February 24th, 2016

Makna perayaan Chap Goh Meh kepada masyarakat Cina

KUALA LUMPUR: Sambutan Tahun Baru Cina bermula selama 15 hari pada bulan pertama kalendar masyarakat Cina, dengan setiap hari membawa makna berbeza dan disambut dengan cara tertentu.

Sebagai tanda berakhirnya perayaan 15 hari itu, ahli keluarga akan berkumpul bersama untuk makan malam, membunyikan mercun dan bermain mahjung selain upacara sembahan dilakukan dalam kadar yang lebih besar.

Hari yang meriah itu biasanya dikenali sebagai festival tanglung atau dalam dialek Hokkien disebut, Chap Goh Meh yang jika diterjemahkan bermakna 'malam ke-15 Tahun Baru Cina'.

CARA ISTIMEWA

Semasa zaman keemasan Baba dan Nyonya di Malaysia tidak lama dulu, hari itu lazimnya disambut secara besar-besaran dengan cara istimewa khususnya di Pulau Pinang dan Melaka.

Masyarakat Pulau Pinang yang lebih berusia mungkin masih ingat betapa meriahnya hari Chap Goh Meh yang disambut dengan perarakan Chingay merentasi jalan-jalan di Georgetown.

Kini, kesesakan yang sentiasa teruk di jalan-jalan utama Georgetown antara sebab tradisi itu kurang sesuai diteruskan, namun ia masih diadakan di Esplanade atau Padang Kota Lama pada hari Chap Goh Meh setiap tahun.

Di Melaka pula, antara acara menarik tetapi telahpun pupus ditelan zaman ialah kumpulan-kumpulan Dondang Sayang yang berdendang dan berpantun mengelilingi bandar dari atas kenderaan berhias khas.

HARI MENCARI JODOH

Dikatakan juga, pada zaman itu, hari Chap Goh Meh adalah satu-satunya hari di mana anak gadis yang mencapai usia perkahwinan dibenarkan berjalan-jalan keluar dari rumah dengan dandanan dan pakaian paling cantik.

Oleh itu, pada hari yang sama, lelaki bujang yang mahu mencari pasangan hidup juga akan keluar berkumpul untuk mengerling gadis-gadis berkenaan dengan harapan dapat memilih dan meminang gadis yang diminati.

Menurut lagenda, dewa dari langit akan turun pada hari berkenaan untuk mengikat kaki pasangan lelaki dan gadis yang berjodoh dengan benang merah di kaki agar mereka akan sentiasa bersama hingga akhir hayat mereka.

Memandangkan hajat pada malam Chap Goh Meh dianggap lebih makbul, para gadis yang telah berdandan akan menuju ke tokong-tokong pinggir laut bagi melontarkan limau mandarin dan membuat hajat bagi mendapatkan suami yang baik.

Pada waktu itu, gadis-gadis itu juga akan ditemukan dengan telangkai (orang tengah), yang kemudian membantu mencari dan mengaturkan perkahwinan dengan lelaki dari keluarga bersesuaian.

CARA MODEN

Bagaimanapun kini, kata penganjur 'Festival Kasih Sayang Chap Goh Meh Kuala Lumpur 2012', Dennis Loh, tiada lagi adat resam perkahwinan yang diatur telangkai, malah anak gadis boleh dilihat di merata tempat tidak kira siang atau malam. Namun demikian, tradisi melontar limau itu memberi beliau idea untuk mengembalikan semula semangat kasih sayang dan perkahwinan Chap Goh Meh dalam bentuk acara tahunan yang menyeronokkan bagi golongan bujang lelaki dan perempuan, serta mampu menarik pelancong asing.

Acara utama festival itu ialah ribuan wanita akan menulis nama dan nombor telefon masing-masing untuk dilontarkan ke dalam tasik yang kemudian akan dikutip secara rawak oleh pengunjung lelaki.

Tambahan pula, beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini, acara itu menjadi lebih meriah apabila mereka memulakan tradisi pengunjung lelaki pula menulis dan melontar pisang untuk dikutip oleh kaum perempuan.

Menurut pemilik Cheng Pai Events & Solutions itu lagi, festival ini pertama kali dianjurkan pada tahun 2000 dengan jumlah pengunjung hanya 350 orang, dan terus meningkat beberapa kali ganda pada tahun berikutnya.

