Sunday, March 27, 2005

Back to Normal Time

Starting from today (27th March 2005) Melbourne will return to the normal time, i.e. GMT + 10 or 2 hours ahead of Malaysian time. Hehe, it means that I have some extra time to chat with friends and family back home. :-D

0 comments:

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Exam's Over!

Yeahh!! The very first exam in Melbourne is officially over 3 minutes ago! It was not too hard, and I am confident of passing or at least getting 3 quarter of all questions right.

And now... I am having a dilemma of what to do in the 1 week holidays that follow. Any comments? :-D

4 comments:

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

[ReCom.org] Lots of A1s, does it show anything?

inevitable wrote:

so, now what do you want? you want them to choose the student based on what then? you want them to test every student in malaysia on their 'real-world' ability? is that what you want? better think about it more logically. there are thousands of students take spm every year, how do you think the scholarships going to manage that? there are a lot of competition. how do you think they want to choose the student? based on spm ofcourse. they cant afford to manage a test of ability on the 'real-world' on every student. even if they do, they would only choose the good results. how else do you want them to? even if the students who are not so good in spm are actually can do the 'real stuff' like you said, then the spm wont be a block for them, if they are good enough, they would survive and be great people. i know a lot of people who did not pass spm but are rich people now. spm is a reward, you work hard, you'll get the prize. but there's not just one prize in this world, there are a lot more. you dont get this one, you can try and get the other. even if you feel unsatisfied and try to prove something ridiculous as you just post here, that's the way it is, better think about it more deeply before you post something like this


youngyew wrote:

First of all, probably you are new in ReCom, but I don't think typing everything in a bold font is a good demeanor in a forum. Wink

And I don't know why you would get so irated with our ongoing discussion. Nobody lobbied for the demolishment of the whole examination system, nobody said university has to pick their students with real-world talent. Please reread carefully and think about it more deeply before you post something like this.

The whole discussion has been orientated on the point that, instead of judging the student's aptitude by his results in the relevant subjects, the yardstick of academic aptitude (which directly affects scholarship chance) has been deformed to the number of subjects he takes up (and get A1 in).

Is it fair? Yes, everyone knows that it has become the rule of the game, you take up more subjects, you get more A1, you get a higher chance of getting scholarship. But is it fair at all? Please don't be complacent as to say that this is the rule of the game, so just accept it. Remember, this is not an opt-out game, every single student in Malaysia has to take it, and we have to improve the game as much as possible instead of just accepting the status quo.

My point is: Okay, assume that I am an excellent student who takes up "only" 10 subjects. I knew very well from the beginning of form 4 that I want to become a doctor in the future, so I only took those core subjects and science electives. Besides, I also didn't feel the need to take up subjects which I was not interested in and didn't find any thrill in the prospect of gaining fame from scoring 20 A1. SPM is over, and I scored extremely well in all of the subjects, and got 9A1 and 1A2 in chinese language (haha, ring a bell?). Now the moment of truth: there are this hundreds of people who took up astronomic amount of A1 and got astronomic amount of A1 (probably some partial supra-result, like those 11A1 and 2A2). Remember these astronomic scorers aren't necessarily better than him just because they scored more A1. I think it's an undeniable fact no matter which side of fence you are on.

You don't have to be a good guesser to know what happens. Those astronomic scorer got the coveted JPA offers, and I have to cry at home.

See, this is the effect of the game. This is not a fabricated story, but it happens to many friends around me. Yea yea, you can say that you should have known the rule of the game, but has any curricular statement of SPM ever stated that "students aptitude are ranked accordingly based on the number of A1"? I was game over, but I lost because I didn't follow the undocumented "rule of game". Now tell me, is that fair?

