HOTS without ethics

Pof Dzulkifli Abd Razak today wrote in the NST about the danger of inculcating Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) among our children without incorporating ethics into it. He said, based on current events, HOTS actually is already in abundance in this country, citing examples of the recent ATM scams involving foreigners and Malaysians. You got to have HOTS in order to hatch and carry out such an intricate scams. He also cited how custom officers managed to dodge the authorities with elaborate plans involving various levels to bypass the procedures in tax avoidance by smuggling contrabands from foreign countries especially ciggies and liqours into Malaysia. It took the authorities three years to unravelled the well coordinated plans. Unfortunately many of these application of HOTS were for the wrong purpose.
I have to agree with him, in our haste to be in the top third nation as per TIMSS and PISA assessment by 2025, we must not forget that our National Education Philosophy calls for nurturing of hollistic students capable of contributing to the well being of self and society. With the recent spate of corruptions charges against our customs officers and against the backdrop of the recent speech by HRH Sultan Nazrin that corruption at the higher level are more sophisticated, slick, elusive and involves a lot more value, we definitely need HOTS with ethics and moral. Without strong ethics and iman, HOTS would be just hot air scorching the nation.

Can Strepsils cure Malaysian common cold?

I have read a few of the speeches and articles written by HRH Sultan of Perak, but the one he delivered on the recent 47th anniversary of MACC must be amongst the most powerful, well researched and immaculate piece I have ever read. He must be one of the Malaysian brilliant minds. His speech on corruption entitled simply ” Corruption: Scenario and Challenges”. I must thank NST for translating the speech into English and publishing it in full over the last two days. It was very enlightening. His speech touched on origins of corruption, how it has spread historically and no nations is spared. The effect is more devastating in poor nations. He quoted that RM19.2 trillion was misappropriated in poor nations between 2002 and 2010. Every RM3.2 billion leaks resulted in 3.6 million deaths.
On the home front, he said corruption could be due to two main categories: One those who are desperate. Those who turned to corruption to survive due to their inability to balance their wages with having to pay for their daily needs.He noted that the fact that CEUPACS president requested bank to dispense RM10 notes through ATM indicated that at any given moment a number of ATM cardholders do not even have RM50 in their bank account. Whether the assumption is correct or not is beside the point but this goes to show income disparities breed corruption.The country cannot be in the state of denial over this. A formula must be found, it is not a common cold that could be cured by dispensing Strepsils.
The second category is even more dangerous. It is done by people in high positions, holding importnt posts, have great desires to live lavishly. This category usually involving bigger sums, more sophisticated, slicker, adept at washing their hands and are more powerful. It is a pity he said, many a time corrupters get away smelling like roses while whistleblowers were punished. This give the impression that coruption is alright and acceptable. A dangerous situation. During the regimes of Ferdinand Marcos, he instituted 9 new laws and involving 19 agencies to eradicate coruption but mere laws and acts are toothless without action. Marcos, as history have shown is chased away from the Philipines by angry citizens due to his and cronies largese lifestyles.
Corruption need stern and discriminate actions as well as preventive measures to strengthened integrity. Malaysia must take this action to weed out corruption or else we’ll continue to feature the mindset that corruption is all right.

Two and a half hours to get from Ipoh to Chemor!

