Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raja Petra grilled

Quote me of you like, I once taunted the Malaysia-today website's slogan "Your source of independent news" with strings of vibes on MSN as almost all of the articles are anti-government and provocative, causing disharmony in the country in that process.

How can one declares itself as independent and neutral when its nature is actually bias? (i.e. anti-government).

Before you (mostly negative thinkers) speculate, I am not one of those Government's cybertroopers backing up every single thing that has been said by the current rulers but I wish to re-iterate that I will make my own opinions based on facts that I have obtained and will try to be as neutral, as fair as possible. But as I said earlier, how can Malaysia-today be neutral and independent?

I'm quite confident that some articles are very constructive and thought-provoking but mostly the articles give a direct hit to certain people and resulting them seemed very interesting to read. Some might have valid grounds while others, are fuelled with political and hate agenda. Mythologies and fitnahs.

'Is Jeanne (Abdullah) a Malay?'

Look at that title of an article I saw on a few days after Pak Lah married a woman called Jeanne Abdullah. I am not sure the exact title but the moment I saw that, I couldn't stop thinking how people make controversial articles just to be famous. Petty issues! But common people are so interested to know. But for me, it's a bloody waste of time and not constructive. Of course, I wasn't interested to read the article. I exited the site and sighed "When will Malaysia-today change?" Later, the title of the article was adjusted into 'Is Jeanne a Malay? Yes, says UMNO Kepala Batas'.

Raja Petra is the webmaster of and his controversial articles are said to be derived from many sources, not of his own opinions only. Maybe he was used by certain people to direct their agendas but I believe he is a wise guy despite people calling him a 'psycho with good command of English'.

About the allegation being put to him, I think it was blown out of proportion. He did not insult the King and Islam if you read his article carefully. From what I know, he is from the Royal blood himself, is he not? But he does provoke some people in his articles and that might have pissed them to bits.

Of course he wouldn't know where the comments on his articles were originated from and it was not clear why he was asked about that matter. But he shouldn't accused those people are the so-called Government's cybertroopers because they could be anyone. So, pint-pointing on one group of people clearly shows he is BIAS.

He was again being interrogated about a comment from a poster 'Why fight, we are Malaysians, let us live peacefully and be happy'. Raja Petra was puzzled why he was asked about this 'positive' comment but he actually failed to recognise the real point the policeman was trying to make.

Just like all those negative people, he has failed to do this. He failed to convey his ideas in a peaceful manner. In a correct manner. Constructive, less controversial but still thought-provoking.

Which I call as the correct way of blogging.

So please Syeikh Kickdefella, Raja Petra, there are better ways to enlight the people. Clearly you guys just wanted to be famous being controversial.

Just like Eminem. Just like that pathetic Lindsay Lohan.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Prosecute cyber criminals!

In the wake of an information bureau staff of Parti Keadilan's arrest, Nathaniel Tan (Nat), this is not the actual drama that I'm about to underline here. I'm still waiting for the real story behind this DSAI's aide being held by the cops while the rest of the party members are left wondering about his actual location. One source reported this has something to do with the doctored picture being made public and the other saying it has something to do with Nat's blog entry, commenting on the ruckus between Datuk Johari Baharum and Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

This is somewhat annoying. Who is telling the truth?

It is an understatement to say a blogsite plays an integral part in channelling information to the people nowadays, especially to the youth community. However, taking Nat's arrest as an example, with a lot of people giving information, whose is exactly telling the truth?

The original concept of blogging is letting the people express their feelings jotting down their everyday life with little much of drama, hoping people around her would care. However, nowadays, this is another way to publish your own opinions to be made for public consumption. However, the 'emotion' and 'feelings' are there to stay. Some bloggers fail to care for other people's feelings when expressing theirs or touching on the current issues.

Although the number of people giving misinformation and spreading lies are not that alarming, this 'small' number of people apparently became famous for their tales in their personal blogs. Take Salman Rushdie for example. He was a lowly-rated writer until when he came out the controversial Satanic Verses that spilled the anger among Muslims and finally was bestowed for knighthood-ship about a month ago. I strongly against this idea! The point is, Salman got famous since by causing disharmony and this is clearly being followed by Syeikh Kickdefella for example, although not to that certain extreme. However, I truly believe in the end, they fear for their lives for what they cowardly wrote.

I am particularly delighted if Malaysia could be more open-minded. Freedom of speech is one part of democracy. However, I am strongly against the idea of spreading lies and degrading certain people of any backgrounds. For me, I always try to give a fair view and as being said earlier in my previous post, expressing the other side of the story. What really agitates me is when people misuse the technology to pursue their quest on being famous.

