Monday, April 11, 2011

Four Suicides

Above: A student in the KAIST campus in Daejeon walks past a hand-written poster protesting the school president's policies that stir competition, including a unique system under which students pay different amounts of tuition based on their grades.

Four students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology(KAIST), an elite South Korean university, have taken their own lives this semester. The students were said to have suffered from extreme stress over school work and criticism has turned to president Suh Nam-pyo (left), a former MIT professor, who has introduced a penalty system which charges students extra fees for underachievement. On Friday, KAIST students started a signature-collecting campaign calling for Suh’s immediate departure (Webpage, posted April 09, 2011). Is academic achievement everything? Is grade point average the only measure of a person’s life?

Sunday Star’s (p N12) claim that the Alkitab issue was resolved with the decision by the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) to accept the Malay-language Bibles which had been defaced by the home minister is misleading. But that is not the only issue. The standoff is about freedom of religion and the narrowing of space for non-Muslims to practice their faith freely in this country.

How come Hishammuddin suddenly agreed with Idris Jala when the latter said on Saturday in Kuching that the 10-point plan was a Cabinet collective decision? Unless the Cabinet had an emergency meeting that nobody knew about? Of course, it goes without saying that the signs in Sarawak are not encouraging for BN. So really, it is not about the government being sincere but rather it has become a public relations exercise to try and keep the Christian vote. The government have not been honest in their dealings with the Christian community, full-stop. It is not about safeguarding the constitutional rights of non-Muslims. It is about safeguarding the ‘fixed deposit” that is Sarawak. Shame on the government to stoop so low!

Struggling Blackpool lost 1-3 to an Arsenal side needing a win to keep in touch with leaders Man United. The Gunners raced into a two-goal lead as Abou Diaby lashed in (18) before Emmanuel Eboue did the same (21). Gary Taylor-Fletcher prodded in (52) as the Seasiders pushed hard after half-time, but Robin van Persie's simple side-footed finish settled it (76) for Arsenal.

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