June 24th, 2012

Excelling the stress-free way

ASSESSMENT is a vital component of education as it informs teachers, parents and the learners’ themselves about their progress in the learning curve, besides helping teachers and school administrators assess the effectiveness of teaching methods and school activities conducted to complement the teaching and learning process.

On Dec 17, 2010, the Cabinet agreed to introduce School-Based Assessment, or Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS), as part of the Education Transformation Plan to realign the education system from one that focuses largely on academic excellence to a more holistic assessment.

PBS emphasises assessment for learning and assessment of learning to ensure a more systematic mastery of knowledge.

PBS assesses each child holistically, taking into account the learner’s overall well-being (including the intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects) in tandem with the National Education Philosophy, as well as the Standard Curriculum for Primary Schools (KSSR).

PBS was introduced last year in all government and government-aided primary schools, and this year in all government and government-aided secondary schools. Thus Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) in 2016 and Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) 2014 will be revamped to accommodate the transformation.

What is PBS?

PBS is a holistic form of assessment which assesses the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, encompassing the intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects. PBS embraces both academic and non-academic fields.

Teachers are given due recognition and have the autonomy to conduct formative assessment during the learning process and also summative assessment at the conclusion of a learning unit or any other suitable time during the school year at their own discretion, taking into account their pupils’ readiness.

There are four components in the PBS; namely, Central Assessment; School Assessment; Assessment of Physical, Sports and Co-curricular Activities and Psychometric Assessment.

Central assessment involves one or more tasks set by the Examinations Syndicate but administered and graded by teachers based on scoring rubrics provided by the central body.

School assessment is set, administered, graded and reported by the school based on the requirements of the curriculum.

Learners’ participation and involvement in sports and co-curricular activities are recorded and reported in Assessment of Physical, Sports and Co-curricular Activities. Thus co-curricular activities also have a bearing on a pupil’s overall achievement.

Psychometric assessment is another non-academic component that measures pupils’ innate and acquired abilities.

Why PBS?

The objectives of the PBS are:

·To enhance the meaningfulness of assessment where the focus is more on pupils’ development and growth in learning rather than merely on their achievements in the form of scores or grades;

·To reduce the over-reliance and over-dependence on data (grades and scores) obtained through central examinations in getting information about pupils in the school system;

·To empower the school and teachers to conduct quality assessment of and for learning, involving their own pupils. Therefore school assessment will be given its due recognition and acknowledgement, and a significant place in the overall assessment system; and,

·To ensure the performance of pupils is comparable to accepted world standards in various areas of knowledge, skills, and competence, with the introduction of Standard-Referenced assessment in PBS.

What subjects are assessed through PBS?

PBS is used to assess all subjects taught in primary and lower secondary schools.

How do teachers implement PBS?

Teachers conduct formative assessment during the learning process and also summative assessment, which is normally carried out at the conclusion of a learning unit or at the end of a semester or at the end of the year.

This does not mean that teachers have to create test papers or handouts as instruments every time they wish to assess a pupil’s achievement. Teachers may carry out creative activities that are fun, to gather information about their pupils’ learning progress.

Homework, quizzes, question and answer sessions and even observations are all examples of activities which teachers could use as instruments to assess pupils’ development and growth.

The only difference now is that teachers have to record pupils’ learning progress systematically.

In order to help teachers record and report pupils’ progress, the Examinations Syndicate has developed the PBS Management System (SPPBS) which is web-based. SPPBS is also available in the standalone version for schools which do not have access to the Internet.

How is PBS different?

PBS concurs with the Standard Referenced Assessment in which pupils’ achievements are measured against a Performance Standard (Standard Prestasi) which is developed by the Examinations Syndicate and mapped from the standard curriculum.

Performance Standard explains the performance or mastery of a pupil in a particular field he undertakes within a learning period based on an identified benchmark.

Standard Referenced Assessment allows teachers as well as parents to trace and measure each pupil’s progress based on his performance measured against a set of performance indicators.

Thus, a learner’s achievement is no longer measured by comparing his grades/scores with those of his peers. In this manner, a learner only competes with himself.

Therefore a learner’s achievement is no longer gauged by his position in class. Instead his achievement is ranked with reference to bands One to Six; One being the lowest and Six the highest.

What are bands?

Learners’ achievements are reported with reference to Bands rather than Grades A,B,C etc, or raw scores, eg. 85%.

Band One shows that a learner tahu or knows. For example, in Mathematics, a Year One learner is able to recognise numbers 1,2,3 ...

Band Two reflects tahu dan faham or knows and understands, which in Mathematics refers to the ability to understand the value of numbers; for example, eight is less than nine, four is more than three etc.

Band Three records that a learner tahu, faham dan boleh buat, which shows that he is able to apply knowledge acquired. In Mathematics, Band Three shows that a learner can add, subtract, divide and multiply.

A learner who has attained Band Three is considered to have acquired the basic skills pertaining to the subject.

A learner who attains Band Four (tahu, faham dan boleh buat dengan beradap) shows the ability to solve an elementary mathematical operation using the correct protocol.

A Band Five (tahu, faham dan boleh buat dengan beradap) reflects the learner’s ability to solve problems. For example, if a spring chicken costs RM5, how many chickens can Ali buy with RM10?

Finally, a learner who is awarded a Band Six demonstrates the ability to make a value judgement and is creative or innovative in solving mathematical problems. For example, the blue shirt costs RM30 but it is on offer at 50% discount, thus it is better value compared to the same quality shirt on sale at RM20 nett.

Band Three is equal to a passing grade. Thus pupils who fail to achieve Band Three will be supported through remedial work to help them achieve a minimum Band Three.

PBS makes it possible for teachers to provide immediate feedback to pupils at each stage of the learning curve. The feedback based on the Performance Standard will enable teachers and pupils to identify their strengths and weaknesses during the learning process.

Thus, early detection of pupils’ inability to master a skill should enable the teachers to formulate remedial tasks to help them improve their learning and achievement accordingly.

Again, it is wise to remember that pupils are assessed against a set of performance indicators and not compared to the achievements of their peers.

Hence PBS enables learners’ to advance at their own pace in a less stressful learning environment.

Would PBS further burden teachers?

The main focus of PBS is assessment for and of learning. Assessment should be integrated in the learning process and be used to enhance pupils’ mastery of learning. If managed and implemented wisely, teachers would find PBS beneficial and less burdensome.

To ensure the smooth sailing of PBS, two applications – PBS Management System or SPPBS (Sistem Pengurusan Pentaksiran Berasakan Sekolah) and PAJSK (Pentaksiran Aktiviti Jasmani, Sukan dan Kokurikulum) – were developed to ensure teachers are not further burdened with clerical duties.

The applications store data pertaining to learners’ achievement which can be easily retrieved to report learners’ strengths and areas where more help is needed to parents and other interested parties.

What about teacher bias?

Teacher bias is largely reduced through quality assurance which ensures the reliability and validity of assessment outcomes.

Teachers are required to file evidence of pupils’ work as proof that the learner has attained the necessary skills to merit the bands they are awarded. In this context, quality assurance for PBS implementation is maintained through the process of mentoring, monitoring, moderation and detection at various levels.

Mentoring is the process of assisting, facilitating and guiding teachers to carry out PBS according to the correct procedures and principles of PBS.

Monitoring ensures that the correct procedures have been adhered to ensure the reliability and credibility of the assessment outcome.

Standardisation ensures uniformity of scores with reference to the Performance Standards based on the rubrics of an assignment.

Detection is the process that evaluates the strength, weaknesses and effectiveness of assessment tools.

Is the PBS a new invention?

No, it is not. Question and answer sessions, quizzes, homework and class work are all tools of assessment that have been employed by teachers to gauge their learners’ understanding. Teaching and learning is more fun and meaningful when assessment is cleverly designed and conducted.

Conclusion

PBS is being introduced as part of the National Transformation Programme to produce world-class human capital. It is one of the measures taken by the Malaysian Education Ministry to enhance pupils’ mastery of learning through the national assessment system and it is in-line with the Educational Transformation Plan.

The assessment transformation introduced by the Education Ministry via the PBS presents the idea that central examinations like the UPSR and PMR are no longer the sole form of evaluation in measuring pupils’ achievement.

Through the PBS, the ministry aims to help pupils’ realise their potential in both academic as well as non-academic fields within a learning environment that is more stress-free.

In a nutshell, PBS is an arduous endeavour that demands total commitment from teachers and school administrators to help each child reach their full potential.

SHARIFAH HADJARAH SYED ABDUL AZIZ CUSTOMER RELATIONS OFFICER EXAMINATIONS SYNDICATE EDUCATION MINISTRY
Source:
The STAR Online Home Education Sunday June 24, 2012

Step up to digital dare

One-off training sessions and workshops do little to help teachers become tech-savvy in this new era of teaching. Continuous hands-on training and technical support is what they need to make the most of what technology has to offer.

ARE we doing the right thing? Are our teachers ready to move towards a digital classroom?

