July 31st, 2012

Good to learn to defend ourselves

I AM all for “Teaching women to fight back” (The Star, July 29). Although our Inspector- General of Police and Prime Minister have each reported the crime rate in Malaysia as being low and the security issue is only exemplified by a few cases through easy access of information via the social media and Internet, it is still worrisome to note the severity of the criminal cases.

Some believe the criminals victimise others only because they assume that most of us are afraid of them when they attack us.

Hence, if we manage to fight back when attacked, they might be surprised and reconsider their action.

It is a great idea that we, regardless of gender try to equip ourselves with practical skills of self defence to fend off some minor attacks.

But it is more important for all of us to acquire the mindset of self defence.

Simple practises such as walking against the traffic, avoid wearing eye-catching jewellery, staying in crowded areas and having handbags facing the inner side of the road are ways to avoid being preyed upon.

Although considered as common sense, these are often neglected by many of us.

Even if we are equipped with high-ranking qualifications in martial arts, we must also assess the situation before putting up a fight to avoid unnecessary injuries or even fatalities.

Another contributing factor for the barbaric actions of criminals is the lack of compassion and cooperation from the public.

Though some thefts occur in broad daylight, there are cases where witnesses acted blind and deaf towards the incident, neither providing aid during or after the crime.

Recent reports reflecting the lack of moral values and civic consciousness among Malaysians, and the debates on the role of teachers and parents in the upbringing of the Malaysian youths must be taken seriously.

Educating society whether it is the young or the adults is the key to a more civilised society.

We should not forgo our once respected Eastern cultures and moral values despite the race to be among the developed nations in the world.

UNIVERSITY STUDENT Birmingham, England Source: The STAR Online Home News Opinion 31 July 2012

Don’t be left behind

WE refer to the letter “Start at primary level” (The Star, July 21). We truly support and appreciate Datin Noor Azimah in championing the implementation, monitoring processes and even the appealing for the learning of Science and Mathematics in English to begin at primary level or even earlier.

As she mentioned, it cannot be denied that political parties and specific target groups had and still have a strong say in decisions made for Malaysian education. I do respect their intention to protect the National Language but they must be realistic and recognise the importance of being fluent in the English Language to be able to COPE and COMPETE with the ever progressing world out there.

We do not want our children to grow up to be second-class citizens and be left behind in so many scientific fields.

We cannot close our eyes any more and tell ourselves that we can compete internationally if our English Language proficiency is below par.

As a former educator, I strongly believe that is the main reason why there are less students registering for Mathematics and Science streams in schools.

I can still remember attending a meeting as part of a contingent of teachers at the Legends Hotel in the 1980s with a panel of the Wilayah Persekutuan Education Ministry officials. They supposedly wanted our views on an effective way of the teaching of the English Language but whatever we proposed as well as gave our views as senior teachers we were somehow shot down.

When we asked for an explanation, they just told us that we must not question them as it was a political issue.

After that, feeling that it was a pure waste of our time and effort to attend with our busy teaching schedule, we just got up and walked out. Are most of the outcomes of these meetings a foregone conclusion?

The specific target groups and the Education Minister must realise by now that there was never a time when the Bahasa Malaysia language was in danger of being sidelined or neglected even when Science and Mathematics were taught in English

Many Asian countries have recognised the importance of being fluent in English to enable their citizens to secure better and higher paid jobs and we Malaysians would not want to be taking a backward step when very often, we hear our Prime Minister talking about “transformation”.

I am sure that most parents and many individuals will not want their children to be in a situation compared to a Katak di bawah tempurung.

We must seriously prepare and arm our younger and future generations to face the many and difficult challenges that they will face in their future.

In cases where the parents do not live long enough to be there to guide and hold their hands when that time comes, at least they are rest assured that their children are equipped with the most important fundemental, that is fluency in the English Language.

On another important issue,as a young individual still in school, I used to enjoy eating with and mixing with my friends of all races and religions without arousing any qualms (worries) or suspicions concerning religions or customs.

We were a happy and united bunch of Malaysians respecting one another’s creed and race. At that time, in the 50s and 60s, we were already practising 1 Malaysia.

Not like what is happening at present where people of different faiths are ridiculing and criticising one another.

Why can’t we just learn to respect one another and live peacefully together.

I would like to thank Noor Azimah for her dedication and efforts.

LENA ABDULLAH / MAG LAI Petaling Jaya Source: The STAR Online Home News Opinion 31 July 2012

It's sweet by any name

SOLD OUT QUICKLY: Kuih tiga beradik the main attraction at Kelantan bazaars

KOTA BARU: THREE Kelantanese desserts called kuih tiga beradik (cakes of three siblings) continue to top the list of Malay kuih this fasting month.

They are jala mas, buah tanjung and tahi itik.

  Nur Aznita Shamsudin showing the traditional Kelantanese kuih tiga beradik, made up of tahi itik (left, white), jala mas (right) and buah tanjung (top). Pic by Fathil Asri  

They were named as kuih tiga beradik because they were made from the same ingredient -- duck's egg white.

They have been attracting buyers at almost every stall set up at the Ramadan bazaars in the state.

Locals said they would not mind if they bought the three types of cakes every time they shopped at the bazaar.

"They are nice. I will never go without buying them every time I go to the Ramadan bazaar near my home," said Rosnani Ibrahim.

The 19-year-old student said she would buy the desserts along with other dishes for breaking of fast.

Housewife Aznah Malik, 43, said her family would normally buy the desserts at their usual stall near the Sultan Muhammad V stadium.

"Even though prices have gone up this time, we cannot do without them... their taste is different from other Kelantanese desserts like akok and seri muka."

Checks at several stalls here yesterday showed that the three kuih were sold out within two to three hours of delivery to the stalls by suppliers.

"With their different taste and unique names, the desserts continue to attract buyers and we are happy about this as we can make money despite efforts to change their names," traders said.

Two years ago, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had suggested that names for desserts such as tahi itik (duck's droppings) were unsuitable and needed to be replaced with more attractive ones.

By SHARIFAH MAHSINAH ABDULLAH | news@nst.com.my Source: New Straits Times General 24 July 2012 

Kelantanese Cakes: Have a sweeter name for the delicious 'kuih tahi itik'

YOUR report "It's sweet by any name" (NST, July 24) by Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah had me in stitches. It's about the names of the kuih tiga beradik, referring to kuih tahi itik, jala mas and buah tanjung. These cakes are popular in Kelantan. I presume the term tiga beradik (three siblings) is recently coined. In the past, they were not in alliance. I agree for tahi itik (duck's droppings) to be given some rebranding.

Do away with tahi as the traditional chefs of yesteryear had not attended culinary school. Never would they have thought that their concoction would survive until today. Perhaps kuih anu itik sounds palatable. These cakes were in the menu for Kelantanese dignitaries in previous centuries.

The traditional Kelantanese cake, tahi itik, is highly sought after during Ramadan

Anyhow, the name of cakes should not have any filthy connotation. When you are eating it, not only the food must be clean, but the aura of it must also be equally hygienic. When you refer to something as animal droppings, it stinks.

By Mat, Ampang, Selangor Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 30 July 2012