Friday, February 26, 2010

Bring back glory of sports

Stop politicization of sports

After all these years neglect,Education Minister Tan Sri MuhyiddinYassin’s has decided to make sports compulsory in all schools nationwide.It is long overdue, as the standard of sports in the country has reached a deplorable state. Our once reputable name in sports has deteriorated to a level where even our basic standards are below par.

In the sixties and seventies we were a force to be reckoned in football, hockey, athletics, badminton and to a certain extent even in tennis and cricket. We had many great sports personalities of would standards. Today we are nowhere near the top echelons in any of these popular sports. Instead of being important players we have become enthusiastic spectators and punters.

Over the last 3 decades we have lost that we had achieved since Merdeka in almost all forms of sports and it is going to be a monumental task regain the status we once enjoyed. It may take another 3 decades of painstaking dedication and commitment on the part of all to regain at least a portion of what we have lost. Well it is never too late and our priority now should be to build up our sports from scratch, at the level of primary schools where it has been neglected.

The main question now is do we have the will and expertise to lift us to the state of past glory? Sadly the answer seems to be negative as a lot of plans have been formulated but very little has been done to seriously implement them. We are short of trained and dedicated sports teachers in many schools.

Political intervention and ethnic favoritism have eliminated almost all those with caliber and commitment. It is time to stop this politicization of sports in and outside schools. Selection to represent the schools, state and country should be strictly based on merits and nothing else. Unless we are we ready for such a system we cannot expect to go far.

In schools over emphasis on the “A syndrome” as taken away the glory that sports once enjoyed. Today the numbers of students who score straight A’s have increased tremendously but those excelling sports have dwindled miserably.

In the past those who excel in sports were looked up with great admiration but today indulgence is sports is considered a waste of time and deterrent to achieving academic excellence. What matters is a string of As not excellence in sports. Most schools are locked up after school hours and the limited facilities they have are not utilized, as the students and even the teachers are busy with tuitions.

In the past sports days and inter-school tournaments used to be held on very grand scale. They were the main highlights of the year and students eagerly wait for such events. The annual sports day were like mini Olympics and the inter-school tournaments like mini World Cup.

Today there are hardly any inter-school tournaments and the annual sports day passes without any pomp and fanfare. In fact many do not even bother to attend these events that were once the most prestigious events in the schools.

Many of our schools lack proper playing fields, badminton courts and facilities for other popular sports. Today we have many schools, even the so called smart schools that do have playing fields, let alone more expensive venues for badminton, squash, tennis and athletics. More distressing is that even schools, which had large playing fields, have lost them in the name of development. Fields, especially in prime urban areas are being replaced by high-rise buildings and shopping malls - a real case of misplaced priorities.

There is a need to re-emphasize the importance of sports in the lives of our children in schools. It not only improves their health but is also the most important means to forge inter-ethnic unity and cooperation. There are no better ways to forge unity among the children of different races other than encouraging them to play together as Malaysians ignoring the differences among them. Sports is essentially color blind and we must ensure it remains so by not allowing it to be politicized for whatever reasons.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Foreign maids: Greater scrutiny needed

Adopting a more humane attitude towards maids

While the government may mean well in its decision to hold courses for the employers and their maids but I am afraid such a means may not achieve its desired aim to improve the employer-maid working relationship thereby reducing the incidents of maid abuse.

The incidence of problematic employer-maid relationship is rather low and the Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam himself admits that it is as low as 1%.It is difficult to understand why the government has to resort to organizing courses when the 99% of such relationships are satisfactory. It is reported that about 280,000 maids are presently working in the country. One can imagine the monumental task of organizing courses for such a large number of them with an equal number of their employers. Wouldn’t it be better and more cost-effective to identify and reprimand the 1% instead of inconveniencing the 99% who are non-problematic?

Instead what the ministry should do is to have a better and more stringent method of screening every application for maids. The maids should be screened for their attitude and capability to work as domestic helpers. Do they have the experience or training to carry out basic household chores? Are they aware of the working conditions in their new places of work? Are they aware of the employment contract, remuneration package and job expectations?

It is very disturbing a large number of maids especially from Indonesia are totally untrained and unaware of the actual nature of jobs they are being employed for. Many of them are tricked into coming into the country being promised factory jobs, only to find out to their dismay that they have to work as domestic maids which they detest. How can we expect such a maid to do her job well if she hates what she is doing?