As I have said before, the problem doesn't lie on the students who take up N subjects themselves, because they are just trying to survive and thrive in the system. It's the system that goes unhealthy. Personally I congratulate Nur Amalina and other high scorers who have proved themselves, and I heartilly think that they should be proud of their paid hardwork and the achievement. But I sympathize even with more emotion for those who are sidelined by the unhealthy system. Even the government itself should feel bad about the unfairness, because it's our beloved country that suffers the loss of talents.


inevitable wrote:

so, now what do you want?


youngyew wrote:

As a remedy, I would like to say that a fixed amount of subjects (or at least set a ceiling limit) is the better way of creating healthily competitive environment. A-level is fairly good, although the decrease of standard has sort of created another problem of unability to separate the diamond from the pebbles.

p/s: For the record, I am currently a JPA sponsored student who was lucky enough to have scored 10A1 and lucky again to have been chosen by JPA. So all my previous posts were not "sour grape" posts. Although I survived the cruel test, I was greatly saddened to hear the stories of wasted talents because of the "rule of game".

0 comments:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

[ReCom.org] Lots of A1s, does it show anything?

gal_flower wrote:

But can we say that there's something wrong with the students pursuing more and more A1s? It's a rat race now...and everyone needs to fight to be more outstanding than the other. Is it their fault for choosing to take on more subjects, or is it the society's fault? Think about that. Or maybe, just maybe, the student chooses to do more subjects to challenge herself ( Razz I choose the female gender) or to explore her abilities? Think about that. Those who take on more subjects are in a way putting themselves in a risk that may be costly. I'm not saying that their efforts are entirely admirable that I can just ignore the rest who also scored straight A1s but less number of the A1s or those who did well but just didn't score straight A1s or those who just faltered at SPM but are indeed smart as anything else. But this is how our education system and our society works. We ALL know THAT. It IS luck sometimes.


youngyew wrote:

I never blamed those students whose reason to take up more subjects is to "beat the others". If this is the reason, then it's not their fault as they are the victims themselves.

What I am lobbying by my previous articles is to remedy the whole system, instead of criticising those who took the subjects. People react to the external environmental change (sorry but I am taking biochemistry at the moment.. Wink ), so when stress is exerted by the external factor, they have to swim or sink. However, what we really need to react is to correct the system, not asking those students to stop taking more and more subjects to out-smart others. It concerns their own survival.

0 comments:

[ReCom.org] Lots of A1s, does it show anything?

lyzzy wrote:

This quote and some other comments (which is somewhere around, I'm pretty sure I saw it, but perhaps it's in another thread) that suggested that we should specialize early and not do so many subjects in SPM that's not related to our future career....

That's crazy talk... same goes for everyone who suggests that we specialize so early in life. I don't agree with the whole culture of acquiring As fo the sake of acquiring As, but neither do I agree of this idea of specializing so early - it narrows your mindset and your thinking

An engineer needs other subjects too, you know. Writing, literature, art, music, history and all that.... otherwise, you are not 'educated', you are just a machine, doing something because you get something. There is a good percentage of the population with this mindset (mostly chinese), and that's why the chinese stereotype "cinapek" comes in. You may be a capable engineer who's very good at what you do - but you are still uneducated if you don't appreciate art or lit or music or whatever.

I'm not saying that an engineer should spend ALL his time learning music, and no time on engineering and math, but I'm suggesting a healthy balance. Knowledge is never useless, no matter what you are doing.

Malaysians (including myself) tend to think that careers are fixed for your entire life - that's not true...SPM is just the first step. So any extra knowledge is always good, should you think about switching careers.


Youngyew wrote:

I think you are referring to my post in the other thread.

I agree that we should not fix our outlook so early in our life. In fact, nobody should fix the career prospect even when he or she has graduated from a university degree. There's never a thing called fixed, as long as life is concerned. You can always do something that suit you best, even when your interest does change later in your life.

However, as far as SPM is concerned, I beg to differ with lyzzy. Yes, do offer as many choices as possible to the students, and do promote them to take up subjects that suit their interest; but, don't make them swallow things that are totally irrelevant to career or interest. One of the most obvious example that is already discussed many times is science stream student taking sains teras.

