Thinking and Education


Continuous Education

Health and Backwardness

One factor contributing to lower educational achievement among Malay children compared to Chinese children is poorer health of the children. Reports by schools about absenteeism in schools tend to high light greater incidence among children in “Kebangsaan Schools”.

Malay culture of eating by use of the hand is compounded by the fact that they generally sit on the floor. Both create the environment for bacteria and micro-organisms to infect the food. Most reports of food poisoning occur mostly in “kebangsaan” schools.

This will lead to higher absenteeism and lack of vitality and alertness. Both contribute to reduction in learning time and deficiency in attentive power resulting in less learning and poor retention.

Living in proximity with a higher number of siblings in expanded households will inevitably lead to more interaction and therefore more opportunity for spread of infections.

A simple first step to improve educational achievement among Malay children is to get all teachers in school to introduce a health regime for the children in the school and the home. This can be achieved at zero costs.

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DO we agree?

Education reform in Malaysia starts with agreement that we are building a country for ALL its citizens and not for one particular race, culture and religion.

Education reform involves school organization and its management. School curriculum from subjects and textbooks to syllabus creation, teacher training and teacher education will impact the interactions and discourse within the school system. Either we are doing education reform to promote a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious country or promoting the interests of the dominant group will determine what happens throughout the education system. If we choose to the later then Malaysia as a nation will disintegrate.

The first line of fissure is the separation of Sabah and Sarawak. This has happened before when Singapore broke away from Malaysia. Why would Sarawakians and Sabahans, majority of whom are not Malays or Muslims want to allow the dominant race, the Malays to control their resources, their lives, their culture and their religion? Why be subservient to the Malay Peninsula shouting “Ketuanan Melayu?”

The continued marginalization of the Chinese and the Indians and the reduction of them to become “second class” citizens or the refusal to treat all citizens equally after more than 60 years of Independence is not acceptable for any self-respecting person or ethnic group. As it is we see massive migration of the young and capable nons to Singapore, Australia and elsewhere. The figures are huge. More will leave if we are creating a nation of “Ketuanan Melayu”.

The original objective of affirmative action has morphed into a culture of entitlement and reinforced the narrative that this country belong to one “race” with all others as “pendatang”.

Apparently the pre-May 9 election promise of Malaysia for all Malaysians is now threatened or if not cast aside!

The reform of the education system must begin with this conscious decision by all! No bluffing and no hedging.

What sort of country do we want to create?

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Teacher to Head Teacher

All Head Teachers start as teachers. As teachers they have a natural tendency to be wary of their HM. This is a given.

Most teachers put their heads down and do what others do. They tend to support their friends and colleagues even when they know that their friends are wrong because they expect their friends to do the same for them. Anyone who support the HM is not looked upon favorably by the staff.

So when the teacher is promoted to become a Headmaster he/she will tend to think like a teacher. They will not think like an educational administrator. Herein lies the problem.

In all instances the newly promoted teacher/headmaster will be posted to another school. The change in location will help the teacher/headmaster to start acting like a Head Teacher.

It is likely that the new Headmasters will be assembled by the Education Department and for an orientation program. Everything is then learn as you go along.

Now, how to be a Headmaster?

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“Evaluating” Teacher Performance

Terms like “evaluation” implies a huge element of subjectivity which in turn leads to  endless disagreements. Normally educational administrators break down the interaction that goes on between the teacher and the students and the class into blocks like, preparation, delivery, use of teaching aids, student participation, class management etc, marks or points are given and then added up to make the result of the “evaluation.” If there are 10 parameters set for the exercise then there are 10 possible points of disagreements.

An alternative way of “evaluating” teacher performance is the “objective” way. We can count the number of times the teacher misses class, the number of minutes late for class, the number of homework set and marked, the number of student homes visited, the number of parents met by the teacher, the number of study trips taken by the teacher with students, or the number of meetings or training attended by the teacher. We count everything that can be counted of activities performed by the teacher that has an impact on student performance.

Apparently the 2 methods above are focused on process.

