When Curiosity Can Kill The Cat; Excellence Comes From The Least

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DRUG ABUSERS NEED HELP RATHER THAN PUNISHMENT AS PROBLEM IN SABAH GROWS

COMMENT: Most people are not even aware of it. In fact it is the country’s enemy number one. Figures don’t lie.

According to Datuk Jainab Ahmad, State Minister for Community Development and Consumer Affairs and who is also Malaysia Drug Prevention Association (Pemadam) Vice President, drug abuse especially those in the 26-39 age range in Sabah is a serious problem.

A total of 373 people were caught in 2015 and this figure doubled to 756 in 2016. So far this year, 58 people have been arrested.

Even those in the younger age bracket of 19-25 are not spared from the scourge. There were 387 cases in 2015, the figure dropped to 348 in 2016. This year, 21 youths have been caught so far.

These figures are those who have become before the authorities, we don’t know the exact numbers of those who are running around out there who are yet to be apprehended or think they need help.

Designer drugs called candies are the favourite of the club-setting youngsters these days, popping a pill or two with their alcohol to give them a ‘feel good’ time.

We can’t deny that drug-taking is part of the youthful life style these days. It is seen as cool for both boys and girls, it was even reported that drugs have been laced in candies and sweets to get even young children addicted .The culture is there. Some girls believe the drug syabu can make them lose weight. Maybe for most young people it is a case of curiosity that kills the cat.

Young women believe that syabu-taking can make them lose weight.

Then we have the case of the young girl in Penang allegedly high on methamphetamine, driving against traffic flow along the North -South Expressway on Tuesday claiming an innocent life, is another example of the tip of the iceberg of substance abuse with some of our young people.

We also see so many headlines about people being caught for drug possession or busted for drug trafficking just about every day now. It gets to the point, we don’t even bother anymore.

While Pemadam must be commended for bringing awareness of the menace by bringing the National Drug Day 2017 celebration themed “Drug Prevention Starts At Home”, what is truly lacking is an integrated support system for the families. As drug abuse is a criminal offence, many fear to report of family members who are addicts. There must be a better way as these people are in need of help rather than punishment being meted out to them.

More dedicated counsellors need to be trained of course and mosques, churches, temples also need to come on board in a more systematic manner.

Then there is that question how is that drugs are easily available? It is no big deal for drugs to pass through the nets despite stringent laws in place. How is the enforcement? If the supply is shut out, surely the demand will decrease as it will be beyond the reach of many.

We really need to be serious to minimise the menace, as it affects the nation’s productivity and social fabric as many who are involved are in the prime of their lives when they should be concentrating more on building up their careers and taking care of their young families.

While the problem is still manageable and not going the way of the Philippines yet, where those involved are summarily executed, we can’t really take things for granted.

While the heat is on over there, being our nearest neighbour, and with our lax border security, it should not surprise anyone if some of them try to escape here? Even our female Immigration officer in Sandakan could not resist the temptation of money by allowing some undocumented ISIS members to pass through recently. These drug people have plenty of that.

Hopefully there are plans that have been put in place, while the illegals coming here are seen as out of control by most locals, pray the drug menace will not go the same way.

GOOD GRADES ARE ONE THING; IT’S CREATIVITY AND INNOVATIVENESS THAT ARE MUCH IN DEMAND

Before I move to my next subject, let me to digress, though it is related to what I will be elaborating later on.

Anastasia with her dad, Raimun Gibok, left, and her mother, Illanuim Dehuan, who is visually impaired.

Surfing the net the other day, I came across this photo caption: – “although both her parents are handicapped, it did not stop Anastasia Raimun of SMK Narinang scoring 9As in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. (re: Facebook Tulun Sabah)

Anastasia is a normal teenager though, but it must have been stressful for her while at home as she surely would have to assist her parents in more ways than one. And despite all that, she performed credibly in her vital examinations.

I hope, her achievements will not go unnoticed by our two federal ministers from Kota Belud – Rahman Dahlan and Salleh Said. Surely Anastasia will need some sort of support as she further her studies and assistance from either or both of the two ministers would be most welcome.

Overall, Sabah has recorded a slightly better State Average Grade (GPN) of 0.02 in the 2016 SPM results. The number of students scoring all As (A+, A and A-) dipped from 142 in 2015 to only 113 last year.

This is due to the slight change in format of the exams which have made scoring straight As a bit more difficult than before.

The inclusion of High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) assessment as part of the exams is overdue and must be retained in the syllabus as a way forward to produce better human capital for the country.

Back then everything was essay based, where you were expected to discuss, elaborate or analyse the questions and they were in English too.

Previously students needed only to regurgitate, and by spotting questions and studied through rote memorisation straight As were possible. HOTS questions tend to focus on thinking skills, understanding of concepts, application of knowledge and problem solving, skills and abilities that are required for university and job market later.

Parents might complain but the approach is needed because the earlier they are exposed to think at that level, the better off they would be in the long term.

While some would argue that HOTS should have been introduced a long time ago, but, the objective type questions have their purpose, and should not be the only way to gauge students’ performance.

Those who went through our education system inherited from the British would remember that HOTS questions were part and parcel of the system, there were no objective questions. Everything was essay based, where you were expected to discuss, elaborate or analyse the questions and they were in English too.

The parents did not complain how tough it was for their kids, they knew it was an excellent system and many who had only finished high school then were better than our university graduates these days. Many are still around to prove this.

HOTS is only about 25% of the total questions now, it would be a good idea to further expand to make our students more holistic and not exam-orientated.

Parents should not be unduly worried about the lack of As, it does mean students are under performing. It is a good training for real life situations as students are required to think outside the box where creativity and innovativeness are much in demand in the digitised economy.