The employers too should be scrutinized to ensure those with bad records, especially criminal, are not approved. A visit to the residence of the applicant will give a clear picture of the working condition of the maids. Even after the maid is employed the officials from the ministry should conduct spot checks on the maids at their places of work to ensure that the employer-maid relationship is satisfactory.

The maid agencies play an important intermediary role in domestic maid service in the country. Despite the large numbers of such agencies, it is unfortunate that most of them are unprofessionally run, just to reap maximum benefits from the services provided by the maids. There is no proper selection of the maids in their country of origin. Name, age, health status and even religion of maids are often falsified to meet the conditions imposed. Very often maids with no basic knowledge of household work end up in the homes of employers causing nightmares for the latter.

These days is has become common to have part time maids who work from one house to another from morning until late at night. How can a maid be expected to be equally efficient in the afternoon when she has worked without rest in a different house in the morning? Besides being unfair to the maid it would also be unfair to the second employer for the day as she would not be able to give her best although he pays the same rate.

The attitude of employers towards their maids is of utmost importance. They must understand the fears and anxieties of foreign maids when they first arrive in a strange land, with strange people and strange cultures. The maids have left their loved ones to come all the way here just to earn a little extra to support their family. A little care, concern and kindness will go a long way to avoid many maid-related problems, which are basically due to failure to understand each other’s predicament.

It is disturbing that the caring attitude that was once a feature of Malaysians seems to be eluding the younger generations due to the demands of the competitive and materialistic society they live in. Today Malaysians seem to be obsessed with winning at all costs, with little or concern for the disadvantaged loser. There is a need to re-look at our education system to see where we have gone wrong in educating our children to instill these humane values in them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Perak MB – What next for Pakatan?

Continue to win the hearts of the people

Toppled Perak MenteriBesar(MB)Datuk Seri NizarJamaluddin has exhausted all the avenues available to him in his legal battle to reclaim the post of MenteriBesar when the Federal Court, despite the opinion of many constitutional experts, reputable past judges and the people in general, saw it fit to rule 5-0 against his appeal. The verdict though shocking was not unexpected going by the recent trends taking shape in the higher courts in the country.Although far from being satisfied with the verdict, which Nizar described as unjust, he nevertheless accepted it out of respect for the courts.

It was a positive move by Nizar and the PakatanRakyat (PR) leadership to give up further trying to remove BarisanNasional’s (BN) Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir as the MenteriBesar and move on and work towards becoming a strong opposition in the state government.PR pledged to work with the BN to serve the people provided certain conditions are met.

After all it does not matter how the Pakatan serves the people as long as it does so effectively either as the government or the opposition. As PR has equal number of seats in the state assembly as the BN it can stop the power abuse and corruption that have become rampant in our system. The PR can provide an effective two-party system to provide the necessary check and balance for the BN government.

The courts could have decided who the MB should be but the constitutional problems in Perak are far from over as the rightful party that should decide that would be the people. Zambry would soon discover that the real people who should have chosen him should have been the people and not the PM, Sultan or the courts. Working without the people’s mandate would be an uphill task. The wisest thing for him to do would be to seek the mandate of the people through a snap election which is what the majority of Perakians want. In fact a recent Merdeka Centre survey revealed over 75% of the Perakians want fresh polls to elect their new government. Zambry says he is ready to serve the people but how can he do so if he chooses to ignore the wishes of the people?

Meanwhile Nizar can rest assured that the people will not forget the good he has done during his short tenure as MB. They will not forget the way his government was toppled. They will not forget how he and his assemblymen especially the speaker had been humiliated. They will not forget that the power grab was unconstitutional and morally wrong. He can rest assured that the people are mature enough to make the right choice the next time around when he will be assured a bigger majority. His honesty, simplicity and multi-racial platform has already won him the hearts of the people of all races in and outside the state He is proving himself as a potential top national leader for all Malaysians . All he has to do is continue to serve the people by placing the people’s interest above all regardless of race or religion.

Pakatan as the opposition can be a significant force to stop the abuses of the government. It should continue to oppose all policies based on race. It should work together with the BN to banish all forms of racial discrimination in the state. It should take a tough stand on all forms of corruption that is draining the resources of the state.