Come on, admit it. Bloggers do want to check their blog stats everyday!

I am sad that some webmasters boldly published young Muslim girls having intimate moments while wearing the hijjaab. Their reasons for that they wanted to sort of give real examples of our rakyat nowadays and not actually trying to 'aibkan sesiapa'. It is so irritating they gave out that kind of statement. Why can't you tell the truth that you want people to visit your websites and pocket some money from adverlets or google ads? At least you are telling the truth! As far as I know, to show off these acts is also a BIG sin according to Quraan! And the number of videos obtained is increasing exponentially for some bizzare reasons. No thanks to you.

Of course there will be a lot of people watching the videos. Me included. I know those 'amateur Malaysian porn actors and actresses' are mere fools as well but is this how you correct things? I think it was their boyfriends who are the culprits. Most men love watching porn and now they want to have their own movie. Later, they plead their girlfriends to be on the cast and voila, you will have Malaysian porn movies on mykakis and sabul after stupidly recording and distributing the videos. Or maybe they forgot to delete the files when sending their camera-phones for repairs. Some got lucky when their faces are not shown in the videos. Some are not that lucky. One case even took her own life after realising her kissing video being distributed.

Since now we have the evidence of the people who made the video, why not look for these people mostly students and prosecute them? Or atleast they can stand for trial for making and distributing porn videos. As for the webmasters, there must be a way where we can alarm blogspot and wordpress providers about this matter. Or check their I.Ps or servers? Sorry I'm not an I.T expert but for what matter, these cyber criminals must be prosecuted.

On the other hand, I urge bloggers not to provoke disharmony in this country. You can write what you want but you must make sure what you write is true. Not something that you heard from a biased writer, for example. I like people writing something more diplomatic, not emotional, giving constructive ideas in improving Malaysia. I know that would sound uncontroversial. But atleast a friend of mine, Nik Nazmi can do that! He is DSAI's political aide if you ask me. You can still write in the 'sopan-santun' way you see. Isn't that not OUR Timur culture.

I know there will be obstacles when alerting a good cause and doing it is another mountain to climb these days. Good people are thought to be weak. Aggressive and emotional people are thought to be strong. Inilah dia akhir zaman.

Commenting on the doctored picture of Altantuya, DSNTR and Razak Baginda, some might find it hilarious and wasn't intended to hurt anyone. For me, I think it's heartless to even come out with the idea. I do not know who made the picture and I don't really care. Tian Chua or Soi Lek it doesn't matter at the moment. What matters is, find the culprit. It is an act of a cyber crime because while the hearing is still ongoing, why do you have to take the opportunity to sell your political agenda? I bet Altantuya's family will be hurt, with her being imposed that way. DSNTR's family will also be hurt. The accused Najib Razak's family as well. I call this a cowardly act because he or she never cares for the feelings of the people depicted in the photos. The feelings of Altantuya's family who are still grieving her death. You have the guts to think it was funny? You still think you did nothing wrong? What if I, a stranger to you, made a super-imposed picture of your dad doing indecent acts with a China-doll? Will you simply laugh at it then? O.k. That might sound a bit extreme. Ok lah, just one picture of your dad sipping a coffee with a beautiful lady from China. Will that be still ok to you? Will your mom be happy with that as well? No, right? How about the neighbours? Will they not talk about your dad and making up stories?

There will still be limits in life. If everything is free and very liberal, why not transform Malaysia into Holland, then? Legalise sex, cheap booze, gay marriages, marijuana and others. That will only add more crimes to the worrying numbers in Malaysia already, isn't it?

Freedom of speech is fine. But of course there must be limits.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Readers' discretion advised.

Sorry I have to put away the one that I wrote earlier. However, I'm writing this new one to give you a basic idea of what my blog is all about.

I first wrote a blog on As you may aware, it was one of the most controversial though thought-provoking blog you have ever read. It was so malicious, emotional with a lot of personal attacks.

But the blog counter seemed very-very impressive.

As for now, 'My Side of Story' only manages about 40 viewers per day rate. Lacking controversies and hatred, this figure is somewhat predictable. The highest ever came only as 114.

You might find this blog having a less-hot barometer. Some entries were purposely wrote on the bright side of the story. The Singapore-issue entry for instance. Some might be ridiculed with the way I heaped praises on that country after my two-day experience there. But in my opinion, only the wise one would see the real point I was making.

