Monday, March 31, 2008

Scholarship Withdrawn Over Blog?

There was the earlier case that JPA scholars were prevented from blogging, but I thought this new case was just absolutely ridiculous.

The complainant, CK, was a JPA scholar studying at one of the pre-university centres in preparation for going overseas. In one of her blog post, CK criticised one of her college mates, YK that she had no fashion sense and that her dress made her look like a grandma. CK published YK's picture along with the post.

In addition, CK was critical of the college's rigid dress codes as well as the college's security personnel who acted like "guard dogs" for they would try very hard to find faults with the students.

YK's parents went beserk, approached their professor and threatened to bring CK to the police station.

Despite deleting the critical post(s), and sending in an apology letter as requested by the school (where her professor had promised CK that the case would subsequently be resolved), her scholarship was terminated a few months later.

Subsequently, she was suspended from the school late last year for 2 months and she has not been back to the pre-university centre for some 3 months to date. (There's the question of whether the termination of scholarship means she can't attend classes anymore.. as the centre's only meant for scholars).

The newly appointed deputy minister of education, Wee Ka Siong has been alerted a few months back. The minister in prime minister's department, Datuk Nazri Aziz has appealed on her behalf to JPA, but all to no avail.

Is this a case of JPA and the pre-university centre going to the extremes in punishing a student over a seemingly trivial matter (which should have ended with the letter of apology issued within days of receiving the complaint)? Or is there more than it meets the eye?

I've personally called upon the new Deputy Minister of Education to act in the interest of justice last week, and he has promised that he's still pursuing the matter with the prime minister's department (which is in-charge of JPA).

In the interest of the bright young student, her scholarship and place at the school should be immediately re-instated. CK may not have been an angel, but certainly in this case, the punishment meted out is clearly disproportionate to the crime, if ever there was one in this case.

If the case isn't resolved by the time Parliament starts at the end of April, I'll contemplate bringing the issue into Parliament as well.

For those interested, the sequence of events on the above case is as follows:
  • --.07.07 - CK wrote articles with regards to dress code and security personnel on blog

  • 10.08.07 - CK wrote post criticising college mate's dress sense

  • 11.08.07 - CK wrote apology letter to college

  • 12.08.07 - CK wrote apology letter to YK

  • 23.08.07 - College warning letter to CK

  • 27.11.07 - JPA scholarship termination letter to CK

  • 30.11.07 - CK appeal against termination letter sent to YB Wee Ka Siong

  • 19.12.07 - Disciplinary hearing by college against CK

  • 03.01.08 - College letter of suspension to CK

  • 15.01.08 - CK appeal against college suspension

  • 15.01.08 - CK appeal against scholarship termination via college

  • 31.01.08 - CK appeal against scholarship termination to YB Ong Ka Ting

  • 04.02.08 - College rejected appeal against suspension

  • 31.01.08 - Appeal by YB Datuk Nazri Aziz against scholarship termination rejected by JPA

  • 13.02.08 - JPA rejected CK appeal against scholarship termination

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just hope CK best of luck.

Looks like this young student has learn the hard way.

Anonymous said...

hey off topic here
out universities really should do more to obtain research grants. the nus engineering faculty alone receives something around 60 million sing dollars in research grants. it would be great if um or some other top malaysian university could obtain at least half of this amount. would sort of create a virtuous cycle where research begets money, which breed more research and so on. the trickle down effects would be substantial indeed i believe.

Justic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

this makes me sick to the stomach

Anonymous said...

I wrote it and it been deleted by administrator. Basically, I knew CK personally and I knew her attitudes lot of problems. It's a punishment for her.

take my advise, ppl nvr learn until they received punishment.

thx. (no offense)

average_student said...

This had happened before in US... cyber bully… if I’m not mistaken, the victim killed herself after that! I’m totally agreed with JPA.... She deserved it!

Anonymous said...

at least JPA get one of their acts right for once...

Anonymous said...

Tony, this matter is not 'trivial'!! Can I say she brought this to herself?? Common sense should prevail and in this case, she shouldn't have started this little hoo-haa.

Charis Quay said...

I haven't followed the case, but based on this description, I do agree that CK failed to demonstrate the maturity one would hope to find in a JPA scholar. And this is in some respects not a trivial matter. As to whether it is warrants the withdrawal of her scholarship, the all-important question is on what grounds was this done? Was this action arbitrary and does it set precedent for other arbitrary decisions? 'We are withdrawing your scholarship because your propensity to not use capitals in your postings on educationmalaysia demonstrates a lack of the attention to detail one would hope for in a JPA scholar' --- do we really want that? I'd like to see a copy of the Akujanji referred to in the JPA letter. Tony, do you have one?

Anonymous said...

