Thursday, November 06, 2014

Hard to find quality BM reading material online

The letter from the editor which appeared in the Star 6 November 2014 is so so true. Here we are, well at least the politicians who goes on and on about the supremacy of the National Language but where is the commitment to make it easily accessible. There is a glaring gap between the aim to make it the lingua franca of the nation and the reality.

I find it hard even to find Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka's magazines at bookshops or newspaper vendors.

The letter is food for thought:

I WRITE in support of Tan Fong Jian’s letter “Improve accessibility to online Malay literature” (The Star, Oct 28).
I faced an almost similar situation a few years ago but I was not doing any research then. I wanted to improve my 10-year-old son’s interest and understanding of Bahasa Melayu (BM) and tried very hard to look for story books in BM for readers of his age.
Sadly, I could not find any good quality material in the local bookstores and there was also hardly any available for sale online.
I tried to contact a few publishers on what books they might have in BM and some did not even bother to reply.
A search on Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka website also did not turn up anything which might have interested my son.
Needless to say the Dewan Bahasa website until today leaves much to be desired.
I also remember that I had a hard time looking online for BM to English dictionaries then and could not find any translator app for BM at all.
I hope all these may have changed since then for the sake of the younger generation who are more interested to look up their tablets rather than their books.
For the benefit of everyone interested to learn more about BM, I hope the relevant authorities can enlighten us as to where our resources for our national language are located, besides the obvious state library which not everyone can access easily.
It would definitely benefit everyone if more is done to promote our national language online and offline.
I for one would look forward to national-level competitions, talks, plays, spelling bees, debates, poetry recitals, etc. to show that our national language is something we can all be proud of and not something used just for passing our SPM.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

The allegation on foreigners being able to obtain citizenship overnight is baseless, says NRD

It is interesting to read the last line of a letter from the Malaysian National Registration Department (NRD) which says “An application for citizenship still has to be made based on the provisions of the Federal Constitution. Therefore, the allegation on foreigners being able to obtain citizenship overnight is baseless”. This appeared in the letter to the editor page of the Star 6 November 2013.

I wonder if the statement is true, why then hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah. Project IC as it is called has spawned so many theories of who and why it began. As long as no answer is forthcoming, the rumour mill will be on overdrive. This brings to attention as well the number of cases of fake identity cards circulating in the country. The robber with a fake IC shooting a bank officer is a case in point.

Getting a fake IC and obtaining a citizenship overnight can be considered different. Would those rejected after applying for their citizenship be tempted instead to get a fake IC since it is a much easier option. Even though there is at the moment an ongoing exercise to weed out those with fake ICs, the effort seems seasonal. It is given prominence daily now but how long will it last. So it might be worth the risk for those rejects to get a fake IC since as the NRD says, being able to obtain citizenship overnight is baseless.

The full text of the letter is below:

Citizenship not a right but an award by Government

WE refer to the letter “Please be fair” (The Star, Nov 7).

The National Registration Department (NRD) refers to the statement in the letter which stated that many locally-born Malaysians had yet to get their citizenship while foreigners had theirs almost overnight.

Every application for citizenship is processed in accordance to the rules and regulations as provided in Part 3 of the Federal Constitution.

The provisions for applying for citizenship consists of various categories and take into account the applicant’s eligibility.

Malaysia citizenship is not a right, it is the highest award given by the Government to a deserving applicant.

Even though a person has fulfilled all the criteria and eligibility in applying for citizenship, it is subject to the Government’s consideration and approval.

The Government has the prerogative whether to award citizenship or not to an applicant without having to give any reasons to the individuals concerned and the decision made cannot be disputed.

For the readers’ information, the assumption that every person born in Malaysia and holding a Malaysian birth certificate is automatically a Malaysian citizen is incorrect; a child’s citizenship status is determined by the parents’ marital status and their citizenship status at the time of birth.

By having a birth certificate is not an indication that the person is already a Malaysian citizen.

