March 28th, 2012

Nilai eksklusif kayu balau dimakan kumbang

BURUK, usang, kelihatan reput dan berlubang-lubang. Itu antara perkataan yang terlintas di fikiran ketika pertama kali melihat struktur binaan pintu gerbang dan beberapa perabot seperti almari, meja solek dan meja kopi di kilang Kayuma Industry di Kampung Peragap, Kerdau, Temerloh, Pahang Darul Makmur baru-baru ini.



Pasti anda juga berkongsi pendapat yang sama tatkala memandang pada perabot yang ciri fizikalnya berlubang-lubang seolah-olah sudah parah dimamah anai-anai.

Dalam hati tertanya-tanya, siapakah sanggup melaburkan wang membeli perabot sedemikian yang pada pandangan mata insan khilaf seni sebagai objek yang tidak bernilai dengan harga jauh lebih tinggi daripada perabot biasa?

Namun, apabila menatap perabot tersebut dengan kemasan terakhir berkali-kali, terbuka hijab pandangan melihat keunikan pesona perabot yang diperbuat daripada kayu balau berlubang.

Seolah-olah mengerti pelbagai persoalan yang bermain di fikiran penulis, 'orang kuat' yang menerajui Kayuma Industry, Mohamad Awik, 44, tampil memberikan penjelasan.

"Perabot dan binaan struktur yang diperbuat daripada kayu balau berlubang ini kelihatan seperti bahan yang tidak berguna, namun bagi mereka yang menghargai seni dan menjadi pengumpul perabot-perabot kayu, ia dianggap antik serta unik.

"Ia seringkali dijadikan bahan koleksi disebabkan rupanya lain daripada yang lain kerana diperbuat daripada kayu balau berlubang," katanya yang memulakan pembuatan perabot balau berlubang sejak dua tahun lalu. Tahun ini Kayuma memberi tumpuan kepada pembikinan pintu gerbang.

Dimakan kumbang ambrosia

Tambahnya, lubang-lubang pada kayu tersebut bukanlah dibuat secara sengaja, tetapi motif-motif itu terjadi kerana ia dimakan oleh koloni kumbang ambrosia yang menjadikan pokok balau sebagai habitatnya.

Kumbang ambrosia merupakan sejenis kumbang perosak kayu dalam famili Platypolidae dan beberapa genus dalam famili Scolitidae dan Lymaxylidae.

Ia memakan isi pokok daripada dalam (empulur) hingga merebak ke seluruh bahagian batang pokok membentuk lubang-lubang yang unik.

Kayu balau dimakan ambrosia semasa keadaan pokoknya masih hidup, namun apabila pokoknya sudah mati tiada serangga pun yang mampu untuk memamahnya kerana sudah terlalu keras.


PERABOT kayu balau berlubang melambangkan kehebatan dan kehalusan kraf tangan Melayu yang boleh dikomersialkan ke peringkat antarabangsa.


Biasanya ambrosia mula mengorek pokok balau yang berusia 10 hingga 15 tahun, tetapi tidak semua pokok balau dimamahnya.

"Jika anai-anai dikatakan perosak, kumbang ambrosia ini lebih 'gagah' daripada anai-anai. Anai-anai tidak makan pokok balau kerana ia mengandungi tanin iaitu sejenis bahan kimia yang digunakan untuk membunuh anai-anai.

"Kayu seperti ini sangat jarang dijumpai. Ia memerlukan masa 60 hingga 70 tahun barulah menghasilkan lubang-lubang sebegini," ujarnya sambil menunjukkan ribuan lubang pada pintu gerbang laman cenderawasih yang sudah mempunyai pembelinya.

Perabot dan binaan struktur pintu gerbang yang diperbuat daripada kayu balau berlubang itu punya nilai seni yang begitu tinggi.

Ilham yang diterjemahkan Mohamad dilihat berat kepada konsep Melayu lama.

