Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 3: Everyone has the rights to life, liberty and security of person. Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 26(1): Everyone has the right to education. Higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Thomas Jefferson, United States Declaration of Independence.

More than 200 years after Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, these truths cease to be self-evident at least to some of the teachers in Malaysia.

Let us hope that one day there will be no more oppression and bullying in schools where the biggest bullies of all are none other than the school principals themselves.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


There was a very interesting article in The Star yesterday entitled "Good teachers bypassed" written by OLIONG KAM CHONG of Seremban. Needless to say, there is truth in every word that he has written. Tonight I would like to share this article with my readers. Here it goes:

This is the time of the year when teachers are being assessed by their principals and senior assistants on their performance for the year. The assessment will determine their next remuneration adjustment. To some extent, the assessment will also affect the future aspirations and attitudes of these teachers. The good news is that we have competent, committed, reliable and responsible teachers in our schools. The worrying trend is their numbers are fast dwindling. Many have devoted a great number of their good years to the service, but they now feel unappreciated, insecure and disillusioned. This has tempted many to slow down, do the minimum, work to rule, opt out and even throw in the towel.

What is causing this? What needs to be done to arrest the decline and ensure that our schools can continue to have effective and efficient teachers? In our primary and secondary schools, the headmaster or principal and first senior assistant (SA1) are the two chief evaluators of their teachers' annual performances. They hold the key to the promotions, rewards or awards that their teachers can subsequently apply for or attain.

A school head and his SA1 should evaluate their staff objectively, justly and fairly, and award or reward them accordingly. Many heads and their SA1s are doing just that. They should be praised, for they uphold righteousness. But, stories and complaints by teachers are aplenty, more often than not confirming practices of bias, prejudice, favouritism and even cronyism by some school heads and their SA1s. As a result of these unethical and unprofessional acts, well-performing teachers are being bypassed, under-performing teachers are getting the "carrots" while non-performing teachers are getting off easy. And we have a bunch of favoured teachers and cronies scampering around the head and his SA1, ever so willing to pick up whatever "odd jobs" or errands are thrown at them.

Schools are supposed to advocate, teach, model and inculcate good values and practices. If the rot starts from schools with school heads and their SA1s practising bias, prejudice, favouritism and cronyism, one can imagine the cancerous and disastrous effects this can have on all strata of our society and all levels of our organisations, now and in the future. It is sinful for school heads and senior assistants to consciously overlook and suppress the appreciation and approval of genuinely good workers just so their favoured ones and those subservient to their own agenda can get the rewards instead.

Edelweiss56 (google "Severely Bullied Teacher" and you'll know who she is) called me yesterday and told me about the above article. I quickly bought The Star and the first thing I looked for in the newspaper was this article of truth which is written by someone who is probably in the same boat as me. After reading this article, I find that I have something to add to it and that's why I am writing this blog article tonight.

Bias, prejudice, favouritism and cronyism are rampant in the schools nowadays. These cannot be avoided as the principals and their SA1s are "very human" by nature and as we all know, in every organisation, the favoured ones are those who "triumph" in the end. How then can the teachers become the "favoured ones"? The answer is simple - by scampering around the head and his SA1, ever so willing to pick up whatever "odd jobs" or errands thrown at them. This would of course include 1) spying on the less favoured teachers and then make a report to the principal after adding "sauce and spice" and 2) back-stabbing each other to compete for the affection of the principal and her SA1 - what is known as the art of survival. Thus the schools are no longer a pleasant environment to work in. If the principals and teachers were so rotten, how can the schools inculcate good values and practices in our students? That's why I say that the students shouldn't emulate their teachers or principals! They shouldn't follow the bad examples of our educators. What are we celebrating on Teachers' Day? Favouritism? Cronyism? Spyism? Back-stabbingism? Why not have Hawkers' Day or Scavengers' Day instead? I think they are more honourable than many of our teachers. At least they are making an honest living and do not spy on each other or back stab each other.

When the well-performing teachers are being bypassed, and under-performing teachers are getting the "carrots" this would mean that many of our principals, guru cemerlangs, SA1s and college lecturers are of low quality because their positions are not attained by genuine hard work but rather through the art of scampering around the head and his SA1. Once there was a teacher who boasted to me that she is a guru cemerlang. I wasn't proud of her when I heard that. I was wondering if she were one of those fantastic spies and back-stabbers. Out of curiousity I asked those who know her what her character is like. And lo and behold! My surmise was very accurate.

