Archive for the ‘Ethics, Morality and Patriotism’ Category

Caring for all creatures great and small

Saturday, May 27th, 2017
Jom Sayangi Haiwan Kita presenter Nurul Najwa Adzme explaining more about the characteristics of cats to students.

VAMPIE. What a cute name! His beautiful sharp fangs protrude out even when his mouth is closed, making him look quite comical. He’s sitting next to me, doe eyes looking straight into mine. Gently, I couldn’t help caressing his cheeks with my fingers and just like that, my heart melts. Any thoughts of pushing him off my handbag vanish as he begins to meow softly.

This adorable cat is one of the many furry felines at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama in Ampang, Selangor, where I’m spending my Saturday morning, in preparation for my story. He’s a long tailed black adult cat who’d been fostered by someone before being taken to SPCA. He’s dewormed, vaccinated, neutered and ready to be part of a loving home. I really hope that someone will adopt him.

That said, to adopt a cat is not a walk in the park. It comes with great responsibility. Both adults and children need to know the do’s and don’ts of owning a pet so cases of abuse and neglect can be prevented.

“Ignorance is at the root of many animal neglect and mistreatment cases,” explains SPCA’s Kelvin Cheah on why people abuse animals. Cheah has been working for five years under the SPCA’s Inspectorate unit, handling cruelty cases and, according to him, SPCA receives an average of 57 cases of mistreated and neglected pets every month. The number, he adds, used to be higher.

Pets are not Toys:

My trip to the SPCA certainly left me with plenty to ponder. And attending today’s talk by Mars Petcare on responsible pet ownership will no doubt give me more food for thought.

Mars Petcare is reaching out to the pupils of SK Seafield 3 in USJ, Selangor, to encourage responsible pet ownership through the Jom Sayangi Haiwan Kita programme. Initiated in 2015 and anchored by Whiskas in Malaysia, this global initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of pets, particularly cats.

“Owning a pet can be very rewarding for both parents and children. It’s a good family bonding activity. But the most important thing for parents to remember is don’t get a pet for your child out of excitement,” begins Ong Chiek Ming, Mars Petcare Country Director (Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines) during our chat at the school.

Pets are not toys, they’re a lifetime commitment, she reiterates, adding: “That’s why it’s important to educate children from young about the responsibilities.” Eyes shining with pride, she shares that the programme which started three years ago with just 15 schools in the Klang Valley has been receiving positive feedback and is extending its reach to Penang, Perak and Johor.

Caring for Cats:

The bell rings. Recess is over for the pupils. But for some Standard 4 and 5 pupils, they don’t have to return to their classes. Instead, they’ve been selected to join the one-hour interactive session on how to care for cats conducted by Whiskas presenter Nurul Najwa Adzme.

The oohs and aahs can be heard echoing in the hall as they discover the wonders of cat characteristics as well as nuggets of interesting facts about the felines, such as how cats have fur all over their body except on their nose and paws, how their whiskers can detect obstacles in the dark, that their hearing frequency is three times higher than humans (so don’t make so much noise around cats), and that they’re 10 times more sensitive towards smell than humans.

The children also got the opportunity to learn “cat language”. Your cat needs attention if it starts brushing its body against you. If it’s wagging its tail, the cat is excited about something. “If its ears are down and tail straight up, the cat is angry so you better run,” jokes Najwa, making the kids laugh hysterically.

There are three important things to provide when caring for cats — the right food, love and affection, and healthcare. Dr Susan Wan Mei Ki, a veterinarian who’s been working with Mars Petcare for almost 15 years explains: “Cats are generally active as they’re carnivorous, thus they need more protein — meat — in their diet. They can’t be vegetarian. They need specific nutrients to reduce the risk of getting clinical condition. If you give the wrong food, your cat may get sick.”

She also explains how cats like to be by themselves. “They’re not sociable. They do enjoy the company of people but not all the time. If they want to play, they’ll come to you. Otherwise, they’ll ignore you. They’re happy on their own.”