I feel I had enough writing with anger and biased ideas, especially the negative norms. I think it doesn't work that way. Bakri Musa or Raja Petra or some that I saw on MalaysiaToday might be famous for their controversial writings, causing disharmony in the country. Although there is a need to be transparent, but petty issues and fitnahs must be avoided at all cost. For example, putting your blog entry title "Is Jeanne Abdullah a Muslim" or "Pok Nik menghalalkan carut-marut" may make a lot of people read, but I saw them as rubbish.

If you are looking for a controversial and fitnah blog, look away. Don't ever come here again. You will not find any in 'My Side of Story'. In fact, the title of the blog was derived simply as an act of counter-fitnah and trying to pose the other side of the story. So, for many cases of my articles, you will mainly find the other side of the coin. Singapore issue for example, as I heard many negative stories from my youth, I gave a general idea on what I saw from my trip and would like people to see the other side of Singapore.

That is only one example. But that applies to all. I will always try to get the other side of the story, preferably the positive side.

I never asked people to regard whatever I'm writing to be the sole information that you can ever get. In fact, some could be fictional. However, I always write carefully this time and not get too carried away and ending up generalising on certain issue. As a friend taught me about a concept, 'Sweeping statement', I always try to avoid that when writing and even when speaking.

I do NOT generalise. People who know me well know that fact. For that fact, I do NOT make sweeping statements.

I love to use words such as 'some', 'mostly', 'a few', 'plenty', 'many', 'much' and for that fact, I do NOT make sweeping statements.

The objective of the blog is to channel good and positive values and would hope people who read it will have a different perception. Not simply believing everything that you read on Malaysiakini, Utusan, Malaysiatoday or any other blogs. Not even mine. But I think I always remind people to do their own research and then make a good evaluation. And to be on the safe side, do not believe it at all.

And to transfer the wrong information, would be equally ridiculous.

When I am writing this blog, I always make sure I write it carefully, to avoid being backfired. The information obtained, is mostly from my friends and other sources and have you ever heard, many times, that I said "Ini (someone) bagi tau aku, kalo dia tipu, maka tertipulah aku".

It applies in my real life and in this 'cyber' life as well.

No one is indispensible. A second hand information is still doubtful to me.

Only Al-Quraan is first hand. Read it and you will find peace.

Finally, I thank you for your continuous support. I will keep writing. I know there will be obstacles and criticisms. I can take it with a chin as that would only improve my ideas.

p/s: Please leave your comment. More ideas needed. Say no to racism and hatred preaching.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pendidikan: Kunci integrasi kaum

Lupakan Sekolah Wawasan. Apa yang kita perlu ada ialah sekolah satu aliran. Satu sekolah yang diikuti pelajar-pelajar berbilang kaum. Satu sekolah yang tidak berdasarkan kaum.

Maka tiada lagi 'Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan'. Mungkin ini sangat mudah jika diperkatakan sahaja. Namun secara praktikal, ia mungkin melibatkan perasaan dan jatidiri sesuatu kaum.

Jika diamati, sekolah-sekolah di United Kingdom ini semuanya bercakap dengan satu bahasa. Bahasa Inggeris menjadi bahasa perantara. Ia merupakan medium yang paling mudah diterima oleh pelajar-pelajar yang berbilang kaum seperti India, Arab, Pakistan, Inggeris, Afrika, Cina dan lain-lain. Malah, ia merupakan alat yang sangat efektif dalam integrasi kaum.

Kunci kepada integrasi kaum adalah pendidikan. Tidak perlu saya bahaskan di sini lagi kerana ia adalah sangat jelas di mana kanak-kanak senang bergaul berbilang bangsa sejak di bangku sekolah. Mereka akan belajar bersama, bermain bersama dan meyelesaikan masalah bersama.

Jika tidak silap saya, sepertimana yang diberitahu oleh seorang rakan, Sekolah Wawasan adalah suatu ide di mana 3 sekolah berbeza kaum di satukan di satu kawasan. Tiga bangunan tetapi satu laman. Perkara yang diutarakan ini amat mengelirukan dan geli hati jika saya bayangkan jika ia dijadikan realiti. Risau jugak jika ketiga-tiga sekolah ini menjadi seteru pula!

