February 23rd, 2012

Parents have to be totally involved

I WRITE in response to “Parents, stay out please” (The Star, Feb 21). I totally disagree. No responsible parent will stay out of anything that happens to their children.

That’s what parents are for, getting totally involved. Parents should find out more from the school and try to help in disciplining their children.

Who do you think should know a child better if not the parents?

Sadly, not all teachers behave as expected. My child attends an SJKC. Every day after school, I make a point to talk to her about what happened in school.

For the past week she has been telling me how her teacher will cane the students on their palm for wrong answers, a stroke for each mistake. Many of her friends cried after being caned, but the teacher continues to teach after that.

What learning can go into a child’s mind after such an experience, a sore palm and a fearful mind?

I always tell my child that in life we must not be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them to be a better person.

Now this is not true for her anymore, all because of a teacher.

The teacher has put into my child a fear of going to school, robbed her of the joy of learning in school, taken away the confidence she once had (after doing her homework, she must call her friends to check the answers), and killed her creativity and motivation to learn.

Many a time, the teacher is late for class. When she enters and finds a noisy class she makes the students stand for the rest of the period.

My child begged me not to complain to the school fearing that the teacher will be less committed in teaching them.

Parents, do you still want to stay out?


The STAR Home News Opinion 
Wednesday February 22, 2012

Parents, stay out please

I WRITE in support of the opinion that parents should not interfere in a school’s disciplinary board’s action and punishment meted on their children.

As a student, I rather say “no” as I see more disadvantages in allowing parents to do so.

Parents’ involvement will do no good but only harm the school and the students.

Disciplinary boards in school have the right to decide on any punishment for the students as the cases of indiscipline are the action of the students themselves.

By interfering in this process, parents are actually obstructing the development of the students’ personality and behaviour.

When most students nowadays are spoilt, embroiled in critical disciplinary problems and other misdemeanours, why do parents tend to blame the teachers?

Eventually, the teachers will start to be “kind and soft” on the students, or give up struggling for the good of the students. Yes, they still teach, completing their tasks, but their commitment will flag day by day.

I remember last year there was a father who attacked a teacher who scolded his daughter for not completing her homework, and he even demanded an apology on behalf of his daughter.

I mean, seriously, an apology for scolding your daughter for her betterment? This is ridiculous!

Relating the case, my teacher announced that she was totally annoyed and disappointed by the parent’s immature action. What wrong did the teacher do in wanting the student to be a better person?

With parents blindly supporting their children, students will rebel against the school’s rules or anything that curbs what they view as their right to full freedom.

They will not be afraid to break the rules and commit crimes as they know that their parents will back them.

Even worse, the students will lose their respect for teachers, a critical damaging effect.

For example, I was totally upset when I saw a classmate having a meal in class. I mean, it’s normal to face such problems with Form One students, but Form Five? For sure, that is showing disrespect to the teacher.

All this exists today because of false courage, maybe encouraged by their parents’ action.

Teachers are fighting hard for our – the students’, your children’s – future. Why attack them for doing their job?

I believe that parents should think twice before taking any action detrimental to the school’s authority.

Let the teachers shape us into great individuals with all the characteristics required for us to excel in this world.

MAHAMOOD MUBARAK ALI, Sungai Petani, Kedah.

The STAR Home News Opinion 
Tuesday February 21, 2012

Tun Sambanthan: Turn his house into memorial

TUN V.T. Sambanthan was a great leader who played an important role in efforts for our independence. To be precise, independence for Malaya was earlier rejected without his presence as a representative in London.

Tun V.T. Sambanthan

Tun V.T. Sambanthan with his family. His contributions as one of our nation’s founding fathers should not be forgotten.

He was also responsible for developing then Malaya  with Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first prime minister.  Numerous developments were made during Sambanthan's time.

He held various ministerial positions, including labour minister (1955-1957), works minister (1957-1959), posts and telecommunications minister (1959-1971) and national unity minister (1972-1974).

Many may not know that Sambanthan was acting prime minister  for one day when both the prime minister and his deputy were out of country at the same time.

There would be insufficient space to list all of Sambanthan's  contributions to our nation, but we must remember that he was a rare politician who spent his own money for the people.

He did not even own a house when he died.

Sambanthan resided and spent most of his life at his Guilamard Road government house (now Jalan Ledang, near Parliament) during his political days from 1957 to 1979. It was the house in which he lived until  his last days.

Sadly, the house has been left abandoned for many years now.

How can this  happen to the home of one of our founding fathers?

I propose that the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry refurbish and turn this house into a memorial.

It can serve as a centre for information on Sambanthan's  life for future generations.

By Vigneswaran Kannan, Sitiawan, Perak letters@nst.com.my

The New Straits Times Letters to Editor 

Let teachers do their job, don’t interfere

I WRITE in response to “Parents have to be totally involved (The Star, Feb 22).

As a parent of three schooling children, I disagree with the over-protective approach of the writer.

Everybody sends their children to school because we believe that is the best place for them to acquire knowledge and for character building.

Although they are not saints, we trust the teachers because they are trained and the profession is subjected to high moral expectations.

In ancient Chinese society, teachers and the knowledgeable were held in high regard.

As such, they should be respected as professionals who impart knowledge and shape your children’s character, without our stringent scrutiny.

All the schools are under the Education Ministry, with a minister answerable to Parliament.

The school compound is not closed to parents, and the staff are multi-disciplined. It is difficult to hide any wrongdoing.

Of course, we cannot leave education totally to the school. Parents should play a supportive role and guide their children.

Because of the high student-teacher ratio, sometimes it is not possible for the teacher to pay extra attention on weaker students.

Parents who find their children lagging behind should try to understand the problem and bring it to the attention of the teacher.

Most parents may think that they know their children best. However, there are many children who appear to be angels in front of their parents, but behave like devils in school.

I am not an advocate of physical punishment, but I think caning of non-vital parts is acceptable.

The punishment makes children aware there are consequences to being lazy or naughty.

There are many non-Chinese enrolled in SRJKC these days despite the abundance of homework and strict discipline. They do not mind what the Chinese parents fear today, for the sake of a better education.

Thirty years ago, not a child in his right mind would have dared to tell their parents that he or she was punished in school.

Because this was a shame and nobody would believe that you were not at fault.

Any complaint would likely result in a second dose of punishment from the parents.

The parents might even bring them to see the teacher in school, not to confront, but to ask their child to apologise to the teacher.

I was caned on the palm numerous times when I was in school (I could not spell, did not finish my homework, was unable to read out without referring to book etc).

The teacher gave me the liberty of choosing a thick or thin cane, but she warned the 10 strokes would be continuous without interruption.

I felt ashamed in front of my friends, and subsequently worked hard to avoid being caned again.

But I still enjoyed going to school because I had lots of friends. My confidence was not broken and I reminded myself to work harder.

I treated the same teacher at my clinic for arthritis and I chose the smallest needle for the injection to avoid pain.

It was her punishment that made me who I am today.


The STAR Home News Opinion Thursday, February 23, 2012