“First-world infrastructure, first-world mentality”?


(This is from the blog of Hannah Yeoh, DAP Selangor Assemblywoman for Subang Jaya)

SMKSU Prefects’ Reunion
Friday, June 20, 2008

Few months ago, I was invited to the Prefects’ Reunion of SMK Subang Utama to be held next week. I just received news that I could no longer attend the function because I’m an assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat.

Two prefects have confirmed that the teachers have issued a threat to the prefects to withdraw their invitation to me and if not, the event would be cancelled.

I am upset with this. Let me explain to you why this threat by the teachers is so fundamentally wrong:-

this is a private function to be held outside the school; every past and present prefect is entitled to attend this event; and

I was the Head Prefect for 1995/1996 and was one of the pioneers to start this yearly reunion for the prefects.
I am not a criminal or a bad role model. All I did was this, exercised my right to vote, exercised my right to stand for election, to stand up for my generation and to fight corruption. As a young person, I am not afraid to stand up for righteous principles, not afraid of intimidation by the ‘supposedly powerful’ groups but today I am told that I am not a welcoming sight at a function which I championed and fought for many years ago.

In school, we were taught to be good role models and to be someone successful someday who will contribute positively back to the society. I have done just that. The very same people who taught me these values are now telling me that I am no longer accepted because I’m an assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat.

Blogging about this brings tears to my eyes. Why? This is such a sad state for our schools to be in, for our young generation to endure and succumb to irrational threats like this. For 50 years, we were told not to question, not to challenge and not to speak up – even if it impinges on your fundamental rights.

I am not insisting to attend this function and neither am I insisting to be a special guest at the function. I am telling you – students, graduates, working adults and parents, if you choose to remain silent and succumb to threats like this, there is little hope left for Malaysia. It could be your daughter/son who’s in my place. Remember the young ones are watching. Some are being brain-washed. Some are now confused – here you have a 29 year old assemblyman who is speaking up against corruption for the sake of our nation and they’re told that this is not a welcoming figure and that she is not accepted at school or private functions.

I was a little exhausted prior to this because of work, complaints and issues but this has caused my heart to stir. It has sealed my heart for a cause. The cause is this – to continuously speak up against oppression in this nation. My conscience tells me I am right before God, I have not acted unfairly towards others by stealing taxpayers’ money and I am inspiring the young to stand up for what is right.

Our education system is trying to breed students who cannot think for themselves, issue threats when everything else fails. I am the ex Head Prefect of my school and I am entitled to attend the reunion to meet up with my fellow schoolmates, to catch up on old times and share some old jokes. I am now denied that right.

How many of you would stand alongside me for this cause?

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  1. #1 by greenacre on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 9:42 am

    I have spend three decades in the system that Hannah is complaining of. Indeed Malaysian society had bred that system for so long. Don’t simply blame the teacher. There are other powerful forces behind them that can and do make their life difficult not one day but forever. They can’t voice it over or out to you.

    Only after 50 years there is some light in the tunnel. You have a valid complaint nevertheless. A system change would do wonders.

  2. #2 by clearwater on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 9:50 am

    Hannah,

    I would like to invite you to be my guest at an informal class reunion of some 40 people at a hotel in Subang Jaya on 26 July, 08. We attended school in the sixties.Some of us have children your age [ we're not bringing them along ] but all of us would only be to proud to have a daughter with your moral courage and ideals. Most of us I can modestly say, are much more accomplished than your teachers. All are definitely smarter. Seriously, Hannah, it would be an honor to have you attend.

  3. #3 by cto on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 9:56 am

    I do not wish to sound dismissive and I certainly emphatize with Hannah.

    However, I am a little unclear on what are the objectives here. Is it to correct the education system or is it to protest against the cancellation of this gathering of prefects and ex-prefects? If it is the latter, I would suggest that we are fixing the symptoms of a much bigger problem. Time and effort is better spent elsewhere.

    Hannah, I applaud you for taking a position on this. However, with all due respect, I would suggest that you save your tears and effort for something bigger than this. Relative to the injustice and the rampant corruption over the past 50 years, this gathering of prefects and ex-prefects is trivial. Focus on the root cause. The teachers are products of a flawed system and we should not hold them totally responsible for this.

