Does Nazri Aziz come from the same gene swamp as Britney Spears?

Does Nazri Aziz come from the same gene swamp as Britney Spears? Is his theme song, Oops I did it again! !?!

Reading his latest statement on the government not wanting to spend any more money on undergraduate scholarships to send our brightest tools overseas seems reason enough to remind us that even trailer park trash have rather quaint views. Here’s what he had to say, as reported by The Malaysian Insider (in italics) with my comments spliced in.

Source: The Malaysian Insider (file pic)

Source: The Malaysian Insider (file pic)

Nazri: Putrajaya has no funds for bright students

By Clara Chooi

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz admitted today that the government did not have the “capacity” to finance the studies of the growing pool of bright students in the country.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the public would just have to accept the reality of the situation although it was an unpopular decision.

OMG! Nazri is really telling us that the government is making an unpopular decision and expecting the general public to be sold on that? REALLY?! Politically unpopular decisions are usually laced with all the hallmarks of, well, a Hallmark movie. It is usually very cheesy, hammy, and bittersweet like bad medicine.

An unpopular decision which usually does not give rise to a political hara kiri, would include… taking out the thrash, cutting all subsidies and making tough choices like going on a witch hunt after them hilarious local KKK chapter we fondly know as PERKASA (actually that is a popular one, but only depending on who you discuss this with). But for once I think I can agree with the nimrod that they could do with saving the money and putting it to better use; but not for the reasons they think.

“We have to tell the truth. We just cannot afford it. Just like how a parent cannot afford to send their children abroad to further their studies, the government cannot afford it.”

Of course mah. How can you afford to send dimwitted kids overseas? Save yourself the embarrassment and don’t let them know they’re from Malaysia or that they were funded by the government. Them foreign academics will probably be thinking that we have real no-class standards, seeing that we can’t even discern our best from our worst students or even if our students actually deserved a scholarship to begin with.

I’m working class, so my idea of a scholarship is this: If your parents don’t have money, but raised you to be a smart kid with really good values or that you’re a hot-shot but raised in questionable surroundings leading to the need for a hand up, I’d think you’d be a fit for it. On the other hand, if your parents are in the money or you come from a decent background, live with it.

I’m simplifying, of course, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that you can’t be dishing out scholarships like money growing on trees. Actually, nimrod, if the parent’s can’t afford to send their children abroad, they’d be looking to your sorry patootie to help give their smartie for a kiddie a boost. So, really, don’t throw it back to the parents.

“We do not have the financial capacity that permits us to send every good student abroad,” he told The Malaysian Insider at the MP’s lounge in the Parliament building here this afternoon.

Duh,why tell us something that we already know? If you could afford to send one, then so be it. Send that one fella who blew everyone away during the final interview with the theory that char kueh tiaw could be humankind’s saviour in the fight against cancer or AIDS or whatever. Why does nimrod think we need to save the entire world? One person at a time is good enough for most of us.

Nazri, who is the minister in charge of the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships, was explaining the Cabinet’s decision to eventually scrap the 1,500 scholarships offered to students for undergraduate studies overseas.

Well, explain away, nimrod. The hole is now six feet deep and counting.

He said the government spent billions on scholarships annually and could no longer afford to accommodate the growing pool of bright students.

They still don’t get it.

There are two things here. One, it is financial capacity. Secondly, it is this: however we do it, whether we reclassify the As that the students get to A+, A and A-, the fact remains that in this year alone, the number of students who obtained 9A+ were over 1,200.

1,200 bright sparks. Seriously, apart from Malaysia having a national education policy, there’s really nothing much to it. Actually do we even have one? I’d like to know if mediocrity, bad grammar and comprehension, lousy interpersonal skills and sheer jackass-ery, are values aspired to by our national education policy because that’s what seems to be churned out locally.

“This means that the boys and girls are getting more and more clever and we cannot reduce the number of scholarships we give out by re-grading the As any further,” he explained.

It’s very simple. I may not be an educationist, but I’ve asked around and apparently nothing much has changed in the subject syllabi of the science subjects. Yeah, I know we need our basics, but teaching the same shit for 20 years at the same level, year in year out, is only going to mean that there will be 20 years of past-year papers for kids to mug over. It’s guaranteed to be so easy to spot a question or its derivative. You might as well gift those answers. Et voila, we got smart muggers.

But do we get thinkers? No, uh-uh. I’ve met a many number of young graduates who converse with much difficulty, as though they are trying, then give up, and finally resort to giving me bullet points of what they wanted to say, without telling me that they are speaking in “bullet-pointenese”. Being smart muggers, most of them think that education is like gambling, “Jom, beat the system.”

This has a cascading effect – leading to our students becoming utter morons in our dear nimrod image – wanting only to make a quick buck, always looking for the easy way out without understanding substance and that is why I sometimes holler at my attachment students or newbie clerks when they don’t perform.

