January 18th, 2015

Pelan ambil alih kuasa Mao Tse-tung

Menjelang penghujung tahun 1960-an, dua puluh tahun selepas penubuhan negara komunis China, hampir semua pemimpin kanan parti yang rapat dengan Mao Tse-tung sejak ‘hari pertama’ Parti Komunis China (PKC) melancarkan Revolusi Cina – sudah kehilangan kuasa, sama ada dalam parti atau kerajaan. Mereka yang tersingkir itu kebanyakannya disebabkan mereka menentang secara terbuka atau halus dasar-dasar Mao yang dianggap mendatangkan kesan buruk terhadap rakyat China.

Seperti saya katakan dalam coretan Mingguan Malaysia 15 Jun 2014, negara China telah mengalami kehilangan 36 juta manusia semata-mata kerana tidak cukup makan akibat dasar gila Mao Tse-tung yang digelar Great Leap Forward (1958-1962). Jumlah ini bagi tempoh itu sahaja. Penulis Jung-Halliday, dalam bukunya Mao: The Unknown Story, berkata 70 juta rakyat China telah terkorban di bawah pemerintahan Mao selama 27 tahun (1949-1976) itu. Inilah yang mendorong Liu Shao-chi, sebagai Presiden China, semasa berucap di depan kongres parti yang dihadiri 7,000 perwakilan menyelar dasar gila Mao itu, dan menggesa ia segera diberhentikan. Tetapi, demikianlah berakhirnya riwayat perjuangan Liu Shao-chi yang terseksa hanya kerana ingin memperbaiki keadaan hidup rakyat China.

Dengan kematian Liu Shao-chi pada 12 November 1969 itu, maka tidak ada lagi pemimpin kanan yang berani mengkritik Mao secara terbuka. Deng Xiao-ping, seperti halnya Liu Shao-chi, telah ‘dibuang negeri’ ke Nanchang, wilayah Jiangxi, selatan China. Di situ dia dan ahli keluarganya menyara hidup sebagai petani menanam sayur. Mereka diperintahkan tidak boleh keluar dari kawasan kediaman mereka melainkan jika mendapat kebenaran daripada parti komunis. Peng De-huai, seorang Marsyal yang sangat berjasa semasa peperangan menentang Jepun dan Kuomintang, dan sebagai bekas Menteri Pertahanan China yang pertama, telah juga dibuang negeri ke wilayah Shaanxi, bahagian tengah China sejak ­­1959 – kerana keberanian mengkritik secara terbuka dasar Mao.

Yang tinggal hanya Chow En-lai, tetapi dia bersikap pak turut. Dia menurut apa sahaja kehendak dan kemahuan Mao Tse-tung asalkan kedudukannya – dalam parti dan kerajaan– tidak terjejas. Reaksi dan sikap Chow di sepanjang menghadapi sepak-terajang berbagai tahaluf siyasi kalangan pemimpin kanan parti pada waktu itu lebih untuk menentukan supaya dirinya tidak terpalit, pada pengamatan Mao Tse-tung. Saya beri satu contoh klasik yang jelas menyerlahkan sikap Chow En-lai ini: selepas Kongres ke-9 Parti Komunis China awal April, 1969 apabila Mao telah menghabiskan banyak masa mengutuk tingkah-laku Liu Shao-chi dan Wang Guang-mei (isteri Liu), Lin Biao, tanpa arahan parti, telah menyediakan satu senarai nama pemimpin parti yang perlu dihapuskan serta-merta. Pihak tentera yang di bawah kawalannya akan menjalankan kerja itu.Nama teratas dalam senarai itu ialah Wang Guang-mei.

Chow En-lai menandatangani senarai itu,kemudian segera membawanya kepada Mao untuk kelulusan. Tetapi, Mao memutuskan tidak bersetuju Guang-mei dibunuh. Menurut Mao, salah laku Guang-mei tidaklah sampai dia perlu dihapuskan. Kononnya, Chow kemudian telah memberitahu Mao: “Saudara Pengerusi, anda cukup bertimbang rasa.” (Pengerusi bererti Pengerusi Parti Komunis Cina). Anda yang membaca coretan ini boleh membuat kesimpulan sendiri apakah jenis kepimpinan yang ditunjukkan oleh Chow itu.

Lin Biao ketika itu merasakan kedudukannya dalam hierarki kepimpinan parti sudah cukup kuat.Penat-lelahnya ‘mempertahankan’ Mao Tse-tung telah berhasil semacam tanpa batasan apabila dia dinobatkan sebagai pengganti Mao. Penobatan ini diselitkan dalam perlembagaan parti komunis menerusi satu pindaan yang dibuat pada September 1969. Dengan sikap besar kepala itu, Lin Biao mula merancang untuk merampas kuasa politik. Dia meneliti beberapa kemungkinan. Pertama, dia percaya bahawa Mao Tse-tung sebenarnya tidak menaruh kepercayaan penuh kepadanya, bukan saja kerana memang begitulah sikap dan putar-belit politik Mao, malah dia mengesyaki Chow En-lai tidak akan berganjak daripada menumpukan kesetiaannya kepada Mao. Lin Biao menilai bahawa Chow akan berubah sikap terhadapnya sebaik-baik sahaja Mao mati. Jadi, dia kena bertindak segera. Jiang Qing juga membebani pemikiran Lin Biao. Sungguhpun Jiang Qing tidak menyimpan hasrat yang kuat untuk mengganti suaminya dalam parti, dia diketahui menaruh minat menempatkan anggota termuda Gang of Four, Wang Hong-wen, pemuda tampan dari Shanghai itu, sebagai ‘pewaris’ Mao Tse-tung. Jiang Qing hanya menunggu masa yang sesuai sebelum bertindak mempertegaskan kehendaknya. Ada pula sumber mengatakan, Jiang Qing yang umurnya jauh lebih muda daripada Mao, ada menjalin hubungan sulit dengan pemuda Shanghai yang kacak itu dan ingin menjadi isterinya apabila Mao telah mati.