When I said that we should be able to determine what he or she wants to do when they start taking form 4, what I really meant is that he should be able to at least narrow down the scope of the possible career paths. You know, I realize that there are many people out there who cannot recognize yet their real interest and career choice in form 4, so they are certainly in a quandary if they are forced to choose. I was one (cannot choose career). However, people should at least eliminate the thing that they are uninterested in. In my case, art subjects are out for me because I am neither well-versed or interested in them. Well, you can argue that people may have super wide interest that they simply like every subject offered by the examination board, but then again, where is the focus if we do so?

Yes, very true is the statement that we need multi-dimensional development in personal growth and knowledge acquisition. We need to know more about everything even though it is not related to the stuff we are actually working for. However, let's be multi-dimensional in real sense instead of in marking-scheme sense. I don't want people who take up all sorts of subjects, get A1 in every single one of them and know every single marking scheme of the papers; but don't know much about things outside the scheme. (refer to my post in the other thread) It's happening, as far as my experience can tell. So tell me, is it "multi-dimensional" as you would call it?

Ideologically, what we implement in our education system is "quite good". We get our choices, we get the freedom to choose. But with bad execution, excessive pressures resulted by glorification of N A1-er and the unfair comparison between students who took different number of subjects, I don't see a healthy growth of the whole system. Something certainly needs to be remedied.

0 comments:

[Nanyang.com] 我为女儿祈祷

我的女儿在华小毕业后,虽成绩优越,且有申请进入位于住家对面的国中,但她却被派往离家数公里外的国中就读。我们申请该间学校的主因是它靠近住家,其他合情合理的理由包括我的大女儿已在该校就读,让小女儿也进入该校将使她有大姐的照应,且不必另安排来往学校的交通。

但负责安排学校的教育局却不知在何种分配准则下,将我的小女儿派往数公里外的学校,为了方便上学,我们曾向教育局、该国中的校长、甚至一副部长上诉与求助,但仍不受理,主要原因是据说该国中需保留学额予马来学生。

这间前身为教会学校的国中,是一间被教育局列为受管制的学校,来自华小的学生不论你是住在学校的对面,或成绩如何优秀,你都不得其门而入。

但该校却特设宿舍让来自州内的马来学生入住,以方便马来学生在该校就读。

当然,让来自乡下的成绩优越的马来学生进入设备齐全、拥有良好师资的该国中就读,是一项提升马来学生学术成就的最好方式,我们当然要支持。

但这却让我的女儿首次惊觉,她和马来学生在升学的机会方面是有所差别的。在她读华小期间,从课本上及老师的教导中,她了解到大马是一个多元种族的国家,但各族人民和谐相处,团结一致、人人平等,且拥有宗教信仰的自由。

但在她要投入国家教育主流的当儿,她却需面对大马独有的惨酷社会现实:只因她不是土著,所以她不能进入离家约200公尺的国中,而数十公里外的马来学生却受到特别的安排进入该校就读。

我邻居的小女儿比我的小女儿更早面对大马独有的惨酷社会现实:她在进入国小后不久,就每天回来向邻近的小朋友说:她的马来朋友真好,他们有免费的课本、免费的文具、免费的书包、免费的食物……………

许多在国小及国中就读的非土著,都非常投入及融入以马来人为主的环境,他们和马来学生用同样的语言、接受马来人文化,许多非土著学生,尤以女生甚至长期穿着马来装校服,这原本是一个让不同种族的学生,在他们还不知这个现实社会有多现实之前,在同一屋簷下交心的最好平台。

但现实是:当非土著看到土著享有不同的待遇后,这批原本是最能接受土著文化,甚至有机会被“同化”的小孩子,却一再地发觉他们所受到的对待是不一样的,而让他们更早体验到大马独有的社会现实。

我的一名现就读国中初一的小邻居说,他的国小马来同学很多都被保送进全寄宿中学,而他也和我的小女儿一样,被派去一间离家数公里外的国中就读,虽然他的成绩比许多被保送的马来学生好。

政府固然应该扶助国内落后或处于弱势的一群,但我仍希望及诚心的祈祷:在我的女儿长大后,或她的女儿长大后,不会再面对有一些高等学府不能进、有一些行业不能做、有一些执照拿不到、有一些合约没有机会得到、有一些股票没有他们的份、有一些准证需用钱买等问题。

我们都是大马的子民,不论我们是在什么源流的学校就读,用什么语言为媒介语,只要有适当的国家政策与社群的配合,我们不可能不会达致全民大团结的目标,因为我们都是在同一条船上的人!


