- utusan IS racist and very anti DAP
- Nozomi Sasaki, bikini, Okinawa
- The Fir Tree
- 2010 flashback: Jan - March
- Good News For Alzheimers
- 10 Jalan Paling Unik Di Dunia
- WordPress for Iphone
- Picking My Memories
- Sidang Wanita Yang Dihadiri Hanya Negara Afrika Telan Belanja Sampai RM4.5 Juta?
- Konstabel Bebas Tuduhan Cabul Inspektor Wanita
- Another day at the hospital
- Kes Sosilawati: Rumah & Pejabat Tertuduh Disita
- Islamic education in Myanmar
- Kelantan Anjur Nikah Perdana Libatkan 100 Pasangan
- First Ladies Summit in KL
- ITNM Raja Pelancaran Buku?
- GMI: ISA detentions up 150%
- [Bergambar] 4 Terbunuh Dalam Kebakaran Di Pulau Pinang
- Health tourism in Thailand and India
- Social justice for all
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 09:47 AM PST
who the hell is going to believe utusan malaysia when it insisted that it is not racist? right through and through, it was so obvious we can see how racist it has been… and i'm sure it will continue to be as racist as ever, because it is umno's mouthpiece… and umno is the federal govt… thus nobody can touch utusan!
beside being racist, it had been constantly attacking DAP, especially penang's CM, LGE. and it has the cheek to accuse LGE as racist and anti malay instead. where is the proof for that, utusan? whatever proof you have though, were lies or had been rebutted by DAP.
in the latest incident, utusan attacked LGE against his speech made during the recent PR convention. this time DAP had enough and wanted to sue utusan but before that LGE called upon utusan to apologise… then they won't be taken to court. btw, on that day, it seemed that utusan suddenly gave special coverage to DAP – with 6 pages!
apologise? no way! that word is not in umno's vocabulary. they'll never ever apologise esp. to a non umnoputera, a non malay.
why in the world is utusan so aggressive and passionate in attacking DAP? of course! trying to poison the malay's mind against DAP/LGE. trying to bring down DAP/PR as govt. of penang! trying so hard to please its masters – those top umnoputera in the cabinet.
shame on utusan! indeed DAP's tony pua was right to say that utusan is the single largest hindrance to national unity.
(picture taken from mob's crib)
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 09:17 AM PST
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 08:38 AM PST
Out in the woods stood a nice little Fir-tree. The place he had was a very good one; the sun shone on him; as to fresh air, there was enough of that, and round him grew many large-sized comrades, pines as well as firs. But the little Fir wanted so very much to be a grown-up tree.
He did not think of the warm sun and of the fresh air; he did not care for the little cottage children that ran about and prattled when they were in the woods looking for wild strawberries. The children often came with a whole pitcher full of berries, or a long row of them threaded on a straw, and sat down near the young tree and said, "Oh, how pretty he is! what a nice little fir!" But this was what the Tree could not bear to hear.
At the end of a year he had shot up a good deal, and after another year he was another long bit taller; for with fir-trees one can always tell by the shoots how many years old they are.
"Oh, were I but such a high tree as the others are!" sighed he. "Then I should be able to spread out my branches, and with the tops to look into the wide world! Then would the birds build nests among my branches; and when there was a breeze, I could bend with as much stateliness as the others!"
Neither the sunbeams, nor the birds, nor the red clouds, which morning and evening sailed above them, gave the little Tree any pleasure.
In winter, when the snow lay glittering on the ground, a hare would often come leaping along, and jump right over the little Tree. Oh, that made him so angry! But two winters were past, and in the third the tree was so large that the hare was obliged to go round it. "To grow and grow, to get older and be tall," thought the Tree–"that, after all, is the most delightful thing in the world!"
In autumn the wood-cutters always came and felled some of the largest trees. This happened every year; and the young Fir-tree, that had now grown to a very comely size, trembled at the sight; for the magnificent great trees fell to the earth with noise and cracking, the branches were lopped off, and the trees looked long and bare; they were hardly to be recognized; and then they were laid in carts, and the horses dragged them out of the woods.
Where did they go to? What became of them?
In spring, when the Swallows and the Storks came, the Tree asked them, "Don't you know where they have been taken? Have you not met them anywhere?"
The Swallows did not know anything about it; but the Stork looked musing, nodded his head, and said: "Yes, I think I know; I met many ships as I was flying hither from Egypt; on the ships were magnificent masts, and I venture to assert that it was they that smelt so of fir. I may congratulate you, for they lifted themselves on high most majestically!"
"Oh, were I but old enough to fly across the sea! But how does the sea look in reality? What is it like?"
"That would take a long time to explain," said the Stork, and with these words off he went.
"Rejoice in thy growth!" said the Sunbeams, "rejoice in thy vigorous growth, and in the fresh life that moveth within thee!"
And the Wind kissed the Tree, and the Dew wept tears over him; but the Fir understood it not.
When Christmas came, quite young trees were cut down; trees which often were not even as large or of the same age as this Fir-tree, who could never rest, but always wanted to be off. These young trees, and they were always the finest looking, retained their branches; they were laid on carts, and the horses drew them out of the woods.
"Where are they going to?" asked the Fir. "They are not taller than I; there was one indeed that was considerably shorter; and why do they retain all their branches? Whither are they taken?"
"We know! we know!" chirped the Sparrows. "We have peeped in at the windows in the town below! We know whither they are taken! The greatest splendour and the greatest magnificence one can imagine await them. We peeped through the windows, and saw them planted in the middle of the warm room, and ornamented with the most splendid things–with gilded apples, with gingerbread, with toys, and many hundred lights!"
"And then?" asked the Fir-tree, trembling in every bough. "And then? What happens then?"
"We did not see anything more: it was incomparably beautiful."
"I would fain know if I am destined for so glorious a career," cried the Tree, rejoicing. "That is still better than to cross the sea! What a longing do I suffer! Were Christmas but come! I am now tall, and my branches spread like the others that were carried off last year! Oh, were I but already on the cart. Were I in the warm room with all the splendour and magnificence! Yes; then something better, something still grander, will surely follow, or wherefore should they thus ornament me? Something better, something still grander, MUST follow–but what? Oh, how I long, how I suffer! I do not know myself what is the matter with me!"
"Rejoice in our presence!" said the Air and the Sunlight; "rejoice in thy own fresh youth!"
But the Tree did not rejoice at all; he grew and grew, and was green both winter and summer. People that saw him said, "What a fine tree!" and toward Christmas he was one of the first that was cut down. The axe struck deep into the very pith; the tree fell to the earth with a sigh: he felt a pang–it was like a swoon; he could not think of happiness, for he was sorrowful at being separated from his home, from the place where he had sprung up. He knew well that he should never see his dear old comrades, the little bushes and flowers around him, any more; perhaps not even the birds! The departure was not at all agreeable.
The Tree only came to himself when he was unloaded in a courtyard with the other trees, and heard a man say, "That one is splendid! we don't want the others." Then two servants came in rich livery and carried the Fir-tree into a large and splendid drawing-room. Portraits were hanging on the walls, and near the white porcelain stove stood two large Chinese vases with lions on the covers. There, too, were large easy chairs, silken sofas, large tables full of picture-books, and full of toys worth hundreds and hundreds of crowns–at least the children said so. And the Fir-tree was stuck upright in a cask that was filled with sand: but no one could see that it was a cask, for green cloth was hung all around it, and it stood on a large gayly coloured carpet. Oh, how the Tree quivered! What was to happen? The servants, as well as the young ladies, decorated it. On one branch there hung little nets cut out of coloured paper, and each net was filled with sugar-plums; and among the other boughs gilded apples and walnuts were suspended, looking as though they had grown there, and little blue and white tapers were placed among the leaves. Dolls that looked for all the world like men–the Tree had never beheld such before–were seen among the foliage, and at the very top a large star of gold tinsel was fixed. It was really splendid–beyond description splendid.
"This evening!" said they all; "how it will shine this evening!"
"Oh," thought the Tree, "if the evening were but come! If the tapers were but lighted! And then I wonder what will happen! Perhaps the other trees from the forest will come to look at me! Perhaps the sparrows will beat against the window-panes! I wonder if I shall take root here, and winter and summer stand covered with ornaments!"
He knew very much about the matter! but he was so impatient that for sheer longing he got a pain in his back, and this with trees is the same thing as a headache with us.
The candles were now lighted. What brightness! What splendour! The Tree trembled so in every bough that one of the tapers set fire to the foliage. It blazed up splendidly.
"Help! Help!" cried the young ladies, and they quickly put out the fire.
Now the Tree did not even dare tremble. What a state he was in! He was so uneasy lest he should lose something of his splendour, that he was quite bewildered amidst the glare and brightness; when suddenly both folding-doors opened, and a troop of children rushed in as if they would upset the Tree. The older persons followed quietly; the little ones stood quite still. But it was only for a moment; then they shouted so that the whole place reechoed with their rejoicing; they danced round the tree, and one present after the other was pulled off.
"What are they about?" thought the Tree. "What is to happen now?" And the lights burned down to the very branches, and as they burned down they were put out, one after the other, and then the children had permission to plunder the tree. So they fell upon it with such violence that all its branches cracked; if it had not been fixed firmly in the cask, it would certainly have tumbled down.
The children danced about with their beautiful playthings: no one looked at the Tree except the old nurse, who peeped between the branches; but it was only to see if there was a fig or an apple left that had been forgotten.