Ternyata cubaannya menghidupkan semula benda yang 'mati' menjadi sesuatu yang bernilai tinggi tidak ubah seperti kata pepatah mengubah arang menjadi intan.

"Kerana keunikannya, ia mendapat permintaan yang tinggi daripada pengumpul-pengumpul perabot kayu.

"Saya menghadapi tekanan berikutan kesukaran untuk mendapatkan bekalan bahan mentah. Tiada jaminan saya akan mendapat bekalan setiap bulan. Adakalanya perlu menunggusehingga setahun," katanya yang mendapat bekalan dari Negeri Sembilan, Kuantan, Pahang dan Kelantan.

Gred balau berlubang

Istimewanya, setiap binaan struktur mahupun perabot mempunyai nilai eksklusif tersendiri kerana tiada pelanggan yang akan memiliki produk yang sama berikutan perbezaan lubang-lubang semula jadi buatan si tukang ukir ambrosia selama bertahun-tahun.

Sudah menjadi rutin anak kelahiran Tanjung Karang, Selangor Darul Ehsan itu menjelaskan kekangan bahan mentah kepada para pelanggan yang begitu teruja untuk memiliki perabot balau berlubang.

Kayu-kayu balau berlubang dikumpulkan selama setahun bagi membolehkan Mohamad dan anak-anak buahnya membuat binaan.


KAYU balau berlubang juga boleh dijadikan perabot meja solek.


"Kadang-kadang dapat dua batang kayu balau sahaja setelah menunggu lebih setahun. Tidak semua kayu balau yang dibekalkan berkualiti untuk dijadikan perabot kerana kita membeli secara pukal. Dalam 60 tan kayu balau yang dibekalkan, 40 peratus daripadanya gred A, 20 peratus gred B dan 20 peratus gred C, selebihnya tidak boleh guna langsung," ujarnya yang mempunyai 14 hingga 15 orang pekerja tetap.

Walaupun fizikal binaan struktur dan perabot balau berlubang kelihatan seperti kayu buruk, namun ia tidak mereput dan tidak merekah. Jika cara penjagaannya betul, ia mampu bertahan selama 30 hingga 40 tahun.

Binaan struktur dan perabot yang terhasil sangat unik. Tidak hairanlah jika ada yang sanggup melabur untuk memilikinya.

Sebagai contoh harga untuk set meja kopi berharga RM3,000, bingkai cermin RM300, almari kecil RM350, lampu dinding RM250, pintu gerbang RM18,000 dan laman cenderawasih (pintu gerbang dengan laluan masuk yang dilengkapi aksesori lampu) pula mencecah RM56,000.

Lebih memberi tumpuan membuat perabot hiasan lama, Mohamad memberitahu promosi Kayuma Industry lebih kepada mulut ke mulut selain menyertai pameran perabot terutamanya yang dianjurkan oleh Kraftangan Malaysia.

Pengaruh ayah

Mana tumpahnya kuah jika tidak ke nasi. Kemahiran dan minat Mohamad dalam bidang perkayuan itu banyak dipengaruhi bapanya iaitu Awik Muri, 65.

Walaupun sudah berusia, Awik selaku penasihat Kayuma Industry sesekali turun padang memantau kerja-kerja yang dilakukan di kilang.

"Dek berkongsi minat yang sama dengan anak, kami bekerjasama dalam perniagaan ini.


SEORANG kakitangan Kayuma membuat potongan kayu balau berlubang.


"Kini, banyak produk dihasilkan daripada kayu berbanding zaman saya dahulu. Orang dulu lebih bertumpu pada pembuatan rumah kampung, tetapi kini pasarannya lebih besar," katanya yang belajar ilmu pertukangan daripada bapanya, Muri Johari ketika usia 15 tahun lagi.

Dalam pada itu, Pengurus Operasi Kayuma Industry, Mohd. Affandi Yaacob, 31, memberitahu, dia sudah empat tahun berkhidmat dengan Mohamad.

