Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Provide Quality Education for All" (II)

Following yesterday's story on the 12 year old boy who was caught stealing for the umpteenth time, whose mother was contemplating placing him with the welfare department, it's heart warming to see someone else who was reported today in the Star to beat the odds and shine.
Coming from a broken home and living in hardship, many would have little inspiration to succeed. But that is not the case with N. Shamilin, 20, who was sent to a welfare home after her father walked out on the family when she was just a baby.

Shamilin kept the faith, and took up graphic design at the Montfort Boys Town. And on Sunday, Shamilin walked tall when she was presented the Best Graphic Designer Award and the Brother Henry Award for “Creativity Talent” at Montfort's graduation ceremony.
Like many others, Shamilin could easily have ended in the streets with little future ahead of her. Fortunately, Montfort provided her with an avenue for her to make full use of her latent talents which will now give her the opportunity to chart her own destiny.

Much credit must be given to Montfort Boys Town for providing these individuals with a brighter future. Shamilin was among the 143 students who graduated with Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia certificates. To quote Shamilin:
“What I like most is that it provides holistic education. You don't only learn a particular skill here. Focus is also given on character formation, communication and living skills.”
To give a bit of a plug to Montfort, it was first established in 1959, founded by four Brothers of St Gabriel's congregation at an abandoned rubber estate located at Batu Tiga, Selangor, Malaysia. The four Brothers had a special dream; a dream that there must be a home for underprivileged boys. In the eyes of many, these boys are worthless and good for nothing. But for these pioneering brothers, they are very special.

The name Montfort is in the honour of St Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716) of France, whose love for the poor is epitomised by the quote "Those whom the world rejects must move you the most".

Montfort Boys Town is an Institute of Public Character and is dependent on public donations for its operation. It costs Montfort more than RM2 million a year to operate. The bulk of the funds raised are through public donations. Public donations make up 75% of funding for Montfort, while the government grants make up only 10%.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat was the special guest at the graduation event.
Ong said the Government was grateful to Montfort for giving hope to people from needy families and orphans, and pledged to forward its request to exempt its students from national service to the Government.
But I think the Government needs to do more than that - not just being "grateful". The government needs to see that there are the poor and forsaken in Malaysia who requires serious help, particularly an opportunity to acquire quality education for individuals such as the boy highlighted yesterday. Shamilin was fortunate, for Montfort was there for her. There are probably many many others who do not have that fortune. Institutes such as Montfort need greater support from the government, and these will be worthwhile expenditure for it will be spent on building a future for our youth, giving hope to the poor.

Malaysians should be provided assistance, irrespective of race, religion or creed and the education policy for the Malaysian Agenda must be drafted as such. Only then will the government be paying heed to the declaration provided by our Prime Minister, to "Provide Quality Education for All".

Note: You can donate (tax exempt) to Montfort Boys Town by printing out the donation slip.


Anonymous said...

Alternatively, you can donate other things that are in need if money is an issue.

I know my Dad gave away his really old motorbike to Monfort for their boys' mechanic classes.

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

hmm... the guy above may have posted in the wrong entry or site... anyways, i'm a malaysian, chinese descent. and i'm sick and tired of chinese people being high and mighty about the race, culture, etc... stop being critical of our fellow malaysians, of malay descent!

if we don't change our attitudes, we should not even blame others if they don't change theirs. the change has to start somewhere, albeit slowly, but surely...

can't we just work towards a bangsa malaysia?


Golf Afflicted said...

I have used my discretion for the first time on this blog to delete a comment on this post. The comment was not outright offensive, but it was very very racially biased and I do not wish this forum to become a racial battle ground.

Thanks for your understanding.

Anonymous said...

For those who are already in oversea and live comfortably. There is no reason for you to come back to Malaysia. Life in Malaysia is getting tougher each day.

Frankly, as a Chinese, I don't see there is any future for our next generation.

Another dangerous mentor that people always use is JFK "Don't ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country".

Is sound nice, but isn't how German Nazi and Japan militarism start the world war using the same mentor? Under the great "ask what you can do for the country".

Patriotism? Yes, I understand how you feel. Your love for the country was spoilt by the political party. Since non-malays will always be a second-class citizen, so you are probably the same in any other countries, if not better.

You get cannibalised by your own countrymen, intellectually and professionally.

As someone else advised, be a Global citizen.

Patriotism does not need you to be in Malaysia to work your due. Let no one pointed at you and say you are a traitor if your true intention is to generate good deeds for Malaysia wherever you are.

Save your time about coming back to Malaysia. Nothing will change in Malaysia. At least not even in this lifetime. Racism will still be here to stay, and also everything else.

