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Is Cannabis Actually Addictive?

When it comes to drugs like the nicotine, caffeine or even heavier substances such as cocaine or heroin, we know that they are in fact, addictive.

However, the answer to whether or not cannabis is addictive is not so simple.

This hot-button question is representative of a huge grey area of misunderstanding. The ambiguity stems from a lack of understanding of fundamental concepts around addiction, as well as an exaggerated history of “reefer madness.”

We must start by understanding the differences between addiction and use disorders.

Defining Addiction

Addiction is a disease that affects everything in a person’s life. When a person is addicted, chemical dependencies are formed. Thoughts are swayed, and everyday actions are consumed by the deathly grips of the hands of addiction.

Withdrawals are another main component of addiction. There are not only cognitive symptoms, but painful physical ones as well.

Professor Roger Roffman of University of Washington elaborates:

“The language of addiction, dependence, and disorders is one thing when you talk to scientists and it’s another when you talk to the public. Addiction results from a combination of biological and psychological factors that contribute to conditioned behavioral patterns that are very difficult to stop or resist.”

Many will argue that cannabis addiction can form, based on the belief that manifestations of addiction take place psychologically. Essentially, those who take this stance believe that since cannabis produces pleasurable responses in the brain, it’s automatically addicting.

While there is some truth to this, marijuana users aren’t addicts. And the small number of people who overuse cannabis, are still rarely, if ever, addicted.

Cannabis Use Disorder

People who have an unhealthy relationship with cannabis do not have an addiction—they have cannabis use disorder.

While it may seem like this is splitting hairs, substance use disorders and addictions are actually quite different.

When it comes to cannabis, there aren’t major physical withdrawal symptoms, like those of someone getting off heroin or meth would experience. But cannabis can cause some problems for people who overuse the substance.

Cannabis, like many other substances, can keep some from thriving in life. A resource by Medscape helps define a cannabis-related disorder as “a problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

So, rather than simply asking “is cannabis addictive?” the perspective of the question should shift slightly. We should be asking “what does cannabis use disorder look like?”

Related: New Non-Addictive, Anti-Pain Compound Discovered in Marijuana

What Is Undeniably True About Cannabis

Stigmas are responsible for the widespread belief that cannabis is automatically damaging and addicting. It’s also still viewed as a gateway drug, despite there being government provided evidence that proves otherwise.

Medical cannabis fights a surprising number of diseases and disorders, including epilepsy, eating disorders, mesothelioma and even many types of cancers.

Smoking, on the other hand, is undeniably not good for us. When something is burned and smoked, whether that’s a cigarette or joint, carcinogens are produced. The produced carcinogens and heat can cause a lot of problems for our bodies. Smoking is also one of the most common cause of sore throats. Gum disease is also a commonly overlooked side effect of smoking, as well as other oral health issues and mouth and esophagus cancer.

However, smoking isn’t the only way to ingest cannabis; cannabis oil and other medical concentrates (including CBD which doesn’t induce a head high) are common forms of treatment for women’s health issues, anxiety, pain and insomnia.

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Evolution of education (Part 1)

THE education system, as a whole, has faced challenges that changed its traditional status quo of seeking knowledge and wisdom to unravel truth of the mystery of Man and his internal and external universe. For the tenets of education have been to contemplate the mysteries of life and existence and to develop man’s intellect to respond to and control the environment.

The acquiring, exploration and development of such knowledge began with the shamanistic exposition of existence and its attendant manifestations; to explain phenomena and mysteries of life by ascribing them to supernatural powers, namely the spirits. It later moved to the monasteries, madrasahs and mosques where people acquired knowledge to better understand the Almighty’s intention.

These thoughts and knowledge were embodied into various oral traditions, written treatises, oracles, and religious compendiums, epics such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Homer’s Iliad. The Islamic world prides itself with the development of knowledge as reflected in the works of Rumi, Al Farabi, Al Ghazali, Ibn Rushid, Ibn Khaldum and the Prophet’s Hadiths.

Such knowledge became the basis of ideologies that governed man’s individual and communal living. Early knowledge was religiously inclined, but with scientific principles veiled in esotericism.

This repository of early knowledge, but with scientific principles veiled in esotericism that began in madrasahs, ashrams and churches as spiritual and divine knowledge, has gradually turned secular as Man acquire the intellect to explain the natural phenomena as not the work of spirits, but due to scientific reasons.

Then, developed institutions of knowledge that were referred to as university with the purpose of educating for life and for a profession and, which was also later recognised as ivory tower, the citadel of knowledge.

As a result, the initial religious based knowledge changed from the philosophical rhetorical discourse to the functional and utilitarian. And with the industrial revolution, it further transformed the perception of knowledge from the divine wonderment of ontology and its reflections on daily life to the materialistic mechanistic application of living.

The concept of the ivory tower was a catalyst in the development of secular knowledge. Science and mathematics, which initially were couched in esoteric, mystic and celestial domain from the time of the Greeks in such works as those of Archimedes, came to the fore as secular scientific disciplines that began with Galileo Galilei in the 16th Century. It gained momentum in the 17th Century with Isaac Newton and with Albert Einstein in the 19th and 20th century, among other notables physicists and mathematicians such as Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking.

While Europe and the Islamic world were advanced in the quest for both religious and secular scientific knowledge, education and knowledge development were in its infancy in the Malay World including Tanah Melayu. It was mainly informal and experiential, acquiring knowledge for survival.

With the coming of the Arabic/Islamic influence to this region, education and the acquiring of knowledge was institutionalised in the religious schools called madrasah, where the Quran and other Islamic teachings were taught with Arabic and Malay as the medium of instruction.

The British brought in the concept of western education when they colonised Tanah Melayu and named it Malaya. The first English school, the Penang Free School, was set up in 1816, followed later by other grammar and technical schools. Alongside the English schools were the Malay medium schools located mainly in the rural areas but with a few in the urban vicinity.

Before the Second World War top local students pursued their tertiary university education in England while some went to Raffles College in Singapore set up in 1928. The best students pursued medicine at the King Edward College of Medicine in Singapore, which was established in 1905.

