How to radicalise our universities

by Dr. Azly Rahman

My parents, like those of many of you readers too, only managed to complete Darjah Tiga/ Standard Three of their education. Poverty and the nature of ‘human capital revolution’ during the 1940s did not afford them the luxury of being in an ivory tower. Hard times.

One became a taxi driver and the other first, a seamstress and next, a factory worker in Singapore assembling microchips for a German multinational corporation. They would leave for work at four or five in the morning and come home at seven at night. That was the story of their lives. I am sure they too had the dream of entering a place called the “university.”

They spent their time -hard times- that took toll on their personal lives, raising their children to enter the university.

But they had an intelligent hunch, they believed universities will make everybody come out smarter and able to think critically, creatively, and altruistically. They did not have the knowledge of political economy to decipher the fact that universities are closely linked to the politics of the day.

I still believe what my parents believed, that universities ought to make people come out smarter and able to solve problems in as many ways as they possibly can. Universities ought to make them able to articulate ideas, expound ideas, and make the graduates closer to the ‘masses’ and not to the ‘power elites’.

Universities ought to make its graduates understand the meaning of human liberation. Universities ought to help humans have all the qualities mentioned and at the same time help them get a decent job. One that will evolve into a career and ultimately become a calling.

Like my mother especially who would say, “Belajar lah pandai pandai Ah-Lik, nanti boleh masuk universiti.” (“Study hard Ah-Lik, you can then enter the university”)’

I too believe in this mantra which says that universities must be the place to make one more intelligent.

Cultures of Disability

What has become of our public universities? Have we created cultures of disability in the way we teach our students how to think?

The public seems to be feeling betrayed. Too often now in the emerging progressive media, we hear such lamentations below:

“Our universities have lost their sense of historic and philosophical mission; we are seeing a university shackled by the ideology that has developed historical- materialistically out of the mold of Western and Eastern colonialism.”

Our academic leaders are seemingly trying hard to please their political masters of the day; they seem to be imitating the role of the intelligentsia rather than of organic intellectuals. Their creativity and sense of democracy is ‘guided’ by a philosophy of instrumentalism, rather than radical multiculturalism.

Our academic staff are overwhelmingly afraid to speak up on issues that matter most to the destiny of the nation: increasing authoritarianism, Oriental Despotism, rule of technocracy, the plundering of our national wealth by those in the ruling elites, destruction of our rainforest and our environment, blind following of the ideology of developmentalism, and the silencing of civil servants as well as academicians through dictates and documents that are archaic and styled perhaps after the rule of J.W.W. Birch, the resident of Malay settlement of the 1800s. Their minds are conditioned to obey.

Our students are being treated like extensions of the Malaysian secondary schools and they in turn treat the university as a place wherein facts are merely to be regurgitated at the end of the semester examinations. Therefore they now expect to be spoon-fed all the time, even during job interviews.

Our campuses are becoming a battleground of political leaders from the “pro-aspirasi kerajaan” (pro-government aspiration and ‘pro-pembangkang’ (pro-Opposition.) The words ‘aspiration’ and ‘opposition’ are cleverly used to create the ‘good guy’ versus ‘bad guy’ dichotomy in Malaysian politics, masking the real issues.

We need a brand new political order altogether. Our students are not skilled in reading between the lines, since they are skilled memorisers of facts and blind receptors/recipients of ideologies.

Our classrooms are turning to be real lecture theatres wherein the lecturers and the professors are mostly not keen in engaging in dialogical, dialectical, and didactical teaching. Our university lecturers/professors think they are ‘sages on stage’ and not ‘Socrates the liberator’ and a guide on the side. They have become ‘modular-type’ instructors.

Our universities are more interested in specialising themselves into this and that universities – Management, Multimedia, Agricultural, Technology, Social Sciences, the Arts, etc. etc. – undermining the value of a broad and strong foundation of the arts and humanities which should form the basis of any institution called a ‘university’. Dive and conquer through specialization. might the underlying perspective be.

