Archive for June, 2012





HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012, 4pm

Hilton Petaling Jaya


Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah,

Patron & Guest of Honour

Her Highness Raja Nazhatul Shima Sultan Idris Shah

His Highness Raja Iskandar Dzulkarnain Sultan Idris Shah

Her Highness Tunku Soraya Tuanku Abdul Halim

His Highness Raja Jamil Ariffin Sultan Idris Shah

Her Highness Tunku Zalila Tunku Kamarulzaman 

Our Beloved Tun Dr Mahathir & Tun Dr Siti Hasmah

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid

Yang Berbahagia Toh Puan Sagiyah  Salikin

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Mohd Dzaidin Abdullah

Yang Berbahagia Datin Seri Utama Masnah Rais 

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Dr Abdullah Abdul Rahman

Director, MPH Group of Companies

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Ng Tieh Chuan

Chief Executive Officer,  MPH Group of Companies

Honoured Guests, Friends & Family

Salam Sejahtera and a Very Warm Welcome  


It’s wonderful that so many guests, friends and family are here today to celebrate this very special occasion – to honour mothers in a book about them. Today we are united as the  daughters and sons of our beloved mothers. And the 21 mothers whose lives and times have been chronicled through the writings and photographs in Memories Of Our Mothers represent all the mothers out there who have inspired their children in distinct ways.

Words are often inadequate to describe what our mothers mean to us, but the 29 women contributors writing on their late mothers in the book have managed to do this beautifully and poignantly. Their backgrounds, narratives and writing styles may differ but there is unity in the deep love, respect and admiration for the mothers.

No matter who they are or where they come from, mothers share an enduring love for their children. No matter where they are or how long they’ve left us, we remember our mothers vividly. They imbue our thoughts, influence our thinking and guide our actions through the values they’ve instilled in us. Daughters become nurturing mothers themselves and manifest the family values in their own lives. Sons become gentler men and fathers for their mothers.

As the Project Coordinator and on behalf of the Editorial Committee, I would like to thank the contributors for the enormous goodwill you’ve shown over the period of about 5 months when we were collating and coordinating, and later editing and proofreading your contributions. Together with my super-efficient colleagues Azlina, Zainab, Aishah and Kalsom, we persevered to meet the tight deadlines – all on email mind you. We met face to face only a couple of times! And together WE DID IT LADIES! We are so proud to have completed Memories Of Our Mothers in barely 6 months!

For this we have MPH to thank for their unstinting cooperation. Dato’ Abdullah and Dato’ Ng have given us such latitude in putting together the linear and non-linear texts in this special publication. The MPH management and design teams – Ivy, Amy and Sze Mei – have shown the highest skills and professionalism. The collaboration has been excellent, I must say!

Our deepest gratitude, however, goes to the book’s Patron Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah who is the real inspiration behind the project. The idea of getting a group of women to write about the experience of losing their beloved mother was conceptualised and developed in several Facebook messages, if you recall Tuanku!

I must confess Tuanku that yours was the invisible hand guiding the whip I held and sometimes used! And I must confess to dropping names (Tuanku’s and a few others) to get the project going. I was at times the ogre but it was all for the cause of the wonderful mothers who brought us into this world and made us the people we are today.

Thank you Mak! Thank you Mama, Mummy, Amma, Wan, Ah Bu and Umi!

  • To the Chairman of Yayasan Tan Sri Mohamed Noah, Datin Paduka Dr Faridah Abdullah, a huge Terima Kasih for your generosity in sponsoring 500 copies of the book to be distributed to the guests this evening
  • To the five ladies and two young men/ twins who have put together this evening’s musical tributes to mothers, I say SYABAS! To the evening’s MC, thank you Ishak
  • To the members of the media who are here, thank you for your support!
  • To the staff of Hilton PJ, we appreciate your assistance!

Last but not least:

To the men and sons who feel a little left out because you are not included in the project we say, your support (mostly unspoken) has spurred us on!