University of Malaya was established in 1949 in Singapore after merging The King Edward College of Medicine with Raffles College. The rapid growth of the university necessitated the setting up of two divisions in January 1959, one in Singapore and one in Kuala Lumpur. These two divisions became separate institutions when the University of Malaya (Malaya) was established in January 1962.

As a result of the establishment, more local students gained access to tertiary education which before was limited to the elite and a few bright commoners. Malay students who studied in Malay schools were then able to access English medium school through the two-year Special Malay Class as a transition to English medium instruction. However, madrasah and religious schools with Arabic as the medium of instruction existed alongside the Malay and English medium schools.

The focus of the curriculum then was on the traditional 3Rs, language and literature and science.

University of the future (Part 2)

AS Malaysian education became more demo-cratised, it expanded into new areas of learning beyond the traditional ones, with emphasis on science and mathematics as the core of studies for manpower planning. Arts subjects, however, were given due recognition.

During these early years after independence, universities were confined within their campus parameters, supposedly inhabited by the wise and the learned. It was an exclusive commune estranged from the larger community beyond the campus cerebral walls.

Between the 1970s and 1980s, the walls and facade of the Ivory Tower were slowly dismantled, and the university began to engage the community by extending its expertise in relevant fields and inviting the community to enter its hallowed grounds of knowledge. And, more important is the engagement with the industry.

University education was no longer for the elitist. It was democratised to accept students from various backgrounds and qualifications. At the same time, university education changed from equipping students with critical and creative faculties to one that is mechanistic and realistic to fulfil the requirements of the industry. Formalised education with a rigid curriculum became the norm; more conformity than explorative.

From a community engagement university that was perceptive to the needs of industry, the university morphed into an entity that is preoccupied with fulfilling external perceptions, such as ranking, citation, most influential scientists and the population of foreign students, as indicators of a world-class university.

The quality of a university is now reflected in these external determinants, which are based on Western criteria and perception of excellence in education. Malaysian universities are stepping over each other to play this numbers game. Teaching and research must be geared to achieve prominence in international and local rankings.

Meanwhile, the cut in government funding for universities saw the termination of almost 6,000 lecturers, many of whom are crucial in research and teaching. There are attempts to reemploy them through the non-monetary positions of honorary professors and a flexible honorarium scheme in teaching and research.

As a result of this financial dire straits, the universities have now evolved into yet another entity — the entrepreneurial institute of learning. It is no longer confined to generating and transferring of knowledge, but has an added function of generating income through purveying of its research products, services and rentals.

The days of contemplating and reflecting on the wonderment of creation and its myriad manifestations are over. Universities can no longer afford this luxury. They now have to contemplate ways and means to create revenue and realise the income to be accrued from research products and services.

In this new scenario, lecturers have to change their mindset, perception and modus operandi. It is no longer enough to be passionate about teaching and research. They must also be entrepreneurial to source revenue for the university.

Therefore, a PhD alone is no longer sufficient to serve in the new university setup. One must also need a business degree, preferably an MBA to allow him to function as an entrepreneur. He is required to source funds for the university. In addition, he must also fulfil his responsibility as a researcher par excellence. Not only that, he must be an adept researcher and be able to communicate his ideas through writings, like journals and book publications, and conference presentations. He would also be required to source external funding for his research as the university will be extremely selective in approving research projects. At the same time, he must be proficient in supervising postgraduate students, and shouldering administrative responsibilities. Lecturers will have to adapt to the borderless concept of “university of the future”. As such, they have to attend courses for retooling to equip them with digital technology, and to grapple with destructive technology.

In future the campus we know today may not exist. Teaching will be online, using virtual reality and life-like simulations. Students can take classes at their own time and pace. Physical interaction will be a thing of the past.

However, in certain disciplines, especially in the performing and visual arts, and those which focus on skill developments, such as surgery, direct physical instruction and engagement is necessary.

The future university education would move away from being mechanistic, focusing on data absorption and replication, to data dissection and reconstruction and their applications in real and hypothetical situations, even in fantasy and absurd configurations.

Developing a keen innovative intellect and creativity should be the goal of university education rather than a pursuit of meaningless paper qualifications. Future employment prospects will focus less on degree scrolls than ability, experience and creativity.

Current university graduation merely indicates a specified time spent in pursuing a programme. The gown and mortarboard that used to symbolise academic and professional achievement beyond the norm is today merely a ceremonial costume.

University education of the future will focus on the development of individuals of intellect who can dissect knowledge to perceive its architectonic structure, construct, deconstruct and reconstruct information and data into meaningful tangible and intangible spectrums, and apply and transform them in real life as well in hypothetical situations.

I refer to ‘Sex education for children a must’ dated April 16, 2017.

In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports under the minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has held talks with the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil on sex education in primary and secondary schools established in a more formal and serious way.


(File pix) The National Union of the Teaching Profession, Parent Action Group for Education and parents recognised the need for sex education in schools. (pix by RAHMAT OTHMAN)

Six years later, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said sex education to young men between 16 years and above, will be implemented.

The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP), Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) and parents recognize the need for sex education in schools can improve their knowledge of the subject of sex education and help reduce social consequences of informal learning such as through the Internet.

Sex-education is more acknowledged now than any time in recent memory; there will dependably be some debate encompassing its nearness in our education framework.

One certainty can't be debated; youngsters have more get to and introduction to sexually situated materials than at whatever other point ever.

One just needs to stare at the TV or get to the Internet to affirm this reality. It’s up to us to acknowledge the accuracy and the understanding of the information shown.

Children are more exposed in getting sexually oriented information, from friends, internet and other media sources.

Children will listen more to teachers and parents as they deserve to be given the proper information that will enable them to make responsible and healthy decisions so as to avoid confusion and misinformation.

But then, many children do not have the advantage of parents having the proper knowledge and sharing, and so does our teachers.