This is absurd......As far as I know, the a JPA scholarship is an academic scholarship, it should only be withdrawn if the recipient is convicted of crime or has committed an academic offence ie plagiarism. Scholars come from different backgrounds, the more varied they are , the better.

Who needs of bunch of highly educated individuals who only know how to behave homogeneously?

Anonymous said...

If you visit her blog, you will notice that her life style is not that of a family of income less than RM1500.00.

Just wonder how she got her JPA scholarship.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong to post one's view on a blog. However, if a person "criticises her college mates..(about) fashion sense, published (the colleague's) picture along with the post"

I guess this is an evidence of arrogance, disrespect to one's peers. I'm stereotyping here, but since when do engineering students have fashion sense? and the time for it?

Well done JPA!!

Anonymous said...

I hope that Tony won't bring this issue overboard, since it has great potential to be politicised as another racial issue. I don't think its worthwhile.

The fact that JPA refused to grant mercy even with the support from Ong Ka Ting and Nazri Aziz proved that the sponsor is adamant in their decision.

Probably it should be a good warning for JPA scholars to show high standard of character and respect to their peers and authorities, befitting a scholar.

Tony P said...

Unfortunately, there are some of those here who'd only too quick to point fingers and make negative judgements about others - often the same person who has posted a few times here.

Sometimes people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

She has committed an act of disrespect to another student and apologised publicly for it, promising to not repeat such statements again.

I for one, would raise my hands to say that I've criticised other's dress sense in shopping malls before, or that I've criticised university dress codes. Does it mean that I should be expelled from Parliament?

Key point here, and I'll reemphasize, CK may be no angel - but punishment must befit the size of the crime, and mitigating factors must be considered or there's no justice.

Tony

Anonymous said...

What JPA is doing both right or wrong, depends on the terms and conditions as stated in the scholarship.

It is best for CK and family to relook at the agreement and reappeal.

Best wishes and luck to CK.

Kong said...

I disagree that a JPA scholarship is merely an academic scholarship. We the taxpayer wanted more than good academic results. We wanted to give it to someone who also have good morality and ethic etc.. We wanted him/her to become an useful future members of our community and high IQ is just part of the equation.

Furthermore, I think our tax Ringgit should be given to someone who is good in every sense, not on her color or where she comes from. Even if her parent are rich, they do pay tax so why shouldn't their daughter be eligible for scholarship like everyone else? It's after all, tax Ringgit we are talking about and her parent pay a lot more if rich.

My 2 sen.

Anonymous said...

Criticising someone's fashion sense in a blog... with pictures no less. You know what, i think she deserves it! Goddamn spoilt brat...

Anonymous said...

I think that your title of "Scholarship Withdrawn Over Blog?" is misleading.

Without reading further, it gives the impression that JPA is very very very unreasonable.

Just wonder why Tony is championing for this student, while her family has all the connections to reach YB Datuk Nazri Aziz (and YB Ong Ka Ting) to appeal on her behalf.

Anonymous said...

So what is a punishment befitting this crime Mr. Tony P? Is a public apology really a remedy? Especially with the damage already done?

And what is with these new ruling coalition of "formerly-opposition" people pandering to every whim of the populace? Please la let the relevant organisations perform some of their enforcement duties. Grow up, act like people running a country. Not like some poofter unexpectedly given mandate to lead.
After the euphoria, day after day I'm getting more and more disillusioned. Old wine...

Kong said...

Someone said she was able to get YB Datuk Nazri Aziz (and YB Ong Ka Ting) to appeal on her behalf and that raise an interesting question. Did she get these two's help to get the scholarship in the 1st place? Who knows but it's not so important now.

The important thing is, for JPA to be able to resist strong political pressure is a good thing. Politician should have no role in choosing who get the scholarship because that should be done on merit alone. And that include any political pressure from Tony, now that he is also a YB.

naeboo~ said...

i also think the punishment is too harsh for something so trivial.

if someone kills herself bcoz someone said she got no fashion sense, it's ald a matter of time that she would anyways seeing how deeply sensitive that person is.

even without blogs, ppl are highly critical of others. live with it.

JPA's move is not only going overboard but also a very good example how the authorities love to control the situation by instilling fear.

talk about cultivating non-thinking non-critical yes men for the future! pah!!

katie said...

In reply to average_student:

Please get your facts straight before commenting here.
Do you even know what cyber bullying is?
CK only wrote about YK's bad fashion sense (and if you had seen it, you would have agreed) and never sent any hate messages or spam to YK.
Cyber bullying is when someone attacks another person directly through email/msn. It only happened once and was not directly targeted to YK, so I fail to see why she should kill herself over such a trivial matter?

If one of your friends said you wore ugly clothes, would you get your dad to bring him/her to the police station?

Think about it.

JPA scholars, smart as they may be, are still average people with above average intelligence.
You cannot expect their lifestyles or maturity levels to change once they have obtained a scholarship.

