Sunday, July 31, 2011

Solat Terawih di The Hague 2011

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Friday, July 29, 2011

to ponder...

Wickedness is weak, even when it seems to be victorious. In fact wickedness cannot escape the destiny of its ultimate destruction.

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Have you got your Halal certificate yet?

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Samad Said: Najib 'memang kejamlah' - Malaysiakini

Samad Said: Najib 'memang kejamlah' - Malaysiakini

Hadith, fatwas abused to justify Bersih ban, says Asri

Hadith, fatwas abused to justify Bersih ban, says Asri
JULY 13, 2011
by Dr. Dzul
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
July 13, 2011

The influential Islamic scholar said today that Islam should not be used as a means to a political end by governments in the Muslim world. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Influential Islamic scholar Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin today charged that hadiths and religious edicts were abused by politicians within the federal government to justify its suppression of the Bersih rally last weekend.

The government, in the two weeks leading up to last Saturday’s rally, had issued special Friday sermons in mosques throughout Kuala Lumpur condemning the rally and accusing its organisers of manipulating Islam. Hadiths were also quoted to support the hardline position.

Asri, the former Perlis Mufti, pointed out that Malaysia, like many Middle Eastern countries, had issued fatwas condemning those who wished to take part in the peaceful demonstration on July 9.

These fatwas, said Asri, were issued by “literalist” Islamic scholars — those who understand the contents of the Al-Quran but insist on only literal interpretations, without any revisions.

“These people are against the formation of any society, political party, demonstration, nasyid, art and much more. If their fatwas are accepted, the Islamic world will crumble and people will not flourish.

“What is bad is that this movement is being benefited by cruel and corrupt leaders within the Islamic world. When hadiths are interpreted politically and literally, it is as if Islam gives leaders a “licence” to oppress their people while the people are tied, gagged, without any ability to object or act,” said Asri in a statement today.

What made things worse, said the academic, was that Quranic verses which are seen to be in favour of the ruling government would be read and promoted through every possible channel, while verses which warned people of the “cruelty of leaders” were ignored.

“In Malaysia, we saw this phenomenon during the heated demonstration recently … this (discussion) here is not meant to support or condemn the peaceful demonstration, but just to discuss some people’s understanding of certain hadiths,” said Asri.

Asri cited a hadith by Huzairah r.a and said that it was often used to defend the actions of leaders and to prohibit people from criticising the government, in whatever form.

The hadith quotes Huzairah as asking Prophet Muhammad S.A.W what should be done if the Prophet comes upon another leader who does not adhere to the Prophet’s teachings. Prophet Muhammad’s response was that even in such situations, loyalty and obedience to that said leader would be a priority.

The hadith in Malay is as follows: Hadis Huzaifah r.a: “Akan ada selepasku para pemimpin yang berpetunjuk bukan dengan petunjukku, bersunnah bukan dengan sunnahku, dan akan bangkit dalam kalangan mereka lelaki-lelaki yang jantung hati mereka seperti jantung hati syaitan dalam tubuh insan”. Kata Huzaifah: “Apa yang patut aku lakukan wahai Rasulullah, jika aku mendapati keadaan itu?”. Jawab baginda: “Dengar dan taat kepada ketua, sekalipun belakangmu dipukul, hartamu diambil, dengar dan taatlah” (Riwayat Muslim).

“This hadith becomes a sticking point to the extent that there are those who say ‘if leaders kill my family, I will not charge them in court.’ Imagine if all Muslims felt like that; then leaders of the Muslim world would rule without unopposed,” Asri added.

He stressed that a hadith cannot be read separately but needed to be examined and understood in its entirety, together with the relevant Quranic verses.

“If we do not do that, it will be a flawed interpretation … at a time when the world is protecting human rights, we are suddenly pulling our people back with literal interpretations. How then can the beauty of Islam be appreciated by say, a person who has just learnt about the religion?

“In some ways, leaders in Western countries are more honest and responsible towards their people compared to leaders in Muslim countries today … sometimes animals in Western countries are treated better than a Muslim who lives in a Muslim country — often beaten, ridiculed, imprisoned, or even killed without ever having the courage to speak out,” Asri said.

The academic stressed that no leader was above the law, and warned religious institutions against using Islam to defend the actions of corrupt and unjust leaders.

