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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Top 5 Reasons Why University of Malaya Can Only Be The Best in Malaysia, But Not In The World

Top 5 Reasons Why University of Malaya Can Only Be The Best in Malaysia, But Not In The World

Guest post by Chin Yi Xuan (Share your opinions with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

University of Malaya (UM)
In year 2016, Malaysia has established 20 public universities, 34 polytechnics and 94 community colleges all around the country, which is a huge leap in the numbers compared to the 1960's. In early 2016, University of Malaya (UM), being the leading university in Malaysia, is ranked 27th in Asia by QS ranking.

But the question remains: Despite all the statistics and results in paper, are we really that good?
Universiti of Malaya (UM)

Before I proceed it is necessary to inform you on how a university is being ranked by the QS ranking:
  1. Academic Reputation - 40%
  2. Citation per faculty - 20%
  3. Student to faculty ratio - 20%
  4. Employer Reputation - 10%
  5. International faculty ratio - 5%
  6. International student ratio - 5%
(Source: http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings-articles/world-university-rankings/qs-world-university-rankings-methodology)

Disclaimer: This article is not written to cause any kind of personal insults to any students, lecturers, or the management of the university, but rather a healthy food of thought to you that are reading this article. With this in mind, lets proceed.

#5 Exposure - We Are Lack of It!


2 years in University of Malaya, involving in big and small events in the campus, I have come to realize that the students in UM have very limited exposure to the outside world.

In other word, we are way too comfortable staying in UM, and while we thought we are the best in the country but we forgot to look onto the outside world. We take pride for the way we organize activities and events, we take glory for our culture (MHS, Cheers etc etc) and we are the best breed of students because we are studying in UM.

However, the truth is, looking out from the books and our annual events, we are actually not that good. It's easy to test how well exposed a student is: just ask them something about the real world, be it a company's name or what's the new stuff happening around the country. I have come across a peer of the same faculty as me do not know who is Tan Sri Zeti (ex BNM Governor), and some peers in the business/accounting/finance faculty that do not know what a start-up is.

Events organized by respective societies have also bottle-necked, with little content value and breakthrough in terms of takeaway value for the participants and committees. With all due respect we have several societies that are really good event organizers, great multech and logistics, but we are lacking behind in terms of the content of the events held. Everything we've learnt and passed down are from the seniors and it becomes a culture as times goes by and we tend to forget to ask: Why Are We Doing This? What Is The Purpose of This Event?

While we are busy passing down 'cultures' we forget to look out there and when we realize how events out there excel not only in terms of organization but content, we are way too late.

#4 Finance - Why So Many Undergraduates Face Bankruptcy and Debts Nowadays


While our ministers claim that our education system is one of the best, if not among the finest in the world, our system has produced a society of young undergraduate full of debts. To make thing even worse, they are unable to pay off the debt, leading to serious bankruptcy issues among young people aged 18 - 35. (source: http://www.malaysiandigest.com/opinion/488936-debts-among-us-young-malaysians-are-going-bankrupt.html)

Yes, we are going up the rank in the region and world, because QS Ranking do not include the level of financial education in the ranking criteria! A very wrong perspective of UM students is to think that it is normal to have little to no knowledge about personal financial management and financial knowledge just because you are not from the economics/finance/business/accounting background. Oh my, this is the reason why Malaysia youngsters are getting into financial trouble.
Junior: "Yi Xuan, I have no idea about financial management and investment at all even I'm an economics student."

A reply from a junior when I asked about her knowledge in personal finance and investment.
From the above conversation, even an Economics student do not know about investment and personal finance management, because we are not taught about them! We are taught about the theories of economics and of course basic finance, we are taught on how to score an A in the 14 weeks of lecture, but we are not taught on how to generate income in real life using the knowledge and manage our own money even as an economics student.

As cruel as it might be, the best university in the country is producing what is considered the best slaves to money, working the heck out of our life to pay off debts due to lack of financial knowledge.

#3 Usage of Tech - We Are In Ice Age


How I wish QR Rankings set a usage of technology as one of the ranking criteria. Being the leading university in the country, UM is way behind in terms of usage of technology. One significant example is the usage of Microsoft Powerpoint during lectures and tutorials. May I ask, why is this ice age software still being used in the best university in Malaysia? In renown universities in UK such as Imperial College London, software such as Microsoft Sway has been taking over PPT as the primary presentation tool, making presentation much more interactive and lively. Why are lecture recordings being uploaded in NTU while in UM we are still struggling to use our phone to record what our lecturers say?