  4. #4 by taikohtai on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 10:17 am

    Welcome to the real world, dear Hannah.
    Or should I say, the blinkered coconut-shelled world of Malaysia.
    But since you are fighting for a greater cause, that of universal justice, you must expect obstacles to be always in your way – big and small. This is where the rakyat has put their faith in your wisdom factor, although you are still youngish in eyes of many.
    Young Hannah, may your convictions remain strong and unbiased. May you remain untainted by the many defilements that have already penetrated so many in the administration of governance. And may your GOD continue to protect and watch over you.

  5. #5 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 10:47 am

    Hannah,

    You cant please every one. At times, you cant blame the teachers for refusing to join the event if you were invited and be there. They may be taking a too precautious step, I dont think any teacher, especially those who had taught you before would not be proud of you as the assemblywoman for SJ and may be the first from your former school !!!
    You have to understand that there are many “hantus” around which will report to their master(s) that an opposition assemblywoman has been invited to attend the event and may ended up with different story all together e.g. give a talk etc etc!!!
    I think you should go but keep politics aside and just be there without showing that you are now the assemblywoman for SJ. People will appreciate your presence even without invited as it is our Malaysian way of hospitality!!!
    Do continue to pray, there’s no problem too big that our God cant solve it!!! God bless you!!!

  6. #6 by melurian on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 10:54 am

    cannot blame the skool/teachers – who knows dap will take this advantage to spread their propaganda and brainwash students that what BN gov do is bad (example reducing subsidy rate, speaker rejecting motion from oppos, and allegation of pak lah being incompetent), and what PR do is good (like encourage MP to jumpship).

    get real, hannah is a politician, and a politician from DAP somemore, and since she has chosen this path, she should realize the consequent than rather to gain public sympathetic and make a hoohaa on this! the teachers are making wise decision to disallow the invitation especially in times like this when BN has lost selangor and speculations PR is taking over the gov. why can’t the adun be more reasonable. is not bias, is not selfish like the DUN pointed out – is a consideration after weighing the possibility negative outcomes, especially for event that affiliates the skool’s name which suppose to stay apolitical.

  7. #7 by ShiokGuy on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 11:01 am

    Dear Hannah,

    I am with you with this. I am a vocal headboy in my school in Sarawak back in 80s. I was whipped by the headmaster because I stand up again what is right, my fellow student supported me.

    When the headmaster want to fired me and appoint other as Headboy.. We have a protest in the school! It was fun then…

    Just go to the party uninvited.

    The young and the old are brain washed not to think but follow instruction. A robot is easier to control and manipulated than a human. Be a human!

    I have my view and other.. read my blog..

    Shiok Guy

  8. #8 by riversandlakes on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 11:12 am

    Didn’t PR win in Selangor?

    Are they actually going against the STATE GOVERNMENT? Can’t the State Gov do something? Come on, bring this up in the news!

  9. #9 by Rocky on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 11:19 am

    a tainted or corrupt or morally wrong BN rep is always welcome…why? they got money ma and the teacher(s) don’t care of role models or doing the right thing etc. if only they can focus this energy in their teaching instead of politics. Sigh.

    apa nak jadi???

  10. #10 by yani on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 11:55 am

    Dear Hannah,

    I am a Malay Muslim mother of 3, staying in your area. My family was very pleased when you got elected. Being young, intelligent, responsible and vocal, we see you as a role model for our children.

    Do not despair. Remember God is fair and most merciful. The time will come, soon. All the best and be prepared.We are behind you and you will always be in our prayers.

  11. #11 by aawilliam on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:07 pm

    Publish the teacher’s photo,like what Wee Choo Keong(wangsa maju MP)did on the DBKL’s guy.Shame them.I’ll circulate the photo for you.Shishhhh!!

  12. #12 by Jong on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:23 pm

    YESSSSSS aawilliam, bring the guy out, show his/her despicable look and shame him/her! Splash his/her photo all over Subang and Selangor and let the people, the rakyat react with treatment he/she deserves!

  13. #13 by Saint on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:32 pm

    The problem is not with the teachers but those who control teachers. It is the PTA that should take up this matter with the HM. Once again the HM is not the problem but the powers behind him/her.