Bersih went ahead with Saturday’s rally despite being denied police permission, plunging parts of Kuala Lumpur into chaos and resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, scores injured and the death of a PKR division leader’s husband.

Ada berani?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Malaysians Passed The Test, Brilliantly!

Malaysians Passed The Test, Brilliantly!
M. Bakri Musa

[Due to last Saturday’s Bersih 2.0 event, for this week only, the serialization of my book, Malaysia in the Era of Globalization, is switched to Wednesday, and my weekly essay to today (Sunday). My usual pattern will resume next week.]

A remarkable thing happened this past weekend. To many, the event on Saturday was nothing more than a massive public demonstration that capped a long brewing confrontation between those advocating “fair and free elections” and those who deemed that our elections are already so.

As with any fight, the drama was played out long before the event, and by the time the actual battle took place, the participants had long forgotten the original issue. Instead, now the preoccupation is who blinked first, who outsmarted whom, and most of all, who lost and who won. These then become the new overriding divisive issues, eclipsing the original one.

The losers would return to their corner with their new resolve: “Next time!” And the battle continues; they never learn! There were plenty of losers this weekend but few winners. The winners may be few but their achievements scaled new heights.

To me, this weekend was one of those moments (much too frequent, I hasten to add!) that test our nation. This time however, Malaysians acquitted themselves well. The same cannot be said of the Najib administration.

If this was an academic exercise, I would grade the performance of Malaysians as represented in Bersih an “A,” while the Najib Administration flunked badly. So dismal was its performance that the Najib administration should have no recourse to a remedial course or supplemental test; expulsion is the only option.

Terrible Trajectory

I would have thought that after the debacle of 1997 with the grossly inept handling of the reformasi demonstrations, and again a decade later with HINDRAF, the UMNO government would have learned a thing or two on how to deal intelligently with dissent and public demonstrations, two inherent features of a democracy. My expectation is not unreasonable, if not heightened, considering that we are today dealing with essentially the same characters in the administration. Most of the ministers who were in power during the reformasi and HINDRAF (now dubbed Bersih 1) are still there in Najib’s cabinet.

Obviously they, individually and collectively, have a flat learning curve. They are incapable of learning. There is a clinical term for that, but since this is a lay article I will resort to street lingo: idiots.

Their flat learning curve is even more incomprehensible considering that the consequences to them were so severe. The 1997 reformasi mess resulted in Barisan being thrashed in the 1999 elections, with Najib nearly being kicked out of his safe seat in Pekan that his father had held for many years.

The price escalated with Bersih 1.0. The general elections of 2008 saw Barisan being humiliated with an unprecedented loss of its two-thirds parliamentary majority, along with five states, including two of the most developed: Penang and Selangor.

I will let readers plot the trajectory as to the consequences of this weekend’s mess should the next general elections be held soon, as is widely predicted.

The iconic image of the reformasi debacle was of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar’s battered face; that of Bersih1.0 was of Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin frothing at the mouth, babbling incoherently in front of the international news media trying to justify his government’s brutal suppression of its people. It was a classic demonstration of that uniquely Malay mental malady, latah (verbal diarrhea). It was also a display of amok, another peculiarly Malay affliction, albeit in this case only of the oral variety.

The iconic image of Bersih 2.0 was refreshing; that of its leader Ambiga Sreenivasan, former Bar Council President, serenely leaving the Istana after an audience with the King. The symbolism could not be overstated, for the Najib Administration had earlier declared her organization illegal! Only those retarded would miss the message, and they are precisely the types we are dealing with here.

Winners and Losers

My award for courage and excellence in Berseh 2.0 goes to those brave Malay masses who defied their government, their imams, and the party that had long proclaimed and presumed to speak on their behalf. In taking a very active part in a movement led predominantly by non-Malays, those Malays showed that they are no longer trapped by tribalism; they had escaped the clutches of chauvinism. There is now no going back.

This significant milestone is not acknowledged, much less appreciated. However, leaders who ignore this do so at their peril. For aspiring Malay leaders, it is now no longer enough for you to display your nationalistic zeal or ethnic instincts. You have to articulate the issues that matter most to the Malay masses: fairness, honesty, and justice, in elections and on other issues. I would also add competence. Those incidentally are also the concerns of all Malaysians.

