November 16th, 2012

Usia Kenny bukan penghalang

USIA hanyalah angka dan ia bukanlah halangan bagi seseorang yang bergelar penghibur untuk memberikan persembahan yang mantap kepada penonton.

Salah seorang mereka adalah penyanyi veteran Kenny Rogers, 74, yang masih gagah apabila menyanyi secara ‘live’ di pentas.


Baru-baru ini, seperti yang dijanjikan, Kenny diterbangkan ke Genting Highlands, Pahang untuk menjayakan konsert solonya.

Dibawakan khas oleh Heart World Genting, kehadiran penyanyi yang terkenal dengan lagu Lady dan Islands in The Stream ini ke Malaysia nyata begitu dinanti-nantikan semua peminat setianya apabila difahamkan hampir semua tempat duduk habis ditempah.

Tampil dengan gaya ringkas iaitu berkemeja lengan panjang putih serta jeans hitam, penyanyi yang juga ahli perniagaan restoran yang berjaya ini berjaya memukau lebih 7,000 penonton yang datang menyaksikan persembahannya di Arena of Stars.



MENARIK...slaid yang menunjukkan perjalanan karier Kenny dari dulu hingga kini.

Hampir 20 lagu dipersembahkan Kenny atau nama sebenarnya, Kenneth Ray Rogers, tanpa kepenatan, bersulamkan senda ‘humor’ yang bersahaja di pentas besar. 

Bagi pengasas francais restoran Kenny Roasters itu, usia emasnya jelas tidak pernah menghalangnya untuk terus mengalunkan vokal bagi hiburan penonton yang membeli tiket.

Dia membuka tirai persembahan seawal jam 8.45 malam dengan lagu Love or Something Like It dan kemudian mendendangkan It’s A Beautiful Life, Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town, Somethings Burning, Reuben James, Love The World Away, Daytime Friends, Stand Up, Lucille, Lady, Islands In The Stream, You Decorated My Life, The Gambler dan Buy Me A Rose. 

Istimewanya, ada di antara beberapa lagu yang dinyanyikan diiringi persembahan slaid yang menceritakan perjalanan karier dan kehidupannya sejak dulu hingga kini.

Sempat berjenaka dengan penonton, Kenny berkata, lagu itu membuktikan kepadanya bahawa lelaki berasal dari planet Marikh manakala wanita pula dari planet Zurah.

Kelihatan sedikit hambar pada pertengahan konsert memandangkan mungkin ada segelintir penonton bukanlah daripada peminat fanatik, Kenny sempat mengusik.

“Ada dua kelompok peminat saya. Yang pertama, orang yang lahir selepas tahun 1960-an yang jarang mendengar lagu-lagu saya. Kelompok kedua pula orang yang lahir sebelum 1960-an dan sudah tidak ingat lagi lagu-lagu saya,” katanya sambil berjenaka.

Kenny selama ini berdiri sebagai seorang penghibur dengan genre pop, country & western dan jazz sekitar awal 1950-an. Bintang dunia itu dilahirkan di Texas, Amerika Syarikat dan pernah berkahwin sebanyak empat kali manakala perkahwinan kelimanya bersama Wanda Miller, kekal hingga kini.

Dia pernah mencipta fenomena apabila rekod albumnya terjual sehingga 120 juta di seluruh dunia dan menghasilkan lebih 65 album sepanjang pembabitannya dalam seni suara.

Selain itu, Kenny juga menjadi salah seorang artis terkenal dunia yang menyanyikan lagu amal, We Are The World pada 1985, bagi menyokong kempen membantu mangsa kebuluran di Afrika.

Sebelum terbabit secara solo, Kenny pernah menyertai beberapa kumpulan seperti Scholars, The Bobby Doyle Three, The New Christy Minstrels dan The First Edition.

Syanty Octavia Amry soctavia@hmetro.com.my myMetro Rap 15 November 2012

It’s the system’s fault not the teachers

I REFER to the letter “Teachers, do your job and stop complaining" (The Star, Nov 14). As a teacher, I strongly disagree with the writer’s one-sided views on teachers who are complaining about a system which takes too much time and energy.

First of all, why do you need to blame the teachers for complaining? Do you know what’s the root of all the complaints?

I believe the complaints have nothing to do with the salary and dedication of the teachers including myself. It is totally uncalled for to label teachers who complained.

Are you familiar with the system that teachers have to work with? How do teachers solve something that they have no control over in the first place.

Tell me how do you solve the numerous errors that teachers get when they login into the system?

How do you solve the crawling speed of the servers? Do you expect teachers to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to key in the marks? (some of my friends are already resorting to that!)

Don’t blame the current batch of teachers for complaining and voicing their dissatisfaction with the system because the main reason we cannot get our work done has nothing to do with our time or work management. It’s the system’s fault.

How do you work with something that is broken online?