Mungkin masyarakat Cina kurang berminat untuk mempersetujui konsep satu sekolah senegara sepertimana yang dilaporkan di dada-dada akhbar yang dicetak mereka. Saya yang berbangsa Melayu ini pula tidak dapat merasa sendiri apa sebenarnya yang menjadi batu penghalang kepada mereka untuk mengikuti sekolah satu aliran yang menggunakan bahasa kebangsaan sebagai bahasa perantara ini. Namun bagi saya kita mahukan yang terbaik untuk negara kita dan integrasi kaum adalah agenda yang utama. Saya sendiri lebih berminat menghantar anak-anak saya ke sekolah yang berbilang bangsa daripada ke sekolah yang 100% bangsa Melayu. Hal ini demikian kerana saya mahukan anak-anak saya membuka minda mereka bercampur gaul dan menyayangi bangsa-bangsa lain. Bukankah itu lebih menarik? Tidak mahulah saya lihat anak-anak saya menjadi stereotaip dan mula membayangkan bangsa lain begitu asing.

Apakah sebenarnya yang menjadi titik tolak batu penghalang sekolah satu aliran ini? Jika kita amati, United Kingdom menerapkan di sekolah-sekolah satu bahasa iaitu bahasa pengantar kebangsaan mereka, iaitu Bahasa Inggeris dan ianya tidak pula menjadi isu kepada bangsa-bangsa yang lain. Tidak pula masyarakat Pakistan memaksa Bahasa Urdu menjadi bahasa pilihan mereka di sekolah? Gadis-gadis India-British giat pula saya perhatikan berbahasa Inggeris siap dengan loghatnya. Tidak kurang pula masyarakat Cina-Inggeris di sini berdasarkan seorang rakan mahjong saya yang fasih berbahasa masyarkat berhidung tinggi ini. (Nota: saya bermain mahjong tidak berjudi). Jadi, adakah set minda seperti ini susah untuk digunapakai di Malaysia?

Apa yang penting ialah kita berbahasa dengan satu bahasa. Janganlah begitu menganggap bahasa kebangsaan itu milik bangsa saya 100%. Lihatlah dalam artikel saya ini. Banyak perkataan Inggeris telah dipinjam untuk menulis Bahasa Malaysia. Sebab itu saya mengambil positif apabila Bahasa Melayu telah diwartakan kembali kepada Bahasa Malaysia. Sebab ia juga milik bangsa lain seperti India, Cina, Kadazan, Bidayuh, Iban dan lain-lain. Dengan erti kata lain, bahasa ini milik semua rakyat Malaysia!

Mungkin masyarakat Cina dan India takut jika bahasa mereka diluput zaman. Usahlah risau. Jika kita lihat masyarakat Arab-Malaysia, walaupun bahasa mereka tidak diguna-pakai di sekolah-sekolah Malaysia, Bahasa Arab masih diajar secara elektif di sekolah-sekolah agama dan harian. Saya sendiri berkesempatan berguru menuntut Bahasa Arab. Dan ia masih lagi lekat di lidah walaupun hanya sekelumit. Jika mahu berinteraksi, sedikit-sedikit boleh lah di Dubai sebulan yang lalu. Kai-fa haluk? Kam dirham ila Burj Al-Arab? Mungkin tatabahasa dan penguasaan bahasa amat lemah tetapi boleh berinteraksi. Jika saya yang tidak bijak inipun masih lekat di lidah, saya yakin yang dipupuk sejak kecil lagi semestinya akan lekat terus bahasa itu di sanubari mereka!

Pokoknya, bahasa Cina dan Tamil boleh sahaja diajar di sekolah-sekolah satu aliran ini. Tambahan pula, di rumah, bahasa-bahasa ini lebih mudah diterapkan. Mengapa Bahasa Malaysia dikatakan bahasa yang tidak perlu kita pelajari? Atas alasan ia milik bangsa Melayu? Sepertimana yang disebut tadi, ia milik kita semua. Dan bukankah ia sangat penting untuk integrasi kaum? Buanglah segala ego dan perasaan perkauman itu dan belajarlah bahasa yang paling mudah di dunia ini.

Apabila saya cakap bahasa yang mudah, hal ini bukanlah kerana saya ini orang Melayu. Padahal ia sangat mudah atas sebab struktur tatabahasa yang sangat mudah difahami. Jika dalam French, kita ada 'feminine' dan 'masculine', di dalam Bahasa Malaysia, tiada. Jika bahasa Inggeris ada 'past tense dan present tense', Bahasa Malaysia kita hanya perlu tambah perkataan 'sedang, telah atau akan' sahaja.

Bukankah ianya sangat mudah?

