Archive for September, 2013

Translating sustainability into action

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

AGENTS OF CHANGE: Universities can foster sustainable development lifestyles in Malaysia, writes Dr. Irina Safitri Zen.

SUSTAINABLE development aims to meet human needs through inter and intra equities for the present and future generations, while ensuring the sustainability of natural systems and the environment.

As institutions of higher education, universities have a unique way of translating sustainable development into action.

The UN “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” which spans 2005 to next year, promotes the commitment to education on sustainability as the primary agent of transformation into a sustainable society.

Universities educate students at the classroom level. However, the adoption of sustainable concepts should be led by example through sustainable campus initiatives.

The research spirit in the university allows the sustainable campus to transform into a “Living Lab” or “Test Bed”. From the theoretical to the real, and from the classroom experience to life, it allows for more robust products and services to emerge from its experiments.

Students learn and live sustainably in the campus environment where sustainable concepts rule. It marches the students, academia and the staff towards the culture of sustainability and provides a unique micro-culture to the global sustainable society. In the end, the sustainable campus gives the students a training camp for real life challenges of the world beyond.

The adoption of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in universities has the potential to integrate various singular disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology and even social sciences like psychology and sociology.

The Sustainable School concept or Sekolah Lestari was established in Malaysia more than 10 years ago. The green spirit was spurred by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) together with the Institute of Sustainable Development and Environment (Lestari) in the National University of Malaysia.

Efforts Must Be Taken To Help Students Appreciate Literary Works – DBP

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

KANGAR:  Efforts must be taken to help students in schools and universities to appreciate literary works as they are indeed a part of life, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Board of Governors chairman Prof Datuk Seri Md Salleh Yaapar said.

He said, right now, literary works seemed to be left out, especially in institutions of higher learning, even though most players in the literary industry were still active.

“Literary works should be given an appropriate place at the institutions of higher learning,” he said when opening the Seminar of Rejab FI’s Thoughts at the Perlis Teachers Education Institute (IPG) here.

Md Salleh said DBP had always showed its appreciation for laureates and their great literary works through various activities, including by holding seminars on the laureates’ thoughts.

For example, he said the northern region DBP had once organised a seminar on Azizi Abdullah’s thoughts in 2010, followed by the one on A.Rahmad’s thoughts last year and Rejab FI’s thoughts, which is being held with cooperation from the Perlis IPG this year.

Md Salleh said Rejab FI, or his real name Rejab Ismail, was born on Sept 12, 1941 in Kampung Bongkok, Perlis, and had produced 167 books and 84 others literary works, including short-stories, poems and plays since 1960s.

During the one-day seminar, Rejab was also awarded with the Perlis Language and Literary Figure Award 2013.

While expressing his gratitude for the award, Rejab, who is an active member of Perlis Writers Association, humbly said:

“I’m just an old writer living in the northern state of the country.”

Six literary industry players presented their working papers at the seminar, namely A.Rahim Abdullah, Dr Abdul Halim Ali, Assoc Prof Dr Rahimah A Hamid, Sharif Shaary, Hassan Basri Budiman and Roslan Chin.


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Taking the lead in global education

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

CHALLENGES: Are universities preparing scholars for global citizenry?

TO be or not to be… that is the question. We have a choice to be isolationist or to be global and competitive as a nation.

When the nation understands the necessity of being competitive, articulates its readiness to be competitive and global in other sectors, particularly in economics and politics, the substance and direction for educational transformation is clear.

As other sectors of national existence mobilise resources and energies, “not to be”, is not to use all available resources for the betterment of society. “Not to be” is to hold back the future and not to allow the fullest blossoming of the potentialities of every citizen learner.

One evidence of the articulation of the nation’s endeavour to strengthen education provisions is the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2015. Beyond and related to the blueprint, there are other happenings, globally and nationally.

Indicators of various trends and happenings can be gleaned from the latest reports, proceedings, conferences, books, articles, and documentaries. Nations and companies determined to be at the leading edge must have dedicated and passionate people on idea-hunting, and know-how and strategy development.

Malaysia now has a pool of experienced and knowledgeable people who can provide strategic input for further extending development initiatives, both at system and institutional levels.

The celebrated book on comparative education by Edmund King is Other Schools and Ours. It could read “Other Universities and Ours”.

What and how we have done a better job in education and why we seem to do badly in some other ways are questions asked and answers sought on issues connected to best practices, good practices, and exemplary models.

Depending on the definition of universities, there are more than 15,000 universities in the world and fewer than 2,000 of which are Islamic universities. Malaysia has more than 60 universities and the number is increasing. One significant area of the agenda of universities is internationalisation.

Universities are institutions of ideas generation and sharing. They were created as global institutions. They were elitist but moved to be open to all with merit, and now these institutions are mass education institutions.

Over the centuries, universities have become local with some experiences of being global. Now there are movements driven to make universities global by the system of ranking.

Schools have also become global by the system of benchmarking with Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Programme for International Student Assessment. Multinational organisations like hotels and airlines claim their international focus. Emirates airline, for instance, would announce the multinational nature of their crew in every flight and records that more than 60 nationalities serve the airline.