How many of the parents and teachers or educators has vast knowledge and experience on sex-education relating to physical health (a major consideration when making sexual decisions), mental health (sexual issues that can create further anxiety and stress), education (unplanned pregnancy and other health related issues) and on the future (proper sex-education ultimately benefits all of mankind).  The situation has potential economic implications for everyone.

Though experts mentioned on the specific advantages to sex-education in the school system, some considerations has to be observed.

Efforts on ensuring reliability of information are an important issue. Those providing the information must be trained, qualified and experienced educators in addition to using approved materials and curricula.

The data is precise and convenient. While certain parts of sexual training are reliable after some time, different perspectives can be extremely progressive. Potential wellbeing dangers can change with time, for instance.

While some parents are opening minded, it is a broad topic with many issues to discuss.  How thorough of information that it can be adequately covered in a single conversation?  School-based sex-education provides a thorough stream of information than most children are not able to receive at home.

Children are frequently too embarrassed to discuss a sexual issue with a parent.

While there may be some disagreement about what specifically should be taught in sex-education, few would disagree that it should be taught.

The benefits are numerous to both the children and to society as a whole.

Kids have a more noteworthy chance to remain happy, healthy, enjoying their school years, live to their potential, and enjoy their future.

nst.jpgAs many parents are unable and /or unwilling to give all the vital data required for a kid to create to his/her maximum capacity, it’s now the up to the Ministry of Education to help this issues stay positive.

Azizi Ahmad New Sunday Times April 23, 2017

UEC yang diperjuangkan 
Dong Zong

ISU UEC adalah isu tiga dalam satu. Penyelesaiannya memerlukan kefahaman tiga isu itu. Pertama, isu kepentingan bangsa Melayu dalam janji kemerdekaan yang belum ditunaikan. Kedua, isu dasar pendidikan yang tidak dikuatkuasakan dengan bijaksana, dan ketiga, isu Dong Zong yang tidak mahu mengikut arus dasar pendidikan dan pembinaan negara yang bersatu-padu atas asas bahawa usaha membinanya di dalam negara berbilang kaum mesti bermula dari bangku sekolah.

Sejak mula perjuangan kemerdekaan oleh nasionalis Melayu lagi bahasa Melayu adalah kepentingan warisan Melayu. Dalam perundingan kemerdekaan, bahasa Me­layu adalah buah catur penting, diterima dan dimaktubkan dalam Perlembagaan sebagai Artikel 152.

Perkara 152. Bahasa kebangsaan.

(1) Bahasa kebangsaan ialah bahasa Melayu dan hendaklah dalam tulisan yang diperuntukkan melalui undang-undang oleh Parlimen.

Malangnya Perkara 152 telah diberi pentafsiran oleh pemimpin Melayu sendiri secara ambil mudah. Ia tidak ditafsirkan dengan mengambil kira kemahuan dan pe­ngorbanan orang Melayu semasa melepas hak mutlak ke atas Tanah Melayu. Orang Melayu yang menganggap diri bertuah mendapat kemerdekaan pada 1957 mahu mentafsirkan peruntukan itu sebagai tanda kejayaan; apa yang diperjuangkan dalam perundingan kemerdekaan telah dimakbulkan.

Orang Melayu menganggap dengan itu bahasa Melayu dalam negara merdeka kekal dikenali sebagai bahasa Me­layu, iaitu bahasa kebangsaan yang diguna sebagai bahasa rasmi dalam urusan negara, bahasa bagi tanah air orang Melayu yang dimerdekakan dengan banyak me­ngorbankan kepentingan orang Melayu, bahasa untuk pentadbir­an dan segala urusan di dalam negara sama ada yang rasmi atau bukan rasmi. Bahasa Melayu disebut-sebut sebagai bahasa rakyat jelata pelbagai kaum, namun pada hari ini jarang disebut.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) hari ini mendewakan bahasa kebangsaan. Peruntukan Perkara 152 berbunyi; “Bahasa kebangsaan ialah bahasa Melayu” hanya mempunyai satu matlamat yang jelas iaitu bahasa Melayu te­rus dikekalkan sebagai bahasa identiti negara Persekutuan Tanah Melayu yang merdeka dan bahasa Melayu berdiri sebagai bahasa kebangsaan sebagai mana bahasa Inggeris menjadi bahasa kebangsaan di United Kingdom atau bahasa Arab sebagai bahasa kebangsaan di Arab Saudi.

Di Singapura, bahasa Melayu disebut sebagai Bahasa Melayu, di Brunei bahasa Melayu disebut Bahasa Melayu.

Jiwa Melayu sudah lama didera apabila sekolah Melayu ditukar menjadi sekolah kebangsaan manakala sekolah Cina dan India kekal dengan nama sekolah Cina dan sekolah India. Sentimen yang diwarnai oleh pe­ngalaman dan harapan yang tidak menjadi itu telah mencorakkan pendirian bercelaru sebahagian orang Melayu apabila bersua dengan isu seperti UEC. Minda mereka terperangkap dan tidak dapat melihat masalah dengan jelas.

Isu kedua UEC ialah dasar pendidikan yang digubal pada awal kemerdekaan diketuai oleh Tun Abdul Razak Hussein mahu menggunakan dasar pelajaran dan pendidikan negara menjadi pembentung pembinaan negara bersatu-padu walaupun berbilang kaum. Matlamat itu kekal walaupun selepas Tun Razak ada pindaan di sana-sini mengikut selera menteri.

Orang Melayu mengharapkan dasar kerajaan untuk melihat bahasa Melayu dimartabatkan tetapi dasar pelajaran/pendidikan telah dilaksanakan oleh pemimpin Melayu sendiri mengikut selera masing-masing. Adakala tegas adakala longgar.

Orang Melayu yang telah gagal melihat bahasa Me­layu dimartabatkan sebagai bahasa yang bermain di bibir rak­yat jelata berbilang kaum mengharapkan sistem persekolahan menghidupkan bahasa Melayu sebagai warisan Melayu. Malangnya kepentingan bahasa Me­layu tidak dijaga. Dasar tidak dilaksanakan dengan bijaksana.

