I chatted up with a fellow teacher, Ms Chan Seok Choo who is now in charge of science subjects in the school (Ketua Bidang Sains, I'm sure every school has one). Told her about my experience of pursuing my tertiary education in Australia. Our conversation lead to the education system practised in Australia.
Ms Chan: So, tell me how was the Australian education system?
Me: Their education teaches you to have strong opinions on the stance you take. It's about speaking up and be heard.
Hearing that, she lamented how our Malaysian education system has yet to produce even one Nobel laureate. We have bright minds that are capable, but we are lacking the "seed" to nurture. The Australians have nurtured their young minds to have achieved such a feat. It's all because students are taught not to question what they have learnt. Spoon feeding is still the way to bring up the next generation.
Yesterday, a video from a student forum of Universiti Utara Malaysia (translation: Northern University, Malaysia) went viral over the Internet. You can watch the video below:
The video begins with an oath taking which the participants vow not to take part in any street demonstrations. As soon as the oath is read, immediately a flaw can be identified on the argument about street demonstration. I beg to differ that street demonstration is a way for dissatisfied public to themselves be heard; demonstrations can be peaceful as long as there is no provocation. To abstain oneself from taking to the street is to deny oneself a democratic channel to have one's opinion expressed.
The next best part is still to come, and it all started when the forum moderator (identified as Sharifah Zohra Jabeen) went to the floor and rudely took away the mic from a student.
The insults hurled at the fellow student only fueled my anger further:
- Educational qualification is not a tool for intimidation.
- Bersih leader Ambiga Sreenevasan is a proponent of anarchy?! This is such a wild accusation. Any well informed Malaysian should know what Bersih is all about.
- "You have the very least of education," - Grrrrrr!!
- All the animals' problems the moderator dragged in has only one purpose: to insult.
- If the moderator can deny comparing Malaysia to other countries on education equity, then I can use the same reason to stop comparing Malaysia to South Korea or Singapore on broadband speed. Then we need not progress since there's no comparison and no need to learn from those who're better off.
If a person like her does not know how to show respect, it's not hard to imagine the people she represents are much, much worse. Where is our society heading to? Is this the product of Malaysian education that we are proud of?
In the 21st century, Malaysia continues to suppress student activism. Are we producing robots who merely follow the rules? What is the use of universities in our countries anyway if we are unable to nurture leaders? What's the point of having academics if their opinion are silenced?
Any surprise why no Nobel Prize winner has ever hailed from Malaysia?