"A story! a story!" cried the children, drawing a little fat man toward the tree. He seated himself under it, and said: "Now we are in the shade, and the Tree can listen, too. But I shall tell only one story. Now which will you have: that about Ivedy-Avedy, or about Klumpy-Dumpy who tumbled downstairs, and yet after all came to the throne and married the princess?"
"Ivedy-Avedy!" cried some; "Klumpy-Dumpy" cried the others. There was such a bawling and screaming–the Fir-tree alone was silent, and he thought to himself, "Am I not to bawl with the rest?–am I to do nothing whatever?" for he was one of the company, and had done what he had to do.
And the man told about Klumpy-Dumpy that tumbled down, who notwithstanding came to the throne, and at last married the princess. And the children clapped their hands, and cried out, "Oh, go on! Do go on!" They wanted to hear about Ivedy-Avedy, too, but the little man only told them about Klumpy-Dumpy. The Fir-tree stood quite still and absorbed in thought; the birds in the woods had never related the like of this. "Klumpy-Dumpy fell downstairs, and yet he married the princess! Yes! Yes! that's the way of the world!" thought the Fir-tree, and believed it all, because the man who told the story was so good-looking. "Well, well! who knows, perhaps I may fall downstairs, too, and get a princess as wife!" And he looked forward with joy to the morrow, when he hoped to be decked out again with lights, playthings, fruits, and tinsel.
"I won't tremble to-morrow," thought the Fir-tree. "I will enjoy to the full all my splendour. To-morrow I shall hear again the story of Klumpy-Dumpy, and perhaps that of Ivedy-Avedy, too." And the whole night the Tree stood still and in deep thought.
In the morning the servant and the housemaid came in.
"Now, then, the splendour will begin again," thought the Fir. But they dragged him out of the room, and up the stairs into the loft; and here in a dark corner, where no daylight could enter, they left him. "What's the meaning of this?" thought the Tree. "What am I to do here? What shall I hear now, I wonder?" And he leaned against the wall, lost in reverie. Time enough had he, too, for his reflections; for days and nights passed on, and nobody came up; and when at last somebody did come, it was only to put some great trunks in a corner out of the way. There stood the Tree quite hidden; it seemed as if he had been entirely forgotten.
"'Tis now winter out of doors!" thought the Tree. "The earth is hard and covered with snow; men cannot plant me now, and therefore I have been put up here under shelter till the springtime comes! How thoughtful that is! How kind man is, after all! If it only were not so dark here, and so terribly lonely! Not even a hare. And out in the
woods it was so pleasant, when the snow was on the ground, and the hare leaped by; yes–even when he jumped over me; but I did not like it then. It is really terribly lonely here!"
"Squeak! squeak!" said a little Mouse at the same moment, peeping out of his hole. And then another little one came. They sniffed about the Fir-tree, and rustled among the branches.
"It is dreadfully cold," said the Mouse. "But for that, it would be delightful here, old Fir, wouldn't it?"
"I am by no means old," said the Fir-tree. "There's many a one considerably older than I am."
"Where do you come from," asked the Mice; "and what can you do?" They were so extremely curious. "Tell us about the most beautiful spot on the earth. Have you never been there? Were you never in the larder, where cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang from above; where one dances about on tallow-candles; that place where one enters lean, and comes out again fat and portly?"
"I know no such place," said the Tree, "but I know the woods, where the sun shines, and where the little birds sing." And then he told all about his youth; and the little Mice had never heard the like before; and they listened and said:
"Well, to be sure! How much you have seen! How happy you must have been!"
"I?" said the Fir-tree, thinking over what he had himself related. "Yes, in reality those were happy times." And then he told about Christmas Eve, when he was decked out with cakes and candles.
"Oh," said the little Mice, "how fortunate you have been, old Fir-tree!"
"I am by no means old," said he. "I came from the woods this winter; I am in my prime, and am only rather short for my age."
"What delightful stories you know!" said the Mice: and the next night they came with four other little Mice, who were to hear what the tree recounted; and the more he related, the more plainly he remembered all himself; and it appeared as if those times had really been happy times. "But they may still come–they may still come. Klumpy-Dumpy fell downstairs and yet he got a princess," and he thought at the moment of a nice little Birch-tree growing out in the woods; to the Fir, that would be a real charming princess.
"Who is Klumpy-Dumpy?" asked the Mice. So then the Fir-tree told the whole fairy tale, for he could remember every single word of it; and the little Mice jumped for joy up to the very top of the Tree. Next night two more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats, even; but they said the stories were not interesting, which vexed the little Mice; and they, too, now began to think them not so very amusing either.
"Do you know only one story?" asked the Rats.
"Only that one," answered the Tree. "I heard it on my happiest evening; but I did not then know how happy I was."
"It is a very stupid story. Don't you know one about bacon and tallow candles? Can't you tell any larder stories?"
"No," said the Tree.
"Then good-bye," said the Rats; and they went home.
At last the little Mice stayed away also; and the Tree sighed: "After all, it was very pleasant when the sleek little Mice sat around me and listened to what I told them. Now that too is over. But I will take good care to enjoy myself when I am brought out again."
But when was that to be? Why, one morning there came a quantity of people and set to work in the loft. The trunks were moved, the Tree was pulled out and thrown–rather hard, it is true–down on the floor, but a man drew him toward the stairs, where the daylight shone.
"Now a merry life will begin again," thought the Tree. He felt the fresh air, the first sunbeam–and now he was out in the courtyard. All passed so quickly, there was so much going on around him, that the Tree quite forgot to look to himself. The court adjoined a garden, and all was in flower; the roses hung so fresh and odorous over the balustrade, the lindens were in blossom, the Swallows flew by, and said, "Quirre-vit! my husband is come!" but it was not the Fir-tree that they meant.
"Now, then, I shall really enjoy life," said he, exultingly, and spread out his branches; but, alas! they were all withered and yellow. It was in a corner that he lay, among weeds and nettles. The golden star of tinsel was still on the top of the Tree, and glittered in the sunshine.
In the courtyard some of the merry children were playing who had danced at Christmas round the Fir-tree, and were so glad at the sight of him. One of the youngest ran and tore off the golden star.
"Only look what is still on the ugly old Christmas tree!" said he, trampling on the branches, so that they all cracked beneath his feet. And the Tree beheld all the beauty of the flowers, and the freshness in the garden; he beheld himself, and wished he had remained in his dark corner in the loft; he thought of his first youth in the woods, of the merry Christmas Eve, and of the little Mice who had listened with so much pleasure to the story of Klumpy-Dumpy.
"'Tis over–'tis past!" said the poor Tree. "Had I but rejoiced when I had reason to do so! But now 'tis past, 'tis past!"
And the gardener's boy chopped the Tree into small pieces; there was a whole heap lying there. The wood flamed up splendidly under the large brewing copper, and it sighed so deeply! Each sigh was like a shot.
The boys played about in the court, and the youngest wore the gold star on his breast which the Tree had had on the happiest evening of his life. However, that was over now–the Tree gone, the story at an end. All, all was over; every tale must end at last.
Written by Hans Christian Anderson
Have a blessed Christmas and may love surround you and yours during this holiday season.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 08:05 AM PST
9 Days to go ... A new year... A new hope... So let's Flashback on year 2010.
Started working again after a long enjoyable study leaves. I started to go back to the corporate world on Jan 4th 2010. Work in this current company was not as smooth as the baby skin... In fact, it's like roller coaster. Anyway, i managed to ride on the roller coaster and move on... My birthday is on the month of January. So i celebrated my birthday in Tony Roma's with my parent and TGIF with my friends.
Chinese New Years... A month with so many great food and mingling errrrr... in fact gossiping :p This year i drove alone to Penang for CNY. Why? My parent was celebrating the new year in Vietnam with my sister. I couldn't go as i just started my work and have no leaves :(
5 Elements of my life turned 3 years old... still a baby but it's a great milestone that i still continue with blogging even though i was have a long hours working time. One very sad things was the Kasubi Tombs in Uganda Africa got burnt down... It was a nice heritage site which i visited when i was in Uganda Africa.
March posts : http://tz-life.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST
22 December 2010 Last updated at 02:40 GMT
Test for early Alzheimer's 'seems possible' By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News
Cognitive skills decline with dementia
UK experts say they may have found a way to check for Alzheimer's years before symptoms appear.
A lumbar puncture test combined with a brain scan can identify
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 09:51 AM PST
1. Jalan Terpendek di Dunia
Ebenezer Place, Wick, Caithness, Skotlandia, dinobatkan sebagai jalan terpendek di dunia dalam Guinness Book of Records dengan panjang 2.06m (6 '9 "). Hanya ada satu alamat di jalan itu:. pintu depan No 1 Bistro, yang merupakan bahagian dari Mackays Hotel, yang dibangunkan pada tahun 1883. Pemilik bangunan hotel pada saat itu, diarahkan untuk melukis nama di sisi terpendek dari hotel itu. Rasmi dinyatakan jalan itu pada tahun 1887.
2. Jalan Tersempit di Dunia
Spreuerhofstraße adalah jalan tersempit di dunia, ditemukan di kota Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Jerman. Mulai dari 31 cm (12 inch) pada bahagian yang paling sempit, dank 50 cm (20 inch) di bahagian terluas nya. Jalur ini dibangunkan pada tahun 1727 oleh pekerja-pekerja pemulihan setelah daerah tersebut benar-benar hancur oleh kebakaran hebat tahun 1726 dan secara rasmi terdaftar di Pejabat Pertanahan sebagai City Street Number 77.