My teenagers come home from school every day only to tell me how boring lessons were for that day. They would imitate the way the teachers spoke and almost always kind of knew beforehand what the teachers were going to say as it all only came out of the textbook they had in front of them!

The vast majority of teachers still do not feel adequately prepared to integrate technologies into their classroom teaching. Therefore they rely on traditional methods of instruction, leaving their technology tools unused!

Regular coaching: Exposing teachers to tools such as the SmartBoard helps create a change in classroom practice and makes learning fun and creative.

A lot of questions

We have been harping on using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in schools, teachers being technologically-savvy, training and more training ... many a time at the expense of sacrificing teaching and learning in schools, classrooms left without a teacher, all in the name of “training”. Is this all working out? Has there been an uphill performance of teachers in class?

To teachers who attend training on use of ICT in teaching and learning: Has the training been useful? Are you applying what you learnt during the training sessions? Has the training benefited the students in enhancing their learning process? Or, are we still at the same phase we were in some 30 years ago, when you and I were in school? Do we still teach in the same way our teachers did with us? Can we do better?

Obviously classrooms have not changed very much despite all the efforts in providing teaching tools of the new era. Despite being “connected”, we remain unconnected or do not connect to our students as we should. Although research has proven that technology integration in teaching and learning can help students develop higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills, yet the technology provided in schools is not fully utilised.

Traditional sit-and-get training sessions or one-time-only workshops have not been effective in making teachers comfortable with using technology and integrating it into their lessons. Professional development for teachers is a key issue in using technology to improve the quality of learning in the classroom.

A well-planned, ongoing professional development programme that is tied to the school’s curriculum goals, designed with built-in evaluation, and sustained by sufficient financial and staff support is vital if teachers are expected to use technology appropriately to promote learning in the classroom.

Dr Termit Kaur: Just knowing how to use a computer is not enough. Teachers must become knowledgeable about technology and be self-confident to integrate it effectively in the classroom.

Professional development activities should not be seen as a career leap but a leap in student learning. How many of us teachers go for training with improvement in student learning in mind? The ultimate goal of professional development of teachers should be to improve student learning.

Research shows that teacher quality is the factor that matters most for student learning. Teachers should therefore be provided with abundant opportunities to become fluent in using technology to bolster instruction and help students develop higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills.

As research suggests, there are various essential components in the professional development of teachers with regard to technology use. Examples include connection to student learning, hands-on technology use, a variety of learning experiences, curriculum-specific applications, collegial learning, active participation of teachers, sufficient time, administrative support, adequate resources, new roles for teachers, and technical assistance and support.

The essentials

Let’s look at some of these essential components and see how this can help benefit students’ learning.

Continuous professional development should enable teachers to implement new teaching techniques using technology and to help students work collaboratively, and develop higher-order thinking-skills. Teachers, in other words, must become “fearless in their use of technology” and empowered by the many opportunities it offers.

Time is often one of the many factors hindering teachers from using technology in their teaching and learning. Research shows that most teachers want to learn to use technology effectively, but they lack the time, access, and support necessary to do so.

The use of technology by teachers can encourage students to be engaged in the learning process and expose them to a broad range of information and experts.

Recent research has shown the importance of current professional development emphasising hands-on technology use. Teachers who receive technology training in the most recent times are more likely to integrate technology into their classroom lessons than teachers who have not had training.

Teachers who have continuous technology training feel better prepared to use technology in their teaching process. Hence they are more likely to use and rely on digital content for instruction. They are also more likely to spend more time searching for websites to use in class and to spend more time trying out software to be used for teaching.

Long-term learning

Teachers are given a one-off sit-down training workshop which obviously is not bringing any change to the teaching and learning process. Teachers are still not at ease to use existing technology, what more new technologies in the teaching and learning process thus making learning in classrooms a boring process.

It is time to make learning a little more interesting! Ongoing and continuous professional development experiences is what is needed to help teachers incorporate technology in ways that support powerful instruction.

Traditional workshops and how-to training sessions do not support teachers in making change happen in the teaching and learning process. Research proves that professional development for effective technology use can come in a variety of forms, such as mentoring, modelling, ongoing workshops, special courses, and structured observations.

Based on adult learning theories, professional development for adults would require relevant, concrete experiences with adequate support, appropriate feedback, and long-term follow-up. Research shows that this nature of professional development is poles apart from traditional one-time teacher workshops. It indicates that teachers discover and integrate new information best when it is presented over a long time frame instead of a single session.

Is it time to re-think our teacher professional development? It is time we move away from the one-off training sessions and one-off workshops that bring hardly any impact on the teaching and learning process. If we want teachers to integrate technology into their teaching and learning process, professional development has to be re-defined in our system.

Another important component of effective professional development for technology is access to on-site technical support personnel who are responsible for troubleshooting and assistance after the technology and lessons are in place.

When teachers are trying to use technology in their classrooms and they encounter difficulties, they need immediate help and support. Technology that is not easily accessed and implemented will not be used. Teachers will return to more traditional ways of teaching if the problems they encounter cannot be solved quickly and efficiently. Schools, therefore, have a vested interest in providing technical support.

Lack of professional development for technology use is one of the most serious obstacles to fully integrating technology into the curriculum. Whether technology should be used in schools is no longer the issue in education. Instead, the current emphasis is ensuring that technology is used effectively to create new opportunities for learning and to promote student achievement.

The bottom line

The transformation of classroom technology from hardware, software, and connections into tools for teaching and learning depends on knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers who are motivated and prepared to put technology to work on behalf of their students.

Yet, many teachers do not have the technical knowledge or skills to recognise the potential for technology in teaching and learning. Just knowing how to use a computer is not enough. Teachers must become knowledgeable about technology and self-confident enough to integrate it effectively in the classroom.

A high-quality professional development programme has to be conducted as an ongoing process, not a one-shot approach. Teachers need continued practice to become comfortable with and to implement change, especially in technology use. Professional development for technology use should provide opportunities for teachers to become comfortable and effective in using technology in their teaching.

Teachers should create a spark in the classroom by using new strategies during routine school days in the classroom. There has to be a change in practice. Teachers must use the new skills they acquire during professional development. However, follow-up support as well as opportunities for ongoing discussion and reflection on the new procedures is essential in ensuring change in the teaching and learning process.

DR TERMIT KAUR RANJIT SINGH SCHOOL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA
Source:
The STAR Online Home Education Sunday June 24, 2012

Been there, done that

EVERY once in a while the thought “How did I get this old?” flashes across the minds of teachers who have been in the service for 20 years or more.

It may happen when you need to fill in some form that requires your original appointment date, when you bump into a former student at the supermarket and discover that the hunky teenager next to him is his son, or when the school canteen staff begins to address you as “Auntie”.

It seems like only yesterday when you were this fresh, young teacher ready to begin your career in teaching with mixed feelings of anticipation and trepidation.

You can still remember the butterflies in your tummy the first day you had to report to school, and how you felt more like a student than a teacher when you had to meet your “senior” colleagues.

In fact, some of the students in the higher forms loomed over you and you suspected they knew exactly what you were feeling, which was a range of mixed emotions – proud that you had finally qualified as a “real” teacher, excited about putting to use all you had learnt during teacher-training, a little unsure about how you would fit in with the staff-room crowd, and nervous about the whole thing.

Then there were the little things that you were uncertain about, like where to get desk copies, or how to fill in those claim forms after attending a course.

At times you felt somewhat patronised when your colleagues went into elaborate detail each time you made an enquiry about such “trivial” stuff.

At other times you were infinitely thankful that despite the long-suffering look on their faces, they sometimes took the time to help you out knowing you were new and fumbling.

You think of your many faux pas, tickled at the memory of how clueless you may have come across during your first year of teaching.

But now the tables have turned. You look at the new teachers and smile knowingly at their obvious discomfiture. You’ve been there, you know what it’s all about.

In fact there are so many things you could tell these fresh, young teachers; the main thing being that there will be situations where nothing they had ever learnt in pedagogy class would be relevant.

You could tell them that there will be instances when their entire faith in the profession is either reinforced a hundredfold or shattered to smithereens.

But you could also tell them that they will learn to get wise, know their way around and make great strides in their people skills.

Over the years they will accumulate knowledge, skills and the experience of dealing with all types of students, ranging from the nerdy rocket-scientists-in-the making to those whose ambition in life is to sell pirated CDs at the night market.

They will learn how to respond to a student who is bent on making them look for another job and they will learn how to be on cordial terms with even the most difficult of their colleagues. Some of these things will be learnt no other way but the hard way.

Along the way they will make mistakes and mess up. They will learn that they will not always be popular and that human resentment can be triggered by the most trivial things, like the principal complimenting their dress sense in front of the other teachers. They will make some real friends and lose a few.

They will garner support and encouragement from their peers and discover the meaning of team work, that no man is an island.

They will grow older of course, just as you have, and may not remain the lithe, young things they used to be. Perhaps their hair will grey a little and those laughter lines grow a little deeper.

