Hey guys, welcome to 2020 and you need to know this moving forward in Education and the Economy!

The world has now finally had a taste of what “unschooling” feels like. Lockdown brought it around the block! The title of this blog, “Unschool Me Today” has become a reality for the entire world.

The thing about experiences and hierarchies – and in this case, hierarchy of experiences, is that once you have had a taste of bliss and freedom you begin to see how possible it is to reject the status quo that isn’t working.

First, I want to acknowledge that most parents are not ready for unschooling or deschooling. This is especially true for those who are working class or whose parents were not educated enough to accrue some benefits to themselves in terms of freedom and options in life. It is also overwhelming for the full-time home-maker who did not “opt for this lifestyle”. Many women prefer working in paid-jobs outside the home because at home they have to take on TWO full-time jobs.

I’m joyously swimming into the world of online learning . I’ll update this blog once all my courses are whistling along . In the meantime, I’ve joined the wonderful world of e commerce, entertainment and e learning. More fun , more freedom, more creative and intellectual expression, more joy and no more perpetually exchanging time for money. What’s more, I can reach MORE PEOPLE outside of my little island here.

But first, some highlights and announcements :

For several years, people have been using Facebook groups as part of their eLearning,………. There’s solid, this-decade research that shows how social media can be highly effective in powering social learning. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1977) anticipated the rise of social media in the 2000s by proposing that people learn from one another through observation, imitation, and modeling. Then in 2012-2013, social network analysis started emerging when researchers began to study people in online social communities such as Facebook as well as non-tech social networks such as clubs, families, friendship groups, hobby groups, professional associations, and political parties.

Why Facebook Adopted Social Learning, And How You Can Set Up A Social Learning Group, Garth von Buchholz

If for any reason you miss me you can now have conversations with me on Facebook. My WordPress theme used to have a widget for me to feed my Facebook Page / groups but that’s gone now? So here are your resources to connect instead and what you get from each of those channels :

Facebook (currently Public) group that brings together the convergence of the indisputable new norm of the future : e-commerce AND e-learning. You really can’t do one without the other these days and I will explain why in a post I will make in that group.

Click this and join me there :

What you will get by joining :

– discover your right to do what you love and how to make money doing it- develop a clear understanding what the future of education looks like for your children

– develop a clear understanding of what the future can be like for your children. Do what they love, have a sustainable way of surviving and thriving, working because they choose to not because they have to.

– learn thousands and thousands worth of trainings and course materials about sales and marketing, getting started with e-learning, e-commerce, affiliate marketing, digital marketing, minus all the marketing fluff you have to swim through to get to the real value when you buy most highly-marketed courses you see advertised.

Meet me face to face. I have an online booking system on that site with my number so you can connect with me if you are in Penang. Check out what I have actually been doing instead of “homeschooling” and “teaching English” once I left the school system that was just waiting to collapse on itself.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the NEW ECONOMY and the FUTURE OF EDUCATION.


Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Steps to Replicating Unconscious Brilliance

I believe an unseen force is using Richard Thaler’s Nudge Theory on me. In the past few months several seemingly unrelated events have stacked up to put me on a certain path in taking certain actions.

If you know that you’re someone who can cause Transformationmial or higher order thinking change in society but you don’t feel like you are reaching as many people as you should and it’s taking too long – that’s because there’s only one of you and you’re limited by time and energy.

I got my wake up call during MCO about no more pussy footing and putting around the hole. You still putting around the hole? Well, I’m not here to save the world . I’m just here to pay back all the training and blessings I’ve received from the universe. In a world where few can afford the hundreds of thousands in abundance required to reach a certain frequency , in a world where sacrifices have been made to a point little else can be sacrificed and given up, it is a moral imperative to step up, serve , elevate with our gifts.

Replicating yourself – Why?

Reach more people and deliver your mission on behalf of you. This could mean proxies like books , workbooks, guides, licensing, online curriculum, marketing agents, or other kinds of vehicles /proxies that can distribute, replicate you in a way more can consume your brilliance, message, mission and passion without needing to have one on one or face to face interaction with you .


Do you rely heavily on instinct, impulse , insights, confidence, communication and people skills to deliver your message? Stop. Replicate the brilliance. Now.

Step 1 : Ask and It is Given. You really need to ask your subconscious mind for permission to language what it does. In my case , I wanted to create tangible, replicable commoditizing out of the software I’ve been installing in my students . I am clear about the fact that energy at a quantum level is being transferred as I’ve been noticing this over 15 years . Many times my students ask why they feel exhausted. I tell them that when new data is clearing out old energy or old data it is very common to feel drained . But during their sleep vibration resets the patterns . And when they wake up they have a choice to continue on this new trail of breadcrumbs or to repeat the patterns of the past .

Even though I can unconsciously do great in a class or coaching program operating at a level of change in field and quantum I have not been able to language and automate it consciously so that other people can learn how and replicate what I do : to cause Transformational and regenerative learning without me being there to deliver it .

I accept that to commoditize brilliance will cause loss of fidelity during transfer because the sum of my cognitive processes as a commodity is transferable only to the degree of the recipients frequency at the quantum field. However , the commodity can be increasingly “unzipped” over time as the recipient sets intention to increase their own frequency in the quantum field . Even if the initial uptake by the recipient could not accommodate the full fidelity of the transfer protocol at present time , it can, once its own bandwidth increases, uptake the rest.

In 5 year old terms – Something you learned a long time ago will suddenly turn into an epiphany.

So if I don’t translate my unconscious cognitive processes into a conscious learning system, it cannot provide a future “ah-ha” moment for someone else. Call it research, call it theory……. it needs to be languaged in order to be replicable in a way that serves a contribution to the Time – Space reality of 3D.

Be very specific and ask for a buffet. The subconscious doesn’t follow our conscious rules about time and space. Our conscious limits our thinking to how much can be done, how long it will take , how much you’ll need to travel, do , etc. You may think that asking for a lot makes it impossible to achieve. The subconscious doesn’t question the command you give it. It just gathers data that makes what you want possible.

Step 2 : You must have a very strong emotional feeling around WHY you need the subconscious to send the blueprint or map to your Conscious. Your subconscious doesn’t release answers that come from Super Conscious into your conscious until it has a higher emotional vibration calling to it .

As I’m editing the second draft of this article which I received the nudge to begin this morning I received an epiphany that the steps I’m explaining here on how to Replicate Unconscious Brilliance is EXACTLY the process Napoleon Hill experienced when writing his famous book. I am observing my experience of the same experience Hill had when he began to witness how the subconscious mind works .

By explaining the steps here about replicating “how we do great” I’m describing the same sequence Hill says is how someone manifests from the quantum field . I did not begin this article thinking about Hill. But I did ASK for confirmation that my steps are valid. And the subconscious popped a notification into my Conscious 12 hours later and 3 hours after returning from an invigorating coaching session .

Having A Very Strong Emotional Feeling.

In my case, I committed to serving the world with my brilliance . Not so much because it’s learning English but because acquiring English is switching up to a higher performance vehicle that can accelerate people achieving goals and a vision they have of themselves. My elevated emotion behind this article is that of deep love and care for the many unemployed, don’t know why they exist, have become retrenched, young and jobless. To help them see that this is a time of Opportunity, not despair .

Last night I uploaded my first vlog where I debunked our legendary Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad Mohamad’s beliefs about the Malay Dilemma and human values. It’s a very “rough” unscripted video with long , first single takes that I completed in under one hour. (Editing and transcribing took 1 more day). But creating that debunking vlog greatly elevated my emotions, faith , love and care for Malaysia.

