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Friday, September 16, 2016

Be a better you, for a better Malaysia.

For a Better Malaysia

by Sanjay Madhav (Share your thought-provoking opinions with 54,000+ students in Malaysia!)

Malaysia Flag Bendera Malaysia Jalur Gemilang
"But I'm free."

The conveyor belt doesn't stop going round. Component after component gets placed by different, possibly disgruntled workers in each station.

"But I'm free."

The time doesn't stop all year round. One class takes the place of the other, often without a break, and is populated by different, and again, possibly disgruntled students.

"But I am free."

At the end of the conveyor belt, the finished products get their final inspections and are placed in their packaging, ready to be shipped out to whoever that has ordered them.

Approximately 15 years later, when the youthful joie de vivre has all but died down, these finished "products" get a roll of paper or two to signify their "passing" of final "inspections" and are shipped out to the outside world - the real world - to be employees, or if fortunate enough, employers themselves.

And then both products of the system outlive their purposes and are forgotten.

"But I'm free!"

It is imperative to know that yours truly is also a student, currently pursuing a diploma in a college not far from where I live. And to be really honest, I was not the best student ever back in secondary school, and my SPM results are not what exactly most would categorise in the "high achiever" category. Thus, most people revert to say that I've wasted my time, and I'm not a smart student.

Bring yourself to understand the first few paragraphs that I've written. Do you see the likeness between factory made products and the products of the Malaysian education system? We've mostly been products of the system for so long now, under the false pretense of freedom, financial security and whatever else that has been thrown at us just so we can complete our terms in school with a string of A's - thought to be a viable gauge to who we really are.

I say mostly in the paragraph above because I know I am not the only one who thinks this way. I am also very certain the most of you would want a more progressive nation, populated with thinkers - young and old. All of this brings me neatly to the crux of this essay - we as students of this beautiful country really have got to wake up, now more than ever.

I am going to say what you might have already know, just to drive the point home. The current education system is getting increasingly archaic, and the reliance on examinations is doing more harm than good. An exam-oriented system is never a good thing in fact. In my humble opinion, it actually contradicts the Government's Transformation plan in some ways.

To serve as an example, the present system actually encourages the "every student for themselves" mindset. This is borne due to the fact that students these days are being forced to work on their own. There's no real learning going on. It's plainly just memorising. I have firsthand accounts of this taking place. The small talk still takes place, but when it comes to academia and helping each other, they barely know each other anymore. The "weaker" students resort to copying the work of the "better" students, just so they can score better in the upcoming exams. And if this is being bred during school years, what hope do we have that these students will grow into responsible adults who can appreciate the value of teamwork, especially among other races?

Now, I cannot shoulder all the blame on the students for this taking place. You are formed from the mould you are shaped in. When everyone they know - and I mean everyone - puts emphasis on exams, exams, exams....they'll crack under the pressure. They feel obliged to do their best FOR them. "I want to prove that I can be the best in this set of prerequisites." "I am not a nobody who can't get ten A's."

Don't you think these words coincide with the notion, "I am free."?

Truth be told, the current batch of students we have nationwide are really living under a false pretense of freedom. We hear all this talk of being good students nets us good jobs which in turn, brings in the good money and supposedly results in better lives. This is what all of us has been forced fed with. These days, success is a cheap thing, get some good grades, net yourself some good money, don't complain about anything because things are all fine and dandy.

It's only fine and dandy if you're ignorant. That is what the higher uppers want us to think, but ultimately all thought control is in our hands. Everything is twisted right now. The education system, thought patterns, lack of curiosity....everything.

I keep driving this point home because it matters to me so much. I love this country, and I would do my best to see it prosper and rise amongst the best nations in the world. One that is constantly looked up on, not like the position we are in now. Unfortunately society's perception of success these days is a twisted one; top grades shouldn't be the number one thing on every student's mind.

What I mean is this - more of us need to stand up, be awake, and not just confined to being yet another mass produced graduate to be used and abused in the working world. There is more to life than that. Each and every one of us have our brains which we should be using for more than just memorising dates and chemical equations.

We should use them for thinking; for learning. It will be a waste to leave them as it is and just be "sheeple". Think more. Think about whether all you've been learning for so long have really entered your minds or otherwise. To those dipping their feet into tertiary education, do what you really love, what your heart burns for and not just what people say "can make you rich wan..."

Think about how you can enrich your lives. Looking at it only from a financial perspective is thinking small, think about how you can educate the others, how you can help our country break from its shell and be what it really is. Because as Abraham Lincoln said, it's not the years in your life that count - it's the life in your years.

That said, let's all be who we really are first. Learn about ourselves, what makes us tick, what makes us who we are. I want to end with my favourite quote from the legendary Bob Marley, "None but ourselves can free our minds."

Only you hold the key to a better you, a better nation.

Sanjay Madhav
Sanjay Madhav, is an 20 year old car enthusiast born and bred in Kuala Lumpur. He is currently pursuing a Diploma in Mass Communications. Whenever not caught up between assignments or on the computer, he passes time by collecting scale model cars.
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