Archive for October, 2019

Best practices at the school canteen

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Kafe Rimba using nature in its concept to nurture love for environment among students.
A student utilising 3R recycling bins in maintaining the canteen’s cleanliness.

AT SMK Baru Miri, Sarawak, students clean up after themselves after a meal. No used plates and utensils are left unattended.

“Cloths are provided at every table for the students to wipe the table after eating,” said canteen “ambassador” Syed Haziq Hadif Wan Saifuddin.

This is to encourage common courtesy and good hygiene, he added.

The school canteen, Kafe Rimba, clinched the Gold Award in the secondary school category at the Canteen Services Best Practices 2019 for its efforts at increasing awareness on cleanliness, implementing healthy food menus and promoting school activities.

Kafe Rimba is no ordinary school canteen.

Its concept of nature with waterfall and fish pond surrounded by plants present a junglelike setting to inculcate the love for nature among students.

As the canteen “ambassador”, Syed Haziq has to ensure that all students participate in maintaining the cleanliness of the canteen.

“Our objectives include taking care of the environment, practising 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) and encouraging innovation among students.

“We identified two main waste from the canteen — used cooking oil and kitchen waste such as vegetables and fruit peelings.

We attempted to recycle these waste into new products.

“Used cooking oil, if not managed properly, will cause clogged pipes in the school canteen. Hence, we took a proactive step by collecting the used oil and recycled it into soap. These soaps were placed at the canteen to be used by students.

“We also gathered kitchen waste to produce organic fertiliser using the technique of bokashi composting. We mix the waste and bokashi powder in a container and ferment it for a week. Bokashi is Japanese for fermented organic matter.

“The process of making bokashi is easy, cheap and environmentally-friendly,” said the Form Six student.

These projects are spearheaded by the school’s Innovation Club, he added.

“It is my responsibility as a canteen ambassador to make sure that the implementation of these projects take place efficiently.

“In an effort to reduce littering, we have also placed trash cans around the school compound.

“It’s good to see that students spend time at the canteen, not only to enjoy a meal but also study. I hope with the recognition, we can be a role-model and inspire other schools to come out with similar initiatives,” he said.

Principal Jerrah Pandin revealed that the canteen’s atmosphere improves student attendance and learning attitude.

“Students generally spend a lot of time in school. Some are here as early as 5.20am to wait for their breakfast before lessons begin at 7am.

“They enjoy being at the school canteen as it provides a sense of tranquillity with its nature concept,” she said.

“Most of our students are from low income backgrounds, hence we want to create a conducive environment and provide nutritious and balanced meals at school for them.

“The canteen operator prepares healthy meals according to the correct serving size and portion. The calorie count for each menu is displayed for students to track their intake.

“We have introduced the no-plastic campaign to raise awareness on taking care of the environment.

“To succeed in our objectives, the collective efforts of all stakeholders are essential. I am thankful to all 862 students, 81 teachers and workers, parent-teacher association members and the canteen operator who gave their full commitment in making this project a success,” she added.

“Parents especially are supportive of our initiative. They volunteer to do gotong-royong and repair damaged chairs and tables at the

canteen.”

Jerrah hoped that this project teaches students to eat right and stay fit to achieve a normal Body Mass Index.

Organised by Holstein Milk Company in collaboration with the Education and Health Ministries, Canteen Services Best Practices is

an annual initiative to inculcate healthy eating habits and promote safe practices in school

canteens.

The programme also gives special recognition in the 3R Campaign, Healthy and Fresh Canteen, and Generasi Farm Fresh

Video categories. It received 58 entries from 30 primary schools and 28 secondary schools nationwide this year.

SMK Malim and SMK Raja Perempuan Ipoh received the silver and bronze awards respectively, in the secondary school category.

For the primary school category, the gold, silver and bronze awards went to SK Pauh Jaya, SK Bandar Tasik Kesuma and SJKC Chung Hua Pujut respectively.

The prize money is split into three portions — 60 per cent goes to the canteen operator, 30 per cent to the school while the remaining is channelled to the PTA.

100 read

Fulbright announces call for 2020-2021 applications

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Fulbright programmes are funded by the US Department of State and administered by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) in partnership with the US embassy.

THE United States (US) Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is calling for applications to three programmes under the Fulbright Exchange Grant for 2020-2021.

