Haha, I read an article about our former PM, Tun Dr Mahathir, getting quizzed by the ACA about the Lingam-gate scandal. This old dude is still so sharp. However, I doubt that many people would've actually gotten the message. Anyway, here's the quotable quote:
"If the people selected to lead are the people who support the use of ISA, then they will use it. The choice is yours."In one fell swoop, he's giving us a slap across the cheek and good advice, at the same time. He's telling us to be careful of who we vote for. Also, that we are all a bunch of idiots, and we got what we richly deserved. For someone like me, I tend to agree with him. When we put jokers in parliament, we cannot possibly expect anything but jokes to come out of it.
We are all a bunch of fools. Technically, that's true, as by definition, only the top 5% are smart, then the balance 95% cannot possibly be smart too. But democracy is about mob rule, in other words, rule by numbers. So, all issues need to be distilled down into something that can be understood by the 95%. This inevitable leads to over-simplification and over-generalisation by all the political parties. Like this bit of comment by another old dude on an article in the NST:
"Since Ong knew about such intellectual fraud of fake thesis writing and pseudo-PhDs, the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed would have known or Ong would have failed in his duty in not keeping his Minister informed of such serious intellectual transgressions in our universities.This is a frakkin' (mis)leading question, and one that leads to absolutely nowhere. Astute readers will notice the fantastic leap of logic required to link the problem of dishonest thesis writing and the problem of university entrance exams. I'd certainly like to ask Uncle Kit, how he managed to link the two disparate problems. I feel that this has diluted his otherwise, rather cogent attack on the problem.
Why didn’t Mustapha or Ong sent [sic] officers from his Ministry incognito into universities where such intellectual malpractices are rampant to verify and root them out?
Is this because intellectual dishonesty is the order of the day in the entire Malaysian university system with the adoption of the fraudulent meritocracy system by equating two completely different examinations – STPM and matriculation – of the same standards for university entrance despite the vast gap in intellectual attainments for both examinations?"
Yes, there is a problem of people dishonestly submitting theses/work written by others, as their own work. No, this problem will never be eradicated as long as there is inherent "value" placed on a piece of paper, called a "degree". No, it's not a problem that merely plagues our local universities as it happens everywhere, including here. Yes, there is a gap in intellectual attainments for STPM and Matriculation. No, a university doesn't need to standardise entrance qualifications.
I have had two personal experiences with the former problem, here. I had once seen an internal "wanted" ad for someone to help write up a thesis. The pay was fairly attractive and I would be very surprised if nobody took up the job. I had also once marked two reports that were fairly obviously copied. However, there was nothing that we could do to the students as they were on exchange from MIT. So, the problem exists everywhere, and is difficult to dislodge, even in the top universities of the world.
As for the latter problem, we shouldn't be asking for a standardisation of entry qualifications but rather an expansion of entry qualifications. You cannot objectively say that an A from one exam is worth less than an A from another. If Malaysia truly wishes to be an educational hub, it needs to recognise not just the STPM/Matriculation, but also various other examination standards from all over the world. So, students need not only depend on these two but can also use alternative entry qualifications to get in.
However, reading the comments on Uncle Kit's blog, you'll see that many of his readers have swallowed his comment whole, without chewing it first. And as usual, you'll see the bashing of local graduates versus foreign graduates. I particularly liked one reader's comment (see if you can spot the many errors):
"I currently doing my Master (Australian Uni), they not only scan for Internet/Intranet or community sites. It does scan and comparing your work against others or prior student papers. I personally do not have confident on local Uni… no standard, no credibility, no market value…"Moral of the day: value the person, not the qualification.