I think there is such an entrenched discrimination against the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia, that it will take probably a whole generation to undo the damaged.

This is happening in whole spectrum of the Malaysian government, civil service, state governments and universities. Just look at percentage of malays in all these government bodies - 98%……….

A whole generation of malays has been brought up to think that it's their inherited right to own Malaysia. The other races are damned.

I think the malays especially those in power, are scared right now that if they will to compete openly with other races, they will surely be the loser. You will see very strong resistance to hire other races even the most qualified.

The malays are never brought up to compete on even ground. This is fault of previous PM and now the present PM has to tread a balance ground to ensure the malays are not cast away as well as to make Malaysia competitive worldwide.

In US I never met a malay immigrant, although there are thousands of Malaysian Chinese and Indian immigrants. Why? Malays in Malaysia have an easier life where they are literately prince of the land.

We have infrastructure good enough to be considered first world or better. Look at the Cyberjaya, Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya?

Gleaming high-rise buildings but also in every city, dirty toilets abound, litter clogging up the drains, public telephones damaged, plus unreliable rubbish collection and disposal. We just treat public facilities badly, not caring about others.

Being an urban dweller myself, I am constantly disheartened by the poor public infrastructure and upkeep in our capital city.

Faulty pedestrian traffic signals, illogical positioning of bus stops, poor public cleanliness, poor quality sidewalks (which are paved using slippery tiles), un-integrated and poorly managed public transportation system, the list goes on.

Your children can't even walk safely along the Kuala Lumpur streets, as they might be bags snatched, kidnapped, murdered, raped, or robbed, as they do not know the jungle laws of Malaysia. The police won't help much as they now have a big pile of corruption cases running after them.

You owe nothing to Malaysia, you pay your due, so live on.

So, my last advice. Don't come back unless you are really suffering in oversea.

I'm sorry this sounds very racist but I think we have to be honest in discussion.

Admin said...

Unless they are willing to dump the idea of "hak istimewa", else Malaysia will remain the same for the next 50 years or more.
Yes, oversee.....Gl0bal citizen might work for me. We all people of Earth

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

This country would be a great country if there is no division of races. With its richness of natural resources, Malaysia should be one among the most developed nation in Asia.

Bitter to say, all those money lost to corrupt politicians and cronies, and unprofitable projects.

This is what saddens me as Malaysian.

However, I do believe a brain drain is inevitable. I believe it is happening. As a student in long-ago school, I see it every year. Each and every year after the holidays, there are a few less people in class. Why? Their parents emigrated down under West.

I left the country in the 90s because of the injustices in Malaysia perpetrated by Umno. I made my fortune and no returned home but I thought Mahathir had somehow managed to turn the mindset of Umno around into focusing on global competition, instead of petty race-based competition.

Now I am certain that those in power want the affirmative action policies to continue, not because these policies benefit the general malay population, but because these policies give Umno the right to continue to plunder the country.

Legalised theft is what they are after, and if anyone dares speak out, they just tell you to leave the country so that they can continue their plunder.

It's sad, but my children don't have to live through this injustice. They can go anywhere they want in the world, and I encourage them.

There are many people who made big names as Malaysians only when they are treated better in other countries, not because they are Malaysians but because they are treated as one of their own.

That's explain why they choose not come back. Treatment was so good that they offered their family to emigrate over there.

Since Umno is playing the race cards openly, the coming future for non-malays is suffering through endurance. How many more years should we Malaysians suffer? It is not only the non-malays but also the poor malays struggling for survival in isolated villages.

Anyway, these people voted with their feet and wrote about their experience. They wanted to tell you about this country and how its government discriminated its minority people.

I can feel they love this country too but this country or rather this government did not love them. I can also feel their sadness and how things are turning for their malay brothers and sisters who are getting weaker and weaker in this globalised world, and all this is Umno's fault.

They realised if this is not stopped immediately, this country will eventually go down the drain like those fourth world banana republics.

Their ancestors have helped this country to fight for independence and even fought off Japanese invaders but our government has never been grateful and instead discriminated against them to the hilt.

They also saw that they have become second-class citizens in their country of birth, and were very disappointed when Indonesia labours can become first class citizens whereas foreign spouses of non-malays took years just to get a PR. Even terrorists like Hambali and Abu Bakar can become PR holders easily. Something is definitely wrong with this country.

Here maybe you are malay and oblivious to others who are suffering and as a Muslim yourself, is this injustice reconcilable to the tenets of Islam?

Tony Gunawan also voted with his feet and went on to become USA's first world badminton doubles champion. Instead of helping his original country to badminton glory, he helped another country to become a potent rival.