Sebagai Menteri Pertahanan China, Lin Biao yakin angkatan tentera China, yang telah dipimpinnya sejak sepuluh tahun, akan berdiri teguh di belakangnya jika dia mengambil keputusan merampas kuasa. Soalnya, apakah caranya untuk dia melaksanakan rampasan kuasa itu? Adakah dengan membunuh Mao? Atau, dengan mencipta suatu gagasan kononnya wujud suatu komplot jahat hendak mengguling Mao Tse-tung dan Mao perlu diselamatkan? Dalam proses melindungi dan menyelamatkan kedudukan Mao itulah, maka segala kuasa Mao Tse-tung lambat-laun akan dihakis dan dihapuskan.

Cara yang kedua itulah juga yang cuba dipakai oleh Parti Komunis Indonesia (PKI) waktu pemerintahan Presiden Soekarno pada pertengahan 1960-an. Bezanya, apa yang dibilang gerakan Gestapo 30 September 1965 PKI – singkatannya gerakan G30S/PKI – telah diatur dengan cukup teliti serta dengan pengetahuan mutlak dan tanpa batas oleh Presiden Soekarno sendiri. Dalam gerakan G30S/PKI itu, Parti Komunis Indonesia telah mencipta apa yang digelarnya Dewan Jeneral yang berhasrat mengkudita Presiden Soekarno. Dewan Jeneral itu sebetulnya tidak ada, ia hanya alasan PKI untuk merampas kuasa daripada Presiden Soekarno jika G30S/PKI itu mencapai matlamatnya. Ikutilah coretan saya di minggu hadapan apakah kesudahannya rancangan Lin Biao itu. - Rahim Noor Utusan Malaysia Rencana 18 Jan 2015

Anak tempatan lawan warga asing

Untuk sekian kalinya saya terus menaip perkataan 'warga asing' dalam ruangan ini. Kisah ini tidak ada kesudahannya sehingga kerajaan benar-benar tegas mengawal kemasukan pekerja asing sama ada yang memegang permit ataupun masuk secara haram.

Pendedahan beberapa media tempatan termasuk Utusan Malaysia berkenaan aktiviti rakyat asing merebut peluang ekonomi di negara ini dengan bekerja hampir di semua sektor dan berniaga, menunjukkan betapa orang kita hanya selesa dengan apa yang ada. Dapat lesen dan permit digadainya kepada warga asing. Sebab itulah banyak premis perniagaan di ibu kota dijaga atau sudah dimiliki oleh warga asing.

Kata A. Hadi dalam e-melnya kepada saya, penyakit ini bukan sahaja ‘hak eksklusif’ orang Melayu malah turut berjangkit kepada kaum lain. Buktinya warga asing mula menguasai perniagaan Chinatown di Jalan Petaling dan Plaza Low Yat dekat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur yang selama ini diketahui umum sebagai kawasan peniaga Cina. Sudahlah begitu, para majikan pula kini begitu ketagih kepada buruh murah dari luar. Membiarkan perkembangan ini, A. Hadi percaya satu hari nanti anak-anak Melayu yang berkelulusan SPM pun mungkin sukar bersaing dengan pekerja asing di sektor perkilangan.

Jika dahulu, kedai-kedai 24 jam mengupah remaja tempatan sebagai juruwang sambilan atau tetap, kini bukan sahaja KK Mart malah 7 Eleven turut menggaji juruwang warga asing. Warga Nepal (Gurkha) pun sudah diambil bekerja dalam sektor perkhidmatan itu yang sebelum ini hanya dikhususkan bekerja sebagai pengawal keselamatan.

Kalau kita ke restoran dan hotel, berpuluh-puluh warga Myanmar dan Bangladesh yang melayan dan menyajikan makanan ke meja kita. Mana perginya budak-budak lelaki dan perempuan tempatan yang berkelulusan sijil perhotelan? Adakah rakyat Malaysia terutamanya anak-anak Melayu begitu malas sehingga bukan sahaja tidak mahu bekerja di tapak pembinaan dan ladang kelapa sawit malah tidak mahu bekerja di tempat berhawa dingin? Tiada maknanya kerajaan berjaya mewujudkan banyak peluang pekerjaan jika rakyat kita tidak mendapat manfaat.