One also needs to understand the importance of providing a conducive environment for cats, Susan continues.

“Hunting is in their nature. That’s why they’re always on the prowl, always running. It’s normal and you can’t change that. So it’s important to enrich their environment so they will love to be home and can still be active.”

by  Zuliantie Dzul.

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No country for old and sick people.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

WE are getting old. The statistics show Malaysia’s inevitable march towards a difficult milestone – that of an ageing nation.

An ageing society is defined as having a minimum 7% of its population aged 65 and older, while an aged nation has 14% or more in that age group.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s 2016 population data sheet shows that as of last year, Malaysians aged 60 and above comprise 9.5% of the population.

This is projected to increase to 14.4% in 13 years’ time and nearly a quarter of the population (23.5%) by 2050. So, it is sooner rather than later that we will become an ageing or aged nation.

In fact, Malaysia’s march towards this milestone has been an accelerated one. Most developed nations take almost a century to reach this mark.

France, for example, took 115 years to move from being an ageing society to an aged one.

For Malaysia, it should take us just 25 years.

In effect, such numbers reflect one of Malaysia’s success stories – healthcare.

It has been 60 years since independence and during that time, we have managed to increase our lifespan by about 20 years.

Improvements in primary public healthcare such as sanitation, food safety and protection against infectious diseases via vaccination have all contributed to this increased life expectancy.

As of last year, the average life span of a Malaysian is estimated at 74.7 years; in 2000, it was 72.2 years.

Unfortunately, living longer has not translated to better quality of life.

The rates of infectious diseases may have gone down, but the number of those afflicted with lifestyle/non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cancer has risen and more worryingly, continues to rise.

This is evident from the various National Health and Morbidity surveys carried out in the country.

The National Health and Morbid­ity Survey 2015 revealed that obese Malaysians make up 17.7% of the population, while those categorised as overweight make up 30%.

The obesity rate for 1996 was 4.4%, and 14% in 2006.

The same survey found that about 3.5 million or 17.5% of Malaysians aged 18 and above have diabetes. In 2006, this figure was 11.6%; it was 15.2% in 2011.

One thing is clear from these numbers – more Malaysians are having to live longer in ill health.

There may be some spending the last 25 years of their lives having to cope with diabetes and hypertension, and their complications.

All this takes a toll on the healthcare system, with the Government having to allocate increased monies to help provide treatment to people living with such conditions.

Will the country be able to cope with the increasing number of the elderly and ill?

The proposed Aged Healthcare Act is a start, though its aim is better regulation and monitoring of aged healthcare centres in the country.

But more needs to be done.

It is true that we need to look at the delivery of healthcare to the aged. Support services, infrastructure, laws that safeguard elders and community engagement prog­rammes – these are some of the areas that will need to be reviewed.

And while the Government should be fully prepared for the needs of an aged nation, communities need to play their part.

We need to develop an age-friendly culture that embraces the elderly instead of isolating them.

After all, this is a pool of people with a wealth of life and work experience, and we should tap into that.

The Star Says,
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Welcoming the blessed month.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
A journey of the soul: Observing Ramadan consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment.

A journey of the soul: Observing Ramadan consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment.

MUSLIMS will be observing the month of Ramadan in three days’ time. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar.

During this month, it is obligatory for all Muslims to fast from fajr (sunrise) to sunset. In an authentic hadith, Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, there is a gate in Paradise called sa­­tisfaction (al-Rayyan) through which only those who fasted will enter on the Day of Resurrection. No one else will enter it along with them. It will be said: Where are those who fasted that they may enter? When the last of them enter, it will be closed and no one else will go through it.”

In another hadith, Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said when the month of Ramadan arrived, “The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah the Exalted has obligated you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened, and in it the gates of Hellfire are closed, and in it the de­vils are chained, and in it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Thus, whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived.”