Fulbright programmes are funded by the US Department of State and administered by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) in partnership with the US embassy.

The Fulbright Malaysian Scholar Programme is targeted at Malaysian academics, who want to develop or update their research through interaction with their distinguished American counterparts. While these grants are typically research-focused, applicants who are willing to add a lecturing component to their proposals are encouraged to apply.

Meanwhile, the Fulbright Malaysian Professional Exchange Programme provides opportunities for mid-career Malaysian professionals in the public and private sectors to broaden their experience through research, lecturing and other professional enrichment programmes.

These grants are meant for practitioners rather than scholars. Administrators, managers of organisations or associations, journalists, doctors and lawyers are encouraged to apply.

The application deadline for the programmes is on Nov 15. For more information, visit www.macee.org.my/2020fulbright-malaysian-scholar-program/ and www.macee.org.my/2020-fulbright-malaysian-professional-exchange-program.

For the Fulbright US- ASEAN Visiting Scholar Programme, the application is open to university faculty members, the foreign ministry or other government officials and professionals in private-sector think tanks and Asean non-government organisations, to research issues of priority to the US-Asean relationship.

Selected visiting scholars will travel to the US during the spring semester of 2021 (January to May). To apply, visit www.macee.org.my/2020aseanvisitingscholar/ by Dec 13.

By NST Education.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/10/532555/fulbright-announces-call-2020-2021-applications

Never stop learning

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
THE power of knowledge was underlined last week when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their work in developing lithium-ion batteries.

In the words of the Nobel Prize Committee, the trio “created a rechargeable world”.

While rechargeable batteries were around in the 1970s, they had drawbacks, including the amount of energy they could store

Lithium, it turned out, offered an answer since it is a very light metal and chemically well suited for use in batteries.

However, lithium’s reactivity made it tricky to harness.

The lightweight, rechargeable and powerful lithium-ion battery is now used universally in everything from electric vehicles to mobile phones and laptops, the everyday things that we use to communicate, work, study, listen to music and so much more.

And it can store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, bringing us a step closer to a fossil fuel-free society.

As they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and, according to the Nobel announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the origins of the lithium-ion battery can be traced to the oil crisis of the 1970s.

It inspired Whittingham, now 78, a United Kingdom-born scientist working in the United States, to pursue fossil fuel-free energy technologies. He started to research superconductors and discovered an extremely energy-rich material, which he used to create an innovative cathode in a lithium battery.

This was made from titanium disulphide which, at a molecular level, has spaces that can house lithium ions. The battery’s anode was partially made from metallic lithium, which has a strong drive to release electrons.

This resulted in a battery that literally had great potential, just over two volts.

However, metallic lithium is reactive and the battery was too explosive to be viable.

American Goodenough — now 97 and the oldest person ever awarded a Nobel Prize in any field — predicted that the cathode would have even greater potential if it was made using a metal oxide instead of a metal sulphide.

In 1980 he demonstrated that his idea can produce as much as four volts.

Tun Daim Zainuddin and Dr Nik Serena Nik Zainal (bottom) set the bar very high but they demonstrated how each of us at every age can pursue knowledge and contribute to society in our own way. FILE PIX

This was an important breakthrough and would lead to much more powerful batteries.

With Goodenough’s cathode as a basis, Yoshino, the youngest of the distinguished laureates at 71, created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985, a lightweight, long-lasting battery that could be charged hundreds of times before performance deteriorated.

“Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised our lives since they first entered the market in 1991,” said the Nobel Prize Committee.

“They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society and are of the greatest benefit to humankind.”

The achievements of these three Nobel winners illustrate the relevancy of research and development, as well as the power of scientific networking and collaboration among researchers of different nationalities.

They also inspire us in other ways: all three continue to work and contribute well into their elder years.

Even at 97, Prof Goodenough still works in a lab at the University of Texas every day.

At 78, Prof Whittingham continues to teach Chemistry and is director of both the Institute for Materials Research and the Materials Science and Engineering programme at Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York.

And Prof Yoshino is a fellow of Asahi Kasei Corporation and a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya.

Indeed, all three laureates personify the idea that the pursuit of knowledge is lifelong; it has no age barrier.

Here at home, so too does Tun Daim Zainuddin, the former finance minister and former Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairman, who obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree last weekend from Universiti Malaya at age 81, after 11 years of work on his thesis.

