Friday, July 26, 2013


On Wednesday, a journalist from The Malaysian Insider asked what my views were on the state of education today. My response saw print under SIDEVIEWS, 25 July.

How different is education today, I was asked, compared to education when I was an educator? If I lasted 19 years as a teacher, it must have been a tolerable profession. Key operative word is “tolerable” despite that fact that in mid 60’s we teachers throughout the country went on strike to seek better remuneration.
When I opted to come back from Singapore after her separation from Malaysia to  continue to make teaching my career my late meter-reader father warned me about the responsibility the job entailed. “I already got you a job at LLN (now Tenaga) through Raja Zainal” (then CEO.) As a teacher you are responsible for ALL students in your class. They spend more hours with you than with their parents. If one goes astray, you have failed as the teacher!” He sure threw a bucket of coldwater on my vocation. I stuck to teaching, emboldened by the challenge  that I had my former teachers to emulate, the men who nurtured me for  this noble profession. I spent 10 years in a Sentul school after which I was assigned to another  to stem the drug and indiscipline in that school. So why did I throw all this away, loss of pension and gratuity after 19 years?
After 1970, all schools were converted into government or government assisted schools and Bahasa Kebangsaan would be the medium of instruction. Three months of inservice course to learn Bahasa was deemed sufficient for one to be proficient in this new medium of instruction. I plodded on, even on occasions when I was just three pages ahead of my students. That was the policy and I tried to do my best. And then I witnessed the insidious role race and religion snaked into the profession. When handball was introduced in the sports curriculum I purchased the necessary. I was called into office to justify why I purchased handball made from pig skin. I produced the ball that had the offending word “pigment” imprinted on it.  When the omnipotent words race, religion and quota took precedence over merit that resulted in shameless polarization that divided  our studentbody  I wanted no part of this system and forfeited  one month’s salary in lieu of immediate resignation.  They say that once a teacher, always a teacher. I continued teaching as an internationally certified corporate trainer and coach where race, religion  could not find a foothold in multi-national corporations but lost a lucrative contract with a statutory body when it was revealed that I was an anti-establishment blogger. So what’s new with this latest episode of the dressing room canteen? The politicizing of race and religion will continue unabated so we former teachers just pray that one day this beautiful country and its people can live together (again!) in harmony and undivided by people who use race and religion to control and separate us.
Updates: I received this comment in my email box:
Thank you Mr Khoo!
To answer ur question,race and religion didn't matter when I was in school in the 80s.we ran and played together and went to each other's houses for the festivals and ate!I had the best teachers,all races,at my convent school in ipoh.but being a reporter for the last 13 yrs,I knew things were changing. So I went against all family members and sent my girls to a chinese was tough for them initially studies wise,but at least there is no,both my brown skinned girls operate like chinese girls, they almost think they r one of them!I have no problems with that.most importantly,they are happy in school and all family members have come around and very proud that they speak mandarin so fluently.I also don't have any problems with teachers,no slackers,discipline is top notch and the best part is how organised the school is. best decision I've made so far.
They say that blessings come in showers… true.
Former Member of Parliament for Termeloh, and formerly Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin said on 24 July at a forum:
 the current political culture from politics of race and religion must also change.”
As my Friday guest blogger read my dear friend Art Harun’s take on those different times in Patrick Teoh’s blog.


A Bad Boy said...


Good to have you back :)

Your comment about "pigment" reminded me of the time when I offered some Muslim friends some instant noodles - perfectly halal, I thought.

They refused to accept it because it contained "chamPIGnons"!!! A true story.

Religious correctness gone mad.

Anonymous said...

Zorro, time to pack up and leave. Bring your type with you. It will soon rain 40 days and 40 nights and all that remains in this godforsaken land will be history.

Anonymous said...

Like some semi-literate people who chased out a pediatrician who opened a clinic in their small town because they thought he is a pedophile.

bumi-non-malay said...

The Answer to this WHY question is as Simple as the Answer why UMNO-BN + Sultan Agong agreement Sacked Singapore......??

Was it a Racist Bigot Race Domination Acts by UMNO+Sultan racist agenda??