The same could be said of our citizens who voted with their feet. Many went to Singapore and worked for companies that became our competitors. If our country and government has been kind to some of its citizens, this additional competition wouldn't have been created. I hope the present government will realise its folly and there is no substitute to real meritocracy.

The non-malays don't want everything but only fairness and social justice, a very tenet of your malays great religion. If you can't even subscribe to the tenets of your own religion, I am afraid you may be branded a hypocrite and a very racist one at that.

It is not true that there will be no policy that can keep every race happy.

Only the person who thinks that he should be treated better than others would object to a policy that is fair to all.

That feeling of "entitlement" is created by politicians who have found a convenient way to retain power in parliamentary democracy.

As a grass root, I hope that all Malaysians will live in harmony and work towards a better tomorrow, a better environment for the children.

Help each other with basic compassion of a human being.

When you see a blind woman trying to cross a busy road, you jump forward to guide her. You are not helping her because of her skin color or her religion. You help simply out of compassion of a human being.

Extend that spirit to our fellow countrymen. Give all those lagging behind with a helping hand, you won't miss a malay who needs help, neither will you miss a non-malay who needs help.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia, the home to a variety of religions, races, cultures and beliefs comes with its fair share of taboos, most of which originate from superstitions and religious dogma. But there is a taboo that almost all Malaysians recognise, and that is talk about racial equality.

This issue has been discussed over and over, though never openly. Despite rising resentment among the non-bumis, the racial status quo has remained as discriminatory as it has been since the birth of the affirmative action policy known as the National Economic Policy (NEP).

No on second thoughts, the situation has never been worse. The NEP is currently being abused so badly that even some bumi Malaysians are against it.

So, why is the talk of having racial equality such a taboo, especially when we are supposed to be living in a civilised world? Has it got to do with keeping national unity or has it got to do with arrogance and ignorance?

Many have heard and how we are told that malay Malaysians deserve special rights and privileges. This line of thought is based on the belief that since the malays were here the longest, this is their country and any special treatment is justified.

Although the NEP was originally meant to help the malays with the aim of closing the wealth gap between the malay and Chinese Malaysians, the seeds of racial dominance have inevitably been planted into the minds of many malays.

Today, supporters of malay special rights seldom argue that affirmative action is to support the malays economically. Rather they see it as something they are born with - something inherent that cannot be denied them.

Another argument put forth by the pro-malay special rights group is that, they made a compromise by giving the non-malays their citizenship and in exchange the malays must be given their special privileges.

This last argument is the most ridiculous I have heard thus far but in their ignorance, some Malaysians still think that citizenship is for a certain race to give. This logic would mean that the minorities will always be seen as foreigners who will never be equal to the malay bumis.

Creating a level-playing field does not mean that any race has the right to discriminate against the other races, no matter what the population figures are. This is the message we have to get across to the public and something that must be inculcated in our kids from an early age.

Steps have to be taken now because racial polarisation has only worsened in recent years. The situation will only improve if we lobby the government to change the race-based affirmative action policy to a policy based on income brackets.

This is to ensure that only the most deserving people are given special privileges and not only the malays. There are poor people from every race. It is unfair to continue to provide support to those in the middle and upper classes of our society over those in the lower income group.

It has been more than 20 years since the NEP was introduced. I believe it is time that we worked towards a fairer and more equal system, a system that caters for the different levels that exist in the Malaysian society, without discrimination.

In order for us to compete internationally and to solve problems such as brain drain and national unity, the abuse of the NEP has to stop. No amount of national service can right the wrong done as a result of misusing the NEP.

It is also obvious that if the minorities are the only people to lobby the government, the dream of racial equality will remain a dream. Therefore, I implore Malaysians to rise up together to this challenge, to work against discriminatory policies and to push for good reforms.

Even the government must see that good reforms are viable and necessary for the future of this country and its people.

Anonymous said...

I am a former Malaysian who has lived half my life in Australia. I feel that it is incumbent on me to lay bare the cupboard as it were so that people can gain an accurate insight of what real life is like for an Asian migrant in a country like Australia.

Like the many tens of thousands who saw no future for our children in the land of our birth that we deeply loved, we came to Australia with trepidation and heavy hearts in the days following the dismantling of the shameful and odious race-discriminating White Australia policy.

Apart from free speech and the right to express one's views without fear of any backlash, one of the first things we found was that race and religion have no place whatsoever in Australian society.

After determining for ourselves in real life that there was no racial group that was regarded as being superior to any other group and that we had precisely the same rights as any other Australian, we determined to be even more productive citizens.

The rewards soon arrived. Owing to their comparatively good results in the Higher School Certificate examinations, our children were in the envious position of picking and choosing the universities and the courses they wished to attend - and all for free.

In return, Australia has benefited greatly from the high income taxes that our children are now paying in their chosen professions.