    Let us not forget that many of the teachers and HM’s may have voted for the alternate parties.

    As to Hannah, go to the function as an old student (prefect) and not as a politician or a VIP. Let us see what these clowns do. You SHOULD go, so as to inform the younger generation that “justice and truth” is always worth fighting for and it needs courage to do so; silently and legally. Make the day for us.

  14. #14 by cheng on soo on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:33 pm

    Aawilliam, Jong, That teacher coukd be under pressure from higher up. he/she may need to protect their rice bowl?

  15. #15 by Jameswong on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:34 pm

    this BN is abusing all the mechinery of the Government, we should seperate politic with education/sport.

    What else they cannot do !! They restrict the people elected rep to meet her people, that’s is too much.

    But, we know Hannah is working hard to improve Subang Jaya, keep it up.

  16. #16 by Damocles on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:36 pm

    Hannah, I’m unequivocally on your side.
    I must say that for fifty plus years, especially during the last quarter century, the government controlled news media has progressively brain-washed Malaysians.
    Generations have grown up singing the praises of the BN and it is not surprising that even today there are still those who continue to do so!
    There is only one way to change all this and that is for the PR to take over the reigns of power. Once this happens, start revamping all the schools and sack all the journalists who had a hand in foisting half-truths or untruths on the people.
    Lift the OSA and reveal all agreements that had been made by the BN. Take action against those who has been derelict in their duties.
    Roll back all their policies.
    In the meantime, you can take whatever action to enlighten those who are involved in this particular incident.
    The recent electoral tsunami has shown that there are still many right minded people around, so you must not feel disheartened.

  17. #17 by k1980 on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:37 pm

    Interesting topic for debating in schools and of course, parliament:
    It is true; fuel subsidy was never in the government budget. It is not just that, even the food subsidy was also never in the budget. As a result, it is an expenditure ‘unaccounted for’ or, an expenditure that never being paid by the government. As a result, fuel and (today we knew that) food subsidy too are not something that government had to pay for from either taxpayer money or from any other government income…
    http://kickdefella.wordpress.com/

  18. #18 by greenacre on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:40 pm

    Hello riversandlike!
    Didn’t PR win in Selangor?

    Are they actually going against the STATE GOVERNMENT?

    For your info …Education comes under the federal government.

  19. #19 by Jong on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 12:45 pm

    Cheng On Soo,

    It does not matter who, however high up that person is, but just expose whoever he/she is. Splash the pix!

    We want him/her to explain why the directive? Cowards like them must not be allowed the convenience of hiding behind a junior staff member and get away unscathed.

  20. #20 by wizzerd on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 1:06 pm

    Bentoh says:
    I am thankful that I have teachers who told us not to be afraid of “anti-government”… not to be afraid of the police… because that’s our right to anti-government… and that the police is non other than our employees…

    Bentoh, we are not anti-govt, not even anti -BN, we are just not pro the policies made by BN.
    Please do not equate supporting the Opposition to anti-govt or unpatriotic.

  21. #21 by Jong on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 1:18 pm

    If it’s a “teacher” under pressure, we want him/her to explain the directive, and under whose pressure. We demand the truth nothing but truth!

  22. #22 by limkamput on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 1:25 pm

    K1980 and Kickdefella,
    Sometimes I feel that there are simply too much of misinformation in the blog. Contrary to what you said, the government does provide budgetary allocation for all subsidies in the national budget every year.

    All DIRECT subsidies are provided for in the government budget and these include fuel, rice, fertilizer, school textbook, nutrition programmes and others. The direct subsidies in 2007 were about RM12.5 billion as provided for in the federal government’s budget. Please refer to the Treasury Economic Report 2007/08. In addition to direct subsidies, there are “indirect” subsidies provided by Petronas to the energy and industrial sector. Here Petronas was directed to sell the gas at much lower price than the market price. Although these are not direct subsidies paid out of the national budget, it is profit/revenue forgone by Petronas. And since Petronas is wholly owned by the Government, the subsidies provided by Petronas are technically subsidies provided by government. If you want a better insight, please go to this site:
    limkamput-nincompoop.blogspot.com/2008/06/fuel-prices-and-national-budget.html

  23. #23 by pkrisnin on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 2:23 pm

    What are the names of these teachers, their name and pictures should be published.