“Serving your brilliance” is the Emotional WHY aka strong intention. Serving my brilliance might sound like an extremely egotistical pursuit of self – promotion . But when you give yourself permission to Shine you allow others to give themselves that same permission. So it’s not really self – promotion or about you. It’s about sacrificing yourself playing small so that you help others free themselves from playing small. It’s about promoting your own value so that others have permission to realize they do have value above and beyond a life as a slave to money or identity .

Step 3 : Reducing Complexity. As the answers trickle in, practice rewriting your scripts and narrative and reduce 90% of what you need to say and say it at a level a 5 year old can understand. When people read your thoughts they should come away with the feeling of , “Yeah , it’s so simple and obvious, doesn’t take a genius, even I could’ve thought of that / written that / done that.” – That’s the exact takeaway people should get. It’s so damn obvious and easy once you do it ,show it or explain it that way .

This doesn’t mean you’re stupid or simple . This means you can write , produce , explain something that even though someone else mentally claims in their head, “So simple, even i know that”, the reality is they DIDN’T write it . They DIDN’T publish it . They’re not EARNING INCOME and BEING PAID for it . You are being paid for “naming it and claiming it”.

I can assure you that 100% of the time the reason people are not being paid for what they know is because they don’t know what they know. AKA – they can’t translate unconscious brilliance. However, they recognize themselves mirrored by you. If they’re honest they’ll acknowledge your brilliance in mirroring their own brilliance and be willing to model that. If they’re unaware they will respond with their shadow side and call you “simple and obvious”.

I know this coz I’ve lived it.

Step 4 : This, you know already . Use a graphical or structural model to represent all your cognitive processes and data. I’ve used pyramids, tetrahedron that became icosahedron, buckets, trains, carousel . This is chicken feed for most of you.

Step 5 : This is the most important step . Follow the nudges. It isn’t a straight and narrow path . Your unconscious maps out very precise and specific answers to your query and like Steve Jobs says , “You can’t connect the dots looking forward “.Just follow the instructions from your unconscious and don’t question it . When you look back you’ll see the pattern.

OPTIONAL STEP : This was used by ancient people to accelerate the manifestation of their vision . It is called Darshan, a transfer of power supply by being in the field of proximity. To “port in” with another person who is already ported in. If you feel stuck why it takes so many years to figure something just port into another person’s field to get a power boost. This is the reason why people say, “When the student is ready, the teacher will show up”.

To know the correct port to port in, Step 5 is critical. If the nudges tell you to be spontaneous , to follow your impulse even if you don’t see any immediate benefit, just say “YES “. Sometimes the nudges will ask you to avoid something that looks like a great opportunity but doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s not the right time . To know the difference between a good nudge and an avoidance nudge will be the subject of a future post.


Welcome , Alice, to the Wonderland . Follow the white rabbit.

Step 6 : Personal Branding enables scalability to distribute through marketing a solution or process of brilliance that is rendered replicable because it has been formulated into steps and models and systemized in how it should be produced

That’s a mouthful. Re-read as many times as needed .

To your brilliance,

Lovinia / Sloane.

No such thing as Malay or Malaysian Dilemma. Tun Mahathir Mohamad vs Me.

I was going to reply to a comment on my YouTube vlog with a link to reference Mel Levine’s, “Myth of Laziness”. While Googling “Myth of Laz….. ” to find a reference to share Google suggested and revealed a book by a man called Syed Hussein Alatas. Has anyone heard of him before?

Coz if you know him please let him know I think he’s brilliant for agreeing with me, LOLLLL

Don’t blame your students.

This post is about my experience as an adult distance-education student of USM’s PJJ program. I’m in my second year and it has been a disastrous start. In about one more month it will be our 3-week long “intensive”, a period of psychological incarceration of sorts. It was last year during this “intensive” phase of the program that I experienced my first psychologically distressing episode. Lecturers speak disparagingly of us students and I learned that my peers have been sanctioned by their “seniors” who recommended this pursuit to them, to plagiarize. My entire vision of what adult education in a tertiary setting would be crashed and burned. I am left with no aspirations nor hope for intellectual nor positive personal growth and only the expectation of completion. I don’t even intend to attend my graduation as it is paying homage to an experience that is mostly distressing, unmotivating and downright disappointing.

My disgruntlement for this semester began when I logged in to the portal at the beginning of the semester in August to discover that there is absolutely NO NEW INFORMATION on our courses nor the calendar of events (assignments, instructions and deadlines, etc). The lecturers have 6 months between the end of the intensive period to the start of the new semester. Marking of exam scripts, every examiner goes through a period of 1-3 weeks of doing little except getting blurry-eyed from marking papers and making sure the correct grades are entered. Nothing in September, October. A random webex here and there. All webex sessions are a waste of time but lecturers like to use it against us and justify that our non-commitment to attending their webex causes us to deserve our bad grades. End of November, I checked in. I was overdue in registering for a group. No indication of needing to register for a group was mentioned in any handbook or directive or manual or email at the start of the semester. Anyway, long story short, my experience has been shitty. And the lecturers at USM-PJJ are really good at making “non ideal” students their alibi. There will always be that minority, that exception, almost always someone who is a government servant or suffers from some kind of social impairment (i.e. incapable of having a social life or family or hold on to a job or run a business, etc) who prioritizes getting good grades and commits to their studies with religious fervor. The way USM-PJJ is set up it is an oxymoron to say that anyone’s motivation is driven by a love for learning.

At USM-PJJ it is futile to bring up anything to the lecturers or Academic Chairman (Pengerusi Akademik) or even the Dean. The problem is systemic and philosophical in nature. I lined three situations side by side and made a comparison. Higher Education Adult Continuous Learning, the workforce / corporate training industry in Malaysia and being a marketer with BANK. My takeaway is that Communication is at the epicenter of systemic failure or gaining velocity and momentum. I concluded that as a person in a position of authority, whether that be a parent, a teacher or an employer, we have to completely eliminate the habit of using other people as our alibi.

As a parent we cannot and must not blame our children for our temper, our violence or our stress. We cannot blame them for their misbehavior or lack of impulse control. We need to look at the systems, management, values and philosophy of our parenting. This often means looking into the deep recesses of our shadows. As a younger parent I constantly blamed my daughter for her behaviors and attitudes and transferred so much of my dysfunctional patterns and imprinting both the best and usually the worst, parts of myself on her.

As academics, lecturers at USM default to blaming “the kinds of students” the school attracts. It is an alibi they repeat and believe and thus renders it unnecessary to question or probe deeper. It is a chorus they sing : “Our students,year after year, are not quality students.” The lecturers are quick to react and defend themselves should anyone suggest otherwise. It is their anthem and what they use to survive the mundane and uninspiring existence as PJJ facility. At first, I believed them. Until I too became a “victim” of their lack of insight and imagination as faculty members.

As employers, bosses and HR Managers are constantly complaining about office politics, lack of productivity and motivation and a host of other “non-aligned, non-ideal” behaviors. In all the above examples, it reflects a philosophy,one of “them versus us”. What’s our alternative? A viable one?

Now, I don’t want you to think that every child, student or employee is “ideal and perfect”. Coming from that would be akin to creating another alibi for the lack of vision and leadership of parents, teachers and employers. Instead, what I am saying is that when we create that space for a family, a learning community or a workforce to come together and exist, we have to take responsibility for how we lead, motivate and inspire. People come into that space to teach us something about ourselves as a parent, teacher and employer. We are in positions of leadership and we cannot default to a kind of leadership by authority and entitlement.

