Words of Wisdom ...or so it seems...


Thursday, 14 January 2010

Paying it forward....

I never did understand my dad at one point of my life. Then again, I was a teenage on rebel without cause mode back then. Teenagers are capable of understanding their parents only when they suffer from precocious puberty. Having to cope with one’s hormones was a problem handful enough, deciphering parents was definitely, another. When you’re a teenager, you get angry too fast, sad too fast, excited too fast, and according to my guy pals, horny too fast(of course you’ll never catch them dead admitting this when they were teenagers). Those were the days when we get excited over a new pair of, well, during my time the in thing was roller skates, not blades, kindly take note, thank you.

If someone were to pay me a million (err…Euro, not rupees) to go back to being a teenager, I would most likely decline, unless of course, they are willing to pay me a billion. While teenagers get too fast at everything, we adults get too fat too fast from just living. I know, I know, they say above 40 years old, you’d finally manage to put your head together only to have your body falling apart. Oh, the irony of life.

Amongst many of the disagreement, that had sometimes escalated into heated arguments and eventually not talking to each other for some time, (which didn’t make any difference to my dad because he’s the Kimisabe type, strong and silent. Come to think of it, I was more annoyed about him not noticing that we were not talking to each other, more than the not talking itself!!!) was that he had refused to send me, or any one of his kids to boarding school.

Being a kid and was all about hypes, I was a bit pissed off when he did not allow me to go to MRSM. I watched in dismay as my good friends at school left for the glamorous boarding schools. I’d fumed and agitatedly wondered to myself, “Hello, more boys to compete with and to prove once and for all, women are smarter…. What is wrong with that old man?” (So, okay, no horny hormones there, I was a late bloomer). We never did have that “father to daughter talk” for him to explain to me, why he did not allow me to go to the boarding school. Oh yes, bring it aaawwwwwnnnn, I was mighty prepared for answers should he confronted me, hey, I was in the debate team, I can take on adults. I’ve got them answers….. Teenage answers of course.

Later, as I grew up, and learn about the world evolving around me; the bitterness and sweetness of reality of life, that never cease to bite you in the ass, I somehow comprehended what my dad had achieved by his silence and inaction. And when you learn something through experience and deriving the facts of life on your own, it sounded louder than what could have been told to you by your parents, way years ago. I guess teenage hormones drowned many voices with the deafening resulting irrationality.

Now, as I observed my kid’s educational development, I practiced the same thing that my dad had. I refused to send her to the boarding school. Only this time, I did not have the problem of a raging teenager disagreeing with me on this one. Unlike me, she wishes not to get there. My reasons are purely moral based – that the boarding schools are meant for the under privileged, regardless of race. I wish not to partake in an act that condones the abuse of NEP. It’s that pure and simple.

My kid's reason was much simpler. She was not willing to part from my cooking and my sponge-like ability to listen to her ranting 24/7 about something or everything. The word, "shut up!!", was definitely not invented by my family. We do tend to utter, "shut the fish up!!" but under our breaths and you can’t call that rude, if you cannot catch what was said.

Another reason for my not being keen in sending my kid to boarding school, is that they basically comprises of 99.7% Malays, as good as a vernacular school. Like condoms, it's 99.7% protection from associating with other races. I'm never comfortable with that. Even in my job interview, when ask about my preference of where I'd like to work, my first choice was, "a metropolitan setting". I'm living that choice now.

There are other reasons, but to state them, would make this verbiage, a super verbiage and it would be good if I can come up with something that people read and learn instead of leaving it halfway unread.

I believe that there should be ONE education system and am dead against vernacular schools, and private schools. This one standardize school should cater for the development of all races, meaning there should be extra classes to maintain and nourish the diverse culture of Malaysia. There may be non BM non English classes whereby all Malaysians may pick out of pure interest and passion. Needless to say, that the school may finish at later timing. Classes should be limited to a small quantity of students so that the teachers can cope with the load. They can be dedicated at this one school, without having to make ends meet, or create more income from tuition. Our children need not go for tuition, if the education system is superior. Tuition takes up quality time spent interacting with parents. We need to teach our children, to have a balanced quality of life, and not to be kiasu.

Of course, needless to say, we need to start with upgrading the standards of teachers. All this is achievable. What is in doubt, to be achievable, is our desire to achieve it. And that is why, this kind of thinking, the kind that has the potential to create a true diverse but ONE Malaysia, does not materialize, because no politicians are sincere to carry out these simple tasks. I mean, why should they? It’s political suicide, insidious death, they might as well strap themselves up with C4 or a Malatov cocktail (made such a way that it’ll actually blow up and serve it’s purpose….clearly, a Malatov cocktail that had failed to detonate is a reflection of our sub-standard education system!!), and blow themselves up.

