Tags: children

Give children wings to fly

Parenting is a lifelong investment. It is not easy to raise good, emphatic and  empowered children.

Parents must be steadfast and continue to 'nurture' children throughout their lives. There is no equivalence term from the dictionary of compassion.

However, there is no right or wrong way to act as parent to children.

That is why more often than not, parents finally found something new about themselves in the process.

One of the things that we as parent always learn is leadership skills.

Most of us who have become parents, of course, get leadership lessons from our elders.

As parents, we tend to expect perfect babies or children when first designing a family.

We often forget a lot of effort that will be done and things accepted by a child. We need to be willing to accept good or bad about our offspring.

We often only see from the emotional standpoint of the case and the happiness we will gain from the birth of a child, often forgetting the greater challenges we will go through.

The same case applies to gaining leadership positions. It is wrong to expect only good things to apply.

As a leader, you should be able to measure the challenges that will arrive early and be prepared.

As stated in most maternal guidance books, it is important for parents to cut the umbilical cord when the time is right.

Parents need to act as facilitators and are not expected to make decisions for their children as they grow up.

You must let your children explore, make mistakes and find their own way of life.

The same case applies in terms of leadership. Your responsibility is to find the right tool and slowly paint the principle.

After that, you have to let your subordinate staff take and make decisions and trust them. You also only act as a facilitator compared to the perpetrators. You only help to make things worse.

We must expose children to all kinds of knowledge and skills at a young age and then let them choose for themselves and meet their personality.

In the same way, organizations and leaders need each worker to develop in their own way.

Having the freedom to know their professional personality will improve their performance and productivity.

As leaders, we need to understand the difference between ordering or giving instructions to the work to be done and motivating your workers to do it.

Children often imitate the behavior of their parents, that's why you have to be careful when you are with children.

Sometimes they emulate character from their parents who is not supposed to be healthy.

Likewise leaders, they must also lead by example.

In an effort to develop a specific work environment, you must first instill and practice it yourself.

Such leaders demand more respect and so on, completing tasks faster.

Studies show that children belonging to families with many conflicts will not be better than happy families.

Children need a lot of attention and conflict-free environment to develop. Like households for children, the work environment is for workers.

The conflicting and tense work environment gives an impression of their productivity.

The leader has a big role in managing the environment, however, you must be emotionally stable so as not to conflict with circumstances.

Azizi Ahmad The STAR Educate Let’s Hear It 09 Aug 2020

Why don’t our students enjoy school?

OCTOBER 31 — I thought you’d never ask.

1. Have you been in a school lately? Every student looks like they’re on Death Row. The very best thing that can happen on any given day is Class Cancelled. Either that or an asteroid hits Earth.

No wonder each day, every one of us schemes up some ploy to avoid school. Flu, diarrhoea, alien abduction — anything. That girl from Sunway whose Mummy chained her to the pole (because she refused to go to school)? Did you notice that the news report didn’t say anything about her crying or begging to be unchained?

Why do you think that’s the case? My answer is simple: School is like Planet A and the rest of the world is Planet B. And Planet A stands for Planet Aiya Damn Boring. At least go prison also can see people fight; in school only see grown-ups talk like they know more than us kids.

Which is not even true because I see many teachers don’t even know what a Learning Management System is or what is SnapChat, or if they know also like don’t want to use like that.

2. My teachers — surprise, surprise — often look like they too are hoping a calamity will strike. Their eyes tell me anything would be better than the catastrophe of their job.

They walk into class like their Honda just totalled a traffic light and their beloved Arsenal lost to Watford 6-0. Some of them are so bored they look like they prefer to watch paint dry.

They even spend the whole lesson sitting down and talking like the voice on National Geographic i.e. like they’re waiting for the spider to finish building its web bungalow. At least that commentator sounds like he’s having fun; my teachers sound dull and tortured at the same time.

Aiya, if she’s pregnant or sakit never mind lah, but they are neither mah! In fact, I think schools should remove the teacher’s chair in the class so they are forced to stand lor.

3. My teachers are so predictable. The smarter ones among us have already read up on the chapters prior to the class, we already know the stuff, and we’re not impressed with what “Mrs Lee” has to add which, most of the time, is nothing.

No jokes, no exotic stories, no provocative questions — nothing but a grey recap of the key points of the subject, some exercises and, okay, next class. The thing is we often don’t even blame her because how much lesson-enjoyment can be covered and shared in the average 40-45 minutes per class period?

