Thinking and Education


Continuous Education

Intelligence by Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education Malaysia works on the assumption that intelligence is limited to a few students who passed the “examinations” especially the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah scoring all “A”s in the subjects. The know what it is and they are very sure they have the right technique to identify this quality.

The MOE collects all these clever children placed them in special schools like MRSM, Sekolah Asrama Penuh, Premier Schools, Controlled schools etc. Every year when the public examination results for Form 5 students are announced, inevitably the best performing students and the best performing schools are these pre-selected students and special schools.

Apparently they are right. They know and the UPSR examinations truly separates the clever from the stupid students. So convinced are they that they are going 1 step further by creating 40 High Performing Schools, 20 primary and 20 secondary schools. All the best of the best will be closeted in these schools. They will also identify and send all the best teachers and super principals and headmasters to take charge of these schools.

The public has also bought into this idea. They are now clamouring for more of these schools to be set up so that more children can be sent there. Looks like the support for this is overwhelming! Indeed we should not be surprised as most of our top officials and administrators are products of this type of schools.

But wait, something is wrong. Very wrong!

Question, Why does the MOE want to confine these students to special schools? If clever children have to be confined to special schools, are they the same as those that we confine to special places like Tanjung Rambutan or Pulau Jerejak of old? What is wrong with these children that they have to be confined to special environment?

One possible answer is that “intelligence” is very delicate. It evaporates, disintegrates or vaporizes when it is open to normal school environment. Perhaps if “intelligent” children stay in the same house as their parents, they will likely lose their special quality?

Or maybe it is because of the “other” students? The Stupid ones? When intelligence is juxtaposed with stupidity, intelligence will lose. Stupidity will permeate the brains of the intelligent children causing them to become stupid? Stupidity has nothing to worry. It will remain strong and dependable. Stupid will be stupid, always! Is that the reason why these “special schools” are created?


Filed under: brain, education, intelligence, , ,

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?

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

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.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Those Days Are Gone…

People in power do not want information to flow freely. They want control. When they misbehave they don’t want people to know. In today’s world this is almost impossible.

In the past whenever the authorities are losing the argument, they will go into suppression mode.  They will hope to silence the masses by bribery, threats, screaming blasphemy and finally force, imprisonment and even death.

Unfortunately those days, as John Lennon says, are gone! The change has come through technology. The power is in the hands of the citizens. There are whole communities of citizen who are in the know. Worse they are connected. The real bad news is that they are all over and everywhere!

The way to fight these days is not to suppress or force. The authorities have to get their acts together. If you are good and honest, carry out your duties for the good of the people and according to agreed laws or rules or standard operating procedures in an open and transparent manner, no one can tell lies about you.

I have been listening to the hysteria created by some people about the red bean army. It seemed that some “troopers” are telling lies about everybody in the government.  They are so good and so powerful. No facts are given but Bernama, the national news agency is allowing people to make the claim that the Democratic Action Party is financing these troopers to the tune of hundreds of millions of ringgit.

These people are also asking the government to pay them MR350 million to counter the Red Bean Army. On Bernama TV this army is being compared to the “Red” Army! Communists! And the Communist had killed no less than 10,000 people during the “Communist Insurgency” So there you are!

Most unfortunate for  Bernama the police have come out to announce that they have not been able to find the Red Bean Army! The Police should contact Bernama.

The truth will be known soon. Bernama and a few Ministers and politicians will have to find some place to hide.

The way to engage these days is to tell the truth. Or you will be found out!

Filed under: Point of view, politics, ,

General Intelligence Measure – Are We Up or Down?