His failing health and other urgent national duties were part of the reasons for the delay.

Chancellor Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah presided over the presentation of degrees during the first session of the university’s 59th convocation at Dewan Tunku Canselor.

We all extend our congratulations to Daim, who counselled that people should continue to seek knowledge for as long as they live and that “only through knowledge we can achieve success”.

Furthermore, “knowledge must be put to good use. It should not be used for negative things”.

Malaysians last week were also awakened by the wonderful news that Dr Nik Serena Nik Zainal, attached to the University of Cambridge’s Department of Medical Genetics, has been chosen as
the recipient of the Dr Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize 2019.

The award, commonly dubbed the “Nobel prize in cancer research”, is being presented to her for her work on cancer genome interpretation.

Her research work allows for mutations in cancer tumours to be analysed using new bio-informatics methods, which in turn enables new approaches to targeted therapies.

All these people set the bar very high but demonstrate how each of us at every age can pursue knowledge and contribute to society in our own way.

By Zakri Abdul Hamid.

Read more @ nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/532145/never-stop-learning

Can MTUC rise up to challenge?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
MTUC has been harping on the fact that the amendments were not endorsed by the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), a body comprising MTUC, Malay-sian Employers’ Federation (MEF) and Human Resources Ministry.

I REFER to your report “No need for consensus among MTUC officials for labour law amendments”.

I am perplexed by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress’ opposition to amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (Act 177), which was passed by Dewan Rakyat recently.

MTUC has been harping on the fact that the amendments were not endorsed by the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), a body comprising MTUC, Malay-sian Employers’ Federation (MEF) and Human Resources Ministry.

But the reality is that NLAC had met nine times this year, when in the past, it had met about twice a year.

This excludes technical and sub-committee meetings.

NLAC is a platform for consultation. The views aired are diverse. Some would be competing, given that the tripartite platform is made up of entities with different interests.

At the end of the day, it is the ministry’s job to protect the welfare of 15.19 million workers.

It would be naive to think that NLAC can come up with a solution that pleases all parties when MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor and his secretary-general, J. Solomon, cannot even see eye to eye on fundamental labour issues.

What is important is that the views of all parties are sought to cultivate a robust labour ecosystem that is in line with the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In fact, Sarawak MTUC secretary Andrew Lo had lauded the ministry’s efforts with the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, describing them as a “game-changer” for industrial relations. This is evidence that, even in MTUC, there are diverse views.

Lo lauded the ministry’s consultations with not just the principal stakeholders, like MTUC and MEF, but also other workers and employers groups, non-governmental organisations and the International Labour Organisation.

So the question is why is the MTUC main body so opposed to the amendments without even spelling out the provisions it has a beef with?

Could it be that MTUC is afraid its powers will be diluted by the “freedom to form unions” provided for in the amendments?

Could it be because the union’s office bearers are posturing ahead of their internal elections? Does MTUC have the interests of workers at heart or are they thinking about their posts?

When it comes to politics, MTUC has never hid its leanings.

Its president, Halim, has roped in Pas to torpedo the passage of the bill in the upcoming senate sitting. Let’s not forget that Halim had called on MTUC members to back Barisan Nasional in the last general election.

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution sweeps across the world, it is imperative that governments and trade unions be ready to adapt to the changing human resources needs.

The last thing we need is to be bogged down by archaic mindsets or laws that will hamper our readiness to embrace this technological wave.

By Leonard Hiew

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/10/532451/can-mtuc-rise-challenge

Newspapers give voice to the voiceless

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Newspapers have been a great help in promoting social activism for the betterment of society in general, regardless of race, creed or colour.

I FOLLOWED with deep interest the discussion on print and social media at the recent forum in Shah Alam on ‘Survival of Print Media: Why go soft when you can go hard?’, organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Mass Communications Alumni and UiTM Rembau’s Faculty of Communications and Media Studies (NST, Oct 20).

I have been an ardent fan of print journalism ever since I picked up my first newspaper when I joined the workforce over 50 years ago. I am still happily addicted to this habit of reading the newspaper and cannot remember starting my day without reading at least three newspapers in three languages.

The newspapers have been my daily diet of views, reviews, alerts, advertisements, obituaries, comics and Lat cartoons when they used to appear regularly in the New Straits Times.