From the above, it is vital for Muslims to understand that Rama­dan should not be seen as just any other month or even a yearly routine that only focuses on refraining from food for a certain period in a day. It consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment for individuals and, most importantly, how this is translated into one’s character.

Through the act of fasting and all the good deeds mentioned in the above saying of the Prophet Mu­­ham­­mad, the month of Ramadan is a gift from God the Almighty to human beings to embark on a spiritual journey to purify the heart, mind and soul.

Muslims believe that as beings created by Allah the Almighty, we must be perpetually reminded of the purpose of our existence. Ramadan is the best time for us to contemplate the journey of our lives and act upon improvements that would benefit us as individual human beings and also our roles as social beings.

As social beings, the way we treat others and the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings with people around us are also manifestations of what lies within our hearts. It also signifies the quality of our ibadah or religious rituals.

Realignment of hearts and cha­racters through this purification process would mould us into beco­ming better human beings who seek the pleasure of God and at the same time would reflect God-conscious­ness condition in real good actions.

The world, in its current frenzied state, needs these God-conscious peo­­ple who possess the right know­ledge, good hearts and souls and who can help to improve its condition.

When we see around us people who call themselves religious, but whose actions defy values and principles of religion, it shows to a certain extent their failure to understand the religion and their lack of initiative to seek knowledge of the religion.

The panacea to this worrying con­­dition of society is to seek know­ledge which can help to develop the right worldview of the religion. Ha­­ving the right worldview and deve­loping a state of mind that is able to understand the truth would produce individuals who are rational in thinking and action.

To have the right worldview will enable us to deliberate deeply on what constitutes truth and reality about the complexities which surrounds us. From there, our minds are tuned to properly develop the correct reasoning process.

In this cognitive activity we listen to arguments, and we process a mass of information in order to form specific opinions and actions. Positively, when more people in society are able to develop the right understanding of the religion and its values, they will be able to contribute positively to society.

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Dead and forgotten – hundreds die alone and unclaimed/

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: KUALA LUMPUR: Every year, a few hundred people die as unknown persons. Just last year, 531 bodies were not claimed, according to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Its director Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood said most of them were found dead in public areas such as five-foot ways, rented rooms or houses, bushes, lakes and rivers, and also on roads due to traffic accidents.

Most die of natural causes while the rest die in accidents or from suicide, homicide and undetermined causes, he added.

“Most of the bodies or skeletal remains were males, and between 70% and 80% of them are believed to be foreigners as they did not have BCG injection scars,” he said.

“Almost all of them had no documents on them.”

Last year for instance, of the total unclaimed bodies at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), only 1% was identified but their families could not afford to bury them and asked the hospital to do it instead, he added.

Dr Mohd Shah said there were 531 unclaimed bodies out of 81,921 recorded deaths nationwide last year compared with 752 out of 97,099 in 2015.

Of the unclaimed bodies in 2015, 161 were out of the norm, believed to be Rohingya and Bangladeshi human-trafficking victims found in mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis, near the Malaysia-Thailand border.

Dr Mohd Shah said the unclaimed bodies were not an issue because a policy and system were in place for burial or cremation.

If the deceased could be identified, the body would be released to the family members, he added.

He said a body was considered unclaimed if the body believed to be that of a Muslim is not claimed after three days and for a non-Muslim, not claimed after two weeks.

“After that, hospitals will initiate the process for hospital bu­rial or cremation (for non-Muslim),” he said.

Asked which bodies had been kept longest in hospitals, he said it was one month for Muslim bodies and up to three months for non-Muslim bodies.

“We can cope and manage all the unclaimed bodies,” he added.

Besides HKL, Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang had 50 unclaimed bodies last year, Hospital Sungai Buloh in Selangor (36), Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor (51), Penang Hospital (38), and Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Alor Setar (21).