Some of them will get married, have children of their own and learn how to juggle family and career.

They may lose some of their popularity with the students to the young, newly-posted teachers, but in its place will be a deep, growing respect which is real and not based on superficialities.

They will acquire wisdom in their dealings with school matters and learn when it is alright to speak their mind and when to hold back.

There will be a quiet dignity in their step, and even if they walk a little slower they will be more certain of their destination.

No longer will they get up in the morning with a sense of panic, having prepared the wrong lesson for the wrong class, because they have dealt with such emergencies before and know exactly what to do.

On a different note, they will also be earning more money now and probably be zipping into the school carpark instead of having to take two buses to get to school.

Not only that, the non-teaching staff of the school will give them due respect in accordance with their status as senior teacher.

Some of them will get promoted and some won’t. While this may not have mattered very much, even when you first began teaching, now that you are much older, questions like: “So, what position are you holding now in school?” from those outside the teaching service, may rankle.

Of course there are teachers who have passed up promotions, preferring not to be part of the administrative circle. But there are those who have been unfairly by-passed and this can dampen their enthusiasm towards their job.

Unless they come to terms with it, they lose the joy of teaching and find themselves simply plodding along from day to day.

Still, deep inside, I think the fire never really dies.

Through all the ups and downs of your career, and despite the times you felt like quitting, you know deep within you why you have stayed the course all these years.

The truth is, you have actually grown into teaching. And the unique fulfilment that comes with being able to invest something of value into the lives of your students makes it all worthwhile.




Teacher Talk By MALLIKA VASUGI

Source: The STAR Online Home Education Sunday June 24, 2012

Always challenging the status quo

OUT OF THE BOX: Remembering the chief secretary's role in higher education

IF there is one thing that I will remember about Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, the chief secretary to the government, after he retires today it is his clarion call “to challenge the status quo.” This is not mere lip service.

There are many examples that one can quote of how his words translated into reality, and resulted in making the difference.

His passion is today more generally associated with the word “transformation” — that is making changes that resulted in making a difference, not those business-as-usual changes of little consequence.

In the higher education sector, Sidek has been very instrumental in changing many situations that have been left standing at the mercy of bureaucracy and indecisiveness. The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Rectors benefited much from the many special meetings with him to resolve such overdue issues and even pre-empt some new barriers. He seems to have the knack to spot where the problems lay and almost spontaneously suggests solutions for many of them.

Dzulkifli Abdul Razak

Needless to say, the special meetings with him are popular, and invariably send positive signals that challenging the status quo can be constructive, if there is an earnest desire to think out of the box.

Over time, the meetings became less frequent because not only were the major issues mostly sorted out, but others were more courageous to challenge the status quo in a meaningful way. This is the leading by example that Sidek has successfully demonstrated, subtly though it may be.

Personally, I recall it was on Jan  24, 2008, during the meeting of the Heads of Statutory Bodies at the Universiti Sains Malaysia campus in Penang, that his mantra to “challenge the status quo” created a clear impact. Not long after that the Ministry of Higher Education initiated the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (Apex) which in essence is about challenging the status quo.

I would go as far as putting on record that the drive to “grab” the Apex university status, for USM, is in no small way due to the same mantra. Indeed, USM’s bid is about “Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow!” The rest is history.

In fact, the stance that USM took was not merely challenging the status quo but has been regarded as disruptive as suggested by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring in their book, The Innovative University. USM’s Apex agenda on meeting the needs of the poor is a unique example.

During Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan’s term, major higher education issues were mostly sorted out.

But this is not all. Sidek continued to lend his support in navigating through the Apex journey when we came to a hurdle. He gave his time and mind in attempting to surmount such barriers, akin to the Malay problem: “menarik rambut dalam tepung” (solving a problem delicately so that both sides are happy with the outcome).

Therein he is consultative, and patient in listening to views from the rest before coming to a final conclusion.

Often, too, he has a number of anecdotal experiences to share in enriching such decision-making processes.

He is trusting and trustworthy which is one critical element for any transformation to thrive by challenging the status quo. He is far from a “control-freak” who refuses to let go and renders changes insignificant. On the contrary he is the initiator of major changes!

To be sure, challenging the status quo has its own risk too! Firstly, when the trust given is abused down the line, and not followed through.

Sidek is not immune to this which can result in some negative outcomes instead — perhaps this is  the inherent risk that makes many remain  trapped in the myopic boxes.  Secondly, the power-play that often scuttles the execution of the decisions made even at the highest levels at times. Fortunately, Sidek is experienced enough to deal with such unpleasant circumstances.

Thirdly, when the status quo comes back with a vengeance, especially when the transformation processes directly threaten their vested interest or egos.  This perhaps is the most fatal because it can roll back the transformation process as such.

Be that as it may, Sidek is no ordinary chief secretary. He is a game-changer. His feats and achievements will remain as benchmarks for a long time to come.

All this because in his own words: I don’t want to look back and say, why did I not make the difference when I was in the position to do so!

That sincere and profound thought will be remembered by all those who believe that work is indeed a calling — just like Sidek did.

Thank you, sir, for all that you  have done to serve the nation and its people beyond the normal call of duty!



By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak | vc@aiu.edu.my Source: New Straits Times Columnist 23 June 2012 

A Graft-Free Culture

CLEAR MESSAGE: Unless this scourge is tackled on a serious footing, the cost to the nation will be more than it can bear

TAN Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, the former top civil servant and reputedly a man of high integrity, has one simple wish as he retired after 38 years in the government service -- that the country's civil service is incorruptible.

A few months ago, when launching an anti-corruption drive among public sector workers, Sidek said government servants should send a strong signal to the nation that they abhor corruption.

"If previously we used to hear or read about civil servants being arrested for corruption, we hope that through this campaign, there will be stories of members of the public being arrested for attempting to bribe officers of the civil service.

"We should send a strong message, a simple message -- that the public service is incorruptible," he was quoted by Bernama as saying.

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The campaign was targeted mainly at the main enforcement agencies such as the Police, Customs, Immigration, local authorities and the Road Transport Department, which are more often than not the target of bribe-givers.

The message from Sidek, who will now take over the helm of Petronas as chairman, was crystal-clear: that there should be a corruption-free culture in the government service in Malaysia and that no one in the service is above the law.

This can be a tall order where perception of corrupt practices has not improved much in Malaysia despite endless anti-corruption efforts by the government and the private sector.

This perception was arguably strengthened when Malaysia dropped four places from 56 to 60 in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for last year.

Unlike in Hong Kong or Singapore, where there had been a spate of high-level arrests of corrupt officials and corporate people recently, there have been a dearth of fresh high-profile cases in Malaysia that could make a big impact in the fight against corruption.

Until recently, former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo was the highest-ranking politician to be convicted for corruption in many years, although he was not the first menteri besar to be hauled up for graft.

Besides receiving a one-year jail sentence, the judge had also ordered Dr Khir's land and bungalow to be forfeited. Presiding judge Datuk Mohtarudin Baki, when delivering the sentence, said: "This is a heinous crime that demands a deterrent sentence."

Besides Dr Khir, former ministers Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy are facing separate corruption charges in court.

To be fair, there has been some success in the fight against corruption, but these measures are not enough to counter the notion that the "big fish", rather than the ikan bilis, are the ones that the authorities should be after, if they are really serious in the war against corruption.

Pemandu, which drives the seven National Key Result Areas including corruption, noted that perception towards petty corruption, efforts and initiatives implemented throughout 2010 and last year were being felt by the public.

These measures include making the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) "name and shame" list public. Others measures include enforcing the Whistleblower Protection Act and the setting up of compliance units within the five key enforcement agencies.

While these steps are commendable, the MACC should also focus on tackling the so-called "grand corruption", or high-level corruption, which will have a lasting impact on Malaysia's global ranking on corruption.

MACC already has a database of more than 900 people convicted of corrupt practices. Their names will only be removed from the list three years from the date of conviction.

MACC has said that at least two multinationals and a company belonging to a royal family will be on the list.

Corruption, if unchecked, could cost the country a staggering RM10 billion a year or between one and two per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Other side-effects of corruption include reduced public trust in government and making the poor more vulnerable.

Basically, corruption destroys people's trust in public institutions given the correlation between corruption, trust and poverty.

Corruption is also perceived as one of the impediments to economic growth and prosperity.

As such, the government has included corruption as one of the seven NKRAs under the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) as we embark on the road to become a high-income nation by 2020.

No culture tolerates corruption. It simply increases the cost of doing business. It is, in fact, part of bread and butter issue.

More businessmen and ordinary voters will certainly warm up to the government if it shows that it means business in the fight against corruption.

There must be strict enforcement and that no one is above the law. Both the "giver" and the "taker" are equally guilty.

There must also be a simpler way for members of the public to deal with government departments to avoid incidences of corruption.

The government procurement policy should be overhauled. There must be better accountability and transparency across all levels of the procurement process.