Suppose we have a teacher who hardly goes to class. At the end of the year all his students do very well. While another teacher gets very high marks in his evaluation and his students perform worse than the teacher who does not go to class? Which teacher is the better teacher? And this brings on another way of evaluating a teacher – by results!

How can we do this? Or can we do this?

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Training Leaders in School

One of the main characteristic of a leader is the ability to speak up in public. Generally we might find that the people who are knowledgeable and thoughtful tend to be a little withdrawn. If possible educators should encourage and train every child to speak in public. Fear of public speaking is the no. 1 fear of almost everyone. When it happens that the brave ones to speak are also not so capable, then we are likely to have poor leaders. Every opportunity must be given to every child to speak up. In a situation where everybody can speak up without fear the speakers with little or no substance will be found out. We will then be left with leaders of knowledge and ability.

Looking around our country today, we find that there is a dearth of good leaders. When people who have no substance take over important positions in the country, we are opening ourselves to disaster. The greater danger is that some people think that one or two bad leaders are ok. Its like saying that a small leak in the dyke is ok. As in chess, the slightest weakness will cause the collapse of the kingdom.

What may compound the problem is if we have a preferential system. In the old days when the rulers’ sons succeed the rulers, sooner or later the bloodline will produce a dud. Nobody will criticise. The rot will set in. In a society practicing any kind of discrimination, there will be a tendency for a weak link to remain in the system as no one will want to appear to be a traitor to the in-group. The weak link will perpetuate itself. If the practice is all over the system then the impact is exponential.

In Malaysia the educational system may have compounded the problem. First we practice racial discrimination. Malays are first choice. In our effort to provide the best for the Malays the government created the Sekolah Asrama Penuh and later the Maktab Rendah Sains Mara. The best of best bumiputra students are collected in these schools.

Leadership training in schools are done thro a system of appointing students to be monitors of classes, prefects, head boys/girls, presidents, chairpersons and captains of clubs, societies and games. A school will have a limited number of such posts. Obviously there will be only 1 headboy, a very prestigious and coveted position in the school. Since the number of societies are limited, the number of chairman and captains will also be limited.

All other things being equal, if a “smart” student remains in the normal school, where the number of smart students are limited, the chances of him being selected to these leadership positions is great. My guess is that he or she who is smart will at the very least be appointed as class monitor or prefect. Now if the smart student were to be so “lucky” as to be selected to join one of the special schools, his chances of being selected will suddenly shrink as everyone of his peers will be in the running for any of the positions. Only 1 person will be selected from the whole group of smart boys to be the headboy. If there are 1000 students in the smart school his chances are 1 in a 1000. If he stays in a normal school of 1000 students, there could be 200 smart students like him. Therefore his chances of being the headboy will be 1 in 200. So if you want your children to be in the running for important leadership positions then better let him stay put in a normal school.

More importantly there is a downside to the outflow of good students from the normal schools. Assuming all the best have been lobbed off, the people selected to be leaders will be from those of a lower calibre. People with less intellectual capacity are sitting on top. The irony is they could become very good speakers and are skilful at convincing people of their abilities. We should remember that we have been practicing this system since the early days of independence

Turning our attention to the current crop of leaders in the ruling party, we can perhaps see a parallel?
What we note generally is that most of the leaders are not outstanding in a previous profession or hold a professional degree. It will be interesting if someone could do a little research to verify the above.

The greatest irony is that in trying our best to help, we could be doing a greater disservice.

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Stupidity Trumps

Our education system is based on the assumption that intelligence is a rare commodity and randomly distributed over the population of the country. We suspect that a minority in the population possess some inert talent or ability. The role of the school system is to identify them, provide the best possible environment for these talents to grow.

The MOE use the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah to identify the smart students.In practice teachers start to “stream” children into “A”, “B”, “C” classes the year they step into school. After UPSR the best performers are sent to special schools like Maktab Science Rendah Mara or Sekolah Asrama Penuh. The State Education Department will sift through the left overs and placed them in special schools called Premier Schools, Controlled Schools and the like. More recent creations are called Cluster Schools or Sekolah Harapan Negara. All the children in these schools must score a string of “A”s.

