Friday, June 26, 2009

Tribute to Micheal Jackson

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It is quite common for me to receive sms or even phone call early in the morning before sunrise but receiving an sms from my sister Mek Ta in London at 6am in the morning is extraordinarily uncommon. Her SMS reads: 'Micheal Jackson is dead! Are you sad?...'

I quickly replied in shock.. WHAT? WHEN? HOW?... and quickly google to read more.

She said '...an hour ago, its all over the news!' I was stunt... I have not been a great MJ fan in the recent years but I was the president of MJ fan club during childhood (not literally). I grew up with MJ songs and listening to Billie Jeans, Beat and Thriller brought back childhood memories when we were staying in Kelantan and Kedah.

MJ songs had a great influence in my upbringing especially when he alongside other singers sang "We are the World" that opens my heart to the underprivileged and unfortunate child of Ethiopia.



In 1988, I participated in the "World Run against Time" an event that saw the whole world running at the same time for another charitable cause. MJ song "Man in the Mirror" was one of the official song then and was repeatedly played during the event. Every time the song was played, i felt 'charitable'.

His brother Jermaine, whom is a Muslim ended the press conference with a statement 'may Allah be with you always....' Micheal Jackson (29 August 1958 - 25 June 2009), I am sad and mourn for the lost of a great Muslim brother. Al-fatihah.



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CIMB BANK Customer Appreciation Cocktail 2009

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It is almost 3pm and I was still swimming through piles of paper work at Fasfik corporate office, Damansara Perdana. Natasya knocked and entered my room reminding me of the 330pm appointment at the Grand Bluewave hotel, Shah Alam which I had replied to attend.

I was in my usual polo t'shirt today. Last year, I changed my daily working attire from the normal tie & suit to a casual polo t'shirt and sometimes in jeans adopting Tony Fernandes dressing down approach. Dressing down is more approachable and less intimidating for customers, staff and suppliers. Somehow, the American casual daily working attire is friendlier than the conventional British formal long sleeve, tie and suit but I am too casual for the CIMB function that clearly wrote: 'Working Attire' as the dress code on the invitation card... I am sure it refers to the usual long sleeved shirt and tie.

Being buried in paper work for almost two weeks I could not missed the opportunity to meet other business owners at the CIMB function. Socialising and networking is important for business which i have failed in favour of desk bound glued to computer routine. Nonetheless, there is a presentation on government guaranteed schemes that I wanted to understand. I have not met any business that qualify or have obtained approval under the recent stimulus package especially when the scheme is being offered through Banks.



I wore my blazer over the polo t'shirt to be less casual and arrived at the function in time for Mr Tan Leng Hock, CIMB Head of Business, Banking Division speech. Mr Tan indicated although the present trade environment is less encouraging, CIMB loan approval and disbursement has been healthy with 38% increase compare to the same period last year.

Paun Eliza Abdul Aziz, CIMB Head of Product Advisory group then presented the 2 government schemes under the Ministry of finance 2nd financial stimulus that is available to various businesses. The two government scheme that can be applied through commercial banks are the Working Capital Guarantee Scheme and the Industrial Restructuring Fund Guarantee scheme. The WCGS is for a minimum of Rm50,000 up to a maximum RM10million with a maximum shareholding of RM20m. The IRFGS is up to a maximum RM50m but the shareholding may exceed RM20m. The WCGS is open to all businesses in every sector but the IRFGS is only for a selected sector. For more information visit any CIMB branches or contact En Azali @ 0193168738 or Nurul @ 0192129844.

The speaker Steven Wong, Assistant Director General, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia gave an informative overview of the world economic collapse and Malaysia current economic condition. Steven reiterated in America 40,000 companies are bankrupted this year thus far. Although various economist forecasting a world depression, Steven believed otherwise and expect the economy to slowly recover by year end.

Regrettably, I had to leave the function early to attend another appointment and missed the closing speech by Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, CIMB Head of Consumer Sales.


