Arts Stream vs. Science Stream

I just read this article from Education in Malaysia. The author questions that

whether someone should choose a certain stream or subjects to study just because it is easier to ‘score’ in those subjects. In the Malaysian context, this usually manifest itself in the good students going predominantly to the Science stream and the poor students going predominantly to the Arts stream.

Reflecting on my own education experience, there is certain truth to the above statement. And this is sadening. If I am able to do it again, I will definitely do it differently. Not to say that I will definitely choose to do Arts, but the focus should be on discovering yourself, uncovering your talent and to search for your niche in this world, instead of matching guranttee A subjects to Examinations.

I think students nowadays are not given the freedom to explore their talents. They are bounded by fear, the fear of not getting straight As, the fear of not meeting parents expectation, fear of rejection. Without this platform of confidence, they are afraid to goto unchartered territories to self exploration, like take tough subjects, or subjects which are subjective like Economics, Literature, Chinese Studies or History. Thankfully, there are some who discover their talents at later stages of their life, like Mr. Lim Wah Guan in the article.

Well, looking forward, what can we do? Of course, a complete revamp of the education system is necessary. BUT, we also need to change our mindset towards education. Education is not just an academic excercise, like a manufacturing plant producing graduates with degrees that the society needs. It should be about discovering ourselves, realizing our talent.

Well here are some comments by the readers which I find interesting:

To many parents, it is all fine and well to pursue your dreams, as long as it can put food on the table and the reality of the matter is that the term “impoverished artiste” is not a misnomer. The sciences are a safer bet for landing a paid job as people with analytical skills are needed everywhere. Granted, we need people with creative skills too, but in far fewer numbers.

 

As it is, Malaysian students have been drilled to be overly obsessed with academic performance and most do not read for leisure. This means increasingly our graduates know very little more beyond their school textbooks.

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Attachment Theory

I just had a chat with an old friend, and he shared some thoughts on Attachment Theory with me and how it affects today’s society.

(Trying out blogging in point form, like chedet.com)

1) According to Attachment Theory, the first 18 months of relationship built between the infant and his/her caregiver have a serious impact on later relationships in life.

2) Today’s society focus more on its economical needs than psychological needs. Most households have both parents working, leaving its babies in the hands of grandparents or childcare centre.

3) In the case when infant’s psychological needs are not met, he/she will have characteristics of Ambivalent Attachment or Avoidant Attachment. Interestingly, Ambivalent Attachment people tend to be bullies in school, and the Avoidant Attachment people tend to be the being-bullied in school.

4) In the pursuit of happiness, a family which neglects psychological development in infant stage could lead to the child having problems with his/her self-esteem & his/her relationship with the people around him/her. Ironically, leading to unhappiness. Multiply that by a million, and we get a society of unhappy people. Maybe that explains why it is difficult to find happy people in a recent survey conducted in Singapore.

5) Putting on my entrepreneur hat, this could spell a good opportunity for people to design a solution/service to serve this big group of people to provide the best kind of attachment – Secure Attachment.

6) Something that hit me today is: Using Attachment Theory as a tool, to understand my past, why I am who I am, so that I can be better prepared for the future.

Re-visiting Forest Gump

The classic – “Life is like a box of chocolates, You never know what you gonna get!”

Even though I have watched this movie a few times, I cant help but to watch it again on TV today. There is something very captivating of this movie. The story of a “mentally disabled” man – how he perceived the world, see-ing the world through his own lens, and how he live his extraordinary life.

Maybe his “dumbness” gave him his undying honesty & integrity. Like the way he gave Baba’s family his share of the fortune he made – Unbelievable!

Maybe his “dumb obedience” gave him his capacity to love others. Like the way he accepts (disabled) Lt. Dan’s innitial ungrateful treatment, but ended up inspiring him to live a great life despite his disability. Like the way he accepts Jenny’s “screwed up” life, and even started a family with her, living a decent family life towards the end.

Jenny, I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.

That was the last part of the movie. Very sad part indeed. But it did make me think a little. Is life like a box of chocolates? Do I just eat it, and most importantly enjoy it, no matter what chocolate I get? Or is there a destiny? And what is it?

There is a seemingly mass-systematic imprintment of people’s lives today, mostly in the middle class. I have discussed this with my friends numerous times. What are we going to do about it?

Should I learn to enjoy my chocolates that i have, or is my little box of chocolate blocking my sight from “my destiny” – the bigger better bacon-chocolate-cheese elsewhere?

The perennial dilemma, which hopefully does make life more interesting!

Are we like this?

comic taken from http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php 

 

Cloning Erich von Manstein’s Hardworking Idiots

 

The German World War II general Erich von Manstein is said to have categorized his officers into four types. The first type, he said, is lazy and stupid. His advice was to leave them alone because they don’t do any harm. The second type is hard-working and clever. He said that they make great officers because they ensure everything runs smoothly. The third group is composed of hardworking idiots. Von Manstein claims that you must immediately get rid of these, as they force everyone around them to perform pointless tasks. The fourth category are officers who are lazy and clever. These, he says, should be your generals….

This is a very interesting article! It is true that people who spend less time doing work, can spend more time thinking and analyzing. And people who think and analyze a lot, whom make the correct decisions (signs of smart people) should be “the general”.