Not only the university is slow in bringing in the latest tech to enhance teaching and learning experience, students are pretty slow in getting update in tech as well. Very little people will know what is virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) - these are technologies that can help improve and enhance learning experience in near future.

This is worrying, because with university bringing in technologies way too slow, and students' knowledge in technology way too little, our teaching and learning process will forever stick in, well, the ice age.

Oh, did I forget to mention about WiFi in the campus?

#2 Language - English Level Is Average At Best


Initially I thought this is only an issue for the students from the arts background, but after 2 years studying in UM, I come to a conclusion: There are a lot of room of improvement for the English proficiency of UM students.

While it is acceptable that UM students come from different background and places around the country and hence differs in English proficiency, it is NOT acceptable that UM students not trying to improve themselves in English.

But sadly this is what exactly happening right now: UM students can write to near perfection, but when it comes to speaking and communicating, we are way behind competitions out there. The irony is, UM students take too little effort to brush up their communication and English presentation skills, there are too many events to be joined out there that speaks on our native tongue and we comfortably forget that if we do not speak good English, we are just a person with knowledge and ability but cannot convey ideas properly.

To make things even worse, UM's English programs are bad enough and in need of urgent refinement and restructuring. 3 hours of English class a week is a terrible arrangement and long hours of class makes it awfully boring (my important electives are only 2 hours OMG), and classes such as Presentation at Workplace and Technical Writing have outdated modules, with presentation classes that asked us to randomly pick on a topic and present on it rather than training students on effective idea pitching in workplace (which is way more relevant), and writing classes still teaching us on how to write a letter (I thought letter is a tech of the Barbarian era?) instead of focusing on teaching us how to write a proper and effective email.

In short, UM students needs to realize the importance of English, and work the heart out to improve on it, because without proper English, we can't even talk about competency at workplace (unless you work for government *pun intended*.

#1 Culture - The Bad Ones


UM has one of the best culture among the universities in Malaysia. We are allowed to dress freely as long as it is appropriate (unlike certain universities in the north), we have really good campus life with lots of different events and societies to join, you name it, we have it. We are at the center of the country, which in return offers various opportunities that other universities do not provide.

However, several unhealthy cultures are bringing us down, and it will be costly for the future. First, being the most important of all, is the interaction between races in the campus. UM has by far the most diversified races and culture that contain different ethnics of students all over Malaysia, but interracial interaction is still a challenge to be overcome in the campus. The common sight you will see is that Malays will still be sticking with Malays, Chinese with Chinese and so on. This is worrying, while we have a well balanced race diversification in UM, we do not have a strong interracial bonding in the campus, which can be reflective on the community that we will be living in the near future, which this can be easily manipulated by politicians in the future elections.

Lack of reading, albeit seems unimportant, it is the core of knowledge learning for a person, and UM students have serious issue in general knowledge. Students are too focused on their events, and are taught to finish up tutorials and assignments and before we even realize, mid-terms are around the corner. In the midst of all the madness, UM students tend to forget to equip themselves with knowledge through reading. Learn all the soft skills that you can through events, but without constant improvement in knowledge, one's growth will be stunted at a certain stage in life.

Conclusion


So there you have it, the top 5 reasons why UM can only be the best in Malaysia, but not in the world. What I've mentioned above are more on the issues that really affect the competency of UM students in their future workplace through my observation and interaction with different students from different ethnics and faculties throughout my 2 years involving in various big and small activities in UM.

While we are studying in the best university in the country, but let us not forget that there are much more better talents and institutions out there that are constantly evolving day by day, and we cannot stop improving ourselves.

To end, dear friends, please remember: the day we stop learning and improving, is the day we die.

Cheers for staying with me throughout this article! Do comment below if you have any other inputs or opinions!

Chin Yi Xuan
This post was first posted at Yi Xuan's blog.