Who gave them the right to sack??

Can Sabah/Sarawak Sack Malaya today to create a New place for Malaysian to Migrate??

Such is the world we have to live and Ponder and ACT!!

Anonymous said...

When McDonald's first came to Malaysia there was hue and cry because they served HAMburger !! Horrors, so they changed the name to BEEFburger.

Shakirin Al-Ikram said...

My family has a few teachers with my late Mum teaching Agama in Muar and my late father an Ustaz in the Johor Palace of long long ago. I started a teacher but ventured into MARA ITM after High School and ended in an Accounting firm. I did not have your king of patience and dedication especially if before 1970 I have been given Maths & Science and English piled on my plate to teah Lower Sec. Imagine my frustration when a student will look up the ceiling when asked orally what was 1 to the power of zero.
I lasted 2months before I scooted to ITM but my sister lasted 24hrs! She was back the next day after my parents had sent her to join up with me. Of course it was a private school!
However she stuck to it later as a full-fledged Maktab Sec school teacher until she pensioned off!
So let me `tabek' you for staying on for 19 yeaars and caring for our Malaysian students from 1963.
Singapore has a different Education standard as I saw from my aunt who taught Bahasa in all English medium school. Her children then were far more advanced than my son, who studied in a mandarin school. So we compare and try to make my son catch up whenever we visited them.
In the name of National Unity, I agree with the use of Bahasa as the medium of Instructions on all levels.
However as I came from all English medium schools throughout the entire 15years of Education, I must admit my sons and a my siblings continue to patronise English as our preferred lingua franca.
So I hope you will continue to opined for us parents and grandparents as to the standards of our Education System without `fear or favour' as the late Dr. Tan Chee Khoon famously said.
Only then, will these Public Servants be held accountable to their roles and duties to the Rakyat who `pay their salaries!'
We are all done with the days `that the Government knows best.' We need for them to be mindful of who they are trying to fool and mess up with.
My Mum venture into Biz but her clients still call her `cikgu'. I call my sis `cikgu; too. guess you will be stuck with it too!
Thank you cikgu for all your sound and profound articles, ever since I came across your site. Now I understand.`Tabek U!'
Take care of your kidneys too, lots of pantang needed.

Dean Johns said...

Great to see you back in action, Bernard!!! Hope you're all over your health problems and again fighting fit. Best, DJ

Anonymous said...

Dead wrong, stupid old man. We are UnMalaysian and Chinese first because of the DAP. And the power-maniac Anwar came to widen the rift between us for his political ends.
At least Mahathir is honest in declaring himself as a racist. He's not fake or hypocrites like Anwar or LKS or LGE who are scared to admit they are racists.
Father and son are the worst racists who denied that they are. And the Chinese are racists. They like to say the Malays are. Malays can vote for MIC, MCA and Gerakan. Chinese vote PAS because a vote for PAS means a vote for DAP.
The sad thing is Chinese can be racist but a Malay can't. what double standards? If you have Bumi status like us, you will be more racist and will not know how to share. That you will take everything without thinking of us. You are jealous of us, pure and simple. Despite Chinamen having more than us. You also take our quota of scholarships. Ask those Malays who work in Chinese companies that racism exist. And look at the Singapore Malays under Chinese dominated government. Are Malaysian Chinese pariahs like the Singapore Malays. Stop talking through your anus.

Anonymous said...

Was worried as to what happened to your long absence! Thank God, you're back.. and with the same vigour! Hope you're well and have many many more years of blogging! Best wishes!

A Bad Boy said...


Anonymous - July 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Gosh, just read what you have written!!

So because Mahatir was honest, it is OK for him to be a racist?

You actually have the hide to accuse others of "taking everything" when university quotas, public service places, special privileges are reserved specifically for Bumis to drive home the racist policies of UMNO/BN.

Yes, I can see that you choose to be blind to the racist divisions which your precious UMNO advocates.

As a right-thinking human, you are a failure.

As a Muslim, you are a poor ambassador for Islam.

Anonymous said...


That's an apt question.

Next question will be ... so what difference will it made now?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Zorro.