Isu ketiga ialah Dong Zong yang semakin lantang de­ngan perjuangan melawan arus nasional. Langkah Dong Zong yang jelas tidak menghiraukan kepentingan negara untuk memupuk penyatuan rakyat berbilang kaum seumpama gerakan ‘antinasional’ dalam erti kata tidak mahu patuh kepada aspirasi dan bimbingan kerajaan dalam perkara sistem pelajaran negara.

Kebelakangan ini Dong Zong pula nampaknya yang memberi syarat kepada kerajaan melalui saluran politik seolah-olah dunia sudah terbalik. Kerajaan sudah memberi laluan istimewa supaya bahasa Mandarin digunakan sebagai bahasa penghantar sekolah Cina, gunakanlah bahasa itu, majukanlah bahasa itu, tetapi sistem pelajaran negara perlu diakui mustahak dipatuhi dan cuba diikuti.

Itu namanya good citizenship. Menjadi tanggungjawab semua rakyat untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan dasar kerajaan. Dalam isu UEC, bukan sukar untuk menyesuaikan sistem yang dipilih oleh Dong Zong dengan sistem negara supaya negara ada hanya satu sistem pelajaran/pendidikan. Sikap Dong Zong yang mahu syarat mereka dipersetujui oleh kerajaan adalah luar biasa.

Justeru, kerajaan perlu berdiri teguh dan tegas atas dasar yang selama ini dipegang tetapi yang tidak mahu diterima oleh Dong Zong. Jangka masa peralihan perlu diberi kepada Dong Zong untuk mengambil langkah transformasi daripada sistem Dong Zong kepada sistem pelajaran negara tanpa menjejaskan kualiti prestasi.

Dalam masa sama, kerajaan perlu mengambil kesempat­an mempertingkatkan kualiti pelajaran supaya transformasi sekolah Cina tidak menjejaskan prestasi mereka. Masa tiga tahun adalah yang dicadangkan. Jika perlu masa itu boleh ditambah sedikit.

Pokoknya selepas itu, Malaysia perlu ada hanya satu sistem pelajaran. Masalah UEC ini tidak perlu dipanjangkan. Dalam pengurusan penyesuaian satu sistem dengan satu sistem yang lain adalah perkara biasa yang boleh dirancang untuk dilakukan dengan baik. Semua kepakaran dalam bidang berkaitan perlu digembleng untuk menjayakan transformasi ini secepat mungkin.

Ini adalah langkah positif yang boleh menghentikan perbalahan. Ini langkah the way forward. Tidak ada lagi helah bagi Dong Zong kerana penyelesaian ini adalah bagi kepentingan negara. Kerajaan mempunyai banyak bidang kuasa untuk bertindak terhadap mereka yang khianat terhadap rancangan dan dasar kerajaan. Rahim Zain Utusan Malaysia Rencana 17 April 2017

Kenali ciri manusia 'terlebih pandai’

DALAM ma­na-ma­na kum­pu­­lan sama ada di sekolah, di tem­pat kerj­a atau kumpulan per­mainan, mesti ada wa­tak 'terlebih pan­­dai’. Individu ini bukan tiga suku, bu­kan dungu atau jiwa keliru. Cuma, dia rasa dirinya sahaja betul.

Spesies ini jarang ber­fung­si se­ca­ra ber­kumpulan. Ini kerana sifat 'terlebih’ hanya wujud pada ciri alfa iaitu hu­ruf pertama dalam abjad Yunani, biasanya diguna untuk meru­juk kepada bintang yang tercerah dalam sesuatu buruj.

Alfa (bukan alpa!) juga merujuk kepada ketua dalam kumpulan haiwan seperti babun yang boleh dikenal pasti dengan janggut dan bontot paling besar antara semua babun.

Huraian mudah 'terlebih pandai’ adalah spesies manusia yang mahu kedudukannya berada di atas orang lain, bukan sama rata. Insan sebegini sentiasa mengidam lebih sikit dan istimewa serta akan merebutnya dengan apa cara sekali pun. Termasuk mengguris hati orang terdekat, keluarga, sahabat karib dan jiran sebelah rumah.

'Terlebih pandai’ merangkumi makna pembangkang dan pembengkeng, pentingkan diri sendiri dan juga sifat dewata iaitu dia seorang sahaja betul dalam serba-serbi perbuatan dan paling menghibakan ialah dia kaki membantah, kemudian dihebahkan di Facebook untuk meraih LIKE sebanyak mungkin.

Daripada pengajian sosiologi ada istilah khusus mengenai spesies manusia begini. Namun, saya tidak akan merumitkan pembacaan anda. Sebaliknya, kita kekal dengan definisi 'terlebih pandai’ mengikut metodologi merrepak.

Dalam situasi bagaimanakah kita 
akan terjumpa spesies ini?

Di mana sahaja yang ada masyarakat. Contoh: di sekolah, semua guru selesa dipanggil cikgu. Tapi ada seorang guru mendesak semua memanggilnya 'Datin’ sebab suaminya dapat pingat kebesaran. Tidakkah ini 'terlebih pandai’ sebab murid diajar bahawa panggilan 'guru’ tidak semulia 'datin’ dari peringkat bangku sekolah lagi.

Bukankah ramai berperangai 
begitu dalam organisasi?

Benar. Contoh: syarikat dalam kesusahan kera­na jualan menurun menye­babkan hasil pulangan ren­dah. Golongan 'terlebih pan­dai’ inilah yang per­ta­ma membelasah majikan bila gaji lewat dibayar te­ta­pi mereka tetap ke kan­tin pukul 10 pagi, 1 tengahari, 4 petang tanpa mem­pedulikan soal produktiviti.

Sama juga dalam persatuan?

Golongan 'terlebih pandai’ akan begitu menyerlah da­­­lam persatuan. Tidak kira­lah sama ada mereka memegang jawatan atau sekadar ahli biasa. Mereka akan mengkritik apa sahaja. Maklumlah, Facebook dia sendiri pu­nya. WhatsApp pula tiada siapa berani 'remove-kan’ dia. Bila orang berhujah se­masa mesyuarat, dia akan asyik mencelah dan membidas. Kalau dibalas kritikan golongan ini, nescaya anda pula di­kenakan tindakan disip­lin.

