What’s the Diameter of a Donut? Reality Check on Our Education
Has that thought ever crossed your mind? No? Me neither.
Many moons ago in Form 2 I managed to score a 66/100 for a Maths test. I remember presenting that test score to my mum and all hell broke loose and she broke into cold sweats. Her world fell apart because she couldn’t fathom how the offspring of an engineer and accounts admin could possibly score a C for mathematics. My world, consequently, fell apart too, because that ended my carefree days and started my journey to tuition classes in the name of education.
Very quickly my C for Chinese was replaced by As.
It wasn’t a smooth journey before my tuition classes, honestly. My Form 2 maths teacher was this fking fantastic madam called AY Lim like really we said “Selamat Sejahtera Pn. AY Lim”. In hindsight, Pn. Lim is sufficient, no? She infamously became Ayam Lim for her impatience and general lack of empathy and compassion and emotions a basic human being should embody.
Lessons with her was akin to Harry Potter’s Potions classes with Severus Snape. Except I wasn’t brave nor witty. And when my name was miscalled (I swear she did it on purpose because I saw her evil grin when people laughed) for me to solve solutions on the board, I had to grab the exercise book of a super genius girl who sat behind me who went to a SRJK(C) because those numbers were like Mexican jumping beans to me. They made me dizzy.
So I had a tuition teacher who pulled me up from the depths of my mathematics depression. I went from fearing and subsequently hating mathematics to actually enjoy taking up the challenges of each question and then basking in the satisfaction of getting the correct answer. But this isn’t about him. No. He is what I suppose my saviour; so he shan’t be jumbled up in a post about donuts and ayams. That would be too disrespectful.
No, this post is about the standard of education at my dear tanah tumpahnya darahku. I know right? Sorry I took the long and not so scenic route to get here.
Earlier tonight my Year 7 neighbour came to me with math questions. Year 7 are aged 12. And the question she had to solve? Pythagorean Theorem.
Of course whatever I learnt back then I’ve dutifully returned to my teachers. But! We live in the glorious age of Google.
*here I am going to take a moment of silence to remember my pre-Internet days and how I managed to do a research on religious cults for English during Year 12 with limited information available*
So Google gave me the formulas needed and soon the memories came flooding back and my trusty scientific calculator from Form 4 stickered with glow in the dark stars still work wonders.
And then my brain pinged! Three times. Firstly because my brain hurts from having to think so much, then when I recalled the mathematical steps and last when it dawned upon me holy mother of all things merciful we Malaysian students learn at 16 what kids here learn at 12😱
Can you see?
We are 4 years behind! I mean it’s not a shocker because we have Singapore whose education is light years ahead but we comfort ourselves stay in our own little bubble and write them off as kiasu. But here too? Nomaigod.
At the age of 13 in Malaysia, we were STILL learning addition. Like my Form 1 math teacher whose name sounds like Humairah but most probably isn’t, literally drew COOKIES to illustrate add and minus. She actually drew 🍪+🍪=🍪🍪. And then 🍪🍪-🍪=🍪. And she’d spend a full 3 minutes trying to perfect the arch of the cookies while the rest of us eyed each other as our minds synced to “wtf is she doing?”. We concluded she might be more interested in teaching Pendidikan Seni, that’s Art Education, literally.
Year 12/pre-Uni mathematics was a killer for me too. Not so much for those who went to SJK. No, while we SK alumni were shocked at the level of difficult-ness, they were shocked at our disgustingly pathetic maths. They soon became our tutors after class. And we had to get used to learning in BM to English while we watch the others breeze through class.
I have no words about our education standard. What can I say, right. Even our SPM Sejarah and Moral are a complete waste of time. Like hello how many chapters did we have to go through about religions and tongue twisting names and don’t even get me started on Moral that is a completely USELESS subject uselesss!!!! Obviously I didn’t study for both. I actually chatted with the invigilator during Sejarah paper. He saw that I was free, he was bored, I definitely was….🤷🏻♀️ but I managed to get a B for both; a grade I’ve never gotten in my school exams because I’ve never studied them because I never bought the textbooks.
Anyway, nothing is going to change. We flipped from BM to BI to BM to BI and that kind of education makes me wary because even the tastiest prata is only flipped twice max. So let’s just cancel out the noise and continue to huddle in our own little cocoon, in our own imaginary world where we are the best. Then we’ll be happy, and when we’re happy we’ll be lucky. And then we’ll see rainbows and reach our pots of gold🤩