Yes, there was a time when you could garner Malay support by justifying that the victims of your corruption, injustices and unfairness were non-Malays. Those days are now long gone; get used to it! Malays now realize that while in the past those victims may be mostly non-Malays, today they are increasingly Malays too.

The comforting corollary to my observation is that those capable non-Malay leaders would be assured of Malay support, if they were to address the central issues facing the masses.

Yes, Bersih 2.0 had strong non-Malay support especially abroad. Unanswered is whether a similar movement with equally noble objectives but with predominantly Malay leadership would garner the same enthusiastic support from non-Malays. If reformasi was any indication, the answer would be a reassuring yes.

I am especially heartened by the responses of Malay NGO leaders like Marina Mahathir. When Najib, and others who took their cue from him, began demonizing Ambiga by maliciously injecting ugly racial and religious accusations, Marina unambiguously and passionately defended Ambiga. Marina was of course all smiles and gentleness, as is the traditional halus (fine) Malay way, but there was no disguising her contempt for such odious tactics and their purveyors.

The biggest loser was of course the Najib Administration, specifically Najib and his fellow UMNO ministers. Their inanity was typified by Home Minister Hishammuddin complimenting the police for keeping the peace and stability. Yes, with the streets blockaded, stores closed, and citizens bludgeoned – the ‘peace’ and ‘stability’ of a prison “lockdown.” That was KL all week leading to last Saturday.

The conspicuous silence of other Barisan leaders was noted; that reflected solidarity not out of courage but cowardice. In contrast, even UMNO Youth defied Najib in declaring that it too would stage a counter demonstration.

Despite its defiance, UMNO Youth was also the loser, together with that ultra-Malay organization led by has-been politicians and past-their-peak professors, Perkasa. Good thing that the government had banned their leaders from KL; at least they had a ready excuse for their dismal performance.

The list of losers is long; there is little merit in mentioning more except for just this one, and I do so with profound sadness. A few weeks before the event, all the mosques in Kuala Lumpur, including the National Mosque, were warning their Friday prayer congregants of the evilness of those who led Bersih 2.0 and the sin that would befall those who would participate in it.

At a time when our community is divided, as with this central issue of fair and free elections, I would expect our ulamas and religious leaders to be our healers, to bring us together, to be the balm to our collective wounds. Instead they became only too willing instruments of the state with their canned state-issued sermons demonizing those who saw merit in the objectives of Bersih 2.0.

Obviously to the thousands of Malays who took part in Bersih 2.0, including one particular old man in his jubbah who had to be helped to walk, those characters cloaked in their flowing robes standing at their mimbar every Friday noon are less pious ulamas to be revered but more propagandists for the state to be defied. They may be Imams, but to the thousands who took part in Berseh 2.0 last Saturday, they are carma imams, to borrow National Laureate Samad Said’s term. Carma is the Malay contraction of cari makan, seeking a living. Idiomatically it refers to those who prostituted their honored craft or profession.

Those GI Imams (Government-issued) have flunked their test; there is no remedial course for them either. That is one of the great casualties of last Saturday’s event. For those carma imams, there is no corner they can return to or hide in.

Walking with the people

Unggun Bersih - A.Samad Said

Poem by Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate) A Samad Said.

Semakin lara kita didera bara –
kita laungkan juga pesan merdeka:
Demokrasi sebenderang mentari
sehasrat hajat semurni harga diri.
Lama resah kita – demokrasi luka;
lama duka kita – demokrasi lara.
Demokrasi yang angkuh, kita cemuhi;
suara bebas yang utuh, kita idami!
Dua abad lalu Sam Adams berseru
(di Boston dijirus teh ke laut biru):
Tak diperlu gempita sorak yang gebu,
diperlu hanya unggun api yang syahdu.
Kini menyalalah unggun sakti itu;
kini merebaklah nyala unggun itu.

Video : Truth that Cannot Be Cover - Bersih 2.0 09/07/2011

Video : Walking With People

Mereka datang dengan bunga, mereka datang dengan gitar, yang kurang upaya datang bertongkat, mereka datang bawa belon, tua muda, miskin kaya,.... tiada ganas tiada ancaman.....tuntut keBERSIHan....