Another funny thing is - those teachers who are awarded scholarships to go for further studies because they have been given very high marks for their Prestasi would go around asking people to write their thesis for them. Even Edelweiss56 has been chosen by our scholarship candidate recently to write her thesis for her! Why? Because Edelweiss56 is a veteran English teacher who speaks good English. It seems that our scholarship candidate here can't afford to write good English and therefore needs to seek the help of Edelweiss56. However, Edelweiss56 is too busy to help. In actual fact, many tuition centres also need her service because they know that she is a good English teacher. And of course there were scholarship candidates who approached me and asked me to write their thesis for them because they know that I like writing! (I don't mind doing it if the pay is good and if I have the time. Right now, I don't have the time.). This clearly explains why we have English lecturers who don't seem to know much and who speak broken English! Maybe the Malaysian Government shouldn't award anymore scholarships. It's a waste of money and very unfair to those teachers without scholarships who can write their own thesis but are being tortured mentally and emotionally by the principals who do not want them to go for further studies. (Google "Oppression in a Secondary School in Kuala Lumpur" to find out what I went through)

What needs to be done to arrest the decline and ensure that our schools can continue to have effective and efficient teachers? It seems that nothing can be done as long as the teachers are forced to sign the blank prestasi forms and then forced to accept whatever marks and comments that the principals and SA1s give them. They won't even get to see the marks and comments. This may sound extremely uncivilized but this is actually what is happening in our Malaysian schools. The secrecy surrounding the giving of marks for the rekod penilaian prestasi is a shameful thing to happen in a country which practises democracy like Malaysia.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The day I got my transfer letter I immediately went to report at my new school. The principal wasn't there nor was the PK1. The clerk asked me whether it was my new posting. She thought I was one of the fresh graduates since she was expecting seven of them. Do I really look that young? Well, I regarded that as a compliment! Many people said that I am very lucky because the new school is only about 5 minutes walk from my house. I do not know whether I can be considered lucky or not cos' from now onwards I would no longer have anymore privacy. Anyway, let's not complain. I should be contented with the present situation. I should be thankful that I escaped from SMK B??. 25 teachers applied for transfer and I am amongst the seven teachers who got it. This is really good luck. I really sympathize with those who wanted to go so eagerly but couldn't get their transfer. I hope that their appeal to the Ministry would produce satisfactory results. Here I would like to thank the Ministry of Education for taking into account my plight and granted me my transfer.

I spent 9 years of my life at SMK B??. Nine years. That's a very long time. It was never my intention to apply for a transfer even though the school is very far away. But this year .... everything has changed.... SMK B?? is no longer the earthly paradise that I used to know. To me, it has become hell.

When I first reported at SMK B?? nine years ago Tuan Haji S was the principal. I didn't realize that I was living in the golden era of my life then. I didn't realize how good Tuan Haji S is until this year. All of a sudden I miss him very much. When he came to my school sometime in February this year, I was so happy to see him that I squeezed his hand so hard telling him that I "rindu" him. I felt that I must give him something. When I opened my drawer, there was a photo frame which was intended for the clerk who got her transfer the previous year but I did not get the chance to give it to her. Luckily I had a present with me that day. I quickly gave it to Tuan Haji S to show him how much I appreciate him.

I also miss Puan Hajah R (my second principal at SMK B??) very much. She was formerly the PK1 of the school. When Tuan Haji S retired she became the new principal. No doubt she has scolded me before but that was still tolerable. I did not keep it in my heart. When I heard news that she would be transferred away I was very sad. That was on the last day of school in the year 2008. I did not want her to go. I hoped that what I heard wasn't true. I shook hands with her sadly at the tarmac that day wishing that she would stay. But she was transferred away in January the following year. Anyway, she told me that she is happy in her present school and I should be happy for her.

I am not a nostalgic person but the present situation that I am in has caused me to think a lot of the past. Why is the past so beautiful? Because the present is so ugly that I have to resort to the past to look for comfort and security. Actually Puan Hajah R is very strict but she has a very kind heart. All of a sudden, I found myself smsing her and calling her just to let her know how much I appreciate her. Before I applied for my transfer I even called Puan Hajah R to ask her if there is the possibility that she would be transferred back to SMK B?? this year. I heard rumours that she may come back. If she comes back then I don't have to leave the school.

Encik N (my third principal at SMK B??) only came here for 10 months. Only 10 months - how short it was! Wherever he goes, there is paradise and he brought along the paradise of SMK B?? with him when he left. From then onwards there is no more paradise for SMK B??.

When I first came to SMK B??, I was so worried that I couldn't cope with the bigger students since I was used to the primary school kids. But I got assimilated into this new environment very fast. The students here are very easy to deal with. They are obedient, well-mannered and lovable. I love them very much and I gladly gave them what I could afford to give. With three good principals and little angels as my students I stayed happily for 8 years at SMK B??. Nothing could make me leave the school although travelling gave me lots of problems. Then came the ninth year ........ a painful year for me. Maybe God is trying to tell me that it's time for me to leave the school. Maybe he has got better plans for me. That was why he sent someone to chase me away.

SMK B?? used to have a very pleasant environment. There was peace and happiness everywhere. I was very happy with everything about the school. My colleagues could be considered okay then compared to other schools where back-stabbing is so rampant. But this year I got a shock when those colleagues whom I thought were nice suddenly become spies and back-stabbers. Can't blame them though. They must learn the art of survival in these changed circumstances. Of course not all of them become spies and back-stabbers. There are still many nice ones around.

My students... they are the ones who will never change. Year in, year out we have the most lovable students but it seems that I do not have the luck to have such good students anymore. Would I ever encounter such good students again in my life? Only heaven knows.

The paradise of SMK B?? - where has it gone? It is no more. Goodbye forever, SMK B??.