I am a teacher by profession. I am teaching in a government school. Being a teacher, I am expected to inculcate moral values in my teachings. I have memorised all the sixteen values ‘ Nilai-nilai Murni ’ as a result of twenty-five years of teaching – values that transcend curriculum. Day in day out, all the students are exposed to all the values which are expected to cultivate good thinking and moral values among our young citizens. Examples of some of the moral values are being kind-hearted, respecting each other, fairness, honesty, and moderation.
In the recent SPM examination, many of my students did very well, some scoring straight As. We, teachers of all races, felt so very proud seeing the achievements of our students. We had ‘ Hari Anugerah Cemerlang ’ in my school. Parents, regardless of race or religion were there to lend support for the programme and at the same time to motivate the children. One such student is my own daughter, who scored 12 As, best student of the school. She used to wake as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to start preparing for her SPM.
When I asked her why she has to take up 12 subjects and ‘torture ‘ herself, she told me, ‘I am not a bumiputera like many of my friends.’ So the need to take up two extra subjects (not offered in her school) in order to be on par with her Malay friends.
She applied for the Progran Matrikulasi well before SPM itself. Yesterday was the day she was eagerly waiting since obtaining her SPM results because all the applicants will get their reply from the matriculation office. While I was in school, my handphone rang. It was a call from my daughter. When I answered the call she was already sobbing, and I am so silly to think that it was tears of joy.
The sobs turn to cries after she heard my voice - she was devastated, depressed and very disappointed because she failed to get entry into this government-sponsored programme. She is the eldest in my family. I have another three school going children. May be I am to be blamed because it was me who asked her to study hard, get good results because being an ordinary teacher I can not afford to send her to private colleges.
When I came back after school yesterday afternoon, again I saw tears in her eyes. She asked several questions. ‘Is it wrong to get 12 As in SPM? My Malay friends who got 2As and 3 As got to do the matriculation programme, I am denied. What’s wrong? You are also a teacher just like uncle, (my Malay colleague in school) his son was offered a place although he scored only 5As. Why?’ I don’t have answers.
Being a teacher (I teach History and Moral Education), I teach my students to be loyal to the country, to respect the leaders, to obey the laws of the nation, to promote goodwill and so on. I encourage them to participate in ‘Rimup’ (a race integration programme among students of various races).
I do not know what to say to my daughter. I feel guilty because what I teach in school is actually rubbish, perhaps I need to tell them the reality being a non-Malay citizen of our beloved nation. For that I need to resign. Please Mr. Prime Minister, may be you have something to tell us.