Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bumiputra and Scholarship Privileges

As the General Election gets nearer, more and more nasty and dirty issues being dug by both the Opposition and the Government. Nasty remarks and perhaps false accusations are thrown at each other, hoping some of the rakyat might just believe them without thinking much. This is dirty politic. Too bad the politics in Malaysia is not something I can be proud of but nevertheless, it is still much better than other 3rd world countries and I am grateful for it. We have violent remarks but not violent physical resistance. "Malay is a soft race", that's what my mother says.

One of the issues that have always been a hot topic for debate is the privileges Bumiputras get, and since the majority of the Bumiputras are Malays, it became "the privileges of the Malays". "Bumiputra" is actually a very vague term. How do we really define it? I don't even know. My father is not a Bumiputra because he wasn't born in Malaysia and his parents are not Malaysians, my mother, on the other hand, is a Bumiputra despite being a pure 100% Chinese. She reverted to Islam when she was in her teens and have been living in a Malay community since, adapting the Malay culture lifestyle and for that, she can apply for the ASB while my father's application was rejected. That left me in a huge identity crisis, am I a Bumiputra or am I not? I should be one actually because my mother is. But I dare not put my stake on it, which is why I dare not apply for MARA scholarship but chosen JPA instead.

At face value, I am a Malay. On paper, I am not. I can't be a Malay when neither of my parents is, can I?
"Bumiputra" status is not written anywhere on your birth certificate or IC details so no one can really say that I am for certain. But I'm sure I can buy an ASB.
But to everyone else, I am a Malay without a doubt.
And I received an overseas scholarship from a governmental body; the Public Service Department (JPA).
Somehow, people especially those who DOES NOT receive the scholarships tend to associate my "Malay Muslim" name with my scholarship, instead of the hard work I put during SPM.

During a Malaysian Study presentation in IMU, one of the private boys (in IMU, we are vaguely divided into JPA students and private students) pointed out that the Malays have been too spoilt with all the privileges they get that they have become incapable of achieving anything on their own. Even if they can't study well, there are lots of scholarships around being thrown at them, universities opening doors to them to complete the Bumiputra quota, and technic and vocational schools ever ready for these dependent Malays. And that got me so mad. He was indirectly implying that a Chinese or Indian who received a scholarship is more worth of acknowledgment than a Malay who received the same scholarship. He was practically dismissing my SPM results (I am not boasting neither trying to be arrogant about the result but at least, acknowledge it lah kan).

But he was talking too much at that time and time was really restricted that I didn't have the chance to refute his claim. He was stopped by our lecturer a few minutes after that remark. Not because of the remark but rather he was taking other group's time too much.

Today, I read an article on The Malaysian Insider by Erna Mahyuni titled "On being called an ‘ungrateful Malay’", and all the issues regarding Bumiputras and their(our?) privileges came back to me.

Should the Bumiputras receive the privileges? Yes, they should, when Dasar Ekonomi Baru was introduced way back in 1971 by our dear PM, Tun Razak.
Should the Bumiputras continue receiving those privileges? Now? No, they should not. At least not all of the privileges that were offered back then.

It has been 30 years since these privileges were given. A young man of his 20s receiving the loan to set up his own business at that time should have been in his 50s now and should have been able to support his own family enough. A young student who received a scholarship at that time should have finished studying by now and start contributing back to our country and improve our economy.
I'm pretty sure Tun Razak's vision was that of an improved, educated and richer Bumiputras, be it the Malays, Bajaus, Kadazans, Melanaus, or the Semai, Jakun and Temiar of the orang Asli.

But what do we see now?
The rich Malays getting richer, and the orang Asli are still left in the jungle. Good news, they have one hospital in Gombak only for them. And they have missionaries; Muslim and Christians alike going to save their soul.
There are more rich Malays now compared to 30 years ago, correct.
But isn't that a given? After 30 years, surely no one will expect a country to have the same number of poor people? Unless war erupted.
The lower class Malays? The very unfortunate young girls got pregnant and out of fear went through illegal abortions or worse, dump their newborns. The unfortunate young men got stuck with drugs and loitering. I am sure many of the young Malays received help through technic and vocational colleges but the numbers that were left behind is not insignificant.

