Archive for June 2010

School bullying shaping into uncontrollable social menace that will destroy our schools

June 30, 2010

In the past few weeks every other day there are newspaper reports about bullying, gang fights and even murder in our schools. This social disease has reached the prestigious royal military school which is the epitome of discipline and professionalism. A 16 year old student from royal military college in Sungai Besi was murdered by his own school mates on the June 24th. This is frightening because in the normal schools such incidence are linked to outside gangsters but in royal military college the culprits are fellow school mates.

If royal military college which is governed by ministry of defense and supported by ministry of education, can decay and reduced to such level what more to say about the general discipline in residential schools, elite colleges, science colleges and normal schools.

Why did our schooling system decline to this state? These bullying, gang fights, extortions, rape and even murder in schools has happened before but the headmasters and ministry officials always sweep the incidence under the carpet and covered and camouflaged as a small matter.

They don’t want to be in the bad books of ministry officials and mass media. Parents were warned of expulsions and intimidations. In Malaysia, it happens in both schools with low income children and wealthy parents. Even in Universities we have severe form of ragging.

Consistently emerging from research as causes for school bullying are poor academic grades of bullies, high absenteeism and truancy of bullies and unstructured free time in schools. Besides other factors that encourage violence in schools are violence at home of bullies, weak social ties, anti-social peers, poor parent–child relationships, indiscipline of bullies as well as drug and substance abuse.

Common and destructive form of bullying is psychological in nature, such as taunting, teasing, name-calling and exclusion from social groups or activities. Bullying left unchecked leads to extortion, thugs, rape which is happening our schools. Both forms of bullying lead to genuine suffering for the victim.

Emotionally, children who are bullied often suffer feelings of great distress, fear and self-doubt, with an overall drop in self-esteem. This can lead to absenteeism from school and a negative impact on the learning process.

Indian parents should not leave learning and schooling to teachers and schools but instead take ownership of their children’s performance in schools if their children are bullied. What I hear is Indians only question when the children are in Tamil schools but when the children go to secondary schools parents do not question are more.

Why is it?

We have every right to question teachers through parent teachers association and headmasters. If still not satisfied they can highlight their problem in public and get the public support. Bullying happens in all races and religions. Therefore make it a public issue and not a racial issue to get support across the board.

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June 29, 2010

Evenness of the Mind

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

See, you may do many acts. Every act is supposed to bring about its desired outcome. In fact, we take up an action only for getting a specific result. If an action is well designed and well executed, normally the desired result will come. Rarely, due to unpredictable and providential factors, the expected result may not come.

Now, in the language of the mind there are only three results: ishtha (desirable), anishtha (undesirable) and mishra (a mixture of the two). Bhagavadgeeta says, whether it is a desired outcome or an undesired outcome or a combination of the two, your mind should remain sufficiently profound and poised to assimilate it. Instead of taking a preferential and partial stand, always be prepared to receive any outcome that arises.

Suppose two teams are playing. If both of them always play with equal excellence and always it becomes a draw, will you be happy? Even if both the teams play their best, finally one team has to lose and the other has to win. So, if we have played our best we should be able to accept defeat also in the right spirit without getting afflicted or disturbed.

The point is that the multiple physical outcomes do not enter the mind. They remain outside. In the level of the mind, the responses are only three – desirable, undesirable and a mixture of the two. Bhagavadgeeta says: Try to have an even outlook towards the three. Perform well and never worry about the results.

Study well. Prepare well. On the appointed day, go to the examination hall and write as it comes to you. If you have not studied well, is it right that you wish to have good marks? If you have studied well then you will write well; why should you need to have any desire to score well? If you have not studied, then you have no reason to worry. If you have studied well, it is unnecessary and redundant to worry. So why should you worry at all? In this way, you have to rationalize and keep your mind resolved.

Now, this is an orientation you have to develop. And all activities, including study or appearing for examination, provide opportunities to bring about this inner orientation, whereby the preferences and prejudices are eliminated and we have a uniform, wholesome outlook. You must have a very broad comprehensive platform in your mind from which you start looking at things and interacting so that every interaction and interactional outcome will prove to be an enrichment. This is possible only because of the fact that our mind is basically spiritual in nature. Being subtle and spiritual, its dimensions are unlimited.

*  *  *

News from Narayanashrama Tapovanam:

* Gurupoornima this year falls on 25th July.
* The Annual Jnaana Yajna in Malaysia start on 27th Aug.
* Anna Vastra Daana Satram 2010 (rice & clothes distribution) will start early July. (for more details click here)

PM Najib promotes 1Malaysia yet defends Nasir Jaffar for his seditious words.