Apabila warga asing menguasai semua sektor pekerjaan maka tinggallah anak-anak Melayu menjadi mat rempit, kaki ragut dan mat dadah, mat ketum dan sebagainya. Berpesta dan bersuka-ria tanpa had siang malam, sedangkan warga asing bertungkus-lumus membangunkan negara kita. Mereka memang rajin bekerja dan berani merebut apa sahaja peluang di depan mata. Kata A. Hadi, jika beginilah keadaannya tidak mustahil pada tahun 2020 mereka pula jadi ‘tuan’ di negara kita ini manakala orang Melayu jadi kuli.

Usahawan Bumiputera Cepat Mengalah

Cuba beritahu saya, apa lagi ban­tuan yang Kerajaan Pusat belum bantu. Tetapi kenapa masih banyak peniaga tempatan ter­utama bumiputera masih belum berjaya?

E-mel daripada Pengerusi Persatuan Pedagang dan Pengusaha Melayu Malaysia (Perdasama) Muda Nasional atau Per­da­sama Muda, Feruddin Emir Moehamad Izat Emir memberitahu saya ba­ha­wa kera­jaan banyak menghulurkan ban­tuan langsung dan tidak lang­sung kepada masyarakat seperti BR1M, Klinik Rakyat, Kedai Rakyat dan sebagainya bagi golo­ngan berpendapatan ren-dah. Pada masa sama kerajaan juga ada menyediakan bantuan bagi golo­ngan peniaga dan usa­ha-wan bumiputera. Sebagai con­toh pinjaman SME, pinjaman Tekun oleh Mara, bantuan Geran oleh Teraju, bantuan kewangan kepada koperasi dan sebagainya.

Sepanjang pengalaman Ferud­din sendiri, banyak bantuan ini kurang mendapat sambutan da­r­i­pada golongan sasaran itu sendiri, iaitu usahawan Melayu. Contohnya, permohonan ban­tuan Geran Per-mulaan Perniagaan melalui SME di bawah Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri (MITI) pada tahun 2008, majoriti daripada rakan Feruddin menerima pem­bayaran tersebut. Mereka menghormati sikap pro­fesional pegawai kerajaan kerana hadir ke pejabat mereka dan memeriksa segala dokumen serta operasi perniagaan. Ini bagi memastikan bahawa geran tersebut digunakan dengan berhemat serta efektif tan­pa sebarang prejudis, dan bagi mengelakkan penyalahgunaan dana.

Begitu juga dengan Skim Usahawan Permulaan Bumiputera (Superb) oleh Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju) yang kini mendapat sambutan hangat sehingga permintaan melebihi penawaran. Geran Superb ini ditawarkan kepada syarikat baru yang kurang daripada tiga tahun penubuhannya serta mempunyai inovasi dan potensi untuk diniaga dalam pasaran. Sekiranya pemohon tidak layak, Teraju melalui Yayasan Usahawan Baru (myNEF), akan menawarkan program latihan bagaimana ingin membuat penyediaan rapi untuk memohon geran akan datang atau terus melatih entiti perniagaan tersebut agar dapat mencapai objektif mereka. Ini bermakna kerajaan tidak menafikan usaha pemohon sebaliknya menawarkan program dan aktiviti yang membawa nilai tambah kepada mereka yang baharu mula berniaga.

Kerajaan komited dan dedikasi dalam mewujudkan lebih ramai usahawan dan peniaga baharu. Terpulang kepada peniaga dan usahawan terutamanya golongan Melayu muda untuk mengambil peluang tersebut. Feruddin mendapati banyak peniaga serta usahawan Melayu kurang berminat atau mudah mengalah apabila diberi peluang sebegini. Sekiranya peluang yang sama diberikan kepada bukan Melayu, kita yakin bahawa kuota akan habis dalam tempoh masa yang pantas. Kita tidak perlu lihat jauh, contoh terdekat ialah pelaburan ASB yang masih banyak lagi orang Melayu tidak melabur.

Atas kesedaran ini kata Feruddin, Perdasama Muda menjalankan program Akademi PROGerak (Akademi Kepimpinan dan Ekonomi Melayu Islam). Program Akademi ini akan memberikan beberapa jenis latihan yang terbahagi kepada tiga kategori (3B) – Belum berniaga, Baharu berniaga dan Besarkan perniagaan. Dalam Akademi, mereka akan kenal pasti pengisian latihan dan mengajak beberapa agensi kerajaan untuk turut serta seperti SSM, Tekun, MyNIC, Teraju, Mara, dan Telekom Malaysia. Untuk maklumat lanjut layari e-mel: perdasamamudanasional@gmail.com. Kalau warga asing boleh maju berniaga, kenapa tidak anak tempatan? - Azman Anuar Utusan Malaysia Rencana 18 Jan 2015

10 fakta terkini AirAsia

AIRASIA seperti yang kita semua ketahui, sedang berdepan dengan tragedi pesawat terhempas pada 28 Disember 2014. Sehingga Jumaat lalu, seramai 51 mangsa daripada 162 penumpang pesawat QZ8501 telah ditemukan.