Chin Yi Xuan is an economics student studying in University of Malaya (UM). He held the position as the President of UM Economics Society (PEKUMA) during his second year, and was a Junior Executive of AIESEC during his first year. He is a backpacker, food lover, casual photographer, Ping-Pong guy and of all, a rookie writer.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Going to College in Malaysia? Here Are the 10 Things You Should Know

Going to College in Malaysia? Here Are the Things You Should Know

Guest post by Raymond Stokes (Share your views with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

When it comes to preparing to study at college in Malaysia, you need to know a number of things. These include: information on top courses offered, the culture of the country, key attractions, job opportunities and even what to eat. When we think about studying in countries like the USA or Australia, we express our desire for the numerous facets of these countries, for instance, the excellent infrastructure, movies and many other trending issues and topics. Here are some of the things you should know if you are considering Malaysia as your study destination.

What to Do and What Not to Do in Malaysia

Malaysia is predominantly an Islamic country, but it is far more liberal and multi-cultural in nature. Just like any country, Malaysia has its own internal rules, likewise it is an idealistic nation with diverse communities, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists who carry out different traditional rites with strong enthusiasm. Here are some things you must consider when moving to Malaysia to study.
  1. Pay attention to gender issues
    Though men and women can engage in virtually all social issues in the country, that should not give you the right to get intimate with the opposite sex in the public. Physical contact is forbidden in Islam, therefore, a woman may not reciprocate a handshake.

  2. Bikini is not allowed at beaches in Malaysia
    Malaysia has beautiful sprawling beaches but don’t be tempted to wear a bikini, most tourist destinations don’t allow it, and most women often swim in full clothing.

  3. Touching the head of an individual may trigger a brawl
    Most people believe that the soul lies in the head, in Malaysian culture, and unless you are familiar with an individual, never touch his or her head.

  4. Want more opportunities? Simply wear a conservative clothing
    Exposing a little skin may be acceptable when you reside in larger cities like Kuala Lumpur, but you will have to dress moderately when visiting places like mosque and the temple. Make sure your dresses cover your legs and arms.

  5. Malaysia is not lenient with alcohol
    No alcohol in Malaysia
    Malaysian conservative Muslims do not like drunkards, however, you can find alcohol in many cities as well as tourist destinations, but moderate drinking should be your watchword.

  6. Hide your alternate sexuality in Malaysia
    Conforming to the natural norm of sexuality is very important, but if you belong to the LGBT community, you must not flaunt it in Malaysia, if you do, you may bring misery upon yourself.

  7. Malaysia is a country you can get inspired to be adventurous
    If you want to add some pleasure to your studying experience in Malaysia, then you should be prepared to visit numerous stunning places in different cities around the country. There are both school holidays and public holidays in Malaysia that can be a perfect time to travel.  You can learn about the imperial pasts through the colonial architectures, as well as the rolling tea plantations in places like Darjeeling and Assam. Malaysia’s stunning beaches will always give you the feeling of the freshness of the country, and you can learn more history from the remote tribes of the country. Visit the wild jungles of Borneo to see the wild orangutans. Malaysia is a culturally diverse country comprising of 50% Malay, 24% Chinese, and 7% Indians.

  8. Getting accommodation
    Getting Accommodation in Malaysia
    You need to plan your accommodation when moving to Malaysia to study, the on- and off-campus accommodation are the main options you have. As an international student, the on-campus residence may be the most suitable for you, as it has modern facilities, including telephone ports and the Internet. The issue with on-campus arrangement can be limited, therefore you may switch to off-campus variant at one time during your study. Other facilities at on-campus accommodation include tennis courts, cafeterias, multi-purpose hall.

    You don’t have to panic if you can’t find on-campus accommodation as there are a number of off-campus variants advertised regularly. When looking for an off-campus accommodation, you must pay attention to the price, facilities offered and distance from your college or university campus.

  9. Work opportunities in Malaysia
    Part-time jobs are becoming more popular among international students. Though, tuition and costs of living are modest in Malaysia, they are higher than in India, for example. You can work for about 20 hours a week as a student during festive holidays, semester breaks, and holidays that extend beyond 7 days. Some of the best places to work part-time as a student include hotels, petrol stations, mini-markets and kiosks, but international students are banned from working as singers, cashiers, and masseurs. Learn more about work opportunities here.

  10. Food habits
    Malaysia Variety of Food Hawker
    Sudden change in food habits may be a source of concern for most students studying in Malaysia. If you are from India, it is very easy to find Indian delicacies in Malaysia, likewise there are lots of Chinese and Thai cuisines.

Malaysia is an amazing study destination. You'll get great experience and unforgettable impressions if you are familiar with lifestyle features and traditions in this fascinating country!