Mempunyai kemahiran pertukangan dan ukiran yang dipelajari di Kota Bharu, Kelantan dan Besut, Terengganu, ternyata Mohd. Affandi memahami selok-belok pembuatan sesuatu produk yang dihasilkan daripada khazanah alam itu.

"Tidak dinafikan pembuatan perabot dan binaan struktur ini merupakan satu kerja yang berat dan rumit.

"Lebih-lebih lagi jika membuat perabot dan binaan struktur daripada kayu balau berlubang yang memerlukan kami lebih berhati-hati daripada melakukan sebarang kesilapan," katanya.

Ujar Mohd. Affandi, membina laman cenderawasih contohnya merupakan satu kerja berat yang memerlukan kekuatan tenaga kerja enam orang.

"Selain menghasilkan perabot daripada kayu balau berlubang, kami juga menerima tempahan membuat gazebo, calet, rumah kayu dan mimbar," katanya.

Sumber: Kosmo Rencana Utama 28 March 2012

Shoe-throwing teacher to show cause

KUALA LUMPUR: A Year One pupil of SK Damansara Damai 1 in Damansara Damai was left with a swollen and bruised left eye after a teacher threw a shoe at him for talking in class on Monday.

M. Sri Tharan, 7, who was accompanied by his parents during a press conference here yesterday, said he was asking his friend what the teacher was saying when the incident happened.

"I did not understand what she was teaching so I asked my friend.

"That was when she threw a shoe at me," said the boy.

Businesswoman N. Maninegalai, 44, said her son was crying when she picked him up from school at 6.30pm but did not say anything when asked.

Upon realising it later, they took him to Sungai Buloh Hospital and lodged a police report.

"We plan to take him out of the school and enrol him in another school.

" We have reported this to the school for investigation."

A school spokesman said the 30-something mathematics teacher had been issued with a show cause letter and ordered to attend a counselling session at the Selangor Education Department.

"We will meet with the pupil and his parents today to apologise for the inappropriate behaviour and discuss the incident.

Petaling Jaya district police chief Assistant Commissioner Arjunaidi Mohamed said they were awaiting instructions from the deputy public prosecutor's office for further action.


Source: New Straits Times General 28 March 2012

Furious teacher throws sandal at pupil for talking

KUALA LUMPUR: In a fit of anger, a teacher flung her sandal at a seven-year-old boy for chatting when class was in session.

The Year One pupil suffered slight injury to an eye and bruises on the face.

A senior assistant from the school confirmed the incident and said the teacher would publicly apologise to the parents and the boy at the school today.

The boy’s father A. Murugan said his son came home on Monday evening complaining about the incident which happened earlier in the day at the school near Damansara.

“I was shocked when my son told me that his teacher threw a sandal at him while he was talking to his classmate,” said Murugan, a taxi driver.

He added that he immediately lodged a police report and took his son for a medical check-up on Monday.

His wife Manimegalai, who was also present at a press conference at the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) headquarters yesterday, said her son was traumatised by the incident.

“It was very degrading for my son when his teacher threw her sandal at him. Just imagine what would have happened if it had hit his eyes.

“Now my son is too afraid to go to school and we are left with no choice but to transfer him to another school,” she said.

She added that the doctor gave her son eye drops for infection and he also had a slight fever.

The parents demanded that the teacher be suspended from her duties.

The senior assistant said the teacher admitted throwing her sandal at the boy after losing her cool when the boy continued talking despite being reprimanded earlier.

According to the senior assistant, the teacher regretted her actions and she apologised to the boy after the class.

She, however, admitted that the school did not inform the boy’s parents about the incident.

“We were not aware about the incident until The Star called us about it,” said the senior assistant.




By KANG SOON CHEN educate@thestar.com.my

Source: The STAR Home News Nation Wednesday March 28, 2012

Never-ending chase for better grades

We need to ask if our education system is satisfying the more basic and vital needs of a larger segment of students.

FOR about nearly half a million people, March 20 was a momentous day in many ways – for their future hung in the balance, waiting to be decided by the results of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations.

