A frustrated government scholar-blogger

by frustrated scholar

I am writing as a Malaysia JPA (Public Service Department) Scholarship holder.

But, the problem is, I am also an Active Blogger on blogspot.com, touching mainly on socio-political issues.

To be frank, I have been very much careful in my writings by not touching religions and names and by remaining neutral politically.
Yet, my fear is imminent.

My dilemma stems from a recent incident happened to one of my fellow scholar (of batch 2007) from my institution.

She is a blogger herself, and apparently she went ‘over-the-line’ by attacking senior lecturers and institution administration on her blog.

Consequently, her blog attracted attention from both students and administrators and the news went to as far as our sponsor, the JPA.

She faced the institution’s internal disciplinary hearing and was subsequently suspended by the institution late last year and currently, she is pending decisions from the JPA on whether she will continue her scholarship or face termination.

  1. #1 by Chong Zhemin on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:14 am

    Scholars can’t blog on socio-political issues? what a joke! No wonder my friends who got JPA scholarships blog anonymously.

  2. #2 by Kit on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:16 am

    Incomplete. upload problems again.

  3. #3 by Kit on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:26 am

    I certainly do not agree on her writing style, but still I am appalled.

    This incident spark a ‘spree’ of warnings given by intuition administrators to us, the students.

    Allegedly, some of my fellow bloggers-students (including some who are already being sent overseas) are being ‘monitored’ by JPA officers and institution administrators.

    Others, with tendency to blog explicitly on ‘controversial issues’ such as atheism and socio-politic issues, are forced to shut down their websites or delete some of their posts due to the personal fear of losing scholarships. I am one of them.

    (Letter in thread above continues)

  4. #4 by Kit on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:27 am

    The situation is even more frustrating as there are no official statements issued to scholars by the JPA regarding blogging.
    Meantime, our lecturers and administrators provide no help by spreading cloud of rumours and warnings to scholars in local intuitions.

    It is pathetic and sad.

    We are being drafted to be the creme-De-la-creme, the so-called future leaders of the country, and yet we are forcefully being silenced by our own government.

    We are angry to see each day in papers, that the scholarship that we are holding, are being abused by politicians to gain recognition and fame.

    Most of my fellow non-Malay scholars (supposedly all) gained our scholarships purely on meritorious basis and not by any political favours from any party.

    But its a shame that certain politicians treat us as political chess pawns as if we are in debt to them

    Personally, i was invited by SOME party youth to participate some recent ‘9points event’ as a ‘government scholar’ to share my ‘experience’.

    Of course, i told him off.

    (Letter 3)

  5. #5 by Kit on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:28 am

    Forgive my arrogance but we, the ‘bloggers-cum-scholars’, are among the few enlightened youngsters of our country who happen to care about what is happening to our beloved nation, politically, socially and economically.

    And I strongly feel bound to voice out an opinion, a cry-out for awareness among youngsters, and a demand, for a little, if any, change.

    Shamefully, I am heavily guarded by higher institution acts and constantly being threatened to keep quiet on political issues in campus or online by pointing a knife on our scholarships.

    For your inform(ation, most of us, the scholars, come from middle and lower class families, and we can never afford to lose our scholarships. Most of us thus, choose to comply or remain silent.
    It a pure tragic.

    I feel angry at myself for being a coward. Yet, i am studying in an environment full of hypocrisy and authoritative fear.

    (Letter 4 – ends)

  6. #6 by sybreon on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:37 am

    Without the whole letter, I can only speculate on what the problem is. However, it’s a question of how the student wants to handle it.

    I’m not familiar with the exact terms of the scholarship contract, but I’ve heard that it includes a clause that prevents students from active participation in politics. However, I’m sure that blogging isn’t specifically mentioned in the contract since it was probably drafted decades ago.

    If the purpose of the blog is just to keep up-to-date with friends, it’s an easy matter of making the blog a private one. One of my friends does this. If the purpose is to rant publicly, like what Chong Zhemin mentioned, it’s possible to blog anonymously.