Bagaimana bila ia babitkan jiran anda?

Mesti tidak selesa, kan? Kumpulan WhatsApp ke­ji­­ranan diwujudkan un­tuk salurkan maklumat setempat misalnya, ber­kaitan keselamatan, ke­ma­­tian, lampu jalan atau tolong tengok rumah se­ma­sa beraya. Kemudian da­tang watak 'terlebih pan­dai’ selitkan hal-hal politik, kononnya untuk 'senyum-senyum jew...’ Mereka ini terlebih pandai untuk menilai apa akan berlaku bila ji­ran yang memihak parti lain membalas dalam WhatsApp kejiranan. Bagi mereka, politik itu lebih penting daripada jiran harmoni. Lebih sadis, mereka tidak serik mengulanginya walaupun ditegur berulang kali.

'Terlebih pandai ini libatkan 
orang muda sahajakah?

Orang muda lazimnya jadi 'terlebih pandai’ dalam kelompok mereka sahaja. Memang kamikaze jika dia berbuat demikian dalam kumpulan yang ada golongan pesara. Orang muda kena kawal nada suara dan pemilihan istilah yang madani bila berdepan 'terlebih pandai’ dari kelompok orang tua. Ini kerana orang tua terlebih pandai, tidak akan menurunkan egonya kepada orang muda. Masalahnya, sesama orang tua suka hati sahaja mereka hendak tunjuk taring masing-masing. Bila orang tua berentap, orang muda jangan campur.

Bagaimana membezakan `terlebih 
pandai’ dengan gurauan?

Dalam satu kumpulan WhatsApp yang ditubuhkan oleh unit komunikasi, memang biasalah maklumat penting bersimpang-siur dengan gurauan. Pada senja 31 Januari, seorang meletakkan pautan berita mengatakan minyak tidak naik. Ramai yang seronok. Tetapi rupa-rupanya ia berita 31 Januari 2016. Anda beritahu saya, apakah tindakan sebegini sekadar gurauan atau terlebih pandai?

Situasi bagaimanakah yang 
dimaksudkan 'terlebih pandai’?

Banyak sudah diketengahkan di atas. Tak baca ke?

Jangan marah. Saya terlebih tak pandai.

Tak marah. Yang marah kalau baca tajuk sahaja, kemudian menghentam. Walhal sumber dipetik dari akaun Twitter individu tetapi dijadikan berita. Bila terbukti salah dan palsu, tidak pula dipadam cerita tersebut. 'Terlebih pandai’ dalam mereka-reka berita. Johardy Ibrahim Utusan Malaysia Rencana 5 Februari 2017

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Kegilaan orang tidak mahu kalah

Kau tidak kenal siapa aku. Aku sekolah tinggi, masuk universiti.

“Aku pun universiti. Ijazah Ph.D lagi.”

“Setakat CGPA 2.2 tidak payah nak berlagak dengan aku.”

“Kau Ph.D persuratan. Bukan doktor perubatan. Tak malukah dipanggil doktor?”

DIALOG di atas macam biasa kita dengar. Pasti anda tahu apa spesies manusia 'tidak mahu kalah’. Bukan kalah bersukan. Bukan kalah berhujah. Pun bukan kalah makan.

Yang dimaksudkan ialah spesies tidak mahu kalah ego. Tidak perlu fikir lama-lama. Tak perlu bayangkan muka sesiapa. Mulakan dengan diri anda sendiri.

“Tidak! Saya mana ada ego!” Agaknya itulah sekilas bergema dalam hati anda. Sudahlah ada ego, tidak mahu mengaku pula. Ini adunan dua virus hati: ego dan sindrom penafian. Cari air penawar tujuh sungai pun, belum tentu mujarab.

Kebanyakan masa, spesies tidak mahu kalah ini amat meletihkan. Ini kerana dia akan menegakkan benang yang basah dalam apa cara sekali pun, walaupun dia salah atau terang-terang sudah hilang undi majoriti.

Begitu meletihkan kerana apa sahaja bukti bertulis dan bercetak, pantas ditepis. Kita bawa saksi kejadian pun dikata tiada locus standi.

Ada masanya juga spesies ini menjadi bahan lawak. Tidaklah kita ketawa semasa insiden berlaku. Kita ketawa lama-lama selepas itu. Terutama bila terkenang balik betapa kedegilan diadun dengan keangkuhan kemudian digiling dengan kedunguan spesies tersebut dan detik itu, anda tertanya sendiri: bagaimana boleh aku terjerumus sama dalam insiden itu?

Inilah bahan ketawa satu kelab seperminuman taman di sebuah daerah di negara ini. Bukan baru berlaku tetapi sebenarnya sangat kerap berlaku. Kelab ini ada kira-kira sedozen ahli. Jarang kesemua ahli dapat duduk bersama dalam satu sesi kerana komitmen kerja masing-masing. Dalam kelompok ini ada dua sahabat yang secara lahiriah memiliki kecenderungan 'tidak mahu kalah’.

Kedua-duanya berlatar belakang ahli perniagaan. Tidak besar, tidak kecil. Memadailah hidup senang. Dan kemesraan mereka berdua melayakkan diri menyertai kelab seperminuman taman. Lama-kelamaan, ahli-ahli lain menyedari kedua-duanya ada penyakit sama.

Kalau kita bercerita tentang harga rumah dan sulitnya hen­dak membeli disebabkan harga yang sangat mahal sekarang, dia akan mengaku ada tiga kon­dominium.

Bila bercerita tentang anak baru lepas SPM, dia akan me­nyebut anaknya yang dapat 15A sampai Bahasa Tamil dan Man­darin pun anak dia ambil dan lulus.

Topik kereta yang me­ru­pakan to­pik wajib yang di­ibaratkan kalau 'kereta tidak melanggar orang’, cerita me­reka akan men­jurus kepada 'ke­reta melambung ke awan, demi mengelak basikal jalanan’. Mesti ada unsur dra­matik dan bombastik, selain 'tem­­berang-tik’.