A ‘Universiti UMNO’ — a little bit too much for an institution — was once mooted. The more specialised the universities are, the better they can be ideologically controlled. This seems to be the nature of hegemonic system of thinking which is prevailing.

Our graduates are being churned out in a diploma mill -some within three years only – we now have unemployed graduates by the tens of thousands. They were given the promise to finish early and they ended up without jobs.

Our academicians do not produce enough bodies of knowledge; ones that would challenge every aspect of the foundation of ideas which are prevailing today. We continue to produce knowledge base that is ‘instrumental reason’ and technocratic in nature; produced out of lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, and textbook-publishing houses that fail to critique the dominant ideology.

Our universities are not only funded by the ruling coalition party that is under scrutiny for big-time corruption, wastage, and at the brink of being replaced, but also by corporations at home and abroad that are interested in seeing that the graduates are graduating from the mold of the corporate-government-industrial complex.

Our universities are fertile grounds for the indoctrination of ideas and the funneling down of slogans – from the idea of a K-economy, Islam Hadhari to modal insan (human capital).

We continue to be sloganised.

Academicians diligently frame their research question, methodology, findings, conclusion, and recommendations to fit the citra-rasa/agenda of the ruling ideology of the day. Our universities ride the waves of Nationalisation, Islamisation, Information Technologisation, Globalisation, and now Bio-technologisation – because they choose not to stop and look at the waves first and ride them later.

We have created cultures of disability in our public universities.

Our politicians, especially those involved in education beginning from the time of Independence have not clearly understood the role of a university in a nation that is coming out of colonialism. Not enough radicalism has been cultivated on campuses.

Because the developmental agenda of the nation is tied to the role of the universities, the latter has become an apparatus of the ideology of modernisation and hypermodernisation; two continuing processes of the development of base and superstructure that define what we are now, a neo-colonialist corporatist nation that is even more complexly tied to the international system of modern slavery ruled via the regime of globalisation.

What inroads need we take to reconstruct our public universities? We must go back to philosophy for possible solutions.

Cultures of Ability

To enable our public universities, we ought to embark upon, borrowing the title of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, a ‘long walk to freedom’ by taking the following steps:

Understand the philosophy and historic mission of universities; those in the business should be able to articulate the meaning and manifestation of a university.

Understand the meaning of hegemony and how it was crafted in the previous regime of Dr. Mahathir and how we ought to craft ourselves out of it. We ought to understand how not to get into any newer form of hegemony.

We ought to understand how to be totally free and how to live a philosophical life that values the quest for meaning rather than the quest for political and material Epicureanism.

Understand theories of knowledge and its application to all spheres of university education so that we may not merely turn our ivory towers into creating people and ideas that will turn this nation primarily into a haven for economic exploitation of global multinational corporations, leaving the rakyat homeless in the house capitalism build.

Our universities are increasingly influenced by market forces in that we become slaves to industries that are themselves slaves to technological inventions that do not have an end to their own progress.

Our graduates in the scientific and technological fields are discovering that they are becoming victims to the onslaught of shifting technologies and the emotionless system of advanced capitalist formation that shift jobs and retrenches people in the name of corporate downsizing, corporate re-engineering, and in meeting the needs of specialised labor.

This means that these major global corporations that dictate the needs of labor to be produced from our universities are finding it more profitable to either automate or to move their operations to nations that can sell human labor even cheaper.

Understand the role of universities viz-a-viz for a truly democratic nation; in a democracy that values pastoralism and meaningful participation rather than one that advances protectionism and the plundering of public wealth.

Study progressive reform movements that have helped advance the development of intellectual culture in universities. Create students who are radical enough to challenge not only corrupt practices but also challenge paradigms of thinking. This is the ethos that create frontier thinkers in any society.

