty-and-friends-a-good-combination/#sthash.1ny1gTWJ.dpuf
I have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people I am talking to. And not only with random people I meet at a birthday party: also with my very own friends. But let’s be truly honest, that’s not really shocking, is it? Not because I am such a jerk, but because no-one is always completely honest with his friends, right? A more interesting question would be: should you always be honest with your friends? Being honest might hurt your friend’s feelings, so maybe you should rather lie and keep you and your friend happy, than telling the “painful” truth, right? Or would that prevent you in some way from bonding – with your friend – on a “deeper” level? A “friend” level? Or maybe the entire dichotomy – between kindness on the one hand and honesty one the other – is just completely wrong: who says that honesty and kindness cannot go hand in hand? After all, isn’t being honest always a kind gesture, even though the content of this gesture might not always appear to be flattering? Let’s take a look at that.
I am sure you know the dilemma: should you tell your friend the not so positive truth or should you rather lie in order not to cause a stir? Maybe – while in your moment of doubt – the following questions cross your mind, “What is the value of friendship without honesty? Isn’t that where friends are for, to be honest with each other, no matter what? No matter how hard the message might be, someone should tell you the truth, right? And this someone should be your friend, right?” But after having thought through the consequences of being honest, you might start coming up with different – more negative – scenarios, “I don’t want to lose my friend by being rude to him. Maybe he’ll think that I am not respecting him. Maybe he’ll avoid me in the future. Maybe I will lose him as a friend”.
We human beings are afraid to be honest. We are afraid that people – including our friends – might not want to hear us say negative things about them, even though these negative things might be said with the best of intentions. Friendships are valuable to us; so valuable, that we don’t want to risk losing them. But, what if you had to choose between (1) your friends being always honest with you (but not necessarily positive) or (2) your friends always being positive (but not necessarily honest with you)? And, more importantly, what category of friends would you consider to be “better” friends? Not the first category, right? Not those superficial and cowardly creatures, right? No. A true friend should be willing to tell you the truth, no matter what. That is what true friendship consists of.
However, that means that you should be willing to accept the comments of your friend. That you should be grateful for him having the courage to tell you what he thinks. You’d have to show him that he is a true friend to you and that he’s valued for being honest with you. Don’t criticize your friend’s comments. See them as a sign of true friendship. And, on the other side, interpret flattery for what it really is: a mask to hide feelings of insecurity and neediness.
I believe that you should always be able to tell your friends the truth. And if it turns out that they cannot handle the truth, then you probably weren’t true friends in the first place, right? On the other hand, we all want to be happy and sometimes hearing the truth might make us sad. After all, how happy would we be if everyone around us, including our friends, would constantly share their negative – but true – conceptions of us? Nonetheless, we must grow up and dare to face the storm of well-intended criticism. Because you’ll never improve if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
But what do you think?
- See more at: http://theyoungsocrates.com/2013/01/15/honesty-and-friends-a-good-combination/#sthash.1ny1gTWJ.dpuf
I have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people I am talking to. And not only with random people I meet at a birthday party: also with my very own friends. But let’s be truly honest, that’s not really shocking, is it? Not because I am such a jerk, but because no-one is always completely honest with his friends, right? A more interesting question would be: should you always be honest with your friends? Being honest might hurt your friend’s feelings, so maybe you should rather lie and keep you and your friend happy, than telling the “painful” truth, right? Or would that prevent you in some way from bonding – with your friend – on a “deeper” level? A “friend” level? Or maybe the entire dichotomy – between kindness on the one hand and honesty one the other – is just completely wrong: who says that honesty and kindness cannot go hand in hand? After all, isn’t being honest always a kind gesture, even though the content of this gesture might not always appear to be flattering? Let’s take a look at that.
I am sure you know the dilemma: should you tell your friend the not so positive truth or should you rather lie in order not to cause a stir? Maybe – while in your moment of doubt – the following questions cross your mind, “What is the value of friendship without honesty? Isn’t that where friends are for, to be honest with each other, no matter what? No matter how hard the message might be, someone should tell you the truth, right? And this someone should be your friend, right?” But after having thought through the consequences of being honest, you might start coming up with different – more negative – scenarios, “I don’t want to lose my friend by being rude to him. Maybe he’ll think that I am not respecting him. Maybe he’ll avoid me in the future. Maybe I will lose him as a friend”.
We human beings are afraid to be honest. We are afraid that people – including our friends – might not want to hear us say negative things about them, even though these negative things might be said with the best of intentions. Friendships are valuable to us; so valuable, that we don’t want to risk losing them. But, what if you had to choose between (1) your friends being always honest with you (but not necessarily positive) or (2) your friends always being positive (but not necessarily honest with you)? And, more importantly, what category of friends would you consider to be “better” friends? Not the first category, right? Not those superficial and cowardly creatures, right? No. A true friend should be willing to tell you the truth, no matter what. That is what true friendship consists of.
However, that means that you should be willing to accept the comments of your friend. That you should be grateful for him having the courage to tell you what he thinks. You’d have to show him that he is a true friend to you and that he’s valued for being honest with you. Don’t criticize your friend’s comments. See them as a sign of true friendship. And, on the other side, interpret flattery for what it really is: a mask to hide feelings of insecurity and neediness.
I believe that you should always be able to tell your friends the truth. And if it turns out that they cannot handle the truth, then you probably weren’t true friends in the first place, right? On the other hand, we all want to be happy and sometimes hearing the truth might make us sad. After all, how happy would we be if everyone around us, including our friends, would constantly share their negative – but true – conceptions of us? Nonetheless, we must grow up and dare to face the storm of well-intended criticism. Because you’ll never improve if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
But what do you think?
- See more at: http://theyoungsocrates.com/2013/01/15/honesty-and-friends-a-good-combination/#sthash.1ny1gTWJ.dpufI have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people I am talking to. And not only with random people I meet socially: also with my very own friends.

