Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are we measured by exam scores?

On 14 March 2008, Ms Melissa Netto wrote in The Sun

"THE announcement of the SPM results on March 12 compels me to pen a few thoughts on this new wave sweeping our nation.

Malaysians would have read the news of the nation’s top SPM scorer, Azali Azlan, who scored a whopping 20 1As and 1 2A in the examination. His achievement by far exceeds all expectations and hopes of the Malaysian society. His 21 As is here to prove wrong all allegations against our nation that suggest that our country is experiencing a "brain drain", with recent news suggesting that many capable young Malaysians are leaving their homeland in search of better opportunities abroad.

Such results, which have been prevailing in our country these past few years, suggest to me that we live in a nation of prodigies and geniuses, that will not only attain multiple Phds in their lifetime, but will contribute towards society’s development in ways unfathomable to humankind.

As an educator, I am beginning to worry that this trend of highest number of As achieved is leaving a negative impact on current and future generations of youth.

A student of mine who received his results on the same day, confided in me of his disappointment at achieving a mere 8 As in the examination compared to his friends who apparently achieved 10 As and more. I was taken aback by this and realised that it is no longer the quality of the subjects taken that matters, rather the quantity that takes centre stage.

I only have one question, that year in year out, my father would ask me, "Where have all these prodigies disappeared to since the announcement of their results?" Have they been accepted into universities such as Yale, Harvard and Cambridge? Or perhaps they have been sent to a secluded, private institution that is set up to groom these geniuses exclusively from all around the world?

Why don’t we hear of them receiving scholarships and graduating as valedictorians of their year? Why haven’t these top universities of the world recognised their astounding achievements and offer them an opportunity to change the world, one Phd at a time?

What kind of a message are we trying to send to the younger generations? Time and time again we have reminded each other, that it is not the As that matter, but how instead our children are able to live and serve Malaysia as responsible and caring citizens.

What has since happened to that school of thought? Children are no longer identified by their age, rather than what standard or form they are in and how many As achieved in exams. If you find this not a worrying trend, then obviously you have lived your life knowing that As get you far in life and not human survival skills.

With that, allow me to congratulate all SPM candidates who received results that were astounding and excellent in their own right. You know who you are and what you got! Be proud of yourself and know that you will in turn be an invaluable asset to this country in years to come."

On 15 March 2006, I wrote in this blog :

Intelligence Inflation - Rasanya la, if I were to throw a stone at a crowd somewhere, there's 99.99% guarantee that it will hit a student who got straight As in his SPM.

Compared to the time when getting 10A1 will entitle you to an exclusive coverage in all of the major newspapers, getting all As in SPM seems to be the norm these days.

So, intelligence is in abundance these days. Were we not very clever back then or kids nowadays are just getting better & better?

A note of caution : won't this lead to inflation of straight As students in the country?

Ms Melissa, we share the same concern.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Alahai, lamanya tak update.

Anyway,the bike's fixed already. Few tasks settled. Alhamdulillah.

Had a paid vacation up north last week.

The boys are not that well, health wise that is. My wife is also not that well.

Emil is now in the habit of checking my whereabouts every 10 minutes or so.

What I'm feeling at the moment? Does it matter?

Looking ahead for the end of the day.

I was talking to my wife last night.

All in all, we realise that we only have more or less 4 waking hours every working day to spend time with the kids. As we are working 5 days a week, that sums up to 20 hours. In addition, let's say we put in 12 hours per day on weekends to be with the kids (this estimate is on the high side which probably isn't that accurate). That will be 24 hours on Saturday & Sunday. That brings to a grand total of 44 hours per week. A year has 52 weeks. 52 x 44 hrs = 2288 hours. Divide it by 24 equals to 95.3 days per year.

95.3 DAYS OUT OF 365 DAYS??? 26%. Ini dah kira fail. Failed miserably. Pathetic!!!