    The most important thing is to still be careful with what is said in the blog. It’s not like it’s against the law to criticise the government when criticism is warranted. Just treat it like any other print article and be mindful of libel.

    Otherwise, blog freely, without fear or fervour.

  7. #7 by sybreon on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 4:40 am

    Look up the term FUD. The only way to fight FUD is with the truth.

    Good luck!

    PS: alternatively, stay quiet for a few months till Sept ’08.

  8. #8 by smeagroo on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 6:48 am

    If they blog and write bad abt opposition it is OK. It is also OK for UMNO to lure students while they are still in UNis but others cannot.

    As long as they can show the Ketuanan over the rest everything is OK.

    Just blog anonymously.

    But make sure once ur studies are completed you guys come back with a vengeance and write furiously and tell the entire world what Msia is all abt.

  9. #9 by malaysiatoday.com on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 8:01 am

    If our students are banned to criticise our government and institute adminstrators in the blogs.

    Who else they can criticize? Their parents, friends or pet animals??

    May be BN government wanted to inbreed a whole bunch of brainless and idiotic bookworms?

  10. #10 by ahkok1982 on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 8:05 am

    Sadly, we live in a country where the “leaders” think that if you sweep all the dirt under the carpet, then it will all be forgotten and nothing bad will happen.
    Bu of course, we all know that if you sweep too much dirt under the carpet, it will grow into a hill and everyone will definitely know that there is something wrong under the carpet.
    Best thing would be to blog anonymously.

  11. #11 by taikohtai on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 8:11 am

    I believe if one starts to give in to the heavy handed tactics exerted by the gomen and their authorities, it actually is just the beginning of a long series of intimidations. Later in life, one will also be facing other discriminations in the office, in the streets, and even in the comfort of one’s home.

    But if one feels strongly enough to stand up to injustices, start staying your grounds. Be constructive in dealing with all matters and stay emotionally controlled. There are many silent supporters of justice, mind you. Be aware you may not achieve everything you set out to but as a freedom fighter, one gets full satisfaction of doing something proactive instead of sitting on the fence.

  12. #12 by ablastine on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 8:28 am

    As far as I can see there are two things to do. One is to hold your guns and frustration till your studies and scholarship have concluded. It is still not too late because there are enough of us around who are less encumbered to vent them on your behalf you whilst you are educating yourself. The other is of course to reject the JPA scholarship and apply for others (if you have good grades) from out of country. Singapore institutions, government or otherwise have plenty of scholarships in the offerings. As long as you have the grades, you will get them because they are staunchly meritocratic.

  13. #13 by melurian on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 8:51 am

    of course lah face termination, you want to bite to the hands that feed you?? gov ala bn ala jpa gives scholarship, student should feel grateful and stop attacking the gov….

  14. #14 by mata_kucing on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 9:09 am

    It’s time for mature students especially those in universities to stand up for their rights. The more subservience you are the more you will be bullied. Unlike the old days where students are very mature and articulate, university students these days seem to be cowed by their lecturers and the universities’ administraction. Only a few brave ones dare to stand up for their rights. Take a lesson from the recent Hindraf demostration. If your numbers are large enough, the bullies running the universities will back down and give you respect. It’s time all the universities combine their collective might and confront unfair authoritarian rules and bullying and tell tehm enough is enough. Put the politician wannabes and the kaki bodeks out of your universities.

  15. #15 by oknyua on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 9:45 am

    Dear frustrated student.
    In my student days I was somewhat a student leader too. I protested against gov’t annexation of famer’s land in Kuala Selangor, but above all I was often the spokesman for poor Bumiputera students who were not given gov’t grant, scholarship or loan. I wrote letters to political parties (just like what you do now) and the newspapers too.

    There is no defining line of what is (was) right or wrong. Looking back I was biting issues bigger than what I could swallow. Maybe that is happening to you, but I answered for myself. I took the pain and the reprisals alone.