Every state has at least one forensic expert who can do a post-mortem except for Perlis, which comes under the purview of Kedah, Dr Mohd Shah said.

A small percentage of intact fresh bodies would be released to universities for research purpose, he added.

Dr Mohd Shah added that the authorities could generally tell if the dead are Malaysians if the bodies were still fresh, even if they were homeless, as they could compare the fingerprints with the National Registration Department’s database.

However, for foreigners, only those who entered the country legally would have fingerprints taken by the Immigration Department and it would be difficult to determine the identity of those entering without documents, he said.

The authorities could check the Bukit Aman’s fingerprint database, too, but it kept only the fingerprints of offenders, he added.

For unknown bodies, Dr Mohd Shah said hospitals would collect samples such as blood tissues or bone (with bone marrow) for DNA analysis.

“We will then hand over the samples to the police and they will send them to the Chemistry Department, which will analyse and keep the DNA profiles but does not store the tissues,” he said.

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Abandoned and pining for family

Monday, May 22nd, 2017
Good Samaritan: Tong Sim Senior Citizens Care Centre founder Cheong Loy checking on a senior citizen at the premises in Jalan Dewan Bahasa, Kuala Lumpur. The coffinmaker who runs the funeral parlour at the Kwong Tong Cemetery in Sg Besi started taking in abandoned elderly folk more than a decade ago.

Good Samaritan: Tong Sim Senior Citizens Care Centre founder Cheong Loy checking on a senior citizen at the premises in Jalan Dewan Bahasa, Kuala Lumpur. The coffinmaker who runs the funeral parlour at the Kwong Tong Cemetery in Sg Besi started taking in abandoned elderly folk more than a decade ago.

EXCLUSIVE: KUALA LUMPUR: At first sight, it seems like most of them were just waiting to die.

The “normal” ones wear a forlorn look while those with mental illness stare into space.

These are the unwanted – senior citizens sent to old folks’ homes after being discharged from hospitals as their families do not want to take them home.

Most of the 50 residents at Al-Ikhlas Old Folks Care and Treat­ment Home at Kampung Pulau Meranti, Puchong, are bedridden.

They live with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Sixteen caretakers look after them – feeding and bathing those with serious physical disabilities.

Former lorry driver Abu Abdul Talib, 52, lost the use of his right leg after being involved in a traffic accident in Singapore three or four years ago.

Resigned: Bored residents just sitting around at Tong Sim Senior Citizens Care Centre in Salak Selatan.

Resigned: Bored residents just sitting around at Tong Sim Senior Citizens Care Centre in Salak Selatan.

He was sent here from Hospital Kuala Lumpur as his family in Teluk Intan, Perak, could not take care of him.

A dark mood descended over Abu as he spoke about his family, who visit him irregularly.

“I have four children, three are still in school and one is working. My wife works as a babysitter to support the family,” said Abu.

Aladib Abdullah, 74, from George Town, Penang, broke down during the interview.

He is no longer on good terms with his ex-wife while his son and daughter take turns to visit him.

“I’m losing my memory. I cannot remember many things. I miss my friends. Please come and visit me.

“We’re suffering not because we don’t have food or drinks. There’s something we miss in life,” said the former employee of an English daily.

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Filmmaker: No one has right to resort to violence at public talk.

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: A public discourse is where people express themselves in different ways and one has no right to resort to violence if there are differing opinions, said a documentary filmmaker.

Referring to a scuffle between veteran actor-comedian Sulaiman Yassin and movie producer David Teo at the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue on Wednesday, Zan Azlee Zainal Abidin (pix) said this is a form of gangsterism.

“If somebody talks and if you don’t agree with what the person is saying, then you counter by talking in a dignified and intellectual way.

“But he (Sulaiman) didn’t even let Teo speak properly and finish what he wanted to say,” he said when contacted Friday.

Zan Azlee said it was also wrong for Sulaiman to act in a way which the actor claimed was to teach Teo some manners.