Sure, nowadays I also follow the new kid on the block, the electronic media, but it is on the old warhorse and the tabloid newspaper that I rely on for my daily serving of all the news that is fit to print.

There are many reasons for my addiction. The print media is always accountable for what they print. And because of that they are careful to separate fact from opinion.

There are several layers of checks for accuracy, style and credibility employed by reporters, news editors, sub-editors and production editors.

These checks ensure that the news that is printed and read the next day had undergone rigorous checks for veracity and accuracy.

And therefore it was news worthy of print. There was hence no way that mere gossip or fake news could be passed off as genuine.

Even when the newspapers publish editorials or opinion pieces, the journalists are careful to give two sides of the coin, and if there is a third side, to give that side too. That’s how trust was built and nurtured.

Newspapers cater to a cross-section of the community or society. And so there is a sense of balance in the selection of news for print. There is always something for everybody — the baby boomers, the millennials, the Gen X and Gen Z.

And probably one of the most important considerations that I found commendable was the self-restraint that the editors exhibited when it came to publishing racially or morally sensitive issues.

These issues, whenever they arose, were often couched in non-emotive language. And there was seldom a reference to a person’s race unless it was germane to the story in question.

While newspapers gave space and coverage to largely current issues, they also championed non-sensational causes like poverty eradication, social mobility and the plight of the underdog. They gave voice to the voiceless.

The best part is that newspapers are held accountable every day. And journalists are an open book. Their work is available for all to see, to savour or to criticise. Unlike other professionals, their mistakes are there for all to see.

For me personally, newspapers have been a great help in promoting social activism for the betterment of society in general, regardless of race, creed or colour.

Newspapers have also provided me with valuable feedback and insights that have helped in the work of non-governmental organisations that I have been involved in, especially in the fields of industrial safety and health, crime prevention, animal welfare and volunteerism.

I am sure the day will never come when newspapers do not become recorders of history but are relegated to the dustbin of history.

I salute all the journalists, past and present, the editors, the sub- editors, the production workers and the advertising and management teams of the English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil press, and wish them all the best and hope never to see the back end of a front page.

There is no denying that newspapers can contribute to a reading culture which needs to be promoted. We must therefore do our utmost to save and sustain the print media which, for a ringgit or two, brings the world to our doorstep.

But who can save it? Ultimately it is the people who can and must. The print media can help foster an informed community and nation that is so essential for a vibrant democracy.

The people must therefore continue to buy, read and share newspapers.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/532455/newspapers-give-voice-voiceless

Managing flood problems

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
During floods, on top of emergency response, there must also be planning at the pre-disaster stage and recovery process to help flood victims’ regain their quality of life and wellbeing. PIC BY SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN

IT’S that time of the year again. In October, it rains almost everyday and one can’t help but think of how big the flood is going to be this year.

According to the World Disaster Report (2010), Asia as a whole is most prone to natural disasters.

Flood is the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the country, resulting in chaos in affected areas in terms of disruptions to daily and economic activities, damage to roads and railway tracks, vehicles, properties and even loss of lives.

In addition to natural causes, floods are mainly attributed to continuous heavy rainfall, rapid development, unplanned urbanisation, poor drainage system and environmental degradation.

The December 2014 to January 2015 floods was one of the most devastating ever experienced affecting the whole country including Sabah and Sarawak.

Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang were the hardest hit where floodwaters ravaged 190,000 hectares of oil palm plantations.

Over 200,000 people were evacuated nationwide, killing at least 20 people. The three most severely affected states registered more than half the total number of evacuees and suffered significant economic losses.

Unprecedented damage was caused to highways, hospitals, universities, schools, properties and agriculture products. Shortages of food, electricity, clean water and communication problems continued to affect flood victims.

Several initiatives were taken by the government in dealing with the flood problem.

These include the establishment of the Permanent Flood Control Commission (PFCC), flood disaster relief machinery, river basin studies, structural and non-structural flood mitigation measures, flood forecasting and warning systems, and hydrological and flood data collection stations. The main objective of the PFCC, with the Drainage and Irrigation Department as its secretariat, is to prevent and mitigate floods.

The flood disaster relief machinery under the Natural Disaster Relief Committee (NDRC) with its secretariat at the National Security Council (NSC) of the National Security Division, Prime Minister’s Department, has the main objective of coordinating relief operations in providing financial assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund to disaster victims.

