Friday, June 10, 2005

my stand on meritocracy...

Forgive me for writing an awful lot of long posts recently, my mind wanders a tad bit too far because of the stress of reading too many journals and thesis. Plus, I AM having my holiday now, so allow me to put down some meaningful posts rather than my usual sarcastic jokes before I start my semester next month.

For sure everyone is a bit into the ‘rejected SPM top scorers’ news nowadays. Who isn’t? I mean, it IS that time of the year, and everyone will want to voice out a piece of their minds. Yours truly included.

I do not want to start blaming the PSD for the failed applications. We know there are plenty of factors in deciding the recipients, and yeah, I do believe race is one of the criteria, but I don’t think that’s the most decisive factor in selection. We don’t know exactly the rejected top scorers’ backgrounds, or how they performed in the interviews. For Christ’s sake, all the extra co-curricular certificates may even be hoax, because I have seen plenty of students receiving pathetic certs for useless participations back in my former secondary school. Not that I am saying they don’t deserve the scholarships. I may be biased in judging from that point of view, but I do not think that the government owes them the scholarships. Besides, there ARE a lot of scholarships elsewhere, right? Take whichever offer, and then pledge your loyalty to them, for they clearly see what you can do. Don’t cry despair over spilt milk. Look elsewhere and I’m sure there are others who would accept you.

However, I still hope that the PSD will be more transparent in their selection criteria. Instead of defending themselves the way they are doing now, why not publish the list of recipients and justify the matter altogether? I would gladly accept the fact if the scholarships are offered to some student with only 8A1s, but came from a difficult family background or from some rural areas. In my POV, these students certainly deserve those scholarships more than those who obtained 13A1s but have a reasonably good studying environment. Satisfy our curiosity and we shall no longer question the selection. Just as simple as that.

Now, on questioning the validity of meritocracy. For once I may sound racist, but I am sure in the next few weeks there WILL be plenty of ugly news dominating the front pages of local newspapers again like every other year; how top scorers are denied the courses they chose in entering local universities and most of them, if not all, are non-bumis.

We saw 128 top students last year who failed to secure courses of their preferred choice, medicine that is. We can argue that there are limited places for medicine in local universities, but isn’t it a bit glaring that of all the people who failed to gain entry, most (I am sorry but I couldn't provide the exact number here) of them are non-bumiputra students?

Before calling me a racist bastard, I just want to stress that I am questioning the meritocracy system and not making fools out of any ethnic groups.

Do we see any bumiputra students crying foul over failed allocations in courses of their choices? Not any that I can recall, although I believe there are some. Maybe they didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. At least that’s what I want to believe. But seriously, can you stand up and said you really believe that our country is practicing meritocracy?

And before this recent hype UMNO Youth wanted a review of the recent enrolments in universities due to the not-so-idealistic racial dominancy in critical courses. I can’t bear to think what will happen when the data is revealed. Suppose the facts show something they don’t like, what will be of us next?

Yes, people will say that all I do is complain and not proposing any useful solutions.

Say if I came up with a solution. If I say abandon the quota system wholly, does anyone think it’s practical?

Yeah, that’s not really a solution. But we can take it step by step, can’t we? Go with the meritocracy as we all do now, but we don’t have to throw the quota policy right out the window right at this moment. I do think it is necessary to provide proper education to those from rural areas (who mainly consist of bumiputras, which is the reason I think why the quota exists in the first place, after some enlightenment by S-Kay). Year by year, scrape a bit of the quota off and accept more students based on merits.

Ideally, I would like to think that very soon in the future, those who didn’t have the chance to get proper education because of poverty will then have the intellect to raise the living standards of their family and community. With them educating their less fortunate societies, hopeful youngsters capable of competing at the highest levels will be born, and we’ll have a progressive nation, regardless of ethnics. At that time we will no longer have illiterate children from rural areas. All will be competing in the same level; be it intellectually, socially, or psychologically.

Yes, we can still be differentiated physically by our skin colours, but by then it doesn’t really matter, does it?

Imagine yourself filling up a formal form, and you come across this question:


Sorry if I sound too idealistic, simple and naive, stupid even, but I think I made my point clear.


vincent said...

I totally agree with this. Of course it is totally idealistic, and something that does not seem to be implemented anytime soon.

NiC said...

let's all root for bangsa malaysia!
they always say that when u repeat something often enough, you might believe it's actually true... that's as close as we can get to this being a reality anyway...

NiC said...

one more thing... i dun mind filling in a form that has 4 options under the race category - malays, indians, chinese and others...
but somehow, i'm insulted when we are required to fill in a form with only 2 categories - bumiputras and non-bumiputras...

Livingmonolith said...

probably i should run for election and implement this, huh? hahaha...

Twiilight Fades said...

Why has not one person in this online debate ever posed the question, why the scholarship funds have to come from the Government alone? What has the private sector contributed in scholarships and research grants? Why don't local big business like the Genting Group offer to send students out on scholarship? I mean, the CEO of Genting is the highest paid CEO in Malaysia for Petes sake, he make RM 60 mil a year, surely the company can come up with some dough to send these excellent students overseas.

While I can certainly understand why the non bumis can be sore over this, ask yourselves this, the non Bumis control over 70% of the nations economy, surely with that kind of economic monopoly, there is enough profit to go around and send students for tertiary education.

Livingmonolith said...

twilight fades:
well, just to inform you, genting DOES contribute in scholarships and research grants. malaysian institute of economic research (MIER) and cancer research initiatives foundation (CARIF) are 2 examples of genting's involvement. not forgetting genting's various non-profit organisations too, but that's a different story. genting also sponsors a reasonable number of students in several private institutions with UNITEN being one of them.

like you said, the scholarship funds we're discussing now came from the government. it's all the taxpayers' money. everyone, both bumi and non-bumi, should be able to benefit from it. i don't agree that bumis deserve government scholarships more just because there are private institutions elsewhere offering scholarships.

i'm sorry if i sound rude, but your comment seems to imply that 'if you're non-bumi, apply scholarships from non-bumi organisations lah'.

of course, that's applicable. but isn't better to let the top performers serve the government with their talents, rather than pledging their loyalty to private organisations?

NiC said...

twilight fades: genting, ytl and kuok foundation are just the few local, private companies which offers valuable scholarships. i have even been offered a scholarship by genting. well... this is just to inform you that the private sector is not sitting on it's hands... and i agree with jason... are you implying that the non-bumi's apply from private sector and the bumi's from the government sector? what ever happened to equality for all? or is it just a myth after all?