Sidek brings his vast work experience to Petronas, where there is already a strong culture against graft and unethical behaviour.

Its code of conduct and business ethics, for example, states a "no gifts" policy that prohibits the receiving and offering of gifts between the staff and external parties.

There is no reason why other companies in Malaysia cannot emulate this.



A. Jalil Hamid is NSTP Group managing Editor
 By A. Jalil Hamid  | jalil@nstp.com.my 
Source: New Straits Times Columnists Sunday 24 June 2012

Good Teachers: Experience and passion matter more

TEACHING is the profession that teaches all others and the cardinal mistake is to think that qualifications make a good teacher. They don't. When you're faced with 30 to 50 truculent students, qualifications do not count for much.

If you don't have the right personality, you'll suffer in the bear-pit of today's classrooms. An article in The Guardian some time back stated that there were four types of teachers who were effective: the despot, the carer, the charmer and the rebel.

Despotic teachers are literally "The Terminator" of teaching; the tough guy or gal who everyone turns to when the going gets really tough. They are nearly always very experienced teachers who know not only all the pupils but their parents as well. Most "books" don't advocate this approach to teaching, but I have to admit it can be very effective, even if morally dubious. Despotic teachers often extract fantastic work from their pupils, and rarely have to use their full armoury. Their reputations are usually enough. They are often highly organised, making their classrooms into small fortresses.

Carers take on the role of surrogate parents to their pupils. Many don't have degrees, and have been appointed as "mentors" or "support teachers" to help struggling pupils plan out their lives. Usually, pupils love seeing their mentors, and learn from them the vital skill of "taking responsibility for their own learning".

The "charmer", one that I subscribe to in my approach to teaching, is quite different from both the above examples. They can be a disorganised species, living off adrenaline and wit. They are frequently highly academic, seeking to be mates with their students and to understand them and play with them. With this sort of teacher, the classroom becomes one great big, bouncing playground of learning.

The most controversial but often most effective kind of teacher is the rebel. These teachers see school as a place that should aim to transform society. Unfortunately, they have become a dying breed.

But, the crucial point here is that none of these teachers learned their skills by getting a good degree; they learned them on the job. All can ­improve by watching other good ­teachers in the classroom and learning from their techniques. Research shows that all the best teachers motivate their pupils to work hard and assess them regularly.

So, instead of demoralising teachers with ill-informed comments about what makes a good teacher, the authorities should commit themselves to putting enough money and time into training teachers.

The current policy, if implemented, won't improve the standard of teaching and will instead further dishearten an already deflated profession.


By R. Murali Rajaratenam, Kuala Lumpur 
Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 24 June 2012 

Good Teachers: A good salary will help

I REFER to the report "What makes a good teacher?" last Sunday. I think what makes a good teacher is a good salary.

Teachers, like other workers, work for money and the better they are paid, the more passion they will have for the job.

A teacher has his or her own needs plus those of their families, and these needs must be satisfied before the teacher can be effective in the classroom.

I could never identify with the school of thought that teachers are social workers who would go overboard to inspire and motivate their students, even to the point of establishing a personal relationship with them and their families.

A teacher is simply the medium between the book and the students. The relationship between the teacher and his or her students is a professional one, not a social or a friendly one. Teachers who want to be respected must keep their distance and their privacy.

A trained teacher has at his or her disposal all the tools to conduct lessons and to make sure that students learn.

With a trained teacher there is no possibility of the students not learning or failing an exam.

A true teacher is serious, disciplined, just and firm. A good teacher commands the respect of his or her students and has no problem completing the syllabus.

My final observation is that a good teacher cannot be a teacher for long.

He or she will want to progress the same way students progress. And so after five or 10 years of teaching a good teacher will want to become a head teacher, a head of department and perhaps even a principal.


By Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur 
Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 24 June 2012 

Good Teachers: Offer a shoulder for students to lean on

EDUCATORS play a very important role in nation-building. There is no doubt that they have taught many students, who later go on to become successful professionals, such as doctors, engineers and lawyers, holding important positions in society and the nation.

Without teachers, it would be very difficult, if not impossible for society to develop and advance.

However, besides the basic duty of teaching, a good educator is someone who can nurture his or her students' potential and turn them into all-rounders.

A good and respected teacher is also a good companion, friend and counsellor to students, people that can be depended on in hard times.

.

 Nor Azlida Mohamed of SK Sungai Berua, Terengganu, teaching Orang Asli children to read and write. Educators play a vital role in nation-building.
 

Today's demanding lifestyle sometimes leave students tense.

If students can talk to teachers and vent their frustrations, it will help curb depression and suicide among students.

As pointed out by William Doraisamy in an interview last week, one need not be a graduate to be a good teacher. Many non-graduate teachers have proven that they possess the ability to teach and make their lessons interesting, and fun.

Their passion, humility, dedication, emotional maturity, experience, strong personality, knowledge, wisdom, and courage enable them to teach with distinction. These teachers are truly the nation's unsung heroes.




By David Tih, Malacca
Source: 
New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 24 June 2012 

Liberalisme, sekularisme musuh Islam

PADA awal abad ke-20 (1905-1980), ahli falsafah Perancis yang terkenal Jean Paul-Sartre mencabar kewujudan Tuhan dengan menyatakan: "Sekalipun Tuhan itu ada, ia masih boleh ditolak, kerana Tuhan menghalang kebebasan kita".

Sartre, pemenang Hadiah Nobel 1964, antara ilmuwan besar Barat yang mempromosi aliran pemikiran existensialisme. Aliran ini kemudiannya meledakkan bahana fikir yang amat besar di seluruh dunia, malah sangat dibangga-banggakan oleh masyarakat sastera sejagat.

Existensialisme sangat berkembang-biak dalam budaya cerdik pandai masyarakat Barat, dan menjadi tunjang kepada kebangkitan sastera di Eropah dengan dikepalai oleh Albert Camus (1913-1960) melalui novel The Outsider (1942). Camus dengan sumbangan seninya yang mempertikaikan Tuhan, turut menerima Anugerah Nobel (1960).


Penguat kuasa Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan merampas buku pendukung lesbian, gay, biseksual dan transeksual (LGBT)
berjudul "Allah, Liberty and Love" tulisan Irshad Manji di kedai buku kompleks beli-belah di Kuala Lumpur, Mei lalu.

Seratus tahun kemudian, Barat dipenuhi dengan kepelbagaian gerakan "ilmiah" yang saling bersekutu dalam menentang Tuhan dan nilai-nilai agama. Ancamannya di dunia Islam pada awal hingga pertengahan abad ke-20 amat terkekang. Namun kehadiran Salman Rushdie melalui novel The Satanic Verses pada 1988 mula menggoncang keadaan. Akhirnya, pada dekad pertama abad ke 21, gerakan anti agama menyerap masuk ke negara Islam dan mula bersikap anti Islam.

Kehadiran pelobi liberalisme, pluralisme dan penyokong kemerdekaan seks untuk pengamal Lesbian, Gay, Biseksual dan Transgender (LGBT) adalah kombinasi sekutu-sekutu gerakan anti Tuhan/Agama yang mula berdiri dengan berani mendepani masyarakat Malaysia yang selama ini ditunjangi oleh nilai agama sebagai amalan kehidupan. Sekali gus menentang Islam.

Selain negara ini, ancaman gerakan penentang Tuhan ini turut mengancam masyarakat Indonesia yang juga berpegang pada Islam sebagai nilai kehidupan.

Menurut Ketua Program Pendidikan Islam, Universiti Ibnu Khaldun, Bogor Indonesia, Dr. Adian Husaini, pelobi liberalisme mengambil kesempatan di atas meledaknya gerakan keterbukaan dunia terhadap ekonomi, politik dan hak asasi, dengan menyusup masuk ke akar umbi negara bangsa untuk menentang nilai-nilai agama terutama di kalangan masyarakat yang berpegang teguh pada hukum agama sebagai teras kepada nilai kehidupan.

"Pelobi liberalisme mahu setiap agama tunduk kepada perubahan. Idea terpenting dalam liberalisasi ialah the idea of progress yakni idea tentang kemajuan dan tidak ada yang tetap. Bagi pelobi sekularisme dalam mengembangkan pluralisme, tiada lagi syariat dan hukum. Agama hendaklah berubah mengikut peredaran masa," jelasnya.

Justeru katanya, kehadiran Irsyad Manji untuk mencabar amalan Islam dan budaya luhur di Malaysia dan Indonesia, adalah agenda yang jelas untuk mempromosi liberalisasi antara pelbagai agama.

"Mengapa dia mengembangkan liberalisme? Baginya Irshad Manji, sekarang tidak lagi sekatan, contohnya perkahwinan Muslim dan bukan Muslim. Itu boleh demi liberalisasi," kata Adian.