Beralah

Dalam sesetengah keadaan, ahli-ahli lain yang mendengar bu­tir percakapan dua insan spe­­sies tidak boleh kalah ini, melayan mereka dengan meng­angguk ke­pala diiringi mata me­mandang ke siling. Percaya ti­dak. Terhasut jauh sekali. Dengar sa­hajalah.

Yang tidak seronok, bila kedua-duanya sampai ke tahap bertelagah, lalu diminta pungutan suara daripada ahli-ahli lain. Secara objektifnya, ahli lain sekadar mahu lepak santai berbual kosong dengan teman-teman. Jadi bila diminta mengundi pula memilih 'siapa paling hebat tidak mahu kalah’, ia menukar dimensi 'lepak santai’ sama sekali. Ia menjadi tidak selesa dan kemuncaknya, meluat.

Meluat ini bahaya kerana ia akan mengurangkan minat untuk berbual dan bertemu. Lebih-lebih lagi bila seorang tersinggung. Macam mana tidak tersinggung? Setelah bermati-matian berhujah mahu memastikan tidak kalah, tiba-tiba disuruh diam oleh teman lain atas alasan hujahnya ada elemen mala fide.

Lebih mengguris hati, sudahlah diarah tutup mulut, dirinya pula diperlekehkan seolah-olah peninju berdarah muka tersembam ke lantai, dipijak pula oleh lawan.

Ahli-ahli lain sebenarnya, malas sudah hendak campur. Hendak nasihat, sudah berulang kali. Hendak disampaikan secara tersirat, mati-mati buat tidak mengerti. Masing-masing tidak mahu kalah. Jalan sebaik-baiknya, biarkan mereka berantakan.

Seharusnya, bila berdepan dengan insan yang cakap tidak mahu kalah, anda boleh memilih untuk beralah. Tidak perlu sepanjang masa hendak bertelagah. Letihlah. Lazimnya, bila dua-dua terus menerus tidak mahu kalah, orang lain yang mendengar tidak akan bersorak. Hendak bersorak apa? Kedua-dua sah angkuh dalam kedunguan.

Inilah jadinya bila tidak mahu mengalah. Akhirnya kawan-kawan seorang demi seorang malas hendak bersama.

Sesekali mengalah, tidak salah. Bukan bermakna anda akan mati dalam kehinaan pun. Tetapi anggaplah ia strategi. Kita berkawan mahu sampai ke akhirat. Bukan berkawan sekerat-sekerat.

Jadi, sekianlah tazkirah Merrepak hari ini, moga kita sama-sama mendapat hidayah. Kalau tidak mahu terima juga, itu tandanya anda pun tidak mahu kalah.

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Corridors of Learning

NO! My heart sank when it was announced that the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery would be closed for two years for a RM20 million restoration. It seems there are plans in the pipeline to move all the artefacts and temporarily house them at the museum’s Macalister Road branch in George Town. It was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to pay my favourite haunt a visit.

Farewell visits never fail to make me see the same things in a different light. I guess when we‘re conscious that time is no longer a luxury, we try to savour every minute of it. There’s a sense of calm when I arrive at the museum.


Photo montage of the five leading schools in Johor (clockwise from top right) Bukit Zahara School Johor Baru, Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Johor Baru, Muar English School, Batu Pahat English School and Boarding School JB (middle). Photos courtesy of Alan Teh Leam Seng

Having had my ticket inspected, I proceed to look at the two bronze wall plaques which I’ve always ignored during my previous visits. The inscriptions list the names of the people who’d donated generously towards the Penang Free School building fund in 1816.

Continuing to read the explanatory card beside them, I discover that this Penang Museum building was the original site of the school before it was relocated to Green Lane in 1927. Inspired by the thought that the school spent an astounding 110 years at the very place I‘m standing, I decide to find out more about the early history of Malayan education.

The Convent School established in 1907 is one of the oldest schools in Ipoh.

EARLY EDUCATION

Although Penang Free School holds the record for being the country‘s oldest learning institution, education in Malaya didn’t start with the arrival of the British in 1786. Before Francis Light first set foot on the island, Penang’s population already consisted of nearly a hundred Malay fishermen and farmers from Sumatra, Kedah and Satun. They settled largely around the Batu Uban, Jelutong and Dato Kramat areas.

Religious schools are believed to have already existed in the 18th century. Back then, it was common practice for young Malay boys to uproot and live with a renowned teacher for a certain number of years. They helped the teacher with household chores and at the teacher’s orchards and fields in exchange for lessons in Arabic as well as in reciting the Quran. Malay girls received religious lessons from their parents at home.

Discipline during those early days was very strict and the teachers had the blessings of the parents to mete out punishments as they deemed fit as long as they didn’t mortally wound the children. At this juncture, I’m reminded of the great Malay scribe Munshi Abdullah. He gave a vivid account of his personal experience in his autobiography, Hikayat Abdullah.

It seems that Abdullah led an early pampered life living with his grandparents. Everything changed when his father found out about his 7-year-old son’s inability to read and write. In a fit of anger, he sent Abdullah to the Kampung Pali Koran School. Abdullah wrote that all students, regardless of their family background, were treated equally. His teacher resorted to using various “instruments of punishment and torture” to maintain order. Among these was the Chinese press made from four pieces of threaded smooth rattan. This instrument, known also as apit Cina, was used to squeeze the fingers of boys guilty of stealing or beating their fellow students.

Harsher punishments were meted out on disrespectful students and those who attempted to play truant. Students guilty of these were hung up by both hands so that their feet didn‘t touch the ground. Pepper was rubbed into the mouths of students who told lies or used foul language. I cringe at the thought of what parents would do to the teachers if such corporal punishments were implemented in schools today.

CHINESE EDUCATION

Within minutes, I reach my favourite section of the museum. The ornately-carved Peranakan household items and the images of early Chinese immigrants paint a vivid picture of what life must have been like for these people who braved the treacherous South China Sea in search of a better life in Malaya.