I am inspired by Napoleon Hill’s principle in saying this : when a group of people come together, it is not just about a spirit of co-operation but to get one another to be able to access the spiritual potential of another. That is an exceptionally tall order but one we must aim for in spite of the fact we can barely get people to co-operate, what more, to harmonize. There are two perspectives to leadership : (1) get people who have come into that space we created, get them to conform or else……..(2) use their willingness to enter the space we created as an opportunity for us to discover things about ourselves.

We transform ourselves so that that transformation reverberates across that space and, to use a cliche, “lead by example.” Creating resonance and a spirit of harmony towards a shared vision or goals comes with its percentage of failure. People have free will and people have neuroses. Our job is to inspire, love and support but not to be a therapist or enabler of their alibis. The first thing to do is to take full and complete responsibility for people’s lack of engagement and participation. The second task at hand is to give people as many tools as we can so they are able to learn and help themselves. Finally, we need to create space for people who cannot resonate with our vision to leave instead of keeping them around through bribery or promise of an even better future if they stay. But when we create space for them to leave we have to be true to ourselves that we have given them every tool possible to transform, every level of support and non-bias treatment and leaving a light on for them should they wish to re-enter that space. Even in severance there must be peace and harmony and a spirit of co-operation.

Native English Speakers are superior to local ESL teachers.

Did you arrive on this page because you were looking for information to confirm the belief that NES are better than local teachers? If that’s the case, like many Malaysian parents, you’ve been scammed.

The title is a marketing gimmick, a “bait and switch” to land you on this page. It’s not unlike what some companies are doing to sell a value proposition that isn’t only NOT based on any kind of research or evidence but is willfully perpetuating a logical fallacy to take advantage of people’s lack of information.

There are two kinds of businesses in the knowledge economy – those whose ethos is about delivering knowledge and information to those who desire to do something with them and those in the business of taking advantage of people’s gaps in knowledge and then selling logical fallacies.

I mentioned earlier that the title of this blog post is a “bait and switch”. The difference between that and companies that perpetuate the myth of the superiority of NESTs is that there is no “switch” in the latter. It’s just bait. Once you take it hook, line and sinker, that’s it. It becomes YOUR FAULT if you are not getting the type of progress you’re hoping for.

This is not a NEST-bashing post. I’ve seen enough research papers, listened to and read the personal experiences and insights of NESTs (who do know their thing) to not find any further need to add to the debate from the angle of defending the NonNEST.

I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate and tell you what’s the real value of the NEST.

(If you want information to dispel the NEST-is-superior logical fallacy, you can start here and here.)

First of all, the premise : Malaysia.- I don’t know if this is true everywhere in the world but at least in Malaysia, lazy and incompetent speakers of English (I’m talking about NonNES) who ended up teaching, are the norm rather than the exception. It infuriates me that people think they are competent enough to teach English simply because they can speak it. NonNESTS are equally as guilty of this as NES.

No, no, no! Being able to speak English, contrary to popular belief, is not a qualifier to teach ESL! For those who think they should be paid to teach English by virtue of the fact they can use it fluently I tell them to quit their day job and make it a profession thus putting their money where their mouth is.

Unless of course it’s already their day job – it makes it even worse that they mentally see themselves on some kind of social pedestal and as such deserve the privilege of speaking so condescendingly about learners of English. It pisses the shit out of me when I listen to peers complaining about how “bad” their students are in English. It isn’t a joke or something worth complaining about! It’s a crisis that requires professional intervention, not personal judgment!

In spite of the fact that I agree

(1) getting NESTs to train local teachers is undermining the credibility of local teachers (and a waste of time and money)

(2) it is borderline immoral and smacks of apartheid to market one’s value proposition on the basis of “we only hire native speakers” (and, frankly, illegal….)

if we view NESTs first as individuals rather than race or nationality, we can see that anyone willing to uproot themselves to go to another country and pursue their passion in uplifting the lives of others through education is deeply deserving of our goodwill and respect. As such, a NEST who fits that description is a boon to my community. Local teachers, both in the public and private sector, sitting on some delusional pedestal, ought to take a leaf from the dedication of NESTs devoted to the ESL profession.

I judge each NEST as a colleague and never by virtue of their race or nationality. As a local ESL practitioner, I would argue for how we must not underestimate the virtue, ethics and (hopefully moral integrity and character) of someone who has traveled abroad to make a contribution where their talents and gifts can make a difference to people’s lives. (We’ve had so many scares with pedos masquerading as NESTs). That’s the same kind of respect and goodwill that we ought to extend to domestic help, health workers, teachers. Never mind that they work in the private sector driven by capitalist aims. In the end, there is a transfer of tangible social value to society at large. That’s where the real value of a NEST lies.

Back to the claims about NEST superiority, I do find fault in the argument that native speakers are better at teaching pronunciation, phonological awareness, culture and “are more comfortable using the language and can offer a richer vocabulary.”

I’ll first dismiss the idea that I am an exception rather than the norm before I go into details that will demolish the last few pillars peddling NEST supremacy.

(1) With IPA and the ubiquitous presence of audio clip icons available online, how can pronunciation go wrong?

(2) Culture – I think we have all agreed, a few decades back, that English now belongs to the global domain. If you’re going to learn about “culture” in an ESL classroom, make sure it covers the Northern and Southern blocs and Eastern and Western hemispheres and post-colonial societies! What’s the point of being an educated person if we don’t have a global mindset but instead adopt a faux British-centric / American – centric worldview?

(3) Once a NNES gets to C2 level, they’ve mastered all the vocabulary they need and have arrived long and well at a place they’re comfortable using English in any context. Never mind that they retain colloquial use and slang and make up their own phrasal verbs and idioms. I used to like telling my students that the only reason to learn grammar rules is so we eventually earn the privilege to break them!

The only reason a NES would think a NNEST can’t possibly have as rich a vocabulary or be as comfortable as they are using English is because the NES doesn’t know what sorts of things are tested for at a C2 level. Age and educational attainment do a lot more for language development than being a native speaker. My former young British au pair said he needed to upgrade his vocabulary just to be able to hold complex conversations with me to questions he had been seeking answers to before leaving England.

A NonNES from an urban setting who has had a quality education is in a better position to use English at a higher level than a NES from a rural or suburban setting ceteris paribus. This is because, in any environment contributing to cognitive development, the conditions of the home (highly literate or not) and school supercede all other gains from “mother tongue” alone.

Back to the “we only hire native English speaker teachers” official policy, it is distasteful for anyone to peddle logical fallacies and perpetuate myths. But remember, education in Malaysia exists in a neoliberal form. If pandering to the lowest, common denominator sells, why not? It only serves to cement Malaysia’s self – perpetuating image as a nation of pariahs. Would something like this sell in our neighbor to the south? Even to neighbors to our north? I think Thais have too much pride to allow this kind of backhanded attempt at establishing a hierarchy of values at the cost of diminishing the reputation and pride of their local professionals. Singaporeans would have an outcry and defend their Singlish instead.

But Malaysia is 38.com.my

I am conflicted on whether I would want to accept an offer from a company whose value proposition is “we only hire NESTs”. On one hand, I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t think the company is doing certain things right (managing things professionally, being selective, investing to be well resourced) and if I didn’t think I could add value to their future direction. There’s so much opportunity to monopolize the local market by playing on the strengths of both committed NESTs and NNESTs. There are tens of thousands of people we can serve and provide added value to and elevating their prospects for the future. There is so much we can add to the intellectual equity of the workplace and on the literature of TESL in South East Asia.