Dr. Adian berkata demikian ketika dijemput menjadi panel Bicara terbitan TV Alhijrah baru-baru ini. Turut hadir sebagai panel, Setiausaha Politik Perdana Menteri, Datuk Shahlan Ismail. Program Bicara yang bersiaran langsung selama sejam ini, dihoskan Pakar Motivasi, Amin Idris.

Berhubung isu penyebaran dan penularan gerakan sekularisme yang sangat agresif dalam mempromosi budaya menentang Tuhan dan nilai-nilai beragama di kalangan umat Islam, Shahlan berkata, sekularisme ini ialah ibu segala macam pemikiran yang berkembang dengan kaedah perancangan jahat untuk memisahkan kehidupan duniawi dan ukhrawi.

"Mereka menolak nilai-nilai umat Islam yang selama ini berpegang pada iktikad keyakinan wujudnya Hari Kebangkitan. Jika sudah tidak ada lagi iktikad kebangkitan semula, apa ertinya dosa dan pahala, apa erti syurga dan neraka," tegasnya.

Bagi pelobi sekularisme yang berjuang mempromosi liberalisme dan pluralisme pula, beliau menyifatkannya sebagai golongan yang menolak Islam dan Rukun Negara. Bukankah Rukun Negara pertama itu sendiri meletakkan Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan, jika tidak percaya wujudnya Tuhan, "nanti akan timbul pula isu atheist.

Mereka mahukan segala nilai Islam yang berkaitan dengan keimanan turut ditolak. Tiada lagi panduan nilai agama dan tidak ada lagi kepercayaan kepada ketuhanan apa lagi hal-hal keimanan kepada yang ghaib, juga tidak ada lagi hukum hakam dalam Fiqh," katanya.

Shahlan turut menyeru cendekiawan Islam supaya bersatu dalam soal mendepani dan menentang gerakan anti agama ini. Katanya, pemikir dan aktivis Islam harus duduk bersama, bersepakat dan menyusun strategi yang ampuh bagi menyingkir pengaruh serta penularan idea sekularisme yang berpaksikan pada pluralisme, liberalisme dan mendokong gerakan LGBT yang terang-terangan didokong oleh beberapa pemimpin dan nama-nama tempatan yang sengaja mencabar Islam dan institusi kenegaraan.

"Bahayanya tuntutan golongan Liberalisme ini dalam konteks Malaysia, mereka menolak apa yang telah termaktub dalam perlembagaan kita. Jika dibiarkan mereka akan menuntut supaya anak yang baru lahir dalam keluarga Islam pun tidak secara automatiknya beragama Islam," katanya.

Tegas Shahlan lagi, anasir sekularisme ini turut mendesak supaya mualaf yang memeluk Islam juga bebas kembali ke agama asal mereka. Malah, bagi isu tuntutan untuk bertukar agama, tidak perlu dirujuk di mana-mana mahkamah Syariah, malah sebaliknya, tiap pemohon bebas bertukar agama dengan memohon di mahkamah sivil.

Merujuk kepada suasana di Indonesia masa kini, Dr. Adian melahirkan kebimbangan kerana penyusupan gerakan anti agama ini kini bertapak kukuh dan mempunyai pengaruh di negara umat Islam terbesar dunia itu.

"Akar liberalisme agama sebenarnya berakar dari Yahudi. Munculnya liberal judaismmembentuk sektor utama dalam agama Yahudi," tegasnya.

Malah Dr. Adian turut membentangkan fakta, betapa Indonesia sangat terbuka pada pengaruh sekularisme yang bersifat memusuhi agama kerana negara itu antara yang terawal di rantau ini disusupi aliran freemason yang dianggap ibu bagi segala pemberontakan terhadap agama.

"Gerakan liberal Barat yang digelar freemason bermula pada 1717, kemudian masuk ke Amerika pada 1735. Freemason Berjaya melaksanakan Revolusi Amerika pada 1176 dan 12 tahun sebelum kejayaan revolusi itu, mereka sudah bertapak di Indonesia pata 1764," jelasnya.

Disoal mengenai Irshad Manji, Dr. Adian menjelaskan, Irshad Manji berani berterus terang sebagai wanita Muslim yang mengamalkan gaya hidup lesbian, malah mencabar Fatwa Majlis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) berhubung pengharaman lesbian.

"Irshad Manji menolak dan mencabar MUI dan menyifatkan fatwa pengharaman itu sebagai tidak merujuk pada al-Quran. Malah dicelanya ulama sebagai golongan yang belum tentu diterima Tuhan," katanya.

Dengan nada memperingatkan pejuang Islam di Malaysia agar berhati-hati dan bersiap-siaga mendepani jihad menentang golongan anti Islam ini, Dr. Adian mendedahkan, liberalisme ini akhirnya akan menghancurkan agama. Golongan anti agama ini tidak mahu berpegang pada hukum Allah malah mahu mengaturkan hidup berdasarkan nilai-nilai kebebasan dalam tafsiran mereka sendiri.

Mengakhiri debat dalam Bicara, Shahlan turut mengingatkan remaja Islam agar berwaspada dengan gejala hedonism (hiburan tanpa batas), yang turut dilihat sebagai anasir anti agama yang menyusup masuk ke dalam masyarakat melalui keindahan 'seni' yang mereka cipta.

"Hedonisme turut menjadi alat penyusupan ideologi pluralisme dan sekularisme, kerana hedonisme turut mempromosi budaya kebebasan berhibur yang semata-mata untuk memuaskan nafsu," tegasnya.

Shahlan meminta umat Islam menelaah diri, serta kekal konsisten dalam mempertahankan Islam. Umat Islam sudah terlalu terbeban dengan masalah perpecahan dan sengketa sesama umat. Anehnya di saat-saat kita menghulur tangan untuk bersatu padu sesama agama dan bangsa, ada saja suara-suara yang menolak atas berbagai alasan.

Hal ini harus difikirkan oleh kita bersama bahawa siapakah watak-watak yang mahukan kita berterusan berpecah seperti hari ini. Kata Perdana Menteri bahawa pintu perbincangan sentiasa terbuka antara UMNO dengan pihak-pihak lain tetapi apakah jawapan yang telah mereka berikan.

"Agenda idealisme anti-Islam ini harus diperangi. Adalah malang bagi umat Islam sekiranya, gerakan jahat ini berjaya menjajah kita semata-mata kerana Islam itu menjadi lemah kerana perpecahan dan sengketa sesama umatnya," tegasnya mengakhiri perbincangan.




Oleh ZAINAL RASHID AHMAD PENULIS ialah Pengurus Besar Penerbitan Kandungan TV Al Hijrah
Sumber:
Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 23/06/2012

Iklan miang dan mentaliti silo

AKHIR-AKHIR ini produk kesihatan tradisional cukup banyak dalam pasaran. Ada antara pengusahanya tidak takut, tidak lokek malah tidak ragu-ragu melabur untuk mempromosikan produk mereka dengan mengiklankannya di media terutamanya akhbar-akhbar tempatan.

Tahniah! Penulis tumpang gembira. Ini bermakna semakin ramai orang biasa khususnya orang kampung yang berani berjinak-jinak dengan dunia perniagaan, menjual ramuan ubat yang dulunya mungkin hanya dibuat untuk dipakai sendiri, saudara-mara atau kenalan rapat.

Penulis memang tidak ada masalah dengan produk-produk tradisional ini. Apatah lagi kebanyakannya berserta kelulusan Kementerian Kesihatan. Maknanya produk ini dijamin selamat digunakan, bukan beracun dan mengancam kesihatan.

Jadi seperti yang penulis sebut tadi, memang penulis tidak ada masalah dengan produk.

Cuma yang penulis kurang berkenan, pendekatan iklan yang digunakan untuk mempromosikan produk tersebut terutama segala macam ubat kuat tenaga batin baik untuk lelaki dan wanita.

Rata-ratanya nampak remeh, gatal dan berorientasikan seks murahan.

Dialog-dialog miang yang digunakan bagi penulis bukan sahaja tidak sesuai malah agak tidak senonoh. Lebih-lebih lagi apabila ia diungkapkan oleh model-model berumur separuh abad yang sebaya dengan datuk nenek kita. Nak tengok iklan itu pun kita jadi segan.

Oleh kerana pendekatan yang digunakan agak kekampungan, ia tidak melambangkan wawasan syarikat atau produk yang hendak dipasarkan.

Pendek kata, ia menyebabkan persembahan iklan itu menjadi tidak profesional.

Sepatutnya iklan itu ‘menjual’ produk dengan menceritakan khasiatnya terutama dari segi fakta saintifik. Setidak-tidaknya berceritalah tentang ramuan produk yang dijamin boleh menguatkan tenaga. Dan bercakap soal tenaga tentulah bukan untuk satu tujuan itu sahaja.

Dengan membuat iklan model berumur separuh abad yang mengungkapkan dialog gatal, ia telah menyempitkan pasaran produk tersebut kepada kelompok tertentu.

Tidak mungkin produk itu hanya disasarkan untuk kumpulan lelaki dan wanita separuh abad, yang berpoligami atau bermadu dan tidak ada benda lain yang difikirkan selain seks, seks dan seks.