8 tuntutan Bersih

Islam tuntut supaya umat bersih adil dan telus.

Adakah ini ganas?

A Samad Said ajak golongan muda ubah negara

Khaulah Azwar

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Julai: Sasterawan Negara, Datuk A. Samad Said mengajak rakyat jelata terutamanya golongan muda mengubah pemimpin negara melalui demokrasi untuk membentuk kerajaan baru yang adil, tulus dan berkebajikan.

“Kita berada disini adalah hak kita, kita berada di sini adalah sebab kita mencintai negara kita, yang tidak cintakan negara kita adalah Najib dan Umno," kata Samad ketika memberikan ucapan ringkas kepada peserta perhimpunan Bersih Sabtu lepas.

Beliau melahirkan rasa bangga dengan semua rakyat yang hadir dalam himpunan Bersih 2.0 untuk menuntut hak pilihanraya yang bersih dan tulus untuk mengadap sultan bagi menyerahkan memorandum.

"Tetapi perjalanan kita disekat di semua penjuru oleh Polis dan FRU,” kata Pak Samad di hadapan rakyat yang berkumpul di hadapan Kuil Budha untuk menuju ke Stadium Negara petang Sabtu lepas.

“ Apakah salahnya rakyat berkumpul untuk menuntut hak. Negara ini bukan milik Najib dan Umno, negara ini bukan milik Rosmah tetapi negara ini milik rakyat. Ini rumah kita,” katanya.

Bagi beliau, rakyat ke stadium Merdeka dengan bertekad untuk menyatakan hak tetapi disekat, di layan buruk oleh pihak polis dan FRU.

Menurut Pak Samad, dia datang daripada KL Central. Namun belum pun sempat sampai KL Central mata beliau sudah pedih ditembak dengan gas pemedih mata yang sangat dasyat.

"Mata kanan saya terlalu pedih dan merah yang amat sangat. Beberapa wartawan yang jalankan tugasnya juga dilayan dengan kasar oleh polis. Beg wartawan juga di selongkar…mengapa teruk sangat mereka menjalankan tugas?" soal tokoh yang dinobatkan sebagai Sastrawan Negara itu.

Menurut Pak Samad, mereka datang memang ingin serahkan memorandum kepada sultan untuk menuntut pilihanraya yang bersih dan adil tetapi tidak kesampaian kerana polis telah sekat dan tidak bertolak ansur langsung dalam perbincangan dengan beberapa orang pimpinan NGO.

Berbagai alasan yang diberikan oleh polis. “saya benar-benar rasa kesal dengan tindakan Perdana Menteri Malaysia , Najib yang telah memungkiri janji kepada rakyat.

"Najib berjanji kepada kita akan beri pilihan untuk adakan himpunan sampai jam berapa pun kita tidak kisah, nak pekik telolong sampai ke pagi pun mereka tak peduli, tetapi bila kita pilih Stadium Merdeka, mengapa mereka berdolak dalih dan tidak membenarkan penganjur untuk adakan bersih di stadium.

"Bahkan semua urusan permit tidak diluluskan walaupun sudah beberapa kali diminta.

“Mengapa mereka tidak luluskan, adakah mereka takut dengan kebangkitan rakyat?” soal beliau.

Sehubungan itu, beliau memberikan peringatan:

“saya ingin ingatkan kepada semua rakyat. Negara kita mengamalkan sistem demokrasi oleh itu, kita harus bijak gunakan demokrasi ini. Kalau kita tidak bijak orang akan peralatkan sistem demokrfasi negara kita untuk kekalkan kuasanya seperti apa yang berlaku sekarang," tegasnya.

(Antara ribuan yang mendengar ucapan A Samad Said)

Menurut beliau, dalam demokrasi ada lunasnya yang perlu dihormati, antaranya mendengar suara rakyat bukan terus menolaknya. "Kita ini adalah insan."

Justeru itu, beliau berharap semua rakyat harus fikirkan masa depan negara ini.

"Masa depan negara kita terletak pada orang muda. Orang muda sahaja yang layak mengubah. Setiap orang muda harus fikir bagaimana untuk membantu membentukkan kerajaan yang baru," kata Samad yang diikuti dengan laungan takbir daripada rakyat yang berhimpun disitu.