If you, as an average person and non-scholarship holder is allowed to criticize another student, doesn't it stand to reason that CK is allowed to do the same?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lyna Wan said...

OMG, luckily I'm not JPA bound. Blogging is a good way to express yourself and to strengthen social skill. And then, why these lots keep talking about building strong personality and social skill when they lastly put this line on the scholars.

Anonymous said...

After two unsuccessful appeals, both done by prominent ministers? My, this is a lost cause. I've not seen her blog so the extend of her damaging post is unknown.

Anonymous said...

No sympathies from me. Is someone who publishes critical comments about a fellow student's dress style even worthy of a JPA scholarship (except if she's studying fashion design, of course).

fashion said...

whoever says that only those who study fashion design have good fashion sense?

and i quote anonymous: "I'm stereotyping here, but since when do engineering students have fashion sense? and the time for it?"

you answered yourself. stereotype =.=

Anonymous said...

Agree that JPA once done the right thing. A person that does not understand how to respect others and waste her time to criticize other people's dress should not be given a scholarship from the tax payer.

Daniel said...

Poor gal. Then again, more bitchy things go on all the time between college students...an (public) apology should've been enough.

And what's with all the anonymous comments? There very well may be only one person leaving all those posts. Heh.

average_student said...

aiyoyo katie...

what a small world you live in.. check the internet lorr.. do YOU know what cyber bullying is??

Read this!
http://www.rbs2.com/ccrime.htm
http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/how_it_works/index.html

Check wikipedia - easiest way!
Cyberbullying occurs when a child, preteen or teenager is bullied, harassed, HUMILIATED, threatened, embarrassed, or targeted in someway by another child, preteen or teenager through the use of internet, cell phones and other forms of digital technology. In order for it to be cyber-bullying, the intent must be to CAUSE EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, and there must be no legitimate purpose to the communication..

CK commented on fashion sense and post a picture ON THE NET!

Humiliated? hell yeah ... Emotional distress? double yeah

nova said...

Sending JPA Scholars to oversea is okay and JPA Scholars have to act as a representative of Malaysia Scholar. People with this attitude, what kind of impression ppl will think about Ma-la-Ya-SiA

Anonymous said...

i totally believe she brought all the troubles to herself and her attitude is really a disgrace for all JPA scholars.

As a JPA scholar myself, I must say a responsible and sensible scholar must display at least certain level of maturity. What she wrote was simply offensive and personal.

Though, I do agree with the author that her scholarship should not be terminated because she already apologized and I couldn't find any reason why JPA has to expel her. The punishment, all i could say is too harsh although what she did was actually quite serious.

rational thinker said...

dear all,

this is not the first time, and shall not be the last time.

*someone whom scholarship was terminated for blogging*

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

to all high achievers out there:

it doesn't matter how many A's u can get in your exams, what really matters is your CHARACTER & ATTITUDE!!!

i believe 4 some reason CK might have done something wrong AGAIN which led 2 her scholarship termination after her incident with YK

zewt said...

i think we all wanna know who is this CK.

Anonymous said...

One should think what a blog for ? Is it a place for you to express your own opinion?

In term of maturity, is YK matured enough to handle her mate's comment on the blog? A JPA scholar should be able to handle her personal life or college life without involving her parent, to show her capability to handle problem evolve around her. What is the point for JPA to provide Scholarship to someone who do not even know how to handle friend's comments. Merely good in academic is not good enough.

No doubt, character and attitude is important, if CK has attitude problem [to criticise on her blog], in other words, YK also has her attitude/character problem [do not know how to handle her personal life-too dependence and immature].

zetty said...

whatever anon!

just being anonymous shows how IMMATURE you are!

The caterpillar said...

Well, i think that the case is over and that's it.

as for the anon 4/08/2008 02:32:00 PM

Criticism especially when it comes to voicing your opinion on the net does not necessarily ensures a complete protection against the law and actions taken by others against you.

There is a question of whether you treat your blog as a personal diary or a public property up for display.You are always held responsible for the words that you spoke and the lines that you wrote.

Also, YK reserve every rights to have actions taken upon the irresponsible action of a irresponsible, naive but outright rude blogger.

Its not about a matter of attitude only.For me, its more about how you generate your impression on others and how others might feel about it.

For insiders, some were well-informed that CK did not only commented on YK but there were also other victims under the "poison pen" of CK.YK's protest is merely a triggering point just like when your blood vessels say that its enough and burst.The case should be judged as a whole and not just a simple victim-abuser relationship.

Yes, she might not be an angel.But she still needs to be a responsible creature!

Anonymous said...

Tony, little typo in your article. It should be suspended for 2 semesters (based on the attachment you show), instead of 2 months that you wrote.