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Do not double park your vehicle!

NETIZENS on social media are divided over the double-parking road rage incident that happened in Bentong recently. Some feel the action of the pickup truck driver in ramming the car that was blocking his vehicle was justified. Others say that no matter how angry the driver was, he should not have taken the law in his own hands. They also stressed that the owner of the car should be punished for double parking and obstructing another vehicle.

To me, what was very disturbing about the affair was that there were other parking spaces available and there was no reason for the owner of the car to double park. The owner claimed that he had left a name card in his car. But this is absurd because it would be difficult to read the phone number on the card.

My car has been blocked a few times and I have encountered different reactions from the owners of the offending vehicle. On one occasion, I was coming out of a bank when I saw my car, which was parked in front of the building, blocked by another vehicle. I tooted the horn for several minutes but no one responded. Then I walked back into the bank to ask around for the owner but no one spoke up. After 15 minutes, a lady whom I had seen at the customer service counter emerged.

I scolded her for not responding to me earlier but instead of apologising, she angrily said: “Wait for a few minutes, can die meh?”

I was so angry I nearly slapped her but I quickly realised I might get myself in trouble for doing that.

On another occasion, the owner of the car that blocked mine left a note with his name and phone number on the dashboard. The note said “I am sorry for blocking, please call xxxxxxxx.” A young man emerged immediately after I called the number and he apologised before removing his car.

I hope that owners of vehicles will display a note with their phone numbers prominently on their dashboard and respond immediately when they get called (pic).

The authorities should restrict parking time in lots in busy areas to 30 minutes between 8am and 5pm. This will ensure that some parking spaces are always available, thus preventing double parking and ugly road rage episodes.

A heavy fine, like RM300, must be imposed on vehicles that exceed the 30-minute parking time. The authorities must also have personnel patrolling these areas to ensure that people comply with the ruling. A heavy fine must be imposed on those who double park and block other drivers in order to deter motorists who have a bad habit of doing this.

Many of my relatives and friends park in front of my gate when they come to visit although there are parking spaces available near my house. On many occasions, I had to ask them to move their cars to allow me to drive into my porch. Sometimes when I get annoyed with the visitors, I would park my car somewhere else, enter my house and either casually acknowledge them or ignore them to show my displeasure. Some have got the message and stopped parking in front of my gate.

As habits are hard to change, stopping illegal parking will be difficult so we hope that the authorities will constantly patrol the busy areas and book those who commit the offence. Tow away the offending cars instead of clamping them. This is because the owner of the car that is blocked will not be able to drive away until the offender pays the fines to remove the clamp from his/her vehicle.


Kedai Eco RM2 Menipu Pengguna

Pada awal Ramadhan yang lalu abam kie ada membeli sedikit barangan di kedai Eco RM2 di Tanah Merah, Kelantan. Kedai tersebut baru saja dibuka jadi ramailah orang yg dtg. Abam Kie membeli pinggan, mangkuk dan talam melamine berharga RM26. Kalau namanya kedai 2 rial maka brg2nya harga rm2 seunit. Brg2 di sini juga kurang berkualiti. Padan la dengan harganya.

Bila isteri abam kie balik pejabat hari tu dia kata pinggan2 tu x perlu guna sebab masih ada byk lg kat dlm kabinet. Menyesal plak beli. Lalu abam kie bercadang nak tukar brg2 tu dgn barang lain spt makanan. Lalu esoknya abam kie pergi ke kedai 2 rial tu. Mula2 seorang staff dia kata boleh tukar jd abam masuk la dan pilih brg2 makanan yg bersesuaian. Lepas tu kena berbaris panjang giler. Tup2 bila tiba di counter siap cashier tu kata brg2 di kedai tu x leh tukar dgn brg2 lain. Kalau nak tukar pun brg2 yg sama. Tu pun sbb rosak atau kecacatan kilang. Hmm...bengong tul dia ni. Setahu aku boleh je tukar apa2 brg asalkan jgn minta kembali duit. Abam malas bertekak lalu abah terus beredar dgn marah n geramnya!

Sampai di rumah, abam terus google no telefon ibu pejabat kedai tu. Rupa2nya ia berpusat di Segamat, Johor. Lalu abam call no yg dijumpai. Staff yg jawab kata mereka akan bagi jawapan sekejap lagi. Dekat sejam menunggu tiada panggilan balas pun! Lalau abam call kembali. Hanya 30 minit kemudian barulah seorang staff perempuan Melayu menelefon n memberikan penjelasan kpd abam kie.

Huh! Mmg polisi sykt mrka x bagi tukar brg dgn alasan brg2 di situ sudah murah. Heran tul aku! Satu lagi hak pengguna diragut. Tambah pompuan tu lagi kalau tukar brg yg berlainan jenis akan menyebabkan susah kpd mrka nak check brg2 keluar masuk. Satu lagi alasan bodoh. Lalu abam cakap kat dia sy nak hebohkan kisah benar ini di media aliran perdana. Baru mrka sedar!

