Friday, December 26, 2008
The creation of a Malaysian Education System (1951 – 1979)
Since Independence English Literature has continued to lose its recognition as a vital tool in the nation-building process due to a greater emphasis on the national language. The post-May 13 climate further reduced the significance of English, and needless to say Children’s Literature in English.However, in an ongoing research which i am involved in, we hope to highlight the great potential and impact Children’s Literature in English could have as a nation-building tool in a highly pluralized post-colonial Malaysian society, thus inspiring the quest for an identity in a globalized era.
The earliest documents which form the backbone in the creation of a National Education System, dates back to the early 50’s.The entire study of the various education reports begins from the Colonial Central Advisory Committee on Education (Pre-1957) right up to the Post-Colonial Education Committee of the Ministry of Education (Post-1957) covering an entire decade. This is with reference to the Study of the Fenn-Wu Report on Chinese Education and the Barnes Report on Malay Education in 1951 and subsequent Razak and Rahman Talib reports which were published in 1956 and 1960 respectively. Finally in 1979 the Mahathir Report or the Cabinet Committee Report reevaluated the entire national education system in Malaysia giving it a new look. The committee begun its work in 1974 and published its report in 1979. These reports were the foundations upon which a comprehensive Malaysian Education System came into being.The primary purpose of examining these reports is to examine the direct and indirect effect of subsequent policies towards Children’s Literature in English, if any.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Investigators at Temple University have thinned fuel by attaching an electrically charged tube to a diesel engine’s fuel line near the fuel injector. This is possible thanks to a well-known effect in which electric fields reduce the viscosity of a liquid. Reduced fuel viscosity allows much smaller droplets to be injected into the engine, leading to more efficient combustion. Road tests have shown electric fields to boost a car’s gas mileage by up to 20 percent. Expect the device to be in all kinds of internal-combustion engines in the near future.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Japanese researchers say they've imaged thoughts and dreams and displayed them on a computer screen.
At the web site of the journal Neuron, where the findings are to be published, the researchers summarize their work: "The results suggest that our approach provides an effective means to read out complex perceptual states from brain activity."
Brain imaging is nothing new. And the images are reportedly very simple, but the researchers claim the technique could lead to the ability to unlock the secrets of dreams.
"By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams," the scientists are quoted as saying in The Telegraph of London. In one experiment, test subjects were shown the six letters of the word "neuron," and the subsequent brain activity was used to reconstruct the letters on a screen.
Scientists mostly agree that dreaming happens during the phase called Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Some researchers think you dream about tasks and emotions that were not dealt with fully, and that dreaming can help solidify thoughts and memories.
Even animals dream. And some people think they can control their dreams. The jury is still out on that, but studies show that some dreamers can communicate with researchers during a dream.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Nanotechnology concept Morph
Introducing NOKIA'S Morph Phone conceived through nanotechnology:
Flexible materials, transparent electronics, self-cleaning surfaces, ability to observe local environment and harvest energy.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
PIKOM PC Fair 2008 (III) - Dates and Venues
5 - 7 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)
-Penang International Sports Arena, Penang - Jalan Tun Dr Awang, 11900 Relau
-Sabah Trade Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah - Jalan Istiadat, Teluk Likas, 88400 Kota Kinabalu
-Central Square, Sungai Petani, Kedah - Jalan Kampung Baru, 08000 Sungai Petani
-Dewan SJK(C) Yuk Choy, Ipoh, Perak - 195, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh
-Berjaya Megamall, Kuantan, Pahang - Jalan Tun Ismail, Sri Dagangan, 25000 Kuantan
12 - 14 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)
-KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50888 Kuala Lumpur
-Mahkota Parade Melaka, Melaka - Jalan Merdeka, 75000 Bandar Hilir
-Dewan Suarah, Bintulu, Sarawak - Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi, 97008 Bintulu
19 - 21 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)
-Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru - Jalan Abdullah
Ibrahim,80000 Johor Bahru
-Dewan 2020, Kangar, Perlis - 01000, Kangar
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Social OutcastsBy TIM LARIMER and TOKO SEKIGUCHI Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2001They are Japan's untouchables. A minority group discriminated against while living on the fringes of society.
They are burakumin, or "village people." They may look like other Japanese, speak the same language, eat the same foods and wear the same clothes, but prejudice is always close. And the absence of any information -- and fear of discussion -- about this invisible group serves to perpetuate the prejudice, leaving people to spout untruths and rumors: that burakumin are physically deformed, for example.
The burakumin existed, informally, as a social class as far back as the 6th century, but they were shunted to the bottom of a five-tier caste system during the Tokugawa period (1600-1867), also known as the Edo period. Considered social outcasts, they were typically butchers, tanners and waste-handlers. Japan's Meiji transformation in the late 19th century opened up the country to the outside world, yet the burakumin still exist -- as does the discrimination they suffer.