Ramai yang pening untuk memahami pemilikan AirAsia. Pesawat yang jatuh itu milik AirAsia Indonesia. Jenama AirAsia bermula di Malaysia. Begini huraiannya:

Secara umumnya, ia sama seperti konsep francais iaitu AirAsia yang diasaskan oleh Tan Sri Tony Fernandes dan Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun pada tahun 2001, mewujudkan syarikat usaha sama dengan syarikat di negara yang diteroka.

Berbeza dengan francais makanan contohnya, industri penerbangan dijaga dengan ketat oleh semua negara. Ia menyentuh soal kedaulatan dan menjaga kepentingan rakyat. Setiap negara mewajibkan pemilikan ekuiti majoriti misalnya 51 peratus tempatan, dan 49 peratus asing.

Dalam tempoh sedekad ini, AirAsia membentuk lima syarikat seumpamanya iaitu Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia, AirAsia Zest dan AirAsia India, selain daripada operasi Malaysia AirAsia. Untuk operasi jarak jauh, ia memiliki AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia X dan Indonesia AirAsia X. Operasi AirAsia Jepun masih digantung.

Berdasarkan konsep di atas, AirAsia merintis jalan bagi meyakinkan setiap kerajaan negara terbabit untuk menyelaras standard dan merasionalkan sektor penerbangan masing-masing. Proses ini berterusan, seiring dengan matlamat AirAsia untuk meluaskan lagi jenamanya ke peringkat global.

Operasi AirAsia melangkaui model perniagaan tradisional iaitu 'pesawat negara’ seperti MAS untuk Malaysia, Garuda bagi Indonesia atau SIA untuk Singapura. Apabila sesebuah syarikat penerbangan menggunakan satu jenama sahaja, ia mewakili semua entiti dan bukan sekadar satu negara semata-mata.

Inilah sebab bila berita pertama pesawat AirAsia Indonesia terhempas, rakyat Malaysia yang pertama terkejut dan sedih. Selepas MAS, tragedi AirAsia ini sama memilukan. AirAsia bagi kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia, dilahirkan dan dibesarkan di Malaysia.

Faktor yang sama juga memperjelaskan kenapa Tony Fernandes yang menjadi jurucakap syarikat kepada kaum keluarga mangsa dan media massa, tetapi bukan pemilik majoriti AirAsia Indonesia.

Berikut ialah sembilan lagi faktor yang perlu anda ketahui tentang AirAsia:

1 - AirAsia Indonesia beroperasi di Indonesia menerusi PT Indonesia AirAsia, syarikat usaha sama antara AirAsia International Ltd. dengan PT Awair International pada Disember 2004, dan sejak 10 tahun lalu, beroperasi di Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Surabaya dan Medan.

2 - Bersama dengan pengurusan Indonesia Airasia, pengasas bersama AirAsia, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun dan Tan Sri Tony Fernandes telah turun padang membantu sejak hari pertama pesawat terhempas, ke pusat krisis di Indonesia dan Singapura bertemu dengan keluarga mangsa.

3 - Warga Airasia serantau terbang ke Surabaya memberi bantuan kepada rakan-rakan mereka. AirAsia Indonesia melantik seorang 'penjaga’ kepada setiap keluarga untuk sebarang bantuan seperti pengangkutan, penginapan dan sokongan emosi.

4 - Tony mengutus surat kepada semua pelanggan AirAsia menyatakan penghargaan atas sokongan berterusan mereka. Dalam surat itu, dia menulis: "Beberapa minggu kebelakangan ini merupakan detik yang paling sukar dalam kehidupan saya sejak memulakan AirAsia 13 tahun lalu. Saya mahu menyampaikan rasa terima kasih atas sokongan yang anda berikan. Meskipun dalam situasi paling sukar sekarang, akan terus menjadi yang terbaik di dunia dan lebih baik untuk anda’’.

5 - Penampilan Tony mendapat reaksi positif di Indonesia. Seorang teman Editor Bersekutu di Jakarta, Krisnadi Yuliawan berkata, orang Indonesia menganggap Tony menguruskan krisis ini dengan baik. "Ini kerana beliau bekerjasama sepenuhnya dengan pihak berkuasa Indonesia. Dan beliau tidak lokek memuji usaha Basarnas dalam operasi mencari mangsa’’.

6 - Dalam sosial media, beribu-ribu mesej sokongan dan galakan diberikan kepada AirAsia. Hashtag #togetherWEstand diwujudkan dalam kalangan kakitangan AirAsia sebagai tanda ingatan dan hormat kepada penumpang dan rakan-rakan yang terkorban. Dalam Instagram, sebanyak 19,368 perutusan disiarkan.

7 - AirAsia Allstars memakai reben hitam dan putih sebagai tanda berkabung. Logo AirAsia pada laman web dan saluran lain ditukar warna kepada kelabu.

8 - Sebagai pemilik kelab Queens Park Rangers, Tony sering memberi ulasan dalam Twitter tentang prestasi pasukan. Sejak insiden itu, fokus Tony tertumpu kepada krisis. Para penyokong QPR merinduinya.

