Saturday, May 16, 2009

so unfair, boo-hoo-hoo

It is this time of the year where we have our usual bleating and storm-in-the-teapot row over JPA scholarships. Every year we get kids (and their parents) moaning about how the world is such an unfair place and how the evil, evil JPA has the audacity not to reward their 11As with an overseas scholarship.

Of course, this year, in an effort to rebrand itself, MCA has also taken an especially keen interest in this so-called 'injustice'. So here we have Ong Tee Keat going on and on about 'meritocracy' while conveniently forgetting that exam results are not the only indicator of somebody's merits.

If you have been following my blog long enough, you know that I have written extensively on this issue, about how I worked with, and met, loads of top scorers who can't string together a proper sentence when pressed. I've met kids who can't hold a proper conversation about issues outside of their SPM textbooks.

Take for example, this bloke who wrote to Lim Kit Siang complaining about the travesty of him not getting a scholarship:

The unfair PSD scholarship awards

by Lye Hoke Tan

The unfair PSD scholarship awards issue, it happens all the times. I graduated from Chung Ling High School in Penang at 2004. Before 2004, I didn’t notice much about this problem, I just heard it from my high school teachers complaint it to us, I didn’t know it was so serious until it happened to my friends around.


Click here for the full article.

Are you for real, kid?!!

In the first paragraph alone, I counted no less than FIVE grammatical errors! With your shitty English, you have the audacity to wonder why you were not considered for an overseas scholarship??!? And while I recognize that not everybody has a flawless command of the English language (I certainly don't) but if I was going to write a letter to an MP complaining about a perceived injustice to me, I will fucking make sure that I get 10 people to check my letter to make sure I don't make an ass of myself.

And that speaks volumes for the attitude of these so-called top-scorers doesn't it? Here we are giving our kids the impression that the world owes them a living just because they have the ability to regurgitate everything they read from a book. It teaches them nothing about life and nothing about exhausting other avenues to get what they need.

I received a forwarded email the other day with a long and exhaustive list of companies and associations (more than 50, I think) that offer full scholarships. Yes, JPA needs to revamp up their selection criteria, but for the public to think that these kids can wash their hands clean of any blame is just ridiculous. Fine, JPA may or may not have screwed you over. But if these kids are as good as they claim they are, then why can't they qualify for these private scholarships?

Nobody owes you anything. When you start working and see all these so-called injustices perpetrated against you, are you going to go running to your parents and the press? Are you going to see your MP because some bloke at work screwed you over? No, you fucking grit your teeth and find a solution around your predicament.

I've learnt that if you really are that damn awesome, people will tend to give you what you want. If you really are that damn awesome, things will come your way. Nobody will deny you something you trully deserve. If someone doesn't like you, someone else will. But if you find that the whole world doesn't seem to like you, then the problem doesn't lie with the whole world.

Quite simply, the problem lies with you.

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kids like this grow to 35 years old, attend interviews and state their greatest achievement in life is scoring straight As for the SPM.

they get fucked over in performance appraisals, go home and start bitching about how their bosses failed his/her SPM.

i think some straight A- scorers are doomed to fail simply because they hardly make any mistakes in the early part of life.


Hahaha. The sentence structure had me doing guess work to try and figure out what he was talking about.

Asians are too dependant on the regurgitation technique. They get all the As, and the Westerners get all the A-chievements.