Thoughts: I love Malaysia, so I would be really happy if it can get better.

1 comments:

[Slashdot.org] Students Do Better Without Computers

Gogogoch writes "The Telegraph is reporting a large study that shows that the less students use computers at school and at home, the better they do in international tests of literacy and math. The more access they had to computers at home, the lower they scored in tests, partly because they diverted attention from homework. Students tended to do worse in schools generously equipped with computers, apparently because computerised instruction replaced more effective forms of teaching. " Worth noting that it took almost 20 years for PCs in the corporate environment to actually have a positive impact on productivity; might the same be true in education?

Thoughts: Isn't that alluding me? :-P

0 comments:

Monday, March 21, 2005

[Recom.org] Only 1.2% got A1 for SPM Chinese

wwhong wrote:

anyway, i just read that the major cause of the low percentage of A1 is because of the sudden change in exam format? just wondering how large is the difference? those who took the test care to enlighten me?


There has always been a puzzle in me that why people would attribute low A1 percentage to "exam formats", "unexpected questions" or something like that. I think if we get to the way exam works, we should cut the furore well more than half.

The fact is, whether 1.2% get A1 or 12% get A1 in chinese language, it doesn't matter much if the paper is hard or the format is new. If the "pihak pihak berkenaan" wants only1.2% to get A1, they simply set the cutting point higher, if they decide that 10% should get A1, they simply lower the cutting point so that more candidates exceed the A1 threshold.

There's never such a thing as "in order to get A1 in SPM every year, you should get 80 or above". The grading of SPM is relative rather than fixed, and it's all at the discretion of "pihak pihak berkenaan".

p/s: Some may argue what explains then, a school which gets very low score when a paper is hard in a particular year. I think it has to do with local variability where the school fail to meet the standard that was mandated by the marking scheme of that paper. Let's say this year chemistry paper focuses a lot on inorganic, while my school teacher all spotted physical chem, then it wouldn't be a surprise that my school scores low overall in chemistry paper. However, do take note that this is only a local effect, and it will not have affected the performance of the whole country.

1 comments:

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Try This. It May Take A Minute Or A Year

Goto this page and try it out. A professor said that the smarter you are, the longer you tend to spend before figuring it out.

I took about 5 to 10 minutes which was long compared to my friend who figured it out on the second try, but short compared to those who tried for a few days to no avail. :-D So where do I stand on the scale?

3 comments:

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Touching Article

It's just another reading assignment we had to do for our HP, but I was so thoroughly moved. Here I wish to share it with the rest of you the article that made tears well up in my eyes...

Learning to become a doctor

A third-year medical student reflects on a life-changing emotional experience



Dreams and reality are often very different things. As a medical student I imagined myself one day taking on the role of a gallant knight, a protector and safekeeper of the sacred flame of life, creating miracles and wonderfully healing the sick. I wanted to make a difference and save lives. A road accident during the summer holidays gave me a chance to live my dream - but it was very different from what I had imagined. This piece reflects on my experience, and on how a brush with real medicine has changed me as a third-year medical student at Monash University.

The smashed machine was the first sight I encountered. A once fast, shiny road-bike now lay on the ground, a metal carcass. I remember running towards it, scared. Next to it a body lay still.