Sent via BlackBerry from Maxis

Monday, June 22, 2009

First year Blog-Anniversary



My blog turned 1 year old since the first posting yesterday on Sunday, 21 June 2009 making the Sunday Extra mega special coupled with the Father's day celebration.

Tun Mahathir's chedet.cc turned 1 year old and received 20million hit count but i am happy with my humble slightly more than 20,000 viewing count.

I was first inspired to set-up my blog by a Fasfik crew whom blog his Fasfik outlet @ Putra Heights for marketing and promotions.

The blog write-up comprised of both personal & social sentiments as well as business and political observations and interest. Writing and maintaining a blog is challenging. Expressing thought and searching for the right vocabulary was never easy. I have learn to edit, improve expressions and convey messages both direct and indirectly into words but grammatical error seemed to befriend me... the more i re-read, the more i discover.

I have a lot more to learn and Abigail Adam (1744-1818) perfectly quoted "Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligent".

Thank you for all the support and encouragement.

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Special Sunday........



Sunday is always special because it is the only free-day in a busy & hectic week but today is extra special because it is the 'Father's day'.

Today is the 38th year since my dad gave birth to his eldest child, my sister, Chempaka Emalin. Being a dad for already 38 years with half a dozen children was not easy but we all grew up to be better than what my father had expected....... (or thats what we would like to believe hee).

Every year since childhood, mum will always gather the children to celebrate father's day with a get-together dinner or lunch. This year was no exception. The venue for this year was at an italian bistro, the Zucca @ Menara PGRM, Cheras. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the restaurant owner, Adlin whom recommended the chef special. We ordered almost half the menu and ate disgracefully without any regard to dieting.

Athough breaking the regular diet to celebrate our dad is a gesture of 'no holds barred' appreciation for him (as well as a reason to break the dieting), but any form of get-together luncheon or dining cannot expressed our love, appreciation and gratitude for a man that never complained or give up on his children... except for some thunderous screaming.

At 63, and a father for 38 years, we can only pray to the Almighty for your better health. There are time that we rebelled and there are time that we neglected you but there isnt a moment that we forgot the endless love and care you showered while raising us from child into adulthood.... even till today.

I remembered our first cinema trip when we watched 'the Superman' that left me fantasizing into becoming a superhero. I can still recall that moment you taught me to pray when i was 5 years old and our first Umrah when i was 15. I did not forget the first time you taught me to hold a golf club although i never picked up the hobby. We have such a good and great time that sometimes we forgot that we are already in our mid life. We can never be old with you pampering us always... It is impossible to even prepare or imagine for that one day.............. sub'hanallah.

Celebrating Father's Day is important but is only a small token of gratitude for a Dad that asked for nothing from his children except for happiness and health. If only love can be measure and the vocabulary is richer, then you will know how we all feel for you. There is no word that can express how much we all love you.. thank you for being what you are. I love you Happy Father's Day.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Bank Negara, ABM, MAA..... & PEDA



On 12 June 2009, I received an invitation from Puan Sarina Said,Dep Director for the Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM) to attend a meeting with BNM that was requested by MAA. I attended the meeting on 15 June 2009 that was chaired by BNM Asst. Governor Dato' Muhammad Ibrahim. The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) too attended the meeting and was represented by CIMB, AMBank, Public Bank, EON Bank, RHB Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Maybank Berhad and Alliance Bank. Dato' Aishah, the President of Malaysia Automotive Association (MAA) led the MAA council that was represented by Mitsubishi, Tan Chong, Proton, Perodua, Honda, Toyota and Daihatsu.

Although PEDA is already 11 years old, this was PEDA's first meeting with ABM and MAA together with BNM. I learn an important discovery, the approval or rejection period for Proton buyer's hire-purchase loan application should only take an average 1.5 days (subject to full documentation) as reported by the Association of Banks to the BNM survey.

This is indeed a good news for Proton Edar, Proton dealers as well as Proton customers especially during this economic downturn. Car Buyer should be able to get their car loan application status within a maximum of 48 hours.