Raymond Stokes is a digital marketer who worked in Malaysia in 2013 as a Head of Digital Marketing Department. Also he is a happy husband and a passionate music lover. A lot of time Raymond spends creating articles for his blog.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

HOTS Versus Spoon-feeding - Perspective from an SPM Student

HOTS vs Spoon-feeding

by Kai (Share your thought-provoking opinions with 50,000+ students in Malaysia!)

Starting from the year of 2013, teachers, students as well as guardians had come to know a phrase, which have later become the hottest topics among the educators as well as students. HOTS, a word which really means “hot” for the candidates sitting for the exams, or more appropriate that it is so for certain candidates. In 2013, UPSR, PMR and SPM had changed their “face” by introducing High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) questions which brought to us a lot of Facebook status updates shortly after the papers like “Owh, today’s questions’ gonna kill me!!!” or “OMG! I spent all night to memorise the Moral definitions but only two came out in the exam!”. And it tells us that, those “alien”, “uncommon” and “unfamiliar” questions had dawn a big bomb on majority of the candidates.

Well, I was one of the students, sitting in the exam hall, cracking my head to think of any possible answer for those “alien” questions which we’ve never seen before, during the SPM 2013.
SPM KBAT HOTS Questions
Soalan KBAT sebanyak 40% UPSR dan 50% SPM pada tahun 2016 -  Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia

I have to admit that, they were not easy questions. Nevertheless, I was HAPPY for those kind of questions! It proves that the spoon-feeding way of teaching that we used to at schools is no longer applicable.

Let’s just talk about the Moral subject. In my school, our teacher used to print a big pile of notes and distribute to us. And we were required to read and memorise the notes. For example, for Moral the notes included the definitions for 36 moral values (you should memorise them without leaving out any word), name of government agency (which we used to translate them from Chinese to Malay), name of acts related to certain moral values (that you even think you were taking papers for Law), keywords (you know they are from the definition but you simply forgot which part of it) which is necessary for the essay part of the questions…and so on. After all, having Moral class in school is just about memorising the notes and learning the answering techniques, and you even wonder, is this what so-called Moral?

Today, the introducing of HOTS questions tells us that, from now onwards we should emphasise on the ability to think instead of memorising skills of students. And that’s what education should be! In order to train students answering the new style of exam questions, I could even imagine teachers entering classes without their Moral textbooks and start their classes with any topic, subsequently guiding students to give responses on the topic. Those topics could be on our nation history, modern issues, future development, self-development, self-reflection, etc. etc. There are too much to be discussed on, and there are too much that we students had never learnt from the textbooks. And now, it has become the teachers’ obligation to lead, to give exposure and to guide students: to think on their own!

I wouldn’t say the Moral questions in SPM 2013 are difficult, since we can answer those questions based on our observations from daily issues, and a little own opinion and analysis and judgement. What we need to do is to speak our hearts out sincerely and honestly. And I wouldn’t deny that the answers would reflect the way we think in our daily life.

Some students might say: “You are good student and you are good in manipulating words and language, of course you could say so.” However, I am definitely against the thoughts. The ability of thinking is the basis of human being. Would you agree that students in the so-called “worse classes” do not have the ability to think and to feel? Of course they have! What they lack of are the courage and confidence to speak their opinions and feelings out. And right now it’s the chance for them to learn and practise how to voice out their thoughts. Isn’t it the way we learn? Once they are given the chance, they gain the confidence, and they tend to think and analyse more. At that time, those KBKK (Kemahiran Berfikir secara Kritis dan Kreatif) questions wouldn’t be a big problem anymore for them.

As such, teachers ought to make full use of the time in their classes, to create opportunity for students to think and to speak. At the same time, wise teachers would grab the chances to inculcate positive values in students, teach them to look at the good things in their life, to appreciate, to do good things to others, to analyse, to comment, to improve current state etc. Nevertheless, this really depends a lot on the interactions between teachers and students, plus the teacher’s attitude whether he/she could accept students voicing out their own thoughts.

Guiding students to think is like TEACHING students how to fish; while giving notes and spoon-feeding students with all kinds of knowledge without any self-learning would be like giving students buckets and buckets of fish. And it’s really vital, whether students are following a TEACHER, or a FEEDER during their school time.

The saddest part is, I would guarantee 60% Moral teachers wouldn’t think this way. What they would do is searching for more notes on the Internet, thinking of all possible questions that might come out, and urging the students, “you all better read the notes I’ve given. You don’t think Moral is easy and you don’t need to study....”

