Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teacher’s Day 2010

Honoring who remain steadfast to the goals

Teacher in action

In many cultures, a teacher is placed in a very high pedestal. In fact they are next to our parents in the hierarchy of influence and homage in our lives. Various honorific names are given to them -Teacher, Master, Guru, and Sir and so on.

The Annual Tokoh Guru Award

As Malaysians we too regard our teachers with great esteem. Every time we meet an old classmate, we spend hours talking about the greatness and peculiarities of our old teachers. We always end up by concluding that today’s teachers cannot be compared to those of the yesteryears.

Our nation just celebrated Teachers’ Day on 16 May 2010. The government for its part conferred the national-level Tokoh Guru Awards to the deserving teachers. Yes, these recipients are the unsung heroes of our classrooms and there is no doubt that they deserve this recognition as educators who have worked hard to ensure that their students succeed.

While honoring the few selected teachers for these awards, we must not forget the vast majority of wonderful teachers serving all over the country, from the most remote areas to the busiest cities.

There are many of them out there in the “wilderness” working with full dedication without any complaints. Man

y of them are simple and politically “unconnected” but continue to serve despite the unfriendly and sometimes unjust administrators. These silent and unassuming character molders are the real “Tokoh Gurus” who need to be equally if not more honoured for their relentless services to the nation.

A proud moment

Many Malaysians concur that our present day teachers are not as good or dedicated as those in the fifties and sixties when life was much simpler. This may be due to the prevailing socio-political system today that favor favoritism, nepotism and ‘get-rich quickly’ mentality.

Despite society today is driven by consumerism, it is gratifying to note that are still many teachers, though the numbers may be dwindling, dedicated to their profession. We must pay homage to these men and women who have placed the interest of students above theirs.

We must not forget the teachers of the past, many may have retired, others seriously ill or mentally and physically incapacitated and some might have even died. It was their services in educating us that had made us what we are today. Their sacrifices were major factors that contributed to the development of the nation and to bring to the present respectable stage in the world.

It is only fitting and right for us to recall their contributions to our success and express our gratitude to them in some way or another.

We still remember the joy and pride of our school teachers when we returned to see them after gaining admission into the university. They did not hide their pride when we visited them after our graduation, when they introduced us to their colleagues as “He was my student, now a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, CEO of company or a minister …..”.Many of us may be in much higher position than them, but that was a source of pride not jealousy.

Many years ago, as a young doctor, I can still remember an old teacher of mine, a very fierce one, when he came to seek treatment in the hospital. I could still picture the joy in his face when I introduced myself as his former student. Even today there are still a few teachers, now in their sixties and seventies, who still make it a point to attend every of our reunion dinners even if they have to travel miles to do so.

As we wish our teachers a very happy Teachers’Day, we hope that our teachers of the past be an inspiration for those of the present. To those who have retired we wish and pray they have many more years of healthy and happy lives with their families. To those still in service we wish the Lord grant them not just the knowledge but also the wisdom to guide our children to a safe, sane and prosperous future.

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches." - Karl Menninger

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thomas Cup 2010

Lessons from the debacle

The final between China and Indonesia was a fitting climax to the recent Thomas Cup tournament this year. Although China proved it superiority on the court the Indonesians did not let the spectators down as they put up a real fight.

However that could not have been said about our national team in the semifinal match against China. Malaysians were generally disappointed with the performance of their players which led to their loss. It was not so much the loss that Malaysians were disappointed with, but with the lack of fighting spirit even in front of a vociferous and supportive home crowd.

Despite being a world power in badminton for many decades we are still a class lower than China. In fact of late we have lost the stature of a superpower in the sport and seem to be happy playing second fiddle to China and Indonesia. Watching our players it was obvious that they lacked the determination to win that resulted in their poor fighting spirit. We thought victory would come easily on our own ground just with the crowd support.

The Chinese on the other hand, had great determination to win at all costs and they Chinese seem to play better in front of a hostile crowd dominating the courts fully from the start to the finish. They were determined to prove that they were a superpower in the sport and will never settle anything but a win. It was so inspiring to see that they never gave up despite falling several times, only to get up quickly to face the shuttle again within seconds. It was this determination that brought them victory over us.

Despite being a world power in badminton why are we still not at par with China and Indonesia? Something must be seriously wrong with our selection and training of players. The authorities must be serious to analyze objectively the reasons for our failure and take steps to correct them, otherwise we may soon slide further in the international standing particularly with the emergence of new powers in the game. The superb performance by South Korea, Japan, Denmark and even India shows that these nations may soon overtake us in a sport that we once dominated if we do not buck up.