Mulai detik itu abam kie haramkan kaki ini menjejak kaki ke kedai RM2. Sekian. Terima kasih.


Malay Proficiency Test Is Necessary

LANGUAGE proficiency tests have gained popularity over the years and are widely used now by university admission centres, employers and even immigration officers to test an individual’s competency in a language. Examples of such tests include the Test of Proficiency in Korean (Topik), Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and Chinese Proficiency Test (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi).

One of the most widely taken language tests is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a globally recognised test used to assess non-native speakers’ proficiency in the English language. The test assesses language proficiency based on four key skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. A person is given a score of between 0 and 9 (0 being a non-user and 9 being an expert user).

Every year, thousands of Malaysians take the IELTS for a wide range of purposes including admission into overseas universities, seeking employment or obtaining a visa.

Despite its long history as our national language, there is no IELTS-equivalent proficiency test for Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu (BM) yet. At present, the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination’s BM result is used to gauge one’s proficiency in the language.

However, the SPM BM result is not a competent tool to test one’s proficiency in the language and should not be used in the same way as other similar tests (IELTS, for example). For one, SPM BM places great emphasis on writing skills while listening and speaking are less important. The SPM BM examination does not include a listening test; and while students are evaluated on their speaking skills in school, private candidates do not have to sit for an oral test. Paper One of the exam requires candidates to write two essays, one short (around 200 to 250 words) and one long (at least 350 words). These two essays make up about 60% of the total marks.

In comparison, the writing component of the IELTS makes up only 25% of the test taker’s total marks and the minimum word count for the IELTS short essay is 150 words (as opposed to 200 in SPM BM) and 250 words for the long essay (as opposed to 350 in SPM BM). To a foreigner or an international student learning BM, this can be overwhelming.

One of the biggest complaints concerning SPM BM is the literature component (also known as Komsas). SPM candidates are required to study several poems, dramas, short stories and novels specified in the BM syllabus.

While it is true that language cannot be separated from literature, and vice versa, private candidates find the study of such literary texts “useless” and serves little to no purpose in the evaluation of their language skills.

The language used in the required readings of the SPM BM examination is significantly different from the language used in everyday conversation. Also, none of the more recognised language proficiency tests (like IELTS, Toefl, Topik and JLPT) have a literature component.

Last year, medical graduates got the shock of their lives when they were told they had to have a SPM BM qualification or its equivalent to do their housemanship. This meant that medical students who did O-Level would not be able to do their housemanship since they did not sit for SPM BM.

Uproar ensued as the medical graduates claimed their BM proficiency was of the required level and they did not need the SPM certificate to prove it.

Therefore, a BM version of IELTS should be created promptly. The new test could be modelled on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is a guideline used by educators and test makers to evaluate one’s achievement in language learning.

Not only will this benefit non-SPM students, it can also help in enhancing the status of our national language. If we want BM to become a globally recognised lingua franca like English, Chinese or French, we should create a standardised proficiency test for it that can be used by organisations in the country and potentially worldwide.

The creation of such a test could also have potential benefits for the economy.

Since the growth of IELTS, language centres have mushroomed across the world to teach students to prepare them for the test. The creation of a BM version of the IELTS may also start a similar trend across the nation.

To make it well grounded, this BM version of IELTS should be:

1. Accessible: This means Malaysians throughout the country and foreigners too can take the test. It should start nationwide, and after ironing out any teething problems, can be expanded across the South-East Asian region. Test centres could be set up in Singapore or Thailand for people who are planning to seek employment in our country.

2. Affordable: The test should be affordable to all classes of society. Discrimination cannot be tolerated in the education system, and this includes discrimination on the basis of economic situations.

3. Safe and secure: The IELTS employs various security systems to ensure no fraud is practised by the test takers or any outside parties.

The test taker’s thumbprint is scanned before he enters the examination hall. If, for some reason, he needs to leave in the middle of the exam, his thumbprint will be scanned again when he returns.

4. Valid: To put it simply, a person scoring high on the test should be a more proficient BM user than a person with a lower score. The BM proficiency test should assess all dimensions of language acquisition (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and also the test taker’s range of vocabulary and grammar patterns.

I am confident that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka has the ability and resources to create a standardised BM proficiency test. Perhaps the Education Ministry can facilitate this process.


About Me

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Abam Kie is currently teaching English at a secondary school in Kelantan. He likes to write a blog during his free time to relieve his stress after teaching rowdy but good-natured teenagers. When he is not at school, you can find him taking care of her growing daughters while reading some books, magazines and websites to equip himself with the latest TESL methodology.