On those who claim to be born before Merdeka Day but cannot provide documentary evidence to support those claims; it is important to understand that those who are born in Malaysia before Merdeka are not guaranteed citizenship by operation of law (automatically). An application for citizenship still has to be made based on the provisions of the Federal Constitution. Therefore, the allegation on foreigners being able to obtain citizenship overnight is baseless.


National Registration Department, Malaysia

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SPAD Officers - Where are you? (2)

Another letter to the editor which highlighted the RM15 fare charged by a taxi driver for a ride between the Central Market to the Methodist Boys’ School at Jalan Hang Jebat.

Where are the SPAD officers?

I REFER to “RM40 for short taxi ride” (Letters, July 18). Living and working in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, it is more like a miracle when I come across a taxi driver who uses the meter. A few weeks ago, I wanted to take a taxi from the bus stop in front of Central Market to the Methodist Boys’ School at Jalan Hang Jebat. It would have been a 20-minute walk uphill but I was tired.

The first taxi driver I approached rejected me, saying that he didn’t want to go through a jam. The second driver said that he was not planning to go to that area. The third driver said he would take me there for RM20. I thought I had no choice.

I bargained with him and brought the fare down to RM15. The ride through the clear road took five minutes. I had to spend almost 10 minutes to get a taxi and bargain over the fare for a five-minute ride.

Taxi drivers seem to have a pact. The first two in the queue rejected me and I was left with no choice but to accept the third driver’s terms. This is like bullying.

Kuala Lumpur

SPAD Officers - Where are you? (1)

This is a letter to the editor of the Sun daily newspaper highlighting the RM40 charged by a taxi driver for the ride between Pavilion, Bukit Bintang to a hotel in Pudu:

RM40 for a short taxi ride

MY parents came to KL for a holiday and I took them to Pavilion KL to shop and have dinner. As they are elderly and unable to walk a long distance, we decided to take a taxi from the shopping mall back to their hotel in Pudu.

It's a short distance from Bukit Bintang to Pudu but the cabbie insisted on charging RM40. It sickened me but we had no choice.

KL cabbies have given the city a bad image, openly fleecing Malaysians and foreigners alike. The authorities should act fast and not continue to turn a blind eye.

This is bad for tourism, bad for Kuala Lumpur, and bad for Pavilion KL.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The "helpful" Malaysian - an endangered species

Another letter to the editor highlights how “helpful” Malaysians are in light of the recent tragic snatch theft case in Penang. The writer felt that it is not too late to change and the act of helping others must be inculcated from young.

I'm still perplexed on the reasons why Malaysians have come to this “helpful” stage. Parents countrywide seem to go overboard giving the best that money can buy to ensure that their children are not deprived of the latest in their physical, mental and emotional development.

At first glance that should be enough preparation to give the child a head start and grow up being a responsible and caring adult. Responsible maybe but the caring part is a bit difficult. That part comes from examples set by the adults and practical lessons since young.

The nuclear family is becoming the norm with both parents working and the child left in someone else's care. The time spent with the child has become less and exposure to others in an extended family is rare. Meanwhile, neighbours barely acknowledge each other as time is money and each of us are in such a hurry to accumulate as much wealth as possible.

When would be the time for the child to observe and absorb that caring trait. Most probably from the mass media, the television, cinema and internet. All those flickering images, at most for about two hours are still images.

The reality is different. Has the child ever been thought to give precedence to those less fortunate? The aged or disabled? As far as I can see, most parents just tug the child away from this group of people so as to avoid any close contact. Those less fortunate are an anomaly to be cast away from the utopian view of a perfect world.

They might be willing to visit an old folks home or an orphanage during certain occasions but in their daily lives, the less fortunate are not in their world view. Images of poverty or hunger have become so common, that we have become immune and unable to relate to them. We switch to the denial mode.

We have not been thought how to react and show empathy or be compassionate when the situation warrants it. We can have as many lessons in school or at home but when we avoid giving that helping hand in real life, the “helpful” Malaysian comes to the fore.

Image from teamsnap