Archive for August, 2013

Patriotism is all about deeds

Friday, August 30th, 2013

ACTION – ORIENTED: A patriotic person will not tolerate wrongdoing, arrogance or incompetence.

WE are in that period again  when we remember and celebrate our country’s independence.  A period of time when well-intentioned leaders, officials and common people alike try hard to reinvigorate if not to instil that feeling of love and dedication towards country.

A daunting challenge considering that affection in humans is a personal and almost private matter and many may want to raise their patriotic fervour all by themselves.

This year’s theme is inspiring enough (“Malaysiaku Berdaulat: Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku”), but might still be incomprehensible to those who care not to reflect deeper.

Nevertheless, as always, it continues to echo the endearing message that must continue to be told — that the country is free and sovereign, that it is our homeland, that we must be united and that we must love and dedicate ourselves to her.

This is surely a call to patriotism. A spirit and feeling for country that some say has now waned in a portion of the population as a result of circumstances and in particular by the attitude of placing the interests of self higher than that of the country.

Even a casual observer can see that this is true. However, the small relief is there, that Malaysians as a whole will still come together as one when the security of the country is threatened.

This has been shown during the period of the emergency, confrontation, the communist insurgency in the 1970s and 1980s and even during the Lahad Datu incident in the early part of this year.

It may be a surprise to some, but our military rarely mention or even use the word patriotism or the “we must be patriotic” line. I can attest to this fact.

It even baffled me initially as to why this was so, especially when we had to get our soldiers to feel willing even to die for the country — the ultimate sacrifice of being a a soldier and a patriotic person.

The realisation was to come quickly. Direct calls using the word patriotism or the “be patriotic” line was not as vital as compared with the more crucial requirement of showing actual acts of patriotism and putting into practice what it means to be patriotic. And these were what the military focused on, which, at the same time, also included reprimanding and punishing those who demonstrated unpatriotic conduct and behaviour.

by Lt Jen (Rtd) Datuk Seri Zaini Mohd Said

Patriotic in heart, word and deed

Friday, August 30th, 2013

THERE is an impression conveyed by the authorities that if you do not fly the Malaysian flag then you are not patriotic. Flying the flag means little if your life and “internals and motives of the heart” are not patriotic.

True patriotism is not about flying a flag or shouting slogans. True patriotism is:

> Respecting everyone in the nation, irrespective of ethnicity or social status;

> Supporting all segments of our population, especially those struggling and marginalised; and

> Working together to protect our land – both the people and the environment (flora and fauna).

It is not important whether a Malaysian makes a public display of our flag or not. It is more important that every Malaysian has a heart

of love for all the people of this land.

That we share our resources and lives. That we have a collective dream and make it into a reality, a dream that is called Malaysia.

Unpatriotic acts are common and regularly practised. They include:

> Pushing for a Malay-sia rather than a Malaysia (inclusive of all people groups);

> Sharing the wealth of the nation with a few cronies and corrupt practices among those in power;

> Using power to oppress others in small and big ways; and

> Acts of hypocrisy where words and actions differ, all empty talk with no meaningful action.

These days many of our leaders seem to be extreme in their

comments, more interested in having a Malay-sia rather than a Malaysia.

by Datuk Dr. Amar Singh HSS and Datin Lim Swee Im.

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The best kind of happiness is one shared by all

Friday, August 30th, 2013

WE celebrate Malaysia’s 56th year of independence on Saturday. For some of us, it has become customary to wish each other Happy Merdeka. It is indeed an occasion to remember that we have a lot to be pleased about.

But how happy are we really? It’s almost a trite question but one that we should be asking from time to time. Otherwise we risk lapsing into a false sense of security and satisfaction. There is danger in believing that we are in good shape when in fact we may be merely getting by on a thin diet of low-grade happiness.

It is, therefore, comforting that the Government recognises the importance of monitoring the level of happiness among Malaysians.

It was about a year ago that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak began to publicly promote that idea, that policies to encourage economic growth should be paired with efforts to ensure a happy population.

In early September, he said the Government planned to rely on two yardsticks to measure the country’s progress – the standard economic indicator of per capita income and the happiness index of the people.

