Friday, February 26, 2010

Sports In Schools..

No wonder our national schools have been paying scant attention to sports (and music). Budget cutback. I see.

I was wondering why I never got invited to Adel's and Shaira's sports day. I am remembering one or two in their primary school.

When I asked, I was told that sports day was a low-key event -- just for students and staff.

And I had never attended any of their annual concerts. Again, I'm not sure if there were any to speak of. Low-key affair?

I come from a generation of Malaysians who went to schools where sports and music were strongly encouraged.

Of course, those were the days when female students wore shorts in PE (physical education) classes and for sports and games. But, well, that's another story. One I'm sure you'd like to hear.

For the lot of us back then, sports and games were an integral part of school. It was also the fun side of school. We, of course, never realized it -- being active in sports shaped our body and mind, and trained us to excel. Besides, as they say -- a healthy body, a healthy mind.

In my time, in my school (Assunta Secondary in Petaling Jaya), we had two national sporting figures who were both close friends of mine -- (SEA games silver medallist) sprinter Angeline Chivapathy and hockey player Evelyn Koelmeyer.

I never made it to national-level sports but I was a school (short-distance runner/sprinter, hurdler and long jumper) athlete (in my school athletics club) and played hockey, softball and football (now soccer...yes, bola sepak) for my school.

(The only girls' school with a football team.)

You know, come to think of it, taking part in sports and games in those days was a natural thing to do in school.

It was like something you would want to be part of. No second thoughts. The only thing was deciding which sport you excelled or wanted to excel in.

Kak Eda, my younger sisters Azah and Lalin, and I were all active in school sports.

It was what school was all about. And our sports day and annual concert were the highlight of every school year.

I enjoyed sports so much that my first year in college, I signed up to take part in the 100-metre run. Didn't win, of course. Didn't have much practice and things were a little different in college. Too many distractions.

Still, my love for sports has made me the woman I am today.

So, when my kids began primary school, I encouraged them to take part in their "sukan".
I remember Adel's sports day when he was in standard one. But the rest of his primary school years seemed to past by without any excitement of a school sports day.
It was the same with Shaira too.

It made me wonder.

It got worse in secondary school. I don't remember anything remotely related to their sports day.

Shaira was a little lucky. After her PMR, I took her out of national school and sent her to a private school in Subang where you get to play games, swim, learn a musical instrument (piano for her) and learn a third language (Mandarin).

I had good reason to take her out of national school. I realized that our school system is hard on non-Science students. At least in Shaira's school. Teachers don't give a damn for non-Science students. So she was very demoralised, very discouraged and dispirited.

Adel was lucky because he excelled in science and mathematics so the school loved him. He was in the first science class and a potential mutliple-A SPM holder. So, he was a statistic to keep the good numbers (of 8-As SPM results) going for the school.

If you don't know this already, but our schools are excruciatingly concerned about keeping a good track record of A-list SPM results.

Anyway, back to sports in schools -- what I do remember is attending their sports day when they were in kindergarten -- in Villa Maria Good Shepherd. Now, that was a lot of fun.

What a pity that they never got to experience that kind of "sporting" fun when they graduated to "sekolah betul".

Thank God, Adel loves sports and games. He plays basketball and used to play regularly with his school buddies -- Dhanraj, Kevin, Irfan, Nazrin and Harith. And tennis, on his own, having taken lessons at our club. No encouragement from his teachers.

So, why do we all lament the dearth of Malaysian sportsmen and women over the years. We asked for it.

How do top class athletes and sportsmen get to be where they are?

Something sure went wrong in our school system somewhere in the last few decades of the last century.

So much was lost.

Let's hope we can regain our love for sports now that the the government is putting back the allocation for sports in schools.
Let's hope it is not too little too late to start all over again.

Poor Conditions At NS Camp

I thought this kind of problem is passe in our NS camps.

I'm okay with the idea of our kids getting together and keeping fit with all that physical training -- but I get hot and bothered when I read that those running NS camps don't give a ****!..

Just read this link on dry taps and "bad" food at the Balik Pulau NS camp.

You don't have your child at the camp. Good for you.

Let's not patronize and say that our kids need to be tough for them to be great citizens of this country, and should therefore, not complain. Well, clever you.
Try going with all that crap for two weeks.

So, I say, that's not how a camp should be.

Salam Maulidulrasul!

To my Muslim friends -- Selamat menyambut Maulud Nabi!