3. Jalan Tercuram di Dunia
Baldwin Street, di bahagian pinggiran kota yang tenang dari kota Dunedin, New Zealand, terkenal sebagai jalan paling curam di dunia. Jalan ini terletak di pinggiran Timur Utara Valley, 3,5 kilometer timur laut dari pusat kota Dunedin. Sebuah jalan lurus singkat dengan panjang 350 meter, Baldwin Street berjalan ke timur dari lembah Creek Lindsay di sisi Signal Hill. Pada kemiringan maksimum, kemiringan Baldwin Street adalah kira-kira 1:2.86 (19 ° atau 35%) - yaitu, untuk setiap 2,86 meter horizontal, kecuraman naik sebesar 1 meter. Kecuraman jalan itu tidak disengaja. Seperti banyak bahagian lain dari Dunedin.
4. Jalan Paling Berliku di Dunia
Lombard Street adalah jalan yang paling berliku di dunia dan dapat ditemukan di San Francisco. Ini hanya bahagian dari Lombard Street yang panjang dan bahagian berliku terdapat di Rusia Hill antara Hyde dan jalan-jalan Leavenworth. Batas kecepatan hanya lima mph dan Anda hanya boleh memandu kenderaan di satu arah, iaitu ke arah bawah. Di kedua sisi jalan terdapat rumah-rumah mewah yang paling mahal, rumah kota dan kondominium yang paling dicari orang banyak. Dibangun awalnya kerana kenderaan tidak dapat mengatasi kemiringan, jadi dibuat berliku sehingga lebih mudah dilalui.
5. Persimpangan Paling Membingungkan
The Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange terletak di Los Angeles, CA, dan merupakan salah satu simpang susun paling rumit di negeri ini. Persimpangan ini dibuka pada tahun 1993.
6. Jalan Tol Terpanjang di Dunia
Australia Highway 1 adalah jaringan jalan raya yang membelah benua Australia, bergabung dengan semua ibukota negara daratan. Dengan jumlah panjang sekitar 14,500 km (9,000 batu) itu adalah jalan raya nasional terpanjang di dunia, bersama dengan Jalan Trans-Siberia (lebih dari 11,000 km [6,800 batu]) dan Jalan Raya Trans-Canada (8,030 km [4,990 batu]). Setiap hari lebih dari satu juta orang melintasi jalur ini.
7. Bulatan Terbesar di Dunia
Tidak banyak orang yang menyedari hal ini ketika mereka sedang mengemudi di sekitar Putrajaya, terutama dekat Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Cubalah untuk menjernihkan fikiran dan amati saat anda memandu, dan anda akan segera menyedari bahawa anda memang sedang memandu di sepanjang bulatan terbesar di dunia itu. Alasan orang utama tidak mencatat adalah kerana mereka cenderung berfikir itu hanya sebuah bukit. Panjang keliling bulatan ini sekitar 3.4km.
8. Jalan Terlebar di Dunia
Anda harus melihatnya untuk mempercayainya. Sembilan jalur lebar, dengan taman berada di tengah-tengah antara arus lalu lintas yang berlawanan, ini adalah jalan terluas di dunia. Mereka dengan kecepatan yang cepat dan kaki panjang akan beruntung jika mereka sampai ke sisi lain dengan perubahan dua lampu lalu lintas yang ditempatkan di setiap persimpangan jalan. Sebuah tempat penyeberangan pejalan kaki biasanya memerlukan beberapa minit tambahan. Beberapa landmark utama Buenos Aires dapat dilihat di sepanjang jalan, terutama, Obelisk tersebut.
9. Jalan Kota Terpanjang di Dunia
Yonge Street, jalan arteri utama antara Danau Ontario dan Danau Simcoe di wilayah Kanada Ontario, yang memiliki panjang 1,178 batu (1,896 km). Panjangnya kira-kira jarak dari San Diego, California, ke Seattle, Washington. Dimulai pada tepi tasik Toronto dan di sepanjang jalan Highway 11 sampai Rainy River, Ontario, di perbatasan Minnesota.
10. Bulatan Paling Membingungkan
The Magic Roundabout di Swindon, Inggris, dibangun pada tahun 1972 dan terdiri dari lima-bulatan mini diatur dalam lingkaran. Namanya berasal dari rancangan bersiri television kanak-kanak yang popular The Magic Roundabout. Telah terpilih sebagai persimpangan paling menakutkan keempat di England. -go-killz
Posted: 21 Dec 2010 11:11 PM PST
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 07:14 AM PST
Orianthi guitar picks in a card.
The last time I held any of these between my fingers was many years ago. I used to have a whole collection of them, in all colours, sizes and thickness. Wuan showed me the card and asked me what it was. It came with the CDs that she bought. One look and I knew what they unmistakably were; four Orianthi guitar picks that could be broken off from the card.
Not knowing who Orianthis is, I searched for her in YouTube and was thoroughly impressed with her guitar skills. Watching her play made me wish I could do the same again. When I was happy, I played the guitar. When I was sad, I played the guitar, too. Now, whenever I rolled pass a musical instrument shop, I could only look at the polished guitars on display and reminisce about the times when I held one in my hands, coaxed melodies out of the strings and sang the songs of my life.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 07:12 AM PST
Kos sidang wanita pertama RM4.5 juta
Sidang Kemuncak Wanita Pertama yang diilhamkan dan dinaungi isteri perdana menteri Rosmah Mansor mencatatkan perbelanjaan kerajaan hampir RM4.5 juta.
Dalam jawapan bertulis di Dewan Negara, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita dan Keluarga dan Masyarakat Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil mendedahkan perbelanjaan untuk program tiga hari itu sebanyak RM4,498,949.99.
Program melibatkan 15 wanita pertama dariapda seluruh dunia - kebanyakan yang hadir daripada negara-negara Africa - berlangsung di Kuala Lumpur pada Oktober.
Ekoran penjelasan itu, senator Syed Husin Ali daripada PKR membangkitkan persoalan kewajaran Rosmah dianjurkan oleh isteri perdana menteri sedangkan menurutnya dalam negara ini wanita pertama adalah Permaisuri Agong.
NONEDalam sidang media hari ini, Syed Husin yang juga bekas timbalan setiausaha agong mempertikaikan asas peruntukan sebanyak itu diberikan sedangkan tiada peranan oleh Permaisuri Agong.
Hanya Negara Afrika Turut Serta Sidang Wanita Pertama?
Apa? Persidangan Wanita Pertama yang hanya dihadiri oleh negara-negara Afrika dahulu menelan belanja sampai RM4.5 juta?
Benar-benar penghabis wang rakyat. Sudahlah tidak ada maruah mendakwa dirinya sebagai Wanita Pertama Malaysia, satu gelaran yang sepatutnya digunakan oleh Permaisuri Agong di dalam konteks negara berraja, ini pula persidangan yang tak mendapat sambutan itu menghabis wang berjuta banyaknya.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 06:36 AM PST
Konstabel bebas tuduhan cabul Inspektor wanita
PETALING JAYA: Seorang konstabel polis dilepaskan dan dibebaskan oleh Mahkamah Majistret di sini, hari ini daripada pertuduhan mencabul kehormatan seorang inspektor wanita yang juga rakan setugasnya, tahun lalu.
Majistret Aishah Hijriah Arshad membuat keputusan itu selepas mendapati pihak pendakwaan gagal membuktikan kes prima facie terhadap Yusri Yusof di akhir kes pendakwaan.
Yusri, 35, dituduh menggunakan kekerasan jenayah ke atas inspektor wanita berumur 24 tahun itu dengan niat mencabul kehormatannya di pejabatnya di sini pada 5.35 petang, 26 Mei 2009.
Yusri, yang sebelum ini digantung tugasnya, didakwa mengikut Seksyen 354 Kanun Keseksaan yang memperuntukkan hukuman penjara sehingga 10 tahun atau denda atau sebatan atau mana-mana dua daripadanya, jika sabit kesalahan.
Aishah ketika membuat keputusan itu berkata, mahkamah mendapati keterangan mangsa tidak konsisten dengan laporan yang diberikan.
"Terdapat percanggahan keterangan yang diberikan oleh mangsa dalam kes ini kerana berdasarkan laporan polis yang dibuat, mangsa menyatakan bahawa dia dipeluk dari arah belakang dan cuba dicium di pipi kanan serta peha kanannya diusap sebanyak dua hingga tiga kali oleh tertuduh.
"Sebaliknya, ketika pemeriksaan utama oleh pihak pendakwaan, mangsa tidak dapat mengesahkan sama ada dia dipeluk atau tertuduh hanya memegang bahunya".
Aishah berkata, mangsa juga dilihat teragak-agak untuk menjawab dan tidak yakin untuk memberi jawapan ketika pemeriksaan utama dan pemeriksaan balas oleh pihak pendakwaan dan pembelaan.
Selain itu, keterangan mangsa tanpa keterangan sokongan tidak dapat membuktikan
tertuduh telah menggunakan kekerasan jenayah ke atasnya.
"Tindakan mangsa yang tidak memaklumkan kejadian yang berlaku ke atas dirinya dengan serta-merta dilihat tidak munasabah kerana sebagai pegawai polis, mangsa mempunyai pengetahuan bahawa apa yang terjadi kepada dirinya adalah salah di sisi undang-undang dan mangsa sememangnya ada banyak peluang untuk bercerita masalah yang dihadapi dengan rakan sebiliknya," katanya.