The missionaries were one of the earliest to place emphasis on female education in Malaya.

Back in the early 19th century, formal Chinese education was almost non-existent. Bread and butter issues and survival in a new environment were the main concerns of the “sin kheks”. These new arrivals, comprising mainly of men, lived in cramped and squalid quarters and worked tirelessly from dawn till night. Many wasted away into oblivion when they succumbed to the temptation of opium. However, a fortunate few managed to avoid this scourge. They worked hard, saved every cent and became extremely wealthy. These successful businessmen brought their wives from China and started their families in Malaya.

Early Chinese education in Malaya began with simple writing schools where boys were taught to copy and memorise the teachings of great Chinese sages. At that time, this training was enough to give them the basic knowledge to help out in their fathers’ businesses. Older boys were sent to China to continue their studies. While no expense was spared for boys from wealthy families, the same couldn’t be said for girls.

Young Chinese girls were not given any education at all. Parents at that time believed that daughters didn’t contribute to the family’s success. They leave once they get married. After that, her duty is to her husband’s family. Because of this archaic thinking, many women remained illiterate for the rest of their lives.

Standard III D students group photograph during the St Xavier‘s Institution Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1927.

WESTERN-STYLE EDUCATION

Things slowly began to change with the arrival of the missionaries once the British started ruling Malaya. They began opening up English and vernacular schools in the Straits Settlements.

The Malacca High School and St Xavier’s Institution in Malacca and Penang respectively are good examples. Missionaries, mainly from the London Missionary Society, gained a foothold in the Malay States when the Pangkor Treaty was signed in 1874. These religious men and women brought with them the concept of Western-styled schools where a variety of subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic were taught.

The opening of these missionary schools was a historic moment for education in Malaya. For the very first time girls were given the opportunity to stand head to head with boys in their pursuit of knowledge and self improvement.

Among the first to embrace this novel concept were the Peranakans who were considered the most loyal among British subjects in the colony. For this they gained the nickname of either the Queen’s Chinese or King’s Chinese, depending on the gender of the British monarch at that time.

Judging from the wealth of literary material on display in the museum, it’s probably safe to deduce that the Straits Chinese used education to their full advantage. Learning English in school and speaking Baba Malay at home helped them communicate with almost every segment of society in Malaya at that time. Trusted by the British, the Peranakans soon gained prominence in the shipping and banking industries. Their stranglehold on these two important segments and commerce gave them immense influence and wealth. Wealthy Peranakan ladies were always seen covered from head to toe in gold and precious stones.

Pulau Tikus Convent Primary School staff photograph taken in 1971.

Moving from gallery to gallery in the museum, I began to understand how the introduction of Western-styled education had led to Malaya’s rapid development. A good case in point is the Penang Free School concept. I’d always thought that the word “Free” meant that students were not charged any fees to attend school. I was wrong.

Malayans were introduced to the “Free” concept with the establishment of similar schools which allowed admission to students from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Right from the beginning these novel educational centres became cultural melting pots where students could mix freely among themselves.

Apart from the main lingua franca of English, these schools also offered multilingual classes in Malay, Cantonese, Tamil and Teochew to further encourage enrolment. Over the years, however, the number of dialect-speaking students steadily declined. This lacklustre response soon led to the abandonment of the multilingual classes, leaving English as the only medium offered.

An early photograph of the Setapak Malay School taken in 1908.

NEW EDUCATION FRAMEWORK

Malaya continued to prosper during the early decades of the 20th century, which subsequently resulted in a large influx of immigrants into the country. Despite this rise in the number of Indians and Chinese, the colonial government in Malaya stood

by its long-term policy of only recognising

the Malay vernacular language. This resulted in very little or no government funding at

all for schools teaching Chinese and Tamil languages. These schools had to depend heavily on fundraisers and donations

from wealthy members of their own community.

Despite the funding and attention given, Malay parents had little interest in sending their children to government schools. Many were worried that their children would ignore their religious education. Even those who allowed their children to study in English schools would quickly take them out as soon as they’d acquired the minimum requirement to qualify for a job. During the 1930s, students could become clerks or even junior teachers once they completed Standard III or IV education.

It was on the eve of Merdeka that the government adopted the Razak Report as the education framework for independent Malaya. The report drafted by Tun Abdul Razak called for a national school system with a uniform national curriculum regardless of the medium of instruction. Soon after Merdeka, most of the Chinese, Tamil and Mission schools began accepting government funding.

The afternoon spent at the museum has been most “therapeutic”. As I walk back to the bus stop to head home, my spirit is lifted somewhat. Looking on the bright side, perhaps there will be more fascinating exhibits when the Penang Museum and Art Gallery throws open its doors to the public in 2019.

But until then, it’s farewell Penang Museum. Till we meet again!

A young Malay teacher taken in Batu Pahat, Johor in the early 1920s.

Speaking proper English

TEACHERS should speak proper English in school as they are in an important position to influence students. We must be exemplary as we are moulding young minds and characters, and students take after us since so many things are caught rather than taught.

As English teachers we must never allow our students to speak their mother tongue during English periods. That is the only time when they are forced to speak English, especially in vernacular schools.

Sad to say, some teachers do not stress the importance of English, and allow the influence of the mother tongue to predominate.

It really irks me when I hear English teachers saying things like “give him eat”, “bring him come”, “take him go”, “take go home and cook”, which may sound familiar to those who speak Chinese dialects such as Hokkien.

Last year I trained a Form 5 boy for his inter-class elocution contest. I had also trained him in Form 4 and he won. By right, he should have represented his school in the Zone Public-Speaking Contest, since he was the winner of Forms 4 and 5 school elocution contests. However, the runner-up was chosen to represent the school in the Zone-level contest. He was not chosen because the teacher in charge of the public-speaking contest was not teaching him English.

Another disgusting incident was that he kept on saying, “When I do my work finish.” I asked him why he kept on saying that when I had corrected him before. His answer shocked me. He said coolly: “My English teacher speaks like this in class.” I was dumbfounded. How can an English teacher let her mother tongue influence her spoken English?

