Apparently, they had a discussion at Malaysia Hall last Sunday on the subject and it had bugged him.
He said a number of his friends in the UK were thinking of not going home after graduating since, according to them, the lure of a better quality of life was too deep-rooted overseas.
My son said perhaps it had a lot do with our education system.
Malaysia needs to do more than just have a 1Malaysia type slogan.
If we are serious about bringing the people together, then start with the school system.
We should not have any vernacular schools or societies identified by race. I know this will definitely ruffle a lot of feathers, but think about it.
How can we achieve 1Malaysia if the children don’t grow up learning about other races? They learn not from TV programmes but from daily interaction among classmates.
I attended Chinese school in my primary years and two more years in private secondary school.
I still remember how my teachers would use stories about China, and how the eyes of the primary children would be beaming with pride whenever such stories were told.
How can we start to do the same for our primary school syllabus?
Reintroduce and rewrite our history books in the primary school syllabus and do not let them memorise numbers and dates.
Let them remember stories instead. Blend in the historical figures from all the three races. Introduce Admiral Cheng Ho as a hero and how, together with Hang Tuah, they rebuilt the Malacca Sultanate.
We should add romance in our history books by having Hang Li Po falling in love with the Malacca Sultan. Perhaps we can rope in Indian history, too.
We want a sense of belonging instilled in everyone. We want everyone to feel that their forefathers had a share in the building of the nation.
Make it the responsibility of the headmaster to recruit more non-Chinese students in Chinese schools and the funding of these schools should be based on how successful the school is in getting the right quota.
No single school should be monopolised by any one particular race. Revamp the school syllabus to incorporate the 1Malaysia context and Chinese syllabus should be incorporated into the national school syllabus. How will this help deal with our brain drain problem? Again, it is about instilling self-pride and a sense of belonging.
Most people may say it’s about money. But time and again, we see many local medical specialists remaining in the country. This is because “there is no place like home”. Both my children are studying in London but they have never talked about migrating.
Many of their best friends are Chinese and so are mine. We don’t need slogans to choose our friends.
Keep meritocracy alive. No more "preference given to Bumiputras".
We don't want this as we lose our good friends because of this word.
Who can blame the non-Bumiputras if they choose to be part of the brain drain.
What the government should do is to provide better education from pre-school onwards, cheaper food, cheaper housing and lower taxes for cars.
Focus on improving the quality of life for all citizens.
Build more parks. Increase the “Happy Index” if there is one.
Let’s build the country together and stop harbouring hopes and wishes to live in another country.
PROF DR M. FAZILAH ABDUL SAMAD,
Faculty of Business and Accountancy
Source: The STAR Home News Opinion Saturday April 30, 2011