Sunday, February 28, 2010

The race to the top begins at kindergarten

commentary:  My sister told me about her eldest daughter enrolling to a Chinese nursery/kindergarten in Damansara Perdana... after a couple of months, her daughter was complaining that she had too much homework... at first, my sister think that it was probably because her eldest was giving excuses of not wanting to do her homework but later did she found out that it is true....

She went to see her daughter's teacher and said that actually other parents came to see her not because too much homework, it was the other way around... and my niece was actually 4 years old at that time ! apparently, this goes on in most Chinese medium education centre, all over the world !!!....where education is grilled into their children mind like robot....what such nonsense these people do to their children... i mean, I lived all over the world, I have never met or knew other then this type of people ie Chinese that are so KIASU... i mean, don't you guys appreciate life ? work and education is important but... having a life is also too....

by Anita Anandarajah 
is a stay-at-home-mum 
who lives in Hong Kong. 
She longs for the grassy 
playgrounds of her childhood.

FEB 28 – Education kills. Someone should put that warning on the back of a school enrolment pack.
To be more precise, I am referring to the pursuit of education. So great is the pressure to perform that the race to enter the best school sometimes ends tragically.
Earlier this month, a mother threw her four-year-old girl from the seventh floor of a shopping mall before jumping off herself because the girl had not qualified for a place in the school of choice.
The little girl survived the ordeal when the safety net broke her fall but the mother fell through, and died.
Newspapers reported that the child’s parents had been arguing about her education before the incident.
The girl is a student in an English Schools Foundation kindergarten but had failed to win a place at an ESF primary school. A student at an ESF kindergarten is only ensured of an interview but not a slot in primary school.
As a result, the mother, a clerk, wanted to enrol her daughter in an international school but the father, a mechanic, said he could not afford the fees.
They had already forked out $51,000 a year for the ESF kindergarten fees. There are three years of kindergarten in total.
In response, the mother replied that since her child had no future, she might as well end her life there and then.
Parents put themselves through enormous pressure to ensure their children enter the right schools. Local schools set rigorous assessments to gain entrance and the intensively competitive environment.
International schools offer a tempting alternative with a wider curriculum and less high-pressured learning environment. Parents see the former as better equipping their children for university studies abroad. However the fees are prohibitively expensive for the average family.
The third type of school, the ESF school, is therefore an attractive alternative as it is subsidised by the government.
It was set up to provide education for English-speaking children who cannot access the local system but has become very popular with locals who want western-style education for their children. However, places are limited.
As a parent of a toddler who has just taken his first tiny steps into this treacherous field, I am already suffering the sweats.
I am beginning to understand the madness, the stress that seizes a parent whose life mission is now to provide the best education on a finite budget.
You see, I missed the deadline to enrol Ishan into what should be his first year of kindergarten beginning this August in a nearby school.
Incidentally, this school is popular as the medium of instruction is equally divided into English and Mandarin unlike local schools which are fully Cantonese.
And we all know that Putonghua is this generation’s passport to world domination.
The word around town is that there is a waiting list of up to eight months at said school so parents tend to register their child a year ahead.
One parent I chatted with raised an eyebrow when I expressed surprise at the “kiasu-ness” of this strategy.
So now I worry that he will be completely lost with the Mandarin half of the syllabus if and when he enters that school several terms later.
School aside, there are the extra-curricular activities that parents invest in to ensure their child’s school portfolio is nicely padded. Some of Ishan’s playmates have signed up for swimming lessons, ballet, piano and soccer.
I have also heard of children who attend two schools simultaneously, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Ishan just turned two. He has “playroom and/or playground at 4.30pm” and play group twice a week on his list. Am I being paranoid about him falling back?
I want to be able to lean back and watch my son enjoy his childhood and develop to the best of his natural ability. Yet I can’t help but feel I should push him a lot harder.
My husband tells me that we will take it all one step at a time. We are not sure how we will cope with the highly competitive environment but we will. This is, after all, part of the experience of living in Hong Kong.
For now, I will take a tip from The Karate Kid (1984) sensei Mr Miyagi: “Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important.”
Wax on, wax off, people.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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Majlis Perunding NGO Melayu (MPM)

commentary:  Malay is a race that are actually docile in nature... a very dormant type of people... that usually would like to avoid confrontational issues...