Sepatutnya pengusaha ubat-ubat kuat ini berfikir di luar kotak. Mereka patut menyasarkan produk kepada khalayak yang lebih besar. Buat iklan yang sesuai untuk semua lapisan umur supaya tidaklah segan orang hendak menatapnya.

Ubat-ubat kuat tenaga keluaran jenama terkenal Pfizer misalnya tidak bergantung kepada dialog-dialog gatal untuk melariskannya.

Iklan ubat kuat sepatutnya umum untuk menguatkan tenaga - supaya lebih gagah dan bersemangat untuk bekerja, beriadah atau bersukan. Bukan dengan konotasi seks semata-mata.

Barulah pasaran produk itu menjadi lebih besar dan meluas, menjangkaui pengguna berbilang usia, latar belakang dan kerjaya. Bukan hanya untuk lelaki separuh abad yang tak ada kerja lain tetapi asyik memikirkan benda yang satu itu sahaja. Berapa kerat sangatlah golongan ini. Dan pulangan jualan juga tentulah menjadi terhad juga.

Ubat kuat

Pendekatan iklan segelintir syarikat ubat kuat ini bagi penulis ada kaitannya dengan mentaliti silo yang disebutkan oleh Perdana Menteri baru-baru ini.

Walaupun peringatan itu ditujukan kepada kakitangan awam yang terlalu taksub dengan pendekatan kerja cara lama, rasanya ia juga sesuai diguna pakai dalam konteks iklan produk berbaur seks ini. Ini kerana ia ada hubung kait dengan cara kerja, baik awam mahupun swasta.

Perumpamaan lama pun ada untuk menggambarkan keadaan ini iaitu ‘umpama katak di bawah tempurung’.

Katak yang khusus ini dunianya di bawah tempurung itulah. Kecil dan tertutup. Sebab itu orang tua-tua berpesan jangan jadi macam katak di bawah tempurung.

Sayangnya anak muda zaman sekarang, katak pun tak pernah jumpa, tempurung lagilah pula.

Sebab itu penggunaan mentaliti silo ini cukup sesuai untuk digunakan pada masa ini. Maklumlah dalam dunia siber dan Facebook menjadi buku teks mereka, permainan popular rangkaian sosial itu iaitu Farmville pada satu tahap pasti berjumpa dengan silo.

Silo atau silinder tinggi daripada kayu atau konkrit ini gunanya untuk menyimpan makanan ternakan. Jika masa perang, silo ini juga kubu bawah tanah untuk menyimpan peluru.

Pokoknya ia tempat simpanan yang tertutup.

Jadi orang yang bermentaliti silo ini tidak berfikiran jauh sebab dunianya hanya sekitar ruang yang sempit itu.

Kalau dalam keadaan pekerja pejabat sekarang rasanya boleh juga digelarkan dengan mentaliti kubikel. Mereka enggan berfikir di luar kubikel atau ruang tempat mereka bekerja. Pantang sekali!

Dengan kata lain, kerja engkau kerja engkau, kerja aku kerja aku. Jadi kerap kalinya idea engkau untuk engkau, idea aku untuk aku. Jadi walaupun aku ada idea untuk memperbaiki kerja engkau, aku simpan sahaja sebab itu bukan kerja aku. Begitu juga sebaliknya.

Mungkin sebab itu mereka yang mempunyai mentaliti silo dan kubikel ini amat mudah berpuas hati atau perasan bagus. Sebab mereka tidak membuat perbandingan dengan dunia di luar silo atau kubikel mereka.




Coretan Marhaen
Sumber: Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 24/06/2012

Apa menariknya filem mafia?

"I’m gonna make him an offer he can‘t refuse." (Saya akan beri tawaran yang dia tidak boleh tolak) kata Don Corleone kepada Johnny Fontane mengenai pemilik studio Woltz dalam babak awal filem The Godfather.

Ia adalah ungkapan ayat paling terkenal dipetik dari filem arahan Francis Ford Coppola pada 1972 bukan sahaja di kalangan profesional pemasaran, peguam, ejen insurans, ah long tetapi juga ibu bapa (dalam menangani kedegilan anak!).

Diadaptasi daripada novel tulisan Mario Puzo, buku kisah mafia terlaris sejak ia diterbitkan pada 1969.


TANGAN Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) dicium sebagai tanda hormat kepada ketua mafia dalam filem
The Godfather terbitan 1972 yang dianggap terhebat sepanjang zaman.

Godfather (bermaksud bapa angkat kepada kanak-kanak mengikut tradisi Kristian) mengisahkan sebuah keluarga kumpulan jenayah terancang Mafia Sicily berpusat di kota New York, diketuai oleh Don Vito Corleone (lakonan Marlon Brando).

Novel ini berlatar belakang dari tahun 1945 hingga 1955, turut memperkenalkan kepada umum istilah yang digunakan oleh penjenayah berketurunan Itali iaitu consiglieri, caporegime, Cosa Nostra dan omerta iaitu kod senyap - tidak bekerjasama dengan pihak berkuasa.

Karya Puzo ini kemudiannya diangkat menjadi filem pada 1972 dan ekoran kejayaannya, diterbitkan filem susulan iaitu The Godfather II (1974) dan ketiga, 1990. Secara umumnya, filem pertama dan kedua disifatkan filem terhebat sepanjang zaman. Apakah yang menyebabkan filem ini dilabel sedemikian?

Banyak hujah telah dipaparkan menerusi kajian ilmiah sinematografi, sosiologi dan kriminologi sepanjang empat dekat yang lalu. Antara yang diiktiraf dalam filem ini ceritanya digarap dengan begitu baik, yang mirip kepada insiden sebenar pertempuran antara kumpulan mafia dan realiti terhadap ketumpulan jentera pihak berkuasa menanganinya ketika itu.

Filem ini juga dikritik sebagai cubaan untuk meromantiskan mafia, seolah-olah sebuah entiti yang berpaksi pada nilai-nilai kekeluargaan bermoral tinggi menerusi pemaparan watak Don Corleone kepada anak-anaknya. Sebagai ketua mafia yang sudah lanjut usia, dia mahu menurunkan tampuk kuasa kepada anaknya tetapi yang sulung (Sonny) mati dibunuh, yang kedua (Fredo) pula kurang cerdik dan ketiga, tidak berminat (Michael lakonan Al Pacino).

Ia disifat oleh pengkritik semacam menggalakkan lebih ramai menyertai mafia. Walhal bisnes mafia yang sebenar adalah dadah, pelacuran dan peras ugut. Bagi anda yang belum pernah menonton filem ini, antara adegan yang paling ngeri bila Woltz terjaga di katilnya dengan kepala kuda miliknya yang telah dipenggal oleh konco-konco Don Corleone untuk memastikan anak angkatnya Johnny Fontane mendapat peranan dalam filem.

Oleh kerana filem Godfather dilabel sebagai romantika mafia, filem-filem genre mafia seterusnya menjadi perhatian terutama dari segi pemaparan realiti mafia. Ia termasuklah filem Goodfellas terbitan 1990. Juga diadaptasi daripada buku bukan fiksyen oleh Nicholas Pileggi yang menyorot kisah benar anggota kumpulan mafia Lucchese, Henry Hill dari tempoh 1955 hingga 1980.

Sesuatu yang luar biasa bagi penjenayah tegar seperti Henry Hill ialah dia mati secara ‘semula jadi’ iaitu kerana kanser pada usia 69 tahun pada 14 Jun lalu. Semula jadi bermakna dia tidak mati dibunuh seperti lumrah seorang mafia.

Selebriti

Dia ialah anggota kumpulan Lucchese selama 25 tahun (berbeza dengan Corleone yang hanya nama rekaan) sehinggalah dia berpaling tadah menjadi saksi pendakwaan bagi pihak berkuasa Amerika Syarikat terhadap kumpulan Lucchese. Hill secara tidak langsung menjadi seorang mafia selebriti ekoran penerbitan filem Goodfellas arahan Martin Scorcese dengan Ray Liotta membawa watak dirinya dan Robert de Niro serta Joe Pesci sebagai rakan kumpulannya yang kejam.

Hill ialah pengedar dadah, memeras peniaga, merompak barang kemas dan wang tunai, termasuk rompakan terkenal pada 1978 di terminal kargo udara Lufthansa di Lapangan Terbang JFK di New York.

Apabila merasakan dirinya akan dibunuh kerana mengetahui terlalu banyak mengenai rompakan itu, dia berpaling tadah dan memberi keterangan mendakwa Jimmy Burke. Hill diletakkan di bawah Program Perlindungan Saksi Persekutuan.

Hill bersama isteri dan dua anaknya menukar nama dan berpindah-randah di seluruh AS, bermula di Omaha. Oleh kerana kehidupan jenayah sudah sebati, Hill dikeluarkan dari program tersebut ekoran penahanannya atas jenayah merompak, memukul, memandu dalam keadaan mabuk dan mengedar dadah. Pihak berkuasa menukar identitinya, tetapi ternyata Hill tidak boleh mengubah dirinya.