As a professional and sociologist, all the arguments above stand. But in a neoliberal education market we can only serve one master : Capitalistic values or social values. Teachers in the private sector do not have the luxury of marrying their social and intellectual ideals with their capitalist ambitions. Even when we try, our social and intellectual values will be subordinate to capitalist values because that’s what pays the salaries.

The deciding agent is the Entrepreneur. They select the tastes and appetites the markets will develop UNLESS institutional policies intervene, as with the case in Singapore. Until and unless I have the wherewithal to scale as an E, I can neither influence how the market behaves nor the fact that they’re buying into a self – defeating logical fallacy.

Which matters more ? Better teachers or better learning processes?

What if the shortage of gifted, committed, teachers were a problem? (It is).

What if the best students get held back by a mediocre education system? (They are).

What if students who are already academically behind because of socioeconomic inequalities get left FURTHER behind because the students in the top 20% pull away and the top 60% push harder to pull up behind the front runners?

What if education became the Great Unequalizer?

Would a country be better off having 80% of its people of working age performing below their intellectual and other capabilities in order to accommodate the feelings of the 20% who cannot catch up?

Would a country be better off losing its top 20% to other economies because of a lack of educational stimulation or challenging and rewarding enough career opportunities at home?

I answered the first two questions. You, the reader, will have to answer the rest and see what it means for our country in terms of unity, integrity and prosperity.

The NEP was designed to bring the bottom 20% up and in doing so it created opportunities for 50% to have a false sense of achievement, 20% to leave and 10% struggling to make sense of the reality they are trapped in. We have a sum of mostly very average to inadequately mature or informed people forming the bulk of our population and labor market. They’re too smart for blue collar work and too dumb to create dynamic solutions and growth to match the world economy.

Catering to the bottom most portion has proven to be a disaster in the long run. And now we have to make a turn around and be an elitist society where the cream of the crop in schooling, are again, valued and worshipped and set the tone for the majority in the middle to pull up and  improve their personal standards.

Here’s the writing on the wall : (Parents, read this very carefully) :

1. The party is over. There are no more short cuts. All those years of criticizing the MOE for producing students who only know how to regurgitate answers? All those years criticizing endless tuition because the teachers at school are not skilled enough to transfer learning and asked students to attend tuition outside? That era is over.

2. If you are in the bottom 20 – 30% you will get increasingly left behind. This is more true of your family’s economic prospects and educational level than it is for your child’s one-time school results. If you are reading this blog you are likely in the middle 60%. The question is how to not be so far behind the top 20% that your children have to compete very hard in the open market with other 50% – 60%.

3. It is a scary time for unskilled teachers who are used to teaching by the book, buying workbooks, relying on smart boards and copy and paste for their school based assessments. It is a scary time for tuition teachers who rely on books that can be bought or imported to photocopy and let students practice in class. This is not the end of all published materials. Books and worksheets, along with other resources, will be used. The key word here is “rely”. Meaning, the teacher has to go through the book or material first before entering class and prepare the answers first in order to have the confidence to teach. KBAT will be extremely problematic for these teachers.

4.English – The focus and theme of this blog : I’m sorry, but your “pasar English” and communicative competence was enough to serve your needs during your time. However, for your children’s generation, they are coming up against a global world of ESL speakers who rank and judge each other by their level of intellectual clarity, diction and PROFICIENCY in Received Pronunciation English. Your Malaysian English may be good enough to communicate basic instructions to customers but in a future where computers are handling all basic correspondences and we need human beings to research, influence, persuade, negotiate, make an impression – your children’s level of English, unfortunately, reflects whether they had a prestigious education or not.

I’ll give you an example of how 20 years makes a difference. Whenever a 50 or 60 year old aunty realizes I have kids with a foreigner, their automatic assumption is I must have been relatively educated. I asked them why do they say that? They said it must be because I am able to speak in English that I am able to marry a foreigner. I find this HILARIOUS for 2 reasons. Why didn’t they think the foreigner is a Bangladeshi or someone from a generally non-English speaking country? Is it because Chinese women are of a higher social status than immigrant? Or that Malaysian women will want to “marry up” and the way to do that is being educated enough to be fluent in English? And why did they think being able to speak English is a pre-requisite to “marry up” ? (Since they have absolutely eliminated the possibility of me “coupling down”)

20 years, 30 years ago, being able to speak English was a tool for upward social mobility. Nowadays, even Thai prostitutes can speak enough English for upward mobility. We now judge and rank people not by their ability to communicate in” enough English to marry a foreigner” but in their ability to lead, persuade and influence. And in the future, if you only look across the Causeway at Singapore, the trend is starting that if you have broken English or do not write or speak with a certain level of diction and clarity, your “commercial and economic prospects” and respectability, among other things, become diminished.

5. Your children can’t get into the top 20% cream of the crop doing the exact same things the years before have done. You can’t actually go to any of the many tuition centres or hire untrained “freelance” tuition teachers who are not experienced and knowledgeable about how HOT and KBAT works to help your child get into the top 20%. What is possible is to be mentored under former professionals in their field who have trained others in systematic thinking and practice. It is one thing to help your child with someone supervising your child’s work but you could be sabotaging your child if the person who is his or her tutor either drills your child for answers or makes your child accommodate their old way of thinking of obtaining answers. You have to think carefully about whether your child will model after Lower Order Thinking processes (the common practice) or Higher Order Thinking (the way forward to the future.)

So, now, let’s look at this scenario of all the points above and put them together – is the answer better and more qualified teachers? Have you come to agreement about Higher Order Thinking becoming the aims of Malaysian education? Or do you think we still want to focus on school children memorizing, regurgitating, going to tuition and spitting out answers? Do you want a nation of Straight A-s who can’t think creatively and critically? Or do you prefer a tested solution where with enough tuition and stress the child will get 90 to 100 marks without understanding anything they’ve learned or why.

If you have any questions and comments please put them below or on my Facebook post and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Those Who Are Ahead, Stay Ahead.

After interviewing applicants with a minimum diploma / degree for the position of part-time English teacher I will conclude that the rot starts in Early Childhood Education.

Kindergartens are forcing children to learn by rote so that they can impress the parents who want their kids to be “ready for Standard 1”.

EC Educators pass the rot over to primary schools who continue to drill the learning and creative capacities out of these children in order to inflate test results.

As long as these children were passing dodgy “tests” they get passed on and on the conveyor belt, get to secondary school where it gets harder and harder to address the problem of learners who are incapable of higher order or complex thinking and incapable of acquiring the language competency to express complex thinking.

Finally, when these kids get to college or university the lecturers will LITERALLY GIVE THEM THE ANSWERS in order to meet the passing rate required.

Having written a course for a local college to obtain accreditation from MQA I know that it is with good intentions that the government says, “If your college is unable to teach this subject to a level of competence, we’re going to revoke your probationary accreditation.”

The colleges and universities, on the other hand, have to deal with a quality of students who are not self-directed and who cannot perform at any level above being spoon-fed.

Continue reading “Those Who Are Ahead, Stay Ahead.”

Barking Up The Wrong Tree Twice Over.

How is a lack of proficiency in the English language for a country where English is not a native language and a dismissive attitude towards a national language, a defining factor for unity – even related ? How does one who makes it to CEO and MD of a major newspaper like The Star be of such limited maturity to make such a simplistic and unrelated connection?