“If somebody does anything wrong, no one has the right to be a vigilante and take matters into their own hands.

“Everybody has the right to voice their opinions. And it is a town hall dialogue, and if you’re not allowed to speak, then why is it called a dialogue in the first place?” Zan Azlee asked.

He also said actor and producer Datuk Rosyam Nor, who was the moderator for the talk, could have better handled the situation.

“He should’ve been more responsible in controlling the crowd,” he said.

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A slap is never ‘just a slap’.

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
There can be hard hitting implications when it comes to the law.

Is it a crime to slap a person?

Well, in this country, if it is a slap by a parent or teacher on a person below 12 years of age under their care, it is not a crime.

Article 89 of the Malaysian Penal Code 1936 states: “Nothing, which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years of age … by or by consent, either express or implied, of the guardian or other person having lawful charge of that person, is an offence….”

This “right” to discipline a child below 12 is granted to the child’s guardian and others like a school principal therefore does not amount to criminal force.

It is termed corporal punishment of children which is lawful under articles 89 and 350 of the Penal Code as well as the Education Act 1996.

Hence, a teacher can cane schoolboys as they derive that authority from a parent as stated in article 350(i) of the Penal Code: A, a head teacher, in the reasonable exercise of his discretion as head teacher, canes B, one of his scholars. A does not use criminal force to B because, although A intends to cause fear and annoyance, he does not use force illegally.

But what happens if you slap a person who is not a child whom you have no authority over?

Then there is a definition called “Hurt” under the Penal Code article 319: Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.

But hurt can also escalate to “grievous hurt”. And to show the difference, the Penal Code gives this illustration: A, intending or knowing himself to be likely permanently to disfigure Z’s face, gives Z a blow which does not permanently disfigure Z’s face, but which causes Z to suffer severe bodily pain for the space of ten days. A has voluntarily caused grievous hurt.

A slap which is unlikely to inflict pain lasting 10 days, falls under article 321: “Whoever does any act with the intention of thereby causing hurt to any person, or with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause hurt to any person, and does thereby cause hurt to any person, is said “voluntarily to cause hurt”.

In the incident at the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Wednesday, May 17, it has been clearly established by numerous videos that comedian-actor Sulaiman Yassin walked from his seat many rows away from the stage to deliver a slap to movie producer David Teo. He ended up hitting Teo’s left arm.

Sulaiman claims he was motivated to teach Teo a lesson because he was incensed by what he perceived to be Teo’s disrespectful behaviour in Najib’s presence. Teo had loudly criticised forum moderator Datuk Rosyam Nor for not giving a chance for other attendees not in the front rows to speak.

Rosyam then allowed Teo to speak and as the latter started reciting his pantun, Sulaiman hit him.

While it sounds very commendable for a person to want to protect another person, be it a national leader or one’s offspring, can this justify an act of violence?

In March this year, a woman was sentenced to six months’ jail and a fine of RM2,000 by the magistrate’s court for slapping a teacher at a school in Sungai Bakap, Penang.

Tan Seow Yen, a 36-year-old mother of three, was charged with voluntarily causing hurt to her child’s primary school Bahasa Malaysia teacher L. Vanitha, 38, at SJKC Chong Kuang in Sungai Bakap on Feb 2, 2015. She committed the offence after her son, 10, complained that Vanitha had pinched him for being slow in class.

A case more pertinent to the Sulaiman-Teo incident occurred in Singapore. On April 30, 2015, a man slapped teen blogger Amos Yee.

Yee, then aged 16, was notorious for his rude and vulgar YouTube posts. Shortly after the death of Lee Kuan Yew in March 2015, he uploaded a video, Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!, in which he compared Lee to Jesus, both unfavourably. He went on to upload a cartoon on his blog of Lee and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher having anal sex.

