Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop eating shark fins this Chinese New Year

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts today announced its "Sustainable Seafood Policy" including the commitment to cease serving shark fin in all of its operated restaurants as well as accepting new orders for shark fin products in banqueting with immediate effect. Future banquet bookings made prior to this date will be honoured as per the signed contractual agreement. At the same time, Shangri-La announced that it will phase out Bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass in all its operated restaurants within the year. In December 2010 the company initiated the process with the removal of shark fin products from its restaurant menus. The new policy is a continuation of Shangri-La's journey towards environmental support.


How about you, Penang lang....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nasi Lauk yang tak pernah kamu rasa !

你从来没吃过的咖哩饭! Nasi Lauk that you have not taste!

When I watch the video, it is so familiar. I have been in Kelantan for many years. Nasi Lauk, Nasi Dagang, Nasi kerabu......the familiar breakfast, that have been unified the taste buds of Kelantan people for many generations....

There is no barrier, race or religion.

Nasi Lauk, the breakfast of Kelantan.....it break the barrier....

The touching story of the short movie remind us about the son's love to the mother,not only that, the bond of various races in Kelantan since ancient time, the love of various races to the Kelantanese Malay mother, Negeri Kelantan.

The Malay mother become the mother of his son's friends, like Kelantan become the homeland of many races since ancient time...

During this Chinese new year, not only remember family bond, but let us also remember the racial harmony in the country

I experienced my real Malay culture in Kelantan, it was not only cultural shock in the early 70s, it was also the difficulty in learning the Kelantanese Malay dialect. I stay in a Kampong house owned by a Chinese sundry shop owner with a Malay name, Che Mamat. My neighbor were Kelantan Malay families. I ate Kelantan Malay food each day. I fast during the fasting month sometime, when the warong was not opened.

When I left Kelantan, it was with the warmth of the Kelantanese culture, the experience of racial harmony that is difficult for me to forget in life. I am now able to hear the tempo of their voices, listening to the Kelantanese Malay, the beauty of the Kelantan culture. The culture become part of me, so familiar....

I look back at Penang, and as I walk along Pitt Street, what happen to Penang?....it was once the street of racial harmony.

I remember the story of Nasi Kandar, it is different from Nasi Lauk. Nasi Lauk remain as simple and humble as in ancient time, the breakfast of fishermen, the breakfast of Kelantan, the breakfast of normal people from Kelantan, still in warong and kopitiam.....

Look at Nasi Kandar, it had changed. It become so expensive, it is climbing up its economic success story. It has become untouchable by the normal people, as the price is going up. It no longer in the old kopitiam or mamak stalls. It is now in the shop house and restaurants. May be it is their success story. But it has lost touch of Penang's taste, it is no longer taste like the old nasi kandar, when they still use kandar to carry their food. It no longer fit as harmony food of Penang...it become arrogant....it is no longer locally make( mainly made by foreign workers)....it lost its heritage, the living heritage food loved by all Penang people. I used to remember, my father was so fond of Nasi Kandar, he can practically eat it daily if financially allow...it was not a mamak food, it was not Indian food, it was Penang food, Malaysian food.....it was our food...

Nasi Kandar was once the pride of Penang, like Nasi lauk the pride of Kelantan...not today.... but it has lost its charm.....it is so commercial now...

I still love Nasi Lauk, it is so asli(original).....food of my second home....but I still remember the Nasi Kandar that my father love...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stop Moral Education subject in school

Is it necessary to have Moral Education as compulsory subject for public examination?

In Malaysia, Pendidikan Moral (Malay for "Moral Studies") is one of the core subjects in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. It is a required subject for all non-Muslim students in the public education system in Malaysia. Muslim students are required to take the Islamic Studies (Malay: Pendidikan Islam) course.