9 - Di sebalik tragedi itu, AirAsia tidak melupakan tanggungjawab membantu mangsa banjir di Pantai Timur baru-baru ini. Ia menyediakan ruang kargo percuma untuk mengangkut barang bantuan seperti makanan, ubat dan pakaian. Sebanyak 36 tan barangan telah diangkut ke Kota Bharu dengan lebih 182 pegawai perubatan dan sukarelawan.

Empathy, key component in moral studies

While schools aim for academic excellence, there is also a need to inculcate in students the values of patience and compassion.

MORAL Education has come a long way in Malaysia. Since Malaysia attained independence, much has been said about the subject.

In fact, recently, Moral Education came under scrutiny where many ‘higher order thinking skills’ (HOTS) questions were posed to students when they sat for their PT3 Moral Education paper. Candidates were not fully prepared for the HOTS questions.

There have been discussions and debates about the purpose of having Moral Education in our curriculum.


Helping hands: Two boys clean up a classroom with their teachers after floods hit their school. It is this trait - their willingness to help - that reinforces the importance of good values. - File Photo

Many educationists, have said that Moral Education cannot be taught solely for examination purposes.

Moral Education or otherwise known as Values Education, Character Education, Ethics Education or Civics and Citizenship Education in other developed and developing countries, can be taught in an interesting and thought-provoking manner to develop the mindset of the students. However, are we focusing on just this (mindset) all the time?

Moral Education should also touch on the affective side that the educators seldom focus on. We may not be aware that moral emotions are crucial for one’s development and empathy is one major component.

There are various definitions of empathy. Various theorists and psychologists have suggested different definitions for empathy like Feshbach, who asserted that empathy has both cognitive and affective components.

An expert in Emotion, Nancy Eisenberg viewed empathy “as an affective response that stress from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition and is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel in the given situation”.

Motivating factor

Empathy as a component plays an important role in moral development as well as being a motivator for prosocial behaviour. Researchers have stated that people who deeply care for others and experience their empotions, are motivated to help other people.

According to famous theorists and psychologists, it is Hoffman’s theory of empathy that has the most extensive coverage on the development of the topic and care in humans.

He defined empathy as “an affective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own”.

Hoffman stressed that empathy is multi- dimensional and there are five distinctly different modes of empathy arousal.

He focused on emphatic distress because prosocial moral action usually involves helping someone in discomfort, pain or some other type of distress.

He showed evidence that empathic distress is associated with helping.

Now, how can we turn this theory into practice? Before focusing on how teachers can teach empathy in the classrooms, we need to see why the topic is so relevant and important.

Reports on issues relating to adolescents involved in bullying, vandalising, stealing, assaulting and abandoning babies have made the news in recent times.

Lickona, a prominent figure in Values Education has raised concerns that young people are increasingly lacking in virtues and not as bothered about human development and character building.

That was written more than five decades ago and now youngsters encounter various issues day by day.

With these current problems, there is concern of whether youngsters are able to grow up into mature and responsible adults.

The present situation in the education system is focusing on high-stakes testing where global competence among students is inevitable.

The emotional aspect of students will definitely be overlooked and taken for granted.

Nel Noddings, an expert in Moral Education has voiced her opinion that excellent citizens who are polite, forgiving, respectful toward elders, and are kind, loving and able to understand the difficulties of other people need to be “churned out” by the schools. With violence, anti-social behaviour, bullying and aggression among young people escalating at a frightening rate, it is clear that schools need to “nurture’’ empathy among students.

Youth who do not understand others, or are incapable of feelings, will definitely not be citizens who are well balanced in terms of affective and spiritual manner as stipulated in the National Philosophy Of Education in this country.

It states that the goal of education is to produce individuals who are not only knowledgeable but able to manage their emotions wisely.

Therefore, developing empathy in youngsters is paramount to nation development.

The conduct of bullying, killing, cheating, stealing and robbing can be prevented if our youths are empathetic. According to William Damon, an expert in adolescence and early adulthood, a child’s moral sense which includes empathy, requires nurturing if he or she were to develop into a mature, responsible and caring adult.

Noddings too believed that one needs to educate a child holistically.

However, moral reasoning is still highly stressed today despite the fact the child has to be educated holistically.

Other researchers have stated that care-based emotions such as empathy which enhances one’s moral sensitivity should be looked into because of physiological and physical maturation taking place in adolescents.

However, moral cognitive still take centre stage compared to moral emotions.

In fact, scholars have voiced out that emotions as a dimension in moral education remains something as a “taboo” subject and lack recognition.

The same goes to the teachings in our schools here.

The National Philosophy of Education aims to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent and who possess high moral standards.

Subjects such as Moral Education are incorporated in the national curriculum and covers three domains namely moral cognitive, moral affective and moral behaviour.

In terms of implementation, there is an emphasis on the domain of moral reasoning development (cognitive) but less on the domain of moral affective or moral emotions.

Studies have shown that the Malaysian system focuses strongly on the cognitive, rather than the affective domain.

Children need the right and ethical values to face adversities in our demanding world.

Without proper guidance, children may turn into aggressive or bullying adults. Therefore, empathy is one of the key components of moral emotions.

As children develop empathy, communication increases in several ways.

They anticipate the actions and reactions more accurately. Children with empathy are more trusting and tolerant of others.