And I say:

Publish a sequel to Memories Of Our Mothers and perhaps title it Remembering Our Fathers in honour of our dearest dads who deserve a tribute no less special.

Patik Menjunjung Kasih Tuanku!



Datin Halimah Mohd Said

Project Coordinator/ Editorial Committee





vision schools

THE government, through a major transformation of the Education Ministry, must seriously consider reviving the Vision School concept before national and national type schools are driven further apart by their growing linguistic and cultural exclusiveness. To avoid greater divisiveness in a national education system which accommodates three different streams each with its own emphasis in the curriculum, a decision must be reached once and for all to bring them together in the most pragmatic ways.

However strong one’s arguments for a unified and unifying single-school system, it would be nigh impossible to abolish vernacular schools which have become deeply rooted in the socio-cultural and political milieu. To revert to English education which purportedly was more efficient and brought the nation’s peoples together through a neutral international language, would be to betray the very principles of a national language and education philosophy ensconced in the Federal Constitution. While admitting the global virtues of education in English, one must confidently support the development of education in Bahasa Malaysia which has seen profound growth over just four decades. So have education in Chinese and Tamil.

Unfortunately, the three strands have been allowed to grow separately with each medium claiming a bigger slice of the education cake as each feels threatened by the perceived or real supremacy of the other. It has become the normal thinking among Malaysians that when one language stream is highlighted, the rights of the others are compromised. Not only will Bahasa Melayu nationalists raise their voices in protest, groups representing Chinese and Tamil education will join the chorus in protecting their respective interests.

Some pressing questions are: Why can’t Malaysians be more magnanimous and agree that education is not just about competitiveness and one-upmanship? Why aren’t the better equipped urban Sekolah Kebangsaan sharing their skills and expertise with their underprivileged rural counterparts? Why aren’t the more efficient Chinese schools sharing their resources and methodologies with the less advantaged Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) Tamil? The national discourse on education must turn to issues more important than who is smarter, the teachers and pupils in the SJK Cina or those in the SK? National integration must take precedence.

We are too far gone into vernacular education to realise after more than half a century that it has not served national unity and integration well. However broad one’s thinking on the universality of education, one cannot deny the growing divisiveness in the Malaysian education system, where vernacular schools and their teachers that have been entrusted with the education of the nation’s children are doing so in their respective linguistic and cultural silos. Pragmatically, on the day-to-day basis of teaching the curriculum in one language, it is not possible to say they are being true to the spirit of building a unified Malaysian identity.

On the other hand, without compromising one’s conscience and reason and with a deep sense of patriotism, one can argue for the concept of multiculturalism in itself. What greater sense of justice and equity in a government than for it to allow for a fair distribution of resources and opportunities in education? To support the growth of vernacular education against the popular belief is in itself an act of great courage. However, the government must do so with greater wisdom.

A compromise can be worked out and worked at for the good of all. This is where the grouping of national and national type schools in the same vicinity must be efficiently managed by the ministry and respective state and district education departments. By sharing their infrastructure, resources and skills, staff and pupils can be brought together for co-curricular and sporting activities. In fact, there can even be a schedule for language teachers from the four streams to move around and serve in one another’s schools.

Visiting the Kompleks Sekolah Wawasan in USJ 15 last week, my colleague and I were most impressed with the design and infrastructure where one Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan and two Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (SRJK Cina and SRJK Tamil) faced each other in a quadrangle with a common playing field in the centre.

We saw great potential for the three schools to do more together by way of forging greater networks for teaching and learning. Speaking to the three headmistresses about our proposal of combining pupils from each school in a weekend English Language camp, we were encouraged by their openness and enthusiasm. They saw at once the benefits of an activity which will bring together pupils from three or more ethnic backgrounds to communicate in English. The emphasis on fun learning will motivate them further. The PCORE “Jalinan Bahasa Inggeris” programme is scheduled to start in September.

June 2012