First, if any country is to be justifiably worried about a lack of proficiency in English, it’s the USA. English is supposed to be their native language and for a lot of them it’s probably the only language they know. In a way their native speakers are as illiterate in their first language as the Malaysians in our country that do not or cannot read and write proficiently in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia. (The issue was politicized by a local right-wing politician from a Southern Peninsula state.)

I have mentioned several times that I honestly believe that those who do not attempt to learn Bahasa Malaysia to a level of at least being able to function in daily life deserve to have their citizenship revoked.

The reason?

Their barriers to learning BM is a reflection of their prejudice towards the majority ethnic group. Their continued existence in our country, passing their prejudice down to their children, will breed disunity and disharmony and in the long-run, those who cannot assimilate into the Malaysian society become a threat to national peace and progress.


Whenever I come across Malaysians I have to translate for I will add, “How old are you by now? Even migrant workers who have been in our country for a few months can speak conversational Malay and understand what’s going on. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself that you have a right to vote and enjoy the peace and infrastructure and opportunities in this country yet cannot speak its language? Do you know that if you did not speak English or any native language of a foreign country you or your children would not be considered for citizenship? How will you integrate with the community and add value to the collective if you cannot assimilate?”

Let’s hold on for a minute before we get to why people hate learning Bahasa Malaysia and associating themselves with Malays through a common language. I’ll address that later.

First, why we have to keep an open mind when it comes to learning Bahasa Malaysia.

I am a language lover. “Bahasa itu jiwa bangsa”. Language and identity (Ego) is intertwined. “Tak kenal maka tak cinta”. You cannot respect or love an identity outside of your immediate Ego if you do not attempt to interpret the world through their filter and language is a HUGE lens in how we view the world.

When I started teaching in a Chinese school many of my friends asked me, “How can you stand being in a ching-chong environment and dealing with the mindset of Chinese-educated people?” –  I love languages. I’m good at them. It’s not personal!

A lot of my old friends made fun of the fact that I am now an “Ah Lian” for associating with Chinese-speaking people. They say I am mixing with “rough people without decorum and manners, lack ethics and are tactless and unprincipled, unscrupulous and selfish.”

My point ?

Many English-speaking people especially those from an urban upbringing discriminate against those who don’t speak English well.  They are pretentious and ignorant and greatly disadvantaged when it comes to maturity in how they think but they don’t know it. English-speaking, Western-leaning people, discriminate against Chinese-speaking people and the Chinese culture (including other-language speaking people and their culture) the way Chinese-speaking, Chinese-leaning people in Malaysia discriminate against Malays and thus, the learning of Bahasa Malaysia.

I will not deny that there is a hierarchy of language and because of its economic and social currency, English ranks the highest. It does not mean the possession of proficiency in that currency makes one superior by association with it but unfortunately way too many short-sighted people believe a proficiency in the colonial master’s language affords them prestige or status by mere mastery of the desired language.

To be fair, the problem is not the former colonial master’s language. History has seen how other languages (Latin, French) have had their days of glory as the language that ranks top in the hierarchy of languages. “Got Latin, can travel.”

The problem is the negative associations we make with any language that has very little social and economic value in a local or global context. Not being proficient in English may cost you in the employment marketplace. Not being proficient in Bahasa Malaysia will not.

Among linguists and language lovers learning a language is primarily about expanding ourselves by learning from the worldview of others and exploring and appreciating their culture, beliefs and habits. Language learning of a non-native language has always been the luxury of those with surplus time, money or verbal-linguistic prowess. That is how language should be learned – to understand the viewpoints of someone else. And that is what the Malaysian government is hoping to achieve – to defend the identity, significance and value of the Malay culture and to expand on them and impress them upon others if possible.

In Malaysia this intention has become misplaced when Bahasa Malaysia was forced upon everyone and made a mandatory subject and medium of instruction. The Bahasa Malaysia agenda has turned into a Nazi-like propaganda.

It is definitely a wrong approach to force Bahasa Malaysia unto both Malays and non-Malays while displays of the ineptness and retrogressive ways of “Melayu” exists all around. The Malay culture as a whole and how it is projected by media is unappealing to progressive minded people. An affinity for gossip and rumor mongering, belief in the supernatural, use of black magic, obsession with sex and porn / rape / incest culture, illegal racing, drugs – these dominate our perception of Malay culture.

A Democratic Approach to Bahasa Malaysia.

At the core of my language learning philosophy is the Affective Filter or AF hypothesis. And here is how we can finally tie, the problem of a lack of proficiency in English and Bahasa Malaysia in a Malaysian context, together :

Malaysian citizens or those with PR status that cannot or will not learn the national language have a huge stigma against the Malay culture. Malaysian citizens, both rural and urban, who lack a proficiency in the English language are reacting to the discrimination they feel English-speaking people have towards them. Both problems are connected to each other through PREJUDICE against the other.

How can Bahasa Malaysia become a desired learning objective for a Malaysian if the Malay culture as a whole needs a major revolution? The Malay culture looks a lot better from a foreigner’s point of view because unlike Malaysians, foreigners taking Bahasa Malaysia as a Foreign Language do not face the same penalties Malaysian do for not being proficient but more importantly foreigners don’t inherit the wounds inflicted unto Malaysians who feel so ashamed for being forced to associate with a culture they are too close to for comfort. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Bahasa Itu Jiwa Bangsa 

That means, “language is the soul of a people”.

The problem with Malaysia is we marry personal identity with language to such an extent that to be multilingual can be associated with being “polygamous” at best or worse,  a “traitor”.

It is exceptionally true that you cannot understand a person until you understand 3 things about them : their language filters, their money blueprint and their attachment style.

And we’ll focus only on the first of the three.

The Solution 

My opinions are often counter-intuitive. First, on the lack of proficiency in English :

The Capitalist’s Approach

We need to stop looking at Socialist approaches to solving the problem of a lack of proficiency in English. We need a Capitalist approach. I’ve written several times over the years about why the entire multi-billion dollar global ESL industry has been and will remain a colossal failure in its attempts to bring language competency in English to the world. This more recent news article with a local context explains the reality of the ESL landscape in Malaysia and why complaining and blaming is just futile.

A capitalist approach means that instead of pumping hundreds of millions or billions into attempting to “train” more teachers to teach English the way Pavlov trains dogs to salivate on cue we should just 1Malaysia-voucher the entire sincere initiative – give citizens cash vouchers that will allow them to pay for their own private lessons with tutors of their choice. Allocating about $200 – $300 RM a month would solve the ESL problem in 1 schooling generation (of approximately 15 years). This does away with the argument that only those who are “better off” are in a position to get better, which is true of what is happening today. The ESL students I’ve had in the past come from families with a very comfortable margin of surplus income.

We do not lack people who have a very high proficiency in the English language and are capable, though unwilling, to teach others. They are sitting at home doing nothing because these are law, engineering and graduates of other disciplines who have chosen to downshift in order to find more balance and meaning in life and to have time for their family. I speak for myself even when I know there are thousands like me languishing in their pile of unfolded laundry out there.

All people like me need in order to contribute to nation building is to make it worth their time. Like it or not we already have cuckoos and functionally-suspect individuals going around calling themselves “English teachers”. We might as well liberalize and monetize the industry’s potential to the max. And two motivating factors would lucrative opportunities that make margins from flipping properties look like child’s play and personal pride in being part of a progressive, lucrative collective.

And second, on why Malaysians are so shameless in not being able to converse well in Bahasa Malaysia.