June 29, 2010

So Nasir Jaffar is let off scot free despite the most derogatory words on Indians and Chinese uttered last February in a 1Malaysia gathering. The prime minister defended Nasir jaffar by saying that Nasir was not referring to local Indians and Chinese. Public apology is punishment enough therefore no prosecution was necessary.

The MIC and MCA leaders who attended the 1Malaysia public gathering when Nasir Jaffar made the derogatory remark made a number of police reports. Yet the UMNO led government refuses to belief that the remark was seditious and gives all kinds of excuses for Nasir Jaffar.

This is an indication of the 1Malaysia hypocrisy of Najib which was intended to be mere political slogan to deceive non Malays to vote for UMNO led government. Well, he can fool some people at some time and not all the people all the time.

Nasir Jaffar’s outburst reflects the deeper feeling and thinking of UMNO leaders towards the acceptance of non Malays as equal citizens of Malaysia. UMNO wants the votes of Chinese and Indians but never wanted to share the wealth of this country. It is a feudalistic party that enriches only its cronies and friends. They have no regards for good governance, equitability and fairness.

Therefore the UMNO led government is not sustainable. After 50 years of governance they have become corrupted, out of touch with people and power crazy. The apartheid government of South Africa despite 46 years of iron rule too can collapse. Similarly the racial segregation of UMNO led government was given strong message that if you do not shape up, you will be shipped out.

Well meaning citizens of all races must unite against racism of UMNO and never allow them to hoodwink us anymore. This nation is like a ship where the misdoings of a few crony crews can sink the whole ship of all races. Every citizen has a stake in the well being of this beloved country. Racism, nepotism and corruption the hallmarks of UMNO will wreck this beautiful and bountiful Malaysia.

Even in the 10th Malaysia Plan the prime minister said that New Economic Model will be the pillar for the plan but in actual there is no NEM but all about achieving 30% bumiputra equity participation. There is no separate affirmative action for any marginalized or weak community but privatization and incentives for mega projects.

The UMNO led government has abdicated ordinary folks of all races but protects and accredits its cronies and supporters. Malaysians must awake up to the political realities without any preconditions and prejudices and see the wealth accumulation thrust of UMNO government. The ball is in people’s court.

Call for non animal alternative methods to replace animal lab testing

June 26, 2010

While many insensitive and ignorant people continue to argue for indiscriminate use of animals for lab testing, the call to stop and legislate animal lab testing are growing louder too. Caring public is outraged about the use of animals for lab testing purposes because of no regulation and supervision in the labs.

Animal rights activist are against cruel, poor scientific practice and poorly regulated lab testing of animals. They are against inflicting pain and fear on animals by humans.

Many humans may not understand this concern of animal activists because of their low level of awareness to their surrounds and their unconcern of other fellow beings. We may be on the same earth but humans have different level of awareness towards animal beings. Apathy towards animal cruelty shows the level of civility said Mahatma Gandhi.

People who care and are concerned of animal testing in labs want alternatives to animal testing. People for the ethical treatment of animals (PETA) and their counterparts are calling for effective, affordable and humane research methods which include studies of human populations, volunteers, and patients as well as sophisticated in vitro, genomic, and computer-modeling techniques.

They further add that comparative studies of human populations allow doctors and scientists to discover the root cause of human diseases and disorders so that preventive action can be taken. Epidemiological studies led to the discoveries of the relationship between smoking and cancer and to the identification of heart disease risk factors.

PETA reports that the majority of medical schools in the U.S., including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, have replaced their use of live animals in physiology, pharmacology, and/or surgical-training exercises with humane and effective non-animal teaching methods, including observation of actual human cardiac bypass surgery, patient simulators, cadavers, sophisticated computer programs, and more.

An increasing number of veterinary schools have been able to employ similar humane educational alternatives, thereby saving the lives of countless animals who in the past would have been killed for the purposes of dissection or suffered through unnecessary surgeries.

According to PETA findings animal experimentation is a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by massive public funding and involving a complex web of corporate, government, and university laboratories, cage and food manufacturers, and animal breeders, dealers, and transporters. The industry and its people profit because animals cannot defend themselves against abuse, are legally imprisoned and exploited.

Animal activist like PETA, SAM and SPCA are courageous whistleblowers who undertake voluntary worker and urge members of the public, educational institutions and politicians to care and formulate legislations to protect and care for animals who can’t speak for themselves. Imagine a world without the wildlife but all human beings.

Is examination an obstacle to learning?

June 24, 2010

Like all previous education ministers, the current DPM and education minister Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yasin is attempting to mark his footprint in the education system. All previous prime ministers were once education ministers. Therefore along the way education system in Malaysia was politicized and the current education minister is practicing the same.

