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.


Anonymous said...

kak ena, i so agree with u over the lack of encouragement when it comes to sports in our national schools. we are overseas now and my kids go to british intl schools and i am just amazed by the kind of sporting activities that are included in their PE classes. It makes them love sports, compared to those years in SK in KL.
- roziana -

Anonymous said...

agree with u
bring back the sport.
bring back the fun.
less in class more outside.

Donplaypuks® said...

Since the '80's which coincides with the coming to power of Dr.M, the Min of Education has over-emphasized paper chase and the downgrading of sports and extra-curricular activities in schools, colleges and Universities.

Is it a coincidence Dr.M wanted to close the RSC and sell of Stadium Merdeka to prooperty developers? Wonder why our FIFA world ranking is about 180 when once we were Asian champs?

Now DPM Muhy hopes to change 30 years of neglect with a pontiff-like edict?

It can't be done without money, committed teachers and coaches. And not when playing field are all being by gobbled up by greedy property developers with the aid of city halls, local councils and the Govt.

We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Parent of 5 said...


We probably come from same generation with plus minus age different but with the same passion for sports. No pon intended

Yes ladies with short pants.........those were the days. My mind is playing tricks on me now sorry.

Anyway, are you aware that it is compulsory for ladies to wear tudong at all time when they are at schools and at all events including sports. Anyone were to flaunt this rule will be subjected to ridicule from teachers and be given disciplinary actions. Not sure whether there is directive from MOE with regards to this dresscode. Maybe you can get the Minister to answer.

Image a girl wants to take high jump or take-up soccer, they must wear tudong while doing this under hot sun. Do we think she will be encourage to take this sport? or do we think she will be able to perform to her best ability? I have daughter who used to participate in many sports especially when I was posted overseas. Right now her interest in sport wane because of hassle of changing(limited time) and it is very hard to take on sport when you have to wear tudong(black coloured) in this hot and humid weather

Don't get me wrong, I am all about girls wearing tudong. However the parent and the schools should be encouraging students to wear tudong and they should wearing it because they want to wear. But please don't stigmatize them if they don't wear tudong. We already have so many divisions in our society and certainly don't need another one at young age.

If MOE really want to push sports in schools, this is one of the things that MOE need to look into to make it easier especially for girls to participate in sports. Perhaps the boys will be encourage to do better in sports.

el-Barokhas said...

Sports in schools? You must be kidding. Nowhere and at no other time had we witnessed the celebration of 9A's, etc. SPM results done in such a grand manner as in Malaysia. It's as if our very own existence depended on it. Even national-level Maulidinir Rasul celebration paid tribute to the student with the highest number of SPM A's.

Now that Moyhiddin wants to bring back fun to learning, let's hope sports will feature among the novelties to be introduced. Or, could it be replacing clowns for teachers?

No longer sports is sports for the masses. It's become entertainment. And it's big buck, too.

Now, if your children have the urge to play that beautiful game, football, they have to settle for footsal, played in some little corner of a shopping mall in the middle of the night, not on the football field which had given way to some concrete structures or other.

Anonymous said...

It is so so naive of you to believe that the current malaise in sports (or many other things for that matter) is because of lack of allocation. Do you really think money can excel us in sports? There is no pride anymore to excel, and pity the children because this 'tak kisah' attitude is propagated by the adults, esp. teachers in this case. This is the result of years of nurturing a culture where making money is everything, even stealing money meant for the rakyat. Look at the teachers. If the pupils are not in the first class, they couldnt care less. The priority is in the bright students in the A class so that the school obtains many straight A results, and they can show off to their Kementerian folks, hoping for promotion. Sick!

Anonymous said...

The cause of it all could be the constant changing, revamping, remodeling of plans that were already in place.

The wheel being constantly reinvented.

The result? Well, seeing is believing.

Unknown said...

Eversince they started this business about rewarding pengetuas and Guru Besars of schools with good academic achievements, all other aspects of school life takes not even the back seat.

Pengetuas of schools with good academic achievements are rewarded as PPDs or ketua Sectors or are guaranteed speedier DG52s.

I have often been frustrated with pengetuas treating school sports days like an insignificant subject in the school curriculum.

They just want to have it over with and then push push and push their teachers towards academic achievement even to the extend of adopting several potential students and give them the best of everything so that they can produced a reasonable number of straight A students at the expense of the other 'not so potentials'.

Gone are the days when Pengetuas are in the field watching their school teams play. Even the PKs and PK Kokos are not around.

Money has always been a big problem as far as sports is concern. They just don't give enough. If a certain school would want to do more for sports then they have to literaly beg for funds.

Yes, I really mean beg coz I was in a school where we went begging for funds just because we wanted to give our students more for sports.

I bet, if the Kementerian suddenly comes out with the idea of rewarding Pengetuas with prestigious posts if their schools excel in sports, Pengetuas would be wearing tracksuits to school everyday and hanging a whistle around his/her neck in bed.

I don't like this idea of rewarding Pengetuas for academic excellence. That is their job and they are quite well paid so they should not expect more.

I remember when, the week before school sport's day and speech day, were the best times in my school life. We were given a break from harrasments from our teachers and I dare say it was this balance that created better individuals.

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


Let sports take top spots
Otherwise stay poor in sports
Just like ships need good ports
Otherwise no proper imports and exports

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 270210
Sat. 27th Feb. 2010.

Anonymous said...

I was in La Salle. Used to visit my sister's school, Assunta, and watched the girls run during sports day. Yes, they were all in shorts. It was just good healthy clean fun. I made friends with them too.

I dunno, back then, there was a balance between academic, sports, music, social clubs, etc. The teacher's gave a damn. I turned out allright.

It must have had something to do with the administration. They were good at running things.

Dare I say "Bring back the brothers?"

Unknown said...

..sorry, children now have no time for sports..they are too busy chasing the A's...and sports day is a halfhearted affair..with the parents not even aware of it happening..and it is easier to get laptops than sporting political mileage in sports in school, unlike teaching Science and Maths in English..baying for them to be taught in Bahasa gets votes..unlike sports in schools, where nobody cares..'cept, perhaps, a nostalgic moments..:)

soldadujingga said...

Bila sukan juga penting dalam pendidikan masa kini ianya satu kelebihan pada anak-anak yang tidak berapa cemelang dalam akademik. Insyallah dengan cara begini mungkin dapat mengurangkan gejala sosial.
Tapi untuk menyakinkan ibubapa bahawa sukan dapat menjamin masa depan adalah cabaran sebenar yang dihadapi kerajaan kerana kita telah dimomokkan oleh persepsi bahawa cemerlang dalam sukan tidak menjamin masa depan.

xpara87 said...

teachers are more interested in the bright to score all A's. So let the not so bright excel in sport... I believe they are more interested to be in the field then in the class where the teachers are not interested in them.......