I had seen dead bodies before; cadavers allow us to release anatomical knowledge with the stroke of a blade; they are the ultimate learning tools. But what confronted me was no practical class - this was very real. I looked at the woman lying there. She was young, about my own age of 20, still with P-plates on her bike. It could have been one of my friends lying there. She was dressed up, perhaps coming home from a club somewhere, with makeup and nail polish delicately applied - real human qualities that gave a glimpse into a life that, only minutes earlier, was full. Draped over the top of a young human was viciously snapped; blood and vomitus overflowed from her throat onto her chest; her arm was destroyed. I knelt down beside her.

It was as if I was looking through her. I looked into her eyes but, quite simply, no one was there. Despite the horror of the scene, she looked almost peaceful. Was she just unconscious? Could there be a flicker of life still inside her? Was this my chance to save a life, to make a difference? What happened next was bizarre. I became machine-like, visualising a giant first-aid flowchart in my mind's eye, and began to apply my medical knowledge. Yet again the theory did not match the reality. My only previous attempt at resuscitation had been on a mannequin with a plastic torso and head. This woman had real lungs and a real heart. I turned her on her side and tried to unblock her airway; I had no gloves. Using a mouth-to-mouth protective device that I carry on my keyring, i tried to shield my hands as I attempted to scoop blood and vomitus out of her mouth. I then tried to give her air: "5 breaths in 10 seconds, and watch the chest rise", my training had taught me. But her chest did not rise. AT first I got angry and blamed it on the device I was using, but then I realised her entire airway was obstructed. I searched for a carotid and radial pulse but found neither - the beat of life had stopped. I tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation but she wasn't responding - it wasn't supposed to be like this. Yet I continued until I felt a gentle tap on my left shoulder. It was one of the ambulance officers - I had missed their dramatic arrival, hearing my own thoughts and deaf to everything else. Never before had my mind been so clear or sharp. My adrenalin level was so high that it took tactile stimulation to reawaken me to my surroundings - a feeling I still never forget.

Despite efforts by the ambulance officers, the girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was in the day that followed, spending time with my general practitioner, that I began to learn a little about what being a doctor really means. I came to him upset that someone had died, upset at how horrific it was, upset that I had failed, upset that I had done something that may have exposed me to to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, even upset that the damn thing was upsetting me! He sat and listened. Being able to speak to someone who had witnessed similar trauma was amazingly comforting. He told me that the three hardest things to cope with in medicine are death itself, the death of someone young, and the death of someone under your care. I had copped all three "right between the eyes", at a time when I hadn't the experience or the training to know how to respond or feel.

My GP had no magic pills or portions to rid me of the churning inside me. Nor did he need them - all I wanted was for him to understand what I was feeling. I was given an insight into what caring for someone really means. He reassured me that people don't expect doctors to be miracle workers - all a family really wants in this type of situation is for a doctor to "be there and to care". My GP suggested that I attend the funeral service if I felt comfortable doing so. He believed it would give me a sense of closure and that it would help me to be around others with similar feelings. I sat with him in his office after all his patients had gone home, looking through the newspapers for the funeral details.

I sat through the service and listened to the account of a life I knew nothing about. I looked around at the web of friends and family she had interwoven. I was now a part of that web - she had touched me too. At the conclusion I introduced myself to her father, and told him that his daughter did not die alone, that I was there caring for her. I told him that the last few days had taught me more about caring for people, and about being a doctor, than I had learned in all my days at medical school. I told him that I was there for him and his family. With that, the tall, lanky man hugged me tightly, crying and thanking me for being there, for stopping and bothering to care. It was devastatingly sad, yet enormously relieving, and I was proud. He wanted to care for me and to share his feelings with me, something I had not expected. The simple knowledge that their daughter did not die alone was comforting to the family. They knew that if there had been a chance for her, I was there to give her that chance.

I am starting to understand what being a doctor is about. To really care for someone connects people in such a wonderful way that it can even make death seem a little less scary. Sometimes just being there can make all the difference.

Ryan J Hodges
Third-year medical student
Monash University, Melbourne, VIC



Hodges, R. (2000). Learning to become a doctor, Medical Journal of Australia, 173: 158-159.