Sepanjang perbicaraan, empat saksi memberi keterangan bagi pihak pendakwaan yang dikendalikan Timbalan Pendakwa Raya, Choong Kak Sen manakala tertuduh diwakili peguam Wan Shahrizal Wan Laden. - BERNAMA
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 05:41 AM PST
Today being the 4th Wednesday of the month, I was on clinic duty again. Ever since I started freelance work, I've been taking the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays for my duties in Ipoh GH.
The moment I got to the main gate of the hospital, I knew I was going to have an extra hard time looking for a parking space… there was traffic jam within the hospital compounds! And it so happened the car in front of me was driven by an Ah So who was driving sooooo slow, my speedometer hardly moved! I went straight to my usual parking space some few hundred (a few? A lot more I think) steps away from the specialist clinic. Even the usual parking space was full. I was just lucky that the moment I got there, one car got out so I gladly took over that space.
I passed by the Forensic Department when I walked over to the specialist clinic. There were quite a number of traffic police, cones were placed by the roadside so that people wouldn't park their cars there. I also saw some cars with Thai registration numbers. Yep, this was due to the bus accident at the Cameron Highlands – Simpang Pulai road on Monday.
Anyway, first thing's first – I went to the doctor's room to notify the nurse that I was already there and to ask if there were any new cases. I was told there were supposed to be 2 new cases but neither one of them were there yet. I also asked if the nurse knew anything about when Ina, the pregnant orang asli lady is expected to deliver. The nurse didn't know anything. She herself was waiting for info from the relevant sources.
I then went to the counselling/support service room and was surprised to see quite a large group of pharmacists there. Apparently other than the usual faces, they had student pharmacists there doing their training and so they were given some briefing by the head pharmacist there. There was still one chair available though (kerusi empuk, unlike the kerusi kayu at Taiping Hospital…:)) so I just sat there and while waiting for cases to be referred I decided to call Ina, the orang asli lady.
Well, no, not Ina herself… she doesn't have a phone, but the last time I went to visit, her neighbour cum good friend was there and since the friend had a handphone, the friend gave me her phone number in case I needed to contact Ina. And so I called the friend who's always the one accompanying Ina to the hospital for her appointments.
According to the friend, Ina's next appointment in Ipoh will be next week, during which they will know when exactly Ina will need to be warded for her delivery. I was also told that Ina had already opened up a bank account to enable me to submit together with the PAF application form. The last time I told them to open up a BSN account, they went to open up an ASN account!
By 11.30 am, there were no referrals yet, but we had to leave the support service room as the room needed to be used for some sort of function there. I went back to the doctor's room to see the nurse… and was told that one of the new patients was already there. Since I didn't have any private room to talk to the patient, the nurse told me to use the room next door, another doctor was using that room for HIV cases as well, but there was just enough space for me to talk to the new patient.
The new case, a Chinese guy in his late 50's came in with his wife. Wife has been tested negative, children all grown up and working and all of them knew of his HIV status. No problem at all. But when I asked if he'd like a buddy, the wife welcomed the idea. She said although basically the family has no problems about his HIV, he himself sometimes kept thinking that he was dying etc. She has been giving support to him, but yeah, as usual, she'd get the "you wouldn't understand" reply. So the wife thought maybe he'd listen better to someone who's not family. I told them I'd assign a Chinese guy around his age to be his buddy.
The other new case didn't turn up. So I only got to see one new case today.
However I did see 3 familiar faces today…
First familiar face was Valli's. She's not my client but we've met a few times (during our sponsorship assessment visits and our annual Family Day outings). Her 2 boys are under our sponsorship programme. Valli had been on ARV drugs for some time already but today the doctor suggested she changed to a new combination of ARV drugs as she suspected Valli's swelling arms may be due to her medication.
The next person was Hana. She is not on ARV yet but the doctor has started her off with vitamins. They are usually given the vitamins as the "practice run" to ensure they take their medication on time. With people like Hana especially, it is important to make sure she fully understands how she is supposed to take her medication before she starts taking the real ARV drugs. Hana can sometimes be so slow to understand instructions given to her. The first time the nurse told her she was HIV+, she told me the nurse said she wasn't infected. In the end, I had to tell her straight in the face she was infected (no ayat berlapis!). Anyway, Hana's children are also under our sponsorship programme and so I told her to give me whatever receipts for anything to do with her children's schooling.
And finally, guess who else I met? I met Jah, the used-to-be live wire! Yep, I said used to be, because she used to be super cheerful and super talkative. Whenever I called to invite her to our Family Day, or to ask if she'd like to follow me on any of my house visits, she'd never say no. But ever since she remarried, it was a different story altogether. I couldn't even get hold of her by phone.
Today when I met her, she was still cheerful and talkative, but simply not as cheerful and talkative as before. I asked her why I hadn't been able to get hold of her by phone.
"Phone rosak, kak. Tak ganti-ganti lagi."
"Rumah takde phone?"
"Takde kak. Lagipun rumah susah sikit kak. Mak mertua saya sekarang tak best macam mak mertua dulu."
Ahh yes, I remembered when Jah would fondly talk about her first mother-in-law. She was so manja with that MIL, even after her first husband died. I asked if the new MIL knew of her HIV status. Jah said her MIL knew before their marriage.
"Habis tu, dia tak bising ke? I asked.
"Bising lah kak. Sekarang ni pun dia suka buat bising tapi saya pekakkan telinga ajelah."
Frankly, when Jah first told me she'd remarry, my first concern was whether her boyfriend (then) and his family knew about her HIV. Jah did mention they knew about it, but the way she said it then, it was as though there was no problem at all about it. Or maybe at that time, all Jah saw was that "dunia indah belaka" without thinking of the repercussions.
Today was the first time I met Jah after her new marriage. I could sense she's not as happy as before. And it seemed to me as though this marriage was more like Jah's "lost of freedom" instead of the dunia indah she had envisioned.
Not much I could do. She has my number if she needs to call me. But of course, first she'd need to have access to a phone to be able to do that.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 05:25 AM PST
Rumah dan pejabat tertuduh kes bunuh Sosilawati disita
Gambar: PEJABAT peguam di Jalan Kemboja, 33 Off Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah di Banting milik peguam Patmanaban (gambar kecil) yang ditahan bagi membantu siasatan kes bunuh Sosilawati.
KUALA LUMPUR - Polis telah mendapat perintah mahkamah untuk menyita rumah dan pejabat peguam N.Pathmanabhan yang dituduh membunuh jutawan kosmetik Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya dan tiga yang lain, berkuatkuasa 16 Dis lepas.
Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) dalam satu kenyataan berkata perintah yang diperoleh oleh Pasukan Petugas Khas Operasi/Anti Keganasan Bukit Aman itu, bagi membolehkan siasatan dibuat berhubung satu laporan polis di Teluk Panglima Garang membabitkan kes pengubahan wang haram.
Menurut kenyataan itu, Timbalan Pendakwa Raya telah memutuskan untuk melaksanakan tindakan penyitaan terhadap satu unit rumah teres dua tingkat dan satu unit bangunan pejabat tiga tingkat, kedua-duanya terletak di Banting, Selangor.
Pada 13 Okt lepas, Pathmanabhan, 41, dan tiga pekerja ladang, T. Thilaiyagan, 19, R. Matan, 20, dan R.Khatavarayan, 30, dituduh membunuh Sosilawati bersama pemandunya Kamaruddin Shamsudin, 44, pegawai bank CIMB Kampung Baru, Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, dan peguam Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, di satu kawasan di Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, pada 30 Ogos lepas.
Kes itu akan didengar semula pada 27 Jan tahun depan.-Bernama
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 03:36 AM PST
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study Mohammed Mohiyuddin Mohammed Sulaiman
'Islam', which literally means 'peace' in Arabic, has been transformed into a faith interpreted loosely by one group and understood conservatively by another, making it seem as if Islam itself is not well comprehended by its followers. Today, it is the faith of 1.2 billion people across the world; Asia is a home for 60 per cent of these adherents, with Muslims forming an absolute majority in 11 countries (Selth 2003:5).
Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, international scholars have become increasingly interested in Islam and in Muslims in South-East Asia, where more than 230 million Muslims live (Mutalib 2005:50). These South-East Asian Muslims originally received Islam from Arab traders. History reveals the Arabs as sea-loving people who voyaged around the Indian Ocean (IIAS 2005), including to South-East Asia.
The arrival of Arabs has had different degrees of impact on different communities in the region. We find, however, that not much research has been done by today's Arabs on the Arab–South-East Asian connection, as they consider South-East Asia a part of the wider 'East', which includes Iran, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Indeed, the term 'South-East Asia' is hardly used in modern Arab literature. For them, anything east of the Middle East and non-Arabic speaking world is considered to be 'Asia' (Abaza 2002).
According to Myanmar and non-Myanmar sources, Islam reached the shores of Myanmar's Arakan (Rakhine State) as early as 712 AD, via oceangoing merchants, and in the form of Sufism. The conversion of local inhabitants to Islam was more by choice than coercion, and the same phenomenon was also the trend for all South-East Asian nations, such as Malaysia and Indonesia (Jilani 1999:63). There were no Muslim attempts to invade Myanmar from outside or to proselytise within (Thiker 1959:338). At the same time, Myanmar, unlike Malaysia or Indonesia, did not present a religious vacuum (Hall 1959:131). What is more, the islands of South-East Asia are easily accessible by sea and presented a very lucrative business and commercial environment (Moshe 1972:105).
