Getting more and more for the people

Tick the box, as you see it all the time, and reserve the right to change your mind.JAN 22 — I wrote, though I wished I was able to go through each idea more thoroughly, in my column about giving value to the working class.  Government in this country have reduced the ability to govern to about who you give what to, rather than making the spending provide greater value than any one person in the state taking their share of that spending and spending it.

It is about stretching the ringgit. Should the state spend for us, so that we can be happier, or are those decisions better in our hands? Continue reading “Getting more and more for the people”

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1 Education: Giving the world to our children

Malaysian students listen on, and hope for the best.... picture courtesy of The Malaysian Insider.

(This originally appeared in The Malaysian Insider on July 16, 2009. So some of the narrative might be dated. Incidentally, this is also the day Teoh Beng Hock was found dead.)

JAN 12 — Today is the 28th anniversary of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ascension to the prime minister’s seat. It is also my birthday. Since the stars have aligned as such, it is only apropos then to speak about our common obsession — education, or more precisely what we use to educate our children.

There has been much disdain, confusion and celebration over Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision to revert back to Malay or mother tongues to teach both maths and science in primary school, and then in Malay only when these children go off to secondary school. In summary, a decision to get this nation back to its pre-2003 status.

I support the decision. Because it helps the most number of Malaysians have the best possible education under the circumstances we have built for ourselves as a nation.

Education is too expansive a process — it enables greater autonomy and cooperation in societies in equal measure, and without exception becomes the catalyst of personal liberation — to be shrunk to a single issue, of the choice of medium of instruction.

But the public school system has clear-cut objectives, to provide the most comprehensive basic education for most if not all its constituents in their growing years leading to adulthood. It is to give everyone a chance at life. Continue reading “1 Education: Giving the world to our children”

Why the young are just people

Would you trust this man in life, or maybe just in a debate... me in action during the Bar Council debate in 2010

JAN 12 — It was my first day ever out of the country (Singapore does not count, does it?) and I found myself in the lift with a lady. Someone else entered as the modest Tasmanian hotel’s lift worked its way down. The new entrant asked this lady if she was going to chair the meeting. From my perusing of the tournament programme book earlier, I knew he was referring to the Australasian Inter-varsity Debating Association’s pre-council meeting.

In my mind, it seemed that she must be some senior university staff or lecturer. An important meeting deciding important things involving universities across Asia Pacific must be left to those older and with qualifications and experience.

That’s how novice debaters from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in their first day in long johns in the arse end of Australia should be thinking, or at least the old me. I was wrong.

She was a student. So were all the university representatives, with the exception of a few Asian institutions.

My paradigm shifted that afternoon. Continue reading “Why the young are just people”