This is even assuming that class starts on time which will only happens after Semenanjung Malaysia shifts below Tasmania.

4. There is only one class that is fun — P.E. But almost no adult thinks that’s important, except for the P.E. teacher and even he doesn’t always sound convincing. My dream school: To have outdoor classes every day, or physical activities more than 80 per cent of the time.

Or just an hour of something genuinely exciting. Many of us want to experience a lesson as more than just gloomy words from a book. The way things are going now, the teacher may as well stand at the door and hand out Valium.

I mean, I don’t expect my teachers to be as terror as those TED Talk punya orang, but I do expect them to put a little more effort in — what’s that word they use? — engaging us students. We kids are not cruel, we also wish the best for our teachers one but the sad thing is many of them don’t appear to want to be “in our worlds”, know what I mean?

5. Yes, I don’t deny that many of these textbooks have pictures — and that’s nice — but it’s the whole mood of school which makes us want to stick our heads in the canteen freezer. What mood? That culture, spirit or “atmosphere” of school which proclaims that The Sum Of Life Reduces To My Exam Results.

I hate this from the bottom of my cat’s butt. I hate being judged primarily by my academic performance, I hate being made to “feel bad” because I scored “lower than average” for Maths (which I struggle with all the time). Worse still, when my Art is top in class, my parents hardly think it’s a big deal, saying some crappy thing like artists “can’t make any money” blah-blah-blah.

6. Funny thing is, the other day I overheard some of my teachers talking about the “Uberization of Schooling”? Jokers! It’s been around the past 30 years and it’s called tuition, dammit.

Anyway, many of my teachers work part-time in tuition centres, a situation which is illogical on so many levels: If tuition centres were so good, why don’t we kids just study there and skip school? If teachers perform better in tuition centres (which, I gather, is something taken for granted) why don’t they simply quit their school-jobs and work full-time in these centres?

Or start their own private tuition? Is this a reason why many private schools are popping up all over town like mushrooms? Better pay = better teaching = better students, etc.? But, of course lah, how many parents can afford those crazy private school fees? More than RM1,000 a month — my parents die lah!

I even know of this guy who sends two of his kids to private school, after that he also got no more money so sometimes he skips meals or eat peanuts. Damn siao lor, but at least his children enjoy lah.

7. I also don’t know what’s the big fuss over Science and Maths anyway. All my parents’ friends all get into their oh-so-awesome “5 Science 1” classes also never become scientists; everybody end up doing business and nobody use Add Maths.

Ya I know lah one or two become doctor or engineer, but how many people are like this lah? So few, right? In that case, why force everyone to study Physics, Chemistry and Bio? Since so many people end up working in the “corporate world” shouldn’t we be learning things like Negotiation, How to Manage Risks in Real Life, How To Raise Funds (no need 2.6 billion lah, just a few thousand also good mah), etc.? Why not make those subjects compulsory?

Some more, in Malaysia, how many famous scientists we got? Other than a young lady win some world-class research award every 20 years, you where got see any well-known local scientists one?!

And let’s be honest, most Malaysians look up to rich people only. Clever no use one. Can play music no use one. Can so terror design and sculpture all also no use one. In the end must make money. See lah, if our Olympic medal-winners don’t earn a lot people also don’t respect them, right?

So you know what I’m saying? In the end, students like me also know that it’s about money not about knowledge. And once we realise that, we will only value our academic “journey” to the extent it helps us earn more.

And every genius or dropout also know that doing well in school hardly adds up to a higher salary, right? So tell me again: Why should I study so hard?

Finally, here’s something I found on Twitter. What do u call a museum with cool stuff? A science centre. A science centre without any cool stuff? A school.

Sigh.   Alywn Lau Malaymail Opinion Monday October 31, 2016 7:59 AM GMT+8

Child sacrifices: Are we letting exams kill our kids?

OCTOBER 26 -- The recent news of an 11-year-old schoolboy from Singapore who committed suicide because he failed a subject should leave us all stunned. It should -- but probably won’t. Why? Because the cruel paradox is most parents remain stuck in the cycle of Die-Die Also Must Succeed (pun sadly intended).

In the Ancient Near East, certain tribes sacrificed their children to fire gods and fertility gods. Nowadays things haven’t changed much. We’re still offering up our children’s blood and happiness at the altar of Career and Capitalism.

