Transforming from Passive Student to Active Advocate: Shu Wen’s Story

Shu Wen Teo (Photo from her Twitter account, @shuwenteo)
Shu Wen Teo (Photo from her Twitter account, @shuwenteo)

Shu Wen Teo is a sophomore at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, where she studies biology (and chemistry, and business administration, and would study political science too if she had the time).  She comes from Malaysia, and in addition to keeping up her busy academic schedule, she has devoted a lot of time to helping other Malaysian students learn about studying in the U.S.

Shu Wen has participated in education events back home in Malaysia and runs the Malaysia Scholarship blog – a blog devoted to finding and publicizing scholarship opportunities for Malaysian students.

We talked over Skype recently about her struggle to adapt during her first year at Colby-Sawyer, why she’s grateful for her liberal arts education, and how studying in the U.S. has changed her as a person.

Have you had a good experience so far?

The first year, not really.  I was really passive when I first came here, probably because of the culture shock. … Then the second year I started to get active and I got involved in the cross-cultural club particularly, and promoting cultural differences in the college.

I’m looking forward to the junior year, actually, because things have been getting better.

Did you ever regret your decision to come here?

A little bit, actually.  Because the way of teaching and learning system here is really different and I was not used to it.

A view of New London, New Hampshire, where Colby-Sawyer College is located (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Bev Norton)
A view of New London, New Hampshire, where Colby-Sawyer College is located (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Bev Norton)

We had a course called “Pathway,” where there was a lot of discussion and participation in class.  I think I got a B- because I was so passive that I didn’t speak up in class, though I got an A in essays every time. But my discussion and participation points really pulled the grade down.  Then after that I kind of got familiar to that kind of system.  And so we had another Pathway course again this semester, and I would say I am definitely improving.

Here, where Colby-Sawyer is so small, the professor will even notice if you are missing from the class.  So they will realize if you don’t speak up in class.  That’s really scary.

Why did you choose to study in the U.S.?

Originally, like all Malaysians, after I graduated from high school I applied for a government scholarship, and I got an offer to study English degree in Australia.  But I think this is not what I wanted.  Because if I take that offer and if I graduate, I have to serve the government for 10 years, because it’s a bonded scholarship.

So I realized that there’s no wiggle room to do what I’m interested in if I study in Malaysia.  So I started to attend a U.S. education workshop organized by a bunch of students from Ivy Leagues.  They talked about how free the U.S. education is and they talked about liberal arts education where if you are undecided of what your major is you can try a couple of disciplines first until you find your passion.  It kind of struck me, so I just took my chance and applied to several schools in the U.S., and finally got in. …

Shu Wen talks to EducationUSA about the Opportunity Grant she received:

Actually, a lot of Malaysians would not even think of Colby-Sawyer or even Swarthmore or these kinds of colleges because they only aim for Ivy Leagues. So if you talk about Bates College or other liberal arts colleges, they will think you’re going to study painting or drawing in that college, which is a misconception among Asians, actually, among Southeast Asians. So that’s why when I went back last summer, I joined a U.S. education workshop to promote the liberal arts education to those Malaysians who are interested in pursuing their education in the U.S.

Tell me more about that, and about the Malaysia Scholarship Blog…

I worked with a group of other students to promote U.S. education in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.  I think about 200 high school students came, along with their parents.  Actually, a couple of them even got into Cornell and those prestigious colleges.

Screenshot of the Malaysia Scholarship Blog
Screenshot of the Malaysia Scholarship Blog

And besides that I have been advocating U.S. education on websites as well, and especially Colby-Sawyer.  That’s why the number of international students applying to Colby-Sawyer has increased dramatically this year.  So I got a Sawyer Fellowship award for that contribution to the college. …

I have a lot of people contacting me, for example, people from other countries and say they have these scholarships because they came across my blog. So they contact me regarding the information, so I just help them to put out the information. And also every day I spend a lot of time Googling.

What compelled you to start doing this?

Since I came here I’ve undergone significant personal transformation, especially in terms of my knowledge.  Because before that I was very – I wouldn’t say closed-minded, but I wasn’t aware of the issues around me and the global issues.  So when I came here I was very much exposed to a lot of global concerns through my Pathway course, which was citizen leadership, and also through my internship experience, which is not emphasized in Malaysian education.

So I want to bring this to the attention of Malaysians and I hope they will benefit from this and go back to Malaysia and serve the country in the future.  Because I’ve found that the brain drain issues have been quite serious actually, and I think the quality of education has been degrading dramatically over the years because of some political concerns – the racial issues.  So I hope it will kind of open up their mind when they study abroad and bring back what they learned and serve the country.