In Japan, few people are willing to talk about the burakumin. The mainstream media go to great lengths to avoid any discussion of the group, and code words are more the norm. An article about someone thought to be a burakumin, for example, might describe him as someone who likes to attend the dog races. Why the queasiness? The burakumin scare many people.
Justified or not, some burakumin have a reputation for responding to public discussion about them, whether it's on television or in a magazine, with behavior that borders on harassment. "When I talked about burakumin on a TV show," says one reporter, who, predictably, doesn't want his name used, "the station was flooded with calls, day and night, from people wanting my home phone number."
There is one place, however, where talk about the burakumin is freewheeling and unfettered. That place is the Internet. Here, of course, people don't worry about a backlash because they can be anonymous. Channel 2 is a website that hosts many discussion groups -- with topics ranging from food recipes to erotica -- including one on the burakumin. Messages posted on the site include "Tell me the names of burakumin in the entertainment industry" and "Buraku can't intimidate me." There has also been a lengthy discussion about political heavyweight Hiromu Nonaka's burakumin ties.
Says Shigeshi Tabata, who runs an independent, on-line watchdog group called Network Against Discrimination and for Research on Human Rights: "The reason people want this information is to discriminate against people. Policing what is said on the Internet is of course difficult -- and controversial. Tabata has contacted Channel 2's Webmaster about the burakumin postings that he believes to be inflammatory. "I believe he is aware of the problem," Tabata says. "But that was in 1999, and the burakumin names are still posted. Because people can post their comments anonymously, they aren't accountable. Monitoring bulletin boards is an eternal cat-and-mouse chase."
(In the 1960s and '70s, pamphlets were published that listed the addresses and neighborhoods known to be inhabited by burakumin. Family names were also printed. These pamphlets were used by companies, including some of Japan's blue-chip businesses, to weed out burakumin when hiring employees, and by families to investigate the background of potential husbands and wives for their children. In 1975, Japan banned those publications, but the lists are now are popping up on the Channel 2 bulletin boards.)
Hiroyuki Nishimura, a 24-year-old computer consultant, is Channel 2's Webmaster. The site, which launched in May 1999, gets some 15 million hits a day, he says. Hiroyuki is defensive about the material on the site, and says it is impossible for him to police every message that is posted. "Right now, very few things on the Internet are regulated by Japanese law," he says. "For instance, it's not illegal for high school girls to post their cell phone numbers on-line for 'enjo kosai' (teenage prostitution). We actively delete these. But for other things, we don't have the manpower to be actively looking for offensive or unethical and immoral postings." Besides, he says, he is uncomfortable with the notion of censorship. "If you regulate what is said on places like Channel 2, that's fascism. I just provide people a place to discuss issues."
On the one hand, discussion about the burakumin is a good thing. Nowhere in Japan are people allowed to confront stereotypes or even ask questions about a group of people that rights groups say number as many as 3 million. On the other hand, unfortunately much of the discussion is nothing more than hate-mongering.
Japan's government has passed laws to end discrimination against the group, and has set up special programs to improve burakumin neighborhoods, and improve their children's education. The prejudice, though, persists. "Around me, day to day, it doesn't seem anyone discriminates against me," says Hiroshi Kanto, a burakumin in Kyoto. "But then one day my daughter came home from elementary school and said some other kids' parents told them not to play with her because she is burakumin."
The question now is whether the Internet revolution will help, or hurt the group. Channel 2's Nishimura is optimistic. "One of the discussion threads was a survey about discrimination people experienced, or from the other side, that they imposed," he says. "You can't do that anywhere else but on an anonymous bulletin board. It's the only place for these two opposing voices to communicate."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Caste and the question of Identity I
The term untouchables have long been associated with the caste system of Indian culture as a reference to the class of people at the very bottom of the social hierarchy. While extreme interpretation of this system is beginning to fade away due to the changing times and education which has become the main propellant in empowering those from the lowest rung of the social ladder, there is still a large consciousness among the masses of their cast and creed and the seemingly permanent social distinction. The Indian caste system is deeply routed in the ancestral occupational attachment which has sadly become some kind of social imprisonment for those who are associated to the most “unclean” or dirty jobs thus permanently condemned being labeled as outcasts.
Having said that, it is natural for an outsider to assume that in modern times caste would no longer be relevant for someone who becomes empowered to finally become independent by virtue of his education and profession to break away from such social imprisonment. Apparently that is not the case, as there is also a large fellowship who prefer to retain that identity regardless of caste. Even the so called lower classes take pride in their identity and form such comradeship which is reflected in the politics of today.