Learn to deconstruct ideology by understanding what the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas call ‘ideologikritik’, the art and science of understanding the structure of knowledge and the human-constituted interests which embody it.

By understanding how knowledge, particularly instrumental/technical knowledge is constructed, and who owns and control its development, we can better understand how to deconstruct it to become more humane.

Inject critical theory and critical sensibility into our daily academic practices. Familiarise ourselves with the work of institutions such as The Vienna Circle, The Berlin School of Logical Positivists, The Frankfurt School of Social Research, The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies, LEKRA, ASAS 50, and our own Malaysian school of progressive thoughts.

Encourage cutting edge social and cultural research and understand alternative economic theories that value the development of the people, by the people, for the people.

Improve the quality of Foundation courses so that they may help our graduates ground their studies and future practices in the reading of great works in cross-cultural, inter-religious, and socially-real human experiences. Revamp foundational studies to emphasise on deep and broad reading of great work of literature and the humanities and to have students read timeless classics of Asian and world cultures.

Implement Affirmative Action and Cultural diversity policies that will help us understand and be aware of what ‘Equal Opportunity Employment’ means. Have color-blind policies that include total desegregation of universities that are too ethnocentric. Implement principles of meritocracy as well.

Improve instructional practices across the board, taking advantage of emerging digital technologies that will be used for the advancement of ‘digital proletariatism’ rather than to enrich computer technology vendors well-connected to politicians. Turn lecturers/professors into powerhouses of teaching faculty; ones that are not only well-versed in their subject matter but also skilled in delivery.

Improve faculty workload so that they may have time to think like a philosopher rather than be, like a ‘homo academicus’ in the age of the smart machine, the academician who is being caught in the conveyor belt of knowledge production controlled by those who own the nation and international production-houses of knowledge.

Ignite intellectual fervor in our students. Challenge them with more and more questions, like Socrates did with the Athenians. To be smart one’s thinking need to be radicalised. Encourage students to be involved in political organizations and be radical idealists while at the same time emphasise the need to be academically superior as well.

Improve students’ higher-order thinking skills, challenge them into newer intellectual heights. Encourage them to express their views, cultivate their radicalism and nurture it so that they may become the best and most ethical leaders our nation will benefit from. Award those who can think more than just outside the box but those who can destroy old boxes to create newer and better ones.

Feed the radical students with more and more radical theories of social change, so that when they become leaders they will ignite peaceful revolutions that speaks truth to power and bring happiness to the poor.

Ensure that politicians who do not know much about university education do not interfere with learning. Allow as many politicians from as diverse camp as possible to dialogue with students so that the latter can sample as many ideologies as possible or even challenge the invited speakers.

Involve all levels of people in continuing education. The university must encourage each one of the staff members to achieve as much as they can through programs in continuing education and professional development.

Attract competent teaching faculty from diverse philosophical perspectives to intellectually enrich our students in the universities. Bring in scholars who live and die with their ideologies – capitalists, free enterprisers, Marxists, neo- Marxists, modernists, post-modernists, religionists, atheists, nationalists, internationalists, rockers, rock and rollers and rappers.

Let a thousand flowers bloom in each and every Malaysian university.

Monitor and deal democratically and dialogically with all forms of extremism in thinking. Do not witch-hunt them or order the courts to shut them up.

Explore the idea of creative de-evolution and ‘revillagisation’ as an alternative to urbanism. We should evolve into peaceful and cultured people of the rural and urban greens.

There is beauty in agricultural economy, over the excessive brutishness of industrialism.

Explore transcultural socialism and its philosophical and practical underpinnings; one based on a system of moral economy that ensures equitable, regulative, and distributive justice and one rooted in the supremacy of metaphysics and global ethics.

Since we are interested in the future of our children’s intellectual development, let us begin our dialogue on how to reconstruct our public universities.

Let us inquire into the complex relationship between the State and the Universities and how the contradictions are always present. How much intervention must the Universities allow the State to have?