Is studying in the U.S. the right choice for everyone?

I would say different people have different ambitions.  Those who aim to just make more money, which is the ambitions of most Malaysians, they would prefer to pursue education in UK or Australia so they can obtain their degree earlier and faster and go into society and work.  But for those who are interested in increasing their knowledge on different breadth of disciplines, I‘d encourage them to pursue their education in the U.S., particularly because the education system here is really different, due to the teaching and learning system.

» Listen to the full interview

Submit your own stories about learning English or coming to the U.S. using the form below, or email jstahl@voanews.com.

23 comments

  1. Shu Wen Teo said ” I think the quality of education has been degrading dramatically over the years because of some political concerns – the racial issues.”
    This,she referred to the Malaysian system of education….Well,I’ve to disagree with Ms Shu,,!!

    She admitted that she was Close-minded,until she opened up her mind (think out of the box,so to speak), in her 2nd year at Colby-Sawyer. That means,in Malaysia,she was all the time,quite IGNORANT about the reality of the Malaysian Education system,maybe being one-sided in her understandings of the system and based from heresay facts, to form such an indifferent attitude towards the real aspirations of the Malaysian system…!! If at all the system is substandard,how come there were so many Malaysian students who can excell in universities in the U.K,US, Australia and other countries after going through their early educations (7 to 17) in Malaysia??

    Please,Ms Shu,if you want to condemn your own country’s education system,take a while to think,whether what you said is all the truth and fairness without the racial attitude slant…!!!!

    Ms Shu sounds more like “a rebel wihout a cause” than speaking a real,well researched facts about the Malaysian Education System.

    1. I think it’s fair for her to express her opinion, and for us to debate the positives and negatives of studying in different countries. One of our other bloggers, Alex Busingye, studied in Malaysia for his undergraduate degree before coming to the U.S. for his graduate degree, and Malaysia attracts a growing number of international students. If you’re interested in the positives and negatives of studying overseas v. studying in your home country, stay tuned. We’ll be publishing an article on that topic pretty soon. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Mr Dean, DID IT EVER OCCUR TO YOU, that MANY MALAYSIANS ARE SUCCESSFUL NOT BECAUSE OF THE ‘SUPERB’ EDUCATION SYSTEM THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT HARPS ON ABOUT, but it’s by mere hard work ? Have you ever heard the teary tales of so many hopeful Malaysian students who were excelled so well in their studies, all with testimonies baring that their teachers were close to no help to them ? Have you so much faith in an education system that has been criticized year after year by it’s own people ?

      Most of these great students come from humble backgrounds, where the severity of their circumstances push them to excel in their studies. And even if it were true that the education system in Malaysia is so impressive, why are the students leaving then ? Obviously because the system is not interested in them continuing their studies on home grounds. Not offered a scholarship to pursue a pricey education, not offered a place in public universities despite scoring 4 flat, etc. Be in the shoes of students first before you dare to even belittle the hard work of great talents such as this fine Malaysian. Show a little decency in appreciation of the fact she is still a Malaysian glorifying the Malaysian name overseas.

  2. As a current post high school student in pursuing my A levels in Malaysia, I have to disagree partially with Mr Dean’s unwarranted lashing at Ms Teo. (not Ms Shu mind you)

    I do agree that the Malaysian education system has its fair share of pros and cons. However I stand by my stance that it has become increasingly problematic over the years.

    You stated:

    “If at all the system is substandard, how come there were so many Malaysian students who can excel in universities in the U.K, US, Australia and other countries after going through their early educations (7 to 17) in Malaysia??”

    I refute that by describing with personal experience and observation from a student who actually went through this ‘early education’ process. Malaysian students are successful in the academic field due to their own diligence. I personally have self studied many of the science subjects due to my “teacher’s” incompetence. However I do respect the fact that some actually made an effort to try, kudos to them but shame on those who don’t. (Yes there are plenty of both)

    Furthermore, there is the prevalent ‘tuition culture’ which plays an instrumental role to help students achieve. But at what cost? Forking out perhaps an extra 300 ringgit a month when taxes have already been paid? However, if we don’t succumb, it is extremely difficult to obtain a good grade, and don’t we all know how grades reign supreme in our academic dependent society.