Sukar untuk saya terima jika Bahasa Inggeris dijadikan medium perantara utama di sekolah-sekolah satu aliran ini. Kerana ini adalah negara Malaysia. Bukan lagi negara penjajah British. Namun, bukanlah saya sarankan untuk melupuskan bahasa ini sama sekali. Bahasa Inggeris masih wajib kerana ia adalah sangat penting di dunia ini. Tetapi kita mestilah ada identiti kita sendiri. Iaitu identiti Malaysia. Identiti timur. Maka, Bahasa Malaysia lah yang kita mahu gunakan. Siapalah kita ini jika bahasa asal dilupakan?

Apa yang paling penting ialah kita hidup bersama berbilang kaum dengan aman. Budak-budak sekolah belajar bermain bersama berbilang kaum sejak kecil. Sebab bukankah melentur buluh itu dari rebung?

Saya tidak rasa ini susah untuk dipraktikkan. Asalkan kita dapat bertolak-ansur, maksud saya, apa salahnya? Pokoknya apakah yang lebih penting? Keharmonian negara bukan? Kerjasama di antara kaum bukan? Saya perhatikan politik Malaysia masih lagi berteraskan etnik tetapi kita masih lagi dalam proses transisi ke arah integrasi kaum yang lebih mapan.

Lagi sekali saya mahu sarankan. Bahasa Malaysia bukanlah milik satu bangsa. Ia adalah milik kita rakyat Malaysia. Namun, kita tidak akan melupakan bahasa-bahasa asli seperti Bahasa Melayu Asli, Mandarin, Hokkien, Kantonis, Tamil, Arab, Portugis dan lain-lain di mana ianya semua diajar juga di sekolah-sekolah satu aliran ini. Ia masih boleh dikuasi oleh siapa-siapa sahaja. Bahasa Malaysia dipilih untuk menjadi bahasa utama kerana ia adalah bahasa kebangsaan. Maka persoalan tidak akan timbul jika ia dilihat seperti bahasa yang menyatukan kaum.

Tiada masalah!

Dalam konteks yang sama, saya juga tidak menghalang jika sekolah-sekolah berasrama penuh dibuka juga kepada masyarakat yang lain. Saya difahamkan, Kolej Yayasan Saad Melaka telah membuka peluang kepada masyarakat bukan Melayu. Ini adalah langkah yang bijak. Saya juga tidak menghalang jika MRSM juga dibuka untuk semua kaum (MRSM Beseri contohnya telah membuka peluang kepada pelajar-pelajar Thai, India dan lain-lain). Ini juga termasuk MCKK, TKC, STF, SSP dan lain-lain. Apa-apa sahaja, asalkan integrasi kaum dapat dilaksanakan.

Ini juga termasuk universiti-universiti tempatan supaya kita lebih kompeten dan bekerjasama.

Saya berpeluang untuk kembali bersahabat dengan rakan-rakan bukan Melayu apabila memasuki Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM) atau sebelumnya dipanggil Kolej Matrikulasi Yayasan Satu (KMYS). Sebelum itu, saya hanya berpeluang mengenali rakan-rakan bukan Melayu di sekolah rendah SRK St Francis. Di sinilah saya mengecapi kebebasan bersosial dengan masyarakat secara lebih terbuka di mana debat-debat perkauman dan agama dilakukan dengan penuh tertib dan ini membuahkan ide-ide bernas dan neutral. Yang penting sekali, integrasi kaum dapat dijalankan.

Seorang sahabat berkata "Why bother? We live in a racist world anyway!"

Maaflah. Malangnya saya tidak seperti kamu yang hanya mahu mengikut keadaan semasa dan sudah 'complacent' dengan keadaan sekarang. "I'm not willing to follow the herd. Why should I?" ujar saya sinis kepadanya.

Jika masih ada ruang untuk kita baiki negara Malaysia, 'I'm up for it'. Ceteklah fikiran saya jika saya memilih seseorang itu berdasarkan warna kulit. Ceteklah jika saya menghina pemenang sukan tennis wanita Wimbledon 2007 tanpa sebab contohnya. Lagipun, kita semua sama sahaja. Manusia semuanya.

Mungkin ramai yang tidak bersetuju dengan pendapat saya ini. Malah mungkin ada yang melabel saya 'perosak bangsa' dengan pandangan tak seberapa saya ini. Maaflah. Saya lebih pentingkan keharmonian sejagat daripada hendak menang sorak meraih sokongan bangsa saya sahaja. Insya Allah, sebelum saya menghembus nafas yang terakhir saya nanti, harap-harap dapatlah saya lihat perubahan dalam politik dan sosial Malaysia.