At least that’s what the teachers in my school would do.

I would say, revising teacher’s notes would never be enough, since you will never know what would come out during the exam. Why don’t read some other enlightening and insightful materials other than school notes and reference books? I’m pretty sure that will really help a lot in answering your KBKK or HOTS questions.

We wouldn’t want our nation to be as ignorant as we were during the colonisation era, do we? And what would be the most important part that the modern society requires for further development? Would it be workers with superb memorising skills? To memorise what? Since almost everything had been computerise nowadays? Would it be creative and innovative humans? Yes, of course we need them!

Kai had finished her SPM in 2014 and had her sweet time during National Service in Kem PLKN Semarak. She is an enthusiastic student towards almost all sorts of activities. Outdoor or indoor, sports and adventurous, reading and writing, anything will do. An introvert and extrovert at the same time. Enjoys photography.


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Monday, June 13, 2016

Why You Can Score Higher Without Having Tuition Classes

Why You Can Score Higher Without Having Tuition Classes

by Eassie (Share your thought-provoking opinions with 50,000+ students in Malaysia!)

Having tuition classes seems like a necessary part of a typical Malaysian student’s life. When I was in high school, I had taken a few tuition classes before I realized I can score higher and be happier without having tuition classes. When I was a Form 5 student, I gave up all my tuition classes and started to tutor myself. (By the way, there is no way my parents can be my home tutors. ) Since that time, I benefit from it. Why? I conclude several reasons:

1. Have more time to rest and relax.

Have more time to rest and relax.
We are people, not machines, and even a machine will be less efficient if it keeps working for too long. If you just have tuition classes for 1 or 2 subjects, then it is fine. Otherwise, it is too much. Normally, we have to cope with about 10 subjects in SPM. Just imagine if a student goes for tuition classes of almost all subjects. Seriously, I have lots of friends who did that, some of them even went to different tuition centers to have tuition classes for the same subject. It takes about 2 hours for a typical tuition class. So, when did they rest? I think they are all IRON MEN. When they were tired, they just can’t focus in the classroom and catch up what the teachers said. Or, they didn’t concentrate in tuition classes. So, you have nothing to lose to rest more. You can study more efficiently after that. Remember, your brain, is just like a worker, will protest and strike if you don’t give it a break.

2. Plan your time based on your style.

Plan your time based on your style.
What I often hear from the other students is ‘I have to go for … tuition today’, but not ‘I want to revise … today’ or ‘I would like to read … later’. The schedule is always fixed and filled with lots of tuition classes. Not interesting, not free, not happy. You can enjoy planning your study time without having tuition classes because you have plenty of time! Just understand what you are good at and what you are not, you can study whatever you want based on your mood and progress. Most of the students are able to study hard, but lazy to think. The style which tuition teachers say and teach may not suit you. Think about what really suit you. Some people need to speak out so they can remember, some have to write down, some can just read and some have to do lots of practices and discussions. How about you? Study in your own way and don’t rely on tuition classes.

3. Keep away from tips, learn truly.

Keep away from tips, learn truly.
Tips from tuition teachers may give you a shortcut, but watch out, there is no real shortcut in learning. You always have to pay the price, sometimes $$$, sometimes it is more than that. You may lose your abilities to learn, to understand and to master. And these are extremely important in your future study and career. Maybe you will say ‘I just refer to the tips but not count on them’. However, trust your laziness, if you get an easier way, you will not choose the harder one. Studying on your own brings the most knowledge. True knowledge will help you get good results in a consistent way. Exam tips are not always accurate and even when they are accurate, they can’t give you what you really need.

4. Be less stressful and more confident.

Be less stressful and more confident.
Tutoring yourself will make you more independent and know about yourself better. This is why you will feel less stressful and more confident on exam days. People will be nervous when they have less knowledge and preparation. Maybe, you will be nervous about whether the tips are accurate, or whether the questions are familiar to you. However, for people who study on their own, they really understand the knowledge they study and know very well what questions they can’t do. I always could predict my score quite accurately as I finished my paper. So, if everything goes as your prediction, there is nothing to be afraid of. If there is nothing to be afraid of, you will perform more excellently and get better results. There is a rule, 20% of your exam result depends on what you study before and 80% depends on how your performance when sitting for the exam.