UPSET Baling, Kedah The Star Home News Opinion  Friday November 16, 2012

Taking away the magic of education

I REFER to the letter “Teaching is the priority” (The Star, Nov15).

I couldn’t agree more. I teach History for Form One at my school.

One key method to keep my class interesting is to keep it animated with stories and also through screening of historical documentaries and through online materials.

Unfortunately, the newly requirement for teachers, especially class teachers, to key in so much data is taking away our precious preparation time to teach our young minds.

The slow system and the frequent issues of logging in gets worse during daytime.

A simple question to all the officers at the Education Ministry planning all this tedious online requirements without prior consultation with the main executors of this job (yes, the teachers) is: Which teacher had the most impact on your life?’ Was it the teacher who did a wonderful job of writing reports and files or the teacher who inspired you in the class?

The answer is obvious.

Keeping up with technology and preventing teachers from teaching is taking away the magic of educating a child in a classroom.

DULCIANA Penang The STAR Online Home News Opinion Friday November 16, 2012

A daunting task ahead

TAN Sri Tony Fernandes has added another feather to his cap by venturing into the field of education.

He had the opportunity to receive a good education at Epsom College in Britain at a young age of 13. Fernandes managed to build a strong command of English from young thus enhancing his outlook and confidence that propelled him to succeed in his various corporate ventures in the globalised world.

A mere decade down the road, Fernandes has successfully turned around a defunct airline into a highly profitable AirAsia today thus enabling him to join the billionaire club as a proud Malaysian entrepreneur.

With his great confidence and ability to clinch corporate deals effectively, he continues to expand his business ventures into hotels, insurance, Formula 1 Grand Prix, sports car manufacturing and now quality education.

Obviously without a strong command of English and high level of confidence, Fernandes wouldn’t have reached such a high level of success. As Malaysians we are proud of him.

Our country needs many capable individuals who have Fernandes’ calibre, if we want to compete effectively in this borderless world.

We want graduates who are able to connect well globally, innovate and be able to think out of the box.

Unfortunately most local graduates churned out by the thousands every year by our universities lack such confidence mainly due to their weak command of English.

Unless these graduates are absorbed into the public sector, they face an uphill task to compete with those graduates whose proficiency in English is very much ahead of them. They are victims of our education system.

My nephew was one of these unfortunate graduates. As a local university graduate in economics who completed his studies circa two decades ago, he was unemployed for a long while before joining a small company as a computer salesman.

Frustrated with his inability to clinch a job with better prospects, he finally managed to pursue actuarial science in the United States to enhance his career prospects. He is now a successful senior actuary. But how many frustrated local graduates have such opportunities to further their studies if their first degree fails to provide them a proper job?

Over more than two decades in my career as a senior executive, I have interviewed many local graduates. I was able to feel the frustration suffered by our graduates.

I have even come across a few who were unemployed for more than three years and were once absorbed into the Government’s retraining scheme for which they were paid a small monthly allowance.

Currently, there are more than 76,000 unemployed local graduates looking desperately for jobs in a full-employment economy recruiting millions of foreign workers to fill the various job vacancies.

Now the Government has come up with a new scheme that offers tax break incentives to lure more students to participate in the science stream.

The aim is to increase the number of science graduates to the targeted 60% ratio from the current level of 20%.

Unless we de-politicise education and return to the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, giving away monetary incentives to make up the number to the targeted level may do more harm than good to our children.

We need competent and innovative science graduates who are capable to connect with the globalised world and bring the country to the next level of innovation.

Without a strong command of English, our local graduates may face a daunting task to compete effectively let alone to become outstanding in the world of innovation.

PATRICK TEH Ipoh The STAR Online Home News Opinion Friday November 16, 2012

Remembering the nation’s fallen warriors

There seems to be a lack of appreciation for why we should know and commemorate our history and war heroes.

SOME weeks ago in an article about the normality of foreign funds entering our country I referred to the official visit of President Lyndon B Johnson. As the video shows, the centrepiece of that visit was a remembrance ceremony at the Tugu Negara: there were flag-bearers, musicians, prayers and speeches.

It was nothing extraordinary at the time: the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his government regularly paid their respects to the fallen at that site according to a script familiar throughout the Commonwealth. No one, except the Communists who tried to blow up the monument in 1975, seemed to mind.

No longer: some leaders have decreed that the Tugu Negara is no longer an appropriate site for Muslims to remember the nation’s war heroes, and the Warriors’ Day ceremony has been moved to Putrajaya.

So it has been up to foreigners to maintain the relevance of the national monument. Last Sunday, the British High Commission held a remembrance event at that site as usual to commemorate Armistice Day, attended by the expatriate community and some Malaysians, too.

There are other sites apart from the Tugu Negara that are significant to our military history, however.

Cenotaphs dot many of our towns – the one in Seremban is opposite the Istana Hinggap, and Tuanku Muhammad observed two minutes’ silence there on Armistice Day in 1936.