Today we decided to go balik kampung for the Aidiladhaa. We tought the crowd would have thinned by today since they would have left yesterday. I was quite wrong. The jam started in Sungai Buloh but fortunately the rest of the journey was quite normal for a festive season. But the usually 15 minutes journey from Ipoh to Chemor was something else. We exited PLUS at Ipoh Selatan around 6pm, three hours after we left KL. I took the old Ipoh Kuala kangsar road since that is the shortest way to Chemor. We did not stop for Asar on the highway as we have of plenty time, and each RR was crowded. i imagined we could fulfill our Asar obligation when we reached kampung. Things started to get chaotic at the Tasik Junction, traffic was heavy and nobody is manning the affair. Many drivers, big and small, rich and poor, male and female took to the road shoulder only to cut in again when there is an obstacle in front. This create a massive jam. On top of that all the traffic lights were acting as if i was a normal day. Can you imagine the number of traffic lights that we have to go through from Tasek to Chemor? On my last count, it was easily more than 10. We were practically crawling. Being a good honest citizen, we follow the rules, stay on the normal path. We were defeated. Those who broke the law with impunity got away with a victory and they are enjoying the fruit of it. As a result, it took us two and a half hours to complete a 10km journey. I was forewarned that there was an accident after the Menora tunnel and most traffic were advised to take the old road. But I did not anticipate it could be this bad, even with the Raya crowd. I did not anticipate the we would be left on our own to manage the traffic situation. Where are the police, local authority, RTD, SPAD or can’t they at least get the the sukaRELA people to help. Left on their own, Malaysians took the streets with the law of the jungle. The fittest survive. I am still wondering how I manage to squeeze our Serena in between that huge SCANIA on the left and the crazy WIRA on the right plus the impatient CRV at the back. Alhamdulillah we reached our destination, but we had to stop in Klebang for our prayer.It was way past Isyak when we reached our kampung. Had I known the condition is so bad, I would have used the Tambun Chemor Ulu Kuang road or Jelapang Chepor Chemor road. Even in this day and age, the social media communication system is more interested in gossips than helping people to overcome this kind of situation. Malaysians are still a long way to become a developed nation as far as road manners are concerned.

Media Prima : A day with the media giant

When I was told, or coerced rather, to attend this so called “Media Training”, I was very skeptical. But then since the big boss insist that all directors or deputies must go, I reluctantly drove to the Balai Berita, in Bangsar this morning. We were greeted with the big guns of the Media Prima Group, except for their chairman Tan Sri Johan Jaafar, the rest of the team were there to greet us. Wow, I said this is something. So when Ally Iskandar took the floor as the compere for the morning session my interest was already perked up. The morning session was packed with briefings and demos about Media Prima’s radio network, the demo session was handled by Ikhwan, Hot FM’s DJ. The morning session had a surprise visit from Amy Search and one Dr JJ from Pengajian Tinggi gamely took the mike and had a rousing karaoke session with him. Surprising he (this Dr JJ) did not disappoint our ministry, this Dr JJ really sung the song Rozana very well indeed with Amy. I forgot the name of the other lady celebrity brought in especially for the photo session, it was Anzalna or something. All i know she drives this gleaming red BMW. She must be famous to own such a car. The morning session is all about how to use radio as a medium to disseminate info. Radios are still alive and well. Surely, i remember the song Radio Gaga by Queen with a lyrics ” Radio, someone still loves you”
In the afternoon, we had a session with Nur Farahin Jamsari on how to dress ourselves before we appear on TV. and by the time Zainal Ariffin of the Jejak Rasul and Misteri Nusantara fame came on stage and talked about sincerity, I was really ashamed of myself. He (zainal) said, if you are not sincere,it will appear as your aura when you came on air. It will show on your face and body language. That really got me all flustered. Azwan Azir talked about making friends with your compere, not to be overawed when you appear in front of the camera. Despite having been the boss of our TV department for three years, the TV cameras still give me the jitters. It is all about being well prerpared. If you know your stuff and came prepared you should be OK. Of course if the studio set are using chromakey, avoid using green, blue or grey. I know that.

Azmi Anshar, being a truly honest journalist, told us a few nasty things about the media. “We have little time and little space to print your story. If your story has no news value it won’t be carried”. “You dont tell us what not to ask, in fact we’ll asked exactly the same thing, maybe from a different perspective”. Ahmad Izham Omar, the music guy who turned to TV and took it by storm, shared with us some secrets on branding. MoE must brand it self into an unforgettable product. It as quite sad that he had to resort to a video from Singapore’s MoE to illustrate a point on a good teacher branding video. It was a body blow that he could not find any fitting video from our EduwebTV. I do not know whether he really looked. I remember a few moving stories from our our archives in EduwebTV. Thats another painful lesson – EduwebTv desperately needs a huge promotion.