Very few parents (not least in Singapore) are going to stop viewing their kids like billionaire football players for whom every minute goalless is a universal disgrace. Very few parents are going to give thanks to heaven that despite treating their children like prized bulls, their kids endure and haven’t yet hurled themselves off 20 stories.

And the cycle will continue because when bad things happen only occasionally, we miss the terribly fragile nature of things.

If we received news every day of friends getting a stroke, we would surely cut down on that oily food and shit. But because our friends only kick the bucket once every few months or years, we find it suffices to a) shake our heads, b) write a meaningless quip on WhatsApp about healthy eating and c) maybe take one less prawn at the next meal.

If every day (instead of every few months) someone we care about gets bankrupt, then – and only then – may we be concerned about the way we spend our money.

Likewise, it will require one student suicide per day before we realise two indisputable facts:

1. Shoving our kids towards delusional paths of success (which begets non-delusional pain and trauma) isn’t love -- it’s insanity

Newsflash: Not every child is a junior Stephen Hawking, not every child is Steve Jobs in the making, not every child will solve string theory.

For an entire society to be obsessed with academic achievement is like a country training everybody under 12 to be the next Lee Chong Wei or Joseph Schooling, failing which the child is made to feel like he should crawl back into the garbage dump from where he was picked up.

Students like Master H jumped because he was stuck, cornered, given zero options. His whole life boiled down to being forced to succeed at something he – like 99 per cent of students – hated with all mind, body and soul.

Such students have their minds shut off from other possibilities e.g. home-schooling, excellence in sports, the love of art, the power of friendship, full-hearted support from parents regardless of material achievement. The tragedy is that he wasn’t given the chance to excel in anything other than what his parents forced him to do.

Again, this is like expecting everyone in the office to be able to deliver great speeches on pain of having one’s monthly pay deducted.

2. When nothing short of "world-class achievement" is acceptable, we will always feel like losers

The system is making our children feel like failures and losers, and parents are helping. Because the way things are wired, only sky-high goals are celebrated. Assume Ahmad got 94 per cent in Science – how long before his mum demands 95 per cent and above for the next exam? So now not only does he no longer feel like he’s actually achieved something, he will always feel like a loser until he scores 95 per cent, followed later by 96 per cent.

Should he obtain 91 per cent, he’s a goner. May as well slit his wrists right there, no? The fragility is astounding i.e. the only acceptable way is Onwards and Upwards with the slightest decline proof of abject failure. In other words, there was no grace in such a life. The prospect of "salvation" demanded work, sweat, infinite accomplishments.

Dammit, even writing this makes me want to jump out the bloody window.

Only upsides, few downsides

Imagine if every student didn’t fear failure or low marks because the only thing which would produce a "commotion" was doing well. Imagine if they bombed, say, their Geography or Maths, neither Daddy or Mummy will make a fuss; no one will rap them on their knuckles or make snide comments about winners and losers; no one will compare them against their higher-performing cousins, no one will force them into many more hours of prison (I mean tuition) time.

No downside, only upside. We must engineer this asymmetry into our children’s lives. They must know they are already loved and accepted, there’s nothing to "prove" anymore. Everything is smooth sailing from here, regardless of whether they get 92 per cent or 29 per cent.

Imagine if every student faced absolutely no stress from exam time because only successes will be highlighted and, whilst improvements can be discussed, failure or "non-performance" are not detrimental to their very personhood. In other words, like in JK Rowling’s case, nobody cares if 10,000 people refuse to read Harry Potter & the Cursed Child – all that matters are those millions who do.

Downside? Nobody would even dare.

To all the parents out there with kids in school, if the right column below is even close to how you’re treating your kids, please reconsider. And do so fast. Our kids deserve better than that. And, heck, maybe we should try on the left column for size?

Include school-based assessment in structure

FROM Sept 5 to 8, more than 450,000 Year Six pupils nationwide will sit the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah. The 12-year-olds will get their first taste of a public examination held under strict procedures.

The schools would have prepared them for it since Year Five. They will sit six papers in national schools and eight in vernacular schools.

The English Language paper has been categorised into two components — Reading Comprehension and Writing.

These will be graded separately for national and vernacular schools.

From this year, national schoolchildren will need to score six As and vernacular schoolchildren will need to score eight As to achieve excellence.

