Contradictheory: You Malay one or 1Malaysian?

So that was the original title I had for today's article in The Star. Although I normally give really poor titles and the editors replace them with their own, I thought this one that I had was really on the mark. But I guess it could have been a little incendiary.

It just also upsets me that so much that happens in Parliament that gets attention are people angling for political points and less about the actual job of running the country (which I understand can be pretty tricky in the first place). And what sounds like it matters so much actually doesn't really matter at all.

Yet, I still have faith in the nation. Strange, huh?

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posted on Monday, April 12, 2010 - permalink
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Contradictheory: Not the wild, wild West

I know these are 'sensitive' times, but it was sheer coincidence that this week's Contradictheory article came out at the same time the arrests rolled in. I couldn't help but notice that the diligent editors at the Star edited my piece by removing the following paragraph:

We shouldn't be shutting down entire websites because of one article on it. Yes, we should charge and arrest somebody because of that article, and make him take it down if he's found guilty, but that one article does not equal the entire server. You don't know what he's going to say in other articles.

I think that it was removed more because the Multimedia and Communications Commission reinstated access to the server, so it was a little out-of-date. In fact, their reasons for doing so are pretty much in line with what I wrote in this piece: in general, you should not be arresting people based on a presumption of what they will do in the future.

It wasn't originally meant to be a piece on the law, more on how you can't depend on technology to uphold civil society. But when I started writing about Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, I started thinking about it more.

I feel that we are still a country finding our way when it comes to interpreting our Federal Constitution with respect to the original framers' intents. The number of amendments since then has just complicated matters.

I believe that the line concerning the Freedom of Speech was originally there to reflect that open debate is important for a democracy. Vox populi, vox dei, as they say. Doesn't matter what they have to say, you should just say it.

Unless, of course, you are libellous or seditious.

Some close to me (well, more than a few) do not like our Sedition Act. I think the issue is with Section 4 that says "does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do". This is very close to Minority Report's arrest by precog.

However, I do think we need to be able to react to situations where people in authority demean or denigrate others by virtue of race and religion, especially when the strong abuse the weak. Thus, sedition laws have a place.

I guess that's what I meant when I said, "laws should be about protecting the weak and giving opportunity to the disenfranchised". Whenever law is used to strengthen the position of those in power, we should monitor it very carefully and use whatever checks and balances we have at our disposal. To me, a law (or use of it) that extends the gap between the haves and have-nots is one that is not well construed or applied.

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posted on Sunday, September 14, 2008 - permalink
You mentioned in your article that the Bill of Guarantees which ensures no Internet censorship is only meant for MSC-status companies.

Is it true then that MSC-status companies can access those banned websites? If not, then the Bill of Guarantees has been violated.

The Bill which ensures no censorship in the internet, applies to accessing websites as well as posting one own website. It does not state that the censorship is limited to protecting only MSC-status companies' websites.
You're right that if an MSC-status company finds that it can't visit a censored website, it has grounds to complain. (I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few have, in fact.)

And, yes. As I understood it, it works both ways - for sites that they visit, as well as MSC-Status companies they create. (Although I can't ever remember this question being asked in any of the press conferences!)

I always wondered what the reaction would be if a company publically specialising in online porn opened up in Cyberjaya.
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Get the maths right

I need some help from anyone who knows statistics intimately to help me understand a problem. Something in the papers today just doesn't make sense. In fact, it stinks.

I was reading the NST today when I came across the article about the problems of teaching of Maths and Science in English. There is also a PDF download of the entire study.

That article concludes that teaching Maths in English does not work because a study showed that students were having problems answering questions in English.

Problem is, I don't think the data presented in the article supports this conclusion.

(Unfortunately, the actual data in the newspaper and the one in the website differs. I don't know why that is, you just have to rely on what I present here.)

Nine sample questions were quoted in the article. They were presented to Year 5 students (about 11 years old). Two are of interest:
(From NST, 7 September 2008, page 6)
Do you see the problem? The two questions are similar, but fewer students got the answer correct for the BM version. The Bahasa Melayu version. The version that's not in English.