The NDRC was established in 1997 through NSC Directive No. 20 which stipulated the national policy, disaster management and aid mechanism. The NDRC followed a three-tier management hierarchy system chaired by the prime minister at the federal level, secretary of state and district officer at the state and district level, respectively.

Subsequently, in October 2015 the federal government established a special agency, National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), dedicated to disaster risk management and/or other matters related to it.

NADMA is regulated under Directive No. 20 and all matters related to disasters are managed by three-tier committees namely; the Centre for Disaster Management and Relief Committee (CDMRC), chaired by the deputy prime minister at the federal level, the State Disaster Management and Relief Committee (SDMRC), chaired by the secretary of state and the District Disaster Management and Relief Committee, chaired by the District Officer.

It was reported that a total of 68 agencies were involved, consisting    of 27 federal agencies, 22 state and 19 district agencies, in seven service themes of disaster management structure which include search and rescue, health and medical services, media, support, security control, welfare, warnings and alerts.

Under the various five-year Malaysia Plans, the government had spent billions of ringgit on flood control and mitigation measures with substantial increment over the years. Records showed that money spent on these projects increased from RM14 million under the Second Malaysia Plan (1971-1975) which ballooned to an estimated RM17 billion between 2006 and 2020.

This showed the seriousness of the government’s commitment to prevent and reduce flood risks.

Money spent on structural flood mitigation projects alone increased four-fold from RM1.79 billion in the period 2001-2005 to RM5.81 billion in 2006-2010.

Major projects include the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) to alleviate the flash flood problem in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

Despite all these efforts which cost the government billions of ringgit on flood control, mitigation and disaster management, a number of issues have been raised with regard to the effectiveness of the implementation of flood-related policies.

These include lack of coordination between the large number of agencies involved at the federal, state and district levels, imbalance between top-down and bottom-up in disaster management planning approaches which was heavily skewed to the former.

Others include greater emphasis on emergency response phase rather than preparedness and pre-disaster stage, and lack of planning of long-term recovery process which has affected flood victims’ quality of life and well
being.

Hence the focus of the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) is on strengthening disaster risk management across five phases namely, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. It was reported that the government’s investment in flood mitigation projects is more than RM4 billion beginning with 16 projects at the start of 2018.

An allocation of RM443.9 million and RM150 million was announced in the recent 2020 Budget towards flood mitigation projects and the maintenance of existing flood retention ponds, respectively. The fund should be an impetus for an integrated pro-active planning and a sustainable recovery management.

By Datuk Dr Norma Mansor.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/532457/managing-flood-problems

Japanese Language Centre at SIDMA College Sabah

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

SIDMA College Sabah has set up its very own Japanese Language Centre, a centre to provide Japanese Language Preparatory Course for job seekers who are interested to work in Japan. This was announced by Prof Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, SIDMA College Chairman and Founder, prior to his visit to Japan on 15 October 2019. According to Dr Morni, the main purpose of his trip to Japan is to meet employment agents in Japan; Mr. Yoshyuki Hagino and Mr. Masayuki Matsuda, who are employment agents based in Fukuoka, Japan. This is another of Dr Morni’s corporate social responsibilities to lay the ground work and to provide the necessary assistance to local job seekers (including graduates from SIDMA College) who are interested to work in Japan.

Mr. Hagino and Mr. Matsuda have been in constant contact with Dr Morni, inquiring about any Sabahan who are interested to work in Japan. They have planned to come to Sabah at least four times per year to interview potential job applicants to work in Japan.

Japanese Language Preparatory Course:

Dr Morni added that the Japanese Language Centre at SIDMA College is to conduct preparatory course to enable these potential candidates to work in Japan to obtain the basic Japanese Language mastery. The class will be conducted five times a week with a duration of five hours per day, by native speakers from Japan. The students (minimum 20 persons per class) will be taught to speak proper Japanese with correct pronunciation of each Japanese character; besides, the learning of Japanese Culture at the centre will be conducted to enable them to work in Japan.

Upon completing their Japanese Language Preparatory Course for a minimum 3 – 5 months, these potential candidates will then have to register and sit for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), to be conducted by an external syndicate. These candidates will need to obtain at least N4 Certificate to enable them to get a work permit in Japan. They will only be interviewed by the employment agency after having completed and attended the preparatory course; sit and passed their Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) with at least N4 Certificate.