By now not only should be at par with China and Indonesia in the standard of play but we should also be at par in the quality of training. We should be having a large pool of talented younger players and coaches and other officials as well. In fact we should be in a position to export our coaches to other countries which are coming up in the sports. Unfortunately we neither have such a ready pool such players nor coaches of our own despite dominating the sports for decades, well before China came into the scene.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) should address some of the pressing problems facing selection and training of our players. Are we selecting the best based on merit to represent the nation? Are we reaching to those all over the country, both in urban and remote areas? Do the youngsters have easy access to badminton courts? Is our training professionally conducted? Do our coaches have a free hand to train and select the players?

We must provide adequate training facilities to every young Malaysian and choose the best among them based purely on merits. We must ensure that those entrusted with selection and training must be given a free hand to do their job professionally without political interference. Unless we can fulfill these conditions there is no way we can rise to the ranks of the other badminton giants or even compete with the newly emerging powers that are determined to rise to the top.

Our politicians should learn an important lesson on racial unity from the young badminton fans who gathered in the stadium that day.We may have lost the Thomas Cup but not the spirit of the young Malaysians from all walks of life who came from all over to cheer their team. They were there, Malaysians of all races, cheering their team, momentarily forgetting their ethnic differences. All that mattered to them was fellow Malaysians were playing for their country and they cheered them at the top of their voices. Their spirit of unity was so heartening and inspiring that we hoped that the game will never come to an end.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nurses Day 2010

Declining standards of nursing care worrying

The declining standard of nursing care in hospitals is the most serious problem affecting the noble and age-old profession that is dedicated to the care of the sick and dying. This should rightly be the theme of Nurses Day this year. Any medical personnel with some experience would be quick to realize that the quality of our nurses has deteriorated tremendously over the years. The major cause of this unfavorable situation is the over-commercialization of the medical profession that has led to the rapid mass over-production of nurses.

The recent announcement that there are a total of 106 nurses training institutions in the country was shocking. We wonder why we need such a large number of such training schools. In fact what we need is about a dozen or two such colleges that can be adequately monitored so as to maintain high standards of those being trained as nurses. The decision by the government to freeze fresh applications to set up nursing colleges is a wise move which was long overdue. It should not have allowed the mushrooming of so many nursing colleges in the first place as maintaining the quality of such a large of schools is by no means an easy task.

It appears that the health ministry’s main aim is to achieve the recommended World Health Organisation nurse to population ratio of 1:200.Well that may be the ultimate goal but it should be carried out in a well planned and gradual manner. In its preoccupation with fulfilling some statistical requirements, it appears to have forgotten to ensure the basic standards in nursing care.

The privatization and commercialization of the medical and health services has tremendously increased the demand for nurses which had resulted in the mushrooming of a large number of nursing schools especially private ones. In the enthusiasm to turn out more nurses, the selection criteria for nursing courses have been compromised with those with sub-optimal results in the SPM examinations being recruited. Many of them have a poor command of English which put them in a disadvantage position.

Furthermore many nursing schools lack qualified experienced and dedicated teachers. Clinical training in the wards are left to those who themselves lack such experience. As a result these schools may churn out large number nurses who are of questionable standards. Many of these newly minted nurses are totally lost when they first sent to the wards. Managing patients these days have become very demanding that can only be mastered by years of experience not by just obtaining some certificates.

The extremely strict hierarchical system of administration of the nursing profession of the past might have had its flaws but was largely responsible for instilling discipline and dedication among the nurses. In that system the superiors were exemplary senior nurses themselves who led by example. Today that time-tested system appears to be disintegrating, being instead replaced by a system that tend to adopt a more cooperate outlook where the superiors being reduced to mere administrators and directors of companies that produce nursing.

Privatization and commercialization has dealt a major blow to the quality of patient care. Such care, when available, has become beyond the means of the vast majority of Malaysians who are toiling to make ends meet. Furthermore it has made the nurses mere tools for churning out profits for the huge co-operations that own hospitals. To make matters worse, now we are planning to embark on large a scale medical industry fashionably termed ‘medical tourism’.

Despite this commercialization of medical care in general we are fortunate to still have nurses who are dedicated, caring and compassionate.Regrettably these qualities are the least sought for in our nurses these days as they are not readily sale able commodities.