Tahun-tahun terakhirnya Hill memenuhi kriteria selebriti mafia. Dia suka diwawancara, malah menulis buku resipi masakan. Memang luar biasa untuk pembelot mafia boleh hidup lama dan kemudiannya bercerita mengingati kisah lampau mengenai jenayah yang dilakukan, seolah-olah seorang bekas ahli sukan bercerita mengenai jejak Olimpiknya.

Filem Goodfellas, menurut seorang bekas mafia, adalah pemaparan jelas kehidupan seorang mafia iaitu sentiasa cemas, suka bercakap besar, kaki gaduh dan kaki mabuk. Semua ini bertentangan dengan paparan dalam The Godfather.

Beberapa filem mafia seumpamanya juga memilih pendekatan Scorsese iaitu anti-Godfather.

Donnie Brasco terbitan 1997, juga kisah hebat penyamaran ejen FBI dalam kumpulan Bonnano. Cuma pemilihan Johnny Depp sebagai Brasco adalah aneh tatkala Brasco sebenar berbadan gempal tetapi dilakonkan oleh Depp yang kurus.

Mengapa filem genre mafia diminati ramai? Satu definisi Mafia yang dirumuskan oleh seorang pengkaji dari Sicily (pulau kelahiran mafia), Giuseppe Pitre ialah: Mafia adalah sifat bawah sedar seseorang, konsep yang diperbesarkan mengenai kekuatan individu sebagai penentu (arbiter) setiap konflik, setiap pertembungan kepentingan atau idea-idea.

Konsep ‘penentu’ individu mafia iaitu sebarang masalah diselesaikan sendiri tanpa mahu melapor kepada pihak berkuasa (polis dan mahkamah). Ini adalah konsep yang pantas didakap oleh penggemar filem mafia. Anda bagaimana?

Johardy Ibrahim
Sumber:
Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 24/06/2012

Usah bertuhankan nafsu politik

ISLAM dan Melayu amat sinonim dan strategik. Jika mana-mana musuh mahu melemahkan atau menguasai negara Malaysia ini dalam jangka panjang, satu strategi yang wajar digunakan adalah melemahkan kecintaan orang Melayu kepada Islam.

Amat unik dan menarik bahawa Perkara 160 (2) Perlembagaan Malaysia memperuntukkan bahawa orang Melayu mestilah beragama Islam, mengamalkan adat budaya Melayu, bertutur menggunakan bahasa Melayu.

Dari segi akal, adalah mustahil orang Melayu akan merelakan Parlimen meminda peruntukan perlembagaan ini. Kecuali majoriti mereka atau ahli-ahli Parlimen Melayu telah dipukau atau gila.

Maka wajarlah kita orang Melayu bersyukur kepada Allah SWT kerana mengilhamkan kepada bapa-bapa kemerdekaan negara supaya memaktubkan definisi ini ke dalam perlembagaan. Itulah lambang kecintaan orang Melayu kepada Islam. Mana ada kelompok etnik di dunia yang dijasadkan dengan agama Islam dalam perlembagaan negara mereka.

Malah hanya di Malaysia sahaja orang Melayu dimeterikan dengan label Islam. Dan masyarakat Melayu akan gempar seolah-olah ditimpa bencana alam jika ada salah seorang Melayu dilaporkan melakukan sesuatu yang mencalarkan imej keislaman kaumnya, apatah lagi jika ada yang murtad.

Selama mana sensitiviti orang Melayu terhadap keislaman mereka ini akan bertahan, adalah satu persoalan yang relevan dibincangkan. Sama seperti bertanya, adakah mungkin peristiwa rusuhan Natrah yang berlaku di Singapura pada 1950 berulang di Malaysia pada abad ke-21?

Tentulah ingatan kita segar betapa peristiwa memurtadkan orang Melayu telah dilaporkan berlaku di Selangor pada tahun lalu. Sebelum itu orang Melayu heboh apabila pihak gereja kristian di Malaysia cuba menggunakan kalimah Allah dalam buletin, upacara agama dan kitab mereka.

Ekorannya, pihak-pihak berkesedaran telah menganjurkan Perhimpunan Sejuta Umat di Stadium Shah Alam, Selangor pada 22 Oktober 2011. Hasilnya, hanya kira-kira dua atau tiga ribu orang sahaja yang hadir. Nah, bandingkan dengan bilangan orang Melayu yang hadir di perhimpunan haram Bersih 3.0 anjuran seorang wanita bukan Islam pada 28 April 2012. Slogan penganjur adalah menuntut pilihan raya lebih bersih atas nama demokrasi.

Menariknya, Perhimpunan Sejuta Umat berlangsung dalam suasana yang sangat aman. Sebaliknya, Bersih 3.0 dicemari dengan keganasan oleh pemuda-pemuda Melayu. Secara mudah, fahamilah manifestasi daripada dua peristiwa tersebut. Tidakkah ia menggambarkan bahawa orang Melayu sekarang lebih cintakan politik daripada agama Islam?

Meresap

Inilah bukti bahawa demokrasi, kebebasan dan hak asasi sudah meresap sebagai agama baru kepada sebilangan orang Melayu. Ramai orang Melayu sekarang sudah hilang sensitiviti terhadap agama Islam berbanding masyarakat Melayu dulu.

Ini berlaku ketika semakin banyak surau, masjid, institusi pendidikan Islam (tadika, sekolah, kolej dan universiti) dibangunkan. Malah di TV sekarang sudah ada beberapa saluran khas Islam. Kenapa boleh jadi begini? Anehnya yang ramai menyertai Bersih 3.0 ialah para penyokong dan ahli sebuah parti yang menggunakan nama Islam. Mereka jugalah yang enggan menyertai Perhimpunan Sejuta Umat dulu.

Kenapa boleh jadi begini? Jawapannya adalah kegilaan berpolitik sudah mengatasi kecintaan sebenar kepada agama Islam. Mereka bercakap kononnya kepentingan agama mengatasi kepentingan politik. Tetapi hakikatnya tindak-tanduk mereka membuktikan bahawa kepentingan politik melebihi kepentingan agama. Malah agama tidak lebih hanyalah kuda tunggangan joki-joki politik yang mahu menuju ke garisan penamat bernama Putrajaya.

Yang penting adalah memeluk trofi kemenangan di Putrajaya? Kenapa boleh jadi begini?

"Yang demikian itu, kerana sesungguhnya kamu menjadikan ayat-ayat Allah sebagai olok-olokan dan kamu telah ditipu oleh kehidupan dunia, maka pada hari ini (di akhirat) mereka tidak dikeluarkan dari neraka dan tidak pula mereka diberi kesempatan untuk bertaubat," - Al Jaatsiyah 45: 35.

Kehidupan di dunia pada hari ini yang diatur oleh 'agama baru' bernama demokrasi telah mendorong manusia berlumba-lumba untuk merebut kuasa. Kononnya dengan kuasa inilah mereka akan melakukan yang terbaik untuk umat manusia. Bagaimana mungkin dengan kuasa ini mereka akan melakukan yang terbaik sesama manusia sedangkan ketika berebut kuasa mereka sudah melakukan pelbagai kemunafikan dan kemungkaran?

Rasulullah SAW dalam perjuangan menegakkan iman dan Islam tidak pernah menjadikan kuasa sebagai matlamat atau alat. Baginda hanya berdakwah dan terus berdakwah supaya manusia beriman kepada Tuhan Yang Esa dan mentaati-Nya. Baginda dan umat Islam hanya berperang setelah Allah memerintahkan mereka mempertahankan diri dan agama setelah diancam dan dianiaya berterusan oleh kaum musyrikin.

Baginda pernah ditawarkan kuasa dan kekayaan oleh kaum Quraish supaya menghentikan dakwahnya, tetapi baginda menolak keras. Pada hari ini kita hanya berdakwah secara cebisan dan sambilan, tetapi menjadikan usaha merebut kuasa sebagai kerja sepenuh masa.

Wahai orang Melayu, sedarlah bahawa kekuatan Islam di Malaysia terletak di tangan kita semua. Malaysia dipandang tinggi oleh negara-negara Islam lain kerana ada sesuatu pada kita yang tiada pada orang lain. Jangan nampak kuman di seberang laut, tetapi buta kepada gajah di depan mata.

Dalam kerangka demokrasi yang amat 'dijunjung tinggi hingga melebihi kepentingan Islam' pada hari ini, kita hendaklah sedar bahawa jumlah orang Melayu bukanlah ramai sangat. Andainya Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman tidak mengusir Lee Kuan Yew dan Singapura keluar dari Malaysia dulu, tidak tahulah bagaimana kedudukan Melayu dalam percaturan politik demokrasi pada hari ini.

