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So what is it?

The World Health Organisation has long declared it a pandemic. Most countries in South East Asia and East Asia have put in place stringent measures to contain the spread of the disease. Thermal scans at entry points…temperature checks at schools…voluntary home quarantines and so on. But in Malaysia our attitude seems to be…”Eh leh! What’s the problem? Won’t affect us too much la.” And the perenial favorite, “How many mati (die)? 2 ah? Naer mine la.” And we continue on our happy ways.

And our honourable (and I use this word rather loosely) ministers instead treat us to a debate on what to call the damned bug that causes the damned disease!!! The world calls it Influenza A (H1N1) And the Malaysian Minister of Health says that we should follow suit. And then…I suppose also because Malaysian politics recently has become a tad boring for the YB’s…our Minister of Information jumps in and says, Cannot! That would confuse people. We call it Swine Flu! The original name ma.

Then he said that his reason was so that people (I suppose he means only Malaysians) would realise the danger of the disease and to get the message across to them more accurately.

Firstly, I am quite confused already at the first part of that statement. Realise the danger? If the disease kicks your stupid ass and you die I guess that’s pretty damn dangerous isn’t it? Even if you call the bug Cik Siti.

Secondly, what’s the second part of that statement trying to say? Get the message across more accurately by calling it Swine Flu. What is the YB trying to say? That only pork-eaters will die ah? Or worse, it’s all the pork-eaters fault ah? That kind of reasoning is more dangerous than any flu virus will ever be.

Our YB then proceeded to (he is in charge of RTM radio and television ma) inform us that Swine Flu or in Bahasa Malaysia, Sel-se-ma Babi, is easier for radio and TV announcers to say compared to In-flu-en-za A (H1N1). Proves what I have always suspected. RTM radio and TV announcers have problems pronouncing words with more than 3 syllables.

I’ve always thought our minister of information an intelligent man. But he’s increasingly proving that he is just ………….

A POLITICIAN!

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Nation | Leave a comment

SPM EXAM: Settle for a limit of 11 subjects

I WELCOME the Education Ministry’s plan to put a cap on the number of subjects a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia candidate can sit for beginning next year.
However, I feel that limiting the candidates to 10 subjects is a bit too harsh. It would be more reasonable and practical to tag it at 11.

A Science-stream student takes at least nine subjects — Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Moral Education or Islamic Studies, and English for Science and Technology (optional but most students take this paper).

What if a student comes from a Chinese- or Tamil-medium school? He would definitely attempt Tamil or Chinese papers, including Tamil or Chinese Literature.

These two language papers are important if the student wants to pursue a career in teaching, journalism or even become a court interpreter.
Which subject do we expect students to drop from the package? Definitely, none of the core Science subjects. Perhaps EST. But most schools offer the subject, so why stop a student from taking a subject he has learnt for two years?

This leaves the ministry with no option but to consider allowing students to sit a maximum of 11 papers, or better still, be flexible and set it at 12.

Schools set a specific number of periods, normally from 24 to 28 per week. Ideally, it should be 24 periods per week.

At the beginning of Form Four, schools would have formulated a package of subjects, taking into account the availability of teachers for a particular subject.

Parents and pupils are made aware of the package during orientation week and are given a few days to decide on a suitable package
If a student wishes to take subjects not included in the package, the school has no option but to ask the student to go for outside tuition.

Alternatively, the student can transfer to a school that offers the subject. This is the norm in every secondary school, as bound by the ministry’s guidelines.

No school would be able to conduct classes outside the package if it doesn’t have enough teachers who specialise in a subject. Furthermore, even if there are enough teachers, a class requires a minimum number of students. A lesson cannot be conducted within the curriculum for just a handful of students.

I also agree with the minister that limiting the number of subjects will reduce the politicking and clamour for scholarships.

The ministry should come up with a ruling that the criteria for tertiary education and scholarships be based on the best eight or even 10 subjects, where the core subjects are compulsory.This way, we can ensure a level playing field for all students, regardless of the number of papers they take.

As for the grading system, the present one is good enough but only if it is based on the best of eight to 10 subjects. The present system was introduced a few years back and serves its purpose. It is based on a formula called overall average grade (or GPK — gred purata keseluruhan).

However, the standard of grading can be modified so that it would be harder for students to obtain a 1A. Even the minimum passing mark should be re-evaluated.

And finally, as it is for Bahasa Melayu, make it compulsory for each candidate to have a minimum grade of C6 in English to obtain a full SPM certificate.

