Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Head Under Probe Over Racist Remarks

Special Reports
Monday, 16 August 2010 admin-s

"Pelajar-pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan dan boleh balik ke China ataupun Sekolah Foon Yew. Bagi pelajar India, tali sembahyang yang diikat di pergelangan tangan dan leher pelajar nampak seakan anjing dan hanya anjing akan mengikat seperti itu."

By Student of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Kulai

(The Star) KULAIJAYA: Police are investigating a school principal who allegedly used racist remarks against non-Malay students during a Merdeka celebration at the school here recently.
Kulaijaya deputy OCPD Asst Supt Mohd Kamil said police had received 12 reports against the principal since Saturday and that the case was being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code.

Over 50 parents and students had lodged the reports against the principal, who allegedly described the non-Malays as “penumpang” (passengers) in the country during her speech at the start of the celebration on Aug 12.

“I was shocked that my principal had used such a word against non-Malay students in our school.

“This is not the first time that she had made racist comments against Chinese and Indian students in our school,” said 17-year-old student Brevia Pan.

She added that the principal, who joined the school early this year, would only target Chinese and Indian students.

“During the Merdeka celebration, she had told non-Malay students to go study in a Chinese school or go back to China,” she told reporters in a press conference organised by Senai assemblyman Ong Kow Meng.

Another student, Ashvini Thi-na­karan, 17, said many Malay students were influenced by the principal’s remarks and made similar comments and called them names.

“Before she came to my school, all the students got along well,” she said. Her father R. Thinakaran, 47, said this was a serious matter and that principals should not behave like this.
“This principal has caused racial disharmony at the school,” he said, adding that if no action was taken, he would take his daughter out of the school.

Ong called for stern action against the principal, adding that such school heads and educators would affect the minds of students.

Thursday, 19 August 2010.

Apart from our parents, it is our teachers who help lay the first foundations in life so as to guide and improve ourselves, for whatever it is we aspire to be.

On 12 August, Hajah Siti Inshah Mansor, the principal of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Kulai, allegedly described her students as penumpang (passengers), told her Chinese students to return to China and compared her Indian students with dogs.

Her remarks are unacceptable and a disgrace to her profession – the teaching profession.

She should have done the right thing and tendered her resignation. But only after making a public apology and after writing a letter of apology to each of the students in the school.

So what is a letter to each of the 2,200 students? She has done much harm to young, vulnerable and impressionable minds. At the same time, a noble profession has been besmirched, and a nation’s fragile truce between the races, is threatened.

If she will not go willingly, then she ought to be sacked. I have worked in companies where racism is not tolerated and the punishment is instant dismissal.

The head teacher’s insensitive, racist and daft comments uttered at the school assembly, is an insult to the Merdeka day celebrations.

Does this woman know the significance of Merdeka? Is she too young to have studied history at school or too young to know about the struggle to achieve Merdeka? Is she a perfect example of our much maligned BTN system?

I come from a family of teachers. My paternal grandfather was a headmaster, a father-in-law was a teacher as was my aunt and mother who trained at the Malayan Teachers' Training College at Kirkby.

Can anyone imagine the uproar and diplomatic scandal if the English teachers were to tell the Malayan teacher trainees that they looked stupid in their rags (sarongs) and to go back to the colonies where they came from, and to where they live in the trees, like monkeys?

You only have to sit with my grandfather to know of the challenges he faced in Malaya, when schools, were a rarity. We have progressed far from those attap-school days.

As for my mother and her sister, the children they once taught in primary and secondary school, would keep in constant touch, decades later What is striking is how her Chinese ex-students would frequent our Raya open house yearly. There was nothing unnatural or affected by the gathering.

That is why it is wrong for this principal to remain in her profession. She is undermining the good work of the other teachers, including her religious and community leaders.

Prime Minister Najib may have championed his 1Malaysia message, but it is obvious that either his message is not filtering down to the population or that the extremist groups are more effective in creating disharmony.

Wasn’t it a few days ago that DPM Muhyiddin Yassin warned the MCA to “be sensitive to the needs of other races in the country”? However, he forgot to inform his own people – the Malays - to do the same. Didn't he say, “In Barisan, we always take a similar stand on issues affecting all races.”?

Perhaps, Malays do not listen to their leaders any more. Maybe the extremists have successfully turned insecure Malays like this school-principal into arrogant creatures.

It would be interesting to know if any of the teachers made a police report. If none of them did, then it just shows how we have been conditioned by peer pressure and office politics, that we have forgotten our basic values.

A few minutes of berating and insulting the non-Malay students will now condemn this principal to a life of ignominy. Rather than being remembered for her guidance and teaching abilities, she will be known for her racist comments and the humiliation of being jeered at, during her attempts to apologise to the school assembly. Teenagers can be merciless when provoked.

Hajah Siti will come to realise the full meaning of ‘insult in haste and repent at leisure’. Her teaching career is in tatters as she will no longer be held in high regard by her students, their parents and her fellow teachers.

Instead of being an inspiration, she has disgraced her noble profession.