When I was in the secondary school, moral education was not a compulsory examination subject for public examination. There were no religion studies for me in school , but I was a scout in school, which was my source of moral education. After my form 5, I did 3 months volunteer service in School for Mentally Retarded Children as volunteer teacher. I have no time for other undesired activities. That was in the 60s.

The Malaysian education system makes Moral Studies compulsory for non-Muslim students at secondary and primary schools. Muslim students instead partake in Islamic Studies lessons. Both subjects figure among the seven compulsory subjects undertaken by students for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. There has been considerable debate about the usefulness of the "Moral" subject, primarily due to the strict exam-oriented marking-schemes.

Moral Education or Pendidikan Moral

Pendidikan Moral, along with Islamic Studies, is governed by the Department of Islamic and Moral Studies (JAPIM), a branch under the Ministry of Higher Education.
The core of the syllabus is the 36 moral values (called "nilai" in Malay). These values include "Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan" (creed), "Bertanggungjawab" (responsibility) and "Sikap Keterbukaan" (open-mindedness) among others. The 36 values are divided categorized into 7 major fields of study (called "bidang" in Malay), namely:
• Perkembangan Diri (self-development)
• Kekeluargaan (family)
• Alam Sekitar (nature)
• Patriotisme (patriotism)
• Hak Asasi Manusia (human rights)
• Demokrasi (democracy)
• Keamanan dan Keharmonian (peace and harmony).

These values are presented in detail in textbooks and form the basis of corresponding examinations. Each value is defined by the Education Ministry. Answering examination questions requires some interpretation of these definitions.
Pendidikan Moral is often learned by rote. Teachers in schools tend to concentrate on answering techniques rather than the teaching material provided in the textbook. Instead of interpreting the appropriate value based on the information given, students are taught to look for specific keywords in the description and identify the corresponding moral value. Thus, strict memorization of the values is required without any emphasis on understanding or application. There have been suggestions to reform the system and incorporate other forms of assessment and not rely completely on written examinations but thus far, they have not been implemented.
(source: Wikipedia)

Then, what is the point of study moral education in school? Unfortunately, the subject only evaluates the cognitive dimension of Moral Education or what is called Moral Knowledge by strictly memory work. Can passing of the subject by memory make the student actually understand the moral values?....it is actually wasting the students' time.

Religious Studies

“On Bible Knowledge as an examination subject for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Tan Sri Koh said the subject would be taught in schools after hours on request by parents. "If no suitable teacher is available at the school concerned, then a pastor or priest from a nearby church could be recruited to conduct classes." (http://www.nst.com.my/top-news/solutions-to-christian-concerns-1.28080)

Bible knowledge classes in schools should be a normal class in normal hours of the school. Why the class should be held after school hours. When Muslim students are having their Ugama class, the other students can have their classes on their respective religion. Buddhist student can have their Buddhism class, Hindu student can have their Hindu religion class, and Christian students have their Bible Knowledge class at the same time.

Religion studies are much better than Moral Studies, which is a exam oriented class. Religious Education is the term given to education concerned with religion. It may refer to education provided by a church or religious organization, for instruction in doctrine and faith, or for education in various aspects of religion, but without explicitly religious or moral aims, e.g. in a school or college. The term often overlaps with Religious studies. Religious studies is the academic field of multi-disciplinary, secular study of religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives. The school need Religious studies not religion studies. The only risk factor is, the education department should ensure that no teachers with religion extremist background should be allowed teaching the subject. I still remember the Malaysian studies subject in public university was abused by some religion fanatic lecturer to propagate their belief to students, even students from different religion background. The students were undergoing mental torture for 3-4 years just to pass the examination. I hope this will not happen to students taking Religious studies in secondary schools.

If the students have studied religion studies, there is not necessary for them to take moral education, just like the Muslim students who take Islamic Studies.For students that do not belong to any religion group, with the parent’s consent, he can attend any of the religion class or opted for class like comparative religions, or a liberal art subjects or foreign language subjects.