To whom must the allegiance of the universities lie?

Abolish repressive clauses in the University and University Colleges Act of 1971 and discard the Surat Akujanji that has been used to instill fear in students, staff, and even thinking academicians.

Education is about renewing prosperity, rejuvenating hope, and redefining our practices.

Above all, education is about educare (from the Latin) meaning the drawing out of human potentials, so that our students, as my mother would say, “boleh jadi orang pandai, boleh tolong anak bangsa.” (“can become intelligent and can help the children of your race”)

I would adapt her notion of social justice to boleh tolong bangsa Malaysia (to help the Malaysian race) or, better still, borrowing the great storyteller Pramoedya Ananta Toer, “boleh tolong anak semua bangsa.” (“to help the children of Humanity”)

Let us see if we can create a university as such — intellectual progress requires the cultivation of such radicalism. Or let us see which State will be the first to create such a radical place of unbounded, pleasurable, meaningful, and lifelong learning.

  1. #1 by trublumsian on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 8:40 am

    I wonder…

    By sending kids of the haves (in contrast to the have-nots) to foreign countries, especially the U.S. and Canada, why aren’t these returnees barnstorming and trailblazing the political, economical, educational, and social-cultural scenes? Are these privileged ones stunted to begin with therefore they go abroad only to muddle through half-awake for 4 years just to get paper qualification? Qualification to do what? Why is it the ones who got sent on federal sponsorship almost always end up in 2nd or 3rd tier schools?

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 8:55 am

    Who is Dr. Azly think he is addressing his writing to? I have a sinking feeling that he only preaches to the converted. For the life of me, I can’t see many people in UMNO or PAS that even understand what he is saying…

  3. #3 by oknyua on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 9:22 am

    Bigjoe, I read hundreds of articles such as this – and I agree, would it make any difference?

    Pedagogy of UMNO (and PAS) – will never be any different.

  4. #4 by taiking on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 9:26 am

    I had my university education in singapore and england. So, I have no idea what things are like in our local universities. But what I heard certainly sound ridiculous. No. Stupid. Outright stupid.

    In Singapore (yes surprisingly) and England uni students are given a lot of room to involve themselves in all sorts of non-acedamic activities. Issues like whether permission for this and that is required do not arise. But of course, those are by and large non-political activities. I dont know what would happen if they were. Be that as it may, I must say that the English are a great deal more tolerant of differing views, including political views.

    Students in singapore and england were actually encouraged to be active. This is wonderful for those who make it their business to mind somebody else’s business. Those whom we call student leaders. For these people, the university serves as a fantastic training ground for them to learn the inter-personal skills, the art of communication and persuasion, organisation and planning, fund raising and management etc. etc. The result of their committment to such activities is predictably poor academic performance. However, they managed to get by somehow. But, these people are more likely to be successful later on in life than others.

    I came to realise then, that a university does not only train and produce academicians. If that is the sole purpose than it would be a failure. Universities actually has a much larger role to play. They also produce the future leaders of a country be they leaders in the business world or in politics. Look at Harvard and Oxford and even NUS.

    UMNO is too afraid of losing its political control and power. Hence, UMNO does not want to see too many leaders being produced. So UMNO implemented restrictive policies to put a check on things. Policies that are based on fear and insecurity would not work and in fact would eventually back fire. The switch to malay medium of instruction is an example. The emphasis placed on teaching universities. The placement of political links in the field of education. The Universities Act. etc etc.

    Obviously the country has grown but UMNO has not.

  5. #5 by saiful on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 9:43 am

    I never studied abroad n I dont see y we need it at the first place……as we’re importing the books from there n maybe sum of the lecturers are foreigners too…..

    Doc…………….perhaps u’re the one that trublumsian mentioned or bigjoe try to say…..

    tertiary education to mold us to a better person with rational, creativity and innovative minds…… is us that decide the direction of our life path…..

