It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All Children Grow Up!

Last Monday I brought two of my nephews to KLCC. They are 13 and 12 years old. If you observe them in my home, it'd never occur to you that these 13- and 12-year-old would like to be children. Mostly because all day they were "training" to be a soccer player and entitled themselves to be adults.

"Saya dah besar sekarang, dah orang dewasa. Eh, tak, tak, saya dewasa muda..." Pegged the 12-year-old one day. Translated as, "I'm big now, an adult now. Oh, no, no, I'm a young adult..." But who knows, deep inside, they felt differently.

At KLCC, I brought them to the park beside the lake, where we could see people running, hanging out, dating, and all sorts of thing people did in a park. Then, we reached to a place where there was a big children's playground, with a small pool for children to play in. Obviously they couldn't play in the pool, since they didn't bring any extra clothes, but I could see from their eyes that they were dying to play in the playground. Upon seeing the 12-year-old holding his pride and ego, I asked him with a translation,

"Don't you want to play?"

"No, I'm too big for this..." He said, trying not to look so excited.

Granted, although he was supposed to be older, but the 13-year-old couldn't resist the temptation much longer, and after some convincing, he finally gave in and started to stand closer to the playground. Closer and closer until he climbed up and explored the place. The 12-year-old looked a little jealous, and I told him that I'd buy him anything he wanted after that if he would just go in and play. After some convincing too, he finally played together with his brother.

The two looked a bit hesitant when there were people around, but time after time, they just didn't care. The playground was too fun for them to be caring about what people thought. And no, no one looked at them in a judgmental way, so they finally believed that they could enjoy.

As I watched them over, I couldn't help but think we adults (I mean older adults) always stress the idea of growing up, the idea of preparing for adulthood, until we forget that they are children and they should enjoy their childhood while it lasts. My nephews, no matter how they wanted to declared their adulthood, they were still "children," technically so. Have we ever stopped and thought that maybe, the idea of adulthood seems so good to them because we plant that kind of idea into their head in the first place? We do not tolerate mistakes from them, we asked them to do things adults do, and we make it an obligations things they are not obliged to do until several years later. They are socialized to appreciate and reach adulthood until they forget to enjoy their childhood.

It's not wrong to prepare them for adulthood, but perhaps we could balance out a bit the time where they can be children too. They need to know that being children is not wrong, except it's fun!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Everybody Is a Genius

Albert Einstein used to say, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid..."

This is a very wholesome quote by Albert, implying that sometimes we make our quick conclusions based on our superficial analysis of an individual. Some parents are worried that their children can't solve simple mathematical equation, or that it's very hard for them to understand simple grammatical rule in an English sentence; but get this, not everybody can be exceptional in Mathematics or language. Different individual has different set of skills that unfortunately need to be searched beforehand.

But I don't condone the fact that if your child doesn't seem to be good in something, so just let her or him be bad in that. But I advocate the idea that try to be more flexible in your own idea of success; meaning to say, try to be proactive in helping your children find out what they are good at. But still, if he or she is not good in something, there is always the role of education, because "being smart" is not full-out genetic, it is also a product of good learning skill, attitude, and socialization. Plus, you can't afford just focusing on what you're good at because Malaysian education system wouldn't allow you to choose your subjects if you want to finish get your qualifications.

If you have a hard time finding your interest and what you like, you can go to a career counselor and take a career test which can suggest you a direction. Talking to a career counselor can also lead you to get some insight about career personality.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I am recently an instructor in one university in my hometown. Teaching in a higher institution is my passion and I'm more than happy to be part-time lecturer in here. But, times do not pass by without me observing some things about Malaysian students. We (I mean, including me too when I was a student) have this lack of ability to see a long-term result of certain actions that we do.

Take, for example, doing assignments given by your instructor. When I asked my students to do their first assignment, I saw various behaviors across students. Some did it wonderfully, some were trying really hard, which was appreciated. But some gave a lot of excuses - the "dog ate my homework" kind of excuse. Some that they gave was that the file couldn't be opened, and that they left the file in a computer at home. Yes, I know, things happen, but they happen specifically because you're reckless!

Not to mention, there were a worrying number of plagiaristic papers. My theory is that they thought that this was an unimportant assignment, and that I would not notice that they took information from an article over the internet word-by-word. Bottomline, they thought that their action had no real consequences. Of course no real consequences, at least not now. But there will be long-term consequences.

What are the consequences? First, assignments are a way for you to challenge your intellectual. Rather than being spoonfed by your lecturer, and rather than memorizing the stuffs you learn in class and pour it all out blindly in the exam, assignments ask you to think and apply the knowledge that you learn. So, if you do not challenge your mental capacity in order to produce an acceptable product, then how will you perform well in your job when you are in a workplace? Because of this kind of attitude when they were at schools, there are a lot of frowning public servants behind the counter, or bureaucrats who hate people, or just simply an employer who does "just enough."

Then, because you are not performing well, you never get a promotion and you never see the brighter future than half of your dream. No, no, I'm not talking about knowledge because you can obtain knowledge even if you are in a workplace if you haven't done it in school. I'm talking about your attitude. I'm talking about your perspective in leading your own self to move further than the position you are in now.

So, please, fix your attitude when it comes to this. If you don't think it'll not bite you now, it'll sure come to show itself in the future. Fix it before it's too late.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You Mad, Bro?

So, in these past few weeks, the FB page of my hometown was "shocked" with a picture of an Indian giving the middle finger to a frame containing the word 'Allah'. Upon the publishing of the photo, a lot of people (Muslims) commented angrily, which was normal I suppose because it was their -and my- God that the person in the photo was insulting. But some comments were disconcerting. They did not just express their anger, they expressed it offensively. When I saw those comments, I couldn't help but to wonder, what good does profanity do in this situation?

So, I tried to politely remind them that cursing wouldn't help a bit. But, they reacted by saying that I was backing up the person in the photo, that I was comparing themselves with the person, that I would be the person who would be spat in the face until I would reacted aggressively, etc. No, that's not the point! I was and still am angry at what the person did, it's childishness and blasphemous at its best, but I don't think cursing will help a thing, other than adding up the sins that you already gathered over the years on your left shoulder!

People would justify everything as long as they believe that they are on the right side. This is, again, where the phrase, "The end doesn't justify the means" is important to ponder upon. We know that the person in the photo insulted our God, but it doesn't give us the license to say anything we want without intelligence. I'm sure our Prophet wouldn't like that.

Still, I want the person in the photo to get punished for what he did. Maybe being fined, or doing some hours of community service in a mosque or something, I don't know, I'm not an expert in designing a punishment system, but yeah, he deserves to learn that religions are to be respected, no matter what religion you are.