Saturday, July 21, 2007

The development of critical thinking in our children.

Now you might not think that the case of Nat Tan is very important. You may or may not have heard of him. However it is important for me because of my current education training in Australia.

Nat Tan is currently a blogger in Malaysia who was arrested by authorities recently. The reasons for his arrest is still opaque as current. OPAQUE it states! Yet you may ask how is his case related to this blog of mine? In fact it does very much.

I really do believe that I am fortunate to have had the experience of coming abroad to Australia to be able to further my studies. Not many people are as lucky as I am to be able to come here, as the finances needed to sponsor a child to further their studies have cost my parents many a pretty penny.

After having been abroad here in Australia, and the experiences that I have been through in the past 1.5 years have opened my eyes to what Australia truly offers, and what Malaysia has been. Now I am not condemning my homeland, because it is what it is. However, I have found the attitudes of those of the institution that I am currently pursuing my education at to be severely lacking in terms of international perpective as well as open-mindedness. Which is not what the case should be.

Related to this entry is understanding of what basic human rights and benefits such as those found in Australia, which I have come to appreciate.
  • the freedom to question the policies made by the government
  • to argue and criticise their political leader's decisions
  • the availability of university and tertiary places for aspiring students based on meritocracy, and not on ethnicity and political connections.
  • the establishment of businesses without the need of having to have an indigeneous partner
  • minimum wages
  • the fact that workers are paid by the hour and have to be paid by the hour.
  • Freedom of religion. The freedom for one to convert in and out of one religion versus to those of the muslims in my country where you are born a muslim and die a muslim. Converting out means rehabilization for months (and months) by the Muslim law of courts and social ostracisation. You could lose your baby and your family.
To the Australians, how many of the citizens actually take this for granted? These human rights practically is of non-existence in the country where I come from. It is ironic that I have come here to learn about the education system in Australia only to find that yet the understanding of these socio-political and cultural issues on an international level is so severely lacking especially among the many tertiary staff that I have across recently.

I am expected to learn to teach children how to think critically, yet these same lecturers do not seem to display the same "skills" as how they should treat us to be. At the same time, although I do believe that whatever I am learning here is good, it will not be able to be put into practice successfully in a context like Malaysia.

My point is that although Malaysian teachers can be trained to teach the children how to question, argue and think critically, it is difficult when both culturally and socially, there is no support (especially from the higher authorities) but we are being caged in a square box when teachers are trying to teach children be round instead.

When students are not allowed to speak against the administration and management of the universities, or join rallies, how does that help our rakyat to think make decisions nor think critically?

Citizens of this land (and especially those who have lived their lives in many westernized nations) seem to be living in a time-warp and "protective bubble" where they constantly are on strike on existing issues such as Worker's Rights, higher minimum pay, homosexual and gay rights, female rights, in-flux of immigrants are what they consider to be "issues".

People in Australia, as I have come to know, are very particular about human and individual rights. This concept is practically an "alien" concept for many Asian international students who have never been exposed to such liberality before.

I was having a discussion with my cousin who had to "fight" just to enter a local Malaysian uni in Malaysia. The opportunity for a student of other ethnic groups only exists for a student who has performed sterlingly well in order to "quality" to enter a local university. Yet we both believe that these experiences has created him to be a much stronger person that he has come to be now. However, the same experiences has led him to have very much bitter experiences about the way the administration of things has been done by the authorities.

I really do believe that our country Malaysia has much to teach us. To appreciate the freedom and the power given to us once we have tasted it, and to continue fighting for it so that others we could not be complacent in the lives that we lead.

So now the question arises, would you want to raise your children in a place like Malaysia, where basic necessities do not come freely but you will be taxed less and your children learn to be strong along the way, or would you rather have your children be brought up in a first world developed country, and have their basic human rights given, but they take the basic necessities for granted, and are taxed heavily? What do you reckon?

Feedback is appreciated.

Related links:
Blogger's Arrest: Politically Repressive
Nation by Nation: Human Rights
Cultural issues: Japan learns dreaded task of Jury Duty

No comments:

Amazon Recommends...


Related Posts with Thumbnails