Asian parents send kids to tuitions, kids learn to swallow and spit, kids spend whole life studying, kids don't have a life developing their 'street smarts', kids bomb in the adult world. [in general]

common story, not believed by most asians, especially parents from the electronic dark ages like my mum.


i was gonna comment that it's unfair to say that straight A students who complain about not getting the psd scholarships end up becoming irrelevant...until i thought about my friends who excelled on their own, on other scholarships, on loans that they will have to repay for most of their lives and realised that although they were very unhappy during the initial rejection, they didn't complain for long. instead, they channeled all the frustration into finding other ways to make their dreams come true...even if it meant delaying their ambitions for a couple of years.

the selection criteria for scholarship recipients is never as simple as academic achievements first, with an applicant's economic background as a "tie-breaker". i think it's time people accept that as a fact.

anyway, you'll probably say this will become part of the spoon-feeding culture in malaysia, but i strongly feel that secondary school counselors should make an effort to let students know about that long list of companies and associations that offer scholarships, loans and other forms of financial assistance to students who perform well in school. the other 2 scholarships i've applied for while in college were made known to me through my tutors and although my applications were both unsuccessful, i am grateful for their assistance.

not every student takes the initiative to open doors for himself. those who do will undoubtedly become successful. but those who require just that little push should get it from their teachers (not parents, because those with parents who encourage them will probably become those who take initiative).

the important thing is to make sure that our malaysian students never develop an attitude that the world owes them something just because they're top scorers in school. yes, you probably deserve some kind of award, but if it doesn't come to you on a silver platter, the only other option is to go looking for it elsewhere.


I'm given the impression by the media that the kids who actually whined about the rejection of JPA scholarships were actually brought up by uneducated parents who seemed to believe that JPA served as the only lifeline compared to others.

Had parents be more aware about what their children's achievements could lead to a few helps other than the JPA, whereas JPA scholarships are merely an "Alternative" more than a "Must", maybe the kids themselves can breathe easier.

My sister scored 10A1s in her SPM. She did try her luck for the JPA scholarship, as an alternative. Not a lifeline. She's currently studying under a scholarship on her A-levels. Judging by her results, she's definitely going to get better help.

Just my 2 cents. Definitely those who whined never tried hard enough to secure other helps.


I agree with you.

And thank you for the comment, IP Man! (:


chooki: Actually, you can see interns like that already. They had been doing well in uni, and probably all their lives had someone tell them how awesome they are. But now, in the working world, suddenly they are not so awesome anymore and are clueless on what to do next. They cannot cope not being top of the class.

lishun: Actually, yes I would term that as 'spoon-feeding'. Why should school counselors 'make an effort' to tell their students? If the students wanted they should ask themselves! If the kids need a scholarship and don't know where to look, then they probably don't deserve the scholarship anyway.

cindi: Exactly the point. JPA scholarships isn't a must. It is just one of the scholarships out there. If those fellas really are that damn awesome, then they can just as easily qualify for the other scholarships.

mello: You go, rockstar!


my mom saved money for me to further study. i have saved some money since schooling too. end of story

I've read this blog for years and watched every year come and pass with your annual two cents whenever the media + people start up their circus about how they have been wronged by the non-awardance of a scholarship, in particular to study OVERSEAS.

In lishun's words, "like the world owes them something"

My heart goes out to those who really have a genuine cause for needing a scholarship, I feel for them, I really do.

I've always not said anything but this year, it irks me to read things like

"Instead, Chok who is among the six students who obtained 14 1A’s in the country, was offered a place at a local public university."

The martyr-ed tone of that article really makes me sad that it has come to a point where people/Malaysians think that they deserve the best of everything.

If what'shisname is really earnest about studying medicine or what career it is these days that is the new prestigious thing, does it really matter where he gets to do it. The point is, he gets to pursue what he wants. And all these people who wail moan and lament are missing it. (the point)

Sometimes I think that we are becoming and raising a generation that is so dysfunctional and so reliant on self and instant gratification that we cannot cope when we don't get EVERYTHING we want. Or we give up when we don't succeed on the first try instead of picking ourselves up and exploring alternatives, trying again.

I think we have come a full 360 in learning absolutely nothing and should be chucked back to be raised by our grandparents. My grandma,in particular would tell me to "suck it up" and this is life.


I have also read of people questioning, "Why the need for interviews?"

Holy bejesus, Batman! No need interviews? That would solve the problem, alright. Those kids would then start bitching when they grow up and need to attend a JOB INTERVIEW!


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