Monday, January 15, 2007



We are undoubtedly enjoying many aspects of life on a hitherto unprecedented scale. Tangible aspects such as better roads, highways, schools, financial facilities, social amenities, sanitation and healthcare are only a few of them. However, there appears to be growing dissatisfaction and concern these days with the way some are built, maintained and managed. The devastation of nature from deforestation to pollution is also another aspect that is getting some worthy attention these days.

However, there is another equally and more important problem that, like cancer, is not that easily observable in the early stages. It has been with us for some time now and is beginning to manifest itself quite clearly. I refer to the decay of the Malaysian mind and attitude that can result in many aspects of not only socially unacceptable but also deviant behavior. This decay of the mind, if not arrested now, can destroy all the things that we have achieved and are enjoying now.

An immediate national long term strategy needs to be formulated to arrest this problem. To my mind, this can only be done by first reviewing the way in which our present education system is packed, administered and delivered. It should even far exceed the gusto and scale with which the Malaysian government and the sports fraternity is currently engaged in to improve the sports. In itself, the National Education Philosophy is already very good and needs little change. It has all along stressed on wholesome education and to develop and deliver an individual from the four angles of body (jasmani), emotion (emosi), spirituality(rohani) and intellect (intelek). Even the Greeks only talked of body, mind and soul. National unity has also been its primary thrust since The Razak Report of 1956.

However, the actual scenario in the public school today is quite different where these goals are not fully implemented. Schools need to educate and not merely teach. Teaching is only a tool in educating. Children need to be encouraged to ask questions and develop critical and analytical thinking skills in their daily lessons. Instead of active involvement in the learning process, they are tutored “formulas” on how to score well in the public exams.

Perhaps, there is no need “to reinvent the bicycle” at all. As a teacher with 36 years experience from primary to tertiary levels I strongly advocate going back to the basics where equal emphasis was given to all subjects up to the secondary level in the 1950’s through the late 1970’s. Such was the education focus that produced many a great Malaysian name in almost all walks of life from politicians to policemen and from musicians to scientists. Many such people are still alive today to vouch for the aforesaid. Accusations are rife now that we run first world facilities with a third world mentality. In the past, I dare say that it was the other way around. Back to the basics I say. Let’s step backwards and find out where we lost direction and seriously mend it now. Arrest the mental decay too.

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