I have to make a confession: I am not always completely honest with the people. Over and over again, we see honesty used only as a last resort, when all the lies run out.

As children, we might have had a strong sense of justice, of instinctively knowing when something is unfair.But when we become adults, that instinct is put aside because it’s not a ticket to advancement. Besides if everyone else is doing it, why be the exception?

To be the exception requires the strength of moral character that is able to withstand the pressures that come from others, whether family, colleagues or bosses.

"Office politics" is a very dirty term in corporate world. This is the sad reality, and it exists in proportions across offices. After all a dysfunctional office makes for unhappy employees, high attrition and low productivity. Even then, sometimes we get pulled into without our knowledge and at other times we create a scenario to save our misdoings. 

No matter how well-grounded, polite and friendly we are, playing politics is unavoidable and an essential part of our office survival toolkit. Even if we hate the very nature of the term ‘office politics’, simply don’t want to get involved and believe we are just there to keep our head down and deliver – unfortunately, we just can’t avoid it, we need to get involved at some level.

Sometimes, people tend to lie or giving excuses when they are caught. Or they try and drag other people to clear their wrong. And we stood being silent  at all because whatever we say can definitely be used against us if the person you're talking to is one of those ladder climbers who will distort everything to make themselves look better.

It requires the courage to take whatever blow back that might come from standing one’s ground, some of which undoubtedly will have implications to more than one’s self.

But for those with such courage, the greatest reward is the ability to sleep at night, knowing their conscience is clear. Today I find myself wishing I know people of such moral fortitude because they do seem thin on the ground.

Being honest may not always be the easiest or most convenient course, but it is the course of integrity. Regardless of the prevalence of dishonesty, we all have the freedom to choose to live by a higher standard.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Hijrah:Ikhwanul Muslimin



First of all I wish to take this opportunity to wish all Muslims Salam Maal Hijrah leaving behind 1434 ushering 1435 based on Islamic Calendar with a new white book venturing into new year with refreshing body,spirit and soul collectively! Alhamdulillah.

So while we celebrating Hijrah, it’s not enough to merely recount the history of Hijrah. Rather, we need to look and review our pattern of living today, wherever we are, through the periscope of the principles laid down by the noble Prophet Muhammad SAW.

When we talk about nation-building, a common idea that comes to our minds is the creation of national paraphernalia that can help to solidify and unite the people. In actual fact, nation-building is the whole process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state. 