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting a Malaysian who has done much to enable commemorations at such places: Datuk R. Thambipillay, a retired Superintendent of Police, whose commitment to “God’s Little Acre” in Ipoh (described in his recently revised book The Last Post) now sees the remembrance events there attract many local and overseas visitors.

He is now in discussions with police and army veterans in Negri Sembilan to repeat his success, beginning with the commemoration of the Battle of Gemencheh that took place on Jan 14, 1942 – an initiative I fully support.

At these smaller scale events, especially in Sabah and Sarawak where the memory of World War II and the Emergency has always been much more in the public memory, wreath-laying by Muslim servicemen continues unabated: “The accusation that we are worshipping the dead is ridiculous,” a general told me. “We are merely remembering those who protected our country for the sake of the country. There is nothing un-Islamic about that.”

Encouragingly, this year has also seen excellent books published about our wartime history.

In March, I was in Penang for the launch of The Battle of Penang by former Royal Navy doctor J.R. Robertson, detailing the steamy exploits of the Emden and Zhemtchug that would quench any parched naval enthusiast.

Last week former British diplomat Andrew Barber launched his Kuala Lumpur at War 1939-1945 – full of vignettes that vividly portray a forgotten and painful period of our capital’s socio-cultural history, including frank references to the comfort houses whose existence young Malaysians are never taught about.

An even more real connection to World War II here was provided last month, when eight RAF airmen who crashed near Kuala Pilah in 1945 during a supply mission were reburied at the Cheras Commonwealth War Graves cemetery after their remains were discovered.

Some Malaysians I speak to don’t understand why I think all this is important, a reaction that reveals the heart of the problem: a lack of appreciation for why we should know and commemorate our history and war heroes.

It is this ignorance that leaves our institutions today open to politicisation, scepticism and corruption because citizens and even office-bearers themselves fail to heed the lessons of the past.

Instead, our police and armed forces, to which Malaysians once faithfully looked to defend their lives and property, are now embroiled in controversies through which the stench of politics permeates.

As veterans tell me, ever since the end of the Emergency the top ranks have slowly become ever more pliant to the executive, and the institutional memory of past acts of valour and sacrifice have become harder to bequeath. (Sporting traditions have died out, too: the PDRM were once known for its tennis prowess.)

The civil society movement has its many champions – striving to protect the environment, saving our heritage buildings, marching for better democracy or campaigning for institutional reforms.

I am hopeful that the relatively simpler act of paying tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and democracy that we enjoy today will in time also become an established practice of Malaysian civil society.

Major (Hon) Tunku ’Abidin Muhriz is president of Ideas.The STAR Online HomeNews Opinion Friday Novemebr 16, 2012 

Graduates: Public universities should not fear competition

I REFER to the letter "Move will ruin profession" (NST, Nov 12) and agree with the writers.

It is better if valuers and managers are trained in a university and have a degree.

However, I do not think their proposition will be accepted by the public.

To agree with an idea does not equal supporting that idea.

Market forces are driven by monetary considerations, and so the winner is the one who presents the best deal.

​Incidentally, I would say that if public universities had really done in the past what the writers state in the letter, they would not find themselves frightened by competition.

It is evident that, despite the soundness of their courses, public universities are no longer the best deal for many students.

Competition arises when customers cannot find what they are looking for, or when monopoly holders have not kept the promises they made to customers.

In any case, competition cannot be stopped.

I can assure the professors in question that the Building Management Association of Malaysia poses no threat to them, to their jobs, to the quality of graduates, or to the ability of these graduates to find jobs upon graduation.

Despite the Internet, the people who like going to universities and who are willing to pay for a university education are the same as those from 50 years ago.

Profits are made from the edge and not from mainstream.

So, all the professors have to do is find their edge.

Students flock to a university because of the quality of its teaching and teachers.

We cannot have faith in a university when we do not know who the lecturers and professors are.

The emphasis on research does not seem to have produced many results.

Indeed, universities are unprepared for new developments.

The fact that the government provides their work and their pay has left many professors staring at computers.

Indeed, what have universities been researching on?

Floods still hit many parts of the country and some city centres have no water.

I am now reading the biography of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The book states that in Myanmar, all revolutions started in universities.

I suggest professors conduct research on how to keep politics out of universities because politics has no place in universities.

A university is a place of reading, learning, observing, discussing, testing and concluding.

All knowledge a person needs to survive and find jobs is learned by secondary school.

The job of universities is to expand on that knowledge by way of reading and testing one's opinion with professors.

The decline of universities started the day they decided to make graduates job-ready.

Universities, subsidised by the government, have spent a lot of money on trying to find jobs for graduates, when all they had to do to make graduates more employable was to ensure that they read and write extensively.

Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur The New Straits Times Online Letters to the Editor 16 November 2012