Category Archives: Education

St. Anne’s Feast & Novena Day 4

Day 4

Theme: Telling the story of Jesus to and by our children (Catechetics)

The celebrant, Fr. Mark, used a video clip by RSA.org based on a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, to drive home the message of the understanding the true meaning of education, and linked it to how catechetics needs to be taught, or rather “caught” as one La Salle religious brother reminded me a long time ago.

The full video below:

I thought it was insightful.  We spend a lot of time and money on educating our children. How much time and effort are we devoting to their holistic personal growth?

The signs of the times point to a culture that is rapidly changing known and accepted values. Issues that would have been kept behind closed doors a decade or two ago are being openly bandied and promoted through the use of social media communication means. Our children have easy access to them.

As Fr. Mark pointed out, these changing paradigms are exactly why we, parents, teachers, religious and priests need to keep up with the changing times. We need to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Which reminds me of another story by another priest in another homily:

A stranger walks up and knocks on your door. You, the parent, answer. He asks if he could spend some time alone with your 5 year old kid. He wants to “chat”. What would you say? Most definitely, you would be shocked at such a question and immediately tell him to leave.

The priest continued, “If you said NO to that man’s request, why then do you parents continuously allow total strangers into your homes 24 hours a day and give them complete access to your children?? You are wondering, when, where, how did you ever do that?

Your satellite TV channel. Those are the complete strangers, with all kinds of motives and reasons, wanting access to your kids. 24 hours a day. And you let them in!”

Think its too tough? Maybe, but the alternative is even worse!

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr

 

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Another kind of history (1)

Somewhat contrary to what many students would say today, I have always liked history. I also like archaeological sites, museums, golden oldies and such “ancient” things. Exactly why I haven’t the faintest idea. Maybe I had good history teachers. Maybe I went to school when knowing your history was considered important. Maybe it were those late 1950’s National Geographic magazines that I discovered in my father’s bookcase. Maybe I’m just getting old!

Nonetheless, as I turned 50 today, I had this sudden urge to delve into the past to see what, if anything at all, happened on 26 October.  Thanks to Google, I did manage to find quite a few bits of trivia on my birthdate. Some of it nice, others sad and others raise even more questions.  Below is my Top 10 list of events that in one way or other have colored this day in history, with my thoughts in brackets in blue, and in chronological order:

  • October 26, 1861: The Pony Express officially ceased operations.  (I wonder what the gentlemen who began the original ‘fast mail service’ then would say if they were to see what the industry has morphed into today?  Just 30 years ago, when I was I was in secondary school, I had absolutely no use of Pos Laju, Pos Ekspres, and etc. yet today I use them regularly.  BTW: what has happened to the humble aerogramme?!)
  • October 26, 1863: The Football Association forms in England, standardizing soccer.  (More than a hundred years later and with the cooperation of the Football League, the FA would help Britain conquer the world again – this time through world of football and its products such as the FA Cup, Road to Wembley and BPL. When once I had to argue with my mother as to whether to watch the single miserable 3 month delayed (true!!) Star Soccer featured game or the Hindi/Tamil movies that RTM telecast simultaneously on RTM 1 and 2 on Saturdays, now I have unlimited “live” access to at least 3 EPL games on one Saturday, not counting the early and Sunday kickoffs!  But – they say too much of a good thing may be bad.  I think I’m beginning to believe it now.) 
  • October 26, 1951: The Conservative Party led by Winston Churchill has won the general elections in Britain. (Although just 6 years earlier, he had been unceremoniously defeated at the polls – and that too after leading Britain from being almost obliterated to victory in WWII. What’s that they say – ‘You can’t keep a good man down?’  Looking at the world today and the type of leaders it has spawned, where are they? – the colosal figures, who in all truth, despite their warts and faults, almost always could be counted upon to come through for the common good?)
  • October 26, 1959:  The first photographs of the far side of the moon are seen on Earth when the Soviet satellite, Lunik III transmits them back through radio signals. (A little less than 20 years later, the rock group Pink Floyd would release its standout ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album – which happens to be my favorite PF record, and one which has given me many, many hours of listening pleasure. Many younger people would not agree with me, but they don’t make ’em like they used to anymore, do they?)
  • October 26, 1965: The Beatles receive MBE’s at Buckingham Palace. (I finally watched “Estet” – the 2010 Mamat Khalid movie – where David Arumugam’s character – Uncle Aru, in one scene, mutters to himself : ‘Orang mau nyanyi tadak peluang nyanyi, orang tak boleh nyanyi boleh jadi penyanyi, kita hari-hari duduk sini susun kacang! How true! Isn’t it almost criminal how we give away our best talents to other countries who snap them up in glee at our expense?)
  • October 26, 1970: The political comic strip Doonesbury appears in newspapers for the first time. Newspaper editors were confused – was it to appear in the funny pages or editorial section? (Taking a look at our own MSM [mainstream newspapers], I am asking the same question today – just looking at the front page headlines, I can’t help thinking but they’re a joke! Basic common sense will tell that at the rate they are falling and failing, these MSM’s will one day have to close shop due to the sheer popularity of the Internet and alternative sources of information. But for some strange reason, those in charge of these MSM’s fail to see it.  Maybe they’re doing democracy in Malaysia a big favor actually! )
  • October 26, 1979:  The President of Korea, Park Chung Hee and five others are killed by his own Intelligence chief. (While we have been thankfully free from such violent attacks on national leaders, unfortunately Malaysia has become synonymous for character assassinations – especially in the political scene, one in particular that has been running almost non-stop for 13 years now. Once, we were role models for newly independent countries. We had dignity and status, even though we may not have been as materially developed as now. Morally and ethically though, we seem to have gone in reverse. Isn’t it enough already or are we content to free fall into an abyss that we may not be able to come out of quickly enough?)  
  • October 26, 1984: Surgeons give a 14 day old girl, known only as Baby Fae, the heart of a young baboon.  She survived only for 20 days after the operation but it was still considered a breakthrough in heart transplants. (I remember this story quite well – I was 23 then and had just moved away from home a few months before.  Back then, we had no choice but to rely on our good old MSM for the daily updates!  I read about and in a sense journeyed with Baby Fae for awhile as she fought her battle. I wondered what her parents were going through. Today however, this biblical verse comes to mind – ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh’ – [Ezekiel: 36:26]. If only we would listen to God’s voice, irrespective of our individual faiths and beliefs – I can’t help but thinking ‘wouldn’t this world be a better place’? )
  • October 26, 2007: Apple’s OS X “Leopard” version is released. (We sort of knew already that Steve Jobs was on borrowed time, but that he would die so quickly earlier this month still came as a shock. He did however, in the three and half years he had, manage to come up with the mother of all smartphones – the iconic iPhone and an actual functioning tablet – the iPad.  He may not have been the friendliest person to have around you, or the best manager, but I ask myself – how am I using the ‘borrowed’ time I have left?)
  • October 26, 2009: Yahoo!! discontinues its free web hosting service Geocities, ten years after purchasing it from its creators. (Remember good old Geocities back in the 90’s? Everyone who wanted a free domain and hosting – this was the best and cheapest solution. Sadly, it has gone the way of the dinosaur in a very short time – as new technologies evolve and change the world as we know it.  How about me, and us?  The failure to embrace change will only make us go the way  of the dinosaur, dodo and just a couple of years ago, Geocities too. This prayer, which one priest gave me a long time ago helps put things into perspective for me: ‘God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference’).