In other words, we need a barometer that reflects what is in our hearts and minds, and not only what is in our pockets and bank accounts. A nation’s prosperity does not always translate into healthy and meaningful lives for all.

Two months later, the Prime Minister said Malaysia’s happiness index stood at 7.55 on a scale of 10. He declared that the target was to achieve an “A” in the index from the current “B+”.

The index remains on the Govern­ment’s agenda. On Sunday, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said Budget 2014 would include emphasis on the people’s happiness index by addressing aspects such as quality of life and security.

The Star Says,

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Stop the bullying, Malaysians urged

Friday, August 30th, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should address the increasing number of bullying cases, said motivational speaker Nick Vujicic.

“Eighty per cent of teenagers in Malaysia admitted that they have been bullied before,” said Vujicic to a 500-strong audience at the Hilton Petaling Jaya Hotel on Wednesday night.

“Words are powerful. It only takes three seconds of negativity to get into someone’s mind,” said Vujicic, who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome that left him without arms and legs – a condition that naturally made him a target of bullying in his schooling days.

At the age of 10, he attempted suicide but eventually learned to be thankful for life.

“I realised it’s not the absence of arms and legs that prevents me from doing anything. Fear is preventing people with arms and legs from doing things!” he said.

“The biggest encourager and biggest discourager is you. Do not let others and circumstances dictate your life,” he said, directing it especially at victims of bullying.

Vujicic, who has visited Malaysia a few times, kept the audience entertained as he imparted his message of hope that also saw the attendance of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim.

“I am inspired by him as well and I think he conveyed the message of self-esteem to the audience,” said Rohani, who expressed her appreciation to Vujicic for inspiring Malay­sians.

by Christine Cheah

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Prompts That Get Students to Analyze, Reflect, Relate, and Question

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

A simple teaching technique that helps students learn; now there’s something few teachers would pass up! This particular technique involves a four-question set that gets students actively responding to the material they are studying. They analyze, reflect, relate, and question via these four prompts:

  • “Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea … that you learned while completing this activity.”
  • “Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea … is important?”
  • “Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.”
  • “What question(s) has the activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about?” [You might need to prohibit the answer “nothing”.]

Dietz-Uhler and Lanter, who authored the set, had students in an introductory psych course answer the questions about a Web-based activity that they had completed in groups. Alexander, Commander, Greenberg, and Ward used the set to promote critical thinking in an online course. Their students answered the questions before discussing a case online.


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Encouraging Creativity and Innovation in Yourself and Your Students

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Innovation and creativity are two words heard frequently in higher education today. How can we encourage innovation and creativity in ourselves and our students? Reimers-Hild and King (2009) described components of innovation as fun, creative, diverse, collaborative, and intuitive. Taking small steps to accomplish this goal is the way to go, but there needs to be support and encouragement. Taking risks and sometimes even looking at failure as “fuel for innovation” can help promote this process (Ryshke, 2012). If something does not work, we can learn from it, and then modify and try again. While serving as Director of a Center for Faculty Development, I often asked faculty how they encourage creativity and innovation in their classroom. Here are some of the key themes that arose from these conversations:

Active Learning
Use active learning techniques to engage students, and encourage innovation and creativity. Some faculty create games and use concept maps, songs, study guides. As one faculty member stated, “learning happens when you trap a student in an environment where they can’t escape without thinking.”

Faculty shared the following practical ideas for incorporating more active learning into their teaching:

  • Provide interaction that includes a high percentage of class time with hands-on and problem solving opportunities
  • Create opportunities for hands-on field work — get students out of their comfort zone and their own environments
  • Have students facilitate a roundtable discussion
  • Write questions on the board and have students answer the questions — what is the evidence; do they agree or disagree, why?
  • Allow students to create a few of the questions for an upcoming exam.


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Schools push ‘magic’ pills

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Schools in several states have been “pushing” pills that supposedly make pupils cleverer.

The promoters also claim that the “get smart” pills, named Dimensi 108, which are marketed as food supplements, can alter children’s behaviour to make them more obedient and hard-working as well as resistant to illnesses.

