I would only like to be known only as 23, it keeps things interesting I believe. I aspire to be an advertiser and is currently looking for freelance jobs that will help me earn a buck or two cuz' my family needs it. This is no sympathy story, I just want to be honest. I am 19 going on 20 coming August and currently studying my diploma in communication. I grew up in a small town in Perak but I believe, like Superman, I'm heading for greater things in life. Well, I love to write, to speak as I so fit and to say words that are thought provoking. There are so little that are doing so and we need more I guess.
Asian (Malaysian) Students
by 23 for Writing Contest 2008
Malaysia has been moving ahead globally and economically in these past few years and we are heading to the era where we can be proud of our achievements. But I have a question, a question that has crossed my mind so many times as I sit in the lecture hall, as I observe my surroundings. Well, without further a due, the question is: *drum roll* Have our students move forward? You might ask what do I mean, well; I mean have our students, Asian students, to be more specific, Malaysian students changed? Are we still what we are the day we ended high school? Have our students grown out of the Asian mindset?
Well, to explain more, this is my thoughts. I realize that the first thing that Asian students are: they are passive, and at times, too passive. The lecturer can go on for a 3hour lecture and no questions are asked, at all. Can our brain really understand fully what is taught or are we just too shy or nervous to ask a question, afraid that people will look down on us if we don’t understand? I, firsthand experience these situations. My friends that don’t understand will not raise their hand to ask, as if it is a crime. I believe this is happening because it is, and always have been, embedded in Malaysian students mind that asking is wrong, or shows weakness. Some even tremble when asked to answer. Whatever happened to just trying? Suddenly it is wrong to make mistakes or to ask.
I have been asked once why Malaysian students or better yet, Asian students are so afraid to speak out or to raise a thought or question in class. It may even seem that the lecturer may not want us to do so, afraid that they might not be able to answer or that the student may seem more superior. I have to say that this type of thinking is the fact that is causing Malaysian students to be behind other students from different countries.
Have you ever entered a class and there are writings on the whiteboard and everyone immediately copies everything down not knowing what is it for? Well, I have and I had to question this. This is another flaw that we, Malaysian students, follow or let ourselves follow. No one ask what is it for or whether it’s important but we are like copy machines that just jots everything down but has no clue what it’s for. If we are so prone to copying everything and not asking or thinking before doing something, then we will not move ahead, will we?
My advice is to just collect all your guts and nerve and just ask if you don’t know, speak if you have something on your mind and everything else will fall into place. This has always worked for me and I believe it will work for Malaysian students. There can never be enough of questions ask, I believe. Do or study something you love and know will excel, DO NOT follow what parents or society thinks is best for you or has set for you, only you know what you like. Fight for what you want!
Students, for example, American students are always encouraged to think out of the box, to be different, to be a trendsetter not a follower and always ask questions that nobody dares ask, and this is why their country is in the 1st world category and ours isn’t. I was on a trip to Malacca and there was a school trip all the way from England that came here to learn our culture, and these students were no more than 12 years old. The thing that intrigued me is that the questions they ask are so much higher than our students will ever ask. They wanted to know so much of things and they were like bees asking questions. Why can’t our students learn from these young ones? Or is it pride that blinds us? Being shy perhaps?
If people want to argue that Malaysians are too shy and passive because it is our culture, I agree but till when will we be shy? How long till those that are brave enough to stand out outshine us? We are consumers of products created by other countries, when will we be those that create and others consume?
I, on my part, do my best to be different, ask questions that no one dares to ask. I want to make a difference, don’t you? If we stay on like this, we will not move anywhere. I end this with a quote, “Only the brave shall survive and the passive perish.”
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