The Malaysian education system is a crap. Alright, maybe not, looking at the fact that the system is actually dripping every drop of grey-matter-juice out of your cerebral cortex. From primary schools onward to the tertiary level, we’ve all been taught to memorize and only by memorizing will you score Aces. Crap.

Malaysians need to promote critical thinking and analytic skills as a way to improve creativity. Only if the education system is revised and improved could we spur new generations of creative minds – the country’s missing link to originality. Maybe then we could see a far better and original product created or invented by Malaysians, instead of using Mitsubishi’s abandoned Lancer cynotypes to create their own national Hero (Proton Wira), sort of like picking up other people’s shit and treat it as “my prescious” in our own backyard. Crap.

Proton Wira is derived from the Mitsubishi Lancers
Malaysia’s Proton Wira is actually derived from the Japanese’s Mitsubishi Lancer. So for those of you who doesn’t have the budget for a true Lancer, you can go for a mocked-up Proton Wira which actually bears a striking resemblence to the actual Lancer itself.

Below are the list of derivation of Proton cars from the the Mitubishi’s:

Proton Putra – Mitsubishi Mirage Asti
Proton Wira – Mitsubishi Lancer
Proton Satria GTi – Mitsubishi Colt
Proton Perdana – Mitsubishi Eterna

Anyway, it’s not about car this post. Back to my secondary school years, I was taught the English subject (1119) by Mr. Wee during my SPM years in Sacred Heart Seconday School, Sibu. His students were taught to memorize essays. Claimed to be the most effective way to score A in the essay paper, we were asked to memorize as many essays as we could and he would carry out weekly tests on essay writing based on the questions he’ll provide 2-3 days prior to the test. Crap.

I’m a bad student, I never listen to the teachers. I would only stick to what I believe is right at that time. I can see that the effort put into scoring A as being a good intention there, but by simply memorizing the facts and phrases, and then puke them out in exactly the same shit by words, by commas and fullstops are simply, Crap.

I scored 5A’s out of 6 in my UPSR, 6A’s out of 8 for my PMR, and 3A’s out of 11 subjects in my SPMs. See the decline in Aces there? Starting from Form 3 onwards, I’ve pulled myself out of the “Memorisation legion” and started to promote critical thinking and analytic skillz. *cough* nice excuse for watching too much football and neglected studies *cough*

The Memorisation legion, as I would like to call it, is a group of students who’re loyal to the Malaysian way of education. The legion is usually led by groups of teachers or lecturers, followed by hundreds or even thousands of loyal students. Their daily biblical feeds would be the “Skor A Dalam SPM” type of books.

In the legion, the teachers will keep the students loyal and happy by revealing gossips circling in the examination department. As a teacher, they don’t wanna get into much troubles, they don’t directly tell you what are the questions (not to mention that there are some who actually does though), they trim the books into specific chapters where the questions are targetted. Ecstatic students will bookmark them in no time and go home a happy lad. They would then get down to discuss and “spot” objective questions that will come out later in the test. It’s like picking numbers for a lotto bet, and if all the questions they spot comes out on the paper, they score a jackpot! Crap.

They even have a library of “Score A” exercise books, and sample questions from previous PMR/SPM examinations, sourced from the legion’s publishers, such as Pelangi Books for example.
Pelangi Books
The legion’s bibles – written by passionate followers abiding the sacred laws of the Malaysian education system, and also the so-called prophets who can predict what is to come in the coming exam papers. Crap.

So you wanna score A huh? Easy lar, just finish all the SPM questions papers from year 1995 to 2005. Sure 90% question all come out same one. If not, just tembak lah! My tee-cher ask me if want tembak, tembak all answer (B), because hor, the statistic shows us most of the answers are in (B). Crap.