More than 30 people lodged police reports against him and Yee was arrested and charged under the Singapore Penal Code with “intention of wounding the religious feelings of Christians”, obscenity, and “threatening, abusive or insulting communication.”

On the morning of April 30, as Yee was walking to court for a pre-trial hearing, he was slapped on the left side of his face by Neo Gim Huah.

Neo, 49, was arrested the next day and charged with voluntarily causing hurt to Yee. At his trial, he said he wanted to teach Yee a lesson for being disrespectful and insulting Lee, the country’s founding father.

The businessman and father of three was found guilty and sentenced to three weeks’ jail.

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‘Hadi’s Bill has far-reaching effects on all’.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (RUU355) have far-reaching consequences on all, even if not applicable to all Malaysians, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

In expressing its concern over the severe and grossly disproportionate punishments under the proposal, its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the commission stands firm in its position that everyone must be treated equally under all laws, including religious laws.

“We would like to underline that any punishment in law must have appropriate checks and balances, be in line with universally accepted human rights standards and take into account the sentiments of all other groups of persons and religions in the matrix of society.

“Parliament must accordingly ensure that all laws passed by it are reasonable, equitable and proportionate as well as progressive and fair,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Malaysians have the right to question whether the rights to liberty and dignity are being protected adequately with the proposed amendments, and Suhakam underscores that the concept of proportionality is one of the fundamental principles of sentencing, grounded on the premise that, to be just, a sentence must be of a length and type,” he added.

Razali also added that Suhakam, as an independent statutory body empowered to safeguard human rights and obliged to enlighten the public as primary stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights, observed that caning and/or lashing in any setting violates the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under international law.

“We also emphasise that all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited by international treaties that Malaysia has acceded to, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” he said.

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The parenting pyramid

Sunday, May 14th, 2017
As parents, we are kept on our toes, not only by our progeny, but also by other, more experienced progenitors as well. FILE PIC

Mothers Day celebration is the perfect occasion to reflect upon the most important part of a mother’s job.

While flowers and chocolates are partly in recognition of all the cooking, washing and countless hours spent sending and fetching, parenting is, without a doubt, the most important and most challenging aspect of a mother’s duty.

It might be the biggest source of pride, or of abysmal anxiety one will ever experience. Yet, it is also the one job that comes without certification, degree or even licence. We are simply expected to do it, and to do it well.

Fret not, the astute parent will rejoice. Your local library features shelves, aisles, entire departments even, filled with relevant books, guides, manuals, magazines and encyclopedias, on the subject — the subject being as varied as the desired outcome itself.

A child could be raised to be carefree and caring, self-confident and humble, dependable but resilient, honest yet respectful, compassionate, competitive, pro-active and grateful, of general as well as emotional intelligence.

By no means do I wish to undermine any author’s authority on the subject of newborn nurturing, a paediatric professional’s perception on child healthcare or a therapist’s theories on a toddler’s tantrums.

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, children tend to rewrite the development playbook as soon as we try to follow a scripted narrative. My children never did what any book or guide said they would do. I simply winged it, and I dare say, I winged it reasonably well.

As parents, we are kept on our toes, not only by our progeny, but also by other, more experienced progenitors as well. The next hurdle always seems to be the big one.

“Of course, sleepless nights with a colicky newborn are tough, but wait until she can walk and grabs everything in sight,” they tell us, or “Aw, so cute, he’s holding on to the tablecloth (with the hot teapot on it), you just wait for the ‘terrible two’s.”

“Sharing is caring,” we are reminded on the playground, while new findings advocate the merit of youngsters learning to wait patiently for their turn on the swing set. Schooling opens up a real Pandora’s Box of should’s and shouldn’ts.

The early learning years introduce us to the age of reason as much as they bring us to the brink of madness.

“Ha, you know nothing until you deal with teenagers,” the foreshadowing goes.