In this regard, will be disappointed to learn that I do not own a business, let alone a prosperous one to hand down to my children. My children have to make their way in mainstream Australian life like everyone else - and so they should.

It would be comforting for most people to know that in Australia it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on color, race, religion or sex. Equal rights for all means precisely that - no ifs, no buts about it. Hence it is possible for anyone of any faith who so desires and is good enough to become prime minister of Australia.

A large amount of the high taxes we pay goes towards the upkeep of the unemployed, the disabled, the needy and the pensioners. There are no freebies or special concessions for anyone else.

As freedom is speech is recognised as a basic right of every citizen, migrants have no problems expressing their complaints or views of self-serving or corrupt or incompetent politicians or bureaucrats in the open media. An impartial judicial system exists for all to take matters further.

Citizens have the right to preserve whatever cultural heritage, customs and language they are comfortable with and there are organisations set up to address whatever complaints and problems they may encounter in the pursuit of their traditional way of life.

Pensions and other forms of welfare payment are issued strictly on a means-tested basis. If anything, the system has been accused of being far too fair and generous. Malaysian retirees and others who have not worked or paid any taxes in Australia have been known to receive pensions in Australia after satisfying the means and residential criteria.

As race is such a non-issue in this country, nobody cares or bothers to pay any attention to the financial success or failure of any particular race in the community. To do so is to invite ridicule and scorn. After all, we are all Australians together.

The same benchmark that is set with respect to educational and professional standards, opportunities, job promotions, asset acquisitions and so forth applies to everyone bar none.

Given the special privileges accorded, apparently in perpetuity, bumis in Malaysia will clearly find Australia a turn-off. On the other hand, minority non-bumis who are not as fortunate may have a different viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

You do the right thing and I think you will never regret.

The trouble with the management of this country is that they always do not know what they want. It has been put in a kind of a trial and error method of management for so long with the one man said something and the rest just echoed.

We can't afford to dilly daddy the whole game, as the precious time for our kids' development is limited.

I faced the same dilemma fifteen years ago when the confusion attained to its peak. The Bahasa was greatly emphasized in all subjects (I have no grudge with national language), 3M (which I still don't know what it is), and the cruel system of quota, practically telling that your kids stood very slim chance to enter university if you were not born as a bumi.

Faced with the situation, I had no choice but to throw away my high fly corporate job and emigrated with my family of three kids to Australia.

Eleven years later, when my children were fully qualified as professionals of whom one is a medical doctor, our Malaysia clever leader started to say that "Actually English is very important, and let us start with English again starting from primary one for science and mathematic subjects next year."

With the fall of another politician, the Baku of Bahasa also disappeared. I do not know where 3M is nowadays!

I consider myself very lucky that I could jump out from this black box in time. Today, with God's blessing and the dynamism of Australia's economy, three of my children and their partners are doing exceedingly well.

With the present situation of unemployable graduates in the country, I think my children are very lucky that they do not waste their precious time. But to be fair to the current Malaysia PM, there seems to have a slight improvement now and we hope there is a light in the end of the tunnel.

What said about the meritocracy and transparency in education and employment in Australia is very true. My children face a fair competition, and have equal opportunity to compete in university places and employments.

Son, a medical doctor faced no competition as demand exceeded supply. Daughter, a medical staff faced twelve competitors and she won and got the job, and the last, son, a master degree holder in economics and finance faced 150 competitors and he won and got the job.

All jobs interviews are conducted in a transparent manner and those who fail have a chance to appeal to a tribunal, if they find there is a suspicion of nepotism or other back door entry.

Don't worry too much about the words like "patriotism" and "traitors". They are the words used by the politicians with a different agenda.

I worked honestly for the corporate and paid high income tax (at top few percent of the country average), and they practically told you right in the face that your children could not get into the university no matter how hard you tried.

What choice do you have? Go somewhere you and your kids have a fair chance!

At the end of the day, one fine day you heard the minister got caught in the Australian Airport carrying undeclared millions in bags of which the purpose was to scour for properties in Australia, minister son's multimillion mansion in Canada was put up for sale after the intrusion of thieves etc. Do you think they are really patriotic?

If we really feel better that we must serve, we might as well consider ourselves as global citizens. There are so many charity/volunteers organizations, borderless doctors in Australia that one can join, for example go and help the tsunami victims.

Two million ringgits are good enough in smaller cities but might be a bit difficult in big city like Sydney. On the whole, one million for the purchase of your own house and one million for your working capital and it is an added advantage that you have a skill as a engineer.

With money and skill, Australia welcomes you as the country is in great shortage of skilled manpower with the present robust economy.

Best luck to you all!

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