Gandakan kejayaan Bersih 2007

Sementara itu pula Saudara Mazlan Aliman pejuang rakyat pula berkata, “walaupun kita hadapi ugutan dengan ancaman sekatan daripada pihak berkuasa polis yang dikuasai oleh Umno tetapi kita berjaya hadapi dengan tenang dan dapat berkumpul dengan aman melebihi 300, 000 rakyat yang datang dari seluruh negeri”.

Demokrasi petang ini mencatat sejarah apabila ratusan ribuan manusia berkumpul di merata tempat.

"Message ini jelas kita berikan kepada PM bahawa rakyat ingin menuntut pilihanraya yang telus dan bersih. Dengan itu saya harap kepada semua peserta himpunan Bersih 2.0 jadikan himpunan ini sebagai pusingan ke dua.

"Kalau 2007 ribuan penduduk berkumpul dalam himpunan bersih sehingga Pakatan Rakyat (PR) berjaya merampas lima negeri dan akan datang saya harap kita akan rampas semua negeri di Malaysia ini," katanya dengan disambut laungan takbir.

Beberapa badan NGO, aktivis anti ISA juga turut beri ucapan menuntut keadilan dalam pilihanraya ke 13 nanti

Bersih 2.0: Matthias sifatkan kegagalan Najib


KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Julai: Sehari selepas berlangsungnya perhimpunan Bersih 2.0, para penyokong BN sendiri mulai menyerang pemimpin mereka dan menyalahkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Najib disifatkan gagal melaksanakan cadangannya sendiri agar perhimpunan dijalankan di stadium dan disifatkan pemimpin 'flip-flop' atau 'kluk-klek'.

Bekas Setiausaha Politik Perdana Menteri (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed), Matthias Chang (gambar) dalam tulisannya memberikan masa sekurang-kurangnya 10 bulan kepada BN untuk boleh membetulkan balik kesilapan cara BN mengendalikan perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 ini.

Sebelum Matthias, Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Saifudin Abdullah turut mempertikaikan strategi BN dalam menghadapi Bersih 2.0.

"Selepas perhimpunan 9 Julai 2011, saya mencadangkan agar Perdana Menteri dan seluruh pemimpin BN, bahawa keutamaan mereka sekarang adalah membuang semua penasihat politik yang tidak ada pengalaman langsung dalam realiti politik," tulis Matthias mengulas peranan penasihat politik Najib yang dikatakan pakar dalam “Blue Ocean Strategy” (strategi lautan biru).

Kerajaan BN, kata Mathias, membelanjakan bilion ringgit untuk membayar para 'pakar strategi' ini namun sehingga kini tidak menunjukkan sebarang hasil yang jelas 'di alam realiti dan di peringkat akar umbi.'

Tulisan Mathias membayangkan cerita sebenar di sebalik kegelisahan dan tindakan berlebihan kerajaan pimpinan Najib dalam mengendalikan Bersih 2.0.

Sehari selepas perhimpunan Bersih 2.0, Najib menghimpunkan 6,000 para penyokongnya di PWTC dan memberikan ucapan berapi kononnya Bersih 2.0 tidak ada sebarang kesan.

Sebelum itu, beliau dan timbalannya Tan Sri Muhyidin Yasin telah membuat kenyataan bahawa semua urusan mengendalikan perhimpunan kali ini diserahkan kepada polis.

Hasilnya, seluruh bandaraya Kuala Lumpur dikepung dan tidak ada sebarang kenderaan yang dibenarkan masuk sejak tengahmalam sebelum 9 Julai.

Namun, pelbagai pihak menganggar lebih 100,000 penyokong Bersih berhimpun di ibunegara walaupun mendapat tentangan ganas dari pihak keselamatan.

Seorang peserta, Baharudin Ahmad, 58 tahun telah meninggal dunia. Pemangku Ketua Polis Kuala Lumpur dan Najib sendiri mendakwa ia berpunca dari sakit jantung tetapi keluarganya berkata, Allahyarham, seorang bekas tentera yang segar bugar mustahil terkena komplikasi jantung.

Keluarganya juga berkata, jenazah Allahyarham menunjukkan tanda empat tulang dadanya patah manakala tiga batang giginya turut patah.