Race based, religion based parties feed on racial and religious sentiments. They grow stronger when interracial and inter-religious relations go weaker. In turn, these political parties ensure the education system stay as they are right now, because even though it is not working for the rakyat, it is working well for them. This system would generate more rakyat who are suspicious of each other based on religion and race, who in turn would vote for them, and it becomes nothing but a vicious cycle, circling slowly towards deterioration of this country. One day, we will all wake up and find ourselves in a fetid sinkhole, so deep, we’d just get frustrated to change and learn to be comfortable in an abyss of dung. Political parties should be based on humanity, full stop. You don’t need religion, or to be of certain race to recognize humanity. You just have to be human, that’s all. An atheist would surprise some of the “righteous” fellas with their understanding, and more importantly, act of humanity. What good is bragging religiousness when you act as though you are not enlighten.

Don’t give me that crap to say there is not money to change our education system. Like time, you create money, not wait for it to happen. The will has to be there of course. We all know that what’s lacking in our political scenario is the will to do the right thing. If we can send an astronaut, (well, Russians call him cosmonaut, and we Malaysians are still struggling with gay-or-not), to the moon recording blow jobs in space (well, what would you call experimenting with blowing bubbles in space powered by tax payers’ money? Screwed right?), why not invest that kind of money to create a really solid education system, designed to integrate yet maintain the diverse culture of Malaysians?

Imagine how even more unique our country would become should we manage to break this vicious cycle and pull this through!! For those who had fallen into the abyss of no imagination, no thanks to our lifestyle invests materialistic endeavors rather than invest in ourselves as humans, well, now is the time to get excited and throw an attempt at imagination. If you can’t, than this totally proves our education need resurrection!!

Maybe what I’m saying is far fetched. Maybe it’s just “wishfoooool” thinking. But every achievement starts with a dream. If Martin Luther King were to be given life today, he would re-die immediately from a heart attack, shocked to see part of his dream had come true. Obama may not be perfect, but he was part of King’s once upon a dream.

As for my his own Kimisabe silent ways, he had managed to convey from his actions, more loudly than that of his words....I thanked him by paying it forward….


Planet of the Monyets said...

I went to a sekolah berasrama penuh and I was the 0.3% that you mentioned. I think it did me a lot of good although, like you, I think it did not do the 99.7% much good. Although I was the only Indian in my batch of 120 (there were 3 Chinese and 1 Kadazan), I actually really enjoyed boarding school.

I sat through agama classes twice a week for 5 years (and did not come out confused) - and can understand and appreciate Islam better than most Malaysians. I have tonnes of Malay friends and I think I understand the Malay culture and psyche rather well. I got an A for my BM and I think I can still write and speak BM better than many Malays. In short, it benefitted me.

However, like you aptly said, I felt then and still do now, that the majority of the Malay students did not get the benefits that I got. Sure they got scholarships and allowances that I did not get, but in terms of exposure to people of other ethnic groups, it was zilt. It was a pity because these were the creme d la creme of the Malay students then. It is a pity that these bright Malay students were forced to spend entire their secondary school days with very little contact with people of other races.

And as you correctly say, the boarding school system needs to be revamped as do the vernacular schools.

Pity there are no schools for Monyets though.

Planet of the Monyets said...

You said "Even in my job interview, when ask about my preference of where I'd like to work, my first choice was, "a metropolitan setting".

Read the story of my work place


PahNur said...

Wow, you sure you did not get confused during ugama class? Coz i did and i remember giving my ustazah a hard time with questions. I don't think she likes me at all :)

I asked why Muawiyah, then the Governor of Syam killed the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Guess what I got for an answer? The uztazah said even though he did what he did, he is still a better muslim than any one of us in the class room because he prays 5 times a day. that's how people get away with mass murder......

My kid would ask the ustazah, how come Cutex is haram because it wasn't even invented during the time of the prophet, so how did he know, let alone come up with the fatwa? Obviously genius-ness is hereditary...

Oh, and there was that one time when I asked the ustazah, if sembah berhala or anything but Allah is syirik, then why do people in Mekkah kiss the hajaral aswad? After all, it's just a stone. And why does the Hajj rituals mimics that of the pagans rituals...I think I got into huge trouble with that only get into trouble when they can't give a logical answer...hmmm....

As for BM, OMG...I hated english and bm classes!! Took tuition for BM and only managed a C3!!!

ummi said...

Thanks for 'perking' me up..was dozing off..Monyet must have gone to MRSM eh.
I was not the rebellious kind I think, I tried to conform because being in a boarding school they sort of armtwist you to. I went in as a loud girl from Convent so full of herself ( I guess) who thought she can do anything..but got tired of the bombardment I got from guys who claimed I was not behaving like I am supposed that prevented me from sending my children to boarding way jose..I won't kill their spirit.

My daughter seem to be getting that kind of answers from the ustazah too, but thank God she is open enough to say, it is not the ustazah's is her i guess we have done a good job, ya Shari :)

Auntie Dot said...

I know what you mean Ummi. I was a Convent girl myself. In fact, my dotter was in a co-ed school and I was not happy the way, the teachers treat girls as though they are born to be led and not to be leaders.

So I transferred her to a Convent and we never look back !!