I can well imagine the tension that would have hovered around those poor students like a heavy, portent mist on that day, which would for most of them lift later in the light of day.

My own daughter could not eat breakfast that day and was famished by the time lunch came, which I am glad to say was a bubbly, celebratory one after she obtained her results.

But for many it was not, not because they did not do well but because they did not do well enough.

When I think of the kind of pressures that kids face these days, I must say the old days were better, at least with respect to this, even if I sound like some sad old man who took his SPM results over 40 years ago and who was thankful for his meagre As.

Those days, the best results were eight As – yes, we only took eight subjects, even the most kiasu of us, and 17As were not just unheard of but would have been considered, appropriately, some kind of madness to subject a child to.

In our Sentul school, not really noted for its academic excellence, we were proud to have produced just one student with eight As. That was considered good for a school at that time.

Now we have whole classes – I exaggerate but in better schools it could go up to as much as a quarter or more – get As in all the subjects they sat for, usually nine or 10 but oftentimes going up to as high as 12.

And you have students who get As in all 10 subjects who still cry, not with happiness but dejection and disappointment.

This time I am not exaggerating. Why? I asked the same question. The answer: They had one or two A-!

In case you are not aware of it, we have three grades of A: A+, A and A-. If you thought that was bad and reflects our examination system, be warned that the University of Cambridge A levels have two levels of A: A* and A.

The whole world’s gone a bit wonky and just As alone is not enough any more. Now the best students have to get A+s and A*s before they are taken seriously by the most serious of higher institutions of learning – think of how much stress it causes students.

To add to that, our Government assured those who got 10 A+ last year that they would get a scholarship, putting even more pressure on pupils but fortunately, they seem to have abandoned that this year although they do not seem to have given students adequate notice.

Therefore, you have quite a number of all A+ students, 559 to be exact compared to 403 last year, not all of who will get a scholarship, which is not quite fair.

Perhaps it’s a case of too many getting all A+, and we need to have yet another category to weed out the super performers.

What we may need is an A++ perhaps. I jest of course, in case some people take me seriously, which I think is likely in our super-competitive society.

It must be clear to us that this tendency towards academic excellence is becoming just too much.

I have no way of checking this but I am told those who get 70-80% marks in the SPM get an A-, those who get 80-90% an A and those over 90% an A+.

I suppose we can have a category of A++ for those getting over 95%. Then what? Remember the limit is 100%.

It’s time we moved away from this increasing emphasis on only academic excellence and just stuck to a broader measure for As.

If you must, 70-85 can be categorised A and over 85 an A+ and leave it at that because its just not right or accurate to separate the categories to anything narrower than that.

The very mention of A- just takes away the achievement of having obtained an A.

Then we can take into account the other things that should matter in a person’s worth – his character, the extracurricular activities, behaviour in school, social skills, etc.

These should be incorporated into any selection system for scholarship or places in higher institutions via a scoring system which takes each of such other attributes into account.

But in all these arguments, we have forgotten one very important aspect. What about those who not only do not score all As but don’t do well in the exams. And that’s by far the majority of them.

Only 1.2 out of every 1,000 SPM students scored all A+. And only 2.1 out of 100 scored all As, which means some 98% of them don’t.

I would have wanted to see how many people scored all Es or all Ds. But none of the analysis showed that.

Are the SPM examinations helping the majority of students acquire the necessary skills to live, learn and work? What were the average grades? And where are the figures for that? Where is the analysis to show that?

Sometimes, in our obsessive chase for grades, which we disguise as a quest for excellence, we forget what education is supposed to do – the acquisition of basic skills that will enable us to live, learn, work, play and most of all think.

> Independent consultant and writer P Gunasegaram does not see a quick end anytime to the relentless – and mindless – chase for better and better grades.

QUESTION TIME By P. GUNASEGARAM


Source: The STAR Home News Opinion Wednesday March 28, 2012