This will become the ultimate UPSR clarion call in every primary school. But why do we put such undue stress on 12-year-old children by making them sit six to eight papers over four consecutive days?

The word “examination” conjures fear and anxiety in pupils. Examinations rob them of the joy of schooling and learning. It is even more stressful when conducted under a central marking system.

Public examinations involve memorisation and rote learning

The UPSR examination should be made into a school-based assessment.

The examination gauges how Year Six pupils have progressed since Year One and is just a measurement of their development in the primary years.

The objective of primary school education is to teach pupils to master the 3Rs: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.

Whether they score all As or all Es is irrelevant as they still go on to Form One.

Children who get top scores can enrol in residential and premier secondary schools but most are placed in regular schools. So why is there a need for a 100 per cent centralised assessment?

A centralised examination not only creates pressure and high expectations from parents and society, but has also driven some pupils to suicide.

Though the number of pupils in the country who commit suicide because of poor examinations results is not high, it is still a cause for concern.

It is hoped that the Education Ministry will change the UPSR structure to be more child-friendly and implement a system of 40 per cent school-based assessment and 60 per cent centralised examination.

There have been many calls to do away with the centralised examination. The present UPSR structure takes pre-eminence in primary schools.

The whole system is geared towards achieving excellence in the examination. The results are used to gauge, assess and evaluate the standard and performance of primary schools.

Headmaster and teacher appraisals are largely determined by the exam results. So, to get good appraisals, Year Six teachers will, from the beginning of the academic year in January, put pupils through a stringent and comprehensive schedule of extra classes, “how-to-answer-question” workshops, motivational seminars and mock examinations.

In some schools, Year Six children are excluded from all co-curricular activities and competitions. Some schools go overboard and utilise weekends and holidays to conduct extra classes in the morning, afternoon and night.

Pupils just want to have fun but they are caught between the teachers’ and parents’ expectations. We must realise that public examinations involve memorisation and rote learning, and children endowed with good mental and intellectual capabilities have an edge over others.

Examinations only measure the intelligent quotient of a person. There is no fun in being a child these days.

The 100 per cent centralised assessment in UPSR has broken many a young child’s heart.

Need for kids to think on their own

RECENTLY, I carried out a writing performance assessment for my Year Four Four class. It was as to determine the pupils’ strengths and weaknessesin composition.

The assignment was for them to write an e-mail to a foreign friend about a festival celebrated in Malaysia.

Only a small number of my pupils were able to carry out the task independently.

Most of them could not. They had after all, been so used to guided compositions since their kindergarten years.

Under the circumstances, most of them resorted to asking me for additional inputs.

“Should I leave two spaces here to start a new paragraph?”, “Can I write about Chinese New Year?”, “Can I write about my grandma’s birthday instead which falls on Christmas day?”, and “Is it okay to write about my uncle’s wedding celebration?”.

I could only think of two possible factors – either my written instructions weren’t clear enough or the pupils were not accustomed to collaborative work.

They were not trained to think on their own. They were usually given pictures and guided words to elicit intentional sentences from the teacher who prepared the test.

The pupils were never given the opportunity to write out real descriptions and their own experiences in such cultural celebrations.

This, I must say is due to the fact that the type of performance assessment is not included in their regular examination format.

Therefore, there is no real need for pupils to use their creativity and personal judgement in writing compositions of any sort at all.

Another factor is the level of competitiveness among Malaysian pupils in desiring excellent scores for their assessments.

Parents are also at fault for measuring success and overall achievement through the grades obtained in exams.

Also, the philosophy of writing only what the teacher says, or answering according to the questions or relying on the notes given, is very much practised in our society.

Growing up in such an unheal-thy environment, negatively shapes these children into forming an incorrect opinion that their own ideas and understanding are all inferior to the ones usually given by the teachers.

This makes children afraid to step out of the box, fearing that they will forever lose out to their peers in terms of overall marks and class streaming.

It also causes deep insecurities about their own compositions and an excessive dependence on their teacher’s ideas.

For me, the assessment wasn’t a success as the pupils were unable to work independently and were expecting me to spoonfeed them.

They were unsure and feared that if they did not answer correctly, they would be given a lower grade.

At the end of the assessment, I received many blank sheets from my Year 4 pupils.