Empathy encompasses compassion, understanding and consideration and this will even reduce behavioural problems among children.

Instilling the right behaviour among students where emotions are involved is not easy. Educators are aware of that. However, little steps in making students aware of another person’s situation does help.

One approach in teaching empathy is through role-playing where students are allowed to play a part based on someone else’s perspective which in turn will facilitate empathic reactions in students.

Teachers can also organise problem-solving games, storytelling, group discussions, acting out words, phrases and stories for students to fully understand “empathy’.

For schools with deliquency problems, I would strongly recommend teachers to organise a programme which aims at teaching students empathy, responsibility and tolerance so that they will be able to function effectively in a culturally diverse society.

In such programmes, students can be exposed to lessons that stress eye contact, facial expressions, body posture and feelings.

For example, in a classroom activity, a student can choose a “feeling word” and act out non-verbally so that the class can guess the word.

The approaches mentioned above would not be of help without the role of a responsible, proactive and caring teacher.

A teacher’s role is fundamental in any school as students learn to socialise and interact with others through his or her teacher.

In classrooms, teachers set the pathways to make teaching and learning meaningful to students.

As the nation progresses, teachers need to impart meaningful values to their students for them to be caring citizens although the emphasis on academic excellence is just as important.

* The writer teaches Moral Education at a secondary school in the Klang Valley, She is passionate about the subject and believes that students must be guided at all times by positive values.

The importance of being civil

Today, thanks to social media, just about anyone can now share an opinion in an instant. But Malaysians are in need of clever and intelligent discourse.

IT is a mark of our maturing society that we are now beginning to be able to engage in discourse, even on the most sensitive of issues, without causing offence to one another.

The ability to disagree without being dis­agreeable is to be lauded. Too often, we have seen how individuals or groups prefer to engage in name-calling and verbal abuse, rather than talk rationally about an issue.


Social Media

I have been a journalist for over 30 years and have also covered the Dewan Rakyat in my earlier years. While there was a fair share of those who spoke just to make sure they got themselves in the news, there were also many outstanding politicians with the gift of the gab who could debate rationally, their arguments punctuated with much wit, and they had the uncanny ability to cool things down when temperatures went up a few notches.

Older Malaysian journalists have told me of their experiences following the great debating skills of our founding fathers like Tunku Abdul Rahman and the earlier Opposition figures like the Seenivasagam brothers, S.P. and D.R., and Tan Sri Tan Chee Khoon.

They were legends who did not have to raise their voices or resort to using racial remarks to make themselves heard. They had class and have deservingly been accorded their place in our history.

Today, we are more exposed to how people engage in civil discourse for a wide variety of issues through different platforms. Democracy has never been so noisy.

Thanks to social media, just about any­one can now share an opinion in an instant. The more savvy politicians too have embraced social media but they are aware that they will never escape scrutiny and, of course, criticism for whatever they say.

But Malaysians are in need of clever and intelligent discourse. They want to read beyond generalised statements found in blogs and on Facebook. Instant responses, often clouded by emotional prejudices, cannot take the place of rational debate.

If anyone, especially a public figure, stands up for something, he must be prepared to square off with someone with a directly opposite view. It’s the same for academics who have to face peer review and cannot simply rattle off their views without being willing to listen, or offer space, to contrarian views.

For Malaysia, we have of late seen an active engagement of views over issues like race and religion. We have seen the emergence of the voice of moderation, as more people, many of them prominent members of society, speak their minds.

I am proud that this media group, which I helm as its chief executive officer, has given fair and equal opportunity to all sides to articulate their views. This is how it should be. So, if we give space to the so-called Group of 25, we have likewise given space to the Group of 32. So long as the debate remains civil, we should allow this to carry on. More importantly, both sides have called for a meeting of the minds on the issues affecting the nation.

It does not matter if even The Star’s Voice of Moderation campaign has been criticised by the Group of 32. We are ready to be cri­ticised by anyone, as long as they back it up with sound and rational viewpoints. We may be on direct opposites but most of us, whatever our beliefs, surely do not subscribe to any form of name-calling and threats.

When 32 men and women with consi­derable knowledge and accomplishments come together to take a stand, we ought to hear them out. Surely they are no different than any of us in wanting the country and its people to continue to do well. Never mind if we may not subscribe to some of their views, but differing views is a basic of democracy.

Let me put on record that I also share some of the views expressed by the Group of 32, such as those about economic disparity and corruption.

Be that as it may, it is unfortunate that there are some who are only able to see the world, or Malaysia, via a racial or religious prism.

The minority groups of different faiths make up a substantial number of this country’s population. They need not be reminded, over and over again, that they have to be grateful and that as a minority, they must be submissive and not speak up.

The Star has been criticised for purportedly using Malay personalities to voice their moderate views against the other Malay groups who do not share their liberal views.

Nothing could be further from these warped arguments. When we first initiated this campaign, ahead of National Day and Malaysia Day, we wanted to emphasise the importance of moderation. It needed to be pointed out that moderation was a key criterion for Malaysia to secure a seat in the United Nations Security Council.

There is also a government-funded Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), initiated by the Prime Minister, of which I am a trustee. Surely, if we talk about moderation on the world stage, we also need to practise it at home. Former MP Datuk Saiffudin Abdullah, another moderation advocate, heads the GMM.