Examination is a common measuring instrument to evaluate the skill or knowledge of students from the given syllabus. It is also a parameter to determine how effectively and efficiently the teachers have imparted the syllabus content and the school as an effective educational institution.

The results of these examinations are normally used by decision makers for assessing student ability, streaming purpose, teacher training planning, allocation of resources etc. Common examination is also useful for selection of students into residential and science schools as the results will be quite reliable.

We already have so much discontent and unhappiness on the selection process of scholarships, matriculation and university intake. Straight As students don’t get scholarships and places in universities. Malaysians have not disputed the examination results but only the selection process for scholarships and higher education institutions. Now the education minister is adding fuel to the already flammable and contagious issue by introducing school based examinations.

All the previous education ministers have slowly eroded the credibility of our once highly respected education system. Now we have graduates who are unemployable after all the years in schools. Besides their subject matter skills our local graduates are weak in people skills, critical thinking skills, poor attitude, commitment and passion to do something new and better for the society.

Examination provides credibility, focus, measurement and purpose for the education system. It has to be independent, common and free from bias and a bench mark for it to be accepted and respected. The Malaysian education has already lost much of its luster all this while. Schools are still producing As because of the support of numerous tuition centers in our country. Now the education minister wants this important evaluation process to be handled by teachers. Teachers have been reduced to order takers from the ministry officials who are high and might. These ministry officials implement the will and wish of their political masters.

We have national schools, vernacular school, religious schools, independent schools and private schools. Can we have a school based evaluation which will be accepted by all? Mr Education minister please go down check the pulse of parents and students. Malaysians must wake and have their say in this matter otherwise whatever little left that too will disappear.

A government that cannot provide scholarship for poor bright students have no right to govern

June 10, 2010

At the press meeting in Nagas restaurant in brickfields on 1st June 2010 a number of students with more than 10 As in SPM examination came complaining that they did not get JPA scholarship nor matriculation seat in residential colleges. Their parents work as lorry drivers, taxi drivers, petty traders and menial workers. It is unfortunate that the government could not include these students for scholarship or accommodate them for matriculation seats. MP for Rasah Anthoy Loke who was present said that the number of scholarships have reduced from the previous years.

Provision of quality education is the responsibility of government and providing scholarship or matriculation seat for deserving students is nation building which a good government will happily undertake. A government that cannot provide these has no business to govern and sure to fall in the near future. It is a failure on the part of government not to help good students to study further. Education Ministry officials must think as where these students will go if there is no support to study further. Education is the only way for poor students to uplift them and their family from poverty.

Some of the parents who spoke in the meeting said that they had used their hard earned savings to educate their other children and they cannot effort anymore. Only then they turn to government support. Looks like the government has failed in the social responsibilities to provide for deserving students the help they are looking. These students may resort to seek support from neighboring countries.

Malaysia is a resource rich country blessed with oil, rich crops, industrious people and it is located in growth region. BN politicians and their cronies are squandering and abusing the resources for their own well being.

Government can subsidize toll operators, IPPs, AP permits, PKFZ, perwaja steel, Bakun project, wasteful and megaprojects. They find it difficult to provide scholarship for poor deserving students. Malaysians have paid for the poor governance and continue to pay for costly decisions taken by the BN government.

A responsible government will provide at least further education opportunities in local universities for these worthy students. They can be trained into useful human resources for nation building. How else can the government retain and employ good personals to run and manage government services.

Animal testing facility in Malacca is morally and ethically unacceptable.

June 10, 2010

The approval of animal testing facility in Malacca is inhuman and an insult to all decent people of Malaysia. Helpless and defenseless animals are being transported across to Malacca and tested without any code of conduct.

It is inhuman to test animals because what is done in these labs will not be done to any human. It does not mean that when tested positively on animals it will work on humans therefore it is a total waste.

In fact they should test on humans who want to use those products. The laws should be amended to make it legal to test on human. Animal testing should be banned because it is cruel, not reliable, inaccurate, and below human decency.

To quote from the founding father of India “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. India should follow the spirit of its founding father and prevent the export of animals.

This testing lab is planned in Malaysia because Malaysian government has no regards towards the welfare of animals. Our laws and its implementation are half hearted and ineffective in animal care and protection.

I call upon the Malaysian government to strengthen wild life conservation laws. The law enforcement must be effective. Despite blatant abuse of animals in the shows and zoos, the department of wild life and national park did not prosecute anybody. It looks like the department is supporting the animal abusers.

Malaysian government seems to be only concerned about the revenue from tourism activities and tacitly supports all these violation of animal welfare. I urge all Malaysians wherever they are to ask their elected representatives to send a strong message of protest to the government on the way animals are treated in our country.