To everyone else -- happy holidays, again!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Teaching Malaysians To Be Good Employers

I hate to be a naysayer, a party-pooper, a killjoy, a wet blanket. All those things.

Like when someone announces something that's supposed to be good for everyone, and I blithely dismiss that something good by doubting its usefulness or value.

Like this announcement that the government is making it compulsory, from the end of next month, for employers and their maids to attend a half-day course . This is to help reduce cases of runaway maids and abusive employers.

Like, maybe, I don't quite agree with this decision because a half-day course is not really addressing the problems the government wants to overcome. And, is the problem really alarming that you have got to get all employers and their maids to go through such a course?

At least I'm happy that no one is milking the government on this one.

Perhaps I am being unfairly critical. I don't even know the details of the course. Like, first and foremost -- do we have to pay for this compulsory course? And if yes, how much?

Who will be teaching what?

What form will the half-day module take?

How do you teach people to be good employers. How can it prevent maids from running away?

Scare them by citing the laws that we have?

Can you really teach people to be decent employers? And stop maids from running away?

Hmm, you mean you can actually TEACH these things?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Am Deeply Sorry, Says Tiger

They dubbed it "Tiger's Mea Culpa" and that was what it was.

But, poor Tiger Woods. Even his televised apology for his transgressions, his wrongdoings before the whole world, was torn to shreds by the unsympathetic media.

They scrutinized his facial expression, the way he delivered his apology. Just to catch that off-moment.

Was he sincere, they asked?

Frankly, we wouldn't know. And at this point, we shouldn't care.

We forget that he has a wife and kids. They are the ones he hurt, more than anyone or anything else.

The thing is, he is no ordinary guy who was having strings of affairs. He is the world's top golfer. megarich and a sex addict.

It's easy for us to cut him into pieces. A cheating husband who's got all the money in the world to romp around with any woman he wants.

Tiger said it himself -- with all the money he had, he did not need to go far to get those, er, women.

He came clean, didn't he? He has sought treatment for his addiction. And he has sought forgiveness.

That's hell of a thing to do.

Even for the Tiger.

So, let him live.

P.S: I just want him to play golf!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The case of Three Muslim Women

who were caned for illicit sex.

And are now repentant after undergoing the punishment.

The report on these women has outraged women's groups.

The three women were caned last Tuesday for engaging in illicit sex, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

They were the first women in Malaysia to receive such punishment under syariah law.

Two of them where whipped six times and the third was given four strokes of the rotan at Kajang Prison.

"Too much hype about Kartika Sari Dewi's sentence (to be caned)", he said, that he felt compelled to tell us all about the caning of these women.

People are saying that no woman has been caned before and that Kartika should not be caned.

“Today I am announcing that we have already done it. There is no hidden agenda, we are merely executing our responsibility,” he told a press conference at his office yesterday (Wednesday).

Read the Star report HERE.

Pakatan Rakyat To Send "Drop Sodomy Charge' Memo to Government

(source: The Star)

Pakatan Rakyat MPs are together with their Australian counterparts in calling on the government to drop the sodomy charge against Anwar Ibrahim.

They will be submitting a memorandum to the Government on this.

“The memorandum will ... call for the Prime Minister, Government and the Attorney-General to drop the charge against Anwar,” DAP adviser Lim Kit Sianghe told reporters at the Jalan Duta Court Complex Thursday.

Read story HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Empty Nest

As my kids get older, I get really nostalgic.

Looking at old photos brings a rush of emotions.

"I remember when that photo was taken", or "I can't remember Adel/Shaira as a baby..." or "that was such a long time ago.."

The best is -- "oh my, it seems like only yesterday....."

Adel just turned 20 and is in college. Shaira will soon be going to college.

Perhaps, I'll have more time to do that long-overdue spring-cleaning, or get into some worthwhile activity.

Or something.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gong Xi fa Cai

Wishing my Chinese friends a very happy new year! May this year of the tiger bring you much prosperity, happiness and well-being!

And also to those who celebrate Valentine's Day -- have fun. Just don't overdo it!

Happy holidays, everyone!

And remember --- all we need is love!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What You Don't Care For When You Were Younger....

Are what you enjoy now.....

Let me just tell you a little story.

Last century, sometime in the early 80s, as young reporter I had to cover a beauty contest. One of those local, little contests.

During question-time to test your intelligence and gauge your personality, the contestants were asked what their hobbies were.

The answers varied. One pretty lass said she enjoyed reading.

emcee: "What kind of books?"

pretty lass: "Recipe books".