There is also a need for the members of Pakatan,DAP,PAS and PKR to relook at the relationship among them. They must consolidate further their mutual bonds in the coalition that has been under tremendous strain of late. They should strengthen their common stand and not magnify the few differences among them. It would be national tragedy if they lose all that we have gained due to the selfish and greed of a few among them.

Changes to our system must come but they should well planned, elaborately debated and implemented gradually. After over 2 decades of race-based politics, the people need time to adapt themselves to the new multiracial mindset that is being introduced to meet the needs of the competitive global world.The members of the coalition in particular the DAP, with its predominantly Chinese membership,should be patient and not rush to bring about changes as that would create suspicion on the part of more conservative members in Pas and the Malays in PKR.Of course its political opponents are only too happy waiting to capitalize on the suspicion created among them.

On the other hand the DAP must reassure the Malays that it is not in any way a threat to their political, religious and economic interests. In fact it must go out of its way to prove it has no hidden racial agenda of their own by helping the deserving Malays and Indians with the same enthusiasm with which it helps the Chinese.

It should go the extra mile to prove that it is color blind in dealing with the people of various ethnicities. This will also go a long way to prove that the MB who has to be Malay is not a puppet of the Chinese dominated DAP as Nizar was specifically accused by Umno.

The next general elections are not very far away and this time around the people are wiser and more mature to know who is right and who is not. With the cyber media playing an increasingly important role in the lives of Malaysians, they are not going to be easily duped into believing all the propaganda that they see and hear. They will have their own discerning mind and they will definitely choose the right people to form the next government.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Dear friends,

Wishing you all a very happy,prosperous and above all a healthy and peaceful New Year.

Hope this year of the Tiger will bring all the peace and harmony that Malaysians cherished and yearn for in their country.

Peace and racial harmony will not fall down from the skies but we must earn them.

Let's do our part to bring that peace among all fellow citizens by being magnanimous to let others win at times.


Gong Xi Fa Cai


Dr.Chris Anthony

BN's contradicting policies

1Malaysia and communal politics incompatible

The prompt action by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against his aide, Datuk Nasir Safar for his alleged racist statements is highly commendable. It should be lesson for all to be more sensitive to the feelings of the people of different race and religion.

This issue of respecting the racial sensitiveness of others goes far beyond a single individual or a single incident. Such incidences have cropped over and over again and we wonder why people like Nasir with many years of experience would ever want to tread on such racists tendencies. What has he to gain from making such racists remarks which is clearly against the spirit of the 1Malaysia policy of his own boss?

Nasir is just the tip of the iceberg. His outburst is just a superficial sign of the deep-rooted racial distrust and prejudice that exists in our society. It is the outcome of a brand of communalism carefully crafted over the last two decades that had pitted the Malays against the non-Malays for political, social and economic dominance. This communal policy had erroneously portrayed the non-Malays as threats to the sovereignty and success of the Malays. Unfortunately such an attitude continues to prevail today although the number subscribing to this is on the decline. It would be a momentous task that needs an exceptionally strong leader, one we have yet to see, to undo this communal prejudice that has taken deep roots in our society.

It is extremely disheartening that despite 52 years of staying together as fellow citizens, there are still those who have yet to learn to respect the sensitivities attached to racial and religious issues. It is disheartening that there are still those who do not accept fellow Malaysians of different ethnicity as rightful citizens but see then as enemies rather than comrades. Although the numbers may be small but nevertheless they must be checked as their actions can lead to serious repercussions in a multi-racial and multi-religious nation. The majority should not be allowed to be misled by such irresponsible actions of a few.

Migration of people has been a common practice throughout the history of man and will continue to be so in the future. There could be many reasons for this migration but what brought our forefathers to this country is irrelevant today. What is important is that the present generation of Malaysians are born and bred here, regardless of race, are all here to stay whether we like it or not. For the non-Malays this is the only country they know as the vast majority of them has never set foot on a foreign land but has made this their homeland for good or bad. It is therefore only right for us to learn to accept and respect one another’s differences and adapt to coexist in peace and harmony despite all those differences.

After over five decades of living together, the vast majority of the ordinary people have more things in common than different. They may be Malays, Chinese or Indians but they have learnt to accept and respect the differences among them. In fact subtly even without being aware they have adopted and incorporated each other’s cultures into their own without much any grudge whatsoever. It is just a matter of time that the people will soon assimilate to become a single Malaysian race if only they are left alone by aspiring politicians.