Thus for those who are Interested to Work in Japan, they can follow the steps below:

Step 1         : Register at SIDMA College for enrolling Japanese Language and Culture studies.

Step 2          : Attend and complete the language training between 3 – 5 months

Step 3          : Take JLPT examination and obtain at least N4 Certificate. (N4 Certificate is the lowest you need to get before one is allowed to work in Japan)

Step 4          : Attend an interview session at SIDMA College with representatives from Japan Employment Agency.

Step 5          : Visa Application (Some companies are known to pay and assist Visa application)

Step 6          : Get job confirmation in Japan

Step 7          : Purchase air ticket to Japan

Step 8          :  Pick up at the airport in Japan and begin work for 2 years contract.

The Fees are as follows:

  • RM 50.00 per registration
  • RM 350 x 5 months (total of RM1, 750 as Tuition fee).
  • Visa RM 250
  • JPLT Examination RM 110 – RM150.
  • Other expenses: flight tickets, etc.

Besides conducting Japanese Language Preparatory Course to enable potential candidates to work in Japan, SIDMA Japanese Centre will also conduct two (2) other Japanese courses as follows;

Private Japanese Class:

This course is to cater people who need very special attention or specialized lessons such as holiday trip to Japan, and more; with syllabus customized according to needs.  The details of such course is as follows:

  • Minimum of 10 persons per class
  • 3 times a week
  • 2 hours a day
  • Fees : RM 200 per month

Public Japanese Class:

This course is similar to the Private Japanese Class, with syllabus customized according to needs as follows:

  • Minimum of 5 to 15persons per class
  • 2 times a week
  • 2 hours a day
  • Fees : RM 160 per month

Prof Dr Morni Kambrie can be reached at 013- 810 4301. Potential candidates can also contact Mr. Mohd Izzul Izuan Kok at 088 – 731 376 or call SIDMA College Sabah Hotline at 088-732 020 / 088 732 020 for more information and details.

Read more @ https://www.sidma.edu.my/index.php/en/all-bulletin/89-news/245-japanese-language-centre-at-sidma-college-sabah

Do young people really read?

Monday, October 21st, 2019
Are people fond of reading upside-down? FILE PIC

THE printed newspaper is in a hard place. Many have disappeared from the face of the earth. Many more are struggling to survive in the harsh landscape.

Most of you know the story well enough. But it bears repeating here.

In America, 2,000 newspapers have closed since 2004, industry authority Penny Abernathy tells 24/7 Wall St.

A national stalwart, USA Today, reckons more newspapers will slip into the abyss, forever silenced by dying revenue. (It is likely USA Today, which once boasted a circulation of 2.5 million, is also making plans for life after print.

In India, and perhaps in China, the decline is many miles away. A speaker at the Wan-Ifra India 2019 Conference said “between the last two IRS studies (India Readership Survey), around 16 million readers have been added for printed newspapers and 7.8 million have been added for magazines”.

My mother does not care much for these statistics and pronouncements.

On the old, round marble table-top in the dining room, she reads the NST religiously. Much she does not take to, but much still does she appreciate.

She is 84, though. May I find a 24-year-old like her?

Do young people read the printed newspaper? Do they read anything at all?

About these queries, there is reason to be optimistic. In Singapore.

A survey of 1,000 19-year-olds by The Straits Times and the Singapore University of Social Sciences found that more than half read newspapers. “Nearly one-third of respondents said they read e-newspapers, while a fifth said they read print versions.” That is quite comforting.

But that’s in the island republic.

What about not too far away in Malaysia? More than a year ago, before the 14th General Election, a high-level politician from the BN administration told editors something that gave them a sense of foreboding.

He said that once a person got used to a digital device and the information and entertainment universes it led to, he/she would be unlikely to spend time elsewhere.

Truth be told, many of us were aware of this narrative long before. But his message still struck hard in the heart.

So, are young Malaysians ignoring Print for the digital domain?

I am unable to find research on this subject. So I must needs rely on anecdotal evidence and my own inquiries.

I speak to a few young people. Urban they are, aged between 20 and 40.

By their own admission, they seldom pick up the printed newspaper. Or even look at it.

Loke Yew Ken, a 38-year-old accountant, says it is because he reads mostly on the Internet.