The unwritten and painful objective for educational administrators is for them to improve the general intelligence of the population. The stark truth is that our education is falling behind. The officials in the MOE have hoodwinked the Minister of Education and everybody else about the great heat and noise of a transformation plan they had put out.
For those who are in on the secret IQ tests measure intelligence. But going by popular sentiments examinations results is the key tool for measuring the general intelligence or abilities of our children. Accepted wisdom is that if exam results are improving then the level of intelligence is rising and vice versa. This accounts for the considerable excitement and trepidation whenever exam results are coming out.
Recently the Director General of education announced that there has been a decline of the Grade Point Average(GPA) in the SPM exam results from 5.04 to 5.08 but assured us that this is nothing to worry about as the decline is only 0.04 and not 0.05! He had promised to explain. I doubt if any parent or the Minister understood what is so earth-shaking about the 0.01 in GPA drop. Anyway we are still waiting. For the moment, please understand that after four years of toil and effort by 400,000 officials and teachers, the general level of intelligence of our kids are down.
I can’t help but think this because the MoE is not presenting us GPA scores going back a few years which I am sure they have. Is this the indication?
Let me repeat. The education system is not going to improve! All parents in Malaysia should be very afraid. Putting your children in our schools is not healthy for their future!
It may sound alarmist but really the problem is very serious and not likely to be changed much less “transformed”. We need to shout a little bit louder and do some scare mongering to give the MOE  officials and teachers a wake-up kick!
The reason is simple. In any system where performance of the people in charge is not measured, the universal rule is that the bad will always drive out the good. There are slackers, incompetents and irresponsible officials in every organization. Where there is no appropriate action taken to identify, improve or remove these elements the rest of the officials will learn that copying the worse will be in their best interests.
As it is the noble teaching profession has three tiers of blinders to protect itself. Firstly educationists have succeeded in getting everybody to believe that examination results (especially bad ones) is a function of student weakness. Failing students with their parents would hold their heads in shame and trod off to do some self flagellation. Have you heard of anyone coming to bang the table and demand an answer from the teachers why you highly paid professionals do not have the ability to get my son to score 35 marks so that he can pass the damn examination?
Secondly the teachers professional code of conduct will silence anyone who dare criticize a  fellow teacher. The delinquent, incompetent, and lazy teachers can rely on fellow teachers to shield them from any light to shine on them. Conscientious head teachers could not betray their colleagues. So a cloak of silence prevails. Mediocrity and irresponsibility thrive in the dark corridors of the school.
Thirdly the system is so structured that you just cannot assign responsibility to any one teacher. Every student in school would most probably be “handled” by more than 30 teachers by the time he/she gets to UPSR . So who is responsible for the poor results in mathematics or english? The secondary school teacher will point to the primary school. The Form 5 teacher will point to the Form 4 teacher and the Form 4 teacher will point to the Form 3 etc. The most conscientious teachers will go home wondering the extent of his/her responsibility. But for most, “What can I do with all the accumulated gaps in knowledge and skills among the students?” is a rhetorical question left unanswered.
To cap it all, the less than wonderful teachers are further shielded by our high socio-cultural tolerance for looking the other way. I speculate that we are afraid to point out who these people are for fear that it may turn out to be a reflection of ourselves!
It is difficult to fight against the trend. Bad money drives out good. Bad people drive out good people. And so our education system is flushed with seriously under performing teachers (and officials). And that is why we all should be very very afraid.

Filed under: education, GPA, school

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Malaysian Education – Negative Transformation?

When the SPM results for 2012 were announced there was a lot of news about the performance and achievements of students and schools. Unfortunately the Director of Education announced that there has been a decline in the performance of students in general. The Grade Point Average came down from 5.04 to 5.08. The total number of students involved were 472,541. He said that the decline was not alarming as it was only a difference of 0.04. It would have been different had it been 0.05! He said he was going to explain later.

Apparently the GPA is a big deal! I think this GPA stuff has gone over the heads of most if not all parents. It would be great if the reporter or the DG of Education had given some clue as to how to go about understanding the situation so that all concerned can wrap their heads around this “big deal”.