Why is this happening?
Because the Malays (unfortunately), who did not deserve the privileges continued taking the privileges and did not have any intention to help the unfortunate ones. People became greedy. I know some friends who can afford for a (or a few) tours in Europe with the whole family and yet, received JPA scholarship. You think that's fair? Yes they secured 11As in their SPM but that does not justify the scholarship. Dr Musa, a Consultant Paediatrician I looked highly upon once mentioned in his talk when he came to IMU during our Palestine week about his daughter and education. He said he can afford his daughter's education and so he won't allow his daughter receive any scholarship. His daughter is now a practising doctor having graduated from CUCMS (I think I got this fact correct).

And now PERKASA came in, led by rich Malay men, determined to uphold the Ketuanan Melayu.
Oh come on, on one side the PM is screaming "1Malaysia 1Bangsa" and there you are screaming "Ketuanan Melayu".
I wonder why is he not charged with trying to put the races in Malaysia at loggerheads.
The not so fortunate Malays that are supporting PERKASA, in hope that their lives will be improved will soon have to face the bitter truth; they won't benefit from it.
PERKASA is not fighting for the mass of Malays, they are fighting for the rich Malays.

Some people might say, Akmar dh dh la tu... If there is no quota for Bumiputra, you might not be writing this post in Manchester. There is no way your parents can even afford to send you to a 5 year Medical course in a private Malaysian university.
Yes, true.
But if there is no quota (assuming the privileges have been scraped off) because more than 50% of the Malaysians have benefited from the privileges 50 yrs back and started contributing sincerely to Malaysia, won't Malaysia be a lot richer now and be able to fund even more students overseas?
The more bright youths a country have, the more prosperous and economically stable a country should be, given that they are working to make the country better.
But oh, that's only my ideal world.

Anyway, I should get back to my study and prove to everyone that I did not rely on my Malay Muslim name to secure this scholarship. A lot of my Malay friends don't.

I'll just end with a verse from the Quran.

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. [13:11]

Yes, He does not change your life until you change it yourself.
Privileged or not, you still have to put in your own effort :)

-Because life is a test-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And It Snowed!!


Ever since I know that people can study overseas, my dream has always been to study in a country where there is snow. I've never thought much which country it will be, or even what course will I study.
Then I came to UK, Preston specifically.

And it didn't snow during my first year here (2011), except for the one day that I was stuck in a ward round with Dr B in the Assessment Unit in Chorley Hospital :(

It was cold, it has always been cold but it didn't snow as I wanted it to be.

Then last year I went to Germany, hunting for snow. It didn't snow too.
There was snow on the ski mountain, yes. But it wasn't snowing!

Then 2013 came.
There was bits of snow last week, not much but there was.
I was so excited.
But other cities hv a loot more snow. Liverpool was covered with snow, people in Edinburgh are posting pictures of snowmen on facebook, even London snowed!
But the snow in Preston was very shy. It came out, vry lightly.

There was a football match yesterday, Man Utd vs Tottenham. They played in the snow! In London!
I looked outside my window, there was no snow.

Then this morning, I noticed the cars parked next to my house were covered in snow, and to my delight, it was still snowing!

Syahidah and I went for our GP placement in Leyland, and the snow was even heavier!
And we made our very own first snow man :D

I was still stingy.
Upon returning to Preston, the snow wasn't heavy and thick enough for me to build a snowman near our houses so Akmal and I went to Avenham Park and built another snowman! This time I was prepared. I brought a carrot and an extra scarf for our snowman!

After building two snowmen in a day, and witnessing the beauty of snow, I felt all the agony and sufferings I went through so far, surviving the coldness and darkness, with temperatures of lower than 0, have been redeemed. It is all worth it now, the coldness and shivers. For the beautiful snow :)

-Because life is a test-

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Listen, Listen, Listen


I think by now everyone; young or old, working or not who spend enough time on facebook would have watched the much talked about 12min "Listen Listen Listen" video.

I'm sure you all have but to make it easier for me myself to re-watch in the future shd I need it, I'll just embed it here. This video hits about 200k views already.


-Because life is a test- -AkMaR-
Friday, January 11, 2013

Pruritic Fingers and Absent Mind

Because the exam is coming near.
Because I am stuck on my desk for most of the time, mugging up the notes.
Because there are too many things to revise, I do not know where to start from.