Di samping Baharudin, 1697 peserta ditahan sepanjang operasi polis itu termasuk Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang dan pengerusi Bersih 2.0 Datuk S Ambiga.

Kesan dari itu, Mathhias yang menyebut dia adalah bekas setiausaha politik PM sebelum ini berkata, jika pilihan raya diadakan tahun ini, BN tidak akan berjaya mendapat dua pertiga majoriti dalam Parlimen mahupun mengambil balik empat negeri yang dimenangi Pakatan Rakyat.

Yang lebih teruk lagi, beliau menjangkakan PM akan dihalau keluar enam bulan selepas itu.

(Polis menembak gas pemedih mata kepada peserta perhimpunan yang menuntut agar pilihan raya dijalankan dengan bersih dan adil)

Bagi menghadapinya, Matthias memberikan tiga cadangan untuk Najib:

1) Arahkan para penasihat politik beliau menonton siri TV “The Three Kingdoms” dan belajar asas-asas strategi politik.

2) Hantar sepupu beliau, Datuk Seri Hishamudin Husein iaitu Menteri Dalam Negeri untuk dianalisa jiwanya untuk “Enlarged Ego Syndrome” (EES) dan menyusun semula semua pegawai kanan Polis Diraja Malaysia.

3) Masukkan ke dalam peti sejuk semua pimpinan Pemuda Umno pimpinan Khairy Jamaludin. Ini kerana masalah sebenar Najib bukannya pembangkang tetapi dalaman BN sendiri.

Bagi Mathias, perhimpunan 9 Julai 2011 menimbulkan tujuh persoalan untuk dijawab oleh Najib:

1) Mengapa para pakar "Strategi lautan biru" gagal menjangkakan dengan tepat apa akan berlaku dalam Bersih 2.0 dan membuat langkah awal?

2) Kenapa pasukan keselamatan kebangsaan gagal menjangka apa berlaku dalam Bersih 2.0 dan bila PM dan menteri kabinet ditaklimatkan tentang demonstrasi itu?

3) Kenapa kerajaan BN membenarkan agen provokasi Perkasa mengambilalih tugasnya dalam mengendalikan Bersih dan diikuti oleh Pemuda Umno yang tidak matang?

4) Mengapa Najib flip-flop dalam keputusannya membenarkan perhimpunan di stadium dan memberikan kebenaran kepada polis untuk bertindak sepenuhnya?

5) Apa yang menyebabkan agen propaganda BN merasa dengan menyekat seluruh ibu negara akan menyebabkan rakyat marah kepada pembangkang bukannya kerajaan BN?

6) Adakah penilaian dibuat terhadap kesan dari tindakan keras terhadap demonstrasi Bersih 2.0. Adakah ia berjaya mengekalkan penyokongnya atau menghalau keseluruhan 40 peratus pengundi atas pagar dari BN?

7) Adakah dikenalpasti objektif yang hendak dicapai dengan pendekatan kasar menghadapi Bersih dan bagaimana ia boleh menambahkan lagi sokongan kepada BN dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang?

to ponder.....

A stupid person should keep silent. But if he knew this, he would not be a stupid person.
- Muslih-ud-Din Saadi

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Friday, July 8, 2011

Semangat Juang!!!!

to ponder....patriotism

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

-Howard Zinn

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

-Howard Zinn

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

to ponder.....

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.

Margaret Chase Smith

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Thursday, July 7, 2011

to ponder.....

For everyone of us that succeeds, it's because there's somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn't always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.

- Oprah Winfrey


So let us teachers be sure that we give our best so that our students will succeeds.

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

If You Are A Malaysian, PLEASE Watch This Video

EKSKLUSIF BERSIH 2.0 (Bukti Penyelewengan) - Mat Sabu.mpg

RAKYAT MARHAEN: Video : If You Are A Malaysian, PLEASE Watch This ...

RAKYAT MARHAEN: Video : If You Are A Malaysian, PLEASE Watch This ...

Elektrik: Syarikat IPP diutamakan, rakyat diketepikan

Elektrik: Syarikat IPP diutamakan, rakyat diketepikan

to ponder.....

A stupid person should keep silent. But if he knew this, he would not be a stupid person.

Muslih-ud-Din Saadi

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

to ponder.....