    But perhaps this situation is a double edged sword as I have many teachers who once upon a time uttered statements such as. ‘Go ask your tuition teachers if you don’t know.’ Or ‘Your tuition teachers would have had taught you this right?’ This probably might have led to a decline in motivation to teach as students prefer to depend solely on their tuition teachers thus disrespecting the teacher in class. It is in the end, a vicious cycle.

    And the Asian parenting style plays a pretty prominent role too, just think a watered down version of ‘Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother.’

    You stated:

    “Please, Ms Shu, if you want to condemn your own country’s education system, take a while to think, whether what you said is all the truth and fairness without the racial attitude slant…!!!!”

    I do not condemn, but am merely stating what I have experienced. You may beg to differ but it does not mean that there is some degree of truth in her words. Plans to change the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics into Bahasa Melayu from English have been heatedly discussed over the past year. Can you say unequivocally that this is not a decision spurned by political motives? It is without a doubt that English is the universal language and there are just countless benefits to use it as a medium of instruction. And to those that refute my statement as they fear the erosion of Bahasa Melayu, are they so insecure of the language’s practical use in society? I, although not of Bumiputera origin, love the language and frequently read Malay novels. Why is this so? I have my primary and secondary BM teachers to thank for making me realize the beauty of language. So is this the so called erosion?

    To add a few more points of my own, I happen to notice that the Malaysian Education system is focused on theory, crude memory work and amounts of zero thinking skills. As much as I hate to admit it, we’re all just a bunch of photocopy machines. How do I come to realize this? By observing the amount of struggles me and my classmates go through to answer A level based questions which requires thinking out of the box. It is sad that we’re not taught how to appreciate what we learn, but merely are pushed to cram in as much as possible to polish up that flashy certificate. We frequently hear, ‘This is how you do it and you should just do as I say.’ Besides that, questions such as ‘Why’ ‘How’ etc are shot down within seconds. I don’t blame the teachers; they have so much to cover in a short time, in addition to juggling nonsense such as paperwork reports, silly school-enhancing programs etc. There is no love, no passion for the knowledge we pursue. Except for some select ones due to proper guidance from teachers. May God bless them for making such an amazing impact on my life as a student.

    In order to ensure we score the required grades, we the students are subjected to endless examinations. I personally went through 2 solid months of exams. And this is no joke; can you imagine going to school for 2 months and taking exams every single day? What does that serve to teach? It teaches us how to be good exam takers, not young intellectually curious people. I presume that’s the point Ms Teo was trying to highlight.

    This is just my two cents, and the education system in Malaysia is definitely FAR from perfect. However it is not as horrible as many made it to be, I am definitely grateful for what it has made me today. There are of course improvements that can be done and should be done for the betterment of our society. But till that is implemented, I look forward to pursuing a liberal arts degree in the States in the near future. Thank you to those at VOA student news and of course Ms Teo for being such an inspiration.

  3. ELITE COLLEGES vs Others. Which one worth going to in America?? ….Well,of course most aspiring students world over, would like to go to Elite Colleges,for the names and prestiges already etched in the education world and industry. But sometimes, other not so well known colleges do have some good,relevant courses to offer to their aspiring students.
    When I started my 1st degree studies in Electrical & Electronics Engineering in BATH University,Avon, England,United Kingdom (U.K),the university was not so well known and high ranking as others Elite Colleges like The Imperial College,King’s College of the University of London,Oxford,or the Cambridge University…..But I am glad to know that as of 2011, Bath University is ranked number 9 among 200 over universities in the UK. That goes to show that with mixed inputs of good aspiring students world over,can make a vibrant,good,not-so-well known university prospers and improve in its standing,as time goes by, God Willing.

    1. so you was a government scholar? that’s great… you must have done extremely well in the school I suppose…

      too bad it doesn’t apply equally to all skin colours in Malaysia. I scored 7 As in SPM, not the greatest but not good enough to get an oversea scholarship, instead I was given a place in a local university, something I never like but had no choice as my family couldn’t afford me a better one!

      never mind, throughout the university study I was among the top 5% in class, I don’t rely on lecturers as I find it a waste of time as most materials were converted from Bahasa M’sia to English and I had to struggle to convert it back to understand it better. Therefore most time I was at library looking at the original English reference books.

      at my last semester, all top 5% of the class were from the wrong colours abandoned by the government. Out of nowhere a student of the right colour popped up and telling people he’s sponsored for a Master Degree in the UK. My knowledge was his CGPA was slightly above 3.0 and the worst part is.. he barely manage to converse in English! The rest of us can only envy as none of the top students were aware of the existence of the scholarship! That happened more than 10 years ago, and recently I found out on a social networking site that this scholar had graduated from the UK of his Master and become a lecturer in local university, finally, after a decade long, fully sponsored. And trust me, he’s not the only one.