Another form of National Service- replacement for moral education

National service of Moral education for school students , can be then make compulsory practical engagement on social services or voluntary services in charitable organization, hospital, fire station, orphanage, old folk homes, and even police, town council, military. There is no point to have national services, when not all are called to the service, and many resources need to channel to the national project.

The school army cadets, police cadets, and fire brigade cadets, Red Cross, St John Ambulance, can continued their engagement after leaving schools at the respective uniform units. The others like scouts and boys brigade have their national organization to launch a national program for school leavers to engage them in voluntarism. May be, suggested that students should make joining one uniform unit as compulsory school activity.

Other non-uniform school leavers can engaged themselves in environment conscious projects, or attached to hospitals, local councils, and other charitable organization, orphanage, old folks homes, school for blinds and deaf etc. The students should be allowed 3 months service, duly documented and a certification given as one of the compulsory criteria for local education and employment. This can apply to oversea education, when certification is required for applying of student visa to oversea.

That is alternative form of National Service....

There is no necessary to have a compulsory subject on Moral Education, when the purpose is just to memorize to score A for SPM Examination. A student who scored A in Moral Education may not guaranteed that he will be a morally right student. What is the purpose to have Moral Education subject compulsory for public examination, which is not useful for his or her academic education in tertiary level?
Religion education and full engagement in social services or uniform units, will be sufficient for them to develop into a responsible young citizen of the nation, all 36 moral values required by Moral Education syllabus are well covered .

Please stop Moral Education in school.

Further readings/ References:
2. Government To Implement Several Measures To Address Concerns, BERNAMA,- http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v6/newsindex.php?id=637994

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Malaysian national flags

While I was walking along Macalister Road days before Christmas, I stopped at the junction of Macalister Road and Jalan Zainal Abidin. I looked at the sky, what a wonderful sky Malaysia has, blue and clear. What a nice day....

But when I looked at the modern tall building in front of me, it not only block my view, but also shock me, a broken Malaysian flag with a long tailing hanging at the flag pole. This is the Penang head office of a ruling political party, when recently one of his senior minister was questioning on the patriotism of certain race..... and now that particular political party is showing disrespect to our national flag....what a funny feeling imagine I have....

If it was an ordinary institution or a private home, I do not mind as may be they can be educated ; but a political party, a ruling political party who always question about the patriotism of other people.....I cannot believe..... they should have fly a national flag correctly and respectfully as a good example for other citizen to see ......

I wonder did Malaysia has any flag protocol like Canada or USA?......

No wonder I see less Bunga Raya recently....more political games....less nationalism...and yet they are talking about patriotism...

Who is patriotic ? when not even respect our national flag....

National flag is our national identity.....

Malaysian Flag - National Flag

The flag of Malaysia, also known as the Jalur Gemilang ("Stripes of Glory"), comprises a field of 14 alternating red and white stripes along the fly and a blue canton bearing a crescent and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan or Federal Star. The 14 stripes, of equal width, represent the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government, while the 14 points of the star represent the unity between these entities[1]. The crescent represents Islam, the country's official religion; the blue canton symbolizes the unity of the Malaysian people; the yellow of the star and crescent is the royal colour of the Malay rulers.

The flag of Malaysia, which was first raised on September 16, 1963, originated from the flag of the Federation of Malaya. Prior to the creation of the national flag, each state in Malaya had its own flag, many of which are unchanged in design to this day.

When the Federation of Malaya replaced the short lived Malayan Union, the federation government through the Federal Legislative Council called for a design contest for a new flag. Three flags were forwarded to the public. The flag designed by Mohamad Hamzah of the Public Works Department - was chosen as the winner through a public poll held by The Malay Mail. Since Malaya was fighting the communists during the Malayan Emergency, the five-pointed star had the uncanny resemblance with the communists' symbols. Therefore, the star was modified to accommodate six more points.
The Malayan flag was approved by King George VI on 19 May 1950 and was first raised in front of Istana Selangor on 26 May 1950. On 31 August 1957, it was raised upon independence at Merdeka Square in place of the British Union Flag.