SIMBOLIK HARAPAN TAHUN BARU

"Ketika itu, acara sebegini masih tiada di Kuala Lumpur, tetapi sekarang, ia telah menjadi acara yang dinantikan setiap tahun, malah, kami mencipta sejarah apabila berjaya menarik 20,000 pengunjung tahun lepas," kata Loh.

Festival tahun ini, menurut beliau akan berlangsung pada hari Isnin, 6 Februari bermula pukul enam petang di lokasi yang sama, iaitu Taman Tasik Permaisuri di Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras.

Baginya, acara itu sesuai dianggap sebagai simbolik harapan permulaan baru kepada mereka yang masih belum berkahwin, apatah lagi, hari yang turut dikenali sebagai Festival Tanglung adalah malam bulan penuh yang pertama pada tahun baru.

Bezanya jika pada zaman dahulu, anak gadis akan menunggu dengan sabar dan penuh harapan agar limau yang hanyut selepas dilontar ke sungai atau laut akan dikutip orang supaya hajatnya termakbul.

Sebaliknya kini, di Tasik Permaisuri, peserta yang mengutip limau atau pisang, boleh terus menghubungi dan bertemu individu bujang yang bernasib baik serta menghayati bulan penuh pertama tahun baru bersama.

AKTIVITI KASIH SAYANG

Loh memilih taman itu kerana rupabentuk topografi tasik yang memanjang amat sesuai untuk acara itu, selain kedudukan strategik dan cukup luas untuk menampung sekurang-kurangnya 20,000 pengunjung.

"Tahun ini kami memberi ruang kepada penajaan utama sebanyak tiga khemah selain menawarkan ruang bazar kepada 20 penjual dan 10 ruang jualan untuk badan kebajikan yang berminat.

"Kami ingin menjemput lebih ramai penaja bersama untuk membantu menjalankan aktiviti berlandaskan hajat dan kasih sayang seperti bot tanglung hajat untuk dihanyutkan ke dalam tasik," jelas beliau.

Aktiviti lain yang memerlukan penaja termasuk laluan temujanji dan pokok hajat yang membolehkan peserta mengantung kad hajat untuk cinta, kekayaan dan kesihatan, dewa kekayaan dan dewa nasib serta cabutan bertuah dengan jumlah nilai sehingga RM 2 juta.

Maklumat lanjut boleh didapati dengan menghubungi jawatan kuasa festival di talian 016-2720103 (Amelia) atau 012-6317638 (Looi) atau layari laman web cheng-pai.com/event/chapgohmei. - BERNAMA mSTAR Rencana Jumaat, 20 Januari 2012 12:00 AM

'Flip' your classroom

MOST of us are familiar with the typical scenario of the university — an auditorium with seating arranged in such a way to ensure the attention of students on the lecturer who is on stage, delivering clear, polished lectures with demonstrations on a blackboard or a whiteboard.

During my years at the university in the early 90s, the overhead projector displayed transparencies of subject content notes prepared beforehand by the lecturers. When computers took a more prominent place in lecture halls, PowerPoint presentations became the main tool in the teaching-learning process.

Students were passive during lectures — either listening or taking notes or both, transcribing the lecture and demonstrations into notes.

This traditional mode of stand-and-lecture is a predominant form of teaching at the tertiary level.


In flipped classrooms, students — individually or in groups — take responsibility for their own learning before classes.

Enter flipped learning, a more stimulating and active learning method that transforms students into active participants rather than passive listeners.

While studies have found that lectures are not only boring but also less effective at promoting student learning (a student is 1.5 times more likely to fail), a flipped classroom (FC) claims to reduce failure rates and boost exam scores. FCs are becoming increasingly popular as universities attempt new ways to get students more involved in classroom learning activities.

FLIPPED CLASSROOMS

“In a flipped learning environment, students apply knowledge to a range of activities that encourages using higher order thinking skills.”  Malini Eliatamby, INTI International University & Colleges vice president of teaching learning innovation.

Dr Malini Eliatamby, vice-president of teaching learning innovation, INTI International University & Colleges and deputy vice chancellor, academic innovation, INTI International University, describes FCs as a reversal of traditional teaching where the roles and expectations of students and teachers change accordingly.