It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue.

Sam Adams

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taking people for fools « Lim Kit Siang

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Attracting the Best To Teaching

Attracting the Best To Teaching
M. Bakri Musa

Early this year the US Department of Education, together with OECD and the Asia Society, convened a summit of education ministers, master teachers, and union leaders from 15 countries. The theme was on attracting, training and retaining the best teachers. Those were no ordinary countries participating; their students had consistently excelled in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

America has some of the finest private and public schools, while its colleges and universities regularly dominate anybody’s list of the best. Yet there was US Education Secretary Duncan sponsoring this symposium and its opening speaker. That reflects the seriousness with which American leaders and policymakers consider education. It also shows their humility and commitment to learn from the best. I long for such traits in our leaders and educators.

The core assumption of the summit is that you cannot have excellent schools without excellent teachers. “Great teachers are not just born that way,” Secretary Duncan noted in his opening remarks. “It takes a high-quality system for recruiting, training, retaining, and supporting teachers over the course of their careers to develop an effective teaching force,” he continued.

This emphasis on schools and education is well placed. As OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria put it, “The prosperity of our nations depends on whether we succeed to attract the brightest minds into the teaching profession, and the most talented teachers into the most challenging classrooms.”

Pivotal Role of Teachers

You cannot have good schools without good teachers. Good teachers in turn come from good students, and good students need good schools in order to shine. This is not an extended version of the old chicken-and-egg riddle. Rather what these countries with exemplary schools and outstanding teachers have demonstrated is the pivotal position of the teacher. Finland and Singapore in particular have shown that you can indeed intervene to make teaching an attractive profession, the first-choice career of the talented.

In Finland teaching is a much-sought occupation, with ten applicants for every position! The teaching profession there attracts the best applicants in part because teachers get competitive pay. Singapore aggressively recruits from among the top third of its students, and those interested in and committed to teaching are paid while still in school.

Keen competition in itself is no indicator of quality. In Malaysia, there is a glut of applicants for religious teachers but no one dares claim that the applicant pool is made up of top-tier students. There is similar stiff competition to be teachers in Egypt, but its schools and students rank at the bottom in international comparisons. The reason is that the Egyptian economy is in such a rut that teaching is the only job available. The same dynamics apply to our religious teachers.

Recruiting top talent is only the beginning. Rookies’ enthusiasm will get you only so far. Teachers must also be given superior initial training; then there must be a mechanism for continuing professional education and training.

Finland has an exceptionally superior system; hence it is attracting the best talents. Teachers there get training to the level of a master’s degree, even for primary school teachers. They are rightly treated as professionals because they are rigorously trained and more importantly, behave as such. They are also trained to be diagnosticians to recognize not only the different learning styles but also learning problems.

A unique feature of the Finnish system is that each teacher is also a researcher, participating in research in collaboration with the local university. The best way to keep abreast in your field is to be involved in research even if only tangentially.

Being true professionals, Finnish teachers have considerable autonomy, as are their schools. The Finnish Ministry of Education is more a resource center than a command-and-control one. Its bureaucrats are not control freaks.

Those countries are also actively widening the pool talent for recruitment to include those from underrepresented minorities and those seeking mid-career change. This has particular relevance for Malaysia; it too must aggressively recruit from among Orang Asli and other minority groups especially of East Malaysia. It is important for minority students to have role models from among the teachers.

No professional would be satisfied unless he or she is assured of career advancement as well as appropriate reward and recognition for a job well done. In Singapore teachers are career tracked to be master teachers, school leaders, or specialist in curriculum or research. The government regularly tracks what competing sectors are paying their workers in order that teachers remain competitively paid.

Reforming Schools

The other significant lesson from the summit is that school reforms when effectively executed can bear positive results quickly. Poland is an example. It initiated reform only in the late 1990s but within a decade it has dramatically reduced the number of its poorly performing students and cut in half the variations in performance among its schools. Previously Polish students regularly perform at below average level of OECD countries; after reform they were on par with Americans.

Reforming school is the rage everywhere, Malaysia included. The consensus at this conference is that teachers must both be the active agents for and effective implementers of reform.