Different Myanmar Muslim groups
Muslims in Myanmar are mostly Sunni, of the Hanafi sect, with a small and ever
decreasing number of Shi'ite sect followers. Today, Muslims could constitute
as much as 13 per cent of the total population, although some experts on Myanmar assume them to constitute about 4 per cent or less, as stated in the official Myanmar census.1 Although the census insists that Muslims represent no more than 3.8 per cent of the population (MOFA 2005), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA 2005) states that they represent 4 per cent. Myanmar Muslims themselves estimate that they number approximately eight million.2 It is not unusual for Muslims residing in non-Muslim countries to feel that the real Muslim census figures are underestimated. Thai Muslims complained about the 1960 Thai national census that recorded 1.5 million Muslims, when their number could have been double that, if not more (see Suthasasna 1983–84).
Muslims in Myanmar can be categorised into four different groups, omitting some significant Muslim minority communities: Pantay (Selth 2003:5–6), the largest group, includes the Rohingya of Rakhine (Arakan) whose members number approximately one million throughout the country; Bamar who converted to Islam in the time of Bamar kings and who call themselves 'pure Bamar Muslims'; Indian Muslims born in Myanmar of two Indian Muslim parents; and the Zerbadees, who are the children of mixed marriages between Indian Muslim fathers and Burman mothers (Matthews 2001:5). Each group has very different relationships with the Buddhist majority and with the regime of Myanmar today (Selth 2003:5).
Madrasahs in Myanmar
Madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) remain the only alternative for educating Myanmar Muslims in Islamic education, since the national school system does not cater for any particular faith or belief with the exception of Buddhism, the faith that more than 70 per cent of people profess. Throughout Myanmar, hundreds of madrasahs are operating, financed by domestic and foreign donations. It is a recent phenomenon that Bamar Muslims have endeavoured to be in touch with their wealthy counterparts in the Arab world to balance the influence of the Indian subcontinent's Islamic ideology.
Madrasah students attend for about 10 or more years, from standards one to 10, after which they pursue further studies in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. In some unusual cases, students are sent to the Arabian Peninsula. There is no specific age for enrolling in a madrasah, but students as young as seven years are commonly accepted. Some would choose to spend about two to four years to memorise the 30 chapters of the Holy Qur'an without understanding the Qur'anic texts or their interpretations. Once the student completes the whole of the Qur'an, he would be called 'Hafiz', which would later become a prefix of his name.
He could continue his studies in the field ofM aw l aw i, in which he learnsFique
(Islamic jurisprudence) and Arabic language, its grammar and the interpretation
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
of the Qur'an. Although every student would have to go through standards one to 10 to complete aM aw l aw i education, aH a fi z could start from standard three, four or five depending on his capability and the teachers' assessment of his capability to cope with his studies. On completion of his studies to standard 10, he would be called 'Mawlawi', which would later become a prefix of his name.
It is a tradition that a man has to be either aHafiz orM aw l aw i to lead the five daily prayers in a mosque. It is normal to find aHafiz orMawlawi in almost every Muslim family, as this is regarded as a great honour. As far as the hereafter is concerned, Muslims of Myanmar postulate a reported saying of the Prophet that one who memorises the Holy Qur'an can save 10 of his family members from hell-fire when the Day of Judgment comes. Therefore, one among every 10 family members must be a madrasah graduate to save himself and his family from hell-fire.
Most Myanmar madrasahs are boarding schools exclusively for male students from all over the country. A Muslim boy can enroll in any madrasah irrespective of his ethic background. In some cases, obtaining a recommendation from a reputable Muslim clergyman ('Ulama) or religious person is needed to smooth the enrolment process. At the same time, new madrasahs welcoming young adult female students inTa h fi z (memorising the Qur'an) andMawlawi courses are being established in Yangon and throughout the Yangon division.
Madrasahs choose to adopt either Burmese or Urdu as their language of instruction and reading Arabic grammar is compulsory, along with reading the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadiths). Graduates of madrasahs can translate Arabic religious texts in either Myanmar or Urdu language, but none of them can communicate fluently in conversational Arabic. In some cases, these Islamic-school graduates are indoctrinated by their respective'Ulamaand lose a sense of rationality. Neither mathematics nor science subjects are taught in those madrasahs, although attempts are made to introduce English-language courses in some schools.
Some schools actively supportTa b l i g h, the movement that aims to revive Islam among Muslims through a spiritual/personal approach, but they are not interested in converting non-Muslims to Islam.3 It is compulsory for a graduate to spend aChillah (40 days) withTa b l i g h by travelling to different parts of Myanmar to regenerate Islam. TheTabligh movement postulates that the reason for the fall of Islam was Muslims' failure to uphold the true teaching of Islam in its true form. Today, this noble movement has also become an institution of 'rehabilitation' to which disappointed parents send their mischievous youth with the aim of their sons becoming better Muslims.
The Myanmar administration has never made any serious attempt either to reform madrasahs or to incorporate them into the mainstream of the national education system, as has been the case in Thailand and Malaysia. The absence
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
of an authoritative body governing Islamic schools within Myanmar encourages the mushrooming of madrasahs based on certain thoughts and ideas that seem to be Islamic. At times, differences of opinion about certain ideas on Islamic thought become so prevalent among Muslims that sometimes the State has to intervene to defuse tension among various Muslim communities. In one case, the authorities closed one Myanmar-speaking madrasah boarding school outside Yangon when its Muslim supporters were unable to resolve their own internal conflict.
Curriculum of madrasahs in Myanmar
Most madrasahs' curriculum and teaching systems are similar if not identical to those of the Indian subcontinent. There is no difference of any kind in the teaching textbooks and curriculum until standard four, after which the texts begin to vary. For example, one madrasah might adopt Sharah Wiqayah as a text forFiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) while another might choose Kanzad Daqa 'iq as its teaching text for the same subject.
There is 95 per cent consistency in the textbooks used for Arabic grammar in all madrasahs. The texts vary again, however, in standard 10, the last year of studies. Some madrasahs will adopt theMishqad book Sahih Bukhari (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Bukhari), Sahih Muslim (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Muslim), Abi Dawood (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Abu Dawood), Ni Sa'i' (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Ni'sa'i'),Tirmizi (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Tirmizi) or Ibnu Majah (the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Ibnu Majah). Some madrasahs teach
Tahawi (purification according to Islam) while others use Muwatta' Imam Malik
(the traditions of the holy prophets compiled by Imam Malik). The selection of texts will vary according to the instructors' different opinions of the significance and relevance of the questions in the various books.
Languages used in Myanmar madrasahs
Myanmar Muslims are divided not only over different ethnicity and race, they are divided over different languages used in madrasahs. Indeed, this gap has been significant since the 1930s. In some cases, local communities consider this to be an irreconcilable problem.
Myanmar-speaking Muslims always point to the story of how the first Arab Muslims arrived in Mottama (Martaban) in Lower Myanmar in 1055 AD. An Arab merchant's two sons were rescued by Buddhist monks after their ship capsized near the Mon Kingdom. Today, those two Arab brothers are Byattwi and Byatta, two of the 37nats (spirits), as known by Burman Buddhists (Mohiyuddin 2005:68). Myanmar Muslims are proud that a Muslim teacher educated the son of King Anawratha, King Saw Lu (Naing 2000:6). They also
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
recall the oppressive King Bayinnaung (1551–81 AD), who forced Muslims to convert to Buddhism and forbade the slaughtering of cattle on Islamic holidays. On the other hand, he appointed Muslim translators in his palace and had contacts with King Akhbar of India (Naing 2000:7). King Tar Lun (1629–48) sent Muslim prisoners captured in Pegu, Yangon and Arakan to Central Myanmar, who then settled there.
Bamar Muslims persistently argue that they served under numerous Bamar kings in various capacities, such as teachers, horse riders and soldiers. Some Bamar kings were very fond of them and King Mindon (1853–78) is known to have given religious freedom to his people throughout the country. He built Masjids for Muslims serving his army and residing in his kingdom and appointed Kabul Mawlawi as a religious authority on Islamic matters, allowing him a gold-coloured umbrella (shwe htee), gold bowl (shwe yae tauk phalar) and gold spittoon (shwe
htawe khan) (Lay 1971:67). Bamar Muslims also served the last king of Myanmar,
King Thibaw (1878–85) (Lay 1971:78).
Bamar Muslims were therefore of the opinion that the Myanmar language should be used in all madrasahs, whereas Indian Muslims, who dominated the management and financed madrasah maintenance, imposed Urdu, the language used in Indian madrasahs.
In fact, an official request was made to teach Myanmar as the major language in all Islamic schools at the Bamar Muslim Education Conference held in Bago (Pegu) in December 1929. Bamar Muslims were offended by the statements made by the then chairman of the Burmese Maulawi Association, Maulana Ismail Ibnu Mohammed Bismillah, who gave the following reasons for Urdu to be maintained as the medium of instruction in all Islamic schools:4
• if Urdu was replaced by Myanmar (a language forbidden by Allah), the Muslims of Myanmar would witness a possible stagnation of Islam in the country
• Urdu was the language of Islam in India
• there was a great possibility that Islamic religious knowledge would
eventually become extinct if Myanmar replaced Urdu.
As a result, the Bamar Muslim Education Conference, attended by more than 200 delegates and held at Yamethin on 28–29 December 1930, decisively outlined the difficulties faced by the Bamar Muslims and their reasons for wanting to change the language:
• there were noM aw l aw i (preachers of Islam) who spoke Myanmar fluently • many people were unable to understand what the IndianMawlawis preached • the way theM aw l aw i preached Islam was difficult to follow in practice—so
much so that many wanted to convert to other religions
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
• Muslims learned no modern languages—that is, Myanmar and English—while they learned Urdu and Arabic from a young age with no comprehensive understanding, making them no use in later years.