She said: “In a flipped learning environment, students take responsibility for their own learning, studying core content either individually or in groups before class and then applying the knowledge and skills to a range of activities that encourages using higher order thinking skills.

“It is also another form of blended learning where a student is first exposed to new material — usually in the form of online content and activities — outside of the classroom.”

Lectures are delivered via video using various online resources and other teaching material as background knowledge while classroom time is used for reinforcement activities.

Malini, a National Outstanding Educator Award recipient at the Private Education Excellence Awards 2015, added: “One benefit of FCs is more class time for differentiated student-centred learning. FCs also allow students to work collaboratively, acquiring interpersonal skills along the way when they think critically and creatively to communicate with their peers and instructors.”

Malini is also responsible for developing INTI’s e-learning strategy — from an active role in course design to planning the competency and skill development of teaching members’ e-learning skills. Many learning institutions in the country have adopted FCs at varying degrees.

Dr Adeline Chia Yoke Yin, a senior lecturer at the School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University, has been adopting FC for three years.

She said: “The concept of blended learning has widely diverged to include a variety of learning methods over the last few years. The Malaysian Public Higher Education Institutions e-Learning Council has provided a platform to assist educators in enhancing their delivery and engaging learners with the implementation of Blended Learning and Flipped Learning in Malaysian Higher Education Institutions.”

A recipient of the best e-Learning Facilitator award at the recent National University Carnival on E-Learning 2015, Chia, who used FCs for the Principles of Life Sciences subject, said: “My core concept of flipped teaching is F.U.S.E — Find, Use, Share, Educate. With the flipped classroom model, students are more excited at attending classes. They have more control over the knowledge gained through their own initiative and there are opportunities for them to engage in constructive discussions on a topic.”

EMPOWERING STUDENTS

Nurhanim Hassan, a lead e-specialist at e-Learning Academy, Taylor’s University, said FCs empower students to be responsible for managing their own learning.

“Students must prepare for a lecture by going through the material prepared by the lecturer and attempting the questions given prior to the class.

“They also need adequate digital skills that will enable them to complete the required tasks prior to the class. As some of the activities require collaborative work, they may need to work on their social skills such as learning to share and receive information, and accept criticisms,” she said.

FCs are designed with adult learning in mind where students have the autonomy to learn at their own pace and time anywhere.

Based on these requirements, FCs are more suitable for higher learning education settings. But this does not mean that students are not monitored by lecturers.

“The lecturer will be able to identify those who are prepared and those who are not. Sharing material online via the Learning Management System allows the lecturer to track a student’s learning details such as access time and the questions that he has attempted.

“Creating additional learning activities such as an online forum allows students to discuss the questions and learn from each other prior to the class. The students’ discussion online enables the lecturer to gauge their understanding of the topic as well as identify those who may need extra attention in class.”

Flipped classrooms require proper planning from preparing comprehensive material that cater for different abilities in the classroom to creating follow-up activities to check students’ understanding. These steps ensure that the students have covered all the essential points for a topic and they have the necessary knowledge and skills to attempt questions in class.

Nurhanim added that lecturers are normally exposed to new skills during the continuous development programme organised by the university. However, in most cases, there is no proper training programme to expose students to new skills.

School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University senior lecturer Dr Yeo Siok Koon, who is also actively implementing FCs, said: “When I first started using this pedagogy, students — who were new to this learning approach — were initially resistant since it requires them to prepare beforehand.”

Consequently, some students attended the class unprepared and were unable to take part in the active learning phase. “I believe this was mainly due to their past experience which did not require active participation in the learning process.

“Usually I address this problem by providing either a short online quiz, recap activities in class or ask students to watch the video lecture before coming to class. Continuous use of such an approach allows students to accustom to such pedagogy and commit to it.

“Pressure from peers will also urge students to overcome their reluctance. Over time, they will realise that they have to play their roles in preparing for class in order to be active participants.”

Nurhanim added that the adoption of FCs varies according to institutions as one challenge is that some academicians are sceptical of the efficiency of the approach. Changes such as this require time for the transformation to take place. Yeo added: “One of the biggest challenges to implementing FCs is the time spent on preparing video lectures and developing activities that suit the students.

“Most of the lecturers previously studied and trained in the conventional classroom setting which was instructor-centred and required little active student participation.