  6. #6 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 10:14 am

    Dr. Azly remains too long in a ‘thesis mode’ and too high up the ivory tower for lesser mortals with both feet on the ground to understand.

  7. #7 by britcrazelady on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 10:23 am

    “By sending kids of the haves (in contrast to the have-nots) to foreign countries, especially the U.S. and Canada, why aren’t these returnees barnstorming and trailblazing the political, economical, educational, and social-cultural scenes?”

    =Because most choose not to come back, to be stiffen and/or suffocated by the local political scene which prohibits positive growth=

  8. #8 by pakpandil on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 10:52 am

    AMERICAN motorcycle giant Harley-Davidson has, agreed to buy MV Augusta for US$109 million, in sharp contrast to the one euro it paid when it bought the Italian bike-maker from Proton Holdings in 2006.

    Our education fund for our children has gone into the drain, under the mis-management of Bodowi government. BN/ UMNO menang boleh!

  9. #9 by RealWorld on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 10:56 am

    Why are complaining now about BN??? We are the ones who voted gave them the mandate for over 50 years.

    If we wanna blame, we ought to blame ourselves instead.

  10. #10 by JeyS on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 11:48 am

    Read between the lines…. our uni churns out stupid and duh grads. Gone were the days when we had good education system la. Thanks to goons in UMNO and the BN, we suffer yet again. Our Uni ratings slip-slipped away……

    As for the deal…wonder whose wonder idea it was and who made money on brokering the deal….Proton…MM is the advisor is he not??? What advise he gave?

  11. #11 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 11:49 am

    pakpandil Says:

    Today at 10: 52.11 (50 minutes ago)
    “AMERICAN motorcycle giant Harley-Davidson has, agreed to buy MV Augusta for US$109 million, in sharp contrast to the one euro it paid when it bought the Italian bike-maker from Proton Holdings in 2006.”

    Just do not fall into this “1 euro sale” talk by the old man and his CEO whose knowledge about the industry is as extensive as his knowledge of the terrain whenever he went on his cross country races. The 1 Euro is needed to make the agreement legal. It is not meant to reflect the net worth of the company that is the subject of the sale.

  12. #12 by kcee on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 12:20 pm

    I pity the youths who are eligible, poor but not given the opportunity to study in Unis, in the name of satisfying the ketuanan rubbish! However, I can’t help noticing that somehow these individuals managed to survive & thrive through sheer grits & means to overcome these handicaps in the name of “survival instinct” To you out there my highest respects & regards!!!

  13. #13 by badak on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 12:49 pm

    Why talk about higher education .When even in primary schools things are screwed up.Chirdren are innocent, what have their parents political leaning got to do with their education?
    Why must schools know who their parents support BN or the OPPOSITON.
    I was shock when my so came back with this questionnaire.Just to play ball and i did not want to put my son in a spot..I put BN.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 12:51 pm

    In a gist, univesities’ proper role is to educate by not only imparting knowledge but also to teach students how to think and acquire the values of critical thinking and intellectual honesty. How that could be done by ‘radicalising’ the universities, the teaching curriculum or methods or students’ attitudes beats me having regard to the context and meaning normally attributed to the word “radical” or “radicalise”. The quality of being “radical” implies an atitude, stance and political orientation of advocating drastic political, economie, or social reforms in societal or political context! Persons coming to mind would be radicals like Osama bin ladin, Dr Fidel Castro, Che Guevera, Lenin and Stalin, Ayatollah Khomeini and maybe even Mao…. :)

  15. #15 by saiful on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 2:00 pm

    dont manipulate everything into politic……those that dont want to come back after studies coz there are coward and not patriotic to the country……..

