Friday, July 17, 2009

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0東京マグニチュード8.0

The exceptional TV anime series this season, a show that explores a theme no common anime would have done.
Imagine Tokyo, or your home town, bombarded by a Magnitude 8.0 earthquake suddenly. Just a minute ago, everything would seem to be the same, but in a moment your life has been changed. Phone lines out, electricity and other basic amenities cut off, it's a test for survival and unity in times of trouble. The good, the bad and the ugly sides of man can be seen, clearly in front of your face. Moreover, the recurring message at the beggining of every episode brings it close to reality.

Definitely recomended!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Big Boy


Bags of college information, stacks of SPM Model Tests, the signs are eminent that my secondary school year is fast fading away...

As we leave the education system and into the real world, no doubt many are wondering, fearing or even fantasizing of the road ahead. Some comtemplating to pursue different types of Pre-U courses, some having their future carrer decided ages ago, and some ready to step into society. For me, I plan to further my studies(which is very common), and to a deep level such as Masters or PhD in the field (not so common). I dread working. And I don't plan too, unless if situaiton forbids or by luck I found the perfect job for me.

Last Friday our school organized a higher education fair and the likes of INTI, KDU and UCSI came to hold exhibits and promotions. I enquired for A-level courses and degree courses in Natural Sciences and Engineering. What caught my attention is the American Degree Transfer Program, but only one offered a degrree course in Physics. In fact, the course of my choice, Physics is only offered in very few universities and colleges, what I can remember is Taylor's, Sunway (both ADTP) and UTAR. I fared better because if I was three years younger, my choice at that time, Astronomy would score zero.

However, I plotted my path to either Form 6 or A-levels becuase this is the way to get to a prestigious university that has the necessary equipment and knowledge for Physics. But A-levels is too expensive, around RM20k in average for all the colleges I've asked. Form 6 seems a more feasible option, but the tests are hard and there may be a perception that it is inferior to A-levels, despite being on the same rank as STPM is modelled after the A-Levels. But it's price is RM200+ only!

Just now, I searched the Web for universities and colleges for the likes of INTI and UCSI but ended up at the website of CalTech, University of Copenhagen and University of New South Wales. Seems the A-levels/STPM path is the way to go.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Golden Age of Schooling

What brought me to this topic is the moment I'm wondering why students aren't paying attention in class. I know this humble reason and the magnificent topic doesn't seem to match, but please read on.

I was wondering why teachers are so sensitive about talking in class and subsequently not paying attention. It has been like this for as far as I know, from Standard 1 to Form 5, every class I enter is nay a quiet one. I don't know about the others, but I asked some of my acquaintances and got the same answer. They even told me that 'coming to school is for talking'.

'Quiet' and 'noisy' being comparative terms, I can safely say that every student has heard a teacher say before, "Why are y'all so noisy? We were so quiet and attentive in class during our time!" It may be true (if the teacher's not lying), but the thing is in the teacher's time, education is rare and valuable, and the results determine their lives forever. Discipline is also strict with caning being applied in school. Furthermore, there's nothing to talk about, especially in the rural areas where students must sometime work to make ends meet and entertainment was scarce.

Unlike today. Today, topics of DoTA, MapleStory and others rule the day. The Great Internet provides a gateway to topics and issues previously unknown to students, and many a student will find common interest with someone else and start chattering away. Discipline has been deteriorating too in schools. Personally, I think the demerit system is a complete failure. While it may deter normal students from crossing the line, hardcore badboys will use up their hit points very fast and be thrown from one school to another. Without proper counselling and guidance, they may never go back on path.
Extra classes, or 'tuitions' as it is popularly known has also been an excuse for not paying attention. Furthermore, academic excellence is now not the only pathway to make a decent career and living. Vocational practitioners may now make more money than suit-donning professionals. Reminds you of a plumber?

Nevertheless, it is a golden age of schooling. Everyone gets a chance to pursue a career of their liking, and do more than make ends meet.

But this beautiful scene will not last forever. Emphasis is given again to the science and technology sector, the one field that will keep growing and evolusing. Robots may take over vocational work in the future. As the global population keeps growing, competition will be harsher and intelligent people will just keep on increasing. This makes it harder to pursue tertiary education when it is already fully filled, let alone securing a job in the future. Then maybe everyone will contempt being a teacher, but then robots will take over the role with multimedia or even virtual applications as teaching materials that will fully get the student's attention and none for the teacher who reads right out through the textbook and copies lengthy notes on the whiteboard(or will it still exist?).

This is The Golden Age of Schooling, and it is too fading away as of now. Preserve and treasure your precious schoolday memories, because it may cease to exist in the (near) future.