So, enough said I think of history for now, lest it gets boring!  It’s amazing what a few clicks on the keyboard and the help of a certain Mr. Google can throw up. I think, if we personalize things as they happen, as in this short history of my birthdate, maybe it would help us reflect a bit more about ourselves, and help us understand how to live and what is really important in our lives. It may not be what we think they are!

Below, for the uninitiated, an introduction to Pink Floyd, and for the already inducted, a sure sweet trip down memory lane and something to ponder about from one man who dared to dream: 

“You see things as they are and you say, ‘Why?’ but I dream things that never were, and ask ‘Why not?'”  – Robert F. Kennedy

 

Soccer Scholarships & My Skills Carnival

A couple of interesting notifications from an online bulletin board:

1. ECM-Libra Royal Selangor Club (RSC) Junior Soccer Scholarship

Refer:     http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/6/13/central/8819522&sec=central

If you are talented or know anyone who is,  and would like to apply for the scholarship contact:

Ganesan at sunshineguy35@yahoo.com

2. My Skills Carnival 2011

  • It has been stated that around 8,000 Indian students obtain unsatisfactory results in the SPM every year.
  • More shocking is that many of these students do not continue their education or enroll in skills training program whether in public or private institutions.
  • In view of this the organizers aim to assist to place at 5,000 of these Indian youths in various government       sponsored skill training courses.
  • Organized by Special Implementation Taskforce on Indian Community (PM’s Department) together with MIC, Kelab Bell Belia Tamil, Majlis Belia Hindu Malaysia and Majlis Belia India Malaysia.

Courses Available:

  • CIDB (Construction Industrial Development Board), Qualifying age: 17- 35 years old
  • IKBN (Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara), Qualifying age: 18 – 30 years old
  • NATC (National Agriculture Training Centre), Qualifying age: below 25 years old
  • SKIM PERANTISAN PSMB, Qualifying age: 16 – 25 years old
  • ILP (Institut Latihan Perindustrian), Qualifying age: 17 – 30 years old
  • SLDN (Skim Latihan Dual Nasional), Qualifying age: 16 – 35 years old

Fore more information, please contact:

  • 03/07/11 – Dewan Tunku Canselor, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • 09/07/11 – Wisma MIC, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
  • 15/07/11 – Dewan Kuil Mariamman, Buntong, Perak
  • 16/07/11 – Dewan MPB Bentong, Pahang
  • 23/07/11 – Dewan Serbaguna Skudai, Johor
  • 24/07/11 – SJKT Saraswathy Sg. Petani, Kedah
  • 06/08/11 – Dewan Hj. Ahmad Badawi, Bagan Dalam, Penang

from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm at the above venues, and also:

Sekretariat MY SKILLS CARNIVAL
Pasukan Petugas Khas Pelaksanaan (Jawatankuasa Kabinet Masyarakat India)
Jabatan Perdana Menteri
Aras 9, Block D3, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
62530 Putrajaya
Tel.: 03-8871 1280
Fax.: 03-8890 5204

“Success starts with a dream, a thought; but that’s only the first step. Writing it down is the second step. Doing specific things to bring it about is the third step”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what are our schools teaching?

