A Letter to My Inner Child

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Photo by Markus Spiske

I miss my childhood. Life feels immediate. You owe nothing to nobody. Your thoughts are in the here and now. You can be anything. You can be anywhere. Reality is a nuisance. Your only responsibility is to have a good time. You are also less likely to judge yourself and others. Adventure is wherever you are. Little things are compelling and stimulating. I can go on and on. We undergo a change in us on our journey to adulthood. We start to forget about the power we have inside. We disregard our innate ability to create  and become whomever we envision to be.

You should play more. Playing will build your creativity and confidence. Physical activities will compel you to learn new things, conquer your fears, and build your confidence. Besides that, you’ll get to meet up with other children and teenagers in the neighbourhood. It doesn’t matter if they win or lose. Playing is about working together and trying your best. Switch off the Gameboy and television. Spend more time outdoors and in nature. You should be more physically active. Go for a walk, stretch your legs and absorb the sunshine. It can be surprisingly therapeutic and healing. You’ll feel happier too.

You are beautiful in your own way. Your body should be honoured and it doesn’t matter if it differs from the standard criteria of beauty. Still, your physical appearance should not be your most notable quality. The girl inside is worthier of attention. Intelligence, kindness, and compassion are more deserving of society’s approval or admiration. Moral values will build your character. I know that you are inclined to correlate your physical appearance with self-worth. I want you to recognize and appreciate what makes you unique, beyond the superficiality of appearance. Carry on with nurturing your beauty, both inside and out.

Take heed of our parents when you’ve reached your adolescent years. I feel contrite about the false sense of superiority I had in high school since I’ve been a university student. It is a typical feeling that most teenagers have about life. It is the feeling of being know-alls and not at all needing help from others. Once I enrolled into university and are doing things on my own, I understood that I had judged incorrectly and I was in the wrong. I appreciate my greater independence, but there are responsibilities and challenges of adulthood that I found myself lamenting about. I pushed myself to adapt and learn.

Everything will be alright. I’ve accepted this saying wholeheartedly after going through personal experiences that opened my eyes. I also find myself telling my family and friends this phrase from time to time. If you trust that circumstances will get better, disheartening situations will improve and you’ll be back at the top of the rollercoaster of life. I want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that no matter what it is you’re going through or struggling with at the moment, it will come to pass. In time, you will look back on it as a mere memory and you’ll feel a pride emerge within yourself for embodying the strength to move forth. I’m going to tell you that you’ll be stronger. I see you. I feel you. I love you.

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Photo by Arif Riyanto

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Malaysia: Social Welfare Proposals

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Photo by Izuddin Helmi Adnan

The quality of a prominent and leading nation should be reflected in its policies whether economic, social, security or administrative. The complications of the Second World War in its aftermath for Malaysia bring to pass an outburst of social problems. It spurred the growth of the social work field which aims to better the social justice and welfare of the nation. The United National Conference of Social Welfare Ministers in 1969 gave moral support to the contribution of social welfare activities. They emphasized the need to focus on social welfare training programs. The training for personnel in research, organization and administration were cited as priorities.

Financing of social security and pension, when thoroughly maneuvered, can be a relief and privilege to any organization or nation. Countries that have successfully integrated and regulated private and national social security in their countries are Japan and the United States. Following their footsteps, Malaysia could recommend the companies or statutory bodies that have provision for pension for their executives, to extend them to all of their employees without bias. Organizations that hold their own trust retirement funds are permitted to be exempted from contributions to SOCSO and EPF. Besides that, the tabulation of the annual reports to the Parliament by the government’s actuary department on the assets, liability, and statistics regarding the matters relevant to social security, pension, or welfare.

In 1971, the federal government allocated RM528 million to the Ministry of Education for operational expenditures. There is continuing debate on the function, influence and aptitude of our national education policy. The national curriculum reforms had taken on more social and political obligations than most countries to make up for the forsaken years before Malaysia’s independence. The government’s plan of action is to swiftly indoctrinate the underdeveloped sectors to the standards of the propitious urban sector. In order to amend the disparity, there should be a reallocation of federal investment in education from upper secondary to primary level of education in light of the fact that the rate of return is superior at the primary level. Compensatory education assistance needs to be provided to help repair early education disadvantages. Priority and publicity are requisites and must be taken into consideration to lessen illiteracy.

Granted that welfare legislation and quasi-welfare legislation exist, they are not as inclusive for the welfare of women and family. It is viable for the cabinet to draft a Sex Discrimination Act and amend the Guardianship Act and Property Inheritance Act in order to eradicate any form of discrimination and give Malaysian women equal rights. Although the gender gap is improving, women are still being denied equal opportunities in terms of business partnerships, managerial promotions, and salary structure. In addition to, more pension allowances and social security benefits for the elderly. A great number of Malaysia’s senior citizens have been abandoned by their families or have no family to make mention of. A compulsory pension contribution scheme will enable them to rejoice in financial security.