Sudah cukup jika ia bermula dengan sekolah satu aliran.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A blunder from Bakri Musa (more to come)

Old Versus New (Promised) Malaysia

Two school events, both widely reported, took place last week. One was the Speech Day at Malay College Kuala Kangsar, and the other, the graduation exercise at Kolej Yayasan UEM. The difference in the two events serves as a good metaphor distinguishing the old Malaysia from what I hope is the promise of a new one.

The ceremony at Kuala Kangsar was graced by no less than the King, the Raja Muda of Perak (the school’s Governing Board Chair), and the Minister of Education. You could not get a more distinguished company of visitors than that. Meanwhile KYUEM had such nondescript corporate figures as UEM Chairman Ahmad Tajuddin Ali and its Foundation Trustee, Sheriff Kassim, in attendance.

At Malay College’s Speech Day, there was no mention of the achievements of the graduating students, specifically which great universities they would be attending. There was a reason for this noticeable absence. None of the students qualified for university admission directly. They would first have to go to a “finishing school” elsewhere.

The headmaster at KYUEM proudly announced that 11 of his 183 graduates would be heading for either Oxford or Cambridge. In the preceding year, a fourth of his students secured admissions to Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, and London School of Economics, an achievement any British grammar school would be very proud of. In the area where it counts, in fact the only valid currency for a school – the quality of its graduates – KYUEM easily trumps the venerable MCKK.

It is revealing that the item that received the biggest applause (according to a news report) was the King’s announcement that the minister had approved a new hall for MCKK! In his speech, the King suggested that other schools emulate MCKK. I respectfully suggest to His Majesty that Malay College should instead emulate KYUEM.

Jeg says: Why are you comparing MCKK with KYUEM? It's like comparing The English Premier League with The English Championship League! You need to go pass The Championship to be promoted to The Premier League!

The Old Malay of MCKK

MCKK, established over 100 years ago, had pretensions of being the “Eton of the East.” It is formal, resistant to change, and slavishly hanging on to “traditions.” Even the school motto is in affected Latin, Fiat Sapienta Virtus. Query the school’s alumni, students and teachers; few would know what it means. In short, Malay College epitomizes the old Malay ethos, obsessed with symbols and pretensions but devoid of substance.

KYUEM on the other hand is less than a decade old. Its mission statement, or motto if you will, is elegant in its simplicity and clarity, “To Educate, Not Simply Teach.” No pompous Latin phrases. And they – trustees, teachers, and students – have done an excellent job at it. They embody the good and the promise of a new Malaysia. Specifically, those Malays at KYUEM are my model of Melayu Baru (New Malay).

Before elucidating further the differences between MCKK and KYUEM, it is important to note that despite their “college” labels, both institutions are basically residential secondary schools. In case of Malay College, it is not even that. Since its graduates cannot enter university directly, MCKK is essentially a glorified middle school.

The foremost difference is that MCKK is a public institution, totally dependent on the allocations from the ministry. Despite its roster of luminaries as “old boys,” their contributions to the school are miniscule to nonexistent. The only time they visit their alma mater is to harass the headmaster for decisions they do not like.

KYUEM is a private institution, dependent on tuition and donations for its survival. As such, it has to produce to satisfy its customers – students and their parents. The school is not interested how many sultans, ministers and other luminaries it counts among its alumni rather which university will accept its students next year. Malay College is fixated with its past, Kolej UEM is confidently poised for the future.

Malay College is an all-Malay institution; KYUEM’s student body reflects the rich diversity of Malaysian society. Malay College students would carry their cultural insularity into their adult life. KYUEM’s students on the other hand have a much richer and more meaningful learning and living environment because of the diversified enrollment. They would definitely be better prepared for this globalized world.

Jeg says: I don't know how long Bakri has been staying in the U.S. (being a scaredy cat making controversial statements outside the country provoking disharmony in that process) but in Malaysia, MCKK is a secondary school while KYUEM is a pre-U college supporting A-levels studies only. I think Bakri was confused with KYSM which offers SPM and a like-to-like comparison with MCKK where the former having the upper-hand. Thus, it is WRONG to say KYUEM a 'secondary school'. You can compare KYUEM with Kolej MARA Banting (KMB), Taylors College or KDU, if you like!

Examine the Leadership

While everyone in an organization contributes to its success, the crucial differentiating point is leadership. KYUEM trustees are from the business world, individuals attuned to recognizing a need in society and then fulfilling it. In contrast, the Minister of Education appoints MCKK’s governing board. They are thus men with the mindset that there is no problem that a government cannot solve. The sinister corollary to this is that the government must control everything; it knows what is best for you and me, and our children.