Many countries, for instance Finland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Australia have formulated the internationalisation agenda in higher education.

by  Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid.

Dying early from chronic diseases

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

GLOBAL PANDEMIC: Deaths from non-communicable diseases set to rise by 17 pc over next 10 years.

KOTA KINABALU: NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of hospital admissions and mortality in Malaysia, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

NCDs includes diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer, obesity and osteoporosis.

Describing NCDs as the highest cause of premature deaths in the country, Dr Subramaniam said there were 700,000 diabetes patients receiving treatment at government hospitals and health clinics.

“NCD is a global pandemic. Based on the World Health Organisation’s 2005 report, NCD contributed to 75 per cent of global diseases, where 60 per cent involved death.

“Deaths caused by NCDs are expected to increase by 17 per cent over the next 10 years. Statistics show that one in five Malaysians aged above 30 is suffering from diabetes.”

His speech was delivered by deputy director-general of health (Research and Technical Support) Datuk Dr Maimunah Abd Hamid at the launching of the National Conference of Advisory Panel Clinics here, yesterday.

In Malaysia, obesity is the current health problem, with 8.5 million Malaysians suffering from weight problems.

According to statistics, Dr Subramaniam said one in three people was suffering from obesity. This was because of the eating habits and the lack of exercise among Malaysians.

“This is alarming. The figure is expected to rise if no effort is made to curb the problem and no awareness among the people.”

He said the government was committed to boosting the quality of healthcare.

There are 3,000 health facilities throughout the country. These includes 919 health clinics, 106 mother and child clinics, 236 1Malaysia clinics and 1,831 rural clinics.

by Avila Geraldine.

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj. Kambrie, Congratulated SIDMA Staff and Students…

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj. Kambrie, Chairman SIDMA College, congratulated all SIDMA College City Campus staff and students who recently captured the Sabah Zone Private Colleges Sport Carnival (Kejohanan Sukan Masiswa Zon Sabah) 2013 Championship Trophy. It was their second championship trophy captured consecutively within these two years, as SIDMA College captured the 2012 Championship Trophy during similar carnival held last November 2012.

This year, the carnival which was held from 20 – 22 September 2013 at Tun Adnan Sport Complex, Yayasan Sabah, Likas. It was co-organized by Yayasan Sabah College Community and SIDMA College City Campus, and was participated by 12 private colleges in Sabah.

Some of the private colleges that took part were SIDMA College, Kolej Yayasan Sabah (KYS), Asian Tourism International College (ATI), Masterskill College, Almacrest International College, PTPL, INTI College, and more.

The winners of the above carnival will be representing Sabah in the coming Inter Sabah- Sarawak Private Colleges Sport Carnival. Winners for the Sports Carnival will then be selected as representatives from Zone Sabah and Sarawak for the forth coming Malaysian Private Colleges Sport Carnival to be organized by Malaysian Private Colleges / Universities Sport Council (Majlis Sukan IPTS Malaysia (MASISWA)).

Six games were held during the three days carnival, namely Tenpin Bowling (M/F/Triple), Netball, Sepak Takraw, Futsal (M/F), Volleyball (M/F) and Badminton: Single (M/F), Double (M/F) and Mixed Double.

SIDMA College contingents participated in all the games; Netball, Sepak Takraw, Futsal (M & F), Volleyball, Bowling (M & F) and Badminton (M & F).

At the end of the carnival, SIDMA College managed to capture 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 Bronze; thus begging in a total of 9 medals to capture the overall championship trophy; defeating its closest opponent, KYS team which managed to capture only 5 gold medals.

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Striking a balance between body and soul

Friday, September 27th, 2013

KEEPING THE FAITH: Many fail to realise the need to care not only for physical wellbeing, but emotional and mental wellness, too

AN apple a day keeps the doctor away.  How many Malaysians practice this habit? We have our own personal answers to this question.

We assume that it is our physical being that is affected when we get sick, not realising that it involves our souls as well.

Common practice to good health normally involves our physical being — we make sure that we eat a balanced diet and exercise at least three to four times a week. That is certainly not enough. Souls also need to be looked after as well. It sounds a bit off-balance as a lot of people do not realise that souls take precedence over physical exercise in ensuring our wellbeing.

Besides practising moderation in our food intake, we also have to bear in mind that we have obligations to ourselves; we are entrusted to take care and love ourselves. Many people fail to realise the need to take care of not only their physical being but their emotional and mental wellness, too.

How do we take care of our emotional and mental wellbeing? The answer is by keeping the faith.

Physicians, psychologists, and cardiologists, medical doctors and teachers from some of the most prestigious medical schools are coming to similar conclusions about the positive powers of faith. Faith is considered a protective factor that has the power of brightening outlook, calming nerves, warding off health problems and lengthening life.

There have been more than 300 studies showing that people who follow some type of religious practice in their lives, including praying, are healthier across the board compared with those who don’t.

by Wan Norliza Wan Mustapha

Malaysia aims to become a data management centre

Friday, September 27th, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO: Malaysia is seeking to be a data management centre as its plan to develop further its information technology industry.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia has the advantage of space, infrastructure and incentives for the industry.