PEDA will now conducts a monthly review with a sole objective to improve the car loan approval period for Proton buyer and determine: (1) the duration of loan approval or rejection and (2) the percentage of rejection. The outcome of the monthly survey will also act as an an economic indicator as the automotive sales industry is entirely dependent on the car buyer's loan approval/rejection percentage.

PEDA will email to BNM the statistical survey as requested, on Monday 22 June 2009. The outcome of the survey will also be made available to Proton network as well as the public via this blog.

PEDA is grateful and is pleased with BNM pro-activeness and sensitivity in the loan application predicament faced by Proton buyer. PEDA represent 70% of total proton sales in Malaysia or a total trade turnover (Proton dealers) of more than RM7billion per annum. PEDA is grateful to be included in BNM regular meetings.

The new driver of Malaysia under the stewardship of the Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had seen a pro-active transformation in various governmental bodies and especially the Central Bank of Malaysia.


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fasfik @ Glomac



This week had been a busy week for Fasfik. It has been 2 years since Fasfik applied and submitted to become a vendor for TNB. TNB practices a strict appointment of vendor and it was tough to be shortlisted. The team from TNB visited and inspected Fasfik workshops twice before listing a long compliance that Fasfik had to adhere. Fasfik was also requested to submit a detailed pricing of our parts and services. Vendor application with a higher price will not be entertained.


On 15 June 2009, after 2 years, Fasfik was appointed a vendor and the vendor award presentation was held at the Wisma TNB, Jalan Timor by TNB Senior general manager Tuan Haji Md. Jailani Abas - Senior GM, Corporate Services Division. 2 years was a long but a worthwhile wait. Fasfik is thankful and grateful for the guidance and assistance extended by Tuan Haji Roslin, TNB General Manager (Logistic) and En Anas Ibrahim.


video
(Vendor award presentation by Tuan Haji Md Jailani Abas, TNB Senior GM)

Fasfik also participated in the Ministry of Human Resource "Train & Place" programme, a 'corporate social responsibility' sort of speak. Under the Train & Place programme, Fasfik undertake to train the unemployed Malaysians and offer them a job at the end of the training scheme. According to the 1st quarter 2009 economic report by the Ministry of Finance, the unemployed population is now close to 90,000



We had also run an internal sales drive incentive campaign to entice and reward our performing staff & branches. The highest sales performance for the 16 June 2009 was Fasfik @ Glomac located at G-G-07, Jalan SS6/16A, Dataran Glomac, Pusat Bandar Kelana Jaya , 47301 Petaling Jaya. Congratulation to Hassan @ Azahari and Isa Arshad.


(From left: Shafiq, Natasya, Ika, Rose, Armin, Hassan, Rashdan, Sanwa, Isa)


Hassan & Isa


At Fasfik, we recognised the importance of Fasfik crew members. Without our crew, there will not be any Fasfik. Fasfik will continue to participate in various training and re-training programme to further improve our services for the benefit of our customers.

Please do not hesitate to leave or provide us any feedback or comment at armin@fasfik.com




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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Much ado about English...... and maids



It was a quiet weekend at home when everybody left for Melaka as a closing to the school holiday. I called a few friends to recommend some maid agencies to replace my existing maids that has been stealing from my house. I am deliberating recruiting maids from Philippines.

Thusfar, I had only employed maids from Indonesia and most of them have their own unique flaws. True that nobody is perfect but there must be a benchmark of the lowest grade. I could tolerate stupidity as I do not expect maids to be educated but maids that began stealing had crossed the line. Maids too have significant influence on the children (if the maid is meant to baby-sit). It is a major turn-off to see children grew up to speak Bahasa Malaysia in Indonesian dialect.

Filipino maids on the other hand were better preferred because of their fluency in English. Being farther away than Indonesia and lesser Filipino population in Malaysia, there is also less risk of them running away. I spoke to three friends whom had employed both Filipino and Indonesia maids. All three of them employed Filipino maids for the English speaking language. The quality of work and job performed are subjective.