5 comments:

Thursday, March 17, 2005

University Life

University is really something very different from secondary school or even preparatory courses. One thing that I think many people dislike about university is the solitude you are constantly subjected to. Most of the time, I will be walking to the university campus alone, and the 15 - 20 minutes always seem like eternity... I don't know what I really feel about it, for certain time I really enjoy the freedom and "autonomy" of being alone; but when I am down, or when the sun decided to cast its full power on me, it is really a forlorn and despondent experience. Life is a mixed bag of sour and sweet, probably that's it.

I am doing medicine, so for this semester basically there are four different components, namely:

  • Principal of Biomedical Science (PBS) - For every week, there are 7 to 8 1-hour lectures where we have to learn biochemistry, physiology, anatomy etc. So you know, there are things like enzymes, intracellular and extracellular fluids, body systems, and at this moment I am learning potential and sodium-potassium stuff. Pretty interesting.
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) - Everyone of us have to learn about the skills and predicaments of becoming a doctor. It's a bit like "moral revisited", but it's done with specificity. For all ICM tutorials, we have to learn to be empathic, professional and the most fun thing of all, we got to role-play!!
  • PBS Problem Based Learning (PBS PBL) - At this stage, we are not learning about pathology yet, but they have already started honing our skills by exposing us to different cases (on paper only, no REAL patient yet) and let us do our own research. This is my favourite subject, as it's problem based!! (weird, but I do love problems the most... ) Last week the case we did was glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency patient which was stressed by the intake of chloroquine. Haha.. daunting stuff for layman, but I asked my sister and she said, "small case lahh"
  • Health Practice (HP) - Basically it's lectures about professional ethical codes. Quite boring.


In short, I am yet to adapt fully, but I am doing well here.


Song of the moment: Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera OST.

0 comments:

[Recom.org] So, Why Study Medicine?

flibbertigibbet wrote:
Not all people study medicine because of the glamour and money often associated with the course. So far, I have met a few decent doctors who really care for their patients. They never charge their patients high consultation fees and don't live a luxurious lifestyle. They are the REAL doctors.


We always hear about people using the word "desperate" on someone else with a negative connotation. And then the person would frantically deny the "accusation". But if we lay back and think, what's wrong with being desperate, especially at the age of 20s? Doesn't everyone want to be loved and have the chance to love someone else, doesn't everyone wish to have someone to be alongside you when you are lonely? Aren't everyone on the Earth desperate for love? As long as you don't go all out to game with love, why can't we be desperate?

You might think that I have already gone to the wrong thread, don't you? No, just change the word "desperate" to "hoping for glamour and status by becoming a doctor". What's wrong with taking up medicine with the hope of gaining social status? You might well argue that when the urge to be important supplants the real passion and drive to help others, you become a "bad" doctor, I know. But that is only if someone wants to be important and can't care less about his passion, and you know, this is not always true. The urge to become important, admit it or not, is one of the dominant factors why people first take up medicine. For one of our lectures, they started it up by saying, "you know what social status you are on when you become a doctor?". And you get the answer directly - a big, straight index finger. And I am not trying to exaggerate here, but almost everyone in the lecture theatre gleamed with pride. You can see what drive them (or rather, us).

I think that you don't blame people for taking up medicine simply because they want to be important. A psychologist (should be Sigmund Freud, but I am not sure) once said that the two most important instinctive desire of human being are the sexual desire and the desire to be recognized and acknowledged. I couldn't agree more. Whatever people say to lament status as a drive to people taking medicine, my bottomline is: As long as you have the passion and the urge to help people, why can't I go for glamour and status?

2 comments:

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

[jeffooi.com] About 17A1...

Normally, my online activities are no other than checking emails, chatting with friends, checking friend's blogs, reading online news, and posting messages in Recom (Worldwide Malaysian Student Network). Talking about ReCom, it has always been my favourite hangout because it's literally where the best of Malaysian students congregate. Most of the time I feel like a little kid in the blog, because I can hardly cope with the maturity and depth in which they discuss about issues or even daily issues in the forum. I have always been posting my thoughts and opinions in the ReCom forum or alike, and there's where half of my online time slipped away.