Do you know that according to professor Ridhuan Tee, it is okay to eat in the changing room next to the toilet if no one complains, and this is a normal practice for Malaysian schools?

Is this yet another one of those "boleh" selling point for our schools in our aspiration to be the education hub of Asia?

new fart said...

Anonymous - July 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM.....SHOW YOUR FACE!
You are an absolute disgrace to your race and religion! If one needs to be honest to be a racist, then your kind of world is fucked big time! In our world, there is no place for racism. And please stop accusing the Chinese to be racist cos I am a Chinese and I am not a racist! Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

I am really upset to see Malaysia is going backward instead of going forward. What is our future? Do we have a clear direction to move forward? Why our government always spend their effort on these non-sense issues? You are not even scared away the investors, but your own Malaysian citizen. We used to be on the top and compete with Korea, Taiwan, but now...I don't think whom should we compete with..Sad but if we keep not performing, we really really will fall behind...I am not sure when is the day will come where politicians will work together for a better Malaysia..Don't let this potential country turns to a hopeless country.

Tiger said...

Good to see you back, Sir!

Anonymous said...

If only Najib has the guts to say things about the Chinese like Tun Mahathir did. Put Chinese in their proper place for insulting the PM when he has given everything to you all. Everything Chinese get. Malay kampung folks got nothing but they are the ones loyal to the government.
Najib has lost to the Chinese and no point trying to bring back the love.
What you want is power to be given to you on a silver platter. why cannot behave like Singapore Malays. Know they they are a minority. And Chinese are not pariah like the Malays in Singapore.

flyer168 said...

Dear Zorro,

Good to have you back again.

Yes, indeed...Those were the days...!

It will be along time coming...!

Just to share this...


Jong said...

You are back Bernard, so glad
like a ray of sunshine into the room once again!

Anonymous said...

Global ratings agency Fitch Ratings has revised Malaysia's sovereign credit rating outlook from stable to negative as the possibility of addressing public finance weaknesses has deteriorated after Election 2013.

The news comes as the Malaysian ringgit slid to three-year lows against the US dollar and 15-year lows against the Singapore dollar, making imports more expensive while exports would be cheaper although exports have slipped.

This is what happened what the government kept giving goodies and cash to entice people during GE13 and the recent Kuala Besut by-election.

Stephen said...

With Umno Baru being rejected by both the Malays and the Chinese, Mahathir realises that his son’s future as the prime minister of Malaysia is not very promising. Therefore, he has to work doubly hard to pit one community against another. This is probably what we are seeing – signs of Mahathirism back on the stage, as he incessantly plays the racial card.

We have seen all sorts of baseless accusations – to the point of madness – being propagated by Mahathir and his Umno warlords. Recently, out of the blue, the story of DAP spending millions of dollars to fund a non-existent “Red Bean Army”. At the same time, we are told that PAS is infiltrated by the Shiites. Malaysians have to realise that these would be eventually used to justify the return of Mahathirism, but my fellow Malaysians, we have to be fully alert and stand united against the shadow of darkness.

RC said...

Muhyiddin the DPM says 'Muslims do not insult the religion of non-Muslims such as Christianity and Hinduism'. Sir, when did you last have your health checked? Perhaps a detailed medical examination is urgently due on you sir. Please check your eyes, and ears and please don't forget, most importantly to check your brains too. Remember your friends Zulkifly Nordin, Ibrahin Ali, JATI, JAKIM, the Perak Mufti and Ridzuan Tee together with the Shah Alam cow-head, Allah issue, burning of the PJ Church and the many demolition of Hindu temples nationwide incidences? I think, you must be the DPM for only one race and religion in Malaysia. Can you please be the DPM for all Malaysians instead?, failing which please resign lah, sir!

limpehkong said...

It is time PDRM wake up from their slumber and get into the serious mode of crime solving. No point cooking up the statistics to show that crime is down when the opposite is just happening. STOP THE DENIAL AND WALK THE TALK by solving as these serious crime cases.

Anonymous said...