      During the period, I had the opportunity to join a private firm in UK, which later sponsored me for a part-time Master Degree in one of the top university in my field study. Reason being: I COULD NOT APPLIED FOR PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP AS MY MALAYSIAN DEGREE IS NOT RECOGNISED! I completed it in 2 years and am deeply grateful to my English employer. I’m not white, I don’t have any private relationship with anyone in the firm, but they appreciate people who has potential and hardworking. The education system in Malaysia is forever a pain for those who have wrong skin colours and can’t afford private education!

      kudos to Shu Wen for her effort in providing alternative education route to those who are less fortunate to get a government scholarship (or even if they give you, in many case it’s not what you want!).

  4. Some Points taken on your comments to my comments,A Malaysian Student (MS)….But i am wondering whether MS is someone putting herself in the shoe of Ms Shu(or Ms Teo, whatever! )…….

    Dig this….“Please, Ms Shu, if you want to condemn your own country’s education system, take a while to think, whether what you said is all the truth and fairness without the racial attitude slant…!!!!”

    I do not condemn, but am merely stating what I have experienced…(as a post high school “A”Level student.)

    Is MS, the Ms Shu?? Playing politics under an Anonymous name MS?? who later “MASUK BAKUL ANGKAT SENDIRI ?? (Malay Proverb,which means self adulation),towards the later MS comment….

    Well,The POINT is still ;

    1)When you want to make comments on the positive and the negative aspects of tertiary education in US universities,please DO NOT make a sweeping remarks of how bad your primary and secondary education are in your own country…!!Yes,there are some bad policies in the syllabus or the teaching methods or the “uninterested and undedicated teachers”,but that doesnt necessarily make the WHOLE SYSTEM BAD!!

    Its just like making a statement that “Toyota Cars are Bad,just because of a few foul-up in its latest model Braking System..!!” or ” GM cars are BAD,because its high fuel consumption system”…!!!

    2) Now that Ms Shu Wen Teo,is so open-minded and full of aspirations,then write,email,twitter to the Prime Minister or the Education Minister of Malaysia to voice your opinions on the BAD POLICIES of the current Malaysian Education System,in order for these policies to be improved,over time and time and again.
    As MS commented and I qoute” Primary/Secondary education in Malaysia:However it is not as horrible as many made it to be, I am definitely grateful for what it has made me today.There are of course improvements that can be done and should be done for the betterment of our society.”

    3)And as Ms Jessica Stahl of VOA stated in her comments above,”Malaysia attracts a growing number of international students.”,so lets look at Malaysia’s Education System on a more fair basis,can we??

    4) “If at all the system is substandard, how come there were so many Malaysian students who can excel in universities in the U.K, US, Australia and other countries after going through their early educations (7 to 17) in Malaysia??”

    I am a living proof product of “primary and Secondary Malaysian Education System” (year 7 till 17 years old.)
    and I can vouch that NOt all the system in the Early Education System in Malaysia are bad and faulty. Some need to be improved over time and time again in order to give the maximum benefits to the future generations of the country.

  5. Excuse me Mr Dean, I happen to know what ‘masuk bakul angkat sendiri’ means, and I am certainly not Ms Teo commenting under a different name. Don’t you think it is a bit ridiculous to suggest something blown so wildly out of proportion? We’re all mature people here, and I’m sure everything can be taken in with an open mind and one does not need to shove such ridiculous assumptions down everybody’s throat to prove a point.

    And the reason for my choice of words ‘I do not condemn’, is because I aim to highlight the issues I faced, and not denounce the whole system immediately as I am still grateful for what it has made me today. It’s amazing how you can jump to such conclusions. Are you that desperate to prove your point and trample over others in the process?

    1) This is just my two cents, and the education system in Malaysia is definitely FAR from perfect. However it is not as horrible as many made it to be, I am definitely grateful for what it has made me today. There are of course improvements that can be done and should be done for the betterment of our society.

    I rest my case.

    2) Perhaps that should and can be done.

    3) Of course Malaysia attracts a growing number of international students. They’re referring to the institution of Higher Education, not primary and secondary. Google higher education entrance rate for Malaysia, how many actually have access to tertiary education? Shouldn’t something be done concerning primary and secondary education in order to improve this situation?