And a little brief conversation followed.

From where I was sitting, I actually smirked. "Recipe books?", I repeated to myself. A little disdainful.

"And you call that reading?. Poor girl", I said to myself.

On reflection, that was judgmental of me, I know.

To me, at that time, (a very younger me), reading recipe books did not count as "reading books".

How young and judgmental I was.

Because later on in life until this day, I have enjoyed going through recipe books, and websites on recipes....

SO, to that pretty contestant, I'd like to apologize for trivializing your pursuit.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ooi Vs Wee Vs Ooi Vs Wee

Yesterday, PKR MP For Wangsa Maju Wee Choo Keong demanded that DAP's Glugor MP Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun retract his statement about him (Wee) crossing over to the BN.

Wee told a Press conference that he was giving Jeff 48 hours to retract the statement, failing which he may institute legal action against Jeff (read: sue, sue, sue)

Today, Jeff responded, saying that he had never named Wee in his statement, in the first place, about four PKR MPs said to be crossing over to the BN.

He demanded an apology from Wee ...or else (read: sue, sue, sue).

Sigh...both are bloggers, politicians (from Pakatan) and my very dear friends.

What are you guys thinking?

Boleh tak settle, tak payah sue?

Baca-lah Rocky's Bru HERE.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wee Choo Keong Speaks Up...

PKR member of parliament for Wangsa Maju Wee Choo Keong held a press conference today.

He said he is not crossing over to BN, as alleged by DAP's Jeff Ooi. Neither will three other PKR MPs.

He said all this accusations against PKR smacked of "McCarthyism".

Lots more which I cannot blog about. Read all about it in the newspapers and online portals.

Malice, Misquoting And A Grand Plot to Topple Penang Pakatan, Don't Think So...

Oh come on.

Everyone needs somebody to blame.

Politicians, I have learnt, always blame the media, usually newspapers for misreporting or misquoting them, when the heat is up on them.

Sometimes it's true. Usually it is not.

The NST carried a page one story, headlined "PKR Ready To Act On Guan Eng".

Yesterday, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution issued a statement, expressing "shock with the report" and said that NST "has maliciously misquoted" his statement.

The Star carried a report on Saifuddin's statement and included remarks from Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng who told a press conference that the NST article "was part of a plot to bring down the Penang Pakatan Government".

Guan Eng further said that he was considering taking legal action against the NST but, remarked that "the state sometimes felt helpless against the onslaught”, as it did not have the capacity to “sue them everyday”.

Here's my response to Saifuddin: "no, there was no malice. Our reporter -- who happens to be female, not male as you had indicated in your statement -- took your remarks down as per. She did not twist your words and the NST did not spin your statement. So, tell us, which part is a misrepresentation. "

And to Guan Eng: "no, dear Guan Eng. If there was a plot to bring down your government, NST is not part of it. We are, as you can see, just a newspaper. The one you and your government have been boycotting. The one whose representatives you have banned from covering your functions or those you are invited to.
Surely you can see that what's happening in Penang is worthy to be reported. NST is not the only newspaper reporting it. Everyone's on it. And your guys are the ones talking to the press."

Guan Eng, you have boycotted the NST in Penang, for reasons you believe to be valid.
And have you not threatened companies holding functions with you as guest, to not invite the NST?

Going by your "logic", can I see it as part of a plot to bring down the NST?

And, oh... I have a lot to say about your penchant for suing the press!

Enough said.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Verse By Rumi

I sought a soul in the sea
And found a coral there;
Beneath the foam for me
An ocean was all laid bare.

Into my heart's night
Along a narrow way
I groped; and lo! the light,
An infinite land of day.

By Jalal Al-din Rumi

Anwar's Trial

I'm sorry. I won't be posting anything.

Do read the other blogs, online portals and the newspapers.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Girls, Take Up Martial Arts...

This may not be an everyday occurence but still makes me so angry that the rapist and his accomplice got away with it.

I have a 17 year-old daughter. Maybe this 17 year-old girl in the story is not as "sheltered" as my daughter.
Sheltered or not, any girl caught in this kind of situation may not be able to escape.

I wish I could get my hands on this b.s.a.d!

What does a girl do in her situation? I can imagine my daughter, waiting for me outside a shopping complex, and some guy puts up a drama, confuses and deceives my daughter in the process and, abducts her....

My kids - Adel and Shaira - used to go for taekwondo classes. Kak Eda and I learnt a bit of silat from my late uncle when he used to visit us regularly during the time Bapak was in (ISA) detention.
And, I've always been keen on Aikido.