This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically, economically and socially stable. In effect, this process will make the nation become strong and resistant in the long run. A nation is perceived to be doing well when it is able to defend itself against the internal and external threats that aim to weaken the foundations of society.

As we can see in his practice upon arrival in Madinah, The Prophet did not seek to have the Muslims become a parasite on the society, trying to consume and exhaust the benefits that the host state provided, despite the fact that the generosity and hospitality shown were extremely abundant.  On the contrary, the Prophet sought, first and foremost, to demonstrate to the host people that the newcomers were not there to overtake the land or expropriate its resources, nor did they have any purpose of granting themselves any kind of preferential treatment at the expense of the original inhabitants.

By crafting document that many experts, ancient and contemporary, describe as the first Bill of Rights or Charter or perfect standard for the modern constitutions, the early Muslims, led by the Prophet transformed the migration into a proper vehicle for the creation of a well-integrated society where migrants and host people live side by side in peace and prosperity.  And this later became a guiding principle for the early Muslims in their other migrations as they sought to spread the light of dakwah elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula and other regions.

Let us celebrate the diversities that exist in our society as something that enriches the nation. We need to know each other better, set aside prejudices and stand upon the spirit of muhibbah that was inherited to us by our forefathers. It was done out of trust and sheer belief that the future generation will continue to uphold this important legacy and enjoy living peacefully and in harmony with one another.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Invictus:- Sek Kito Jange Pecoh




I don’t know what to say, really. Less than 24 hours to our biggest match of the season. All comes down to to night. The Red Warriors' football jersey looks set to stay on the back of the majority of Kelantanese youth for the weeks ahead as a testament of their pride. It has been a daily uniform of choice for some since TRW, the state team's popular acronym, began enjoying good fortunes for some years now.

A solitary goal was all it needed to bring cheer to Kelantan. For the 90 minutes of play, they also dropped all pretensions and class distinctions to collectively scream their lungs out for their favourite team.

The local football team turn to be the giant in Malaysia football is a great success story. The team was struggling to compete in the league, and was even relegated back in 2004. Yet, the supporters remained faithful.

Fast forward a few years later, as a product of the combination of visionary ideas and strong support base, the Kelantan football team has emerged as the new powerhouse of the Malaysian football scene.

From the Kelantan experience, it highlights the power of sports as unifying factors. We cannot dispute that there is great polarisation among Malaysians because of the differences in our political convictions. It is thus on this basis that the government has called for national reconciliation.

There will be no single way to foster national unity and rise above our political differences, for multiracial reconciliation is a complex process. Indeed, sports have proven to be instrumental in fostering unity in our country. We put our support as a nation behind Lee Chong Wei and we were all disappointed when he failed in his bid for our first gold medal in the Olympics.

Sports can be the potential medium to bring Malaysians together, but to rely on it as a solution would be too simplistic. The fundamental element in national unity lies in our ability to speak and interact with each other.

This is precisely what we can learn from the case of Kelantan. As a local boy myself, I have observed how Chinese restaurants and coffee shops are filled with Malay Muslims in serban and jubah after the prayers.

The Malays and Chinese will sit at the same table discussing current issues in the local dialect, casting race and religion aside. In fact, other races including Indians and Thais can also relate to each other comfortably through this common language. Despite being a predominantly Malay-Muslim state, there is no racial strife and the people live in harmony.

Kelantanese are always associated with the term ‘asabiyyah’. It means a really strong sense of origin and belonging to people of the same background. The reason is because Kelantanese has always had a strong bond with each other. A Kelantanese would never let another Kelantanese down’, the famous Kelantanese motto. Even in another state you can always tell those who are Kelantanese and those who aren’t. Kelantanese always stick together. Kelantanese are also people who are not afraid to reveal their identity. When you’re hanging out with a bunch of Kelantanese you’ll feel like you’re in Kelantan itself. They never abandon their slang and mindset.

National reconciliation calls for us to understand and tolerate our differences, but none of that can be achieved without a common language that will remove the stumbling block of our interaction within society.

Thus, in search for national reconciliation, it is high time for Kelantan to be viewed positively in terms of how we manage our racial and religious differences. I am sure that some lessons can be drawn from the Kelantan experience as we move forward for greater national unity.

Note:- Invictus :- A film about how Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiated a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World to unite South African nation.