It is also important to note that most of the writers and contributors featured in the campaign have been long-term columnists with The Star. They include Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Zainah Anwar, Azmi Shahrom, Zaid Ibrahim, Wan Saiful Wan Jan and Karim Raslan. They were not plucked from the air with no basis. Many of them have long been associated with The Star.

Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala also writes for us and former diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who is also the chairman of GMM, is someone I have known for some time. Zainah has been a good friend since 1990 when I first met her as a journalist. And I am privileged to know her other family members as well. I hold her in high regard.

These are the people, who happen to be Malays, who have always been the moderates in our country. They have always been given the space to articulate on issues that they care about, including moderation. What the campaign has succeeded in doing is to make more people aware of the need to speak out if they do not want the forces of extremism to gain ground.

It is an insult to suggest that the Group of 25 and other moderates who support them are being used as pawns in a racial plot. These people have long-established credentials with sterling service records to the country.

Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, who is the coordinator of the group, is not only a former ambassador but also one of the top legal brains in this country, having served more than 25 years in the judicial and legal service including stints as a magistrate and Sessions Court judge. At Wisma Putra, she handled territorial and maritime issues before her posting as Malaysia’s ambassador to the Netherlands, where she also served as Malaysia’s co-agent to the International Court of Justice on the Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan case.

Then there is Liyana Khairuddin, who initiated the #iam26 social movement in support of the eminent Group of 25. Unknown to many, Liyana, who humbly prefers to be known as just a scientist, is a virologist who specialises in HIV research.

I agree wholeheartedly that the Malays have been generous and it was the community’s willingness to share and build consensus that chiefly helped us get our independence and build Malaysia to what we are today. But we must not forget that without the support of the other communities, there would be no independence and without the Sabahans and Sarawakians, there would be no Malaysia either. Our founding fathers, who travelled to London for the talks, did so as a multi-racial team, lest we forget.

Every community has its share of extremists. This writer has criticised groups like Dong Zong and Hindraf, with its racist overtones, long before even Perkasa was born.

There have also been personal attacks, almost all the result of racial prejudices, from people who do not know me. But it is worth repeating here that my love for the Malay language and culture was the main reason why I sat for the Malay Literature paper in my Sixth Form examination, when it was called Higher School Certificate. I had to memorise Sejarah Melayu and Tuhfat Al-Nafis. I studied Islamic History as well.

When I entered Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, I chose the Malay Letters Department in my first year as an extension of my love for Malay literature.Pantun, Indonesian and Malay literature enriched my life greatly, and I have spoken out many times that there is no basis to the fear of learning about Islamic Civilization in our public universities.

It was a compulsory course in UKM and remains so, and I had the privilege of listening to the lectures of the late Fadzil Noor, who went on to be become a PAS president, and former lecturer Dr Haron Din, who is now a PAS elder.

I find it odd that there are politicians who still attempt to use the teaching of Islamic Civilization as a political issue. I learnt it 30 years ago, and I can’t think of any non-Muslim in my batch who converted as a result!

I have continued to be engaged with the works at the Al-Bukhary Islamic Museum, where I continue to collect some of the best books on the religion by the museum.

In fact, there are family members who have embraced Islam and my favourite aunt is a tudung-clad Muslim who naturally shares my moderation stand.

Many of my Malay friends find the views of certain extreme Malay groups embarrassing but they are caught in a situation where they know they will be criticised if they openly declare themselves as liberals.

All these recent discussions, passionate in many aspects, have helped me to forge a wider world view and have a greater appreciation of our communities in Malaysia. In the process, they have also strengthened my moderation views.

From the start of the campaign, we have emphasised that we wanted to speak about common values of all races and religions such as compassion, tolerance, patience, understanding and mutual respect.

We cannot pretend that religious extremism does not exist in this country. In fact, extremism in all forms can be found everywhere; such is the nature of men.

Religious extremism is not widespread in Malaysia but it is a threat nevertheless because the words and actions grab a lot of attention. They intimidate and agitate and, in certain circumstances, they can quickly spiral out of control.

We cannot afford to be dismissive about something that can potentially wreck our way of life.

God, by whatever name we call Him, has made Malaysia a plural society. He has put colour into our lives. He must have a reason for doing so, and surely if we believe in God, He would want us to live in harmony and to showcase our plurality in our daily lives – not just for show to the tourists!

> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

Students with learning difficulties unfairly dismissed as lazy and dumb

A dyslexic took time off from her busy schedule to coach a group of struggling students.

As a dyslexic who overcame learning difficulties, I strongly felt the urge to give back to society. So I came up with the idea of teaching a small group of underprivileged remove class students from my former school.

Of course, I had the blessings of the school principal to hold free tuition classes in the school. These afternoon session students were only too happy to come for tuition in the morning.

Initially, I was shocked that these 13-year-olds had not mastered the alphabet! They did not know simple words like “up”, “down”, “cat” and “dog”.