“Letting go of their reliance on the lecture is more challenging. Some may be confused about their role as lecturers/teachers as they are no longer the sage of the stage in FCs.”

Nevertheless, Yeo said a FC will not be another fad that will eventually runs its course. “I believe more lecturers will adopt this pedagogy. When improved learning in students is the teacher’s ultimate goal, he will realise that he needs to transform and adopt this innovative pedagogy.”

Malini said while it may be viewed as difficult and time consuming to prepare for FCs, with proper execution that includes training and support, institutions will benefit from them as a part of their teaching philosophy.

Students’ resistance to FCs stems from not taking responsibility for their own learning such as knowledge transfer, experimentation/creative problem-solving and ability to search and apply the relevant knowledge.

“In my experience, students will only realise their academic growth at the end of a semester through this approach,” she added.

INTI implemented FCs last year using Blackboard as a learning management system whereas at Taylor’s University, various facilities have been set up as part of the e-Learning infrastructure which includes Taylor’s Integrated Moodle e-Learning System, ReWIND lecture capture as well as transforming classrooms into collaborative learning spaces and the introduction of e-Quarium, a social learning pod for students.


With the flipped classroom model, students are more excited at attending classes.

Essence of a university

I WAS excited at the mention of an Umno University by the new Kedah Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah. But I do not want to dwell on the existence — real or imagined — of such an institution.

Suffice to say that it is an idea whose time has come for at least three reasons.

Firstly, like many business entities that dream of their versions of the so-called “corporate university”, political entities may want to consider the same, tailor-made to their own political slant and mission.

Secondly, the “proxy university” — as it stands today — can now be dismantled or reconfigured.

Thirdly, this will immediately rid universities of any form of outside (political) interferences — directly or indirectly, intentional or otherwise — and open the way to realise and reclaim their status as tertiary institutions characterised by at least the following criteria.

Firstly, there is inherent institutional autonomy and academic freedom. As such, unlike political parties or business sectors, universities do not have particular “party” lines to toe, other than being ethical and exercising decorum in the search for knowledge.

In other words, independence of thought and freedom of expression are highly regarded and upheld. It follows that debates and dissents are means to advance and scrutinise knowledge without fear or favour.

The idea of toeing just one school of thought in a university is, therefore, untenable. Diversity and transdisciplinarity are the name of the game to enable knowledge to flourish.

Secondly, the first criterion is imperative because the ultimate mission of a university is the search for truth which fundamentally means to prepare the mindset and heart for the future by advancing “new” knowledge(s).

We must be open-minded and compassionate in this undertaking based on the highest standards and rigour so that the beneficiaries are not misled by the unscrupulous backed by invested interests — political or business — that are in cahoots with them.

It is in this context that debates and dissents are encouraged, for it is about the authority of ideas, not the idea of authorities ultimately.

Thirdly, to ensure that the above works and delivers well, the culture of collegiality must be the norm.

Ranks and positions are nominal, to say the least. Pulling rank, for example, is despicable in the academic culture. It is quickly recognised as a bankruptcy of ideas and that one’s standing is already compromised.

“I am the vice chancellor, follow my orders!” is unheard of in a university worth its salt. Vice chancellors are among equals who are respected for their knowledge and acumen, not position.

This is perhaps the major difference in the political and business sectors.

Therefore, in a tertiary education environment, collegiality is higher prized with the demarcation between the professional and the personal kept distinct and distant.

Loyalty is earned rather than salaried. Fourthly, “trust” is the keyword in universities.

There are less written rules in knowledge-seeking and dissemination behaviours as long as ethics and decorum are closely adhered too.

Participation and consultation — not stonewalling — are means to enhance trust.

Therefore, the slew of top-down regulations, circulars and so-called general orders are strange to university settings and academic culture.

The irony of this can be immediately detected when comparing the public and private universities where the former is relatively over-regulated, apart from being more politically inclined — some more than others.

Last but not least, the leadership must be courageous enough to see the above criteria through in reinstating the stature and “real” meaning of a university.

In the absence of any one of the following — institutional autonomy, academic freedom, the search for truth, collegiality, respect for ideas, and ethics and trust — the university does not exist in essence.

The dilemma ahead of us is indeed a serious and urgent one.
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak NST Learning Curve 23 February 2016 @ 6:31 PM