To study on your own with no tuition classes, there are a few advices you need to remember. First, you must be highly self-disciplined. If you just watch TV and go online instead of going to tuition classes, sorry, you are not suitable to be your own tutor. Second, concentrate in class, especially if you have a good teacher. When you meet academic difficulties, please ask your teachers, friends or search the internet.

Lastly, this is the most important, if you just can’t score in any subject even though you already worked very hard, try to have a tuition class because you may study in a wrong way. However, not just follow what tuition teacher says, but learn how they prepare their notes and give guidance to students. Once you find the right way to learn that subject, then you can try to study on your own. Good luck!

Eassie, 18, have graduated from Jit Sin High School with the result of 8A+’s and 2As in SPM examination. While waiting for the enrolment of Cambridge A-Level course, she took part in this writing contest because she was bored at home. She was very courageous as she still tried to write an ENGLISH essay although her English was average. She believes that there are three things she needs to live a wonderful life: love, laughter, and money.


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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Malaysia Public Holidays 2017 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2017)

Related Malaysia 2017 Calendars: 2016 Malaysia Calendars:

Malaysia Public Holidays 2017 (Tarikh Hari Cuti Umum Malaysia 2017)

The Malaysia Public Holidays 2017 Calendar (Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Persekutuan & Negeri 2017) below is useful for your next holiday trip planning and you have no more excuse not to buy overseas flight tickets during next AirAsia free seats / zero fares promotion.
Malaysia Public Holidays Calendar 2017 Kalendar Cuti Umum Malaysia

Malaysia Public / National / Federal Holidays 2017 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Persekutuan Malaysia)

  1.         January 28 (Saturday): Chinese New Year (Tahun Baru Cina)
  2.         January 29 (Sunday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  3.         May 1 (Monday): Labour Day (Hari Pekerja)
  4.         May 10 (Wednesday): Vesak Day (Hari Wesak)
  5.         June 3 (Saturday): Agong's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong)
  6.         * June 25 (Sunday): Hari Raya Puasa
  7.         * June 26 (Monday) Hari Raya Puasa (Hari Kedua)
  8.         August 31 (Thursday): National Day (Hari Kebangsaan)
  9.         * September 1 (Friday): Cuti Hari Raya Haji / Qurban
  10.         September 16 (Saturday): Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia)
  11.         September 21 (Thursday): Awal Muharam (Maal Hijrah)
  12.         * October 19 (Thursday): Deepavali (Hari Deepavali)
  13.         December 1 (Friday): Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. / Maulidur Rasul)
  14.         December 25 (Monday): Christmas (Hari Krismas)

State Holidays 2017 (Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Negeri)

  1.         January 1 (Sunday): New Year 2017 (Tahun Baru 2017)
  2.         January 14 (Saturday): Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan)
  3.         January 15 (Sunday): Sultan of Kedah's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kedah)
  4.         February 1 (Wednesday): Federal Territory Day (Hari Wilayah Persekutuan)
  5.         * February 10 (Friday): Hari Thaipusam
  6.         March 4 (Saturday): Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu (Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu)
  7.         TBC: Sultan of Johor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Johor)
  8.         April 14 (Friday): Good Friday
  9.         April 15 (Saturday): Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City (Hari Perisytiharan Melaka Sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah)
  10.         April 24 (Monday): Israk dan Mikraj
  11.         April 26 (Wednesday): Sultan of Terengganu's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Terengganu)
  12.         May 7 (Sunday): Hari Hol Pahang
  13.         May 17 (Wednesday): Raja Perlis' Birthday (Hari Ulang Tahun Keputeraan Raja Perlis)
  14.         * May 27 (Saturday): Awal Ramadan
  15.         May 30 (Tuesday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  16.         May 31 (Wednesday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  17.         June 1 (Thursday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  18.         June 2 (Friday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  19.         June 12 (Monday): Hari Nuzul Al-Quran
  20.         July 7 (Friday): Georgetown World Heritage City Day (Hari Ulang Tahun Perisytiharan Tapak Warisan Dunia)
  21.         July 8 (Saturday): Penang Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang)
  22.         * September 2 (Saturday): Hari Raya Qurban / Haji Hari Kedua
  23.         TBC: Sarawak Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak)
  24.         October 7 (Saturday): Sabah Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah)
  25.         TBC: Malacca Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka)
  26.         October 24 (Tuesday): Sultan of Pahang's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Pahang)
  27.         TBC: Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan Iskandar
  28.         November 11 (Saturday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  29.         November 12 (Sunday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  30.         November 27 (Monday): Sultan of Perak's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Perak)
  31.         December 11 (Monday): Sultan of Selangor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Selangor)
Note: * Subject to change (tertakluk kepada perubahan).