From the reports below and elsewhere,

Malaysiakini: Stop banning non-Muslim societies in schools;

MalaysiaInsider: In schools, a crackdown on non-Muslim clubs;

the answer I think would be, among others – racism, religious bigotry, intolerance, government impotence, and etc.

It seems that no one really bothers that the Constitution clearly states otherwise.

While the PM and the government continue to spin out 1Malaysia virtues, the reality is that we are a long way from anything close to it.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The proverb says that you won’t know whether food has been cooked properly until you try it. Or, putting it figuratively, don’t assume that something is in order or believe what you are told, but judge the matter by testing it; it’s much the same philosophy as in seeing is believing and action speaks louder than words.

Adibah Amin , the award winning journalist and writer seems to agree.

All of which gives rise to a few questions:

  • If the Education Ministry has always allowed such societies to be active, who is responsible for its undoing?
  • What was the Education Minister doing?
  • If it’s the work of certain “little Napoleons” in the schools or education departments, just how was it allowed to happen?
  • If parents and teachers were aware of this, why wasn’t it nipped?
  • How many of us parents are actually involved in the PTA’s?  If we are, did anyone make any protest?

As it stands,  it seems yet another nail just got banged into the PM’s 1Malaysia coffin.

And for all of us a sombre warning:  We can’t go on blaming others all the time.  At the same time, we cannot be ignorant of all that’s going on around us.  Are we just satisfied with our children’s academic learning only?  What about morals and values such as responsibility, truth, right-conduct, love, peace, harmony and justice? Our children deserve to learn these and other virtues.  Sure, it all begins at home.  But it’s in schools that children learn first to mingle with others.  Are our schools teaching this and more inportantly,  seen to be living out these values?

As this echo from the past admonishes us:  “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” (Martin Luther King).

National Indian Youth Convention 2010

This is a public service announcement:

The 2010 National Indian Convention will be held on July 3rd 2010 at the Grand Dorsett Subang Hotel from 8.00 am – 5.00 pm.

NYIC 2010 is organised by TheMind (Malaysian Indian Educational Development Association) a local NGO, specializing in education matters for the Indian community in Malaysia. It has strategic links with academic experts and industry captains within and outside the country.

The list of speakers for NYIC 2010 include:

Tan Sri Gnanalingam, Chairman, Wesports Malaysia;

Dato Sri Edmund Santhara, Group CEO, Masterskill Education Group;

Prof. Dr. Shamala Devi Sekaran, Medical Microbiology Dept, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya;

Ms. Vanaja Siva, Malaysia Astronaut Program Finalist;

Samuel J. Dass, Sitar Maestro and,

Mohd. Bashir Sharrif, M.D., Polladium Consulting Sdn. Bhd.

For registration, go to: www.themindassociation.org/niyc10

Fees are: RM150 for young professionals; RM50 for students, and that is after a huge RM60 and RM150 subsidy.  So what are you waiting for? Go on and sign up and get your friends to do likewise.

As in the words of Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) Update

Concerned parents of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara (SKBD) in K.L. sought a mandate from its PTA regarding the recent government decision to abolish the PPSMI (teaching and learning of Science and Math in English) and got it overwhelmingly!

A whopping 97% of the parents wanted to be given the option of the PPSMI to be maintained in SKBD.

Malaysia Today tells how the PTA leads the way with EGM.

Another example of democracy from the grassroots?

3rd Kulim Career & Postgraduate Expo 2009


This came in this morning from a friend. Maybe all those searching for jobs could check it out. Pass this info out to others too:

Venue: Dewan Bandaran Kulim, Kedah

Dates: 25 & 26 July 2009 (Saturday & Sunday)

  • It’s a great opportunity to meet premier employers, universities and colleges in Malaysia.
  • You do need to bring hard copies of your resumes, certificates and a CD ROM containing your biodata.
  • Include your name and contact number on the CD-ROM.

The organisers, PenEvents, can be reached here:

PenExpo Events Sdn Bhd
H/P No : 019-4579471

Email : info@penexpo.com.my

Spread the news!

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE): For A Better Future

A couple of updates regarding the PPSMI (teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English).

Join those who feel that the PPSMI should be retained at:

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE): For A Better Future

And, last time I checked there are at least 2 Facebook Groups in support of the PPSMI:

1. FB 1

2. FB 2