I have always wondered whether the language itself is the problem or the perception of it is. I remember when I used to teach English at a Private Chinese School I asked my students why are they responding so much better to English lessons than they are to Bahasa Malaysia classes and their answer is, “BM is useless.”

Economic currency and social status is one reason but if you dig deeper you realize that non-Malay speaking students have a very negative association with BM. I know this because my first task in every ESL class is to assess how high the barriers to learning is before even conceptualizing a teaching approach – as long as students are not allowed to address their “language wounds” they cannot hold two opposing thoughts at the same time i.e. be motivated to learn something that is out to get you.

When I teach ESL to teens and children above 8 gears old I have found that in 100% of the time a learner’s language learning becomes fossilized because of the negative associations they’ve made towards a target language.

Fossilized. Yes. And I need to “warm them up” to learning by bringing down their AF.

Malaysians who lack a proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia are not lacking in it because of the level of difficulty of the language itself. They fossilized because of all the negative things they hear about Bahasa Malaysia. And here are the top ones that will come out of almost every Chinese-speaking individual :

1. Bahasa Malaysia is useless unless you’re going to apply for a government scholarship to get a government job. But those opportunities are almost exclusively reserved for Malays. We don’t stand a chance anyway. However, just in case we can’t afford private college and need to get into a public university, we have to make sure we get a good grade in Bahasa Malaysia.

2. Nowhere else in the world uses Bahasa Malaysia. If we leave this country we’re not going to have any use of it. We might as well invest in learning English. It’s a global currency.

3. Bahasa Malaysia is the native language of Malay people. And Malays discriminate against us.

No. Bahasa Malaysia DOES NOT belong to the Malay-Muslim people. The etymology of Bahasa Malaysia is completely separate from Islam. But it is very difficult for the average non-Malay, non-Muslim to understand this although Indian-Muslims can distinguish “Malayness” from “Islam” very well.

The Answer Lies in Sambal Tempoyak, Ikan Bakar and P. Ramlee movies and songs.

How do we bring desirable qualities of Malay culture to the forefront? How can we contextualize Malay culture in a positive light before we shove Tatabahasa, Sastera and Karangan down people’s throats?

Let them savor the flavors of Malay food that can only come from the willingness of people that will take forever to get something done – or at least five times the time it would take for a Chinese or German to get it done.

Let people enjoy the humor and creative and artistic  excellence of P.Ramlee rather than stupid, over the top Malay skits and “drama”.

And we should have another national holiday – A durian eating day. Eating out to unite everyone.

The idea may sound ridiculous : “We simply don’t have the time to make people know Malay culture and love it. We want them to pass a mandatory exam in language or penalize them.” But it may the only shot we’ve got towards national unity.

What’s The Difference between Homeschooling, Gentle Birthing and non-formula feeding?

I’m currently about 32 weeks along in my second pregnancy and what I’ve discovered is that my path to choosing home-birthing and breastfeeding is completely in sync with my choice to unschool.

Here are the similarities I have discovered among these three movements :

  1. We don’t choose the alternative to the standard, industrialized, one-size-fits-all system for schooling, hospital  birthing and formula feeding because we are hippies or rebels. Yes, there are rebels and hippies that media pay attention to as the anti-thesis of all things Industrial and “modern”  but a majority of us are neither hippies, anarchists nor rebels.Instead we are compelled to NOT choose the industrial standard and by default we end up with things like alternative learning, alternative birthing and alternative infant feeding to the post-industrial standard.I didn’t choose to homebirth because it’s avant garde. Like my homeschooling choice it became my default because nothing else is offered that matches my needs. Having gone through something once and finding it extremely unpleasant and traumatic (yes, school was for me)  I am just not brave enough to succumb to it twice and put someone else I love through it. I am a big risk-taker but I do not take risks when the odds  have been proven will turn out to be against me.

    I’m going to say that one person’s default is going to look a lot different from somebody else’s. – Today I read a personal facebook post of a gentle, water birth that was experienced in Pantai Hospital, KL (same place of birth for me decades ago) under the supervision of a particular doctor. That option is not going to be available for me without stretching my threshold for convenience because I’m from a different city.

    Just like my homeschooling experience I am not going to encourage anyone to make the choices I have made because I am a different individual from them. This sucks when people come online to get information and gather feedback hoping to find their own sweet spot only to be met by someone who is telling them, “This is working out fabulously for me but I’m not going to teach you the ropes or how to do it. You still need to go back to Square 1 and figure it out yourself.

    Think of it like going to a get-rich seminar. Whatever they are teaching has definitely worked for the speaker / trainer on stage.  But would that necessarily make you the next T. Harv Eker, Tony Robbins or Industry Rock Star of your niche? Not if you never discover your WHY and align yourself to your higher purpose for becoming a parent or becoming financially free or wealthy.

    What makes homeschooling / home-birthing even more challenging to teach others than get-rich-programs is that we’re dealing with young children who have yet to be formatted. Wealth programs are based on a definite system of money and wealth creation. Learning is based on a vast unknown field of human potential. It’s still possible for wealth programs to work for some people some of the time because money systems are a lot more predictable than human potential.

  2. Choosing how to birth (whether hospital or alternative) is really pretty much the same as choosing how to homeschool or unschool. It depends on one factor and one factor ONLY : who are you  and what’s the experience you want to create for yourself. (the parent / adult).In reading “The Birth That’s Right For You” I came across a page that explains how we usually deal with pain is how we’d deal with our labor. – Here’s how I deal with my migraines and other health conditions : I ask myself, what is the cause of this dysfunction and the purpose of  my suffering? How do I test then eliminate each theory one by one? I would be happy to rapidly gather tons of information to sift through and test just to arrive at one solution. I would avoid pharmaceutical products unless I have an important appointment and I need a temporary band-aid solution. I would look at the emotions and lifestyle choices causing a disruption to my homeostasis. I treat HEALTH and WELL-BEING as the most natural state and dis-ease as the intruder.

    When it comes to teaching language learning or homeschooling – how do we usually deal with the learning experience? I am the kind of learner that needs learning to be interactive, respectful yet not have a power structure to it. I need learning to be organic and to follow my natural learning curve which almost always means going WIDE and going DEEP rather than go linear just to be able to answer a question. I am a highly self-directed learner and I see LEARNING and RISK-TAKING as the most natural human state while FEAR and LAZINESS as the intruder. In fact, I see laziness as a positive thing – it is an indicator that I am either pursuing something that is not aligned to my higher purpose (just like dis-ease could indicate eating the wrong foods) or I am lacking a purpose or reason, a WHY (just like dis-ease could indicate a missing but essential nutrient.)

    As a non-academic kind of person I would not likely bother with specific learning goals and benchmarks. I would be content with having a few general goals which would take a 5 – 7 year learning curve to arrive at, going back and forth and sometimes apparently nowhere. I would not bother with tests and schedules, structure and a reward system.

    This kind of homeschooling style would not suit someone with a “B” frame – the typical engineers, academics, accountants. These people need a structure that’s a little bit rigid and mostly predictable.

    What stumps a lot of people who want to venture into this “homeschooling” idea is they can’t get away from the idea that there has to be ONE WAY of doing it that’s better than another. They might just need a little bit of introduction into the Theory of MI and theories of SLA to deconstruct from the industrial schooling paradigm they’ve been formatted into. An analogy would be a person who’s been brought up to believe in having a job until retirement and then live off their pensions or savings. They’d have no idea how being entrepreneurial works. They’d have little idea how to create a full time income from investing. In fact, the idea of having a passive income replace and exceed their working income is just unfathomable. The idea of being able to make MORE money after one retires using the free time they now have doesn’t exist. In fact, for some people, retirement is seen as a black hole one crawls into and making the matchsticks and candles one has brought along to last and keep warm as long as possible rather than freedom to make more money than a pre-determined monthly wage in exchange for hours.