Kalendar Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2017 Persekutuan & Negeri

To be updated once the official version is available.


► Read more on Malaysia Public Holidays 2017 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2017)

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Malaysia through the Eyes of International Students / Foreigners

Malaysia through The Eyes Of International Students / Foreigners

Guest post by Fabian Yii (Share your views with 50,000+ Malaysian students)

If you are a prospective college or university student, this post is for you. Well, a lot of things are going to change when you embark on this new journey of life. One of the most prominent things is that you will make a lot of new acquaintances, and chances are, whether you like it or not, you will have to deal/interact with students of different nationalities. Now, the good news is that perhaps you can get to know a little more about international students/expats prior to your commencement of studies after reading this post.

1) North South Korean: Mr. Kim Chiun a.k.a Kimchi 김지운 (Yongin)

Korea National Flag
"I had been in Malaysia for more than 4 years. I just went there for learning English, and personally I wanted to learn the Islamic culture and Malaysian culture. Actually I never had any opportunity to learn Islamic culture and Malaysian culture in Korea. That is why it fascinated me so much! I watched one episode in documentary about Southeast Asia and the cultures displayed there were so awesome."
Why did you choose Malaysia over other Southeast Asian countries?
"I guess Malaysia is one of the safest countries in SE Asia? I heard that there is no natural disaster in Malaysia. That's the only reason why I believe it is the safest. Obviously, Nasi Lemak would be one that I would never forget about Malaysia but I also really enjoyed listening to the Islamic prayer. That prayer was like morning alarm. Most importantly, Malaysian taxi driver!! I was like so excited for thrilled taxi ride! Misconception is that many friends of mine always think that Malaysia does not even have any access to the internet. However, obviously it is not true."
South Korean: Mr. Kim Chiun a.k.a Kimchi 김지운 (Yongin)
Kimchi on the left side of the picture is shown photobombed by a stranger photobombing a stranger
"Malaysians always think that all Korean men are damn handsome like how actors are in drama. Malaysians are very friendly in general but taxi drivers are rude to Koreans and Japanese (in my opinion). UMMMMM......The most peculiar norm I find is that all Malaysians do not have to go military service unless they are selected to do so, and female also have to go military service. In Korea, females are exempted."
Is there anything that you would like to add on?
"How to make Nasi Lemak??? Haha I really miss Nasi Lemak!!"

2) Canadian: Mr. Brandon Liew (Edmonton, Alberta)

Canada National Flag
"If I were to guess, I've stayed in Malaysia for about a total of 10 months due to family trips when I was younger. I came to Malaysia for vacation with my family."
Canadian: Mr. Brandon Liew (Edmonton, Alberta)
"I won't forget the food. The food is both delicious and cheap. I probably wouldn't forget how hot and humid the weather is there too."
Anyhow you have survived the hotness in Malaysia! What were the misconceptions you had about Malaysia before coming here?
"I can't really answer this since I've been to Malaysia ever since I was young. However, from the Malaysian friends I've had in Boston, I initially believed that Malaysians were not super fluent in English and had a limited understanding of popular culture in America. I was proven wrong once I made a lot of Malaysian friends at Berkelee and learned that for some of them, English is their first language, and that they are up to date with the latest pop culture in America."
Canadian: Mr. Brandon Liew (Edmonton, Alberta)
How about Malaysians's misconceptions of your home country? 
"This is hard since I've never asked any Malaysians. I can't think of many misconceptions other than the myth that Canadians say 'eh' a lot. I mean we do use it at the ends of our sentences, but not that much. Canada isn't any nicer or polite than Americans either which is evident through some our riots at sports events and racist crimes."
Canadian: Mr. Brandon Liew (Edmonton, Alberta)
"The Malaysians that I know are personable, easy to talk to, and very lively people. I've found that if they are passionate about something, I can usually feel it quite easily."
Canadian: Mr. Brandon Liew (Edmonton, Alberta)
"Malaysian slang can be quite interesting to decipher sometimes. Not sure if it's a norm, but the way that Malaysians mix and combine different languages to speak 'Manglish' is both marvelous and difficult for me to understand sometimes."