The delegates of the conference also proposed that the Bamar (Burman) Muslims should have at least oneM aw l aw i who could preach in every Myanmar town and it selected young Bamar Muslims to be sponsored to study Islam in Myanmar and English, not in Urdu and Arabic (Lay 1971:172–6). At the national level, in February–March 1937, Bamars endeavoured to make Myanmar the language of the House of Parliament despite protests from European and Indian members (Chakravarti 1971:156). Soon afterwards, Bamar Muslims formed the Burma Muslim Independent Organisation, which adopted the following slogans:
• Bamar race: our race
Later, Bamar Muslims also formed Bamar (Burman) Muslims Noe Kyar Yae5 Association (BMNKYA) and Bamar (Burman) Women Muslims Noe Kyar Yae Association (BWMNKYA), with several objectives such as forming a separate identity for Bamar (Burman) Muslims, including a separate register in the Myanmar census.
and Ayeyarwady—where the majority of non-indigenous and non-Bamar people live—use Urdu extensively in translating Arabic texts, with a few Myanmar words in unavoidable circumstances. It is interesting to recall that the differences about which language to use once caused serious division among the Muslims of Myanmar. Burmese-speaking Myanmar Muslims called for their Urdu-speaking counterparts to demonstrate their undivided loyalty to Myanmar by speaking Burmese and not Urdu, while Urdu-speaking Muslim'Ulama maintained that Urdu had been the religious language in India and those who spoke Burmese in Islamic matters were 'Muslim bodies with Buddhist souls'.
On the other hand, Pyaw Bwe, Yamethin, Meiktila, Lat Pan, Su Lay Kone, Mandalay, Bone Owe, Shwebo, Kanbalu and many other towns in Upper Burma translate all texts into Myanmar.
It is therefore a common assumption that madrasah graduates from Upper Burma are weak in Urdu and in some cases could not even converse well with their counterparts from Lower Burma. What is more, those madrasah graduates face
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
numerous obstacles securing a job as a madrasah teacher in Lower Burma as they are unable to converse in the language that Muslims from Lower Burma consider the 'Islamic [religious] tongue'. In many instances, they have to undergo Urdu-language courses before being appointed as madrasah teachers. On the other hand, madrasah graduates from Lower Burma easily find jobs in madrasahs in Upper Burma, despite their limited Myanmar-language skills.
Bamar Muslims from Upper Burma do not have Arabic (Muslim) names, unlike their counterparts in Lower Burma. Some of the latter keep their Muslim names for private use and prefer to be addressed by their Myanmar name. Some have been fighting vigorously against the Indian style of Islam by adopting Myanmar names and wearing Myanmar national dress. Most writings of Bamar Muslims focus on Bamar Muslim activities and seek to disassociate their community from non-Bamar Muslims, especially those of Indian descent. Some have gone to extreme lengths to differentiate themselves from Indian Muslims by saying, for example, that there is no difference between Bamar Buddhists and Bamar Muslims, except that Bamar Muslims consume no pork (see Chaye 1986).
Myanmar Muslims from Upper Burma are considered to be more liberal in Islamic thoughts and more accommodating towards different ethnic groups and other faiths. Madrasahs in this area teach students to be more open-minded than those in other areas, and no particular form of dress is considered 'pious'. Madrasahs in Lower Myanmar, however, make it compulsory for their students to dress in Indian style, wearing 'kurta' and 'fez'. All madrasah teachers in Lower Burma wear piouskurta andfe z dress.
Any madrasah student or teacher who is not in 'pious' dress is considered to be a 'follower of deviate teachings and the servant of Satan' or anti-Hadith (against the traditions of the Prophet and against accepting the Qur'an as the only revealed source of Islam). Whatever the case is, assumptions about pious dress are meant only for madrasah teachers, not for the general Muslim public.
No text written by any native Myanmar Muslim is used in any madrasah anywhere in the country. The textbooks used are the same as those used in Indian and Pakistani madrasahs, emphasising faith and cultural matters, and leaving out social relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims, politics, psychology, sociology and philosophy. There could be several reasons why Muslims are not welcome in the civil service and state-controlled government institutions, the police or the army, but no madrasah graduate ever thinks of working along with their fellows of the Buddhist faith. At the same time, their qualifications would not allow them to join the civil service domain, as madrasah certificates are not recognised by the regime.
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
The concept of jihad is loosely translated as striving for one's best to achieve something that God wishes—not declaring war on non-Muslims over various preconceived notions. Since the September 2001 attacks, Myanmar's authorities have been increasingly concerned about the nature and establishment of madrasahs and the sources of donations and textbooks used in them. During some critical periods, madrasahs in and around Yangon and other places have been instructed to shut down and order their students to return to their respective homes until tranquility is restored in the country. Similar instructions are sometimes given to other schools as well.
The regime imposes restrictions on importing Islamic religious books and other texts from the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, although its media proclaims that no such restrictions apply. In two cases, books in Urdu sent by Myanmar Muslim students studying in Pakistan were confiscated at the Yangon International Airport6 and some bundles of books in Arabic donated by Myanmar Muslims living in Saudi Arabia were stored at the Thai–Myanmar border to be smuggled into Myanmar, if circumstances allowed.
Famous and reputable madrasahs in Myanmar
Myanmar is home to 759 Islamic schools, according to the official records of the regime. Madrasahs can be placed in two categories: madrasah (school) andjami'ah (university)—although all began as the former before transforming themselves into the latter. Some institutions adoptjami'ah and madrasah in their title, with no apparent explanation. Of all these institutions, some are well known for their academic staff, curriculum and discipline and management (selected madrasahs are listed in Appendix Table 10.1). The story of the establishment of two famous mosques and madrasahs provides an example of the respect with which their founders are still held.
Darul 'Uloom (Tarmwe)
A Muslim named Ibrahim purchased 17.5 hectares of land in Tarmwe, Yangon, in 1919, of which 19 square metres were allocated on which to build a mosque and the rest became a Muslim cemetery. The headmaster of this madrasah was Maulana Mufi Mahmud Daud Yussuf, who was born in Yangon in 1916. At the age of five, he was entrusted to Maulana Abdul Majid of Shah Jahan Puri, India, to learn Islam. He was later sent to the school of Randeniah to study English. After 1929, he undertook further studies at the school of Mazahirul 'Uloom in Saharan Pur and obtained a Mufti's (expert on Islamic jurisprudence) degree in 1936, the year he married his cousin. He performed theHaj (pilgrimage to Mecca) along with his teacher, Maulana Abdul Rahman. On his return from Mecca, he reluctantly accepted the post of the chairman of Surti Mosque, Yangon. Later, he was assigned to take charge of the Muslim cemetery and became the headmaster of the madrasah until his death. Today, the authorities have closed
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
this Muslim cemetery and no new burials are allowed. Maulawi Saleh from
Mawlamyaing now heads this madrasah.
In 1957–58, Hakim Abdul Aziz set up aYu n a n i medicine shop in Bohtataung, where he noticed many Muslim children had no knowledge of Islam. Offering them sweets and snacks, he invited them to his medicine house, where he taught them about Islam. During a journey to Bago, he met Adbullah in Waw and Muhammad Saleh, Ahmad, Wali Ahmad, Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Qasim and Muhammad Ali, all of whom headed to Madauk. Here, they met Habibul Rahman, Muhammad Ismail, Muhammed Yakob (big) and Muhammad Yakob (small). They all continued their journey to Nyaunglaybin, where they met the sons of Maulana Abdul Ghafur, Abdul Majid, Abdul Manar and Mu'min. All of them, including Yusuf from Pyun Ta Zar, drove to Yangon and began a small school with 15 students.
Challenges faced by madrasahs in Myanmar
There seem to be no clear-cut rules and regulations for what a madrasah can do or cannot do in Myanmar. All rules and laws change from time to time. Every Muslim is aware that madrasahs are being closely watched and monitored by the regime, and they behave in the safest way possible. The US Religious Freedom
Report and Human Rights Watch have on numerous occasions reported incidents
involving the arrest and jailing of some Muslim teachers in state schools, who
were teaching students how to read the Qur'an at home.
According to the Myanmar Government's own publications, Islam and its related affairs are controlled, regulated and managed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Myanmar, working through five Islamic associations (ibid.:69):
1. Islamic Religious Affairs Council
4. All Myanmar Young Muslim Youth
5. Myanmar Muslim League.
The Islamic Religious Affairs Council (IRAC) is the most active Islamic association as it has the blessing of the regime. The Islamic Centre of Myanmar (ICM), set up by the Bamar Muslim U Ba Chit,7 acts as a mouthpiece for the IRAC and is active in interfaith dialogue. All its executive members adopt only Myanmar names with the prefix 'Al haj',8 such as Al Haj U Khin Maung Myint, Al Haj U Tin Nyunt and Haji Ma Daw Hla Shawe. Likewise, none of its committee members, including the daughter of its founder, U Ba Chit, Haji Ma Dr Sandar Chit, has a Muslim (Arabic) name (see ICM 2003).
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
The government allows publication of Islamic books and numerous magazines,
especially by the ICM, such as Al Irshad (Guidance), Milardun Nabi (The Birth
of the Holy Prophet), Al Noor(The Light), Al Balaq(Spreading), Al Hilal(The Crescent), Al Falah(The Success), Al Minar(Minaret), Nurul Islam(The Light of Islam), Lisanul Islam(Language of Islam), Islam Myet Won(The Eye of Islam)
and Al Munadi (The Call).