This creates a dilemma for Malaysia. Where teachers are well trained, thoroughly professional and highly effective as they are in the Scandinavian countries, they should be actively involved with the reform process. In Malaysia however, our teaching profession is far from that. It has been significantly degraded with respect to standards and professionalism, as reflected in the quality of their products – the students.

Having been brought up under the current system it would be unrealistic to expect these teachers to be agents or advocates for change. Their position is essentially that the system was good enough for them; it should be good enough for the present and future generations. Stated differently, current teachers are part of the problem, not of the solution. This does not mean that they cannot be trained or persuaded to be part of the solution, but we should not underestimate the difficulties and challenges.

The reform in Poland was, as expected of a former communist country, a top-down affair. Yet it was highly successful. Likewise in Singapore; no surprise there either, but it was also effective. A generation ago Singapore faced problems similar to what Malaysia faces today where teaching was not the first choice career for its top students.

Thailand too has its “Malaysian problem;” the Thais solved it in their own unique patient way. Recognizing the futility of persuading these teachers to agree for reform, the government simply bypassed them by liberalizing the school sector to foreign players. Consequently, international schools blossomed in Thailand. Yes, they are an option only for the elite and rich. These schools are educating the children of the influential. These students are destined to hold key positions in their country, their superior education and social standing assured them of that. They would be the ones to lead successful reforms in the future.

In reforming Malaysian schools, we could pursue either the top-down approach of Poland and Singapore, or use the slower and surer Thai way. However, I do not see the necessary enlightened and intelligent leadership to effect meaningful top-down reform, nor do I see a farsighted leadership to initiate the slow Thai way.

Quality of Schools and Fertility Rates

On perusing the list of countries whose students excelled in PISA, one fact stands out: Those countries also have low fertility rates. The latest addition to the list of top performers is China, specifically Shanghai. China’s almost inhuman “one-child” policy has many critics but there is no questioning its benefits. For the past few decades China was spared the burden of feeding and housing over 300 million potential Chinese. Imagine the savings in not having another Bangladesh within your borders! Spared of those huge expenses, the Chinese could now divert resources to improving their schools.

The reverse however is not true; low fertility rates alone do not guarantee good schools. Sri Lanka is proof of that.

In Malaysia, the fertility rate for Malays, while declining, is still nearly doubled that of non-Malays. The wide discrepancy in academic achievement and other social indices between Malays and non-Malays is ultimately attributed in part to this difference in fertility rates.

If today the authorities were to implement an effective and acceptable family planning program that is enthusiastically endorsed by the religious authorities, the positive impact would be felt almost immediately. First, there will be the drop in the number of pregnancies, and nine months later the decline in the number of births. With that the savings in expenses related to medical care. That would only be the beginning. Six years later when those potential babies would be ready for school, the savings would be even greater as there would be no need for new schools and teachers.

Even more remarkable, those savings would be cumulative; they would continue to add up. With those savings we could then expend resources towards improving the quality of life of our people, and that would include providing them with good schools and superior teachers.

Those OECD and other advanced countries can focus on making their schools superior because they have the resources to do so; they have been spared the expenses that would have been incurred had they had high fertility rates. This basic link was not discussed at the summit as it was taken for granted. For Malaysia however, it is a reality that is not yet even been acknowledged, much less addressed.

The wisdom of those eminent educators from OECD displayed at the summit is still valid, and Malaysia could usefully adopt some of it provided our leaders and policymakers bear in mind that we have a more basic problem outside the realm of education but related to it. We have to tame our fertility rates first; then with the savings we would have the resources to address the challenges of education.

to ponder.....

Democracy is not something that happens, you know, just at election time, and it's not something that happens just with one event. It's an ongoing building process. But it also ought to be a part of our culture, a part of our lives.
- Jim Hightower

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Monday, July 4, 2011

CARMA golongan cari makan

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Bersih 2.0 is Najib’s biggest challenge « Lim Kit Siang

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

to ponder.....democracy

The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated.
 William Ellery Channing

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dr M's former political secretary blasts Najib's crackdown on Bersih

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

to ponder.....

I'm not afraid to shake up the system, and government needs more shaking up than any other system I know.
- Ann Richards


The problem is when shook up they retaliate, not bucking up......

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Wan Ahmad sudah rancang supaya BN menang?

Wan Ahmad sudah rancang supaya BN menang?