Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ass Pee Em

Listening to: Nothing again...


So the Sijil Penilaian Menangah (SPM) results are out, and as expected the media runs its stories on who got how many As' and how they got it. Its a yearly ritual

For those non-Malaysians who are wondering, the SPM is some mandatory exam for high school students in Malaysia in order for us to graduate. Near-equivalents include the O-Levels, GCSE, and of course, the SAT. Yes, I took it. I HAD to take it...

Ten subjects I signed up for, the last being "Principles Of Accounting". The rest were the core subjects of Malay Language, English Language, History, Advanced Mathematics (Calculus, Statistics), Modern Mathematics (as opposed to "Ancient Maths"?), Moral Education and the Big Three of highschool science; Physics, Biology and Chemistry. At that time, we were limited to a maximum of around twelve courses... and I already had my back full with ten.

I won't go into the details of my results... but it included 8As and a C6 for Moral Education.

Speaking of "Moral Education", the subject was supposed to forge us into "better upstanding moral citizens" (or something like that) through blind memorization and regurgitation of moral values and their meanings. Somehow we would become better persons by just memorizing the characteristics of what a "honest" person should be like, and the difference between "baik hati" (kindness) and "murah hati" (generosity). Not suprising that many despised this asinine subject, but there was no escape from it as it was compulsary in our educational system.

On that day in 1999, half an hour before the "Moral Education" exam was to begin, some students decided to brighten up the mood... literally. An old Datsun had been abandoned on the road between SM La Salle (that was my skool), and the Hin Hua Chinese Secondary School. Apparently it had been sitting there for weeks. The guys overturned the piece of junk... and... set it on fire. Yep, just minutes before sitting for an exam on a subject that supposedly makes us into upstanding, obedient citizens of Malaysia. The irony.

To this day, I wonder if those runts were just having a bit of fun, or sending a message to Najib that this subject (and to an extent, the nation's public educational system) totally blows balls. They danced around the burning vehicle like tribals, had their photos taken with the flames in the background, and only fled when the fire department's sirens came.

Reading today's paper, it seems you can now take more than TWENTY subjects in the SPM.

What's the point exactly???

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