    4) Looks like we finally hit a note of harmony here.

    ‘Some need to be improved over time and time again in order to give the maximum benefits to the future generations of the country.’

    However it has been say 20 years since you were last at school? I have many teachers who lament the declining standards of the Malaysian Education System. They have always recounted the ‘glory days’ where students were exceptionally bright and motivated to learn. Good for you to have such an opportunity, however we aren’t all that lucky. I would say the need for improvement is now a salient issue here.

    We’re all armed with that string of As due to relentless exam grinding procedures. There is no true learning in the process. This I feel, is the key failure in the education system. Of course there are other key areas such as extracurricular activities which I shall not delve into for the fear of typing yet another essay.

    The past is no more, and this is the reality. This is the real issue faced by a current student. Blindly and vehemently stressing that ‘Hey Malaysian’s Education System is amazing’ will not bring us anywhere. Perhaps this is the complacency that has lead us to where we are today. Do not compare your generation with mine, as it is likened to comparing apples and oranges, and claiming they’re both the same.

    We’re both on the same boat, but sailing on different seas.

  6. Sorry,MS,I think your two cents are just NONSENSE. But you are entitled to your own opinion.

    Whatever it is Grasshopper (MS)…you should know that;
    1) as the saying goes,”Those who forget the past,are condemned to repeat same mistakes”,
    2) A man (or woman) can be 75,but if he keeps up with the current and latest knowledges,by way of sharpening his mind constantly,then he can be thinking better than a 25 years old -saying of Dr.M…
    3) I might be 20years your senior,and I’ve got strings of experiences behind me,apart from a strings of “A”.
    You,grasshopper,hasn’t even have a Degree.so my advice is find out whats good for you,in term of your tertiary education,either at home or abroad,so that it will be smooth sailing for you in the future.

    1. Well, Dr.M. OMG Hahahaha…

      There’s a saying about a frog beneath a coconut shell. You certainly fit the bill.

      1. Talk about resurrecting a dead post. Doing some research eh Republic?

        Anyway, last year I was on my way to getting my degree and now I have it. I was offered a job the same week I had my finals and what I have discovered in my workplace is that my colleagues who have diplomas, undergraduate degrees, or even Master’s degrees from ‘prestigious’ public universities here in Malaysia are as I have predicted, mostly robots. They can do their work but once they are faced with problems that is not covered in their course syllabus (a lot) including conversing with clients, they simply break down. Their thinking skills are next to nil! (I have a feeling that the average IQ levels of public university undergraduates should tests be conducted be worthy of guffaws the world over) Not to mention the absolutely horrendous letters that they draft…..

        1. Talking bout studying in the US – the scholarship amounts offered are almost close to nothing in view of the annual tuition fees they have. I don’t really know how one could get to study there unless they have very rich parents or they’re Malay (well, obviously).

          I’m saying this comparing me and my high school friends (who’re Malay) who didn’t score too well in their SPM yet getting fully funded scholarship (not loan) to overseas countries studying courses like medicine costing I’d estimate around RM 500,000 being provided living expenses too at the same time. I just ‘love’ our government 🙂

          1. I have one of each of your two cases for cousins ^ . ^ One is studying in the States with a lot of monetary backing from his dad and my other cousin is on a government scholarship for a medical course at Manipal, India. No we definitely aint Bumi but my cousin is plenty smart. Like really, really smart.

            Due to my terrible SPM results (though I was in one of the top schools), I did my diploma in TARC due to their affordable (cheap) course fees so I get where you are coming from. And yes I do have quite a number of those friends who are studying overseas even with results worse than mine though I am very happy to say a lesser but still substanstial amount of my Malay friends got those scholarships on merit.

  7. Thank you for your honest opinion and advice. Its nice to know how supportive the older generation is of reformation, change and the embracing of a new era. I see this country progressing so much further with the likes of you people around.

    And in case you don’t know (but oh you have a degree so you should) I’m being pretty satirical here. Besides, in all honesty, by the way your response was structured, I have many reasons to believe you did not understand any of my points nor did you bother to try.

    Good day to you and I won’t be commenting any longer as I happen to have a degree to obtain.

    p/s: whats with the grasshopper reference? don’t go all ‘ungrateful malaysian student’ on me thanks, it is uncalled for and i happen to love my country very much. do refrain from assuming for it only serves to make you look pretty darn idiotic.

    or does it serve to mean that i’m jumping way too far ahead than i should? oh darn you baffle me so.