So seriously, you got to simply make the exams increasingly tougher, hence making them learn more every year. Kids these days should learn of the basics of chemistry and physics in Form 1 and not Form 4. When I was in Form 4 they still hadn’t mapped out the entire human genome. They since have in 2000.

It’s been a good 16 years since I left school and they are still teaching the same basics at the same level, probably not realising that we are devouring more information at an earlier age. Kids can still do kid stuff and goof off, but they can also start learning heavier stuff at an earlier age. Why not? This is a natural way of improving our lot, to develop our minds. What I have said here about the sciences also applies to the arts.

As a result, said Nazri, the Cabinet last week agreed that PSD scholarships given to students applying for courses in foreign universities would only go to those pursuing postgraduate courses and not undergraduate courses.

He noted that the 1,200 of the 1,500 presently offered to the students would slowly be phased out from next year onwards.

The remaining 300, which make up the quota for the Perdana Scholarships, would be retained.

“This is based solely on merit. Like this year, 80 per cent of the 300 scholarships were given to non-Bumiputras,” he said.

Oik! You mean to say that the other scholarships are not based on merit? So is nimrod also saying that if scholarships are based on merit 80% of it would go to non-bumis? Fattie Ali will not like that…

The Perdana Scholarships, he noted, would be given out to the cream of the crop and only to those accepted in Ivy League schools.

“For the remaining 1,200, we will phase them out completely over the years. For example, last year, from the PSD, we gave out 2,000 scholarships, including the Perdana Scholarships. This year, we reduced the number to 1,500. Next year, we will continue [to reduce this further],” he said.

Nevertheless, Nazri said that the extra funds would be given out as scholarships to students pursuing courses in the local universities.

“Ultimately, the purpose is also to retain our good students here in our local universities. We want our good students to study locally and this is our long-term goal.

I got two words for you: brain freeze from drinking radiator coolant. Not all of them are going to get any better if you keep using the UUCA. Our purported best and brightest languish in our local academic Siberia, huh? That’s a damn shame learning in an environment that only goes so far as too condition us to excel in mediocrity and to think to the four corners of an A4 paper, double spaced with 1 inch margins, of course.

“We want our universities to be first-class. We want to retain the money here, so we finance those in local universities – we want the talent here,” he said.

The students can only make it first class if they have lecturers who are exceptional, have the support needed to excel and more importantly, have a first class education in their primary and secondary years equipping them with work values and ethics that are effective and transcendent. Retain the money here? What a cockeyed reason.

You’re never going to get the talent you’re gagging for, nimrod if the UUCA remains, for one. For another reason, try having an open and dynamic mind on campus without being called a “witch” and burned at the stake. These are the little things in life that will make our education system… interesting, at the very least.

Nazri noted that one of the reasons behind the brain drain problem in the country was that many students pursued their studies in foreign universities.

“And when they are there and they have the connection, they no longer want to return,” he said.

Suck on a sore thumb, dude. Your politically-inclined, flip-flop education policy made them run away. But I think what nimrod meant were “choices” and/or “opportunities”, not “connections.” Why does he make it sound like our graduates getting foreign jobs, owe it more to them making deals than actually being smart enough to compete and excel overseas? Tsk, tsk, tsk… no jaguh kampung crazy talk here, please, nimrod. You already admitted they’re good, don’t have to run them down to cover up your own ineptitude.

I would like to end this comment by linking two TED talks, here and here by Sir Ken Robinson on schools.

LB: This post was previously published in the author’s blog here.


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2 Responses to Does Nazri Aziz come from the same gene swamp as Britney Spears?

  1. LN

    We always knew, even in the late 80's and early 90's that some of us have different "passing marks" than others. Short-term goals only lead to big-time disasters. I'm guessing today, almost 20 years after those years that I was in high school, the result is that we have "many bright students" with flipping 10-15 A's who may or may not make it to good schools abroad and even if they did, many would not be able to speak properly and that's not to say it's totally their fault. So now, even our exam grading system has become a banana-gradometer. Die-la like that.

  2. Wei

    What you wrote about increasing the difficulty level of exams in Malaysia is indeed very relevant. I had the pleasure of meeting a retired educator last year who is now a principal at a private college.He used to be one the chief exam moderators for add-maths back in the 70s and 80s. He resigned in the 90s because he was asked to dump down the difficulty level of the paper. It seems, the stats showed that a certain race in Malaysia was acing the exams while others were falling behind. Any non-national school going kid can tell you that the add-maths and modern maths paper for SPM are peanuts. On the one hand, we have a bunch high school grads that are way better in maths and probably Sciences as well, but are terrible in their master of Bahasa Malaysia (or is it Melayu) and English, and on the other, we have national school going kids that are so-so in each and every subjects they studied. Why can’t Malaysia be good, or great or mighty for once? Our education system is so-so, our university standard is okay only-lah, our soccer team is downright terrible and our politicians?! Well they are in a little league of their own, playing to win the nimrod cup. Anyway good post, I can’t help but nod in agreement. It’s comforting to know that there are like-minded Malaysians constantly giving the government the finger!