In an age of globalization and cultural plurality, we somehow find people who firmly hold on to their castes as a vital aspect of their identity. In a multi-layered atmosphere of Indianness, the question of “who am I?” can never have a simple “Indian” for an answer and the whole concept of Indian is corrupt; the entity having sprung out of an artificial union ; a byproduct of a colonial past. Therefore most would generally be linguistically and regionally divided into the almost countless numbers of languages and dialects they belong to, such as, a few among others, the Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam,Telugu, Hindi,Punjabi and Bengali speakers. Their Lingua-Regional identity comes first and then comes the question of caste and creed before even thinking of Indianness. However the term has gained much popularity abroad among the Indian Diaspora, for this term itself is founded upon that very conception and best reflects the identities of Cultures from the Sub-continent. Caste, while being a sensitive issue these days, is extremely important even for those whose sensitivities are most affected .On the other hand, the downtrodden while denouncing it entirely would also uphold it at some time or other.. It should be noted that caste based societies and associations are thriving in
South Indian Sir Names are most certainly a reflection of castes which they belong to and this could explain the reason behind Indians who don’t possess second names Most Indians would not want to be labeled as an advocate of the caste system. However, there are people who are proud of their ancestry and carry the family name (caste) as their sir-name. But the most unfortunate are those who do not want to be ostracized by society thus keep it a secret. To end in a positive note, I am very pleased to say that the new generation of Indians in
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Maha Guru Victor de Thouars, interviewed by reporter Steve Gartin, for Fighting Knives/Street Fighter magazine.
Victor: By the end of the second century A.D., India had already established trade routes to Indonesia. By the year 125 A.D., influences from Indian Hindu/Buddhist missionarys was beginning to be felt in Indonesia.
Victor: Indonesian martial arts was very crude and unrefined during that time period, followed by a period of refinement. With the later Influences from India, Indonesia established a system of fighting unique to Indonesia.
Victor: The martial arts the Chinese saw in Indonesia were referred to as "Silate". The indonesian able to absorb and adapt to other cultures, took many words from those cultures and integrated them into their language. This was done with the word "Silate", and was changed to Silat, so in short the word "Silat" is from Chinese origin, not the action".
Victor: Martial arts in Indonesia and China began to develop separately, but both were influenced by the buddhist monks who traveled from India to Indonesia and China during those years".
Silat is an umbrella term for a number of martial art forms originating from the countries of the Malay Archipelago. This art is widely known in Indonesia and Malaysia but can also be found in varying degrees among the Malay-affiliated communities in Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. The art has also reached Europe, and is especially popular in the Netherlands and France. There are hundreds of aliran (styles) ranging from animalistic to human styles and schools or perguruan
To create a balanced person, Silat also focuses on the spiritual aspect. The aim of the practitioner is to free oneself of worldly conceptions and realize that our reality is an illusion. This was originally based on the meditative practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Kejawen and local forms of animism which is still evident in the older styles today. The later introduction of Islam into Southeast Asia brought influences of Muslim philosophy while retaining traditional Malay elements such as moksa and the Javanese concept of kebatinan in which the exponent searches for the harmony within themselves. Nowadays, spirituality in silat is largely based on tasawwuf (knowledge of Islamic esoteric teaching). In this way, the exponent learns to respect life and his surroundings and see it as a gift from God.
Friday, November 14, 2008
German hematologists Eckhard Thiel, left, and Gero Huetter of Berlin's Charite Medical University
attend a news conference about a successful treatment of a HIV infected patient in Berlin, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Doctors in Germany say a patient appears to have been cured of HIV by a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic resistance to the virus.
The researchers in Berlin said the man, who suffered from leukaemia and HIV, had shown no sign of either disease since the transplant two years ago.
But they stressed it was an unusual case which needed further investigation.
Experts said the result may boost interest in gene therapy for HIV.
Berlin's Charite clinic said the 42-year-old patient was an American living in Berlin, but the man has not been identified.
About one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have a resistance to HIV
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
An Early Nation Builder Re-Examined for his Great Contribution
to Malaysian Society!
K. Thamboosamy Pillay
K. Thamboosamy Pillay was a prominent Malaysian of Tamil origin during the pre-independence years. He was considered the leader of the Tamil community. He was a wealthy businessman, tin miner, money lender and government contractor.Thamboosamy was one of the founders and one of the original Trustees of Victoria Institution as well as the founder of the
He was later transferred to the Treasury where he eventually became chief clerk and acted as State Treasurer on a few occasions. He was sent to
A Justice of Peace and member of the prestigious KL Sanitary Board, Thamboosamy was the acknowledged leader of the Tamil community in Malaya, especially in
He was also said to have discovered
So great was Thamboosamy's philanthropic spirit, that he donated money to whoever needed it, regardless of race or religion. He contributed a sizeable amount of money to the building fund of St. Mary's Cathedral,
Thamboosamy died in 1902 in
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Free Cataract Surgeries for the underprivileged
Every five seconds one person in the world goes needlessly blind. World Sight Day was created in 1998 to spotlight the importance or eradicating preventable blindness and improving sight. Organizations around the world hold vision screening events, community education programs, eyeglass collections and other special projects to mark World Sight Day which falls on every second Thursday each year.