    I make a good living here n still remain to give job opportunity to others………………..there are thousand other have opportunity to migrate but we stay as its a land for everybody n not everything n business need political connection……………….dont talk if u just never try it

  16. #16 by bystander on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 2:01 pm

    dr azly is a very good academcian and theoritician. how does one expect the umno goons to understand? pls put in simple layman’s language what you are trying to say. otherwise your efforts in trying to get the message to these umno goons or govt will be lost. if the govt even bothers. i doubt.

  17. #17 by saiful on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 2:04 pm

    britcrazelady…i pity u coz u never been abroad………

    For pakpandil……………..i guest u’re not graduated from uni after all when u just didnt know how evaluation of the firm been done………………….i guest u can ask Uncle Lim for his opinion if he knows la…………. ;)

  18. #18 by Saint on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 2:33 pm

    A good dream Dr. Azly Rahman, a good dream indeed.

  19. #19 by Kathy on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 2:42 pm

    Improve students’ higher-order thinking skills, challenge them into newer intellectual heights. Encourage them to express their views, cultivate their radicalism and nurture it so that they may become the best and most ethical leaders our nation will benefit from. Award those who can think more than just outside the box but those who can destroy old boxes to create newer and better ones.

    Dr Azly mentioned the above – better kick out the current education minister for not doing his job. Students are spoon-fed since primary school until university level in Malaysia. Have seen many Malaysian students in my uni days (in the States) that seem to be in fix when they are required to interact in class.

  20. #20 by private_undergrad on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 3:05 pm

    Well said Jeffrey. We need not be radicals in things that we do. Rather we should strive to achieve balance in everything surrounding us.

    Dr. Azly’s article seems too good to be true and very idealistic in nature. While he has suggested many ways to ‘radicalise’ the public unis, they are not the concrete solutions by themselves and instead, leaves the statements much more to be desired. I suggest Dr. Azly comes up with more concrete and viable plans to make all these a reality.

    There is an undeniable staunch relationship between the State and the public universities. Even if the State grants them autonomies in daily management and operations of the whole institutions, they will still be begging the State for more fundings no doubt. When it comes to fundings a.k.a taxpayers monies, the people and the State will have certain requirements or conditions to be fulfillled for the unis to get more grants. The same goes to private ones. Without fundings from corporations, how would we think the private unis would be?

    While we could detest the corruptions and the hegemony of the past and present regimes, we couldn’t deny the fact that capitalism is the order of the day. Because of the capitalist system can we enjoy what we have today. One simple example is right in front of your desktop where you read these blogs and comments. Unless we have obtained the cutting-edge knowledge provided by the so-called capitalists to become the trend-setter, we are bound to follow whatever the trend-setters dictate or else, be left behind.

    I concur with Dr. Azly regarding the abolishments iron fist rules that are currently found within the adminstration of public universities as universities are the places for liberal learning for adults, academicians and students alike, who are old enough to make decisions about their lifepaths. These rules simply make these institutions merely extensions of the secondary schools where the canes do much of the talking. :D

  21. #21 by chongs on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - 6:45 pm

    In simple terms for the UMNO goons to understand.

    Firstly before we can even talk about improving quality education in the Unis in Malaysia, we must first look at the first year intake of students. Most of them are all spoon-fed in schools and do not have the caliber of intelligent thinking of their own (don’t blame them, its the poor education system from the ministry). This must change, the intake of of too many from one ethnic group and the whole school education system be revamped, it may take years but is worth it.

    Secondly, Universities are too politically involved and controlled by the govt. One very good example was a few years back, a certain vice-chancellor was sacked because he promoted a non-malay professor to a faculty dean and a few lecturers to professors and associate professors. He was trying to up lift the quality in the university because he noticed the university was losing its ground in the international arena. Universities should have autonomy, politicians should not be allowed sit on the univerisity board or to influence the administration of the university.

    During my employment in the university, undergrads were spoon-fed, not by choice by the lecturers, but because the students could not grasp the topics taught, it’s too advanced for them. These students were young and not stupid, they found a way to over the yearly exams, by simply re-producing lecture notes. Very intelligent students were hindered in certain ways as they were not given chances to explore or expand their ideas. Lecturers were disillusioned by the lack of competiveness among the students.