  3. Trusting Yourself And Your Innate Higher IntelligenceMany, many adults don’t trust themselves to be competent teachers and instructors, trainers, coaches or people with any kind of authority to lead others. They have put their ability to learn, to lead and to inspire in the hands of figures of authority who would baptist them into worthiness and competency.Many people don’t trust their intelligence to learn, their courage to lead, their ability to inspire, their soul’s ability to heal nor their bodies to birth. This deep distrust in oneself is so pandemic in today’s world. People don’t even trust their ability to start and run a successful business or get out of financial ruin or financial mediocrity. They don’t trust their body’s ability to heal and they don’t trust their gut instincts and their intuition.

    Does this trust come instinctly or has this trust been destroyed by Industrial Schooling? And if it has been destroyed does it return to us over the passage of time or do we have to become conscious enough to decouple from the programming that has placed handcuffs on our Higher Intelligence?

    The transition to learn to trust my body when it comes to birthing and human-milk feeding in spite of the traumatic incidences I had gone through with my first child was helped by drawing parallels to another area of my life where I had been successful at : self-directed learning and homeschooling. It was also aided by my observation of nature and learning from them – cats I’ve had and how they handled their birthing and greatly accelerated by my acquaintance with and mastery of EFT (or Tapping).

    In learning about birthing and human-milk feeding the core idea seems to be a return to our higher or innate intelligence, a return to self-confidence, a return to our innocence.

    What we can do for education, the best thing we can do for education, is not to come up with more methodologies and approaches and theories, tools or technology, bigger budgets or more “wholistic” curriculum but to simply remind people that they are and have always been Intelligent Beings.

    We need to return to our own Innocence, our ability to trust and love ourselves and be self-directed. All the answers we have ever needed, all the comfort and peace and security for a better quality of life, all is already contained within us.

    It is a challenge to return to safety when our Minds are operating in a paradigm that is outward focused and fear-based. It is a challenge to redirect the outward projections of our Mind to be inward-focused to a dimension that is based on love and wisdom, clarity and awareness.

Private Chinese Schools of Malaysia – review of Private Schools in Penang.

It must have been circa 2006 that I taught at Penang Chinese Girls’ Private High School. It was a culture shock for me. 

  • the “chinese-mind” culture – arbitrary standards, rules and systems. Things seldom, if ever, go by merit. Things go by how popular you are and where you stand on the popular camp. Yes, rules can be bent if you are on the right side of the fence. 
  • No contracts given to teachers and very, very low requirements to hire someone as a teacher. 
  • Hiring process of teachers is as bad or worse than Kebangsaan schools. Do not expect qualified or mentally competent teachers. 
  • the “communist culture” – everyone is treated as a number, not an individual human being. You only  matter if you produce results, not because you are a unique human being. 
  • no innovation. In fact, innovation is not allowed. They are pretty bent on living in the past. 
  • If any innovation or “new ideas” are considered they’re always a few steps behind. 
  • Things are a lot more glossier on the outside. You get disciplinary action for saying anything bad about – just think North Korea.

Here are my Top 5 takeaways from my experience of teaching in a private Chinese school in Malaysia : 

  • They expand more time and energy trying to control others or each other or point out mistakes rather than being productive. This covers all aspects from time consuming (time wasting) activities, classroom practices and “homework”. 
  • They seldom walk their talk and are very incongruent between what they propagate and their beliefs. A harsh term would be “unconscious hypocrites”. For instance, they can preach “loving kindness” and “co-operation” but in reality they behave in ways that are cruel to a person’s developing psyche and model of the world and encourage cruel competition and selfishness. 
  • The students are usually a lot smarter than all the teachers combined and thus the concerted need to dumb them down with ridiculous rules. (like getting prefects to buy bras on weekends so they can do a strip search the next week and find “patterned” bras.) – think Nazi concentration camp minus executions. 
  • They pay attention almost exclusively to the “top students” and cream these students. Because of the small population of students the same students get roped in again and again for duties, responsibilities and competitions. 
  • The UEC examination really deserves to be flushed down the drain. I walked away with a new respect for our Education Ministry and how they can tolerate this nonsense called the Chinese Private Education System. The standards are abysmal and they cannot possibly produce anything refined. They may, however, succeed in not destroying the most emotionally intelligent characters who are usually in the “back class”. 

There are two groups of parents who send their children to private Chinese education schools in Malaysia : 

  1. The political extremist who would do ANYTHING to undermine the sovereignty of our government. These are usually educated, middle-class parents. 
  2. The working class / borderline poor who want to keep their kids in school for as long as possible knowing their kids would kick their way out of a Malay kebangsaan school where their primary Chinese education would make them feel like aliens. 

Overall, I think private Chinese school systems do more harm than good and take away  more than they contribute to Malaysia going forward. However, I am also glad they are around because they demonstrate how liberal and open-minded our BN-led government has been in spite of all the flak the MOE and BN-led government is getting over their “failures” in designing a cohesive, progressive education system. If someone else (say, me) took over the entire Chinese private school vehicle Malaysia would definitely achieve Vision 2020. But that’s never going to happen because I have zero love for Communism. Bear in mind that the history and roots of the DuZhong were to separate themselves from the nation and “brainwash” their own community enough to bring a return to communism or Chinese supremacy. Education is indoctrination. And they never forgot their main objective of creating separation. All their PR about unity? Total bullshit. You have to be in there as an observer and being non-partisan to know the place is crawling with communists. 

But hey, if you have nothing against Communism and you’re fine with your child being treated like a number then I suppose their ideology won’t really affect you to the degree it irks me. 

5 Reasons Why Would Middle-Class / Educated Parents Send Their Children to A Private Chinese School.

  1. They can’t afford international or real private schools. They think all private schools were made equal. They think if DuZhong schools admitted a few Thai, PRC and African students, it’s the equivalent of an international school. NOT.
  2. Even if they could afford real private schools or send their children to Singapore or elsewhere they are concerned about their child’s discipline and moral character if they mingled with “rich, spoiled, kids” or were too far away from the parents. 
  3. They bought the belief that UEC is superior to SPM. This must be one of the things that make me laugh hardest. It’s like saying infant formula is superior to breastfeeeding. Look, it’s true that not everyone can handle the lifestyle to breastfeed or have value systems that would encourage them to breasfteed. And I’m using this as an analogy because this post was written at the request of a breastfeeding mom. SPM is not for EVERYONE – especially those who can afford to do better than that and who have a lot more options in life i.e. who have different lifestyle options in life than going to a local U or get a government job. 

    But to compare UEC to SPM is like comparing infant formula to breastmilk. Sure, a lot more things go into UEC but none of them is actually better for an intelligent, young person’s mind. If anything, UEC makes you dumber because it’s more rote, more memorizing, more of the same drill that goes into communist-style learning. The Math and Science standards are higher but compared to what, SPM? Try comparing it apple to apple, say A-levels. Try Khan Academy and external exams instead of relying on UEC if you’re serious about getting graded on Math and Science. 