Nasir may have resigned and publicly apologized for his racists remarks but there is much more to be done than just punishing Nasir. Umno-BN must review its policies towards race and religion. There appears to be certain groups that seem to thrive on racist provocations which the government must act against regardless of their political affiliations. The government must be truthful in wanting to find a lasting solution to inter-ethnic hate that is being propagated by these irresponsible groups.

Umno and BN must realize there is no place for racist tendencies if we want to realize the aspirations of the 1Malaysia policy. It has to accept the fact that all citizens have a rightful place under the Malaysian sun. Only if we are truthful and sincere in wanting to eradicate such racist tendencies, will we find the political will to fight racism and all the evils that come with it. As long as our racial politics continue there is no way we can rise up to be counted among the world’s leading democracies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nasir Safar and racism

Get to the root of the problem

The prompt action by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against his aide, Datuk Nasir Safar for his alleged racist statements is highly commendable. It should be lesson for all to be more sensitive to the feelings of the people of different race and religion. This issue of respecting the racial sensitiveness of others goes far beyond an individual or a single incident. Such incidences have cropped over and over again and we wonder why people like Nasir with many years of experience would ever want to tread on such unethical practices.Is there any powers backing him?

It is extremely disheartening that despite 52 years of staying together as fellow citizens, there are still those who have yet to learnt to respect the sensitivities attached to racial and religious issues. Although the numbers may be small but nevertheless they must be checked as their actions can lead to serious repercussions in a multi-racial and multi-religious nation. The majority should not be allowed to be easily misled by such irresponsible actions of a few.

Migration of people has been a common practice throughout the history of man and will continue to be so in the future. There could be many reasons for this migration but what brought our forefathers to this country is irrelevant today. What is important is that the present generation of Malaysians regardless of race are all here to stay whether we like it or not. For the non-Malays this is the only country they know as the vast majority of them has never set foot on a foreign land but has made this their homeland for good or bad. It is therefore only right for us to learn to accept and respect one another’s differences and adapt to coexist in peace and harmony despite all those differences.

After over five decades of living together, the vast majority of the ordinary people have more things in common than different. We may be Malays, Chinese or Indians but we have learnt to accept and respect the differences among us. In fact subtly even without being aware we have adopted and incorporated each other’s cultures into our own without much any grudge whatsoever. It is just a matter of time that the people will soon assimilate to become a single Malaysian race if only they are left alone by aspiring politicians.

Nasir may have resigned and publicly apologized for his racists remarks but there much more to racism than Nasir. There appears to be certain groups that seem to thrive on racist provocations. The government must act firmly against such groups regardless of their political afflictions. While action against Nasir may be right and appropriate, it is more important to seriously seek and understand the real reasons behind those making such irresponsible racial remarks which are uncalled for and dangerous. The government must be truthful in wanting to find the root cause and take steps to put a stop to such irresponsible behavior especially from those in positions of power and authority.

There is no place for racist tendencies if we want to realize the aspirations of the 1Malaysia policy. Only if are truthful and sincere in wanting to eradicate such racist tendencies, will we find the political will to fight racism and all the evils that come with it. As long as our racial politics continue there is no way we can rise up to be counted among the world’s leading democracies.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Anwar Trial: An insult to the people

Most Malaysians deeply disturbed by the ongoing trial of Anwar, which I, like most Malaysians feel is unnecessary, politically motivated and will lead to a national disaster.

For the first time there is a real possibility of a two-party system.
For the first time there are hopes for a change of government for the better. For the first time there are hopes for untangling of racial politics. For the first time there are hopes for more democratic and more accountable governance. For the first time there are hopes for a more productive economy for the nation. All these were made possible by one man - Anwar Ibrahim.

It is indeed sad that the forces of destruction are bent on eliminating these hopes of the people and the nation.

Of late Malaysians have shown great wisdom and maturity. Will these be sufficient to thwart the destructive efforts of the minority out to take the nation backwards to the era of divisive rule along racial line? Only time will tell.

Teacher's Day 2017

  You made the difference To all our teachers Wherever you may be, existing and departed. Thank you to each and everyone...