The Higher Education and Health Ministries and the Malaysian Nurses Association together with concerted efforts of those who are involved in the training of nurses, have some serious problems to address – to arrest the declining standards of nursing, putting the brakes on the massive and indiscriminate commercialization of patient care that is threatening the ethics of the medical profession, ensuring quality nursing schools and above all bringing back the glory and respect the nursing profession once commanded.

Meanwhile they must look out for those true Nightingales who are dedicated to serve their patients in silence despite all the odds arrayed against them. They must show their appreciation and gratitude in cash, kind or the least in some kind words of encouragement. We never know when we will need their services?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's day

I want a Mom that will last forever


A Happy Mother's day to all mothers.
May God bless them all,especially those who are lonely and neglected.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Greater Malaysian - Anwar Ibrahim

Greater Malaysian

“To those who say this country is for the Malays and that they are under threat in their own country, I say you are a greater Malaysian when you fight against the plunder of your country's wealth by a few’ – Anwar

1.You are a greater Malaysian when you are concerned about the rights and welfare of the poor among the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks and Kadazans in the whole country.

2. You are a greater Malaysian when you decide not only to be good in Bahasa Melayu but also at English and then go on to learn Mandarin because that would help your country economically in a highly competitive world.

3. You are a greater Malaysian when you are not only roused to indignation by the shooting death of an Aminulrashid Amzah but also over the deaths of Teoh Beng Hock and A Kugan while they were under investigation.

4. You are a greater Malaysian when you say, 'enough is enough, this country is mine as much as it is yours' and you decide to use your vote for a new future for your country at the next general election.

“I feel more authentically Malay and Muslim when I fights for the rights of all Malaysians regardless of their race or religion”- Anwar

Source :

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mother’s Day 2010 - Being lonely even in a crowd

Allaying the fear of loneliness

As we celebrate Mother’s day with so elaborately maybe we should pause to reflect on a very common problem that all our elderly mothers are experiencing in their lives at some time or another – loneliness. It may seem trivial to us who are busy coping with the challenges in life but a major cause of depression and sadness for them in the twilight of their lives.

Lately I had the opportunity to befriend an elderly lady in her seventies who has been inflicted with cancer. She stays with her children and grandchildren who take good care of her. They give her all she needs and take her wherever she wants to go.

There is always someone in the house and she is hardly left alone. I was surprised that she told me despite having so many members staying with her she is still lonely. She feels today the younger people are so busy working or studying that they have little time for elderly parents like her. They are there all around her but none free to spend time talking and listening to her.

She says the computer in the biggest enemy of elderly people like her as the children are always busy with it that they forget the presence of elderly people in the house who are yearning for their company. Not only they have no time but they also do not have the patience to sit with her to listen to her long-winded stories which are not relevant to their lives.

Mother during happeir times

Reflecting on what the elderly lady told me I began to realise that she is not alone in complaining of loneliness. There thousands perhaps millions of such who experience such loneliness in the twilight of their lives. It is ironical these elderly people feel lonely even in the presence of a crowd of loved ones surrounding them.

Many of us parents who are still working and not that very old would begin to realise that our children spend less and less time with us than they used when they were younger. They have their own problems to cope with leaving little time to spend with us. As we reach our sixties a fear besets upon us as we are unable to many things that we used to do before.

We depend on the spouse but he/she may not be around anymore. We look for the children but they are always too busy with their work and we do not want to disturb them. We realise loneliness slowly creeping into our lives and is going to do more intense with the passage of time.

A reassuring mother's hug

Loneliness is one of the greatest fears of man which is prevalent at all ages. A child’s fear of loneliness is allayed by the loving embrace of its parents. During adulthood this fear is relieved by the company and reassurance of the spouse. When a spouse dies the surviving one will have no one except the children to allay his/her fear of extreme loneliness and uncertain future. In such a situation one will be lucky to have at least one concerned child on whom he/she can depend on.

This fear of loneliness becomes marked when one advances in age or becomes inflicted with serious illness. This is due to the added fear of the imminent death that is fast approaching. The fear of death may not be so much about them leaving the world but more so about the fears of what will happen to the children after they are gone.

On this Mother’s day it may be the right time for us to think of our own mothers who may similarly be lonely despite being surrounded by us and our children. We may be too busy and preoccupied with our own chores and problems that we may not be hearing her pleas for our company.

Our life is always incomplete without our mother as it truly revolves around her throughout our life. When we were young our day starts and ends with our mother.