  4. They think the discipline in these schools are better. *chokes*. I don’t believe in humiliating and degrading human beings to the level they submit. In fact, I don’t even believe it’s the duty of a school or any teacher to discipline my child. My child goes to school for an empowering experience not to have another adult tell her who she is and what values and opinions she’s allowed to have. Hey, but that’s me – I’m not a communist, see? As my firstborn turns 16 in January I am becoming more and more aware that external discipline is a cruelty and violence towards another human being. I am a result of my conditioning and I have been guilty of trying to “discipline” my daughter and I regret every moment I was being that way. I was running on autopilot. 

    While I was teaching in that school I showed my students a movie, “The Emperor’s Club”. There was a scene where a Senator went against the school saying it’s not the school’s job to discipline his son. The moral of the story was fast forward many years later this son of a Senator becomes a Senator himself but had questionable morals and that’s what happens when you don’t let school teachers instill moral character. 

    I lean more towards Roald Dahl’s sentiments as expressed in BOY. I do not believe, that as a teacher, (and I still am, as a Life Coach and Business Coach) I have any right to judge anyone’s character when they are under my teaching. My job is to illuminate their minds. What they choose to do with their knowledge is up to them. Many teachers have taught talented students that have become deviants or antagonists. I believe in free-will and choice. And I believe that as teachers we cannot and must not discriminate when it comes to knowledge – even when our students use that knowledge against us or to defeat us. 

    Teachers are servants of our students. We serve. We are not their masters or their superiors or an authority, judge and jury over them. I serve and I get paid. I’m a social-preneur. 

  5. They’ve weighed the cons of a private Chinese school and think that additional mastery of the Chinese language by being immersed in that environment is more advantageous than mastery in Bahasa Malaysia or English. This is especially true when one of the parents is Taiwanese or PRC or if Chinese is their mother tongue and they have no intentions of their child spending their entire lives making a living in Malaysia alone. 

Roundup :

Here are the factors we usually take into consideration. Sorry that I’m not taking the time to make this into a table of comparison. I’m rating them from my own personal experience only of interacting with other teachers and feedback from students while I was still teaching. The ratings are 1 (bad) to 10 (good). I am using my alma mater (CLS) as an arbitrary control averaging 5 on every factor. 

Quality of Teachers and school administration

Phor Tay : 1 out of 10. 

Chung Ling : 1.5 out of 10. 

Binhua : 3 out of 10. 

Han Chiang : 6 out of 10.

Quality of facilities and extra-curricular activities :

Phor Tay : 1 out of 10. 

Chung Ling : 1.5 out of 10. 

Binhua : 3 out of 10. 

Han Chiang : 8 out of 10.

Quality of classroom teaching, methods, materials, curriculum, overall academic standards : 

Phor Tay : 1 out of 10. 

Chung Ling : 1.5 out of 10. 

Binhua : 3 out of 10. 

Han Chiang : 7.5 out of 10.

 Quality of student mix and social experience : 

Phor Tay : 5 out of 10. 

Chung Ling : 5 out of 10. 

Binhua : 3 out of 10. 

Han Chiang : 8 out of 10.

Stress level and additional after-school workload : (reverse ranking : 10 = high stress, 1 = good, low stress) 

Phor Tay : 2 out of 10. 

Chung Ling : 5 out of 10. 

Binhua : 9 out of 10. 

Han Chiang : 6 out of 10.

Conclusion : 

It might seem as if I am more biased towards Han Chiang and I have been for many years. I have neither personal reasons for or against it. On merit alone this is probably the ONLY PRIVATE CHINESE SCHOOL NORTH OF MALAYSIA that functions like one with a purely scholastic agenda Thanks to their board of directors, Han Chiang as an entire entity (primary, private secondary, college) is a good choice for people with few alternatives in education. They run their school like a school. They pay their teachers better. They have a functioning ESL department and they generally hire competent teachers. I have managed to convince one of my former ESL students to not move to Singapore and instead enrol for Han Chiang’s O-level stream. 

Han Chiang holds true to a culture and environment for learning and offering academic support and opportunities to the Chinese community. I cannot say this is also the agenda of other private Chinese schools north of Malaysia……..maybe, perhaps, the whole of West and East Malaysia combined. Perhaps it is due to the history of a relatively higher population of Thai, Indonesian and students of other nationality that contributed to the adulteration of the communist agenda and instead on the focus of a genuine Mother Tongue Chinese education agenda. 

I welcome any questions you have about enrolling your children in a private Chinese high school so do leave your comments below. I’ll leave you with this last but very important part though : 

What I say here is true for me and is  based only on my experience and the way I see things. Depending on your own mix of values and your child’s mix of expectations and personality things might turn out differently for you (and your child). I’ve met foreign parents who preferred Binhua and Chung Ling because of a lower foreign-student population. I’ve met parents who avoid Han Chiang because of the high foreign student mix. They consider this as a factor making the Chinese-mother tongue environment “inferior” because they stream students according to their Chinese-language ability.  

Ask yourself why a private Chinese school rather than a kebangsaan school. Being weak in our national language is NOT a good or valid reason at all. Unless you get into the O-level stream, a UEC is pretty useless, or is as good as never having gone to school at all. Sure they tell you that in Taiwan it is recognized. But let’s see if one is treated as an equal on a Taiwan campus or as a Chinese-speaking pariah. The only valid reason I can think of for going to a private Chinese school like Han Chiang is the same reasons affluent Thai and Indonesian parents send their children here : to be immersed in the environment and pick up the language and darn if the results are bad. 

If you’re a homeschooling “wannabe” seriously question your motives about compromising between a kebangsaan school and then “settling” for a private Chinese school. On any given day as a bonafide unschooling parent I’d say, go to a kebangsaan school. A kebangsaan school in Penang has a better chance of providing a healthier overall academic experience than a private Chinese school no matter how bad it is. If it’s bullying and such, change kebangsaan schools. If you’re going to suffer schooling anyway might as well suffer in one that has some form of legitimacy. I find the character of kebangsaan secondary school students more balanced compared to DuZhong students. 

I totally get what the problems are with our kebangsaan school system. I wrote this entire blog over a course of years focusing on little else than the problems we have with our school systems – here in Malaysia and elsewhere. If anyone knows so well what’s wrong with school systems, I’m one of them. But now we’re talking “if homeschooling is not an option for me, what are my options?”

Homeschooling or private schooling doesn’t offer “better options” for the future until you become the kind of person that can lead that change from home. Once you are it doesn’t really matter what school your child is in. 

I had wanted to send FirstBorn to Han Chiang for the sake of immersion. First Born needs to sleep – a lot. And we would’ve gone if she were allowed to fall asleep at her desk – which you aren’t in Han Chiang. And the hours are too long for First Born to survive it. Han Chiang didn’t match our internal climate. And as people who live by Design we can’t screw ourselves over just to get on the assembly line. Neither do we want to fight a battle that isn’t necessary with any systems out there.

FirstBorn intends to take the SPM as a private candidate. I leave it up to her because one of the things I teach is being self-directed and self-driven. I tell her : “Have clarity on what you want, why you want it, and do what it takes to own the results in your life. If it’s important enough to you you’ll do it. If it’s not, then at least you’ll know you won’t be spending your energy on something you don’t really want.” She’s mature enough to handle that though many parents would disagree because according to them, “At that age I didn’t know what I wanted and I’m glad my parents pushed me.” – But here’s the thing : different strokes for different folks. That’s the core tenet of homeschooling. 

Whatever decision you make just trust that it’s going to be right for you and when you discover it’s not – just do a retake. Life is just a dress rehearsal.