I'd want Shaira to take that up, or kickboxing, silat, or whatever form of martial arts so she can defend, or save herself in desperate and dangerous situations.

I would suggest that girls, women take up martial arts for self defence.

Because, sometimes, there is no one else there for you.

Al Fatihah Abdullah Majid

Innalillah Wainnalillah Rajiuun.

We called him Pak Cik Dolah. A close friend of Bapak's. And he was detained under the Internal Security Act together with Bapak and also (Tan Sri) Abdullah Ahmad in 1976.
(Also detained was the late Mohd Samani Amin, an editor with Berita Harian.)

They called the ISA trio -- the Three Abduls.

I'm not quite sure what his post was at that time but I believe he was a Deputy Minister.

Pak Cik Dolah had not been well for quite some time.

On my way now to "masjid bulat" in Section 14.

Pak Cik Dolah's remains will be taken to Raub after the "jenazah" prayers at the mosque.

Farewell, Pak Cik Dolah.

Al Fatihah.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

PM's Special Officer Who Made Racist Remarks, Resigns..

Sometimes, you wonder why people do things they do and say things they say.

I mean, this one really takes the cake.

Better Pay For Cops

About time too!

Let's hope a better pay scale for our policemen will be mutually beneficial.

I've always believed that our policemen are severely underpaid.

People always say that if you give better pay to policemen, they will not be corrupt. There is, of course, some truth in that.
But that should not be the be all and end all of the matter.
Policemen should not be corrupt. In the real world, I know that is not possible. But we can push to make sure that corruption in the police force is continually being checked so that we can all live in a world where we know that our security is being looked after.

Looking at the pay scale of our Malaysian police force -- I hate to say this wonder-lah.

However. That said, any form of corruption involving policemen at whatever level, must never be condoned.

It is corruption in the police force that will hinder efforts to reduce crime -- anywhere.
As if this needs to proven.

(Also, the government should look into providing housing and other benefits for policemen and their families.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mary Black Days...or Just Rainy Days

I don't know about you but the last few -- wet and rainy -- days brought me back decades....right to 1971 when the Klang Valley experienced the longest rainy spell ever.

They called it the 1971 floods. It was that bad. Schools had to be closed because the high waters rendered so many places inaccessible.
Many parts of the federal highway were submerged in water. The federal highway - after the EPF and near Kampung Kerinchi - looked like a river.

It was raining everyday for nearly two weeks. Maybe longer.

Us kids, of course, stayed home and had to keep ourselves occupied.

Nope. There were no computers, nor the internet. No mobile phones. No...oh never mind.

What we had was good old fashioned fun.

Those days, we did a lot of things outdoors. Indoors, we would be reading, listening to records, or playing cards or board games.

When you're 15, you'd certainly be listening to music.

That was how my friends and I filled our time, those rainy days in '71.

Oh...those were carefree days. I was in form four. In my day, they called it the "honeymoon year". I'm sure that has not changed.
{Form four was snuggled in between Form 3 (LCE - lower certificate of education like the present-day PMR and Form 5 (MCE - Malaysian certificate of education like the present-day SPM).}

My (late) sister, Kak Eda and I had the same set of friends and they'd come around in the evenings to listen to records. Oh, have I mentioned that we did not have CDs back then.

(Records? For those of you born in the last few decades of the last century -- go ask your parents. or grandparents.)

We'd play James Taylor, Carole King, Simon and Garfunckel, Elton John, Three Dog Nite, Led Zeppelin and God-knows whatever else.

But, those rainy days, my particular favourite was James Taylor's "Fire And Rain".

Since then, rainy days would somehow bring me back to those days when Kak Eda and I would be lounging around our living room with our friends, just listening to music; to "Fire And Rain".

Until I discovered Mary Black.
Oh. Mary Black changed my life. More or less.
Her pioneering album "No Frontiers" touched me like no other had in a long time. There is so much depth and emotion in her voice, her songs. I had never been moved the way she moved me.

Listening to Mary Black puts me in a kind of emotional rollercoaster. In a pleasant, pleasing way.

It makes me happy when I am sad: rivets me when I am happy. It hits a higher note for me on rainy days, the way "Fire and Rain" had done, but in a more emotional way.

Nearly 40 years today, I still get the same nostalgic bumps on rainy days, and "Fire and Rain" never fails to play in my head.

But, the past few days, it's Mary Black that's playing in my head.