    As for the heads of departments and lecturers, the present lots are very different from the old days (in the 1960s and 70s) but I am not going to delve on this issue. It’s too painful. All I can say is when the govt. tried to lure overseas academicians back , they did return but after a few years of teaching, they gave up. The enviroment was not condusive for intellectual teaching.

    For the UMNO goons, whether the country go up or down depends very much on the quality of the graduates. Just imply look at Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. We were at par with them in the 50′ and 60’s, now these countries left us far behind. If we do not CHANGE , it will be lights years away !!

    Intellectual thinking means being able to assimilate all the facts and come uip with a smart workable solution to a problem, besides being visionary and believe in one self. University education is part of this road map to better living and for a better country.

  22. #22 by kcl on Wednesday, 16 July 2008 - 12:31 am

    I was given to opprotunity by my parents back in 1987 to go the US for further education. Finished my ungraduate and graduate program in 1992. Worked there for almost 6 years and returned to Malaysia in 1998 thinking that it was time to go and live with my aging parents and hopefully I could contribute something to our country’s economy.

    I was lucky and had joined an MNC retail giant as middle management then when I was home. I also had the opportuniy to recruit and interview new management trainess.

    I can still remember those days whenever our company advertise for any management positions or just one specific management position thru our biased mainstream media, hundreds of resume poured in after a few days!! Many were local graduates ie USM, ITM, UKM etc.etc …of course there were also a number from foreign uni.

    I remember filtering out those “uncompetitive” resume and sent it to the trash can and was given the opportunity first hand to call in those few “competitive” ones in for interview. To my surprise, most of the applicants who came in were either didn’t have a good command of English, lack of management skill and knowledge or just needed to find a job!! And, well… they were all business degree holders!!

    I was thinking then about my days in the US in college. 30% of the grades were given thru class participation and debates. Some of the graduate classes didn’t even have a text book and exams!! Grades were given by how we make our presentation or arguments relevent to our topic!! In short, nobody (regardless of age, sex, race and religion belief) were allowed to pass just by fluke or mere luck!!

    Students were not only taught to think outside the box. They are trained not to “study” in school or college but to “learn” in school or college. And I found out most of our local university students are trained to “study” (spoon fed) instead, what we need it to “learn”!!

    Well, fortunately, after a week of interviews, I finally found one very competitive graduate and had become my assistant till the day I quitted my last job in Malaysia.

    I was toying for an idea then to start up my own retailing business in Malaysia and thought about doing my part of employing more Malaysians but was discouraged due to all the red tapes in Malaysia to get a business started…all is a chain reaction by our BN ruling goons!! In short, it’s not “what we know”…it’s “who we know” to get things done especially for the layman!!

    I left the country again after a short 2 years home and returned to the US and never look back.

    I totally agree with our Malaysian intellectual thinker,and scholar, Dr. Azly Rahman…”don’t just think outside the box…get rid of the old box…and create a new one…”

    In short, don’t go to school to “study” (spoon fed), a better way to say is go to school to “learn”!!

    I am still ready to go back home oneday to a place call Malaysia, a place that I still call a home. Hopefully, when Pakatan Rakyat comes to power oneday, all those BN idealogies will be gone and replaced…..

  23. #23 by trublumsian on Wednesday, 16 July 2008 - 4:04 am

    when i said “returnees” (see my 1st posting), i meant folks who DID return to the country but amounted to nothing more than jumping a few pay grades in their government jobs. most who return, HAVE return. don’t they have a bond thingy they sign with the government? and come to think of it, would they be gainfully employable had they chose to stay in the U.S.?

  24. #24 by shortie kiasu on Wednesday, 16 July 2008 - 11:47 am

    It is a really long write-up, 6 and half pages in all. Take some time to digest.

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