While researching for Filipino maids, I discovered an embarrasing truth. There is a huge disparity in wages between the Indonesia and Filipino maid. The best marketing tool used by maid agencies to recommend for Filipino maids is the English speaking. The wages for Indonesia maids ranges between RM400 to RM500 per month but Filipino maid is at least RM1,000 per month.

This is the simplest illustration of the importance of English. The Filipino maids have been reaping the benefits of English while Indonesians are paid substantially lesser and Malaysians are still debating and deliberating learning English as a compulsory pass subject and even in math and science. There is no doubt that English determines the future wages and is important in our daily life... (from a normal work as maid to all other career).

However, it is sceptical that the majority of our students can easily pass English in SPM examination when the percentage of SPM exam failure for Bahasa Malaysia is still alarming although Bahasa Malaysia is our main language that we converse and speak daily.

It is not easy to command any languages especially for passing an examination but we have to start now or otherwise, crudely, soon the Filipino maids will be a part of our middle class population and earn better income than majority of our fellow Malaysians.


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Maid in Malaysia, make in Indonesia



I have had a few maids or house assistants or servants or house keepers or whatever commercial names they are called and all of them were from various parts of Indonesia. They all share similar traits of dishonesty and abuse.... No, not abused by me but they abuse the kindness that was extended.

Grocery bills doubled when they ate quadriple the amount for me but I still thought it was fair since they are expected to work hard. The house phone bill then doubled when they secretly used it for both local and international calls to their so called family members, still i tried to understand them being home-sick. Then Noritake, Royal Albert as well as other fine collections soon slowly dissappear when they broke it while cleaning (though they never admit). The worse moment was when one of the maid poked Aaraf's ear (after shower) until it bled and almost burst his eardrum, that had tested my patient. The latest being the lost of my Rolex and other watches, diamonds and jewelleries. When they were confronted, none of them admitted. We had to search the whole house but all those items remained missing and lost. I cannot charged them or cut their salaries without evident but i did terminate their service and send them back to Indonesia. This is a few of the many other misdeeds suffered with maids.

In the many maids that had been employed, all of them falsified their medical health record and even their real age stating 35 as the age in their passport when the are actual 48 years old. When we sent them back for another medical check up, we discover one of the maid had hepatitis!!!

Despite all that, I never hit, abused or even lifted a finger on any of the maids except for a thunderous scream, which they did fall sick for a few days.

I could not comprehend a worse grievances (to what i had to endure) for any maid to deserve the abuse that Siti Hajar suffered for 3 years (see: the Star). In fact, no human deserves any form of torture for whatever reason.

I am disgusted and felt for Siti. Her 43 year old, single-mother-employer's inhuman behaviour was repulsive and deserve the maximum punishment.

However, the Indonesia embassy, imigration and even their government should and MUST ensure the maids that were allowed to enter Malaysia conformed to certain strict standard quality, aptitude and attributes.




The lack of strict requirement and continuous falsification of information will lead to an influx of incompetent recruitments of maid that will provoked some temperamental employers and lead to unnecessary abuses.


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bank Negara Malaysia

Bank Negara Malaysia

I arrived early for a meeting with the Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) and was greeted by a friendly lady Mdm Koid Swee Lian at the reception counter. We chatted unofficially at the entrance of Bank Negara Lanai Kijang, approximately 5 minutes away from the Bank Negara head office.

Various marathons and running races that i participated were organised that passed by the road to the Lanai Kijang but i never took notice of this Bank Negara building. We were directed to the staff cafe that is almost as beautiful as a 5 star hotel cafe and was seated at a 12 seater table. Lanai Kijang is residents for Bank Negara training centre that can occupy more than 299 residents.