Consequently, MCKK’s curriculum follows that the ministry’s rigid prescription, right down to the textbooks. KYUEM opted for global standards and chose the best traditions of British grammar schools. When there are no locals with sufficient experience with such a system, the trustees do not hesitate in hiring an expatriate. They do not have any negative lingering anti-colonial hang ups, or fear that the hiring of a foreigner would be viewed as a slight on the abilities of the natives. Those trustees are interested only in what is best for their students.

KYUEM’s outgoing headmaster, Richard Small, is an Oxford graduate; his successor, John Horsfall, is a product of Cambridge and a PhD-holder to boot. I gleaned these facts from the news reports of the graduation exercise. In contrast, at Malay College’s Speech Day there was no mention of who was the headmaster. That was the degree of respect the headmaster commanded, or was accorded. The King and the other distinguished visitors hogged the limelight. They were obviously more important than the headmaster, teachers, or students.

I am certain that the MCKK’s headmaster must glow in having the King, Raja Muda and the Minister grace his school’s function. Richard Small on the hand could hardly contain his pride in his students’ achievements. How revealing of the different priorities at the two institutions!

Leadership alone is not enough. The students do not see the trustees and headmaster every day in the classrooms. It is the teachers who are there for the students. “The most important learner in the classroom,” noted Headmaster Small, “is the teacher, because if the teacher is not constantly learning and changing, how can he be a competent role model for student learners.”

The caliber of the faculty at KYUEM is impressive, many with graduate degrees including PhDs. Its biology teacher, Norhayati Zainudin, is a graduate in Veterinary Medicine from a local university.

Impressive degrees mean nothing if the teacher cannot teach. My biology teacher at Malay College had a PhD from a Punjabi university. He was next to useless. Fortunately, my physics and chemistry teachers in the persons of Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Norton more than took up the slack in teaching and guiding us.

Readers might be puzzled to know where I garner these facts about KYUEM. Easy, from its website ( It has a wealth of information useful not only for potential students but also for web visitors like me.

I tried to surf Malay College’s website. The operative word there is “tried.” There are many such sites claiming to be the “official” website, many hosted by “freebie” server and consequently cluttered with advertising banners. On one site, tts “Students Achievements” page was last updated in 1999!

Malay College is embarking on its “Sayong Project,” billed to take it into the new century. MCKK is also eagerly seeking ties with residential schools in other countries. I humbly suggest that MCKK looked closer to home, just a few miles south at Lembah Beringin.

Malay College epitomizes the feudal Malay system still very much alive under the veneer of modernity. Meanwhile those folks at Lembah Beringin represent the new Malaysia, confident of their heritage and at ease with the modern world.

Jeg says: it is obvious now how Bakri Musa gathers his information. Reading on the internet and he thought that would be adequate. When he said 'Easy, from its website' I straight away concur how short-sighted this Javanese guy is believing everything he sees in the internet. To know the real situation, Bakri, you have to go back to Malaysia and see these schools for yourself. I know what MCKK is from my housemate and other KYUEM friends and was informed you only attended MCKK in form 6, which simply the MCKK boys called as "BURUNG". In case you are wondering, I studied A-levels in KYUEM and is a KYSER (KYSM graduate) and atleast I know how we can't compare young mango (mangga muda) and riped mango (mangga yang dah masak). Get your facts right Bakri, or you will be a laughing stock among other budak Koleq (Old Boys) and others. As I made it clear earlier in our email conversation, come back and do something for the country instead of talking and seeking cheap popularity writing controversial issues.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My quest for cheaper flight ticket

Having being quite succesful the last time, I wasn't that optimistic to get an under 400GBP flight ticket this summer. Summer tickets are expensive if you are wondering. I only paid 463.8GBP return flight to KL and had a marvellous time in Dubai on the way back to London. As for this next one, I browsed around the net with much enthusiasm simply because I don't want to bite the bullet for being too cocky on getting the best deal earlier.

And yeah, it wasn't that easy I tell you. (Manglish is cute me thinks). I was disappointed with Emirates and MAS prices at around 550-ish GBP but when Jas and Soha told me Emirates is still offering 380-ish GBP on the internet, I couldn't wait to get home after catching Oceans 13 with them, Sam, Fit and Smq at The O2.

However, what you see on the internet is not as good as it looks. As I tried to purchase the ticket from the Emirates website (note that MAS at the moment is out of the question) for a quadzillion times, only to find out the seats weren't actually available. Ah, now I know how bad their systems can be. The best I could get was actually 454.80GBP for travels in July.