I love the session by Datuk Zainul Ariffin. Being a big fan of his weekly article in in the NST, I was really impressed by his take on the new media. MoE or BTP for that matter should have a media trooper team to trawl through all the media comments and see what is trending. Then we can truly plan actions to tackle the real issues being debated by the social media. Finally Dato Kamal Khalid provided some tips on how to handle crises using the media. He cautioned MoE to prepare for some legal actions that might be taken by parents who would disappointed with the UPSR results due to the repeats.
I also had the chance to visit the Balai Berita to see how they are preparing for the publication of the New Sunday Times tomorrow. I got the chance to see some real faces behind the names that I often see in the NST. I must say it was a rewarding experience despite having to work till almost maghrib on Saturday. How often you get to see Pang Chin Fei’s face for almost four hours continuously – she was the compere for the afternoon session.

happy malaysia day everybody

for the ministry of education, it is quite a bleak malaysia day with three upsr papers to be resat, one headmaster arrested and detained with three other teachers, and a director with her deputy suspended. there was this girl who wrote to Star expressing her disbelief that people go to all sorts of extend to to get the exam papers. that means we still a long way from convincing our public about the change in our so called exam oriented system. we are still nowhere near possesing the kind integrity that our teachers should have. if you have prepared your children well enough come wind or high water, they should be ready. why is there the need to spot or look for leaked questions. whoever posted the questions through the social media should be wise enough to know that it is against the law to do so. are our teachers that ignorant? this kind of thing happen almost every year. but this time the leakage was bad. why is it our parents and teachers putting so much pressure on the 12 year olds still baffle me. they are not even guaranteed a place in boarding school if they do well. most would progress to next door secondary schools. and they still have another five years of schooling to go. didn’t the teachers know that student assessment now include pajsk and ps and not upsr alone. in this sense, we have failed to inform the public on the changes that we hve done to the system or the effect of the chnges are still trickling down.

i had this uneasy feeling going into the second half of the week. Hopefully kota kinabalu would be kind to me and cure me of this incessant cough and fever. the last time i felt this bad was after i came back from tawau and semporna in april. it did not last this long. the doctor in Tanglin clinic suspected that i had contracted the dreaded dengue and she insisted that i went for the second blood test in hkl. i took an easier option in hospital ampang where i do not have to battle for parking space. what seemed like an easier option took long’er than it normally would, the pathology machine broke down (So said the apologetic announcement) i had to wait for three hours to get the result. the doctor cleared me of dengue, my blood’ count is normal. it was a normal flu. just continue’ your medication, she said. it has been three days since and the medication had ran out. i am still coughing and bouts of fever still coming. once a day. fortunately it is not severe, no headaches or dizziness. just plain high temperatures and phlegm. i just hope it will clear up soon, there are a lot of things coming these few weeks, what with the boss retiring in early october. i really need a real broad and sturdy shoulder to carry on. insyaallah the new boss would come back to back in early november. deputising is no easy task. happy malaysia day everybody!

suspension of exam’s syndicate boss and his deputy

To say i was shocked when i heard the news last night was an understatement. Worse still when i saw photos of the two of them splashed across this morning media. it look so surrealistic. i was thinking to myself it could have been me. what if the powers that be suddenly decided that the school are not getting their internet connection as they should be and i would be suspended pending investigation. the two poor fellas are paying the price of other people untrustworthiness. Teachers and parents should understand that it is only UPSR. The kids still had another five years of schooling. This is a classic example of how the pressure on exam is taking its toll on common sense. Why is there the need to find the real exam questions? So that students can practice answering them and do well. But exam is all about testing your level of achievement, not how well u practiced. Imagine the students who were not really up to mark with their achievement but due to this so called ‘aid’, they did extremely well in the exam. Imagine these same students were then selected to go boarding schools. Believe u me, they would be struggling to cope, their morals would be battered. In the end they suffered and the advantage of having straight A’s would be meaningless. I am talking through experience in my boarding schools days. A few students were found to be struggling even though they had straight A’s. Upon further investigation, they admitted that they got help during the exam from their teachers. In end, after couple of years and much fruitless remedial classes, they were transferred to daily schools. Imagine the indignation that they have to go thru’. The ministry really need to make an effort to depressurize the UPSR.

LP’s director