The rest find themselves in the normal schools. The teachers in these schools proceed to do a final streaming on these not-so-clever-left-behinds and placed them into their very own “A”, “B” and “D” classes. This is testimony that all the teachers have just demonstrated their subscription to the same belief that intelligence is indeed limited to a few.

What cements this belief and accounts for its persistence is that the public examinations results every year seemed to bear this out. The best performing students inevitably come from these schools. The best schools in the country are these schools by far! And not surprisingly too the “best” performing children in the normal schools tend to come from the “A” classes. Apparently MOE sorting and isolation of these students into special schools and classes has preserved the intelligence of these students.

This is heralded as the great success of the system. And since we are in the process of “transforming” our educational system, the MOE had proposed to showcase our world class educational system by collecting all the clever or intelligent students into 40 (20 Primary and 20 Secondary) High Performance Schools in the country. not only the best children but all the best teachers and all the best administrators will be collected and placed together. These HPS, now germinating are already being held as the beacons of achievements by the MOE of their successful contribution to the transformation of the Malaysian Education System.

The irony of this belief seemed to have escaped our “experts”, especially the teachers. When the “best” teachers are selected to teach in the “best” schools, does that not mean that the teachers teaching in the normal schools are “not-so-clever”? Ok, just so everyone gets angry, does it not mean that most of the teachers are “stupid”? MOE stats show they have 415,304 teachers. If we estimate that 60,000 intelligent and clever teachers are pre-selected and safely tucked away in the special schools, then does this mean that there are 355,304 of these not-so-clever teachers running our normal schools?

More interesting is that all our educational experts right down to the 415,304 teachers seem to agree that “intelligence” or intelligent students has a peculiar attribute. According to them “intelligence” (clever children) is very fragile and vulnerable. They must be kept apart, away, in a special school (away even from their possibly not so intelligent parents) or in special classes. MOE buys into this completely. This will explain why they will only allow the best teachers and administrators into the same environment. And no resources must be spared.

Conversely they seem to say that “stupidity” is very hardy and robust. It will persist no matter what. Most likely it will grow, multiply, seep, spread and overcome, especially intelligence or intelligent children. Stupidity will persist! So separate schools. And separate classes. You can put any kind of teacher or administrator. You can put all the retarded and stupid teachers. Robust stupidity will flourish on minimal resources! Don’t think for a moment of sending in the clever or intelligent teachers, they will most likely be emasculated by stupidity.

Intelligent students and the ones with a lot of “stupidity” cannot mix! When challenged by the proximity of “stupidity”, “intelligence” would just disintegrate or evaporate! It will not permeate or be absorbed by the “stupid” students. It will just disappear!

But stupidity will spread and permeate into the vacuum left behind by escaping intelligence! The net result is the intelligent kids will become less intelligent or even stupid and the stupid kids will remain stupid. The effect is so deleterious. The intelligent and the stupid students cannot be put together.

The MOE has the best of intentions. Lets look at some hard facts.

The MOE’s website showed that there are 5,255,448 students in 10,091 schools taught by 415,304 teachers in our country.

Add up all the “best” schools in the country:

SM Asram Penuh………………..68
Premier/Controlled Schools……50 (est)
High Performance Schools…….40

Let us be generous and round the figure to 300 schools. The MOE determines that all these schools have a population of 1000 students. Based on this we have 300,000 clever/ intelligent students sequestered away. There are 5,255,448 school children in the country. 4,955,448 children are getting the message that they are the stupid ones. The parents of these children would also be getting a message that the children they produce are just not good enough.

Then what about the teachers? Just consider. If we staff these elite schools with 200 teachers each, there will be a total of 200 x 300 = 60,000 “guru cemerlang”. There are 415,304 teachers in the country. So, 355,304 teachers get the message that they are not good enough. Well, they would not get the message if they are dumb!

In summary we have 10,091 schools of which 9791 schools are populated by 4,955,448 dumb students and taught by 355,304 dumb teachers!

Do we get the message or are we really stupid?

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Who Do You Want to be Your Friend?

Some people, no quite a large number of people want to mix only with people like themselves. Since the majority of people in Malaysia are Malays, and there are quite a number of individuals and NGOs are quite outspoken about this matter, we will focus this question to the Malays.