一个大马发展机构(1MDB)在短短4年内,累积高达380亿令吉债务。作为一个政府担保基金/主权基金,它可能成为马来西亚政府的一颗定时炸弹,最终阿Jib gor领导的国阵政府,或必须出手拯救这家财务状况欠佳,但债务不断扩大的官联机构。

根据最新一期《The Edge Review》的报道,由马来西亚政府在背后提供债务担保的一个大马发展机构(1MDB),在短短4年时间内,就累积高达380亿令吉的债务。显著加重马来西亚政府的或有债务(Contingent Liability)负担,随时变成纳吉政府的一颗定时炸弹。

Anonymous said...

Muhyidin said that Muslims in Malaysia never insulted Christians and followers of other religions. He obviously chose to block out Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Datuk Zulkifli Nordin and others from his mind.

Ibrahim Ali threatened to burn the holy book of Christians and Zulkifli mocked Hinduism. And not one charge has been brought against them. And every day that the government allows the duo and their ilk to enjoy their freedom, it condones and abets in their hurtful statements against Christians and Hindus.

So please, Muhyiddin, do not even begin to assign blame on creating tension in this country without being honest.

Dog Whisperer said...

I urge PDRM to investigate Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin under the Sedition Act for barking up the wrong tree over the dog-trainer video that was deemed offensive to Muslims

Anonymous said...

DPM claimed that "No Muslim has made fun of other faiths," What a Bullshit! What did Zulkifli Nordin do? What did Ibrahim Ali do? Come on Muhyiddin, please be fair. You are a DPM, not an ultra-Malay. Behave like a leader beyond racism or religious bigotry.

Anonymous said...

My muslim friend commented that most of the muslims in Malaysia are illiterate especially comes to the teaching of Quran. Quran is in much of Arabic they know? I want to tell the Muslim leaders....stop acting are the laughing stock of the world.

limpehkong said...

BN seem to be hell bent on rallying the Malay psyche into their cause of using race and religion to cause division thru resentment, KJ, Mukhriz, TDM and few more on the New Village issue. Alvivi, The Allah controversy… anything and everything with a racial and religious overtone that can be used shamelessly to project themselves as champions of the Malays and cause resentment and polarisation among the communities.As if they are nervous about the recent showing of solidarity among all communities.Nothing is sacred in their diabolical plan.
To the extent of victimizing an obviously loving and caring animal caregiver,that shows the compassion and virtues that the Almighty hopes to instill in his beings. to be extended to all HIS creations.They ought to be learning from her and not harassing her with such venom.

Anonymous said...

Otak udang Noh Omar exemplifies the kereta lembu/kampung mentality of the parasitic UMNOputras and their cronies. They labour under the delusion that they can manage the country in the same way as the Mexican drug cartels do their business -- displaying thuggish truculence with the backing of the Armed Forces and Police. But why should we who work hard and dutifully pay our taxes allow them to flourish. Are we blind to the fact they are robbing us of our money and at the same time pursuing a relgio fascistic agenda. The time for the Boston Tea Party is now. If we hesitate they will pummel the country into bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

There is no real leadership in Umno/Bn. They want people to give mandate to rule but reluctantly trying to find out what people want. Keep saying and asking what Chinese want. Why don't they ask themselves what they actually want? It is obvious they want power of rule. Certain people give them the mandate to rule, but unfortunately; they are incapable to rule this country properly. Instead , sneakily they make it worse still. Malaysia may go far away from its evolution economically and politically. This deliberately making of divide and rule has done its best to split up people into making it to be non-Muslim versus Muslim. This country may face devastating doom by Umno/Bn government.

Anonymous said...

We all know PR would have won if the election has been conducted fairly and freely. So the fight is not just during the election but the whole election process. If we don’t get that resolved, PR will never win. That is why the fight must go on even after the election – through 505 rallies, court petitions et cetera. But so far I know we are getting nowhere simply because the fight is now against the whole government establishment, from the Police, ROS, MACC, Judiciary, to AG Chamber. I believe if government institutions have stayed completely neutral, we would have a new federal government by now despite UMNO/BN having “won” the 13th election. I agree that the people must stay focussed and leaders (full time politicians) must continue to galvanise them.