Shortly after we were seated, three other officials from Bank Negara arrived and we introduced ourselves and it was then that i learn Mdm Koid is the Bank Negara Director of Consumer and Market Conduct. She was very friendly and pleasant that she can be easily mistaken for the receptionist or secretary. Together with Mdm Koid was En Abdul Rasheed Ghafur, Bank Negara Director for Financial Sector Development whom were as friendly as Mdm Koid. En Rasheed explained he purposely chose the staff cafe for a discussion to enable everybody to close rank at a friendlier environement and open up for any ideas and suggestions that is pertinent to the Malaysian public. Which i agree if compared to the serious bored and mono environment of a meeting room. Bank Negara policies are designed for the public and consumer at large, En Rasheed explained which is why Bank Negara want to listen to all the stakeholders view and suggestions.

I was impressed at the 'new' approached by Bank Negara. There was no authoritative arrogance that previously stink the government and authorities which i was prepared for today. We had various interactions and dealing with Bank Negara in the past when the Hire Purchase commission was revoked early in the new millennium.

Bank Negara was further represented by three other deputy Directors Ms Sarina Said from Corporate Communications, Ms Junaidah Mohd Said Financial Sector Development and Ms Lim Hsin Ying (pronounced as 'Singing' according to her) from media and promotions.

We had a good breakfast compliments from Bank Negara and a lengthy discussions on various issues. En Rasheed and Mdm Koid both gave the assurance, today's meeting will be the start and a platform for any feedback or suggestions.

If all Ministries and governmental bodies were to be as pro-active as Bank Negara Malaysia officials today, I believe we can steer ourselves out from the recession and move forward faster than planned. This is indeed the spirit of Malaysia Incorporated, Malaysia Boleh and 1Malaysia.

I look forward to various other collaborations with Bank Negara.


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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Math & Science Fried with English Butter or Grilled in Malay Sambal Belancan (PART II)

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I had blogged this topic in December 2008 (PART 1) last year when the topic was widely debated. Now the debate is back as headlines in most medias again 6 months later, presumably due to a new Minister of Education.

Yes, learning Mathematics and Science in English had stirred an endless debate over and over again but when the dust had not settled, the capping of SPM subject was raised to avoid kiasu parents from abusing students with endless tuition and extra classes to achieve 20 'A's.

The debate or discussion for both issues is still on-going and now came into light yet another issue... English as a compulsory SPM pass subject (see:NST)

All these three issues share one similar obstacle which i feel the government is trying to address, the lack of competent teacher population to teach Mathematics and science in English as well as 111 electives for SPM subjects but why raise the English as a compulsory SPM PASS subject now?

The problem with teaching Mathematics and Science in English is less on the children or students capability to adapt. Children adapt better to changes especially during early years. Our main obstacle is in sourcing for capable teachers to teach in English. one of the reason to capped the SPM subjects to a maximum of 10 was also to address the shortage of teachers.

We will face similar issue making English as a compulsory pass subject. Do we have sufficient competent teachers to teach? Our government should be consistent with policies and avoid any flip-flop that we were recently famous for. We even failed with streamlining our own mother tongue with Bahasa Baku under Anwar Ibrahim due to inconsistency in approach.

For now, we should just resolved teaching mathematics and science in English and close the topic. Train our teacher population for better English competency and the English as a compulsory pass subject is a given.

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Valentine Willie an art gallery or political mockery..?

Valentine Willie....

I attended the Valentine Willie launching a dozen years ago when the Art gallery was first open in Bangsar and was impressed with the collections of art exhibited. I am a keen art enthusiast. While browsing the net for news and updates, i came across Valentine Willie on Barking Magpie blog that is in my blogroll.

Although i have not been to the Valentine Willie gallery for quite awhile, I have due respect to the owner whom continuously promote Arts that is still lacking compared to its acceptance in the western region. At a point, i too wanted to open an Art gallery.

When i saw @ barking magpie blog, Valentine Willie displaying the huge art by Fahmi Reza, I was stunned and shocked. Whilst i always kept the impression that Valentine Willie had gained such a reputation, the following display may just illustrate a ploy in desperation.



Although I am an art enthusiast, i do not appreciate and do not see any art in disrecpecting in such a manner our existing Prime Minister whatever the explanation given. I agree with Pasquale (see: BMpie), there is a thin line between an expression of art and exhibiting the smut disguised as an art piece.