This is what most of us do everyday during our secondary years…

– Get up and 6am. Take our breakfast (Usually misses it). Go to school.
– If it’s early, we catch up with friends. Talk about soccer matches yesterday. Crap. Chelsea lost 1-0 to MU yesterday night. MU lucky only lah. Yeah right you losers.
– The teacher comes, we rush into the class. Greets the teacher.
– Take out our books and turn to page 69 and listen to boring lectures.
– Eagerly waits for the first break.
– Happy Hour Starts. Talk crap.
– Boring lectures continues…
– Eagerly waits for the second break.
– Happy Hour Take Two. Talk crap again.
– Boring lectures resumes…
– Eagerly waits for the 12:35pm “Go Home” bell.
– The bell rings. We go home.
Study and Go Home
Sit in the class for 5 and a half hours then get our asses back home for lunch. That’s our daily routine.

Crap.

A Malaysian Diaspora speaks up….

I am a female Chinese Malaysian, living in the Washington DC area in the United States .. I have read many of the letters that often talk about foreign countries when the writers have no real knowledge of actually living in those countries.

Many draw conclusions about what those countries are like after hearing it from someone else or by reading and hearing about them in the media or after four years in a college town in those countries.

I finished STPM with outstanding results from the prestigious St George’s Girls School in Penang . Did I get a university place from the Malaysian government? Nothing. With near perfect scores, I had nothing, while my Malay friends were getting offers to go overseas.

Even those with 2As got into university. I was so depressed. I was my parents last hope for getting the family out of poverty and at 18, I thought I had failed my parents. Today, I understand it was the Malaysian Government that had failed me and my family because of its discriminatory policies.

Fortunately, I did not give up and immediately did research at the Malaysian American Commission on Education Exchange (MACEE) to find a university in the US that would accept me and provide all the finances. My family and friends thought I was crazy, being the youngest of nine children of a very poor carpenter. Anything that required a fee was out of our reach.

Based on merit and my extracurricular activities of community service in secondary school, I received full tuition scholarship, work study, and grants to cover the four years at a highly competitive US university.

Often, I took 21 credits each semester, 15 credits each term while working 20 hours each week and maintaining a 3.5 CGPA. A couple of semesters, I also received division scholarships and worked as a TA (teaching assistant) on top of everything else.

For the work study, I worked as a custodian (yes, cleaning toilets), carpet layer, computer lab assistant, grounds keeping, librarian, painter, tour guide, etc. If you understand the US credit system, you will understand this is a heavy load.

Why did I do it? This is because I learnt as a young child from my parents that hard work is an opportunity, to give my best in everything, and to take pride in the work I do.. I walked away with a double major and a minor with honours but most of all a great lesson in humility and a great respect for those who are forced to labour in so-called `blue collar’ positions.

Those of you who think you know all about Australia , US, or the West, think again. Unless you have really lived in these countries, I.e. paid a mortgage, paid taxes, taken part in elections, you do not understand the level of commitment and hard work it takes to be successful in these countries, not just for immigrants but for people who have lived here for generations.

These people are where they are today because of hard work. (Of course, I am not saying everyone in the US is hardworking. There is always the lazy lot which lives off of someone else’s hard work. Fortunately, they are the minority.)

Every single person, anywhere, should have the opportunity to succeed if they want to put in the effort and be accountable for their own actions. In the end, they should be able to reap what they sow.

It is bearable that opportunities are limited depending on how well-off financially one’s family is but when higher education opportunities are race-based, like it is in Malaysia ; it is downright cruel for those who see education as the only way out of poverty.

If you want to say discrimination is here in the US , yes, of course it is. Can you name a country where it doesn’t happen? But let me tell you one thing – if you go looking for it, you will find it. But in Malaysia , you don’t have to go look for it because it seeks you out, slaps you in your face every which way you turn, and is sanctioned by law!

Here in the US , my children have the same opportunity to go to school and learn just like their black, white, and immigrant friends. At school, they eat the same food, play the same games, are taught the same classes and when they are 18, they will still have the same opportunities.

Why would I want to bring my children back to Malaysia ? So they can suffer the state-sanctioned discrimination as the non-Malays have for over 30 years?

As for being a slave in the foreign country, I am a happy ‘slave’ earning a good income as an IT project manager. I work five days a week; can talk bad about the president when I want to; argue about politics, race and religion openly; gather with more than 50 friends and family when I want (no permit needed) and I don’t worry about the police pulling me over because they say I ran the light when I didn’t.

Further Readings: Transforming our educational system: The brutal truth — Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi