Saturday, October 22, 2011

News: Dual Language for Science, Maths Still Allowed

Dual language for Science, Maths still allowed

THE subjects of Science and Mathematics, except for Year One, can be taught in English or Bahasa Malaysia based on the capability of each school, said the Education Ministry.

Its deputy minister Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi said the teaching and learning process as well as official examinations could still be conducted in both languages for those in the Teaching of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI) cohort.

“However, following the soft approach of the Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the Command of English (MBMMBI) policy, the bilingual option will be removed gradually and will be replaced with Bahasa Malaysia only,” he told Che Uda Che Nik (PAS-Sik).

Che Uda had asked the ministry to state whether dual language options would still be available during national examinations.

Dr Puad said the process was only applicable to the PPSMI cohort beginning from last year.

“This is to help teachers and student to adapt with the transition and to reduce any teaching and learning problems,” he added.

He also noted that Science and Mathematics subjects for Year One in the 2011 cohort had begun to be taught in Bahasa Malaysia in line with the Curriculum Standard for Primary School (KSSR).


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old Photos: ACS Malacca 2

Dear All (especially the Old Boys of Malacca ACS).

I've scanned some photos from the Malacca Wesley Methodist Church 100th Anniversary book which are related to the ACS school and they include personalities, and ex-reverends and pastors who were the school's chaplain.

Should anyone have any of such photos, please email them to me so that I can upload them here or in the various Old Boy websites/blogs/groups. My email:

At the same time if you have seen such photos on other websites, please indicate the address of the URL in the comment form below this message.


Rodney Tan

P.S. Please click on the photos to get a larger size.

Old Photos: Malacca ACS 1

Dear All (especially the Old Boys of Malacca ACS).

I've scanned some photos from the Malacca Wesley Methodist Church 100th Anniversary book which are related to the ACS school and they include personalities, and ex-reverends and pastors who were the school's chaplain.

Should anyone have any of such photos, please email them to me so that I can upload them here or in the various Old Boy websites/blogs/groups.  My email:

At the same time if you have seen such photos on other websites, please indicate the address of the URL in the comment form below this message.


Rodney Tan

P.S. Please click on the photos to get a larger size.

Story: Kindness Pays

Dear All,

If you're looking for a motivational story, here's one that may help to bring out the point that helping a stranger in some small ways may lead to our help being returned in some unexpected ways in the future.

Even if such deeds are not reciprocrated, we will help others to be better human beings. In a small way, we are helping to make this world a better place.

Rodney Tan Chai Whatt


One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house.

However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.

She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept payment for a kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation.

When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her.

He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.

He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught her attention on the side as she read these words:"Paid in full with one glass of milk." (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, GOD that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."

Source: Unknown

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vocabulary: Understanding Business Jargon

Dear Readers,

Below this note is an article from the Daily Mail, UK which would be useful for those who teach business English and for others who are curious to know the latest business jargon, idioms, catch phrase, acronymns and initialisms used in the office context.

For general readers, reading this article will help us gain useful knowledge and make us smile as some of the explanations about the jargons are really funny and bizarre.

The main source of these office phrases is from a recently published book: Pushing The Envelope: Making Sense Out Of Business Jargon by Caroline Taggart (Michael O’Mara Books, £9.99).


Rodney Tan

Tuesday, Oct 04 2011 t

OK you cubicle monkeys, guess who's gonna be delayered in the blamestorm! Baffled by bizarre office jargon? Let us translate for you

Sick of bosses and work colleagues spouting incomprehensible metaphors, acronyms and made-up words? If so, fear not - this handy guide to office speak explains all...

Gobbledegook: David Brent could use many of the phrases outlined in a new book on office jargon

When a perfectly sensible phrase already exists, why invent a daft one to replace it? ‘Shall we sit down on this?’ translates as ‘Shall we have a meeting?’

A derogatory expression for someone performing a never-ending stream of dull and repetitive tasks in the confines of a 5ft-x-5ft fibreboard cell.

Stickier version of the glass ceiling. Barrier between middle-management and the boardroom above which few women rise.

You’re leaving your job — and the 30,000 emails, 400 Word documents and 150 Powerpoint presentations you accrued while there. You want to make this information available to your successor but don’t want the bother of sorting through the rubbish.

The solution? Save it all on to the computer system and ‘dump’ it on the poor chap who inherits your computer. Frankly, you’re beyond caring.

Also known as brazen deception — like telling your shareholders to expect the worst, then dazzling them with better-than-expected profits. The great proponent of this is the Disneyland theme park, which hangs a sign saying ‘Waiting time for ride from here 45 minutes’ at the point in the queue when the waiting time is, in fact, 30 minutes.

Punters are then delighted to reach the front of the queue 15 minutes earlier than expected.

This phrase first came into use in the 1990s to describe a controversial moment in a soap opera that had everyone talking around the watercooler/fax machine the following morning.

A chat about last night's television coined the phrase water-cooler moment

Example: ‘Did you see Nancy on Strictly last night? Talk about hoisted by her own feather boa.’

In the 1960s and 70s, blue-sky thinking was something to be avoided. It meant an unrealistic, unaffordable pipe dream. But the phrase has had a make-over and is now something to aspire to, meaning: ‘The sky’s the limit — so reach for the stars!’

Invented by the PC brigade in 2004, after civil servants deemed brainstorm offensive to people with brain disorders such as epilepsy. The National Society For Epilepsy then carried out a survey that reported ‘93 per cent of people with epilepsy did not find the term derogatory or offensive in any way’. A small victory for common sense.

In aeronautical parlance, the ‘flight envelope’ describes a plane’s best possible performance — flying at the fastest speed, the highest altitude, using full engine capacity. Engineers and test pilots who ‘pushed the envelope’ were trying to create a plane that could fly faster, higher and farther than ever before.

Now it refers to any moderately ambitious office project, leading to the joke: ‘No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationary.’

A phrase much-loved by New Labour, which touted its ‘joined-up government’ of supposedly integrated social policies. It has since spilled over into office life, with firms bragging about their ‘joined-up thinking’. Which is invariably nothing of the sort.


The metaphor of swarm intelligence comes from the notion of hives of bees or colonies of ants working together to a common end. So team work

Otherwise known as: ‘What you’re good at.’

A corruption of ‘brainstorming’, blamestorming is a meeting or discussion held to establish who is at fault when something has gone wrong.

Everyone concerned gathers to excuse themselves and pass the blame on to the nearest scapegoat — like on The Apprentice.

An aggressive style of management. Jonathan Green, who compiled a Dictionary of Jargon in 1987, defines it as a theory of management that believes the best way of treating employees is to ‘put them in the dark, feed them muck and watch them grow’. Time off and pension packages do not feature heavily.

Refers to a type of computer fraud which transfers small — salami-thin — amounts of money, never enough to be noticeable, from one account to another.

If you’ve ever accepted a free cube of cheese in a supermarket or been accosted by a perfume spritzer in a department store, then you’ve been a victim of mass sampling. A marketing ploy intended to make customers try — then buy — a new product. Also known as a freebie.

A U.S. management term from the Sixties, SWOT stands for ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’.

Discussion: Employees get together in a SWOT analysis to talk about the business and its competitors - which the boss then often ignores

Employees get together to consider the business, its competitors and the state of the market. Then the boss ignores them.

An acronym for fear, uncertainty and doubt — a set of negative emotions planted in the minds of the public by those involved in politics and marketing. The aim of a FUD strategy is to scare voters or customers away from voting for an unproven party, or buying a rival new product.

An outcome in which one side’s gain precisely matches another side’s loss. The phrase originated in a branch of mathematics known as Game Theory. It’s what happens when that greedy swine from accounts snaffles the last slice of cake just before you in the canteen.

A way of making an organisation less bureaucratic. Also a euphemism for ‘redundancies’.

An American baseball term that has crossed the Atlantic. A ball bowled out of left field is one the batsman isn’t expecting. A left-field idea comes out of nowhere, doesn’t follow logically from anything that has been discussed before — and may well be complete rubbish.

‘Waste of money, brains and time.’ Swiftly followed by the sack.

An expression born in the trading rooms of Singapore and Malaysia and adopted by Wall Street in the mid-1980s. Working on the assumption that ‘even a dead cat would bounce if it was dropped from a great height’, the phrase is used to describe a brief upturn in the value of a stock after it’s hit rock bottom.

Traditionally used by anglers and canoeists, the terms refer to various stages in the manufacturing process. Upstream refers to the manufacturer, downstream to the retailer. And somewhere at the furthest end of the stream, basking in the shallows, is the customer.

  • Pushing The Envelope: Making Sense Out Of Business Jargon by Caroline Taggart (Michael O’Mara Books, £9.99).

Comments (10)

Some of my (least) favourite: "Moving forwards" (doing it), "being proactive" (having another meeting), "dynamic" (anything but), and "forward thinking" (realising the project you are half way through completing probably needs a reason for existing)

- James, Luton, 04/10/2011 11:50

My current hate phrase - "over arching"....GAH!

- norfolksheep, Norfolk UK, 04/10/2011 11:08

"Top slicing" is another currently fashionable piece of stupid jargon. I have long been wary of people that use jargon, concluding that they usually have no idea what they are talking about. Sadly local authorities are very susceptable to using meaningless jargon. It's often in their staff job descriptions!

- Peter Phillips, Surrey, 04/10/2011 10:45

My very large company has loads. 'moving forward' means we are going to do what the manager says even if it is daft and if you keep argueing against it you are holding up progress. 'meet the future demands of the megatrends' means we have no idea what the future of the business will be. 'Synergies' we have shoved together two functions that don't work together, did it anyway. 'our vision' - your vision, I will have my own visions thank you very much. blah blah..

- The Monitor, Revelation, 04/10/2011 10:20

Guy at my work says "I've no spare bandwidth" meaning he's busy!!! Don't know how I keep a straght face.

- Mboza Ritchie, Just up the road, 04/10/2011 10:05

As far as I can remember, Ricky Gervais never used phrases like these in The Office. - Mike, Thailand, 04/10/2011 04:57 Ricky Gervais did use management speak in The Office. In series 2, he kept Neil up to date with a management style called 'Team Individuality'

- The bitter truth is hard to swallow, Birmingham, UK, 04/10/2011 09:31

Monday, October 3, 2011

News: Malaysia Tries to Rein in Private Education Institutions

October 2, 2011

Malaysia Tries to Rein In Private Education Institutions

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s private higher-education institutions are coming under greater scrutiny, with the government imposing a record number of fines on errant operators this year.
Having expanded rapidly in the last 15 years, the private sector is widely credited with increasing access to higher education in Malaysia, but education experts say standards vary greatly.

While some view the increasing number of fines issued to private providers as cause for concern, others say that they are an indication that regulators are doing a more effective job weeding out inferior companies. And some analysts say the government’s actions are an attempt to safeguard the reputation of the industry.

In a statement, the Ministry of Higher Education said that while it hoped that the private sector would continue to grow, ensuring that providers offered quality education was crucial.

“The challenges are in striking the right balance between promoting growth in higher education in Malaysia and providing quality education,” the ministry said. “This is important because Malaysia is progressing toward becoming a developed nation where knowledge workers are an important element in the agenda for growth and at the same time, Malaysia is also aspiring to become the hub of higher education in the region.”

The statement added that while the government hoped that the private sector would expand further, applications for new institutions would be determined based on whether the institution met the application criteria and whether its proposed programs were “aligned to the critical area needed by the country.”

The ministry issued fines to 47 private education institutions from January to March this year, following regular audits, inspections and complaints from the public. Last year, 48 institutions received fines throughout the year, compared to 9 in 2009. Institutions were fined for a range of infractions, from making false or misleading statements promoting their institutions to offering unaccredited courses and violating registration regulations such as operating on unregistered premises.

Malaysia’s private higher-education sector has expanded rapidly since the government introduced legislation in 1996 to allow the establishment of private universities. Prior to the sector’s liberalization, local private institutions offered programs in conjunction with overseas universities but were unable to award their own degrees.

Since 1996, the number of private universities and colleges that offer degree and nondegree courses has grown substantially, with Malaysia now home to 26 private universities, which offer degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate level.

An additional 23 private “university colleges” offer bachelor’s degrees only, 5 foreign universities from countries like Australia and Britain have established branch campuses and there are more than 400 private colleges that offer diploma and certificate courses.

Part of the aim of liberalizing the higher-education sector was to help increase access to postsecondary education and bolster Malaysia’s “human capital,” said Tham Siew Yean, a professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies at the National University of Malaysia. She said the postsecondary enrollment rate for Malaysians aged 18 to 23 rose to 44 percent in 2010 from 29 percent in 2003, or students enrolled in any type of higher education.

There are now more students studying in the private sector than in public institutions, with private institutions accounting for almost 54 percent.

Ms. Tham said that there was a “tremendous diversity” of programs and that the provision of government loans for private courses had helped increase the number of students studying in the private sector.

Lee Hock Guan, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said: “For an average student, it’s not too difficult to get into higher education nowadays in Malaysia. There are so many places competing for them.”

Yet analysts say standards at some private institutions are insufficient while some accuse the government of playing catch-up in its attempt to weed out inferior providers.

“The Ministry of Education does have a problem of quality control,” Mr. Lee said, adding that standards varied greatly between private universities. “There are some that are decent but some that are pretty weak.”

Employers have long complained that graduates from Malaysian universities, public and private, lack vital talents like communication skills.

“We are getting more and more complaints from employers that they are getting students who are not up to the mark,” Mr. Lee said, adding that some institutions enroll students who may not be qualified. “For many of the private universities, they are quite lax because their main thing is they have to enroll as many students as possible in order to generate revenue.”

Mr. Lee contends that the government is monitoring the private sector more closely to ensure that Malaysia’s reputation does not suffer among prospective international students. Malaysia has set the goal of attracting 200,000 international students by 2020.

“Fearing that there will be a drop in foreign students, that has pressured the government to better regulate the private sector,” he said.

Others view the increasing number of fines as a sign that the regulators are doing their job more effectively.

“More fines means they are controlling people who are not doing the right thing,” said Molly Lee, a senior program specialist in higher education at Unesco Asia Pacific in Bangkok. “To me it’s a good sign from the regulatory perspective.”

Ms. Lee, who described Malaysia’s private higher-education sector as “dynamic, innovative and competitive,” said the country was well equipped to monitor private providers.

“I am sure the concern of quality of private institutions is always there,” she said. “I think over time the better ones are gaining a good reputation while the bad ones are being identified by the authorities.”

Ms. Tham, the professor, said that stringent regulations governed the private sector but that before the last two years, there had been little information available about private colleges being fined.
“I would say the ministry perhaps may have had problems being able to monitor the large number of providers,” she said. “I think that it’s good that they are acting on it, that they are able to be more effective in their monitoring.”

Hassan Said, vice chancellor and president of Taylor’s University, one of Malaysia’s oldest private higher-education institutions, which was not among the fined institutions, estimated that only 5 percent of private providers did not comply with government regulations.

“Although the number is small, its impact to the other private providers is pretty bad,” he said in an e-mail. “Hence the move by the ministry to impose stricter monitoring of the private sector is timely and should be supported.”

Taylor’s University, which has 11,700 students, began offering nondegree courses in 1969 and was upgraded to university status last year. The institution began offering degree programs in the 1990s via programs with other universities, before offering its own bachelor degrees in 2006, followed by master’s and doctorate programs last year.

Mr. Hassan said that while the lesser-quality providers could make it more difficult for reputable private institutions because “ the negative perception by stakeholders will be generalized to the whole industry,” students and parents were becoming better equipped to select the quality providers because information about the institutions was widely available.

Parmjit Singh, president of the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities, said he supported the government’s moves to be more vigilant.

“It will bring integrity to the industry,” he said. “Over the years, there have been colleges that have popped up. My view is some of them should not have been allowed to be registered.”

But Mr. Parmjit said some institutions had made “innocent mistakes” that could result in fines, like not listing the correct course approval code on a brochure.

“One could not generalize and say that all those who have been fined are bad players,” he said.
Mr. Parmjit said that the increase in fines was not indicative of any broader trend within the sector and that “market forces” would force poor-quality providers out of business.

“The bottom line is that market forces are in play,” he said. “If anyone does a poor job, their time will be limited.”