All magazines are informative in nature and highlight local and global news about Islam, including the lives of Muslims in the United States, the winners of the King Feisal Award and feature poems and short stories. Also included are articles about science and Islam, the history of early Bamar Muslims, Muslims in ancient Myanmar, the impact of the Internet on modern youth, the danger of homosexuality and HIV/AIDS. Advertising is accepted from Ahamdiah Muslim Jammat, the organisation termed by the traditional 'Ulama as an 'out-of Islam group'.9 The ICM also conducts summer Islamic classes for Bamar Muslims.
Muslims in Myanmar usually believe that they are discriminated against and are treated badly by the regime compared with people of other faiths. Muslims are unhappy that there are only two public holidays for Muslims, Aidil Fitri and 'Idil Adha, of which only one is a gazetted a public holiday, while Buddhists celebrate numerous religious public holidays. At the same time, many Muslims complain that the regime refuses to grant land orwaqf (donations of land or property by a Muslim) to set up either a madrasah or a mosque in newly established towns such as Hlaing Thayar and South and North Dagon in Yangon Division.
The lack of an authorised Islamic or neutral news agency in Myanmar has provided fertile ground for all types of Islamic organisations.Ahmadiyah (anti-hadith groups) are gaining more strength among less-educated Muslim urban youths. The traditional 'Ulama's attempt to prohibit quoting any Qur'anic verse orhadith is confronted by a handful of modern youths who spent a few months learning Arabic at Azhar University in Cairo. These youths argue that Islam is for everyone and proclaim that ''Ulama must not be allowed to monopolise it'.
At the same time, the traditional 'Ulama have failed to inculcate a sense of Islamic identity in Muslim youths. Many Myanmar Muslims tend to hide their identity and prefer to classify themselves as Buddhist in some situations. Madrasahs will, however, remain in Myanmar into the future as there is no other alternative to the state education system available for Myanmar Muslims.
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
Appendix Table 10.1 Famous and reputable madrasahs in Myanmar
Jamiat Arabia Mazahirul 'Uloom
Jamiatul Arabia Islamiah Ta'leemul Qur'an
Isha' Atul 'Uloom
Maung Gan, Mawlamyaing
Madrasah Arabia Hidayatul 'Uloom
Madrasah Furqaniah Hafizul Qur'an
Yin Daw, Pyaw Bwe
(Arabic University of) Madinatul 'Uloomul
Nan Daw Kone, Meiktila
(Arabic University of) Madrasah Azziziah
(Arabic University of) Madrasah Khaliliyah
Bone Owe, Mandalay
(Arabic University of) Miftahul 'Uloom
Kywe Chan Kone Mawlamyaing
Ma Kyar Nwe Zin, Mandalay
(Arabic University of) Jamia'h Furqaniah
(Arabic University of) Jami'ah Arabiah Shamsul
Pyin Oo Lwin
(Arabic University of) Bisthanul 'Uloom
(Arabic University of) Jami'ah Huseiniah
Jami'ah Arabiah Imdadul 'Uloom
Kaw Ka Rate, Kayin State
Jami'ah Nurul Islam
Kaw Ka Rate, Kayin State
Jami'ah Ashraful 'Uloom
Su Lay Gone, Kyaukse
Jami'ah Arabiah Madinatul 'Uloom
Taung Myint, Mandalay
(Arabic University of) Muhamadiah
Kan Tar Kone, Shwebo
Jami'ah Arabiah Nadwatul 'Uloom
Myint Nge, Mandalay
Jai'ah Arabiah Nadwatul 'Uloom
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
Appendix Table 10.3 Location of mosques within Yangon Division
Kwan Chan Kone
Than Ta Pin
Source: Ministry of Defence of Myanmar 1997, Tha Tanar Yang War Htun Say Phoe (Shining the Bright
Light of Religion), March, Yangon, pp. 48–73.
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
Abaza, Mona 2002,Newsletter, no. 28, August, International Institute of Asian
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 2005,Factbook, viewed 10 November 2005,
Chaye, Sayar 1986, Some Things Good to Know About Myself, (In Burmese), A
Mar Chit Press, Rangoon.
Chakravarti, Nalini Ranjan 1971, The Indian Minority in Burma: The rise and
decline of an immigrant community, Oxford University Press, London.
Hall, D. G. E. 1959, A History of Southeast Asia, London.
International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) 2005, University of Amsterdam,
Islamic Center of Myanmar (ICM) 2003, Summer Islamic Course. Volume II, April,
Islamic Center of Myanmar, Yangon.
Jilani, A. F. K., 1999, The Rohingyas of Arakan: Their quest for justice, Ahmed
Lay, Pathi U Ko Ko 1971, The Union of Myanmar and the Religion of Islam
Matthews, Bruce 2001, Ethnic and Religious Diversity: Myanmar's unfolding
nemesis, Institute of South East Asian Studies, Singapore.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) 2005, Government of the Union of Myanmar,
viewed 10 November 2005,
Mohammed Mohiyuddin Mohammed Sulaiman, 2005, 'Excluding the Included: Bamar (Burman) Muslims' Quest for Bamar-but-Islamic Identity in Burma', paper presented at 10th anniversary SEASREP (Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program) conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 8-9
Moshe, Yegar 1972, The Crescent in the East: Islam in Asia Major, Curzon Press,
Mutalib, Hussin 2005, 'Who should speak for Islam in Southeast Asia?',Reader's
Naing, Wa Khae Ma Maung Min 2000, The Union of Myanmar and the Religion
of Islam, Part I & II, Yangon.
Selth, Andrew 2003, Burma Muslims: Terrorists or terrorized?, Strategic and
Defence Studies Centre, The Australian National University, Canberra.
Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar
Suthasasna, Arong 1983–84, 'Occupational distribution of Muslims in Thailand:
problems and prospects', Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minorities
Affairs, vol. V.
Thiker, H. 1959, The Union of Burma, London.
1Andrew Selth (2003:5) also noted a few who believed that Muslims could constitute 16 per cent, or
eight million, of the total population, although most statistics for Myanmar are unreliable and this
2Speech delivered by Maung Ko Ghaffari, 12–15 February 2005, Cheongpyeong, Korea, cited in
Lisanul—Islam Magazine, May–June 2005, Yangon, p. 86.
3The movement was founded by Mawlana Ilyas from India in the early 1940s with the noble intention
of bringing the Muslims of India back to Islam. Today, the movement is widely accepted by the people of the Indian subcontinent. It does not publish any books and does not involve itself in any business activities. It shuns politics and refuses to join any activities that bring men to power, which is often misused to subjugate others.
4Speech by Mawlana Ismail Ibnu Mohammed Bismillah delivered at the Bamar Muslim Education
Conference held in Pegu in December 1929.
5This literally means 'to be quick to hear while asleep, to awake easily, to be on alert, to be vigilant
and watchful'. See Judson's Burmese–English Dictionary 1988, p. 586.
6An interview with one of the students in Pakistan, who requested his name not be revealed for
7Heartiest Acknowledgement to U Ba Chit, published by the Islamic Centre of Myanmar, Yangon.
Islamic education in Myanmar: a case study
// // //
Islamic Education in Myanmar
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 04:35 AM PST
Kelantan peruntuk RM300 ribu anjur nikah perdana
KOTA BHARU, 22 Dis: Kerajaan negeri memperuntukkan sebanyak RM300,000 bagi menganjurkan program perkahwinan perdana yang julung kali diadakan di Kelantan pada 25 Disember ini.
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Kesihatan, Wan Ubaidah Omar berkata, program berkenaan berkenaan diadakan lebih berbentuk kebajikan bagi membantu golongan belia dan beliawanis berkahwin.
"Peruntukan itu termasuk membiayai mas kahwin, jamuan dan peralatan perkahwinan.
"Seramai 100 pasangan akan mengambil bahagian pada program itu yang akan dirasmikan Menteri Besar, Tuan Guru Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat," katanya di sini.
Menurutnya, mas kahwin sebanyak RM1,000 disediakan kepada pasangan terbabit.
Katanya juga pasangan orang kelainan upaya (OKU) turut mengambil bahagian.
"Kita juga berusaha mendapatkan Emas Dinar sebagai sebahagian dari mas kahwin pada majlis berkenaan," katanya.
Wan Ubaidah berkata, program berkenaan diadakan bertujuan memberi galakan kepada golongan muda berkahwin bagi mengelakkan mereka terjebak dengan gejala kurang sihat.
Menurutnya mas kahwin sebanyak RM1,000 dicadangkan Menteri Besar supaya umat Islam mendapat keberkatan.
"Jangan menyusahkan soal perkahwinan kerana mas kahwin yang terlalu tinggi boleh mengundang gejala tidak sihat," ujarnya.
Pada majlis berkenaan pengantin lelaki akan berkumpul di Masjid Muhammadi bermula jam 7 pagi. Kemudian mereka akan diiringi perarakan motosikal klasik dan Persatuan Kereta Viva Kelantan ke Putik.
Manakala pengantin perempuan akan menunggu pasangan masing-masing di Putik. Majlis akad nikah akan disempurnakan Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz. -harakahdaily
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 02:05 AM PST
Source_MKini:Rosmah's First Ladies Summit by Regina Lee
The recent First Ladies Summit came with a price tag of close to RM4.5 million at the government's expense.
The brainchild of the prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor, the inaugural summit hosted 15 wives of heads of state from around the world – although mainly from African countries – in Kuala Lumpur in October.
In a written reply to the Dewan Negara today, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil revealed that the total expenditure for the three-day summit came up to RM4,498,949.99.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 12:22 AM PST
ITNM raja pelancaran buku?
