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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alhamdulillah....War has officially stopped (for now).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Something that parents should ponder

I found this on FB and I couldn't agree more on her insights about the reality that we are facing now. Somehow all of us need to change our mind set and not to pressure our kids just because we are so narrow minded. I always believe that when you have the passion, you'll succeed in whatever field you want to venture in. It's not just about money anymore when you want to stay in the same job for a long period of time.

Take your time to read and ponder:

Me " So how was your A levels result? you did A levels right?"
My British friend "yeah. i got 4 As. it was the hardest test in my life".
Getting 4 As in A levels is no big deal, many Malaysians scored 4As or 3As in our Cambridge A levels or STPM examinations too. What shocked me back then, wasn't her excellent results, nor was her brainy conversation and immense knowledge on almost everything (We started our conversation on Utilitarianism). It was the choice of her course.
Unlike you and me, she didn't think that being intelligent is automatically equated to doing law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, actuarial science. Despite her clinical result in her A levels at the age of 16 (yes, she skipped hew years too) in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Advance Mathematics, she went on to pursue her BA in Classic Studies in Kings College London, (my Uni mate so to say).
CLASSIC STUDIES? whats that?
Like many of you, I don't even konw what was Classic studies at all. A classical studies degree embracing the study of all aspects of the cultures of Greece and Rome and their influence on later ages : literature, historical, archaeology and philosophy.
Just like everyone else, I proceeded to ask her the golden question. What do you want to become?
no. not investment banking. not lawyers, accountants, not teachers even.
Her dream was to become the Curator of the British Museum.
She went on to explain how she would chart her career path in the next 10 years, becoming a "lobbyist" for the museum, and how she was upset at how the Museum was run, and how she wanted to change the Museum, transforming it further. I saw passion in her eyes, and eyes don't lie.
And guess what, she wasn't the anomaly. Most who did well, who scored well, would end up pursuing either courses that they are really passionate at, or courses that are "traditional" in nature (as oppose to vocational). The most brilliant would pursue courses like Mathematics, Biology, Statistic, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Economics etc. I was told, that vocational courses like law, medicine, accountancy, engineering whatnot are for the second tier brilliant students.
It made me wonder, what was the whole idea behind Malaysians who scored well in exams, or certain Asian Countries for that matter, are always pressured to pursue professional courses as if they were the "right" and "only" way to go.
My first guess was due to this “ubah nasib miskin” mentality suffered by many elderly Malaysians. Malaysians who went through poverty in the 60s or 70s due to illiteracy and lack of education were adamant in ensuring that their children are educated and subsequently uplift the financial situation of the family. They arrived at the conclusion that being a professional was the way to go, based on what they see in the society during their time : Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers are “achieveable” professions with education (Unlike business which requires alot of soft skills, connections, and high barriers of entry). Little have they realized that appreciation level towards these professions has reduced gradually overtime due to massive influx of graduate entries.
These professions were undeniably highly sought after during the 70s, when the service and tertiary industries are beginning to catch up as a reflection of our economic boom. It ensures lucrative wages and salaries as compared to other non-professional career, mainly because of the lack of professional talent back then. This was caused by the difficulties for Malaysians back then to continue their studies to tertiary level. Now that almost 1 in 3 malaysians end up in university, the supply of professional talent is no longer insufficient : it has become an oversupply!
Many also didn’t realize that the demand of these professions were a result of better economy progression : There are more business and entreprenueral projects emerging, hence requiring the services of more Lawyers, Accountants ; ther eare more and more development project as a result of economical demand, hence requiring more engineers, quantity surveyors etc ; and to facilitate these business boom, there are more and more financial institutions emerged, hence raising the demand for financiers, Actuarial scientists etc. for Healthcare, people are more willing to “spend” to treat illness that they otherwise wouldn’t have if they’re poor. The Government is also “Rich” enough, compared to before, to spend more on the healthcare industry to ensure that those who are poor are taken care off.
Professionals, are “tertiary” industry, they are highly dependant on the spending power and economy power of those from the primary or secondary industry. If the overall business climate turns really bad, chances are that the demand for lawyers, accountants, engineers, actuarial scientists, etc will fall tremendously. If the Government or the People’s spending power is reduced, chances are that the service of sophisticated medicine will be disrupted too, causing a fall in the demand for medical officers. Blessed with relatively strong and healthy economy, the demand for professional services are stable at the very least. No, that was an understatement : the education system that we have also helped to ensure an “over-supply” of these professionals!


Moving forward, we would have to take either a step back to look at the chain of production that causes the over-supply, OR a step forward to see what should our future students diversify their career interest into.
A step back, and we realize that our graduates and students, as influenced by their parents, are more interested in indulging the “safety sense” of a professional career, with a professional paper. Once you’re Doctor, Once you’re an acocuntant, once you’re lawyer, youre ‘SAFE”. it can’t go wrong. you wont’ be broke. someone will definitely hire you. What they fail to realize is that this “HERD” mentality has deprived many young people from involving in entreprenural activities (or being groomed to excel in business) from the beginning to “CREATE WEALTH”. Professional bodies don’t normally “create wealth” through business or economical activities. They survive on the Wealth created by business man or entreprenuers who pay them for their services. People who create wealths has more economical and social stature and power, and they would help sustain and grow the demand for tertiary / professional services too!
A step forward, and you would see people joining my friend to pursue their passion. It’s time to move away from a “Career-that-promises-money-to-change-your-family-life-mentality”. Many of us are suffering from this mentality subconsciously without knowing it. Eveyrone wants to have their millions, etc. For what? for a better lifestyle they say. but is doing what they are doing now, give them a good lifestyle already? what if they are materially poorer, but spiritually or mentally richer?
It’s time for well to do middle class to encourage their kids to appreciate their talent and passion. This is how our society can grow stronger in the future.
Think, in the future when everyone is upper middle class, we would love to indulge in something mroe than just material. we want a good Art scene. We want Good museums, we want good railway system, we want good exercize coaches, we want good lecturers and professors, we want Good historians, we want good organic food etc. Why wouldn’t we prepare our future generation to undertake that sort of career which is going to be important to compliment our societal progresssion?
As responsible parent, we must STOP expecting our smart children with clinical results to confine their career choices to those that we were ‘envious of’ during our time, or during our parents time. Don’t vest your “grieve” or “hope” on your children based on your attributes. Help them to find their hope, help them to find their passion, and help them to achieve it. Don’t MOULD them into becoming doctors when they’re kid, and then tell them its “them” who wants to become doctor.
Whats wrong if a parent decided to bring their kids to DBKL and see how they do town planning? Whats wrong if a kid tells you he wants to run a museum? whats wrong if your child tells you he wants to build container?
don’t silence them off with your “doctor” choice. Malaysia is readied to move on. be prepared for that!
— P/S
this post is written in response to the situation where the application for medical placement in public universities outnumbered the seats offered by 1:3. 1000++ students with 4A in STPM or Matriculation applied for 400++ medical seats in public university : the reduction in seat offered was due to recommendation by the Malaysian Medical Association, claiming that there is an over-supply of doctors / housemen in Malaysia.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dugaan dan ujian buat kami.

Keratan akhbar Harian Metro mengenai kejadian yg menimpa adik kandung saya dan isterinya.