Thursday, June 24, 2010

Di Mana Kita Berdiri?

Pardon my foreign tongue for this entry. I'm very comfortable using my mother tongue, mind you. But perhaps, this just goes to prove that just because I'm writing in English does not mean I'm less patriotic than those who shout this word with mere volume yet no substance.

Very recently, a part of our heritage located in Pudu was demolished to "make way for futher development." Despite wails of protests to preserve this very historical building, citizens were asked to not be too sentimental and emotional regarding a building that has brought nothing but painful memories. But most importantly, this building is built on too strategic a land to be wasted away to the elements of heritage and history.

On a different yet relevant note, I recently watched a film by the revolutionary Michael Moore entitled Sicko, which featured the reality of the healthcare system in America and how it paled in comparison to nations that practise universal healthcare such as France, United Kingdom and even Cuba [for crying out loud!]

I suggest you watch this, and then examine the recent decisions made by the people governing our country currently. It kinda makes you wonder... as citizens to a country that we love and wish nothing more than for it to prosper gracefully, where do we stand actually? We asked for a heritage to be preserved, and they bulldozed the building right in front of our eyes anyway. We plead for a better education, health and even cultural system... yet those who hold the highest post only have one thing in mind: making their mark during their time of reign.

There have been talk about getting rid of UPSR and PMR altogether. One of the so-called reasoning behind this is so that schoolchildren won't be too exam-oriented. Let me share a story with you: when I was in Standard 6 [the year of UPSR], I had a friend who still could not read and write. Basically, she was illiterate. It made me wonder; in the midst of my friends and I pursuing straight As for UPSR, this girl can't even read! And yet she was about to sit for a major exam. But she did not seem that worried. You know why? Because the system is such that, even if you don't pass your UPSR, you can still proceed to Form 1. So here I ask: at what stage are we actually handling illiteracy? Isn't the whole purpose of going to school in the first place is so that you can read, write and count? The basic 3M- Membaca, Menulis, Mengira.

Evrything written nicely on a proposal becomes nothing but a meaningless piece of paper when you don't put it into practice. Thus what's all the fuss about having or not having UPSR and PMR? School works on very simple logic:

Level 1: Teach basic skills [the 3M, for example]
Level 2: Find out what these children are good at
Level 3: Harness what they're really good at so they can make a good living outside the school walls and, at the same time, contribute to the country in their own way

UPSR is supposed to see whether you've achieved level 1. PMR discovers Level 2 [hence the streaming] and SPM is supposed to fulfill the goal for Level 3.

So you see, isn't it just common sense?

I - a mere, powerless citizen - can figure this out. Many others can too, and I'm sure these "many others" include those in power. Yet it's still not being implemented. Why? Because it's not about us anymore.

When basic common sense gets thrown out the window, and our intelligence is being insulted... where, oh where, do we stand?