Her influence continues into our adult life. We will still remember the day when we packed our bags and were all set to start a new adventure in life, her eyes welled up. She knowingly hid those tears, as she wanted to see us fly away on our own wings even though it was as if she was tearing off a part of her heart. The many successes that we accomplished in the years that followed were mainly due to her blessings and prayers.

We might have come a long way since then. Today our mother may be old and senile, sick and disabled or even left the world. She may be all alone after the demise of our father on whom she depended all her life. She may be in her death bed waiting for a glimpse of us for the last time. She may be in an old folk’s home waiting for us to take her back to the place she used to call home, where she spent many memorable moments with us.

In whatever state she may be her fear of loneliness is genuine and we onus is on us to allay those fears. We must not forget she is there lonely waiting for our company.

Mothers do not ask for expensive food, clothing or tours. They do not ask for luxurious houses or expensive gifts. All they ask for is a little of our time to listen and share some pleasant memories of the past with them. All they ask is to see our face, hear our voice and feel the touch of our hand or the warmth of our embrace.

Spouse only loyal companion

Are these too much to give a person who stood by us us without fail in times of happiness, joy and above all in our misery, sorrow and pain? Are these too to give the person who lived to serve us from the time we were born till her last breath? As the saying goes "Mother carries the child in her womb for nine months and in her heart for the rest of her life".

Lone & waiting for us

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
Mother Teresa

Happy Mother’s Day

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mother's Day Special - Mothers’Day 2007

When love makes sacrifice a pleasure

Once again Mothers’ Day is just around the corner. The mass media is these days are full of advertisements on the various offers to celebrate this day. Many of us make elaborate plans to celebrate the day in ways unique and special to us. Expensive gifts and grandeur banquets are common ways of commemorating this auspicious day dedicated to our mothers.

Amidst all the celebrations and joy let us go back in time to relive the days we spent with her. She gave birth do us, fed us, took care of all our needs as helpless babies, supported us during school going days, then as young men and women, was a maid to take care of our kids and keep our house.

Now she may be healthy and fit, stricken with illness of various sorts, bed-ridden, terminally ill or she may even in her death bed waiting for a last glimpse of the children she loved so much. Some of our mothers could also be dead and gone. Whatever her state she may be in let us reflect a little on our lives with this extra-ordinary creature of God who was a servant of sorts to us throughout her life.
We make a lot of sacrifices for advancements in our lives but often we do them for a reward. There is only one person who enjoys sacrificing her time and energy as it is done for the real love for the other person. Undeniably it is none other than our own mother. For this special person, her immeasurable love for us makes her sacrifice a pleasure not pain.

As kids we did not realize all her sacrifices as our vision was masked by her love for us. It takes a long time, sometimes even 50 long years, to really appreciate all the sacrifices that our mother has done and is continuing to do for us. When we were young we took all her sacrifices her for granted. Only now that we are ourselves parents, wives and mothers we begin to truly appreciate the fine qualities of the love and affection our mothers had for us.

In the early days there were many children in the family and it was a real wonder how our mother could take care of all of them equally well. Every one of us was equal in her eyes although the weakest did get some special privileges as far as food was concerned.

We can recollect the sleepless nights she spent taking care of us when we were sick, the moments of anxiety she went through when we were involved in some accidents and the tears she shed during their intense prayers for our recovery. All she lived for was for the well being of our future not hers. She did all that without any ulterior motive that one day we will repay that gratitude in cash or kind.

Today being parents ourselves, we understand insurmountable the pain and anxiety she would have endured when we suffered from all forms of ailments and failures in their lives. We realize the severity of the heartache we would caused her when we refused to heed her advice and meet disaster as a result.

In those days cooking was a real chore without all the modern gadgets we have today. Everything from grinding to cutting was done manually and you can imagine the difficulties encountered in preparing at least 3 meals a day for an extended family of over 10 people daily without fail. This has to be done with the meager income of their husbands who were the sole bread winners.

Apart from being a great mother to us she was an exemplary wife especially in those days when men were very over-demanding. We would agree that most of our fathers, however high and mighty, are totally dependent on mom for their successes. It is a fact that many men in advanced age do not survive long after the death of their views.

Sadly today many of her sacrifices are not appreciated by us, the children, which really hurts her to the core. Many of us simply forget the good old days when she toiled endlessly without sleep and rest for our well being, to make us what we are today. We are too busy with our own lives that we forget to spend time just talking and listening to her.