    If you go by the Agreement you signed, you can always fight on all the fine lines. This blog is represented by many fine legal people. But always remember that you could win you case, yet you might lose your opportunity. As the joke says, “the operation was successful, but the patient died.” You might be right but being “dead” leaves you with more challenging times ahead. And you are still in your 20s.
    I gave a similar advice to one young man I met in a plane and he said, “You talk just like my father.” Keep your focus right.

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:04 am

    I see this as fundamentally about student voice in political and social issues. Traditionally Asian countries are scared of student voice in politics because students have been major revolutions. The communist were very successful in harnessing students. Even in Malaysia, we have tradition starting with Anwar who started his base with students and many UMNO leaders and more so in UMNO youth started being political as students. Even today famous SIL studied political science and now DPM.

    The other problem is student politics also make governing in schools more challenging especially given the mediocre standards of schools. Frankly, if you allow students to criticize freely given the challenges faced by school administrators, policy makers, few would take the job. Hissamuddin and Mustpha Mohammad would quit themselves.

    So the problem really lies the mediocrity of our schools, the more mediocre our schools, the less room it is to allow for student criticism and active participation. If our schools were places of excellence, the problem would actually be apathy of students to participate because they would be more inclined to chase selfish excellence.

    So the paranoia against students is in part historical which is less relevant today and partly real insecurities about mediocrities. The complexity is why not many cares and can identify with.

  17. #17 by malaysia_mana_boleh on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:06 am

    You do not bite the hand that feeds you lar Stupid !!!!

  18. #18 by malaysia_mana_boleh on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:09 am

    I must say your friend is a real sore-high.

    If you need other people’s help do you go and spit at them and say please help me?

    Why are our local uni students so stupid one????

  19. #19 by Jimm on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 11:11 am

    Truth hurts ….
    We, Malaysian have been living in a huge blanket of lies and mega corruption that turning back to the right path is impossible.
    Everyone in the top level including those within the monachy structure also involved directly or in-directly in the national scandal of wealth.
    Our racism issue are just put up for all Malaysian to argue about and keep them busy. There are no end to this subject and only waste of time and monies to put things into proscpective for harmonisation of all Malaysian. While everyone is busy ‘fighting’ for their birth rights, these bunch of people are swindling away our country wealth, shared among themselves and at the same time, instigated more racism issues to keep Malaysia on that treadmill.
    Who is a fool here ??? Not them … we .. correct.
    We talk so much each day about changes and changes yet failed to make that decision to act on it.
    Our dear life is very important and as selfish as anyone would , we’ll wait for someone to lead … sampai bilapun ..tak nampak.
    As for all these waitings , those people continue to laugh at us ..
    NATO …
    As for education system, you are provide the basic survival skill only .. read, count, draw … lack of critical thinking ..
    do homework do homework until you have nightmares ..
    after leaving school , never ever touches books ..
    at the end of everything, it’s not government problem ..
    A piece of advice, go underground to fight for your right is common yet you still need to be careful …
    Focus on your education at this level with a good critical thinking mind first … Malaysia can wait for you when you completed your destiny in education ..

  20. #20 by People on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 11:53 am

    To comment on gov policies, admin etc does not mean to revolt against the gov. Some past PMs have also criticize their own administration. Should look and hear things in a bigger picture.

  21. #21 by Libra2 on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 12:39 pm

    We have to understand the Malay psyche which springs from a feudal mindset.
    UMNO has imposed upon the Malays that the party is a protector of the Malays and in return they must give it unquestioning loyalty.
    How often have the Malays been told to be grateful to the government. There were times when those who opposed the government were castigated for ‘biting the hands that feed you’.
    Mind you, they have to grateful to BN for given building a kampong bridge over a drain or a laterite road!
    This psyche has spread to all institutions – school, universities and even the judiciary.
    Ask any civil servant about the proceeding at any meeting. Not a single subordinate will criticise his boss for to do so will land in in his boss’ bad book and thus loss in promotions or even a transfer out of town.
    Students are told not to ‘think’ but just study. When they see a poor community, they are not supposed to ask the government why they are poor.

  22. #22 by fengzai on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 1:11 pm

    Is blogging anonymously the only solution to the problem? Must we ‘go underground’ and ‘bid our time’ while the government continues to turn a blind eye to the concerns of the everyday citizens?