…“World Sight Day provides an opportunity for all of us to work together and become more aware and more committed to ensuring the right to sight. Please inform us anytime, of any under privilege person who have vision impairment especially those having cataracts so that we can restore sight back to them.”
Those who would like to take part with the centre in organizing a bigger event next year are welcome to contact the Centre for Sight: www.centreforsight.com.my.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Refugees and asylum-seekers in
registered with UNHCR, 2008
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Source: Malay Mail, from: www.unhcr.org.my
Refugees and Asylum Seekers in
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
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New Refugees & Asylum Seekers
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Source: < http://www.une.edu.au/asiacenter/No18.pdf >
From: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants - World Refugee Survey 2006 Country Report,Malaysia
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday October 31The British Government in introducing a programme to reduce the number of illegal immigrants with regards to those who have overstayed.Under this programme those who overstay "can be assisted in returning home by being given a one-way ticket to their respective countries.free flight ticket home".
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that there were 30,000 Malaysians who had overstayed in Britain and its government would like to see as many illegal immigrants possible from that country leave.
“In July, United Kingdom gave Malaysia a six months grace period before deciding whether to impose visa on citizens of this country. “The period is used to gauge whether there is an increase in the number of overstayers or those who go in on a social visa but find employment there.
He said the British Government would decide after December whether to impose a visa on Malaysians traveling to the country but hoped that “this will not be necessary”, urging citizens to respect and abide by the laws of the country they were in.
Britain is mulling whether to impose visa on visiting Malaysians following high incidents of overstaying and illegal workers of late.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Packed with performance and punch lines, the entire Tamil film fraternity staged a powerful show of strength at a one-day fast in Chennai Saturday to express solidarity with the Eezham Tamils. The actors demanded the Tamil Nadu state and the Indian Union Government to immediately find a peaceful and permanent solution to the Sri Lankan problem.
The ministry says the Malaysian envoy Saw Ching Hong has 48 hours to leave the country.
The move follows the expulsion earlier this month of Montenegrin and Macedonian ambassadors over their countries' recognition of Kosovo.
The former Serbian province declared independence in February with the support from the United States and most EU nations.
But Serbia refuses to endorse the split. It has asked for a U.N. court's opinion on whether the secession was legal.
Just a thought.....
Will the world ever recognise Tamil Eelam? If Kosovo can be recognised then surely the Tamil struggle should also be recognised? Unfortunately the U S of A has branded the Rebellion and Freedom struggle in Eelam as Terrorism while on the other hand given support to the Kosovans.
If thats the case then Russia is right in Recognising the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia as an independant region.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
The Tamil Tigers, pushed back by a major military offensive, showed they still have the strength to hit back with air raids on a military base in the northeast region of Mannar and a power station in Colombo which plunged
The Air Tigers is the air force of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.The Air Tigers were revealed on 2007 when it conducted its first air raid on the Sri Lankan Air Force base. Since then they have conducted four other air raids. The Tamil Tigers are the first and only rebel organization in the world to establish a fully functional air force with an estimated possession of five light aircrafts.
Timeline2007 March: Tamil Tigers launch their first confirmed air raid, hitting a military base next to the international airport.
2007 April : Two international airlines suspend flights to Sri Lanka following another air raid by Tamil Tigers.
2008 Oct : Tamil Tigers launch air raids on a power plant in Colombo and a military base in the northeast.
The Tiger air attacks came as government forces stepped up their own air strikes against the guerrillas inside their de facto mini-state in the north.
The LTTE will continue to strike back even if they are defeated thus the Sri Lankan Government should realise that there is no miltary solution for this conflict and sincerely work towards lasting peace through negotiations with the LTTE. Consessions will have to be made for a long lasting peace.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This event is Organized by People Source (M) Sdn Bhd and managed by My Events Sdn Bhd, My Career, Education & Entrepreneur Fair 2008 will assist those who want to take their careers, Education and Entrepreneurship to the next level. With the theme ‘ Exploring New Opportunities ', this event will showcase job and education opportunities available not only in Malaysia but also in abroad.
7th to 9th November '08
Persada, Johor Bahru
29th & 30th November '08
Sabah Trade Centre, KK, Sabah
21st & 22nd February '09