But recently, for the past couple of years, the non-bumi(s), thru their actions (in Penang and Selangor) and their comments in MSM and blogs, have questions the special privilege of Malay that has been enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution.  This was done by the forefathers of Malaysia to get the equilibrium balance among the races, which is not just divided by skin colour and religion, but also their state of economic domination.  This does not sit well for most Malays, although most of them remain silent but we can feel the animosity among them...

Perkasa has given the non-bumi(s) a wake up call.... maybe they are a group that is a bit rough on the edges but it seem that they have tremendous support from the Malays. The silent majority aren't that silent anymore..... aizley

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- Seventy-six Malay non-governmental organisations Saturday joined forces to form a consultative council, Majlis Perundingan NGO Melayu (MPM), to defend Malays rights and Islam in the country.

Among them were Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa), Majlis Bekas Wakil Rakyat Malaysia (Mubarak), Federation of Malay Students Association of Peninsular Malaysia (GPMS), Malay Professional Thinkers Association of Malaysia and Cuepacs, the umbrella union for civil servants.

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who acted as the council's spokesman, said the council's role was to act as a shield against those who tried to question Malay rights and privileges, the position of Islam and the institution of the Malay rulers.

"At the same time, we will also be a polite pressure group to the government not to shirk from its responsibility in upholding fundamental matters as enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution," he told reporters at the launching ceremony of MPM at the Sultan Sulaiman Club here.

He said MPM members would hold a roundtable on March 7 to discuss the economic direction of the Malays following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcing of the new economic model for the nation.

"We also hope to meet the prime minister before the new economic model is announced because we do not want Malay NGOs to be "making noise" to voice their dissatisfaction over it...we want any policy made by the government to get support from all quarters.

"However, the government should also be proactive to Malay NGOs...meaning there should be give and take...if the government wants the support of NGOs, the government should also give due consideration to our views and feelings," said the Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas.

In MPM's statement circulated to media members present, the council asserted that its members must scrutinise each issue that had a bearing on the interest of the Malays, Islam, the Malay rulers and security and harmony in the country irrespective of who raised or questioned them and that they must also highlight matters that are dear to the Malays.

Besides this, MPM said it would also prepare and implement an action plan to counter any provocation on matters that touch on the interests of Malays and Islam if they were construed as efforts by irresponsible parties to spread hatred.


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Anwar's newsletter to me.....

 commentary: I got this email from Mr Anwar Ibrahim, saying what is wrong about Malaysia economy or what not.... I just want to laugh.... because I still remember when he was the Finance Minister in 1997, this is the very person that almost "sold" Malaysia to IMF, thank god that PM at that time, Dr Mahathir, step in and stop all the "plans" that he had with George Soros....  to hell with you Anwar... enough is enough... stop making us Malaysian confused and create in-fight just for you to get your dream of becoming the Prime Minister of Malaysia..... aizley

Anwar Ibrahim The Voice of Democracy in Malaysia


Dear aizli,

Malaysia was hit by the global recession and 2009 was a difficult year for many of us.  More jobs were lost and more people were left unemployed than at any time in our nation's history.

There are some indications that the economic situation is improving in 2010 but I released a statement today urging people not to be misled by a few statistics.  To say that the “the worst is over” is not only premature but irresponsible. READ MY STATEMENT HERE

For 10 years the government has spent more money than it has made.  In fact increasing government expenditure has been the defining element of Malaysia's economic policy during this period.  The natural outcome of its approach is to register some small amount of growth.  But our continued reliance on an outdated strategy is taking us down the road of economic serfdom.  And the government's failure to adopt creative economic policies to make us competitive in a global economy has left Malaysia lagging behind our neighbours in the region.

It is also true that corruption remains rampant and massive government projects are often unnecessary, cost too much, and benefit only a few people. We cannot afford to keep losing billions every year.

The private sector has not benefitted from the increase in spending.  Small and medium sized businesses were more vibrant and active 20 years ago than they are today. This means that the economic policies of the BN are still not creating enough jobs and opportunities for the vast majority of Malaysians.

Pakatan Rakyat believes that the structural problems with the economy must be addressed urgently so that Malaysia can regain its competitive edge in the region.  We promise to safeguard our future and our children's future by being a government that is accountable to the people, transparent in its dealings and committed to a reform agenda that restores confidence in the judiciary, strengthens institutions of civil society and shows zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism.

Please support Pakatan Rakyat and our pursuit of a brighter future for Malaysians. Send this email to five of your friends and ask them to join our movement. 

Thank you,
Anwar Ibrahim


This message sent to by
Office of Anwar Ibrahim
Merchants Square
Petaling Jaya Selangor, 47401

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