By doing this, we would not have to worry about upgrading the standard of English. If you make it mandatory to have a credit at SPM level for English, students as well as parents will automatically realise the importance of the language

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Nation | Leave a comment

King Of Pop

Michael JacksonI got up early this morning, switched on the TV, and the news was all about the sudden death of Michael Jackson from heart failure at the age of 50.

Millions of his fans will mourn the passing of this pop icon dubbed the King of Pop, though not being much of a consumer of pop culture, I was never a fan of any pop star in my whole life.

But the entertainment industry means mega bucks and worldwide sale, and no corner of the world can really be exempt from its influence. Growing up in Kuching in the 60s, I was familiar with the music of the Jackson Five, and numerous pop groups like them.

When Michael Jackson grew up and went solo and became the biggest star around in the 80s, you heard his music everywhere you went in Kuching. Young people were trying to copy his moon walk. I may not be a fan of his, but I had to admit this chap did have peculiar talents.

His passing at a relatively early age must seal his enigmatic status of a folk hero, whose life ended tragically, just when he was working on a come-back trail.

His life’s tragedy began early, as a star exposed to the world’s limelight at a very tender age. Public attention and the global limelight almost always tarnish and twist a person’s soul, especially at that young age. You get confused about who the real you is, as compared to the larger-than-life image projected by the media.

All his life, perhaps MJ never grew up in his heart, and that is why he named his mansion Neverland Ranch, reminiscent of the tale of Peter Pan who never aged, Looking back, how many child stars in Hollywood grew up to be happy adults?

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Music news | | Leave a comment

The one I have missed out..

http://www.tzuchimalacca.com/album/yufo09/autoviewer/index.html

June 18, 2009 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Why Do I Pay Taxes???

Fresh from the recent mad rush to submit our income tax self assessments, I wonder where does my tax money go? Why do I need to pay taxes?

Someone did asked that question about “Where does income tax money go?” on Wiki Answers and the sole answer that came back “To the government and they use it as they see fit”. Duly noted! But this is where it scares me… “they use it as they see fit”, I’m not saying that the answer on Wiki Answer is accurate but yeah… in a nutshell, the money goes to the government and yes, they will spend it. … but on what?

Borrowing from Simon’s overly used term, I admit that I don’t know jack sh*t about economics and all. But it got me thinking… hey… this country has an abundance in natural resources, we have oil, we have palm oil, we have rubber (both natural and those purchased from the 7-11 counters), we have fertile land, you get my point right… we have heaps of natural resource. Then we have people who pay taxes (like me). Where does all the money go to?

Some might mention that we have those ‘Rancangan Malaysia” where all the big bucks go to. We see loads of money ‘supposedly’ being pumped into these ‘plans’. Not to forget the multitude of ‘Corridors’ that had been announced. But what I would like to ask… do you actually see any of the taxes you paid generally benefit the population of this country? My answer… well, yes (to all those UMNO/BN cronies oh and not to forget those apparently PR cronies too) but not enough!

In my humble opinion we the rakyat get far less back in services and benefits from the federal and/or state government than we pay in. And it’s an open secret that corruption has damaged our society and we have been tremendously being short-changed.

Think about it. If a fraction of all this dirty wasted money was put into better use like building schools, better healthcare, better trained and better paid teachers, civil service officers, police, proper basic infrastructures such as electricity, water, paved roads, sewerage, we would not be such a predicament where we console ourselves that we are better off than Zimbabwe or Congo. Come on la!

If these ftoopid leaders (past and present) can just spend 10% of their time thinking what’s best for the people and country and use manage the finances wisely years ago, we would have already surpassed (I dare say) Sillypore or any of our other regional neighbours by now.

So what do we get now? We have public schools in dilapidated state, teachers who are poorly trained and rewarded, public hospitals that are in need of proper infrastructures and equipments, civil services who are little napoleons, and a police force that almost everyone in this country has nothing good to say about. I can go on and am sure we all got that long list somewhere in our pockets.

Bah! Why do I bother to pay taxes then when what I see is my money being used to fill some frakking state/federal crony’s pocket. Frak it!

June 18, 2009 Posted by | Taxes | | Leave a comment

It’s not haze…It’s just…….hazy!

We Malaysians appear to lack originality when coming up with explanations or making up excuses. Remember not so long ago there was this Indian fler who said something may sound like him, look like him but actually is not him?

Today, I read on The Malaysian Insider that the Director-General of the Department of Environment (DOE), Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said that the shitty air that we’ve been experiencing for the past few days in Kuala Lumpur …… “may look like haze but it is not haze! It is just….HAZY!”

I am laughing now as I make my way to the bar to pour myself a stiff whiskey. Goodnight!

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment