June 20th, 2014

Kukuhkan akademik, jangan sampai akal lembik

MALAYSIA memang hebat dalam sukan bola sepak. Daripada budak darjah satu hingga yang berusia hampir satu abad, semua hebat dalam sukan ini. Malangnya hebat bukan di padang tetapi hanya di bangku penonton di stadium mahupun di kerusi malas di rumah.



Memang kita hebat menjadi penyokong bola sepak hinggakan banyak kelab peminat tumbuh bak cendawan selepas hujan.

Sekadar minat tak perlu pun berlatih bersorak atau menghafal lagu tema kelab peminat kerana tiada siapa yang peduli kehendak peminat di negara ini. Apa yang bingit sikap tuding-menuding jari yang disertai komen demi komen yang tidak mempunyai sasaran (gol).

Pada musim Piala Dunia 2014 di Rio De Janeiro Brazil, hangat diperkatakan semula isu kegagalan negara kita menghantar skuad Harimau Malaya ke kejohanan Piala Dunia.

Maka isu ketidakbersuaraan anggota ASEAN untuk membida Piala Dunia 2034 bukanlah satu perkara yang pelik kerana tiada satu pun negara gagasan Asia Tenggara itu termasuk negara kita yang berada dalam senarai 30 negara terbaik Persekutuan Bola Sepak Antarabangsa (FIFA).

Isu membida Piala Dunia 2034 tidak perlu digembar-gemburkan kerana banyak perkara dalaman perlu diselesaikan dahulu di beberapa negara ASEAN terbabit.

Indonesia sedang sibuk dengan pemilihan Presiden dan Thailand masih di bawah pemerintahan tentera.

Kita sebenarnya berpengalaman menganjurkan kejohanan sukan berskala besar seperti Sukan Komanwel 1998 dan sebelum itu Piala Dunia Remaja 1997.

Ini bermakna Malaysia bukan nama yang boleh ditolak begitu sahaja sebagai penganjur dengan pengalaman menganjurkan kejohanan bertaraf dunia sudah tercatat dalam lipatan sejarah. Justeru komitmen semua pihak di dalam negara ini perlu digembleng sama ada mahu jadi penganjur atau penyeri semata-mata sebagai tuan rumah yang layak secara automatik.

Sehubungan itu, Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia (FAM) dengan pelan pembangunan bola sepak jangka panjangnya perlu melahirkan pemain masa depan yang bukan sahaja bermain dengan akal semata-mata tetapi hebat dalam akademik tahap tinggi bagi menyaingi pemain dunia yang mempunyai akal pintar yang kukuh dan tidak ‘lembik’.

Isu lembik pemikiran bukan bermaksud untuk menghina pemain-pemain kita tetapi jika pemain kita lengkap dari segi intelek, digabungkan dengan seni bola sepak maka pasukan kita akan lebih berdaya saing dalam saingan domestik dan antarabangsa.

Pengukuhan akademik dalam diri pemain bola sepak bukan setakat kemahiran me­ngawal bola, membuat hantaran dan mencari sudut kosong untuk menjaringkan gol malahan membentuk pemain bola sepak yang kreatif dan mempunyai kepantasan pemikiran dan pengawalan emosi yang tinggi.

Kita boleh lihat pada perlawanan Piala Dunia 2014 ini, amarah Pepe menyebabkan dia menerima kad merah kerana menghantukkan kepala kepada Mueller. Jika kita masih ingat pemain handalan England, David Beckham dihantar pulang pada Piala Dunia 1998 kerana melayan provokasi pemain Argentina hingga menerima kad merah dan England kehilangan ayam tambatan yang mahir dengan sepakan lencongnya. Begitu juga kes Zinedine Zidane menghantuk kepalanya ke dada Marco Materazzi pada Piala Dunia 2006 menyebabkan pasukannya ditunjukkan jalan keluar.

Pasukan Malaysia dari saat ini harus dibentuk dengan kekuatan akademik berasaskan teknikal dan taktikal bola sepak selain kekuatan akademik di pusat pendidikan formal sebagaimana yang pernah dite­rima oleh Socrates yang pernah memeriahkan arena bola sepak dunia. Beliau seorang doktor perubatan yang mempunyai corak permainan yang diadun dengan pemikiran intelek tinggi.

Walaupun tidak merasa menjadi Juara Dunia pada penampilannya dalam pasukan Brazil di Piala Dunia 1982, mendiang tetap digelar Doktor Socrates sehebat namanya di persada bola sepak.

Ironinya skuad bola sepak kita memang memerlukan doktor malahan pakar bola sepak yang mampu ‘mengubati’ prestasi skuad kita yang kali akhir layak ke persada dunia pada Sukan Olimpik Munich 1972 dan Sukan Olimpik Moscow 1980 yang diboikot atas faktor politik.

Arena keemasan boleh berulang jika semua pihak membuang ego masing-masing demi mewujudkan Skuad Harimau Malaya yang lebih hebat bersaing dengan Skuad Eropah dan Benua Amerika Latin.

Sebelum itu taring perlu diasah di pe­ringkat Asia Pasifik. Perlawanan pendedahan perlu dilakukan dengan kerap bersaing dengan skuad hebat dunia agar kita bukan sahaja belajar ‘diajar’ malahan belajar, kerana pengalaman yang paling pahit akan menjadi manis akhirnya.

Apa guna asyik bercakaran antara ke­pimpinan tertinggi bolasepak sedangkan yang hendak seronok bersorak di padang peminat bola sepak juga akhirnya.

Dengarlah suara rakyat yang mahukan pemimpin atasan merubah landskap bolasepak kita daripada hanya handal di rantau ini, namun jadi penyendal di pentas dunia khususnya di Eropah. Lahirkan pemain berkualiti akademik bukannya hanya ada keting keras, namun akal lembik tidak krea­tif mengatur perlawanan sebenar. ABDUL RAZAK IDRIS Utusan/Rencana/20140620

Humility is a must in leadership

A GREAT nation falls when there is deprivation of good leaders in the pipeline. A great society derails from its values when there is no admiration towards past leaders who have led the society in an amicable way.

Broadly speaking, our forefathers from different roots are a great example of truly great leaders in nurturing unity, walking the thought of a clear and conscious mind and building a platform for the nation to progress, like a whale moving forward continuously and yet experiencing the diversity of issues and calamities.

We have to remember that the younger generation is watching consciously with a wave like mind that continues to build bigger waves to sail through the daily lives.

The younger generation is eagerly watching their parents, teachers, academicians, religious teachers, successful entrepreneurs and managers in adopting a way of life, to strengthen their livelihood.

Adding to the list, are political leaders who are making and will make a bigger change in everyone’s lives.

Current research in leadership studies and world history has shown that great leaders have acquired humility in abundance.

One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet, has shown great leadership in many ways, including helping the Government by lobbying for rich businessmen to pay higher taxes, assisting the poor in education and scholarships and funding medical research for cancer and other diseases.

I am sure the young entrepreneurs will look to Buffet as a great living example.

As we are much interested in modifying the school curriculum, seeking regulations amendment of students’ rights, changing examination formats and restructuring education policies, there has to be greater focus, care and deliberation on the moral and eternal development of our younger generation who will be replacing the current leaders in the future.

We do hear from time to time the eroding moral values of our teens, increase in juvenile delinquency and violence among them in schools, and destruction of public amenities.

We do not want the younger generation to learn the old tricks of unscrupulous leaders who manipulate society through racist remarks, slander, and being unjust to society.

All of us are leaders in one way or another. We need to demonstrate true eternal leadership qualities in our field of work, whether it is education, healthcare, law, agriculture, industry or even political parties.

We need to show our utmost sincerity, respect, wisdom, undivided loyalty and above all, humility.

This will definitely lead towards the great path to achieve moderation, excellence, higher productivity, creating learners not robots, and most critically future leaders of tomorrow.

The future of our society and nation, as alway, lies in the hands of the younger generation and, therefore, parents, educators, and leaders in the country need to think carefully about how youths are being nurtured at home, schools, workplaces and higher learning institutions.

When parents, leaders, educators and the man on the street begin to show respect, wisdom, humility and undivided loyalty to our nation, the younger ones will be able to follow the good virtues, building pathways for a moderate society.

This is the key to ensuring our youths are able to lead and make Malaysia a better place for all.

Dr Shankar Chelliah University Sains Malaysia Penang The STAR Home > Opinion > Letters Friday March 7, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

What you see is not always what you get

DESPITE living in an age of information overload, many lack the ability to differentiate between the truth and a downright lie.

“I read it on Facebook. It’s the truth,” said an Internet user sitting at another table at a cafe recently.

And, like a man possessed, he kept on telling his friends how true that particular post was, while sipping his drink on the cafe’s sofa.

Another group the next table over also had their own conversation.

“My friend read it on Facebook. He was told by another friend who read the same post. I don’t think it’s a hoax. It’s the truth, I tell you,” said the youth in his bright yellow skinny pants.

As this charade was going on, I wondered what the fuss was about. Apparently, a picture of a pork leg allegedly used to make soup in the Spring Mall food court in Kuching had recently made the rounds.

Someone claimed that this particular food stall, operated by Indonesian workers, made their Bakso soup using the pork leg.

Bakso is Indonesian meatball dish served with beef broth and other condiments.

For one who spends a fair amount of time in the kitchen, it’s safe to say I would know the ingredients of a good broth. One would need joint bones, as this is the most tasty part, once it has been slow cooked for hours.