How on Earth can anyone conclude that they have problems when learning in English?

(That aside, they also can't add. 1077+360+108 does not equal 1564 students. I'm sure it's a clerical error, or maybe there's one student who's Lain-Lain.)

More worrying:
To me, the real problem is that the standard of maths and science in the country is low. Horrendously low. I would hope more than 95% should know their multiplication table by heart by the time they are eleven.

Of course, it's all about the sample selection. And about the control. I don't know enough about these things, so that's why I'm asking for help.

I looked at the school sample in the study. They come from all over Peninsula Malaysia from cities as well as the rural areas. I don't know if the sample taken is 'fair', but it does look comprehensive.

The questions, on the other hand, I have problems with. I focused on the Maths because that's what I have a soft spot for.
This whole thing stinks to me of doing a flawed study with flawed conclusions. I can't see how anyone could take it without huge reservations.
Naturally, I look forward to any comments you might have.


posted on Sunday, September 07, 2008 - permalink
I don't wanna take sides, but I think the BM answers scored bit lower cos everything they were taught was in English. Or the stuudy should find out if the schools teach in both lingos simultaneously. You must know that even Anwar Ibrahim is against this policy as "contravenes Article 152 of the Fed Constitution; eroding the role of Bahasa as a national identity."
I don't really mind what language the subject is taught in, but the fact is that people are arguing about the language, when the basic skills are not even there.

These are basic multiplication and division skills that should be present, regardless of language used.

The arguments presented in the study obscure this fact. They are shining the torchlight at cracks in the wall after half the house has fallen in already.
whatever it is, any hope of successful implementation would take a few generations, several general elections; it'd take only ONE general election to take it down, provided democratic institutions are all in place. And the signs of resistance toward the policy are everywhere; be it tacit or obvious, logic or emotional. And these come from the people who participate in our democratic system. Are the Wonder Pets on TV9, Malaysians to begin with? :P

Yet I know there are also many out there who support the policy and their kids coped with it very well. So I suggest for schools whose students can cope with the policy, CARRY ON; for those who can't...let common sense prevail.
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Juwita Suwito's new album - For Real!

Juwita Suwito's new album is now out. For Real is the follow-up to the award-winning Brand New World, and I have literally been waiting years for it. I thought the debut album was pretty good - actually, very good - and I just didn't quite understand why she didn't get more recognition. So now, her new album For Real is out, and of course, I've bought it and listened to it, and listened to it again. And (unsurprisingly), I like it. It's good.

Whether y'all will like it too depends on a few things, of course. Her music can be described as Happy Listening (TM). It's not really Easy Listening (edgier than Norah Jones), nor is it pure pop (more mature than, oh... shall we say, most of the stuff on It's actually fun to listen to, and it definitely grows on you. If you want to, you can hear excerpts on her website.

I do have to be honest and say that not every track is enjoyable. The cover of Desperado is shrug-shoulder worthy, and there is this song called Mayday! which I just don't like. But everything else kinda rocks.

The rockier style also means that we don't get those heart-wrenching tunes. You know, the ones you listen to while you lie back on the sofa and stare at the ceiling. My favourite song on the first album was Why Oh Why, and we ain't got none of that kind of sappiness now. On the other hand, Beautiful Lies is now a track on the album, having originally appeared in the film Gol & Gincu.

The only Malay track on the album (Teman Sejati) is making its rounds on the airwaves at the moment. A Siti Nurhalizesque number, it's pretty okay, but it isn't really indicative of what's on the album. The other stuff has more guitars and drums on. More fun.

But you know what? It still doesn't beat what she can belt out in person. I've heard her sing two of the songs on stage, and I reckon it's even better than the album version. So, here's to a live recording of her best stuff the next time around.

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posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - permalink
Hello.I like her songs too.but It's pity that I can't buy it.because I come from China.and I found my city can't receive the ablum.can U post these songs for me by your E-mail.?? thank u.
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