It would appear that these people would rather have Malays only in the country. Preferably they also want Malays who follow a specific school of Islam. Just imagine this situation. This country is a country for only Malays. We have succeeded in getting rid of, or making all others disappear. Try to imagine this.
Is this what people like Ibrahim Ali want? You can forget about Ridhuan Tee because he is Chinese only but not Malay.

Just close your eyes and imagine. When you wake up in the morning. The toothpaste and the soap you use. When our children go to school, imagine the school system. What would they be teaching? How would they be teaching? How would they be teaching.

What would working in the government offices be like? What about the streets and the shops? All Arabic signs, or all Jawi only? What language would you hear in public. What phrases most often spoken?
What about the shops?

What about the shops or the supermarkets? Are there different doors or alleyways for males and females?What would they be selling? Look around, how would the people dress? All tudungs and baju kurung? Shorts allowed? Are there cinemas? Any concerts? What about football? Badminton or squash?

And then when you go home. Would you be watching tv? What programs would be showing? Would all the males be in the mosque?

It would be wonderful?

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Islamic Justice – True or Not?

In Islam, Justice is for All. Without exceptions. Sexes, People of different faiths. People of different colours and races. Islam calls upon its followers to treat everybody equally, no buts, no ifs.

A Chinese Muslim, a Chinese Buddhist, Tao, Christian, Animist, Atheist..will be treated the same as a Malay Muslim, an Indian Muslim, a British Muslim? In the eyes of an Islamic judge the mother that stands before him is a mother and is judged by her acts. The Thief or Murderer that stands before him is judged by his actions. The fact that someone is a Muslim does not entitle him/her to special consideration. Is that the Islamic Justice that Islam propagates?

Is this true for Malaysia in the past? is this true for Malaysia now? Will this be true of Malaysia in the future?

True or Not?

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Genocide – Early Warning

This is a reproduction of an article from


Early Warning

By Dr. Gregory Stanton
Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity,
Thomson-Gale, 2005, pp. 271 – 273
The genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in Bosnia in 1992 – 1995 were alarming evidence of the failure of the
United Nations Security Council and its members to prevent genocides and other crimes against humanity.
Studies by U.N. Commissions of Inquiry concluded that four institutional reforms are needed to prevent such
crimes: institutions for early warning, programs for prevention, ready capacity for rapid response, and courts for
punishment. Political will by leaders to use these institutions is necessary to render them effective. Public
pressure is needed to motivate leaders to act.
One of most common false assumptions about genocide is that it is the result of conflict, which if resolved
would prevent genocide. Most genocide does not result from conflict. Genocide is one-sided mass murder.
Empirical research by Helen Fein, Matthew Krain, Barbara Harff, Benjamin Valentino and others shows that
genocide is most often committed by elites that are attempting to stay in power against perceived threats to
their dominance. Fein and Harff find that likelihood of genocide is most often increased by six factors: prior
genocide in the same polity, autocracy, ethnic minority rule, political upheaval during war or revolution,
exclusionary ideology, and closure of borders to international trade.
Complementing these statistical models, Gregory H. Stanton has developed a processual model of the stages
of genocide. The eight stages of genocide are classification (us vs. them), symbolization, dehumanization,
organization (hate groups), polarization, preparation (identification, expropriation, concentration,
transportation), extermination, and denial. Stanton’s model is designed so that policy-makers can recognize
early warning signs and plan specific counter-measures to prevent genocide.
Who should be warned of the likelihood of genocide? Members of the victim group should surely come first, so
they can prepare to flee or defend themselves. Others should include moderates, religious and human rights
groups, and opposition forces who might oppose the genocide within their own country. If genocidal plans are
not being made by the government itself, it should be called upon to intervene to protect its citizens. (This
approach has halted ethnic and religious massacres in Indonesian Kalimantan, Sulewesi and the Moluccas,
and in Nigeria.) But since most genocides are committed by governments, either directly or indirectly through
militias, regional and international leaders must be warned as well, so they can bring pressure to bear on the
government planning the genocide. In democracies, leaders seldom act without public pressure, so early
warning must reach the press and groups that can organize campaigns for action.
How early must warning come for it to trigger action to prevent genocide? The answer depends on the action
sought. For long-term policy, the warning should come as early as possible. Because structural factors such
as totalitarian or autocratic government and minority rule correlate highly with genocide, long-term policies for
genocide prevention should promote democracy, freedom, and pluralist tolerance. Rudy Rummel’s
meticulously documented conclusion that democracies do not commit genocide against their own enfranchised
populations has often been challenged, but never refuted. Protection of democracies requires warning as early
as possible of threats by extremist, military or totalitarian movements to overthrow them.
Freedom House counted 121 electoral democracies out of 192 countries in 2003, leaving seventy-one nondemocracies. Ted Robert Gurr has pointed out that transitions to democracy from autocracy can be particularly
dangerous periods, when minority elites attempt to hold onto their power, and are willing to commit mass
murder to do so. Foreign policies for these countries should promote peaceful transition to democracy, but
must avoid mortal threats that would set off genocides by elites determined to maintain their power.
Rwanda was a case when early warning failed. In 1992, the Belgian Ambassador warned his government that
Hutu Power advocates were “planning the extermination of the Tutsi of Rwanda.” In April, 1993, the U.N.
Special Rapporteur on Summary, Arbitrary, and Extrajudicial Executions said massacres of Tutsis already
constituted genocide. In a cable on 11 January 1994, General Roméo Dallaire, Commander of the U.N.
Assistance Mission in Rwanda warned the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations, headed by Kofi Annan, of Hutu extremist plans to exterminate Tutsis. The U.N. denied Dallaire permission to confiscate 500,000 machetes shipped to Rwanda for Hutu militias. Both early and late warnings of the Rwandan genocide were ignored by policy-makers who denied the facts, resisted calling the genocide by its proper name, refused to consider options for intervention, and finally refused to risk any lives of their citizens. Instead they withdrew 2000 UNAMIR troops and sacrificed the lives of over 500,000 defenseless Rwandans.