Banyak juga orang yang secara langsung dengan dunia buku berkata sedemikian. Mana tidaknya, dalam setahun sahaja banyak majlis pelancaran buku yang dilakukan oleh ITNM.
ITNM pun dalam dilema juga apabila ada juga penulis yang mahu karyanya yang diterjemahkan dan diterbitkan oleh ITNM turut diadakan majlis pelancaran. Dipendekkan cerita, tidak semua buku boleh diadakan majlis pelancaran, walaupun buku itu mempunyai prestij tersendiri.
Berikut adalah gambar semasa Majlis Pelancaran Buku Makyung di Kinokuniya, Suria KLCC pada 19 Disember 2010 lalu.
Memetik kata bos-bos saya, ITNM perlu mengadakan majlis sebegini bagi meningkatkan kepedulian masyarakat akan kewujudan ITNM. ITNM tidak mempunyai peruntukan yang besar untuk melabur kepada mana-mana syarikat untuk menjenamakan semula ITNM sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh Bank Islam, RHB, AmBank, Tabung Haji dan lain-lain organisasi.
Khabarnya, Bank Islam menjenamakan semula syarikatnya dengan membelanjakan lebih RM4 juta. Pelaburan yang besar!
Maka dengan mengadakan majlis-majlis tertentu bersusulan dengan strategi pemasaran dan komunikasi yang betul, sekurang-kurangnya nama ITNM kini tersiar di media massa seminggu sekali. Secara tidak langsung, masyarakat tahu apakah itu ITNM. Tidaklah banyak orang menyangka ITNM itu IJN ataupun UiTM.
Dengan sedemikian rupa, pihak Pemasaran & Jualan ITNM mudah memainkan peranan memasarkan segala produk & perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan ITNM. Malah pihak Komunikasi ITNM pun mudah menjalankan pelbagai kerjasama dengan mana-mana pihak - untuk pelbagai program yang bermanfaat untuk dunia penterjemahan dan perbukuan.
Namun saya percaya, pemasaran mulut ke mulut sangatlah penting. Terima kasih kepada penggiat sastera, penulis, penterjemah, pelanggan dan mana-mana individu yang menyebut perkara baik-baik tentang ITNM kepada orang lain.
Posted: 21 Dec 2010 09:02 PM PST
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 02:20 AM PST
Empat terbunuh dalam kebakaran di Pulau Pinang awal pagi ini
Gambar: Orang ramai menyaksikan anggota Bomba dan Penyelamat mengawal kebakaran rumah kedai dua tingkat di Jalan Perak di sini awal pagi tadi.
GEORGE TOWN - Empat sekeluarga terbunuh dalam satu kebakaran di sebuah rumah kedai dua tingkat di Jalan Perak di sini, awal pagi ini.
Timbalan Pengarah Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat (Operasi) Pulau Pinang Mohd Razam Taja Rahim berkata, mayat Geoh Siew Keow, 56, serta dua anaknya Neoh Li Hong, 18, dan Neoh Soo Aik, 16, ditemui di dalam bilik air tingkat atas rumah itu.
Beliau berkata, seorang lagi wanita, Lim Chye Hwa, 73, yang ditemui di tingkat bawah rumah itu pula meninggal dunia semasa dalam perjalanan ke hospital.
Katanya bomba menerima panggilan pada kira-kira pukul 2.50 pagi, dan semasa kejadian tiga beranak itu dikatakan sedang tidur di tingkat atas rumah, manakala dua lagi penghuni tidur di tingkat bawah.
"Kami berjaya selamatkan pemilik rumah Neoh Hooi Poh, 59, di tingkat bawah," katanya kepada pemberita ketika ditemui di tempat kejadian di sini.
Beliau berkata, lima jentera bomba dari Jalan Perak, dan masing-masing satu dari Bagan Jermal, Lebuh Pantai dan Paya Terubong dengan kekuatan kira-kira 35 anggota bergegas ke tempat kejadian selepas menerima panggilan kecemasan.
"Api merebak dengan pantas kerana rumah itu dipenuhi dengan banyak bahan mudah terbakar, ia menyimpan banyak peralatan untuk sembahyang kaum Cina, kami berjaya kawal kebakaran dalam masa kira-kira 15 minit," katanya.
Punca kebakaran dan jumlah kerugian masih dalam siasatan. -BERNAMA
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 01:55 AM PST
Source_MKini: M'sia losing out on health tourism to Thailand, India
An aggressive marketing strategy in foreign markets, including the high-cost Western countries where healthcare costs are exploding and becoming unmanageable, can help Malaysia benefit greatly from medical tourism, says a German healthcare specialist. The expert, who has been noticing Europeans headed for hospitals in Mumbai, Bangalore, Bangkok and elsewhere in Asia, says Malaysia, unlike India and Thailand, was not on the radar of the Western healthcare sector.
This is why Malaysia has not been able to attract a lot of medical traffic, despite its well-developed infrastructure for medical treatment and well-trained doctors.
India, Thailand and, lately, the Philippines are vying for a slice of the medical tourism pie.
Indeed, many patients from North America and Europe are increasingly seeking complex surgical treatment in India and Thailand.
A Frost & Sullivan research study estimates that medical tourism is inherent with a huge business potential that is expected to touch a mind-boggling US$100 billion (RM312 billion) in 2012.
Medical tourism is growing at an annual rate of 20 to 30 percent.
The Middle East is one of the latent source markets of patients, with some 20 percent of healthcare seekers worldwide coming from the Gulf and other Arab countries.
Meanwhile, a report says that Malaysia is one of the countries in the Asia Pacific region whose significance as a source of outbound tourism worldwide increased in 2010.
This assessment is contained in the just-released ITB World Travel Trends Report by Messe Berlin, the agency that organises the world's biggest tourism fair, ITB Berlin, and its Asian edition ITB ASIA in Singapore.
More people are travelling
Indeed, outbound travel is increasing at double-digit rates and will end this year well ahead of levels reached during the pre-recession peak year 2008, thus setting a new record, according to the report.
The outlook for further growth in 2011 is also looking good, the report maintains.
As the year 2010 draws to a close, a conspicuous attribute of this year's tourism traffic was the rise in outbound travel from a number of Asian countries.
Besides Malaysia, the other booming outbound Asian markets in 2010 have been China and South Korea which posted 20 percent growth rates. Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and India also posted double-digit growth rates, the report said.
Both China and India have the potential to develop into attractive outbound markets in the years to come. At present, China is the world's 10th largest outbound market, just behind Japan.
However, by 2020, the number of outbound Chinese travellers could double while the number of Indians traveling abroad could grow five-fold.
Posted: 22 Dec 2010 01:48 AM PST
Source: Social justice for all. The Star Says
EVEN the most fervent supporter of meritocracy will know that a truly level playing field is not possible in real life.
Whether one is choosing a person for a scholarship or a promotion, it is not realistic to say that the candidates are starting from the same point and can, therefore, be judged strictly on merit.
Using a tangible set of criteria — like the number of As, coupled with extracurricular scores — provide a guide, but the system cannot be foolproof.
Which is why we have this perennial problem whereby many who feel that they deserve a scholarship because of merit cry foul when they don't.
There are, of course, some scholarships, particularly those that are industry-driven, which only target the academically brilliant so that they become real assets to the companies after they graduate. Even if you were a billionaire's son, you would still qualify, provided you can prove that you are truly made of the right stuff.
Then there are the socially-driven scholarship providers where the disadvantaged will get the edge.
Somewhere in the middle are government scholarships. The dilemma is that all of us believe we are stakeholders because we are taxpayers and therefore must have an equal chance when it comes to such official largesse.
The Prime Minister's remarks that the Government will strike a balance between meritocracy and social justice when rewarding students for outstanding academic achievements must be seen in this context.
He is correct to say that while rewarding students based on meritocracy is important, it is also imperative not to sideline others who come from low-income families and still achieve fairly good results despite not having the advantage of studying in a dynamic or conducive environment.
"We will continue to recognise those who are outstanding and excellent. However, while we aim for excellence, we need to find a good balance between meritocracy and social justice. We need to give opportunity to students from rural areas or from low and middle-income families the same opportunity when their results are fairly good," Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Monday when presenting education grants and financial assistance from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to 330 students who excelled in their STPM and SPM examinations last year.
"We need to give the same opportunity to a student from Kampung Bantal in Ulu Tembeling (Pahang) who obtained fairly good results as is given to a student whose results are better and lives in Kuala Lumpur."
We also have to understand that it is not just about the geographical divide, where students in the rural areas are at a disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts.
Even in an urban setting like the Klang Valley, for example, there is no equal access for everyone. A student with a highspeed broadband connection being chauffer-driven to a tuition centre can happily co-exist with a student staying in a longhouse just down the road.
Both may get the same number of As in the examination, but the effort they each have to put in cannot be considered similar.
The fact remains that we are not quite a land of limitless opportunity in which individuals can go as far as their own merit takes them.
Which is why a commitment to social justice is one way to balance out the situation.
Social justice is always about addressing needs. Just as there are the very rich and privileged among all ethnic communities, likewise there are the poor and underprivileged among all of them as well.
Be that as it may, transparency is important so that no one uses the "social justice card" to trick the system into believing that he is the more deserving candidate.
Likewise, we cannot continually play the "ethnic card" to suggest that only one community is socially disadvantaged.
A fair and just nation is one where justice is tempered with mercy. Meritocracy can only be considered fair when it is tempered with social justice.
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