Friday, February 24, 2006

Principal Playing The Race Card?

I received some really disturbing news a few days back from a fellow Old Free. It seems that the current principal in Penang Free School made some very very very racial comments quite recently. If this is true, PFS is really going down the gutters faster that we think! Before I proceed, I would like to stress that this has not been substantiated with hard evidence as yet, so we don't know if this really happened.

It is alleged that the principal made a pledge to limit the enrolment of Chinese students to the school in the future and he's ready to implement it as soon as the next intake. How the people at the Old Frees Association in Penang came to know about this personal pledge of his I really do not know but it is really down-right disgusting. As if the school is not in a bad enough state that he must compound the situation further with such insensitive and uncalled for comments!

In recent years, people realise the ongoing Malaynisation of PFS (making it more Malay) but this has been threatening to happen for some while now and bound to happen sooner rather than later. I truly do not mind that happening if all those accepted to the school are really qualified candidates thus, ensuring the school will only have the cream of the crop and maintain its position as a premier school. However, if someone has a sinister motive to limit the number of non-bumiputeras entering the school, whatever his agenda may be is totally unacceptable.

The last I know, the State Education Department is responsible for making such decisions, not the principal. The principal may have a say in things but definitely not the last word. How is it then that he's so confident of delivering such a pledge unless he's already part of a dark plot that if true, must be stopped at all cost. I'm amazed at how daring he is to make such a pledge or even think of such a thing. Isn't this the principal that is more like a ghost in the school? The principal that is hardly around? The principal that is virtually non-existent? What happened? Trying to make a grand entry now?

The controversial senior assistant went too far recently with the no parking in school policy for student cars. It's paying dividends now for his detractors (including me) as the once dormant students that he and the rest of his merry-men have taken for granted and trampled over them time and again have finally woken up. They have finally grown some balls and are taking affirmative action to fight back. You see, when push comes to shove, something is bound to give way and this time, the students' patience gave way. I wish to convey my utmost appreciation to the controversial senior assistant for helping wake the students up from the dreamy state they were in.

The same effect will happen if this controversial pledge was really made. I hear that the Old Frees are already up in arms regarding this remark of his and are ready to do anything in their power to stop it from happening. Again, when an animal is surrounded, he is bound to fight back and the Old Frees have now woken from their constant slumber and hibernation, thanks to the remarks made by the principal. I'm not sure if they will succeed or not but at least they are doing something about it. Finally, the Old Frees will do something that I can be proud of.

I truly pray that the principal didn't make such an insensitive remark even if he did imply such a thing in jest or maybe something similar to that. I pray not for PFS but I pray for him since if it is true, his fate will definitely be sealed if it comes out in the open. He has helped us give each and everyone related to the school a big tight slap on the face and help all of us realise that the school is not exactly a proud institution to be associated with anymore and things have to be done to rectify the situation fast. I truly thank him for giving us a helping hand in our efforts to turn the school around. I guess that will be his best contribution to the school.

Anyway, for his sake I truly hope this is not true and just some sick rumour. If not, I'm sure it will cause a major uproar which will not only be unstoppable but unbearable. This I promise him.

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  1. It seems that many Malaysia schools and universities are politically steered.

  2. If that, no good for a school's efficient management and academic accplishments, do u think so, Lee? Just my very own opinions

  3. it's very saddening really...


    Some of the old frees started this forum to discuss the situation in free school today.

  5. i've seen it but frankly, i myself can't take that forum seriously, how then can outsiders take it seriously? if they seriously want to do something about the situation, they are going about it the wrong way.

  6. What can we do? We're merely students? We're not politicians. The admin are ballness for not chucking out those rotten apples

  7. you do not have to be a politician to get things done. free school students have always shown the right frees spirit and it has always kept us in good stead.

    you have heard of people power, no? how about student power? ;)

    remember...a school is not a school without its students. :)

  8. No big deal and nothing new. When I was a student there in the late '60s some teachers were also pretty racist. They favored their own kind over others. I used to top my class in literature, but praise only went to others who shared the same ethnicity of the teachers who said things like maybe one day we will see Lim or Shirley(pointing to the student) who may be the Byron or Shelly of
    Malaysia. Not once did they acknowledge my abilities.

    Except for one or two teachers, including the then principal Mr Tan Boon Lin, the rest seemed to think we were all aberrations. But I still enjoyed my years there - the cadet corp, Pinhorn House,raising funds for the library, plays by the music and drama society,the elocution contests, and the biggie of them all, the sesquicentenary year.
    May the school see many more centuries.

  9. i think choosing to praise one ethnicity from the other is very much different from choosing to limit the enrolment of a certain ethnicity.

    of course it's nothing new for one to favour someone over another but to have policies whereby you limit enrolment based just on ethnicity, now there's a problem for you there!

    hope you can see the difference here but fret not, there's a new principal now and i heard he's not too bad.

  10. Absolutely...praising some versus limiting others is different. But isn't that how it all begins. Favour one side, then progress to only promoting them, followed by, if conditions are suitable and if you wield the power, excluding others - subtly or blatantly.
    Unfortunately the end result is the same. One stultifies impressionable minds, the other curbs potential contributions of those excluded. Both drain and deplete a precious resource. When bigots rule, everyone loses.

  11. true, the end result would probably be the same so that only reinforce the need for us to oppose discrimination and not just take it sitting down idly.

    i'm glad the old principal didn't stick around long enough to put into place that disgusting policy and the current one is quite pro-frees. unfortunately, they never get to stick around long enough to see through the changes get implemented.

  12. At least with the principal the field is more level with adults taking on adults to correct any wrongs. That option is not open to most school kids who, due to good upbringing or fear, would just have to "sit down idly" and accept whatever is dished out by intimidating adults masquerading as educationists.

  13. well, i suppose that's the role of parents, no?

    looks like you suffered a serious case of neglect during your schooling days...

    thanks for all your comments, i appreciate your viewpoint that added another angle to this discussion. :)

  14. I'm sorry the point of this discussion is difficult to understand. And I'm sorrier still that honorable parents have to be drawn in to this.

    I never make it a point of worrying what people think of me. But to answer your assumption, no, I did not feel any neglect. I actually enjoyed watching the antics of the aforementioned bigots exhibiting their lack of commitment to the principles of their honored profession.

    But, I will repeat. Mr Tan Boon Lin, the headmaster, was in a different league altogether. He knew when to praise and encourage notwithstanding the pupils ethnicity. I should know. I was a beneficiary of his benevolence. And I am grateful that many many years later while working in the World Bank in Washington DC, I was able to somewhat repay, in a very small way, his kindness of years ago.

  15. Well it should be called SMK Al Bebas by now.