I noticed that the biggest weakness was their indecisiveness and anxiety in planning their writing.

The composition topic was not a difficult one. In fact, the pupils had in previous lessons discussed the numerous cultural celebrations in Malaysia.

After much deliberation, I’ve realised from this performance assessment that our education system and the pedagogy used by the majority of English teachers in the country, does not encourage independent thinking to cope with writing and handling collaborative work. Ng Wee Gwek The STAR Home News Education Sunday, 07 August 2016

They are kids, so why the saws and paint?

UNDER the new Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR), upper primary school children have to take the newly revamped Living Skills subject, ICT and Design (Rekabentuk dan Teknologi).

This subject is meant to teach children the process involved in identifying a problem, concept and design, and execute the project in the form of a handcrafted object.

I am surprised that children of such a young age are required to use tools such as Warrington hammers and small saws for these projects. Is this really necessary?

Do children even appreciate the aim of the subject, which is to produce youth who can systematically find a practical solution to a problem?

Let primary school children polish their reading, writing and numeracy skills first before having them take age-inappropriate classes.

Imagine 10 to 12 year olds in a workshop holding nails (some of which are rusty) and trying hard to nail little wood cuttings with a hammer with very little experience and strength.

I am sure a lot of mishaps occur, despite the teacher trying his best to ensure children obey safety rules (also repeatedly highlighted in the textbook) at all times.

In fact, an introduction in the Standard Four textbook highlights the importance of wearing an apron, a special protective mask and gloves while working in the workshop.

Are these made available to all the children? These protective gear incur cost, not just to buy but also to maintain. These projects also teach children how to use spray paint.

This is another surprise as spray paint is a flammable product and contains harmful chemicals. It is clearly stated on the can to “Keep away from children”.

Ironically, children are required to use them in making the Standard Four lighthouse project.

Although under a teacher’s guidance and supervision, it is still very difficult to control a class of more than 30 children with spray paint in their hands.

Children using watercolour already makes for messy business, more so spray paint, which may end up on their clothing, face and arms.

The mist is harmful and again, a protective mask (not the regular ones used to protect from haze) is absolutely vital but do children even have access to them or wear them? Do all schools stock them for students to use? Of course, children must be taught various skills so that they become self-sufficient in the future but why do they have to be taught these kind of skills now?

There are many more issues that need to be addressed in the primary school learning environment. An hour spent on this subject could be allocated for other aspects, such as brushing up on reading and writing skills, regardless of their current ability.

Some still cannot master reading and writing in Standard Four and, as such, an hour a week could be allocated to such students catch up.

This will help the children tremendously when they move to secondary school, when it will be too late to help them as they would be lost without knowing how to read and write.

Students could also take more English lessons, especially the literature component. I have noticed that the Education Ministry has come up with a wonderful package for upper primary school children to learn English literature, but I am very sure teachers have limited time to allow each child to read all the beautiful poems aloud.

Classic stories and characters are hardly discussed, as teachers race against time to complete the core syllabus while also completing many other tasks during the academic year.

With more time on their hands, teachers can focus on and spend more time with the children. Children should be taught skills that are age-appropriate.

Such workshops are perhaps more suitable for secondary school students who are more mature and can handle complex tasks.

But for primary school children, let them polish their reading, writing and numeracy skills first, while also picking-up more age-appropriate skills in other fields, such as music, art and physical education.

Make use of primary school years to give children a solid foundation so as to minimise, if not totally eliminate, children who cannot read or write by the time they begin Form 1.

A Letter to His Son

Surat yang indah ditulis oleh seorang ayah kepada anaknya
Beautiful letter written by a father to his son ::
Mesti dikongsikan dengan anak-anak anda ...
Must send to your children...
Berikut adalah sepucuk surat dari penyiar terkenal  dan psikologi kanak-kanak TV Hong Kong  kepada anaknya …
Following is a letter to his son from a renowned Hong Kong TV broadcaster and Child Psychologist.
Kata-kata yang sebenarnya terpakai kepada kita semua, muda atau tua, anak-anak atau ibu bapa.!
The words are actually applicable to all of us, young or old, children or parents.!
Ini boleh dikongsikan dengan anak-anak perempuan juga. Semua ibu bapa boleh menggunakan ini dalam ajaran mereka kepada anak-anak mereka.
This applies to daughters too. All parents can use this in their teachings to their children