Among the siblings, we become calculative of who should take care and provide for her especially when she is left all alone after the death of her husband, our father. When she becomes ill or handicapped we conveniently pass the responsibility of caring for her to others. We give the excuse we are too busy and have no time and money.

Many of our mothers are now elderly and may be riddled with so many ailments. They are living in fear of loneliness at the twilight of their lives. The only companion they had, their husbands are gone.

We may not be able to cure all her illnesses, but the least we can give her is reassurance that we care and love her. We easily forget the days when as children, her loving embrace could allay all our fears. She did that willingly and with great love and passion.

Let’s not forget that our mother, in whatever state she may be, is our responsibility to care and love. We cannot and should not run away from that obligation of ours. It is not our money, gifts and food that she yearns for but for something priceless – our company, reassurance and love.

To a mother there is nothing more comforting than to see her children in good health and happiness. As children if we can convince her that she was the source and inspiration for our success and happiness in life, she would be the happiest mother today.

Teen shooting, will we ever learn?

Discouraging a culture of staying out late

The death of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah in the police shooting was indeed a tragic incidence that has saddened the nation. Instead of consoling the parents and reassuring the public of a proper investigation into the incident, the IGP had reacted in a rather strange manner that smacks of arrogance and indifference to the emotions of the people.

It is unfortunate that the IGP has chosen a confrontational attitude towards the people especially those who criticize the police force for the mishap. It is not a question as to whether or not the people want the police to be taken off the streets. On the contrary the people want an increased presence a people-friendly police on the streets to ensure their safety at all times, which undeniably is their primary duty.Threatening to pull out when the people criticize whenever something goes wrong is an irresponsible act that goes against the very purpose of having the police force.

As expected the shooting of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid, like all such incidences before, has been made into a political issue that would hamper a truly independent investigations into it. Such politicization has left many earlier police misadventures without definite solutions and as such no lessons have been learnt from them. We hope at least this case would be handled more professionally so as to restore the people’s confidence in the government and police.

In this regard the government should be commended for acting swiftly to set up a panel to probe the circumstances that led to the tragic death of Amirulrasyid .The panel must be transparent and open in getting to the truth. Did the police open fire on the teenager after he was forced to stop? Were their lives threatened in any way that led them to open fire? Were proper procedures followed when they discharged their firearms?

We tend to forget that the issue here is the untimely and tragic death of a young boy which by itself generates a lot of anxiety, emotion and anger among the public. Moreover the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear and clouded in mystery. Such mishaps are inevitable at times but the authorities must ensure that the police did adhere to all set guidelines regarding anti-crime operations. There should be no attempts to cover up if indeed any breach of such laws is obvious.

The police must not be too defensive but help to diffuse the situation by showing its willingness to scrutinize its own weaknesses so as to reduce such mishaps in the future. The police may not be solely to blame as their duties of crime busting are very dangerous and life-threatening. They should not doubt the people’s appreciation for the extremely risky operations they undertake in protecting innocent people from hardcore criminals.

The parents also should play a more effective role in ensuring the safety of their young children. A number of questions remain unanswered. How did a 15-year old boy get hold of a car? Why was he allowed to drive at that age? What was he doing on the streets at 2am when he should be in bed as the next day was a school day? These are some of the issues that need to be addressed before pointing a finger of blame to the police.

This incident brings to surface an important national problem of increasing number of teenagers hanging out late at night. Not only it subjects them to unnecessary risks but it also predisposes them to various vices,crime and immoral activities that have become very rampant these days. In fact it has become a major concern for parents, educators and enforcement agencies.

Why the need for round the clock entertainment outlets, like 24-hour eateries, cybercafes and other late-night activities, which these teenagers frequent? What type of culture are we promoting to our young by encouraging these round the clock entertainment?

Parents and to an extent teachers may be failing in their duty to instill discipline and civic-mindedness in the children. It has become extremely difficult for parents and educators to discipline their teenage children as they are working against a culture that encourages such late night activities in the name of individual freedom and economic and social progress.

As we share the sorrow of the unnecessary death of a young boy, let us all, as responsible parents, educators and the law enforcers resolve to do our part in preventing such tragic deaths in the future.There is a need for a concerted effort by all including family and educational experts to formulate measures to check this culture that is threatening to disrupt the basic fabric of our Malaysian way of life.

Historic Parliament after historic GE14

  New Parliament symbol of hope and democracy Congratulations to all our newly elected MPs. The first session of the 14th ...