There was a similar failure of early warning in Cambodia in 1975, when reporters and diplomats predicted a
Khmer Rouge bloodbath. Leftists refused to believe the warnings, and denied the mass killing while it was
underway. Tired of the Indochina wars, the U.S. and Europeans were unwilling to intervene to overthrow the
murderous Khmer Rouge. The U.N. General Assembly even condemned Vietnam for doing so.
Successful cases of early warning that resulted in response to prevent or stop genocidal massacres and crimes
against humanity include Macedonia in 1992 and 2001, when several hundred U.N. peacekeepers prevented
the Balkan wars from spreading, East Timor in 1999, when coordinated warnings by human rights groups and
Australian intervention stopped massacres by Indonesian troops and militias after East Timor voted for
independence, and Côte d’Ivoire in 2002, when warnings by the Belgian organization, Prévention Génocides,
followed by French military and diplomatic intervention, helped stop massacres.
What steps have been taken to develop early warning systems?
Early warning of threats to national interests has long been a job of the intelligence agencies that advise
national policy-makers. Threats of genocide were added to that task by the C.I.A. in 1994 in its “State Failure
Task Force,” which included analysis of the factors that predispose states to genocide. Efforts by think-tanks
and universities have also been funded by governments in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark,
Sweden, and Germany.
At the United Nations, a Framework for Coordination was established in the Department of Political Affairs to
convene high level planners from U.N. departments and agencies to discuss and plan responses to crises. On
7 April 2004, the Secretary-General announced he would appoint a Special Adviser on the Prevention of
Non-governmental organizations and universities in Europe and the U.S. have also focused on early warning,
notably the International Crisis Group, the Forum on Early Warning and Early Response (FEWER), Genocide
Watch and the International Campaign to End Genocide, a global coalition of organizations dedicated to
preventing genocide.
Early warning is insufficient without early response. But early warning is the necessary first step toward
prevention. World leaders must never again have the excuse that they “didn’t know.”
Early Warning: Bibliography
Fein, Helen (1993). “Accounting for Genocide after 1945: Theories and Some Findings.” International Journal
on Group Rights 1: 79-106.
Gurr, Ted Robert (2000). Peoples versus States: Minorities at Risk in the New Century. Washington, DC:
U.S. Institute of Peace Press.
Harff, Barbara (1998). “Early Warning of Humanitarian Crises: Sequential Models and the Role of
Accelerators.” In Preventive Measures: Building Risk Assessment and Crisis Early Warning Systems, ed. L.
Davies and T.R. Gurr. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Harff, Barbara (2003). “No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust? Assessing Risks of Genocide and PoliticalMass Murder since 1955.” American Political Science Review (February) 97(1): 57-73.Krain, Matthew (1997). “State-Sponsored Mass Murder: The Onset and Severity of Genocides and Politicides.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41: 331-360.