Is it any wonder that our standard of English has gone to the dogs? When teachers themselves are not bothered to be proficient in English, what can you expect from the students. This is the cause of the perpetual decline in our standard of English. It is a vicious cycle that will be repeated year after year! It is more of an attitude problem.

Last year when I conducted a workshop on Newspaper-in-Education for Form 1 and Standard 4 teachers, I reminded them of the dire need to speak proper English. If teachers teach in a weak school, all the more they have to speak good English to ensure that the standard of English will be improved.

If some teachers can say they are not trained to teach English, then they are very unprofessional. It just boils down to the fact that they are complacent and lackadaisical. They need to change their attitude because they are not fair to their students. In fact we have to give our students our best because of our influence on their lives.

When we had to teach Geography and History in Bahasa Malaysia, could we say we were not trained to teach in BM? We had to master the facts in BM and brush up our BM. Our students will respect and appreciate us deeply when we do our best for them. Loke Siew Hing The STAR Education April 16, 2016

REFER to “Sex education is a must” (NST, April 12).

Federal police sexual, women and child investigation division assistant principal director Assistant Commissioner Ong Chin Lan said she believed that “moral-based teachings needed to be enhanced along with the present academic-based curriculum”.

She also said there was a need to take another look at the approach to sex education in schools. Should sex education be taught as a full-fledged subject or integrated into existing subjects such as Biology, Moral/Religious Studies, and Physical and Health Education? What should the contents be in the primary and secondary school years?


Sex education: The ministry must define the boundaries and limits so that the expert teachers model their teaching accordingly.

There are also concerns about the “right” pedagogy and teachers’ readiness to handle the task. Nevertheless, it is unreservedly agreed that the time has come for sex education to be an integral part of our school curriculum.

So, how do we go about it?

First, there is no doubt that the Education Ministry has or can engage experts to draw up the curriculum and syllabus, and write the texts and modules.

Next, the schools will be asked to send teachers to attend courses. They will impart the knowledge to students. This is the normal and proven procedure whenever a new subject is introduced. But, sex education is different, as it is a sensitive and even controversial subject.

Teachers entrusted with the task should be well-versed with the cognitive contents of the subject. They should also have the maturity, experience and professionalism to handle and provide counselling on emotional, physical, as well as spiritual issues that may arise. This is quite a tall order, even for experienced teachers.

The reality is that most schools will send teachers whose teaching timetables are not yet full for such courses. These teachers teach a number of the “not so important” subjects; they are the “general” teachers, at least for the duration of the particular school year. The “specialist” teachers, on the other hand, would have their teaching time-tables filled to the brim.

These teachers are usually in charge of examination subjects, and schools cannot afford to spare them to teach subjects like sex education, which most likely will not be an examination subject.

Given the noble aims of sex education and that it is the schools’ inescapable responsibility to teach it, aren’t our schools in a Catch-22 situation?

If sex education is to be implemented, then at the early stage, the ministry has to come to the rescue of schools. The ministry can engage expert teachers to conduct a series of model multimedia teaching sessions that will impart formal knowledge on the subject. Next are expertly designed interactive follow-up tutorial sessions.

All these teaching sessions can be video recorded in compact discs or other computer storage devices. They can be distributed to schools.

The classroom teacher will act as a facilitator and school counsellors can be called in to help in any tutorial session if it becomes difficult. This way, pressure is taken away from the “general” teachers called to handle a sensitive and controversial subject. It will also prevent the subject matter from being unduly handled by overzealous teachers.

The ministry must define the boundaries and limits so that the expert teachers model their teaching accordingly.

This is of particular importance, especially at the initial stage of introducing sex education in schools.

Given time, teachers in schools will gain the necessary exposure and feedback and, hence, the confidence in handling the subject.

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THERE have been many complaints by parents that their children are too occupied with homework.

Students are tired of doing homework. Some of them sacrifice their rest time during the weekend. This is not a positive outlook for a family where parents don’t get to spend much time with their children.

Some students even “forget” to turn in their homework because they never had the time to finish it, a sign of desperation that may lead to lies and ultimately, a bad habit.


Schools should have a mechanism to control the amount of homework given to students.

We cannot deny the benefits of homework in a student’s academic development. Homework encourages independent learning. A student learns to study on his own besides guidance from teachers in school.

Homework also tests the student’s ability to understand what is taught in school. And, homework inculcates the “ownership” attitude in students.

A student learns to complete the task in hand and this is useful for his self-development.

Homework also becomes a form of communication between school and parents. Parents can have a better idea of their children’s progress in school through homework.

Yet, what is the correlation between the number of hours spent on homework and academic results?

A study by Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) among Malaysian students found that those who spent less than 45 minutes on Science homework a week scored higher than those who spent more than three hours a week.

Therefore, the number of hours spent on homework is not significant, rather, the quality. The study concludes that the ideal amount of time spent on homework is 45 minutes a subject a week.

Apart from the number of quality hours spent, how effective is homework?

A teacher should not focus on the right or wrong of the task given. Instead, they should measure the level of difficulty of the task according to the student’s intellect.

The teacher should identify the difficult areas that students are weak in. Then, improvise the task by giving appropriate guidance.

Another way to ensure the effectiveness of homework is to give smaller tasks where a student can better understand the subject matter.

Based on TIMSS findings, it is pointless to give students too much homework, which does not yield any positive outcome. Homework is not necessarily the way to a student’s success.

Teachers believe that giving students homework will enable them to perform better. We do not want all teachers to give homework simultaneously, which is not completed by the students.

Schools should have a mechanism to control the amount of homework given to students.

Parent should play a part in their children’s growth and success.

Most parents send their children for tuition to ensure excellent academic results, but bear in mind that too many academic activities can lead to stress and that the child could fail.

Do not rely on homework and academic performance alone, but explore the non-academic activities, which can improve a student’s imagination, creativity and leadership skills.

The younger generation are the leaders of tomorrow. No child should say, “Half of my energy was wasted on random knowledge”, which is the famous acronym for homework.

Let’s use homework to build rather than break the future of youth.

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