And I feel like scrolling down ebay or amazon and buying stuffs.

Anyway, I watched these two videos lately,

1) Yusuf Estes answering a Christian's question on what changed his mind from a Bible preacher to a Muslim preacher.
It's a bit long (32mins), yes. But the first 20-25mins was well worth it and interesting :) The end is a bit dramatic but hey, it's genuine! You can skip the last 10mins if you want to.

2) A totally different video, a sweet and entertaining wedding speech by a groom.

Ugh, I so want more time to revise but I also want this exam to be over, fast.

And anyone knows how to get rid of that annoying ads on this blog? The ads that come out either on the top left corner or the bottom right corner? The one that comes out on the top left corner can be closed (there's a small, almost invisible [close] below the ad that you can click) but the one that appears on right bottom corner is the more annoying, I can't close it.
They are ads about interesting videos.
I've no idea what I did that they turned up.
I did not put in any html on my blog, I might have put my url in some other websites allowing ads so that I can use their feature (and I cant remember what now).

Btw, pruritus is the posh (read: medical) word for itch so, pruritic means itchy.

p/s: At least I'm writing nonsense here in my blog, writing my disorganised thoughts than posting it as a status on facebook where everyone is forced to read it in their newsfeed. You're reading this bcos you chose to. The fact that you got this far down prove it.


-Because life is a test-

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When the Exam is NEAR

I've always written my yearly summary (at least for 2010 and 2011), I wonder if I should wrap up my 2012 this time?

When the exam comes, I start to feel the burning desire to write.

-Because life is a test-


Day 5 - Hamburg and Manchester

It took me 9 days to write this!
Usual excuse, class started.

So that morning on the 31st we took an ICE train to Hamburg, the journey was only about 2+ hrs and Wasil finished watching Gadoh on my iPad.

From Hamburg Hbf we went straight to (I can't remember the station now) the nearest S-bahn station to Miniatur Wunderland. And my my, we had a fantastic time in Miniatur Wunderland!
You know what? I'll write a specific post on that later, either after my progress test (which will be in 5 days time!) or before if I find myself unable to focus on studying (like now).

Right after Miniatur Wunderland we went looking for a halal restaurant to eat.

Alhamdulillah, for the past 4 days we have been able to find halal restaurants in all cities we've visited. Some of the times we shared a foot-long Tuna from Subway though bcos it's a lot cheaper!

Upon googling, there was this one restaurant called "Cita Rasa". Apparently it was an Indonesian restaurant! So we made our way there. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed until early Jan but the area that we were in was I think a Muslim area, an equivalent of Rusholme in Manchester. It was along a road called Steindamm. We saw lots of dark haired men and women with hijab and robes and also many halal restaurants along the way.

However, to our surprise, we also saw lots of sex shops (as written on their signboards)! I'm not sure what it means but one of them were called "Men's Paradise", I can't remember the names of the others. But all of them had a sexy woman picture in front of it with a large dark, closed doors. There was no censorship at all, no effort to make the shop "unobvious"at all! So it was all so confusing really. An area with many Muslims, many halal restaurants but also many indecent shops. I hope that area is not known as a Muslim area in Hamburg or it will be a very bad connotation!

We had lunch at Kabul Restaurant, an Afghan restaurant. It had an "All You Can Eat" buffet for €6+ if I'm not mistaken. The taste was so different from the Mamak, Malay, Thai or Pakistani curries I've tasted before. And that was also the first time I saw a restaurant serving a full plate of long, thin but furious looking cili api (bird's eye chilli) on the table.

And after lunch we headed straight to the Hbf (it means central rail station) and to the airport. And then, we were in Manchester.

I realised in Manchester, that I lost £40 *cry cry cry*
I am sure I took it out of my little pouch in the toilet in Kabul Restaurant and put it in my jeans pocket. And then, I completely forgotten about it. By the time I reached Manchester, it was gone. Come to think of it again, when the airport security officer did a full body search on me (the alarm went off as I walked pass the gate. I hate it when it happens), I can't remember taking out the notes from my pocket. It was already gone by then, I just did not notice.

And so, on top of all the things I spent on my 5-days-trip to Germany, I have to add a careless £40 "spend" in my budget report :(

-Because life is a test-