Anak ku,
Dear Son
Saya menulis surat ini kepada anda kerana 3 sebab
I am writing this to you because of 3 reasons
1.  Kita tidak tahu dan tidak boleh menentukan kehidupan kita , nasib kita  dan kejadian yang tidak diingini boleh berlaku bila-bila masa sahaja. Tiada siapa yang tahu berapa lama kita boleh hidup. Kekadang adalah lebih baik menyatakan sesuatu perkara terlebih dahulu dari menunggu saatnya.
Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long he lives. Some words are better said early.
2.  Saya bapa kamu, dan jika saya tidak memberitahu anda, tidak ada orang lain akan.
I am your father, and if I don't tell you these, no one else will.
3.  Apa yang ditulis adalah pengalaman peribadi pahit yang mungkin mampu mengurangkan  ketidakpuasan hati kelak. Ingatlah perkara-perkara berikut dalam menjalani  kehidupan anda.
What is written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of unnecessary heartaches. Remember the following as you go through life

1.   Jangan berdendam terhadap mereka yang tidak baik kepada anda. Tiada siapa yang bertanggungjawab untuk berbuat baik dengan anda  kecuali ibu dan bapa  anda.
Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I.
Bagi yang baik dengan anda, bersyukur dan hargailah kebaikan mereka, namun anda perlu tetap berhati-hati, kerana, setiap orang mempunyai motif untuk setiap langkah. Apabila seseorang itu baik dengan  anda, ia tidak bermakna dia benar-benar suka anda. Anda perlu berhati-hati, jangan tergesa-gesa menganggap beliau sebagai seorang sahabat sejati.
To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and ALSO you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. You have to be careful, don't hastily regard him as a real friend.
2. Tiada siapa yang tidak boleh diketepikan, anda tidak perlu memiliki segala-galanyai.
No one is indispensable, nothing is in the world that you must possess.
Sebaik sahaja anda memahami idea ini, ia akan menjadi lebih mudah bagi anda untuk melalui kehidupan apabila orang di sekeliling anda tidak memerlukan anda lagi, atau apabila anda kehilangan apa / siapa yang anda paling suka.
Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don't want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love the most.
3. Hidup ini singkat.
Life is short.
Apabila anda membazirkan hidup anda hari ini, esok anda akan mendapati bahawa kehidupanlah yang  meninggalkan anda. Lebih awal anda menghargai hidup anda, lebih baik anda menikmati kehidupan.
When you waste your life today, tomorrow you would find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.
4. Cinta adalah hanya perasaan fana, dan perasaan ini akan pudar mengikut masa dan dengan perasaan seseorang. Jika anda ditinggalkan oleh orang  tersayang  bersabarlah, masa akan mengubati kesakitan dan kesedihan anda. Jangan terlalu membesar-besarkan keindahan dan kemanisan cinta, dan jangan menokok tambah kesedihan kegagalan dalam bercinta.
Love is but a transient feeling, and this feeling would fade with time and with one's mood. If your so called loved one leaves you, be patient, time will wash away your aches and sadness. Don't over exaggerate the beauty and sweetness of love, and don't over exaggerate the sadness of falling out of love.
5. Kebanyakan  orang yang berjaya tidak menerima pendidikan yang baik, itu tidak bermakna bahawa anda boleh berjaya dengan tidak belajar dan berusaha keras! Apa sahaja ilmu dan pengetahuan yang anda dapat dan perolehi adalah bekal  anda dalam mengharungi kehidupan.
A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life.
Seseorang itu boleh menjadi kaya dari miskin, tetapi seseorang itu perlu bermula dari langkah pertama!
One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!
6. Saya tidak mengharapkan anda memberi bantuan kewangan dan memberi balasan kepada saya apabila saya sudah tua, dan saya juga tidak akan menanggung kehidupan anda sepanjang hayat. Tanggungjawab saya sebagai seorang bapa  berakhir apabila anda sudah membesar. Selepas itu, anda membuat keputusan sama ada anda ingin menaiki  pengangkutan awam atau dalam limosin anda, sama ada kaya atau miskin.
6.I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old, neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.
7. Anda mesti menghormati dan mengotakan kata-kata anda, tetapi jangan mengharapkan orang lain berbuat demikian. Anda boleh menjadi baik untuk orang lain, tetapi jangan mengharapkan orang lain untuk berbuat baik kepadamu. Jika anda tidak memahami ini, anda akan berakhir dengan masalah yang tidak disangka.
You honour your words, but don't expect others to be so. You can be good to people, but don't expect people to be good to you. If you don't understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.