Besides, once in a blue moon, I would also post some comments on others blogs, among them Jeff Ooi's who is the de facto no.1 Malaysian blogger. Boring? Too serious? Well, I also have the same feeling for some contents of the blogs, but I think there is where the age comes into play. Maybe at the age of 20, I am not capable of appreciating just how important and relevant these issues are. While trying to learn and pick up one thing or two, I have also posted some comments whenever it comes to my concern, for example education system and so on. Besides the wish of getting my voice heard (in accordance to the motto of "think allowed, think aloud" in jeffooi.com), it's also a good way of communicating with other blog readers and exchange ideas with a great degree of freedom.

In the future, I will paste some of my posted comments in other blogs and ReCom for my records and for your interest (that is if you are interested what the hell I am thinking). When I do so, I will always include a square bracket (like [this one]) to indicate that it is a pasted article.

So here is it for today. My thought about the latest "national record" in SPM. Have a good read, and think about it.


First and foremost, congratulations to Nur Amalina for setting a new national record and mark your name in the history of Malaysia's education system! You certainly have proved your ability, eradicated the general bias against the academic aptitude of Malay students and made your family gleam with pride. I extent my heartfelt wish that you can excel in your future.

I am happy for those N-scorers, but for some of them, I think I would have to say something - "I took N subjects because I want to have a flexible choice in my career" is a total crap to me. Admit it, we take N subjects because of our vain and the desire to be recognized and become famous overnight, no one is chewing textbooks and marking schemes for the sake of "more career choices". If you have the ability and time to manage the workload of N subjects, I would like to believe that you would have the right mindframe from the beginning of Form 4 to decide on the path of your career. If you don't want to say that "I take N subjects because I want to be famous", then just don't say it. You don't have to make some ridiculous statements like "I want to have a flexible career choice" and "I would like to be an economist" AT THE SAME TIME. If he or she could get N 1A's, he or she would have known the meaning of "contradiction of premises".

Next, reduce the glorification of those straight A1 scorers, my dear media! You are only breeding those exam-orientated tuition centres and exerting more pressures on the future students! Yes, having been a perfect scorer in SPM myself (I took 10 subjects), I know the barrier one needs to overcome en route to obtaining perfect scores. But bear in mind, this is not all the education is about. Yes, please give a big hand or standing ovation to those who have made it, but please never forget the cliche that high-achievers in examination aren't necessarily high-achievers in universities, not to mention life itself. With the ever more simplified syllabus of SPM every year, I can say with full confidence that not all straight A1 scorers are excellent students. In line with JPA's undocumented policy of sending primarily straight A1 students (in the case of non-bumi students) to overseas top universities, it implies that the government is actually glorifying and sponsoring hordes of mediocre students as a result of the poor quality examination. What a waste.

Last but not least, parents across the country, getting 17A1s are essentially not related to being intelligent or knowledgeable. I am not saying this with reference to Nur Amalina, but high-scorers in general. I think I am in a good position to say this grounded from my own experience in taking examinations. Years have told me that smart and knowledgeable students normally don't get perfect exam slip, but scheme-expert students do. I know I am making a generalization here, but then again, it's really the majority that I am talking about. Get any straight 1A scorers, and they can tell you from A to Z about the marking scheme and what's in (or not in) the syllabus. Test them something which is "slightly out of syllabus", and guess what? Most of them simply won't know, simply because "it's not tested larrr". So ask yourself, is this the education you need to develop a country? A country who supposedly will march towards becoming a developed nation by 2020?

I am enrolled in an Australian university, and I just learnt how competent oversea students can be (and how non-competent I and Malaysians can be). You know what is the other thing I learnt? Astronomic amount of 1A is good for pride and make a keepsake out of the certificate, but we really need something more than that.

p/s: It's noticeable that the Malaysia SPM paper has become easier one year after another. I once heard a joke from recom.org (malaysian worldwide student forum) that with the increasing number of straight 1A scorers, it's believed that by 2020 straight A scorers will definitely be in the majority among all candidates. :-) Ironic huh.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Congratulations, You Have Made it Through!