Concerned parents from a school in Kuala Lumpur contacted The Star when the tablets were distributed to Year Six pupils earlier this week, saying their children were being forced to buy the pills.

One parent said she had asked her daughter to return the pills to the class teacher and refused to pay for them.

“When my daughter and a few of her friends returned the pills, the teacher told them not to blame her if they are tak pandai (not clever) in their UPSR (which starts on Sept 9).

“Can you believe that? The teacher is supposed to encourage the kids to work hard for their exams and not rely on some pills with so-called magical properties,’’ the outraged parent told The Star.

by Priya Kulasagaran.

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SIDMA College Staff and Students Conquered Mount Kinabalu

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

A day after the June 2013 Semester Final Examination, Prof. Dr. Morni  Kambrie, (SIDMA Chairman) led a team of 30 staff and students to conquer Mount Kinabalu. According to Ms Norizan Binti Ahmad, the organizer of the expedition, the two days event (from 25th to 26th August 2013) was partially sponsored by the management of SIDMA College.

Prior to the expedition (24th August), the group spent a day at Walai Tokou Homestay, Ranau. While staying at the homestay, the team attended Ms Norizan Ahmad Hari Raya Open House at Kg. Maraukau.

Early the next morning on 25th, the group headed to Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang for their breakfast. After breakfast, the group gathered together, and Dr. Morni headed a “Doa Selamat” session, where they said prayer to honour Allah the Almighty and to seek protection for the expedition. At Timpohon Gate, they walked on foot for about six kilometres to Laban Rata Rest House, about 3,270 meter above sea level, where the group spent their night.

At about 3.00 pm most of the group members arrived at Laban Rata Rest House, an ideal place for resting, before conquering the peak of the mountain the next morning.

The team members had their lunch at the Laban Rata Restaurant and enjoyed watching the views of the surrounding areas, the cool mountain air and the quite atmosphere.

Dinner at the Laban Rata Restaurant was ready by 5.00 pm, and by 7.00 pm it was light-off at Laban Rata for the climbers to have a good night sleep.

At around 2.00 am the next morning (26th August) most of the team members woke up for their buffet breakfast before they set for the summit climb at around 2.30 am.

Once at Low’s Peak (4.095 meter above sea level), one of the highest mountains in South East Asia, the extremely excited group members took photos, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the early morning sunrise before descending back to Laban Rata at around 6.30 am.

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Boosting the teaching profession

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR:  THE strengthening of the teaching profession will be given priority in the implementation of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025 to ensure the aim of education transformation is achieved.

National Education Dialogue panelist Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob said the emphasis towards strengthening the teaching profession in the blueprint clearly demonstrates the government’s relentlessness in ensuring the national education system is at a higher level to enable students to overcome and face future challenges.

Sulaiman, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, said many issues were brought up during the National Education Dialogue, all of which stressed the need to strengthen and give priority to the teaching profession in the implementation of the blueprint.

Sulaiman said teachers were at the forefront in executing education transformation and needed to be put on a higher level to make it a first class profession.

For this purpose, initiatives to ensure the teaching profession is perceived as a career of choice and not a last resort option will be pursued. This will help enhance the quality of teaching and have a big impact in the creation of competitive human capital able to master new technological challenges in a fast paced rapidly developing world.

Dr Christina: Sophisticated health facilities must match quality service delivery

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The rapid development of sophisticated health facilities must be matched with quality service delivery, said State Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi.

In order to achieve the objective, she said the government has called on all quarters to make self-transformation in order to be more committed in providing services to the public.

She said without quality service delivery and self-transformation it would be meaningless to have all the sophisticated health facilities and trained skills manpower as it does not guarantee health improvement for the people.

She was speaking at the opening of the 34th Scientific Meeting on Medical Imaging at a hotel here, yesterday with the theme ‘Safety, Quality and Reliability’.

The medical imaging seminar have been used as a platform to spread awareness about the importance of information in terms of the risk of radiation protection and the biological effects of radiation on humans, she said. It discussed the latest medical imaging protocol, increase knowledge, exchange ideas and experiences with the professionals, said Dr Christina.

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