  24. #24 by twistedmind on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 5:05 pm

    Was it SUBANG JAYA or some backwater kampung in Kedah?

    These are where educated people reside and they let morons run the school………..and corrupt the minds of their children!

    When will Malaysians STAND UP!?

  25. #25 by vincent on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 6:07 pm

    How many of you would stand alongside me for this cause?

    ———————————————–
    Me !

  26. #26 by choonchoy on Monday, 23 June 2008 - 11:21 pm

    Those teachers involved should be sacked!!!

  27. #27 by taiking on Tuesday, 24 June 2008 - 8:34 am

    Obviously the teacher who issued the threat is someone who could not see beyond the tip of his/her nose.

    I am sure that the teacher is also a coward because when challenged or exposed he/she is likely to act blur, deny issuing the threat, claim misunderstanding or cite some dubious order / directive from above.

    This is certainly the correct way to rot for BN. So go on and rot man.

    Quite clearly those idiots could not see that the world has progressed beyond IT. We are now into reality TV shows.

    Quite clearly they did not realise that the heros in the minds of today’s youth are movie stars and sports persons. “Politicians? Well yeah. But Nicole David is my true hero.”

    We must not despair. We shall celebrate this event.

    Give it a name.

    Lets call it the Hannah Yeoh Day.

    Yeh!

  28. #28 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 24 June 2008 - 10:27 am

    Hannah, this blatantly sick episode is the best opportunity to show up the sad state of affairs in our schools as the place to inculcate good values in our young.

    You were elected as part of the process to right the wrongs in Malaysia today and you should take this opportunity to do whatever is necessary to ensure such bigots and extremist in our school system are taught a good lesson. Kick up enough fuss all the way to the Minister level and make sure those responsible are either kicked out or at least properly reprimanded. Is it any wonder now why the majority of non Malay parents are reluctant to send their children to Govt schools?

  29. #29 by k1980 on Tuesday, 24 June 2008 - 11:59 am

    Now that civil servants are encouraged to take 2nd jobs, the fun begins:-
    http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Tuesday/National/2275798/Article/index_html

  30. #30 by One4All4One on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 - 12:23 am

    As I have said before, let good sense prevail.

    There is no need to be confrontational. No need to be over -emotional. No need to over-react.

    If one is not welcome, just don’t force your way through. No need for that.

    In this case, I think Hannah’s absence from the function would a talking point and also a deafening silence. It would dawn on all of them that something is wrong that Hannah is absent. That the ‘order’ or ‘instruction’ to keep her away because of her political belief is all but wrong and misguided.

    The teachers or whoever gave the orders would have to live with a sense of guilt all his/her life. That he/she had done a great injustice.

    Hopefully after this unexpected turn of event, good sense would return and Hannah would be invited again into the fold and that the person would regret his/her action and good sense returned to its rightful place.

    Let the process go through. And let the people learn the lesson. It is through some sort of wrong that some people would learn what is right.

    Good luck folks! Live and let’s live!

  31. #31 by One4All4One on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 - 12:33 am

    Please folks, we have to learn to keep our cool. It is precisely when we are ‘hot-headed’ that we couldn’t think right.

    It would be advisable to refrain from cursing and calling others names which we do not wish others call us.

    I see lots of cursing in this blog. Well, we may have different ideas from others, but that does not warrant us to curse them. Isn’t it our desire to see real democracy? Isn’t it our dream to have freedom of expression? It is precisely because of these ideals we fight for our rights. Hence, why should we deny others what we wish for ourselves? Think about it.

    I am not a supporter of any divide, left or right. Just to chip in to keep our cool and balance. No one gains if there is a ‘war’. Just why not debate and get the best out of it?

  32. #32 by mysn1st on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 - 12:46 pm

    Another obvious discrimination which could be easily prove in our government system.

    I wish YB Lim and YB Hannah would ensure yours will take this as a first priority matter need to be resolve when your party role.

  33. #33 by bdason on Sunday, 29 June 2008 - 7:48 pm

    What a shame….if you were from UMNO I am sure they will even throw a kenduri for you…..but alas you were not. You should go as this is a private function. There is no need for you to feel ashamed to have stood up for the opposition.

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