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Monday, June 8, 2009

Klang 2009 New Balance Pacer 21km run

THE KLANG NEW BALANCE 21km HALF MARATHON @ SETIA ALAM


I gasped as i approached the drink station at km 15 . I immediately refilled my water bottle before gulping down a cup of water and continued the run. It is almost 2 hours since the race started. Today's race was at a new route and there were less pollution from cars that passed by compared to last year's race route.




I have another 6 km before completing the Klang New Balance pacer 21km race. This route is at a new residential area that borders the Klang and Shah Alam township and didnt have much trees to shelter runners from the sun heat that was felt even before 8am.



I have very low tolerance for heat. We were flag-off at 630am today and i had a good run until the sun sppeared which i immediately felt the sweat gland widens and sweat pouring out and soaking my white running vest. My heart rate climbed up to 162 from the initial 155 beats per minute.


Emi overtook me on the 18th km but we manage to pose first for the album.. 'the excruciating moment under the sun...'


I increased my pace as i saw my polar stopwatch reads 2 hours 31minutes with another 3km to finishing line. i was melting under the heat but I did not want to complete the race in more than 3 hours. Ignoring the high heart rate and the sun, i sprinted the last 3km and completed the race in 2 hours 49minutes.


Happily, i sprinted the last 3km to the finishing line



I was burnt red by the sun heat....


As a reward, we had Nasi Lemak at the nearby stall 'spending' the 2150 calories burnt during the run before going home for a nice cold shower. The best moment after a good long run is to pamper with a Thai Massage at the Touches De Siam before indulging in one of the best clear Tomyam bihun at the Good Evening Bangkok Thai Restaurant, One Utama.


Although 2,150 calories burnt during the race, i am back into fitness overdraft with more than 3,000 calories gained ending the sunday with grilled lamb, fried Phompret and fried bee hoon.



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Friday, June 5, 2009

Mano huru hara Manohara...

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‘One for all and all for one’ or ‘tous pour un, un pour tous’ was a motto lived by three inseparable friends ‘the three musketeers' in an 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas, pere. There were more than a dozen movies being produced based on the novel but the version in the film ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ (1998) directed by Randal Wallace was my favourite.



D’Artagnan in the movie ‘the Man in the Iron Mask’ instilled in me the sentiment of loyalty to the King akin of our own Hang Tuah except our Hang Tuah never betrayed the King even when the King ordered for his execution. In 1844 when the novel was first written as well as during Hang Tuah, the undivided pledge of loyalty to the King was the only way to serve the country.



Now, we serve our country as an "Automatic" pledge of loyalty to the King in a democratic government that is based on Constitutional Monarchy and Parliament. Given the 'Automatic' loyalty as a pledge of uundivided loyalty, the Monarchy must be protected and preserved from any mockery and slander. The royal household (Sultan, Tengku Mahkota, Tengku Bendahara, Tengku Temenggong) and any heir line-up to the throne or any members of the Monarch institution should be protected against any mockery and slander  which otherwise is an insult to all Malaysian.



As a Malaysian and a Kelantanese, I am embarass that Tengky Fakry cannot contained whatever domestic issues he has. I am insulted by Manohara's allegations that has not been proven with any medical report . The Indonesia President and Indonesia Foreign Ministry had stood up for Manohara who is the commoner in her country (see: Indon Antara News) but when the 3rd heir line-up to the Kelantan throne was attacked with various allegation, the only remarked made by our Minister was "nobody is above the law" (See: Malay Mail).


There were no official complain (even todate) lodged by Manohara (See: Indon Police) in Malaysia and even in Indonesia except for a foul cry by her 'Wanted by Interpol' mother Daisy Fajarina. If the allegation was true, Manohara would be brought straight to the Hospital upon her arrival in Indonesia to ascertained her health condition. However, Manohara went straight for a Press Conference instead, and is still busy meeting the press instead of undergoing a medical check to prove her allegation (see: Jakarta Post).