Sedangkan dengan kedudukan majoriti hari ini kita sudah tidak tentu arah. Semuanya ini berlaku kerana kita terlalu terpengaruh dengan nafsu keduniaan untuk berebut kuasa sesama kita. Nafsu telah menyebabkan manusia menjadi buta kepada kebenaran.

"Maka pernahkah kamu melihat orang yang menjadikan hawa nafsunya sebagai tuhannya dan Allah membiarkannya berdasarkan ilmu-Nya dan Allah telah mengunci mati pendengaran dan hatinya dan meletakkan tutupan atas penglihatannya? Maka siapakah yang akan memberinya petunjuk sesudah Allah (membiarkannya sesat). Maka mengapa kamu tidak mengambil pelajaran?," - Al Jaatsiyah 45: 23

Kepada pemimpin-pemimpin politik Melayu tanpa mengira parti, renungilah maksud ayat Quran ini. Kita telah meletakkan Malaysia pada satu titik yang sangat bermakna dalam dunia Islam. Janganlah biarkan orang Melayu dan negara Islam ini disesatkan kerana kita bertuhankan nafsu, bukan lagi Allah.



Sumber: Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 24/06/2012

Apabila pendidikan dipolitikkan

POLITIK berasaskan pilihan raya dalam masyarakat berbilang bangsa kadang-kala menjejaskan usaha ke arah perpaduan negara.

Tatkala ini kita sedang menyaksikan ia berlaku di Malaysia. Dalam kehangatan persaingan menambat hati pengundi pada pilihan raya yang akan datang, pesaing utama untuk berada di tampuk kuasa mula menggembleng seluruh tenaga dan usaha untuk menonjolkan diri mereka sebagai juara yang memperjuangkan kepentingan kumpulan etnik tertentu.

Ini amat jelas jika diamati pendekatan berkaitan pendidikan dalam bahasa Cina.

Sekolah rendah aliran bahasa Cina adalah sebahagian daripada sistem persekolahan kebangsaan tetapi kini desakan untuk memperbanyakkan sekolah menengah aliran Cina pula mula diketengahkan.

Laungan untuk sekolah menengah persendirian Cina di Kuantan adalah sebahagian daripadanya. Parti politik pembangkang mahupun kerajaan masing-masing menjadikan permintaan ini sebagai modal perjuangan.

Jika had ke atas sekolah menengah persendirian Cina yang kini berjumlah 61 buah dihapuskan, adalah dipercayai jumlah itu akan meningkat secara mendadak dalam masa yang singkat.

Adakah ia akan membawa kepada kemunculan sistem Sekolah Menengah Persendirian Cina yang sejajar dengan sistem Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan yang berteraskan bahasa Malaysia? Implikasi ini satu kebarangkalian yang harus difahami dalam konteks pengiktirafan universiti-universiti di China oleh kerajaan baru-baru ini.


MASA depan anak-anak kita perlu diberi lebih perhatian daripada hanya menjadi mangsa politik pilihan raya
yang menjejaskan pendidikan dan perpaduan negara.


Pendedahan

Jika bangsa Cina di Malaysia melalui keseluruhan sistem pembelajaran dalam bahasa Cina iaitu dari sekolah rendah hingga ke peringkat universiti, berapa banyakkah kemungkinan pendedahan yang mereka akan tempuhi dengan pelajar-pelajar Malaysia dan guru-guru daripada masyarakat lain? Adakah ini akan menjejaskan sikap dan pandangannya terhadap bangsa lain? Apakah agaknya tanggapan mereka terhadap identiti Malaysia?

Ia bukan sekadar pengasingan eksklusif pendidikan Cina yang akan wujud malah lebih kepada cabaran yang perlu kita hadapi akibat daripadanya. Ramai ibu bapa bangsa Melayu bandar kini memilih pendidikan agama Islam di peringkat sekolah rendah dan menengah untuk anak-anak mereka.

Dengan percambahan universiti dan kolej Islam di negara ini, mereka boleh memilih untuk meneruskan pengajian tinggi mereka dalam persekitaran yang sebahagian besarnya mono etnik dan berteraskan agama. Tidak salah jika dikatakan ia akan memberi kesan negatif kepada hubungan antara kaum dan agama pada masa akan datang.

Terdapat perkembangan semasa lain yang juga akan memberi kesan kepada sekolah kebangsaan. Kerajaan telah membuatkan ia lebih mudah bagi rakyat Malaysia untuk mendaftarkan diri di sekolah-sekolah swasta yang pada hakikatnya akan disahut hanya oleh mereka yang berkedudukan tinggi dalam masyarakat.

Maka ia akan memburukkan lagi pemisahan berdasarkan kelas yang sudah lama berakar umbi dalam masyarakat kita. Segelintir rakyat Malaysia pula mahukan pihak berkuasa untuk membenarkan pendidikan aliran Inggeris, tanpa menimbangkan kesannya terhadap sistem sekolah yang sudah sebegitu terbahagi dalam pelbagai bentuk.

Apakah ini bermakna bahawa tidak ada komitmen yang tinggi terhadap sekolah kebangsaan? Adakah sekolah kebangsaan telah menjadi ‘anak tiri’ kepada sistem pendidikan kita?

Oleh kerana Perlembagaan Malaysia mengiktiraf bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan, logiknya sekolah kebangsaan dengan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa pengantar utamanya harus menjadi paksi kepada sistem pendidikan kita.

Saluran

Laporan Razak 1956, iaitu satu-satunya laporan pendidikan yang komprehensif dimiliki negara, mengakui akan perkara tersebut. Ia menekankan tentang peranan sekolah kebangsaan sebagai saluran untuk menggalakkan perpaduan nasional.

Tidak ramai rakyat kita yang menghargai peranan bahasa Melayu sebagai “lingua franca" iaitu bahasa yang memudahkan komunikasi dalam kalangan masyarakat pelbagai etnik - merangkumi rantau yang luas yang pada hari ini digambarkan sebagai dunia Melayu. Ia berjaya mewujudkan semangat perpaduan budaya dan melahirkan identiti-identiti Melayu yang melampaui jaringan etnik, menjadikan bangsa Melayu sebagai salah satu bangsa yang paling kosmopolitan di muka bumi.

Pada zaman kontemporari, bahasa Melayu, dalam bentuk bahasa Indonesia, juga telah membantu untuk membangunkan identiti kebangsaan daripada kepelbagaian etnik di Indonesia. Bahasa Melayu juga boleh memainkan peranan sedemikian di Malaysia, jika sekolah kebangsaan dijadikan ‘nasional’ dalam erti kata yang sebenar.

Untuk menjadi ‘nasional’, sekolah berbahasa Malaysia perlu muncul sebagai sekolah pilihan pertama untuk semua rakyat Malaysia. Kualiti perlu ditingkatkan dengan ketara.

Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Inggeris dan bahasa-bahasa lain perlu diajar dengan baik seperti juga mata pelajaran teras seperti Matematik, Sains dan Sejarah. Ibu bapa juga akan kagum dengan sekolah jika disiplin pelajar dikuatkuasakan dengan tegas dalam persekitaran yang penyayang.

Guru-guru yang berwibawa dan berdedikasi akan menjadi prasyarat penting untuk sistem sekolah. Mereka bukan hanya sekadar mencurah pengetahuan dan kemahiran malah akan cuba membentuk golongan muda di bawah jagaannya supaya menjadi manusia yang jujur dan amanah. Guru perlu melayan semua pelajar, tanpa mengira latar belakang mereka, dengan adil dan saksama.

Komuniti tenaga pengajar sekolah kebangsaan seharusnya lebih berbilang kaum dan berbilang agama daripada apa yang ada sekarang. Lebih ramai bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam perlu dilantik sebagai Pengetua Sekolah dan Penolong Kanan. Di daerah, peringkat negeri dan nasional, pejabat atau jabatan pendidikan harus mencerminkan komposisi multietnik negara. Bangsa Dayak dan Kadazan yang berkelayakan harus diberikan peranan pentadbiran di luar Sarawak dan Sabah.

Apa yang dimaksudkan adalah dalam tiga elemen komponen sistem pendidikan - pentadbir, guru dan pelajar - kemampuan perlu diiktiraf dan diberi ganjaran. Barulah sistem pendidikan akan dilihat menggalakkan kebolehan dan kecemerlangan yang memberi keyakinan kepada ibu bapa untuk menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah kebangsaan.

Pada masa sama, sekolah kebangsaan harus menghulurkan bantuan kepada pelajar yang kurang bernasib baik, tanpa mengira fahaman agama atau latar belakang budaya.

Secara ringkasnya, transformasi keseluruhan sekolah kebangsaan perlu dilakukan. Kementerian Pelajaran, saya pasti sedang berusaha ke arah matlamat ini. Ia adalah transformasi yang akan dijalankan seiring dengan perubahan asas yang lain kepada sistem pendidikan secara keseluruhan.

Sebagai permulaan, marilah kita cuba untuk mengurangkan impak politik pilihan raya ke atas pendidikan dan perpaduan negara.




Sumber: Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana  24/06/2012