    If the youth are given no opportunities to think, no chance to question the wrong, and no space to grow into responsible leaders, then who’s fault is it when we become adults devoid of imagination and the will to see change through?

  23. #23 by Bigjoe on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 6:29 pm

    Since we are talking about liberties, I thought I point to a great video of a conversation on libertarianism


    It was held at Google. The thing about it we could never have such discussion in any company or place you work in. So think of your deprived liberties.

  24. #24 by disapointed86 on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 7:14 pm

    hmm..i understand the situation…but in this “Boleh Land” since you got the government scholarship..just keep quiet until u finish your study.. no point cos you said you’re from a middle or low background family…the government officer nowadays are very nasty..just take care

  25. #25 by kritikus on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:08 pm









  26. #26 by U32 on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:24 pm

    It is so very expensive to study in local universities.

  27. #27 by kritikus on Friday, 25 January 2008 - 10:28 pm


    WHAT IS STOPPING YOU??????????

  28. #28 by mendela on Saturday, 26 January 2008 - 1:42 am

    To side track, earlier blogger Plaintruth said that //How would one previal and compete in the international academic and practical science forum when the student has to take the compulsary subject of “Islamic influcence of science in Asia” in UKM? //

    Is this true?

  29. #29 by shortie kiasu on Saturday, 26 January 2008 - 10:54 am

    “She is a blogger herself, and apparently she went ‘over-the-line’ by attacking senior lecturers and institution administration on her blog.”

    If anyone, and for that matter, not to mention the scholarship holders, has gone overboard to attack someone in their blogs, then they have to be prepared to be responsible enough to face the consequence.

    In this case, we do not understanding the underlying problems of the bloggers, but as admmitted, they had gone “over the line” to “attack” the senior lecturers. Probably the JPA scholars bloggers will now have to get ready lawyers to defend for them.

    It may be a hard lesson to learn that the real world out there is harsh and tough. No one can hide behind anomymity hoping to get away.

  30. #30 by seals on Sunday, 27 January 2008 - 12:32 am

    I think we should have bloggers forums so that we in a group can engage lawyers and defend us.

  31. #31 by cheng on Monday, 28 January 2008 - 7:09 am

    While we are all fighting for a cause and basically on the same ship, I would say this frustrated blogger and the friend are stupid. By the way, like it or not, I think JPA scholarship is a joke. If our universities are “Boleh!”, please get these people to study locally. Do a check and see how many of them are really “contributing” to the country today.

    Sending students overseas is not something new. The Qing Dynasty starting from Year 11 of the Tongzhi period, also sent students to study in the United States. Not going to elaborate more, I will update my blog on this.

  32. #32 by lopez on Wednesday, 11 June 2008 - 8:29 pm

    Feudal ways can only dealt by fuedal ways

    it has been a looooong looong day since 1972…you see what is publish in their sportsletter or journal , it is freely distributed in the departments.

    Very educational of the unconventional and uncontemporary ways.

    Self declared specialist opine as if knows all with only one reference.

  33. #33 by lgseng on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 - 2:39 pm

    I am writing on behalf of my sister ( a Malaysian) married to an Italian man. Due to some health problems of my brother-in-law in Thailand, my sister had to give birth in Bangkok, Thailand. My sister went to the Malaysian Embassy to register her baby daughter’s but the officials in the Malaysian Embassy refused to register and issued her a passportfor her baby. They tell her off by saying” why can’t you married a Malaysian?” “Go and ask Italian Embassy to issue you a passport.”That is a very irresponsible answer. Who my sister want to marry is non of their business.

    Later we discover that Malaysian man married a foreign lady, can register their baby and obtain a passport even if they gave birth in a foreign country.

    This is a total absurd, discriminating Malaysian ladies. They (Malaysian ladies ) are not eligible to register their child as a Malaysian even though their status is a Malaysian.

    I see that Malaysian goverment do not recognize women’s right, superficially yes, in reality no.

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