8. Saya telah membeli loteri berpuluh-puluh tahun, tetapi saya tidak pernah memenangi mana-mana hadiah. Itu menunjukkan jika anda mahu menjadi kaya, anda perlu bekerja dan berusaha keras! Tiada istilah rezeki dating bergolek atau jatuh ke riba!
8. I have bought lotteries for umpteen years, but I could never strike any prize. That shows if you want to be rich, you have to work hard! There is no free lunch!
9. Tidak kira berapa banyak masa yang saya ada dengan anda, mari kita menghargai masa yang kita ada bersama-sama. Kita tidak tahu jika kita akan bertemu lagi dalam kehidupan kita yang akan datang.
9. No matter how much time I have with you, let's treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.
Ayah Anda
Your Dad
Baca dua kali. Minta anak-anak anda  membacanya tiga kali ...
Read it twice. Ask your son daughter to read it thrice...

Laws to protect children

RECENTLY, a 35-year-old man pleaded guilty in a Seremban Sessions Court to raping his 11-year-old sister-in-law. It was reported that during the rape, the man made his 14-year-old wife, who has a learning difficulty, capture the sexual acts on a video camera. He then allegedly copied these recording into VCDs and sold these to his friends.

The matter came to light when the father of the victim somehow saw a copy of the recording via Whatsapp, and confronted his 11-year-old daughter. She then told him about being raped several times by her brother-in-law.

A police report was lodged, and the man was subsequently arrested, charged and he pleaded guilty to raping the girl. But this is hardly the end of the matter as there is a number of issues which are of concern and need to be addressed.

In this particular case, the 14-year-old, a child bride, was allegedly raped by this man prior to their marriage. Her situation was made worse by her husband forcing her to witness and record the rape of her younger sister.

Given the country’s apparent commitment to ending child marriages, what steps are being taken to stop this practice and its damaging impact on children?

Who ensures the best interests of the child in child marriages or is the practice simply to wash our hands of the matter once a wedding takes place? Are parents, child protectors and the authorities, who continue to sanction child marriages, monitoring the well-being of child brides?

And what of the 11-year-old who was raped? Apart from ensuring that she gets the correct support and counselling for the trauma she experienced, what of the other crimes committed upon her?

What steps are being taken to stop the circulation of the recording of her rape via VCD and Whatsapp? Are the authorities thinking of how to protect this rape victim’s identity and privacy, as stipulated under the Child Act 2001?

The fact that some people purchased the VCD of the sexual assault and others shared the video clip via Whatsapp without lodging a police report indicates the condoning of child rape by certain members of society.

How many people clicked to “share” the rape recording? Are we so desensitised to violence that we gawk at the crime as titillation, and perhaps even encourage others to do the same?

As a nation, we must stop sacrificing our children in this manner. Platitudes on the rights and protection of children carry on ad nauseum but, in the end, what we really need is concrete action that will make child rights and protections found in conventions and laws a reality.

While the fight to end child rape is a tough one, political will, a decent budget for resources and the courage to implement principles are starting points.

Kids no longer bully but rape and kill

WOUND UP: Pressure to excel, coupled with the turmoil of puberty and exposure to bad influences, is a recipe for a meltdown

NOT too long ago, the only childhood afflictions parents worried about were measles, hyperactivity  and an unhealthy obsession with the TV. Now, that list has expanded to include something far more ominous -- mental health problems.

The latest National Health Morbidity Survey revealed that the number of children with poor mental health is rising, with 20 per cent found to be suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Children from as young as 5 were already exhibiting tell-tale symptoms, the survey noted. It was worrying enough for some to propose a Mental Health Awareness Week in schools and for more regular screenings.

Expectations to perform in school are higher these days. Pic by Mohd Asri Saifuddin Mamat

While the results of the survey are disconcerting, are they at all surprising? Children are, after all, growing up in a world that is evolving too fast for even adults to catch up with. A tremendous amount of pressure is exerted on them to overcome, to perform and to excel.

We don't really need an academic survey to tell us that many of our children are under extreme pressure and emotional distress. Conversations with parents are often enough to leave one with a churning gut and extra strands of grey. The Education Ministry may have reviewed the way in which students are assessed in a bid to make the education system less exam-oriented, but this has not made parents any less competitive.