In my class of six students, I had the chance to foster a closer relationship with two of my students, Eugene and Andrea. I was saddened to learn that simple phrases did not exist in their vocabulary. After a few classes, they gathered the courage to ask me in Mandarin: “Che Che (sister), how do I tell the teacher when I want to step out of the class to go to the toilet?” They explained that they would only rush to the toilet after the teacher left the class.

When it came to completing Maths homework, solving simple problems was a challenge for these students. Whenever there was Maths homework, the students needed a lot of help to finish it.

It is a common misconception that remove class students are dumb, lazy and not willing to put extra effort in their studies. I noticed that most of my students had some kind of learning disability. Eugene and Andrea were slow learners. They could be dyslexic, too, as we seem to share the same learning characteristics. So it was easy for me to come up with teaching methods that they could grasp.

Though my students were hardworking, it was difficult for them to follow normal classes. They did not have the basics to understand what the teacher was teaching. They often struggled to understand the activity questions and homework instructions given by the teachers. It was not that they were too lazy to do their homework – they just did not know how to do it, unless given guidance. The joy on their faces when they completed their homework said it all.

Every night, they would burn the midnight oil as they struggled with their homework. Just like anyone of us, they would panic if they could not pass up their schoolwork. So helping them with their homework became a top priority in my class.

Although I had to start from basics, I was happy to note that they tried their best.

They even bought revision books with their own pocket money. Weeks before their exams, they would ask for extra classes. We started classes as early as 8am, and they happily sat right through until formal school started in the afternoon.

During break time, they would share their personal stories. Being the eldest child in the family, Andrea told me: “I don’t have much time to study as I have to babysit my siblings.”

After a while, I found out that some of them did not even own a pencil box. They did not have Internet access at home, and had to go to an Internet cafe to do research for their projects.

Being ever grateful, my students thanked me in many ways. After classes, they would buy me snacks from the canteen. During Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, I received handmade cookies and chocolates.

Andrea, who loves to cook and plans to open her own cafe some day, prepared an extra meal for me daily. Home-cooked meals from a 13-year-old taste extremely delicious when you know it is a labour of love.

I also found out that Andrea woke up extra early to cook lunch for me before coming for tuition.

After the exams, their mums would either go to school or call to thank me for their child’s improved performance. Eugene’s mum was in tears when she told me how much her son’s grades had improved. He got all Bs. She said: “This means a lot to me as my son has never achieved such good results. I didn’t even expect him to pass all his subjects!”

I was filled with joy, too. What I learnt from the students are lessons that I will remember for life.






Reaching out to long-lost relatives is an occasion for joy and connection

Reconnecting with long lost relatives is always full of fun and surprises.

WHEN I was growing up, I always thought I had fewer paternal relatives compared with my maternal side. During my school days, the family tree which my teacher asked us to draw would always start from my paternal grandparents and there would be nothing else beyond that.

Dad rarely talked about his side of the family so all the while, I thought my grandfather was the only child and that Dad only had two other siblings – an elder adopted sister and an elder brother.

As the typical patriarch and matriarch of our small family, Dad and Mum would usually be our family’s representatives when it came to weddings and funerals of friends and relatives. When Dad passed on, his role was passed on to me. It was only then that I realised how extensive my paternal side of the family tree was. I didn’t even know that I had nieces and nephews that are as old as I am!

The more weddings and funerals I attended, the more I began to uncover, little by little, who my cousins, uncles and aunties were from Dad’s side of the family. Some I met only for the first time during a particular dinner or funeral.

Unlike Mum, Dad seldom talked about his side of the family, hence, very little was known about those relatives. Even when he did, the stories were confined to those of him and his siblings, and his parents; nothing beyond that. He didn’t have many photos either.

We learnt bits and pieces of the puzzle, here and there, through snippets of conversations with my aunty, Dad’s sister, who sometimes dropped by for visits. Until today, I still love having my aunty come over for a visit; it was interesting to listen to stories about their childhood when they were growing up with some of their cousins, even if the stories were repeated many times.

Mum, on the other hand, loves to talk about her family, especially her childhood. She has albums full of old photos of her early days. Sometimes, it became a little dramatic, especially when my maternal uncles and aunties came over for a visit. The reminiscing would go on and on like there was no tomorrow. Although I haven’t met most of my ancestors, the images of them live vividly in my mind, thanks to all the descriptions which mum supplied.

We grew up with stories of Mum’s childhood and easily identified relatives from her side from the family, even those who were distantly related. Through her story-telling, I learnt specific salutations that were supposed to be accorded to family elders.

Mum’s stories were so lively that I could almost imagine how each and every one of my ancestors carried themselves during their heydays.

I never dreaded attending weddings, especially those of my paternal relatives, because it always presented a chance for me to meet new faces which would somehow turn out to be related to me. Weddings on my mum’s side, on the other hand, were always like huge family reunions because all the relatives scattered far and wide – all over the country and some overseas – would make a point to meet up then.

FaceBook also helped to bring extended family members much closer. Updates on each other’s walls informed us of their whereabouts and how they’ve been doing without “interrupting” our lives.

For an introvert like me, FaceBook has been a huge boon as I can now have conversations with my aunties, uncles and cousins whom I would otherwise not have connected with. I definitely would not be picking up the phone and wishing them happy birthday, much less having conversations with them.