February 13th, 2013

Ageing: The old are young at heart

I REFER to the editorial, "A full life, well lived" (NST, Feb 5). I would like to share a story about life that I got from a friend.

A man died at the age of 45. He said to God: "Why did you take my life at an early age? I need another 10 years." God asked four questions. "Do you smoke?" The man said "no!" "Do you drink alcohol?" The man said "no!" "Do you gamble?" The man said "no!" "Do you womanise?" The man said "no!"

Then God said: "If you don't do all these things, why do you need to live another 10 years? You are wasting my time."

As the editorial said: "A person has only this one life to live; that life need not be filled with regret looking backwards, nor dread looking forward."

Old age is a figment of the mind. A man does not grow old but ages gracefully if he manages his life properly.

There is a saying that life begins at 40. Many men discover that there is life even after 60.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner discovered life is worth living at 82 when he married a 26-year-old model.

Old age is about experience and wisdom. It is also the age of wanting to be young again, to make up for lost time. They are children again. Just go to a dangdut club and we can see the old outnumber the young and are having a gala time. They forget for a moment they have grandchildren at home.

Some climb mountains, some ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, complete with skintight gear and boots. Some prefer to go to the mosque.

Old age is also an age of fear: fear of being left alone to fend for oneself. Children may find the old a nuisance, so they send the old to the old folks' home.

Given the high cost of living, nothing is certain. The old have to prepare for eventualities. They must not put all their eggs in one basket.

Even the rich have to think what will happen to their wealth after they die.

Author Robert Louis Stevenson said: "Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other both in mind and body; to try the manners of different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see sunrise in town and country."

Youth never take life seriously for they do not understand the meaning of life. To them, time does not seem to move. They feel they have all the time in the world.

They will never understand the words of wisdom from their parents or from great thinkers like former British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, who said: "Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret".

Indeed, youth is the age of blunder, recklessness and of being anti-establishment.

It is imperative for the government to make life meaningful for the young and the old.

The government can come up with volunteer programmes for youth to keep them occupied.

This will make them more responsible, more aware and increases their self-esteem.

Most importantly, it occupies their time in a productive manner. The National Service programme is good and the government should ensure that all youth go through the course to make them understand life better.

Political parties should come up with more social programmes for youth.

In the final analysis, as the editorial said: "The reality of life, youth, old age and whether being 'old' or 'young' is a good or bad thing, is whatever one chooses to make of it."



Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor | letters@nstp.com.my New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 12 February 2013

Even families are drifting apart

I WAS not surprised to read Vinis-waran Kannan’s letter “True friends are hard to find” (The Star, Feb 8).

True friends are like gems, they are hard to find. But fair-weather friends are aplenty who are with you when times are good but will desert you when you are down and out.

Times are changing, people are busy with their own lives and hardly have time to interact with their friends since schooldays.

I notice too that not only are true friends difficult to find but even you tend to lose touch with your own flesh and blood after your parents are gone.

Parents, especially mothers, are like glue who keeps the family together as more often than not all the children will visit their parents during weekends to foster good bonding among family members.

Once the glue is not there, everybody seems to be preoccupied with their own families.

The only time you see them are during festive time, weddings or funerals and as you grow older, you tend to see them more during funerals rather than weddings.

Gone are the days when you kept in touch with your siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts by visiting them from time to time.

For the younger generation, their close “friends” are the smartphones, Facebook and the Internet where cyberspace rules without physically meeting face-to-face.

How sad, but true.

HAMDAN IBRAHIM Kuala Lumpur The STAR Online Opinion 12 February 2013

Membentuk pekerti murid bukan tugas guru sahaja

CADANGAN supaya diwujudkan sekolah budi bahasa memang baik. Namun pelaksanaannya perlu diteliti agar semua pelajar dari sekolah ini nanti benar-benar berbudi bahasa.

Budi bahasa bermaksud pertuturan dan tingkah laku. Jika seseorang itu berbudi bahasa dia bukan sahaja bercakap dengan sopan dan bertatasusila tetapi perangainya juga terpuji. Jika seorang pemandu selalu memaki hamun dan mengeluarkan kata-kata kesat, ini menggambarkan kelakuannya yang buruk dan panas baran. Oleh itu, pengucapan dan perlakuan saling mempengaruhi dalam menentukan tahap budi bahasa seseorang.

Sebenarnya usaha melahirkan insan yang seimbang dari segi rohani, emosi serta berakhlak mulia yang merupakan antara prinsip asas Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan sentiasa diberikan penekanan di sekolah. Murid dididik supaya berdisiplin, menghormati guru, mentaati ibu bapa, berkelakuan baik dan berkomunikasi secara beradab dengan mengucap terima kasih dan memberi salam.

Pendekatan budi bahasa merentasi kurikulum memang diamalkan di sekolah. Oleh itu, boleh dikatakan semua sekolah adalah sekolah budi bahasa.

Persoalannya, sejauh manakah nilai-nilai budi bahasa berjaya diterap dan dihayati pelajar? Adakah peranan sekolah kurang berkesan memandangkan ada remaja yang kurang berbudi bahasa?

Sebenarnya sekolah tidak mampu berseorangan dalam membentuk budi pekerti murid. Kerjasama ibu bapa, keluarga, masyarakat dan pemimpin di luar sekolah amat diperlukan.

Di sekolah, murid dibentuk supaya mengamalkan nilai-nilai murni tetapi di luar sekolah mereka terdedah dengan pelbagai gejala negatif. Di sekolah, murid diasuh berpakaian sopan, berambut kemas, tidak merokok, menjaga kebersihan dan terkawal daripada mengakses maklumat tidak bermoral di internet. Bagaimana pula keadaannya di luar sekolah?

Ada pihak mengatakan nilai moral yang dipupuk di sekolah sepatutnya menjadi benteng untuk menghindar mereka terpengaruh dengan gejala kurang sihat di luar sekolah. Perlu difahami bahawa pelajar adalah manusia biasa yang boleh terpengaruh walaupun telah diberikan pendidikan.

Kita juga boleh berkata sepatutnya masyarakat di luar sekolah mengamalkan nilai terpuji supaya menjadi ikutan kepada remaja. Semakin kurang gejala sosial dalam masyarakat di luar sekolah, semakin meningkatlah kejayaan sekolah melahirkan murid yang berbudi bahasa.

Berkaitan sekolah budi bahasa, Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara dan Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan dilaporkan menyediakan bimbingan nilai murni dan pembentukan sahsiah. Jika sesuai eloklah program ini dikongsi ke sekolah untuk melahirkan pelajar berbudi bahasa dengan lebih berkesan.



ZIN MARKAM Pontian, Johor Utusan Malaysia Online Forum 11/02/2013