"I've sent my son to a high-performance sekolah menengah kebangsaan that specialises in several niches and offers French. What about you? Oh, you just sent him to the secondary school next door?" a parent raised her eyebrow at me at the start of the school year last week.

"My husband and I work but both of us raised successful kids... ALL of them are doctors and are practising in the country and abroad. Excellence can be within your reach, too, if you aspire for it and push your children towards it," another parent shared recently while other less exemplary parental role models nodded and reflected guiltily on all the hours they allowed their own children on the Xbox 360.

Are such fervid quests for eminence healthy? The pressure of having to excel, coupled with the turmoil of puberty and exposure to negative influences via the Internet and their peers is surely a potent recipe for a mental meltdown.

As it is, children here are fast catching up with their western counterparts and have "graduated" from bullying to rape, robbery and murder -- all manifestations of a troubled mind.

A father, who accompanied his Year One son to the school toilet last week, was appalled to see an expletive emblazoned on the wall next to the name of an infamous Japanese-Canadian adult video star. That a 12-year-old or perhaps a tot even younger was familiar with the name etched on the wall was enough to give the father sleepless nights.

Remember the rape and sodomy of a 7-year-old girl in Kulim, Kedah by four boys just a few years older not too long ago? Such cases hardly cause a flutter these days.

What's crucial in the face of this onslaught is for the adults  -- parents and teachers -- to be armed with the skills to talk to today's youngsters.

It is parental guidance  that determines whether a child grows up to be a functioning member of society.

But before that, parents themselves need to know it's no longer fashionable or even acceptable to be "tiger" mums or dads.

"Helicopter" parenting (like helicopters, these parents are always hovering overhead, paying extremely close attention to a child's experience and problems, particularly at school) is also no longer in trend, with experts agreeing that these rapidly changing times call for parents who are characterised as "supportive" and "easygoing".

In this regard, it is heartening to note that some kids are already striving to break out of the tight cocoon spun by well-meaning adults.

Not all continue to aspire to be doctors, a profession of choice drummed into their heads from toddlerhood.

Medicine, which used to be No. 1, has plummeted down the list of desirous careers among children based on another recent survey. The bad news is that  the majority now want to be actors  or models.

Chok Suat Ling is New Sunday Times Editor   NST Opinion Columnist 09/01/2014

Teaching kids good values

TO me parents are the best teachers and they should be instilling in their children the right values.

Children should be taught to respect their teachers, their elders and the rights and faiths of others.

They must exercise extreme patience when explaining the positive and negative results of a right and wrong action.

The effects of smoking, drinking and drug abuse must be thoroughly explained just as they must on the ill effects of lying, watching and playing excessively on the computer.

Children should be taught to realise that the friends they are with can either make or break them.

Being lazy and irresponsible and wallowing in self pity are traits that we should rid ourselves of. Children should be taught about God and divinity.

As a parent, always be alert to the times. Do not live in dream world, and do not assume things are same as when you were a child.

Parents must realise that today’s world is a fast-changing one.

Many children have a natural desire to conform and follow their peers in whatever they do.

Be informed about today’s youth, their concerns, likes and dislikes.

Talk to your child but parents must also talk to other parents, and teachers.

Keep your fingers on the pulse of the world. If you fail to understand the influences bombarding your child, you may be helpless to counter them.

Be on guard against their feelings of anger, selfishness, dishonesty and rebellion.

Inquire why your children feel they way they do. Guide and understand why such attitudes are harmful to themselves and others.

Encourage positive thoughts of love, giving, sharing, obedience and forgiveness.

Show your pleasure and apprecaiton when they act responsibly but be strict, when children disobey.

Parents need to be firm yet loving when helping children understand why their actions are wrong and why discipline is necessary.

Use wisdom when correcting a child and remember children are not adults. It is pointless to over-react.

Disciplining a child should never be done in anger. It is also important to reward good conduct.

Positive reinforcement for right actions is an effective teacher, as is discipline, for wrongdoings.

Praise your children when the situations requires you to do so. Commend them for their helpfulness, and consideration.

Praising children does work wonders. And above all, get to know your children, and understand them.

Bulbir Singh, Seremban The STAR Online Home News Education December 29, 2013