Mohamed Hamzah - Designer of national flag

Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect working for the Public Works Department (JKR) in Johor Bahru, Johor. He entered the Malayan flag design competition in 1947 with two designs which he completed within two weeks. The first design was a green flag with blue kris in the middle, surrounded by 15 white stars. The second design, which was among the three finalists, was similar to the current flag but with a five-pointed star. It borrows major design elements from the East India Company flag, notably the red and white stripes. The competition attracted 373 entries and voting was made by the general public via post. Malayan senior statesman Dato' Onn Jaafar met with Mohamed Hamzah after he won the competition and suggested that the star be changed to an 11-pointed one to represent all the Malayan states.
Mohamed Hamzah died just short of his 75th birthday on 13 February 1993 in Jalan Stulang Baru, Kampung Melayu Majidee, Johor.

Changes of national flag

Following the formation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963, the design of the Malayan flag was modified to reflect and honour the new states in the federation. Three additional stripes were added to the existing flag and the star was given 14 points to reflect the federation of the original 11 states in Malaya plus Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore; this design remained the same even after Singapore's expulsion from the federation two years later. When Kuala Lumpur was designated a Federal Territory on February 1, 1974, the additional stripe and the point in the star were appropriated to represent this new addition to the federation. Eventually, with the addition of two other federal territories — Labuan in 1984 and Putrajaya in 2001 — the fourteenth stripe and point in the star came to be associated with the federal government in general.

In 1997, when Malaysians were invited to name the flag, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad picked the name Jalur Gemilang to project the country's onward drive towards continuous growth and success

Ironically, the significance of the blue color relating to commonwealth countries was downplayed, and remember the national flag was basically based on the flag of the East India Company.

Flag Protocol

I immediately search the web of the government office, and found little material on flag protocol. Flag protocol defines the proper placement, handling and use of flags.

In the United States, as in many other nations, there are a series of rules governing the display and disposal of the national flag. These rules are referred to as “flag protocol." Although violation of flag protocol does not have legal repercussions, it is hoped that flag protocol will encourage respectful handling of the flag. More than simply a piece of fabric, a national flag represents the nation as a whole, and is an important symbol of national identity.

This was what I found in Malaysian websites:

During the National Day celebrations, everyone is encouraged to fly the Jalur Gemilang at their homes, office buildings, shops and corporate premises.

•If the flag is fixed at home, it is to be raised pointing towards the road.
•If the flag is put in a group of flags with state and private company flags, the Malaysian flag must be raised in between two flags and its pole placed higher than the rest.


Flag Protocol is more than that.....you can see how innovative our Malaysian make use of national flags in the following blog;

TREAT OUR FLAGS WITH MORE RESPECT , http://johorbahruwatch.blogspot.com/(in this blog you can found how some innovative Malaysian make use of national flags)

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary. When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.(US Flag Etiquette, http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html)

Departments should ensure that the Union Flag and national flags should be in good repair and unsoiled. To fly a flag which is in poor repair or dirty is to show disrespect for the nations that it represents.(Guidance for hoisting flags, http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/honours/7125.aspx)

Patriotism include the flag protocol, to treat our national flag with respect, I hope our political parties know flag protocol prior to any accusation or debate on patriotism. This should be the first lesson of patriotism for the new year....

Further Reference:

1. American Flag Protocol, http://www.usa-flag-site.org/etiquette-display.shtml
2. The National Flag of Canada, http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/etiqtt/index-eng.cfm
3. Rules for Half-masting the National Flag of Canada, http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/meb-hm/101-eng.cfm
4. US Flag Etiquette, http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html
5. Guidance for hoisting flags, http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/honours/7125.aspx
6. Official American Flag Etiquette, http://www.americanflags.com/flagetiquette1.html