July 21st, 2013

Daylight Robbery: State price of water in menu

ORDERING a glass of water after a meal and relaxing with friends or family instead of having soft drinks is one way to save money.

Even better if one only orders a glass of water. But, what is the price to be charged for a glass of plain water?

It so happened that RM1.50 was the price charged for a glass of water, non-refillable, at an eatery which does not list it on its menu. That's like daylight robbery to customers as the national average charge for 1,000 litres of water is just 65 sen for domestic and RM1.32 for commercial consumers.

So, the price of between 80 sen and RM1.50 for a glass of water is unreasonable.

As the cost of doing business increases every year, it is understandable for an eatery to charge for a glass of water to cover electricity, labour and other costs.

However, they should not set the price at such an exorbitant figure as it leads to profiteering at the expense of the consumer.

Besides, the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 has stated that any charge controlled services or goods shall display a list of prices to make it easier for the consumers.

Eateries that wish to charge for water should state clearly in the menu instead of including it in the bill which may cause an unpleasant situation.

Furthermore, we never know the quality of the water being served as it can come from any source, either through normal filtration, reverse osmosis or straight from the tap. Therefore, other than the price, the authorities should focus on the quality of water served.

We should voice out our views if we have been charged exorbitantly for a glass of water in eateries.

Do not forget that we have the right to know the source or quality of water served.

Jesslyn Pek Yen Lee, Forum Air Malaysia New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 18 July 2013

Dedicated Teachers: Pick those with a passion for it

THE recent announcement by the Ministry of Education that trained teachers from Teacher Training Institutes are not guaranteed posting after completion of their courses has caused some stir among fellow Malaysians. Some have welcomed the move, while others have expressed dissatisfaction.

For many years, all teachers trained by the ministry were given posting to a school as soon as they complete the course. But things are changing today. Even if you complete the course successfully, posting to a school is not assured.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said only competent and excellent trained teachers would be given posting.

The ministry is also thinking of ways to improve the selection process of trainee teachers into the institutes. As stressed by the ministry, SPM holders should have at least 7As to qualify.

As an educationist involved in the training of teachers for more than 20 years, I support this move. But at the same time, other elements should also be given due consideration for selection of teachers. One of them is passion for teaching -- teachers who are dedicated and committed to what they do. I noticed this is lacking in many teachers today, unlike before.

In our pursuit of academic excellence for teachers, we sometimes overlook passionate, dedicated, hard-working and job-loving persons. Sometimes a candidate may not have a string of As, but truly and really has the passion for teaching. This kind of candidate, in my opinion, would be a better teacher than the one with excellent results.

Today, a lot of students apply to become teachers as this career is more rewarding in terms of salary and promotional benefits. Recently, the government has rewarded them handsomely by giving pay-rises and promotions to the deserving teachers. I believe this is a plus point for aspiring teachers now.

Another crucial point that needs to be stressed is the selection of teachers. It should be done on the basis of merit and the above mentioned characteristics. If you look at the bulk of the teaching force today, it comprises one race while the other races in the country are negligible. This alarming situation does not reflect our prime minister's noble vision of 1Malaysia. The concept has to be reflected in our teaching force.

Teaching is a noble task. Not everyone can be teachers. Our teachers must have good credentials, be passionate and dedicated and responsible for bringing our standard of education to higher levels of excellence.

Dr S. Nathesan, Muar, Johor New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 19 July 2013

Teach children to respect others

I JUST came back from Australia and read with sadness what Alvin and Vivian did on the Internet.

Fifty years ago, I invited my classmates to my house for Chinese New Year. My mother told me that she would serve groundnuts, mandarin oranges and soft drinks, but no fried glutinous rice cake as we used lard in our cooking as there were Malays invited.

Twelve years ago, my business partner Razali knew that I loved rendang and asked his wife to cook chicken rendang. They brought it to my house but we were not around, so they left it with my maid.

When we came back and saw the rendang in an expensive container, I told my wife to transfer it to another container but not to wash Razali’s container.

My wife asked why? I told her we cooked pork so our washing materials might contain lard.

When I went to return his container, Razali appeared upset. But when I told him why, we had a laugh. After this, we continued to receive rendang but in disposable containers.

We non- Muslims are luckier than Muslims. We can get invited to their homes, enjoy their food but they cannot unless it is catered.

Malays by nature are good hosts. Years ago, my classmate Ghani invited a few of us to his house for Raya. His mother took out a huge plate of rendang and it was the first time we tasted it. We ate like hungry ghosts. Ghani’s parent politely urged us on and we finished the whole plate.

After Raya, when we went back to school, Ghani appeared angry and when we asked him “why” he replied “you all ate all our rendang and my mother had to borrow some from my neighbours to serve my relatives who came later.”

We have only two sons, both are Christians. We still burn joss sticks and paper for our ancestors.

On festivals days, we offer food during prayers and when my sons eat with us, we tell them which food were offered for the prayers.

I will not tolerate my children criticising my religion nor will I criticise theirs.

We should teach our children to respect other people’s religion and set the example like what my mother did 50 years ago.

I also hope our politicians practise restraint and think carefully before they speak on issues relating to religion.

THOMAS FOO CHEE KIANG Subang Jaya The STAR Online Opinion 20 July 2013