First and foremost, Kang Winson (a.k.a. "Handsome Kang"), you owe me a big treat!! I am damn happy for you, and you did not waste my money at all...! Hehe... I knew you would make it, really. 4 flat worr... If I have gone for the exam I might not have come as near as your result.

STPM result came out yesterday (14 March 2005), and for a good reason I am happy. My previous school has yet again produced another 23 straight A scorers. Halved from last year's amount, it's a disappointment in comparison; but then again, isn't it still marvelous?! Many of my friends and acquaintances did fairly well or very well, and I think all their toil and moil have not gone to waste at all. I can't say enough to describe how feverish I feel for them, and along this line I can imagine the kind of celebration going on in my hometown right now...

Bravo!! Even for those who have not achieved their targets, I am also happy for you because you have finally been freed from the emotional burden that have been shackling you since 2 years ago. Although it may seem cliche to most people, I would still like to say that, "Exam isn't everything. You have your whole bright life ahead of you, dude." I wish you all the best.

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I Am Sorry, But...

Ya ya, I know that I have not been updating the blog for years and people are so disappointed and turned blank eyes on my determination in blogging by now~

The fact is, I have been studying and doing daily stuff (gosh, cooking alone takes up one and a half hour per day) throughout the weekdays. For both Saturdays, I have been going to the city, the first one for grocery shopping and the second one for Moomba Festival. What happens to the Saturdays then? Well, by Saturday I would have felt so remorseful for wasting my time, so instead of updating my blog, I would just plough through the lecture notes which have been piling up throughout the week... Hmm.. Did I provide enough reasons for not updating the blog? :-P

The other reason is that I haven't got the chance to upload all the pictures here. As I have mentioned in the previous post, I am using dial-up connection in my apartment so I planned to upload the pictures in the computer labs. But I stil haven't got the time and initiative to do so, and you know, without the pictures, I can't really do much with my poor descriptive skills...

Therefore, I think instead of letting these "blog debts" accumulate as much as my study debts, I should continue with my intermittent rambling and at the mean time upload the pictures when I have the chance to do so. So keep your fingers crossed ya!

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Bad Start at Melbourne (Part 1)

Note: I will add pictures to this post when I have access to a fast internet connection. It's near impossible to do so with my snail-like dial up connection.

Hello world, G'day from Melbourne!! This is the first "serious" and "in-depth" post from the down under, the so-called world's most livable city, behold ya... Hmm.. I have promised to have a serious update, so here it is.

After a week of hustling and bustling setup, finally I have settled down in my little abode in College Square, a place I would call home for the coming 9 months. But you know, it wasn't exactly something I would call a perfect start. Far from it. I bet you could never have a worse start to a new life like the one I had!

I lost my wallet, had only 1 hour of sleep during the night flight, and have been feeling lethargic for one whole week! Gosh, is it the harbinger of the life I am going to face throughout 6 years in Melbourne?

Hmmmm.. can I start from the days prior to my departure? I stayed in KL since the 18th, and in 4 days I went to KL International Airport thrice (including my own departure) to

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

If You Are In Malaysia...

... then don't miss call me.

I really feel very warm whenever I get a miss call from Malaysia, but please don't do so in the future. The reason: I don't get to see the number at all! What I see on the screen is simply "No Number", so there's no way I can identify the caller.

As a record, it's 1.46 am in Australia now and I am going to bed really soon. It's been very cold and culturally inspiring (or should I say daunting?) for me in Melbourne. Medicine course has been as hectic as I have expected, and I guess I need some time to adapt to it. You know, sometimes I wish I can learn all those Golgi apparatus and homeostasis in a night's time... Hmm...

I promise that I will update the blog in this weekend with all my feelings and experience so far in Melbourne. 3 days have passed so far, and I am already looking forward to the weekend. :-) See ya!

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