He, however, acknowledged Ma­­lay­sia’s lack of data management scientists.

“This is a new skill that we need as thousands of data scientists will need to be produced in Malaysia’s quest to be a data management centre,” the Prime Minister said after attending the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council meeting here on Monday.

The council was set up in 2010 as part of Najib’s efforts to transform Malaysia into a high income nation through science and inno-vation.

Najib said the meeting also discussed the culture of tolerating failures by companies in the Silicon Valley.

“They accept the culture of failure and risk-taking as part of gaining experience for future success.

“Nobody is penalised but instead the failure is being used to see what went wrong. In other words, they might fail once, they might fail twice but given the right set of circumstances and encouragement, they might succeed the third or fourth time,” Najib said at a media briefing here.

Later, speaking at the Common­wealth Club, the Prime Minister said Asian countries must look to build stronger, more lasting economic connections within and outside the re­gion.

“That is why I look forward to the completion of the Trans-Pacific Part­nership which will strengthen our ties with the wider world and the Regional Economic Compre­hensive Partner­ship which will bring three of the largest economies into the world’s largest trading bloc,” he said.


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Innovation the keyword in trip to Silicon Valley

Friday, September 27th, 2013

IT was another eye-opening day for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Silicon Valley with a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a visit to Google.

Najib, who is on a three-day working visit to Silicon Valley, was at Facebook’s head office in Menlo Park besides making a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

“The experience is very, very interesting, an eye-opener on not only products but also the lifestyle, especially the culture of innovation.

“How do we promote the culture of innovation? It’s not about the hardware, it’s not about the regulations and incentives but about the way of life and the culture of innovation which is important because that’s the underpinning for innovation to really succeed,” he told the Malaysian media.

Najib said that during his visit to Facebook, they had expressed willingness to work with the Malaysian Government on its efforts to further engage the people to learn about what people wanted.

The offer by Facebook would also enable the Government to inform the people on its latest policies.

Malaysia has among the biggest number of FB users in the world, ranking at No. 18 with almost 13 million users.

Najib’s three-hour visit to Google saw the Prime Minister trying out the latest innovative products, including Google glass and Google driverless car.

Google glass is a wearable computer with an optical head mounted display that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

The two visits on Tuesday were part of a series of high-level discussions and demonstrations for the Prime Minister’s “experiential visit” to Silicon Valley organised by the Multimedia Development Cor­poration (MDeC).

MDeC is the driver of Malaysia’s Digital Economy Initiative, Digital Malaysia and the National ICT Initiative, MSC Malaysia.

by Mergawati Zulfakar.

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Why good women fall for bad men

Friday, September 27th, 2013

He’s arrogant, rude, a rebel, and may quite possibly have a borderline personality disorder… But yet women fall head-over-heels for the bad guy.
It’s a common complaint among men in the dating world, and it is a phenomenon that still befuddles all of us. That is why The Star Online sought the help of Charis Wong, a marriage and family therapist, to explain why women fall for “bad men”.

“A lot of women get caught up in this cycle and they can remain in this cycle for the rest of their lives,” said Wong.

Wong says that women who fall for “bad men” often have unresolved issues that make them attracted to these individuals.

“In a normal situation, a woman would be attracted to someone who would make a potential life mate, and father to her future children,” explained Wong.

“However, there are some cases where women may have unresolved childhood issues, and have the tendency to fall for bad boys as a way to deal with these issues,” she said.

Wong says that women from dysfunctional families, whose father had affairs with other women, or women with father issues, who did not get much attention from their father, may also fall into the cycle of dating “bad men”.

A distant or emotionally detached man may be a relationship that is considered normal for the woman.

“It is an accustomed and familiar relationship, and when you’re familiar with something, it’s comfortable, and you will become unconsciously attracted to the same sort of man your mother was,” said Wong.


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Take heart from learning about heart diseases

Friday, September 27th, 2013

SURVEY RESULTS: People have little understanding of them, says doctor.

PETALING JAYA: MOST Malaysians are reactive and not proactive when it comes to coronary heart disease (CHD),  the results of the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) “Love Your Heart Survey 2013″ has shown.

UMMC cardiology unit head Prof Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad, in revealing the results yesterday, said in the survey, 414 patients, who suffered from CHD and had undergone percutaneous coronary intervention and stenting, were posed questions about their familiarity with CHD, coronary angioplasty and coronary stents in the treatment of the disease.

“About 73 per cent of respondents had not performed regular heart health tests before they were diagnosed with CHD.

“Some 83 per cent of respondents had not sought information about coronary stents before their coronary angioplasty.”

He added that the survey was conducted to shed light on cardiac risk factors and treatment options, as well as patients’ understanding of such issues.

Dr Wan Azman also said 328 respondents, or almost 80 per cent, did not know the type of stents used in coronary angioplasty and were also unable to identify any of the listed stents.

by Esther Landau.