I feel insulted reading the allegation made by Manohara that is damaging to Malaysia and our royal household but I feel more disgusted with the Kelantan Palace official Datuk Abdul Halim Hamad official whom were silent until it all explode out of proportion and his subsequent remark that it was a Personal Matter. It is no longer personal when it involved the son of a ruling Monarch with the title Tengku Temenggong that had attracted an international coverage with the involvement of Indonesia President as well as Singapore police (see: Bernama).



Nobody is guilty until otherwise proven. Palace advisors or the state government should obtained an injunction or any means to stop further uncalled press statement by Manohara that is damaging to our royal household and the good bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia. Without any official police report, medical examination and without any court ruling, whatever has been said is slander and is an insult to Malaysia, Malaysians and our Monarch. Perhaps there is some truth in my father belief that there are no more wise men left in kelantan (see: Pahamin).



In the spirit of 'One for All and All for One', the Royal household, Malaysians and our elected politicians should stand together and seek Manohara to PROVE whatever the allegations made and claimed through an independant judicial legal process or otherwise just SHUT UP.








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Monday, June 1, 2009

10 or 20 Kiasu subjects of SPM?

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Once, a Sijil Rendah Pelajaran (SRP) graduate can command a respectable career in the market and there were very few graduates of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Currently, everybody is at least a Bachelor degree graduates with the majority already holding a Master degree. It is safe to say that a degree is the least that anyone should possess for a reasonable career today.

However, the cost of higher education post-SPM is exorbitant. The total cost per student for a combined A’level (or equivalent) and an undergraduate studies costs in the United Kingdom, Australia and United States of America universities is in excess of RM250,000 (based on scholarship offered-depending on currency fluctuation). The total cost post-SPM studies for degree in Malaysia is approximately RM70,000 (based on PTPTN). My brother in law Rhiza left yesterday for a short 3 weeks course at the Harvard University business school in America for a cost of RM50,000 in fee (no scholarship) but the truth is, the best university will cost the most.

The competitiveness for securing a well-remunerated future employment demands our children to graduate from respectable universities and the high cost of education created the unhealthy competition to acquire 20As for SPM. Unlike historically, when an SPM graduate can even become a Bank officer, the 20’A’ achievers today, cannot even secure employment as a civil servant (without higher education).

The race to get 20 ‘A’s was primarily to secure a scholarship. Capping the exam subjects to only 10 at the most, will not resolve the exorbitant expenses for higher education. The chances for a non-bumiputra to secure a scholarship with 10As were lower compared to the Malay. Henceforth the need for the ‘kiasu’ competitive parent to pressure their children for 20 ‘A’s, that eventually snowball to the current predicament.

The 10 subjects capping for SPM will be favourable if all students whom scored 10 ‘A’s are guaranteed full scholarship and local university placement. The qualification for studying abroad should be based on the best in overall exam result and co-curricular achievements akin of prominent university shortlisting of applications.

Students only require a minimum 4 General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE or SPM equivalent) subjects to pursue an A' level course in the United Kingdom. The minimum requirement to be accepted into an average top 15 United Kingdom universities are also a minimum of 4 subjects in GCSE (SPM equivalent) and 2 A' levels (See: BCU) . A better university will require a minimum of 5 GCSE subjects and only 2 A'levels (see: Kent). Students that possess more subjects and better score will have an added advantage when the University or colleges had to shortlist from the many applications.

The 10 maximum subject capping for SPM is redundant for eligibility into established universities in the United Kingdom and does not warrant a lengthy discussions especially when only 10% of the total students are involved. Our main issue is the SCHOLARSHIPS, GRANTS, LOAN or financial assistant for the high cost of tertiary education AND the extensive option of 111 elective (ref: Star) for SPM subjects.

Reduce the elective choices of subjects and provide a clearer guideline for scholarships or funds that qualify 10 'A's students with an excellent co-curricular achievement to be eligible for scholarship/funds and we will achieve similar result without the need for capping or regulation.

Nonetheless, the scarcity or lack of available teachers will not be resolved with 111 elective, even with the capping of 10 'A's.





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