That is why many of us like sup tulang, as the flavour is to die for and we would scour the whole town for the best soup joint.

Although investigations into the case of this pork bone is pending, the mall managed the issue well and in a professional manner by using all channels, including social media, to explain the confusion.

But one thing that should raise some concern is that this damaging post has ruffled feathers and created doubts in the minds of some consumers about the mall’s food court.

Although the reason why the person who spread this all over the Internet is known only to him, one question that needs to be answered is: how can a person who has never slaughtered a swine in his whole life or handled the meat know how it looks like in the first place?

Furthermore, social media users are jumping to conclusions just because a picture that looks like an oversized femur bone of a swine is circulating.

So, in a time where people no longer unwind their windows and ask for directions but instead, rely on their not-so-accurate global positioning kit, which, sometimes has detailed road directions for well-developed foreign countries — what is the truth behind this episode?

Time and time again, a lie will always lead to another lie and Sir Winston Churchill was right when he said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.”

Despite the easy access to information on modern gadgets we carry today, many are slow on the uptake when it comes to common sense. But these devices are not to be blame; it is the person behind it at fault, just like a car is only deadly when the driver decides to run people down. But we still need it to get from point A to point B.

Because of this information overload era that we are all living in now, we must go back to basics and put some thought into what we watch and read, as not all of that information is verified.

This attitude of simply believing what is available to us will only lead to our own destruction. No one is immune to that when they put their guard down.

A few months ago, a former senior policeman who headed a department in Bukit Aman lost RM8,000 in an email phishing scam. Kuching City police chief Assistant Commissioner Roslan Bek Ahmad said the victim followed instructions in an email requesting that he update his bank account details. He then realised that he had just transferred his hard-earned income to a third party. This kind of reliance and trust has had damaging effects on individuals and groups, but many still fall prey to such “disinformation”.

Even what you’re reading now is just my opinion of the issue at hand, just as Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Then again, even the facts of history are sometimes questionable, because back then, there was no outlet like social media to share real time information as how most of us do now. DENNIS WONG - NST Home News Opinion 18 JUNE 2014 @ 1:11 PM

Vital Ingredient: Make soft skills part of curriculum

CONGRATULATIONS to the government for coming up with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025, an earnest and sincere attempt at addressing the shortcomings in our education system. The blueprint promises a better and brighter future for our children.

However, there is still a vital ingredient conspicuously missing from our education menu — soft skills or “kemahiran insaniah”, as it is commonly referred to in institutions of higher learning.

The Internet aptly sums up soft skills as “a term often associated with a person’s emotional intelligence, cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness and optimism that characterises relationships with other people”. In short, soft skills are the essence of life and humanity but how do we teach these to our school children? Perhaps the experts will be able to help us here.

Interestingly, many years ago, Albert Einstein warned us that it was becoming “appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. Today the truth is staring at us in the face. The fast advancement of technology, especially in the digital world, has alienated our children from us. Their fixation with the digital media and the time they spend on the Internet are alarming.

Part of the secret to the problem lies in grooming our students with soft skills. The need to inculcate these priceless skills in our students at an early age can never be over-emphasised as they would help to enforce the much-needed ethics, morals and manners in our students. Indeed, an overview of empirical literature suggests that in real life, the hard skills contribute only 15 per cent of one’s success while the remaining 85 per cent is made up by the soft skills.

Soft skills education should be made a visible, ostentatious part of our education. It must never remain a hidden agenda in the curriculum. For far too long we have allowed students who are good in academics but lacking in social graces and manners to get away with it. Hence, there is a need to incorporate the soft skills in all our school subjects and evaluated alongside the academic skills.

For this to happen, we need to go beyond mere mechanical evaluation of the academics and technical skills. The focus should shift to a more balanced evaluation which must include behaviour, attitudes and personality traits of the students and a small percentage of marks given for these skills in every subject.

Perhaps, more effective approaches such as experiential learning and learning outside the classroom should be given priority. These have been proven to be more effective as they generally involve group participation. Through the group projects, presentations, discussions, brain storming, problem solving, critical self reflections and community services, teachers would have a better chance of observing and evaluating not only the hard skills but also the soft skills.

However, caution should be exercised when giving marks for the skills due to the overall implications on the students. It should never be done by a single teacher but by a panel of teachers/lecturers teaching the various subjects. Once decided, the marks should be added to all the subjects. This should dispense with accusations of favouritism.

Finally, a rubric should also be drawn up to evaluate these skills. Among the other elements, it should include aspects of students’ communication skills, attendance, participation, team spirit, humility, attitude, co-operation, leadership qualities, manners, etiquette, eco- friendliness, organisation, religious tolerance and racial inclinations.

A.L. Kut, Kota Baru, Kelantan NST Letters 20 JUNE 2014 @ 8:02 AM