3) Japanese: Miss Julie Sasaki (Tokyo)

Japan National Flag
"This is my 4th year in Malaysia; I came here to study under the Canadian curriculum in Sunway. The languages in Malaysia are so unique because everyone mixes different dialects and slang. And I would never forget the heat in Malaysia. So hot! Why do I see people wearing long pants/shirts OMG!"
Japanese: Miss Julie Sasaki (Tokyo)
How does Malaysian stereotype Japanese in general?
"Everyone is an otaku (a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills) / we eat sushi everyday / everyone watches anime / there are still ninjas around! These are all the misconceptions. Malaysians in general are open minded, easy to mix with, understanding."
Japanese: Miss Julie Sasaki (Tokyo)
Ah, are there any norms you find particularly peculiar?
"People who ride motorcycles wear their jackets from the front / people can order things without a menu (mamak, hawker stores etc)"
People who ride motorcycles wear their jackets from the front
pic courtesy of paultan.org
 *Like... this? ONLY IN MALAYSIA*

4) Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong

Hong Kong National Flag
"I have been staying in Malaysia my whole life but I've always traveled back and forth between Hong Kong and Malaysia every 2/3 months or so to visit my dad since he's working and based in Hong Kong. I'm in Malaysia for educational purposes and also because my mum's a Malaysian; not forgetting Malaysia's good food as well!"
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
"There's a lot to love Malaysia for and one of the biggest reasons would be the sunny weather that Malaysia has all year-round. Believe it or not, coming from a country with four seasons is actually quite troublesome - imagine having to check the weather every day before heading out so you know what you've got to wear/ prepare and also imagine having to shop for crazily expensive seasonal clothes every 2 years or so, definitely not something that I look forward to personally! Furthermore, Malaysia is a beautiful country filled with richness in diversity, culture and opportunities! This comes from many factors such as its unity between races, it's thriving economy and more! I love how the country and its people has always been so accepting of not only me but many other fellow expats as well. Perhaps, that's one of the reasons why I feel extremely heavy hearted to leave the country for good in the coming fall as well."
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
" I've always grew up here so I don't have much misconceptions about the country but I do have a lot of friends back in Hong Kong who thinks that Malaysians can only speaks Malay since it's (Malay)sia! Not only that, there are also a lot of misconception of Southeast Asians consuming the weirdest foods from durian to fried bugs but I think that's just one of the many cultural specialty of this region of the world."
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
"Since Astro on Demand is quite huge in Malaysia, Malaysians tend to assume how Hong Kong actors act in these shows are how we, Hong Kongese would act in our daily lives as well. Think, extremely fierce-constantly annoyed and that's what many Malaysians would think of us."
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
"One norm in Malaysia that I can never understand and feel comfortable with is the extremely gender-centered mindset that a lot of Malaysians I've noticed to posses, even though they might not necessarily realize it. This can range in several areas in the Malaysian society, from jobs to titles and even household roles! I've noticed that there's a lot of constraints to jobs in Malaysia especially. For example, people would easily put a title to one's gender/sexuality based on one's job title. As for household roles, Malaysians tend to assign these roles/responsibilities to women only especially due to the mindset that men are supposed to be the bread maker of a family. However, with the recent awareness around feminism and gender equality, I do notice some movement in this mindset so that's great!"
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
"In my opinion, Malaysians in general are extremely friendly, kind and helpful! Although there may be a handful of people that aren't as described but there can't be a full basket of perfect apples without a couple of rotten ones so I completely understand that."
Hong Kongese: Miss Amanda Chong
"Malaysia has always and will be home to my heart and I strongly urge the youth of Malaysia to always come back to their very own roots here in the future. I know the country might not seem as bright now but there are a lot of hidden opportunities that you've never realized it's there and I believe that the future of the country lies in your hands. Good luck!"
Thank you Amanda! It was really elaborate!
Fabian Yii


Kindly visit Fabian Yii's blog (www.fabianyu.blogspot.com) to check out the complete list of interviewees on the post "What do people from other places around the world think about Malaysia?"

Fabian Yii was an SPM 2014 candidate. He scored A+ in all three pure science subjects. Science never fails to tickle his fancy since small and even to date. He previously shared his SPM tips on this blog: How to Study SPM Chemistry, Biology & Physics?


► Read more on Malaysia through the Eyes of International Students / Foreigners

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