  8. Shu Wen Teo is an example of so many students who come to the US to study, but initially are quite unprepared for a number of changes in their lives, aside from the culture shock.

    We did an intense study on international students in the US last year and found that a large percentage of these students drop out of university or under-perform due to four main reasons:

    • Low level of academic English (there is a BIG difference between conversational English and academic English)
    • Poor assessment of students’ academic abilities and therefore poor placement in terms of choice of university
    • Not understanding the American education system and not having adequate study skills to manouvre the system
    • Sudden exposure to the American culture leads to many students being overwhelmed by their sudden freedom and lack of supervision

    As a result of our study, we are putting together a comprehensive bridging program for high school and first-year university students that encompasses all of the above. We are working very closely with one of the top ten community colleges in the US and will offer this program to our international students. The program will be an intense ten-month Academic English program coupled with a vast cultural immersion program.

    This goes hand in hand with our host family program for students in our bridging program. They stay with an English speaking family, which not only helps greatly with language acquisition, but families help students understand the culture that they are studying in.

    The US is very keen to welcome international students since they line the pockets of many institutions with their prompt payment of their tuition; however, it’s sad that for many, the calibre of their ESL programs and their bridging programs do little to help their international students succeed.

  9. Although I do appreciate the effort of Miss Teo of putting together a great website that offers a scholarship directory for students, I do have a few questions to ask about Miss Teo.

    I find it contradictory of her rejecting the concept of “to serve the government for ten years, because it is a bonded scholarship” and yet “wanting to bring this to the attention of Malaysians…bring back what they learned..”?
    You’ve acknowledged quite a few times in the article above and also in the YouTube interview about the problematic education in Malaysia and yet I do not see any proposed solutions, frankly speaking, I did not really understand the purpose of this article and interview.

    Yes you’ve mentioned how the education system has helped you and you’ve mentioned how the education system was in your university in the US, but I do not see the actual results of your transformation? You mentioned nothing of which global perspective that you have gained, and, please forgive me for speaking it bluntly again, I was not motivated at all by your interview on your experiences in the US.

    I believe that any scholar, who is holding a scholarship grant, should in fact, beforehand, have within themselves the qualities of a so-called active advocate, and the qualities of speaking out in class and actively voicing out, and so I am intrigued by the fact that you’ve managed to become “active” in your second years of study, a year later after you received you scholarship.

    Nonetheless, you did point out about the problems in Malaysia, and I do hope that you can consider using your Scholarship directory blog influence to send a message to the Malaysian students, rather than providing the students blindly with scholarship deadlines and infos….

  10. I would like to apologize to anyone taking flak from Mr Dean and my cheeks flush just from knowing he is a fellow Malaysian. I would prefer not even to touch about the article but would like to refute what Mr Dean as previously stated.

    I, Mr Dean, come from one of Malaysia’s so called ‘smart schools’ and my SPM results were horrendous. I just despise studying. I took my diploma n TAR College and now only 4 months away from getting my Heriot Watt degree. the difference between the Malaysian and UK education system was in my eyes , tremendous. Malaysians graduates (public university gradates especially) are not called mindless robots for no reason. They input information and they regurgitate the information in the exam hall. During my first semester, my tutor told me this; up till now you have been taught, and now you will be educated. Apt words. The critical thinking needed was most of the time non-existent in my fellow Malaysian course-mates. Why? Because they have been brought up for a decade in an environment which cares not of true education but instead CTRL+C, CTRL+V. Ah. Yet another reason Malaysian students cannot do well in assignments graded by overseas universities. Plagarism all the way.

  11. Am so tired of all these racial discrimination talk (certain race gets scholarship to go study overseas easily, other races fork out from their parents savings up to 50K or 100K just for one kid’s tertiary education). Fair?

    Reason why our country treating citizens differently based on skin colors I can never get it (I don’t see countries like Thailand, or Vietnam treating their citizens like that though they are from mixed racial groups like Malaysians). In Thai, people don’t identify themselves as a certain race – they just say Thai. I had an encounter with a Thai citizen who’s a Chinese. I asked him “so, you’re a Chinese?”
    “No, I’m Thai.”
    “Oh? I meant what race are you from?”
    “Thai”
    “But your grandparents or someone before you came from China, no?”
    “Yes.”

    After 50+ years of independence, nothing has change in that sense.

  12. *50-100K for education locally – only the super rich families can afford to fund for their kids to go study overseas (allocation of up to 400K or more in some cases)

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