While the measure of opportunities for self-doubt and seemingly inevitable failure is colossal, it is also quite universal. What is perceived as good parenting, however, varies widely as it is deeply embedded in cultural sensitivity. Raising children in a foreign culture adds new perspective as well as a vast contingency for confusion to the mix.

Until we are introduced to the concept of “The Pyramid”. Asian children are, for the most part, educated following a triangular chronicle. At a very young age, boundaries are fairly wide, like the base of said pyramid.

Much seems accepted, a lot is tolerated. I used to watch in awe as a maid ran alongside my neighbour’s toddler in the park, trying to feed the little one a few mouthfuls of rice and chicken.

Malaysian pre-schoolers seemed to possess boundless energy, as they partake in family gatherings into the wee hours.

As they grow older, however, their freedom is curtailed. With age comes restrictions.

The older the child, the more respect is due to their elders; the more life-shaping the stipulation, the heavier the parents’ input weighs. Professional and bridal callings often require parental approval. The fostering pyramid grows narrower with each year.

The complete opposite is true in a traditional Western education.

While “children are to be seen but not heard” is a somewhat antiquated notion, our nestlings are led on a short leash during their early years.

Toddlers’ table manners and timetables follow a strict regiment, while teenagers are entrusted with more self-discipline and individual responsibilities.

Life and career choices are mostly tolerated if not unquestioned; the pyramid is standing on its tiny tip.

Whether we plan on being authoritative, authoritarian or permissive, parenting peer-pressure and ever-changing theories on the subject of child-rearing require constant compromise and adaptability.


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Month-long Kaamatan festival begins

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017


Yeo (sixth right) with contestants of the Unduk Ngadau

KOTA KINABALU: As Sabah celebrates a month-long Kaamatan, the city‘s harvest festival celebration is set to be a joyous, vibrant and grand affair with numerous exciting cultural events for all to enjoy.

Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai said the Kaamatan festive celebration will be held in the state capital from May 18-May 20, starting at the main venue at the Padang Merdeka which will host a galore of festivities beginning from 6pm until 11pm.

“This year’s city level Kaamatan will be celebrated with the theme ‘Kaamatan: The foundation for unity’, and will culminate with a grand ceremony by Huguon Siou (Paramount Leader) of the Kadazandusunmurut (KDM) community, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan,” he said.

In announcing the Kaamatan celebration at the press conference on Monday, Yeo said the opening ceremony will be followed by the hotly-awaited Lilundus Unduk Ngadau (beauty contest) as well as Sugandoi (singing competition), Magavau ritual and choir.

“There will also be other exciting events in store for everyone to enjoy, including a bicycle decoration gala, Unduk Ngadau Creative Traditional Dress competition, karaoke contests, as well as prize presentation for all the winners,“ said Yeo.

Furthermore, he noted the Kaamatan Cycling Challenge will also be held in conjunction of the Kaamatan which will witness 100 cyclists taking on the 22KM route starting from Padang Merdeka along Jalan Tun Abdul Rahman, Jalan Penampang until KDCA Cultural Village before returning to the starting point.

“The closing ceremony of the Kaamatan on May 20 will be officiated by federal Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Salleh Tun Said Keruak,” said Yeo, adding that the finale of the festival will culminate with the Unduk Ngadau finals for Kota Kinabalu and Likas, and state-level competitions which will be held at the KDCA Cultural Village.

The venue for the qualifying round and semi-finals of this the coveted Sugandoi crown is contributed by Oceanus Waterfront Mall. Kupi-kupi fm is the official radio station for the festival.

Meanwhile, the finalists for this year’s Sugandoi Kota Kinabalu include Chrispine Joseph, Michelle Kasianus, Brenda Folsera Jasli, Nurbilin Abdul Jalil and Rushdy Rapheal Mantui.

During the cheque presentation ceremony, Yeo also received a sum of RM50,000 from main sponsors YTL Communications for the Kaamatan, while other sponsors allocated a total of RM71,500 for the annual festive celebration.


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