What is also true is, people who spend most their time occupied with work (workaholic), tend not to have too much time to think. But in contrast to General Erich, I will not want to get rid of this group of people. In fact, I would want to keep this group of people who work hard and do not question (and I believe today’s education system is “manufacturing” a big chunk of this group of people). However, to make this work, I need to make sure I do not have this group of people at supervisory or managerial level, and I must have a smart guy leading this group of worker.

So, where do you stand on the matrix structure? I do believe that many jobs and circumstances today are pushing us towards the top left quadrant. Maybe there are just not enough jobs for the people from the bottom right corner? or even the top right corner? And I realized that many huge organizations operates in the manner below:

The torrents of e-mails, most of which are simply copies of documents of no direct relevance to the people to whom they are sent. The constant collecting of data for no clear reason. Management by numbers and motivation by numerically-based performance measures. Trust replaced by obsessive control and leadership by forced ranking of subordinates against vague criteria determined by committees with no idea of the specific circumstances…..

Anyway, do not let organizations and companies deny your own intelligence on a daily basis! Take Charge! Start thinking and analyzing for yourself and your love ones! And of course,

Easier Said (& Blogged), than Done!

The Lower Class has no hope, the Middle Class hopes, and the Upper Class is the Hope

Something that I read from Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat that really struck me:

Middle Class is a State of Mind, not a state of income.”

“Middle Class is another way of describing people who believe that they have a pathway out of poverty or lower-income status toward a higher standard of living and a better future for their kids… People from the Lower Class income, does not have hope and therefore no chance in making into the Middle Class. Like the millions in Africa.”

In a normal distribution curve, the Middle Class forms the largest group of people. These are the group of people “who believe that they have a pathway out of poverty or lower-income status toward a higher standard of living and a better future for their kids” Does that means that this largest group of people will have children whom will live a better future, moving into the Upper Class, and hence, realizing their “hopes”?

I don’t think so. Just like a normal distribution curve, in a normal and functional society, we cannot have a graph that is highly skewed to one side. If there are too many in the Upper Class groups, how do we drive this bulk of people to perform their social responsibilities (healing sick people, operating public transport systems, educating young minds, engineering the most energy efficient cars, designing an innovative music playing device, manufacturing computers to enhance lives, etc) 

We need a functional Middle Class to maintain a progressive civilization. And I think certain groups of people understands this. To make sure that the population continues to follow the normal distribution curve, these group of people have to maintain the bulk of the middle class.

How do we achieve this? I think this can be achived by creating a State of Mind – ‘Hope’. A ‘hope’ for a better future, more fashionable clothes, finer dining, high quality food, executive lifestyle. Giving the middle class hope that there is a “better” life than what they are living now. This “hope”, I believe, are currently being transmitted through hollywood, fashion magazines and other forms of media for the general population to subscribe. With this “hope”, there is a higher chance that this bulk of people will continue to perform their social responsibilities better. => Sustainable Growth!

How about the Upper Class? I guess this is the group of people who create “tangible items” that the Middle Class can look forward to own. They create “hope” for the middle class. They maintain the Normal Distribution of the population curve by providing jobs, providing goods and services that the rest of the population subscribes.  

Does this mean that,

The Lower Class has no hope, the Middle Class hopes, and the Upper Class is the Hope.

Let me know your thoughts. =)

“I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”

Those were the words of L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote Dianetics and founded the religion – Scientology.

Lets talk about making money. Since the Chinese started using papermoney as a form of currency, money became a medium of exchange for goods and services that people need. Here are 2 examples: When the Intel 8088 microprocessor needed an operating system, a young engineer (who is currently the richest man on earth) made some money for writing the Dirty Operating System (DOS). When you need a cool looking gadget that plays all your music and mp3s, Apple made some money for the IPOD that you paid for.

When you need “something” that can provide you with widely accepted moral values, peace of mind, hope, psychological healing, faith for a better tomorrow, etc. are you willing to exchange money for this?

From my observation, there are people who are willing to do so. I realize that people who subsribe to whichever religion, some have to pay regular subscription fees (a percentage of your take home salary). Others, knowingly or non-knowingly, are donating money to the organizations that provide religious services. Of course there are others who do not pay too.

But when you read the title of this post again, which implies creating a profitable business by starting a religion, it sounds riddiculous. Or does it?

Religion is either a subset of Nature or vice versa, meaning either one created the other, unless if both are mutually exclusive systems(I have yet to find any literature to support this case). In all cases, lets take religion as an entity. When an organization take this entity and add “value” to this entity, such as conducting Sunday schools, religious camps, etc. theoretically this valued entity can be exchanged for money. And if the demand for such valued entity is higher than the supply, this presents an opportunity for the organization to earn money. Just like, when the world has a demand for an operating system for their computers, companies that are able to supply Windows XP has an opportunity to profit from it.

Profitting from religion, is that ethical?

Imagine if the world’s oxygen suddenly vanished. If Sunbear Inc. is able to provide oxygen, should Sunbear Inc. charge the people for breathing the oxygen that the company provides? Yes, enough for Sunbear Inc to continue creating oxygen to sustain life on earth. How about more than that?

Another food for thought:

Why some religious organizations are offering their services for free while others are charging money? Has it got to do with supply and demand?