Earlier, I went to the Qatar Airlines website and got a ticket price of 390GBP. I thought that is around the price that I am willing to pay and straight away I put on all me details only to be disappointed with the fact that QATAR AIRWAYS ONLINE BOOKING DOES NOT SUPPORT DEBIT CARD SERVICES. (Why hasn't anyone laughing at this point? Of course because it's true! Painful but true!)

And with my robust, seeing is believing attitude, I made my way to the QATAR AIRWAYS MAIN LONDON OFFICE somewhere in Oxford Circus only to be offered Business Class ticket at 2134GBP wth). I had a chat with the lady at the desk, might be of Arabic descent. My trying-to-be-cool lines didn't work either when she said all flights were occupied and there was no 390-401GBP deals on her screen although being stated in the web. She suggested to me to go through travel agents. I asked her if it's possible for the credit card holder NOT to travel with me and she said yes, which was different from what I saw on the net! Inconsistent info eh? Blame Qatar Airways then. Not me. You think I'm lying to ye, mate? Though the thing is, the credit card holder needs to be present at the check-in before the flight. I know NOONE is going to volunteer to do that since they are busy and staff. If asked politely anyway, people with credit cards will only argue with the system rather than lending a hand. Aw, come on. You can always say "No, that's not possible" to me but please do not argue with what I said. I know what I'm talking about because I was the one in that situation, who went online and to the BIG office. Not you! So simply say "No" and I can accept it like a man. Rejection is part of life. You only need to be honest and said No. It's a diplomatic country!

Dejected, I went online back again and look for other airlines. And taking the advice from the people who actually went ONLINE (obviously having the righteous information on paper atleast), I still worked hard on looking on the Emirates website. Btw, KLM didn't even calculate the fare prices on their website! However, I knew I couldn't give up at that point. I didn't stop searching until I finally opened my heart to the dodgy travel agents. I called it dodgy because the last time I checked, Emirates website is offering 10GBP lower than them so why bother go through all the hassle with the agent? Leestravel or Rexairline offered dodgy offers. But when I saw through the STA website Malaysia Airlines LHR-KUL is only 359GBP Non-stop under the student price, my quest for cheaper flight ticket was back on the track!

Now I know how travel agents work. They will indeed give great prices when there is. The low point at this moment is I have to get the International Student Identity Card. But I knew I had to act fast and get the ID as quick as possible. Once again, the lady luck smiled back at me, it could be done on the spot. So I went to STA office in Victoria to get it done. Now what? Apparently my City Uni ID does not appear the word Full-time or FT to indicate them of the status. She quickly snubbed me and I knew at that point I have to use that special ability.

No, not that penance stare (from the Ghost Rider)

Not that smooth talk from Joey of Friends.

It was actually a signature move by the makciks from Malaysia, standing there, asking if she could do anything for me, and negotiate. If it didn't work, keep standing there like a fool. It worked! Haha. I said to her that I was applying for the card to buy a flight ticket back to Malaysia and I thought that sort of fruitful as she gave up and made me the card. I was quite lucky because she was not one of those grumpy, strict, snobbish British. I bet she's Polish with that accent. But I noticed she took it with a pinch of salt in the end as I didn't have cash to pay the 7GBP and she had to set up her system to accept the debit card. I quickly ran to the tube to catch the Madame Tussauds tour with Adrian and Priscilla, my coursemates from Malaysia. Good good people.

We got a bargain as well. With vouchers in our hands and the clock showing 5.00p.m (after 2 hours of queuing up of course (1 hour for me)), we paid only 8GBP instead of the normal price 25GBP. I didn't use my voucher since Adrian got the same voucher and handed it to a gay couple behind us. It's gay pride weekend as I was told. Haha. Giving the voucher to them was actually random but 8 pounds for the tour is not bad at all. Told you I'm such a bargain hunter.

It was fun btw, Madame Tussauds. Will put on the pics in facebook or flickr later.

Got home in time for the Asar prayer, I went online again and saw the STA website shut down for maintenance. Aww dang!! What an adventure! I tried it again and again and I tried it again this morning. Give up, I called the number that they gave.

And after a 30-minute conversation, I finally got my hands to the cheap ticket! It's MAS Non-stop plak tu. This is the cheapest I could get and I'm quite happy with it.

Total price: 364.5GBP. Okla, with the ISIC cost another 7 pounds. Still a lot lower than other airlines offering me. And it's non-stop too!

Now, to make full use of the ISIC card. Hehe.