“I read a newspaper only when I see it on the table, either in the office or a cafe.”

For him, the Internet is a logical choice. “It is full of news and information but newspapers have limitations.”

Limitaions? He does not say more.

The 20-year-old son of an old friend looks at the printed product only when he is doing research or an assignment.

“I get everything else online,” says Ilham Raimy, a student,

Two words keep popping up in my engagements with the young individuals. And from conversations I have with parents of teenagers: “cursory” and “convenience”.

The Internet is convenient. And cursory reading is, well, fast and easy

Now don’t be too hasty to wear that scornful look and deride this generation. Well before the Internet came along, editors had found out that too many readers looked only at the headlines. If they were lucky, the readers would go on to consume a few paragraphs. But that was about it.

People were in a hurry. And impatient. It was true then. It is true beyond doubt now.

With such a hasty look at the text, whether in Print or on the Web, what happens to our mind? How does it shape our thinking, or the way we express ourselves on key issues of the day?

Let me say this: I believe the terribly shallow conversations on social media are the continuation of a downward spiral that began years ago, when thinking went to sleep and inequality woke up. The pace in both directions is accelerating. Some self-proclaimed ‘brilliant’ leaders are surreal advertisements for this disaster

If we follow this path to the end, then THE END it is. We would become like the brainless Eloi in H.G. Wells’ Time Machine.

But if more people started taking the time to read deeply, to think rationally, there may be reason to hope. Context, subtext, history and destiny will be weighed, not grated into nothingness by blades in empty heads. For did not the same Singapore survey also find that “those who read books and newspapers are more likely to hold stronger opinions on domestic and international issues”?

We need to have more thinkers and articulators to tear into inequality and every other dreaded human condition. The printed newspaper may be in a hard place, but it is also certainly one more weapon in the armoury to build a thinking generation. Don’t dismiss it too easily.

By David Christy.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/531825/do-young-people-really-read

‘Monsters’ on the road

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Terrible tragedy: Rescue personnel trying to save victims at the site where the highway bridge collapsed in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China. — Reuters

THE 312 State Road is an important route connecting the eastern, central and northwestern parts of China.

It stretches across eight provinces from Shanghai city to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, covering nearly 5,000km.

On Oct 10, an overpass of the road in Wuxi city of the eastern Jiangsu province collapsed, crushing three cars underneath it.

Three people were killed in the 6.10pm incident.

Two of the victims were a kindergarten teacher, 30, and her daughter, who just started pre-school last month. The other was a single father.

Five other vehicles on the viaduct fell onto the ground, leaving two people injured.

Initial investigations pointed the finger at overloaded trucks for the single-pier bridge collapse.

One of the vehicles is said to be carrying steel products weighing nearly three times more than the permitted 65-tonne.

Six people, including the boss of a transport company, were detained on the same day.

Soon after the incident, shocking video clips captured by various car camcorders went viral on the Internet.

One footage shows the driver of a three-wheeler jumping out of his vehicle when the overpass fell right in front of him.

Liu Jianjun, 36, said he travelled underneath the flyover a few times a day.

“That day, I was rushing to deliver all the goods and go home for a meal; I had not even eaten lunch.

“I remembered jumping out upon seeing some debris falling from the bridge but I fell on the road after running for a few steps.

“Passers-by shouted at me to run but I was too shaken by the incident. I could not even stand up, ” the freelance delivery rider told Qilu Evening News.

Liu then climbed back into his vehicle as it was being pushed to safety by rescuers.

When he reached home, his cousin and brother brought some fireworks and the family went out for a meal to celebrate Liu’s lucky day.

“When I woke up the next day, I found myself becoming a celebrity.

“Media news outlets came one after another and my neighbours rushed over to take pictures with me to share my luck and told me that I would have good fortune after surviving a disaster, ” he said.

Liu said the windscreen of his vehicle was shattered, the lamp broken and the front part was damaged.

“My three-wheeler and I have been through life and death together. I will keep it as long as it is still running, ” he said smilingly.

After the incident, Wuxi government ordered a crackdown on overloaded vehicles.

“We have learnt a lesson and will make every effort to promote safety, ” said mayor Huang Qin.

The Jiangsu provincial public security department has also launched a 100-day operation to crack down on vehicles ignoring safety hazards.

Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture professor Zhu Lei told China Daily that single-pier bridges (a single column in the middle supporting both lanes) are safe as long as they meet standards.“However, when overloaded trucks frequently ply on these bridges, one side of the pier may be damaged, which in the long run can cause an overturn.

“In extreme cases, trucks can outweigh one side of the bridge and cause it to overturn, ” he said.

He said such design used to be popular in China because it saves space but now there are more double-pier bridges with support on both sides.

Prof Zhu said that the concrete and reinforced steel bars of double-pier bridges could also be damaged by overloaded trucks, causing the structure to collapse.

“To prevent this, high-level bridges have sensors to monitor inner stress and possible deformation, while ordinary bridges require regular checks and maintenance, ” he said.The incident has sent a serious reminder on the danger posed by overloaded vehicles on the road, not just to the Chinese authorities, but Malaysians as well.

Lorries with full loads of sand, pebbles or palm fruits are a common scene on Malaysian roads.

Apart from being overloaded, on many occasions, the cargo compartment is not properly secured and debris keeps falling from the moving trucks, sometimes endangering other motorists.

Although there are weighing centres along major roads and highways, I do not know how strict the enforcement is. For sure, I will stay far away from these vehicles whenever I see them on the road.

The Wuxi incident seemed unavoidable, no matter how careful a driver is.

Perhaps it is time our authorities also relook at their standard operation procedure or examine road bridges for the safety of all road users.

By Beh Yuen Hui
Read more @ h
ttps://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/colours-of-china/2019/10/21/monsters-on-the-road#OhpLfQ663r0Z2zHS.99

Promote unity because you want to, not for incentives, says Dr M

Monday, October 21st, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Make it a Bangsa Malaysia because you believe in it, not because the government gives you tax-free exemption for the idea, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

He said Malaysians are too dependent on subsidies for everything, even when promoting national unity among themselves.

“If we want unity, the people must show it and not because the money is given to you to show it.

“It is always the same in Malaysia; everything you want to do, the government must do something.

“If you really feel that this country should only have one nationality, then people should be passionate about it, not because the government gives some tax-free incentives etc.

“Everybody is talking about subsidies. Without subsidies, this country will not work. I think it is about time we forget about subsidies and start thinking about our objectives as being honourable and good, and then work towards it,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said this at a question and answer session at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISI) Praxis Conference 2019 on Monday (Oct 21) here.

He further pointed out that Malaysia is unique, as it is unlike any other multiracial countries.

“We are not like the other multiracial countries where they have many races, but they are not considered multiracial, because they have one language, one culture and they then will root for their own adopted countries.

“In Malaysia, we choose to retain our past, and we not only want to retain that but see physical proof that we are from somewhere else and because of that, we allow in the setting up of schools that are non-national. We are quite generous to listen to the people,” said Dr Mahathir.

He was responding to a question from the floor on why the past two national budgets did not have an tax-exemptions for national unity efforts.

KUALA LUMPUR: Make it a Bangsa Malaysia because you believe in it, not because the government gives you tax-free exemption for the idea, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

He said Malaysians are too dependent on subsidies for everything, even when promoting national unity among themselves.

“If we want unity, the people must show it and not because the money is given to you to show it.

“It is always the same in Malaysia; everything you want to do, the government must do something.

“If you really feel that this country should only have one nationality, then people should be passionate about it, not because the government gives some tax-free incentives etc.

“Everybody is talking about subsidies. Without subsidies, this country will not work. I think it is about time we forget about subsidies and start thinking about our objectives as being honourable and good, and then work towards it,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said this at a question and answer session at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISI) Praxis Conference 2019 on Monday (Oct 21) here.

He further pointed out that Malaysia is unique, as it is unlike any other multiracial countries.

“We are not like the other multiracial countries where they have many races, but they are not considered multiracial, because they have one language, one culture and they then will root for their own adopted countries.

“In Malaysia, we choose to retain our past, and we not only want to retain that but see physical proof that we are from somewhere else and because of that, we allow in the setting up of schools that are non-national. We are quite generous to listen to the people,” said Dr Mahathir.

He was responding to a question from the floor on why the past two national budgets did not have an tax-exemptions for national unity efforts.

By Zakiah Koya.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/21/promote-unity-because-you-want-to-not-for-incentives-says-dr-m