Rummel, Rudolph J. (1995). “Democracy, Power, Genocide, and Mass Murder.” Journal of Conflict Resolution

39: 3-26.
Stanton, Gregory H. (2004). “Could the Rwandan Genocide Have Been Prevented?” Journal of Genocide
Research 6(2): 211-228.
Valentino, Benjamin A. (2004). Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Ithaca,

NY: Cornell University Press.


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You Must Read This

I read this moving message….I am sure Salvador Dali would not object. I reproduce below his thoughts..


Do You Know How Close We Are To Greatness

I am not trying to do any kind of chest thumping for Malaysians … we as a nation of humble beginnings. We went through the British occupation, they left some good stuff but they also took things from us. We went through the Japanese occupation, I still have older relatives who would never ever step foot in Japan. Together we built this nation. For most of us, when you ask us to go home … we have nowhere to go cause this is our home.

Malaysia is a very resource rich country. The country also produces more than its fair share of very capable and intelligent citizens. Many of whom are holding very high positions in MNCs in many developed nations. If all ex Malaysians working in Singapore were to quit, Singapore would really crumble. Plenty more can be found helming very critical positions in HK, Australia, NZ, England and the US… to name but a few.

Even with a deteriorating education system for the past 20 years, most Malaysians can still more than hold their own in foreign universities. I guess, we are naturally smarter than the next guy, and thats the God honest truth. I believe if we have the proper nurturing with outposts such as Silicon Valley, the presence of a highly regarded university system … we would have achieved a lot more than Singapore, South Korea or HK.

But that’s all a big IF.

Why I say we are so close to greatness and not know it. The greatness is not in espousing our intellectual abilities to the full. The greatness is to show the world that a country made up of a few major religions, with multiple races CAN LIVE PEACEABLY TOGETHER and prosper as a nation. That is the greatness that we are so close to.

I know we can do it because WE ALREADY ARE DOING IT IN MANY smaller cities and kampungs. We are already 1Malaysia long before it became a slogan. Somebody tried very hard to separate us by race and religion, and for a very long time, to divide and conquer … but in our hearts we know the divine truth and truth always prevails in the end.

I have had enough, and I hope enough of you have had enough. I need not recount the many cases of major corruption, the decimation of the independence of our judiciary, the blurring of lines between state and the regulating bodies. I hope you have had enough of the deceits, lies, hypocrisy, propaganda …. if things stay the same we are already closer to Zimbabwe in more ways than we care to think of. We can forget trying to catch Taiwan, Singapore, HK, … heck even Thailand and Indonesia seem to drift further away from us.

The greatness is there in us, we have it already, now let’s MAKE IT OFFICIAL. We will be the textbook case for “developing economies”, for “political reforms in developing countries”, “for race relations in politics”. We can show the world it is possible, we know its possible already, many of us know it in our hearts. Greatness is within reach.

Vote for yourself, vote for your family, vote for the youth, your children, nieces and nephews … I love my country to bits, flaws and all, we are not perfect, but together we can be the very greatness that many more developed countries can only aspire to in terms of solidarity, respect for every human kind, dignity for everyone irrespective of race or religion ….

Greatness is within our reach, I can feel it, can you feel it too… We have all studied history when we are younger … now let’s make some new history that you and I will be very proud to be part of, the history of our nation growing up … the template for all developing economies to emulate, the history that really matters.

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