GPA is derived from converting grades achieved by students in the form of alphabets like A, B, C, D etc into numerical values of 1 to 9 (or some such equivalent) with lowest score starting from A (in our case). The point to note therefore is that lower is better. If a student offers 10 subjects in an examination, we take his alphabet grades and assign the appropriate numerical value. Let us say that his total score from 10 subjects is 46. To get the GPA we divide 46 by 10, which equals 4.60. If we do this for all the students we can compare the relative performance of the students.

To calculate the GPA of a group of students in a school, district, state or country, we add all the scores (numerical) of all the students in all subjects and divide it by the number of subjects and then by the number of students. To illustrate, let us assume that we have 100 students in our school, each taking 10 subjects. The total number of scores we add is from 10×100 = 1000. Lets say the total score in our school is 5236. To get the GPA for the school we have to divide it by the number of subjects which is 10 and the number of students which is 100. Effectively this means 5236/1000 = 5.236.

We are told that the GPA of 472,541 students in 2012 is 5.08. In a general way we can say that the GPA is an indicator of the academic ability of our student population. Alternatively we can say that efficiency of the school system or the competency of the teachers has declined. Is 0.04 a cause for concern? What was the GPA for the years before 2011? A 0.04 decline for an individual student may not be much but extrapolate for 472,541 students could be huge. We wait to hear from the DG the statistical implication of this decline.

We should all be surprised that there is a decline at all! All the talk is about transformation. There are endless claims of transformation. We have heard many grand announcements. We know of great spikes in expenditure. We also have a new DG of Education. More plans, more resources, more costs ….and we are becoming worse off? Or tell us we have nothing to worry about?

Filed under: Blogroll, education, school, ,

New Education Plan – What is the cost?

I am just curious. 

Every time you want to solve a problem in Malaysia, you have to throw some money. The ROI however is not known. Just throw in the money. So how much for teaching English? RM5 billion..ok spend. After all the money will be “earned” by a lot of people. How are you going to tell that you are getting good returns for the money being spent? Wait first lah! You think Rome built in 1 day?

And so we now have the new education plan..on top of the “old” transformation plan? much more it is going to cost? And what returns we will be getting? Can somebody tell?

Or are we just going to spend spend spend?

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

“Fairness” in the Olympics

In Boxing, Wrestling, Weight Lifting and Taekwondo the

athletes are graded according to weight categories. Obviously

it is not possible for the heavy weight gorilla to fight the pint-sized

light weight in any of these categories. It can be seen to be

grossly unfair. There would be no contest.

A Case could be made for ALL events to be competed according to

weight and height categories. Perhaps that would not be expedient.


But an immediate case can be made for High Jump. The event

is now judged according to height “above ground level”.

The winner is a Russian who is 6 feet 4 inches (193.04 cm) tall.

He jumped 3.38 meters. Ivan Ukhov best was 2.40 m. This is a  touch over 7 feet 10 inches or about 16 inches above his head.

I am very doubtful that any Ah Beng at 5 feet can clear 7 feet.Getting Ah Beng to compete with Ukhov is similar to a light weight fighting a heavyweight in Boxing, Wrestling or Taekwondo!

The correct and proper measure is Height Above the Head of the jumper and not “above the ground”.

This should and can be implemented. If this cannot be done, then the High Jump Records should be renamed as Height Above Ground Level!

I suppose the IOC would not be implementing this till some country produces a giant at 9 feet who just hops over 8 feet 6 inches!

Hm…imteresting huh?


Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Policemen and Crime Rates

I suspected that while there is this great and general concern about crime rates, the ordinary policeman or even the higher ranking officers are not fully conversant with what is going on.

So today I asked a policeman friend, rank Assistant Superintendent of Police, “Can you tell me how the crime rate is calculated?” He said they look at the number of crimes committed, focusing on “serious crimes”like robbery, rape etc. “How do you calculate the crime index? He was at a loss.

I say no more.

Filed under: Crime rates,

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