Social work is a profession with variety and diversity. It is a necessary line of work in the rapidly developing country of Malaysia. Alvin Toffler coined the term ‘Future Shock’ to describe the overwhelming stress brought about by subjecting people with a great deal of change in a short period of time. To facilitate development, the balance between the pace of environmental change and the limited pace of human response is a needed. The protection for people at a disadvantage in the grip of poverty is a concept prevailing in all major religions. Although ethics and moral values are abstract, religion is an effective unifying factor in society. The task that confronts social welfare are many, intricate, and often philosophical.

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Photo by Nik Radzi

Ways Creative Technology Shape Up Society

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Photo by Sam McGhee

Technology has always been advancing. It makes progress in strength and speed at a continually increasing rate. For example, the technology of mobile commercial business has skyrocketed with the ceaseless growth of recent development in engineering and applied sciences. Apple continually advances the features in their machines and Samsung’s recent Galaxy S4 has set higher standards for processing speeds. The rivalry and competitiveness between these conglomerates produce fresh and experimental ideas and proposals. This inevitably leads to further development of software and hardware. The society make use of mobile devices to network with people situated a great distance from them. Today, technology is practically synonymous to speed and performance.

Creative technology is a field of design, advertising and media in digital form. It is creating multi sensory experiences utilising digital graphics, production, publishing, cinematography, virtual reality, augmented reality, software engineering, 3D printing, CAD/CAM and more. Content creators utilising creative technology possess the ability to transport their audiences into digital experiences and have AI respond to their actions. Creative technology comes to life when children wave their hands in front of a large screen and the decorative design imitate their movements. A potential customer having a conversation with a holographic sales associate. Placing a paper cup on an interactive panel to launch a digital menu and place an order at a fast speed. Stepping into a lobby of a company and a screen shows an abstract visualization of the company’s sales performance.

One of the key benefits of creative technology is its power to help the commercial activities of small local enterprises and raise them higher to play on the global scale. Google gives the necessary time and opportunity for business owners to widen their market to worldwide prospects. Through the make use of web design coding, they may give informative and interactive product descriptions and position high resolution images of the products in their web pages. In order for prospects to make excellent buying decisions, business owners need to offer a lot of information to gain the trust of consumers. Besides that, social media vehicles like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also give opportunities for entrepreneurs to excite the curiosity and attention of prospects and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

The entertainment industry has profited by a considerable amount from the development of creative technology. The innovation of video games, music systems and visual systems has impacted home entertainment. For example, smart televisions are now equipped with connection to the internet. This enables a user to share their watchlist with family and friends. The easy access to music is also convenient to both musicians and their fans. Apple’s iTunes allow people to purchase and download music on their devices at a low cost. On top of that, attractions like restaurants, café, cinemas, theatre and amusement parks have too benefited from the impact of creative technology. People can watch blockbuster films in 3D, ride thrilling roller coasters or be attended by a robot in an eatery in their downtime.

To sum it up, creative technology is simply an advancement of old technology. The society uses technology in a multitude of ways and the implementation of it can sometimes bring about more destruction and detriment than for good. However, the society also uses technology to better communicate with each other. Communication instruments such as televisions, radios and the internet can be utilized to convince, enthral and educate the people. During political elections, politicians use these mediums to reach the districts, institutions and groups of people that they want to serve. Communication is human connection. It brings about comprehension, community and relationships.

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Photo by Samuel Zeller

The Gender Roles of Malay People

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Photo by Nuar Yusli

What are gender roles? They are but expectations of the general public on the behaviour patterns of men and women based upon their sex. Different cultures in the world have different gender role expectations. However, they share similar underlying themes. For example, domestic behaviour and occupation. The society expect women to nurture their offspring, prepare food, do housework, while men take part in finance management, vehicle maintenance, and home repair. People are also quick to assume that cooks, retail salespeople, pharmacists, elementary school teachers, accountants, interior designers and human resources managers are women. Occupations in management, law and various STEM-related roles are expected to be executed by men.

In the traditional Malay household, men are look up to as the breadwinner, and women as the homemaker. The head of the household is time and again the father in Malay families. To boot, ancestral lineage, bequeath, hereditament and guardianship are structured in laws in favour of men. Besides that, Malays are more conservative and traditionalist about relationships and marriage. It is especially common for their men and women to seek to marry promptly after they finalise their tertiary studies as a herald to attaining a job. In rural areas such as Alor Setar, Ipoh and Kota Kinabalu, dating custom are much more conservative. Matrimony is oftentimes presumed to be the outcome of any liaison. Some Malay men in the countryside still engage in polygamy, with a man amalgamating multiple wives. This is rare in the metropolitan areas and amid the scholarly. In addition to, Homosexuality or LGBT is forbidden by law in Malaysia and same-sex marriage are fiercely condemned.

Malaysia is witnessing changing bias of orthodox gender roles but are the Malay people ready for the contemporary renovation? Prominent social activist, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, remarked that gender roles demand recalibration to the benefit of Malaysians. During her talk at Zubedy’s #EmpowerSomethingNice forum last year, the writer gave voice to her concerns and asserted that the stereotyping of gender roles was detrimental to today’s men and women. Marina went on to say that the modification of gender roles was causing friction in the household. Women are now, to a greater extent, making their own revenues. They are highly educated and have considerable skill, proficiency, and intelligence to provide for themselves and their family. Every now and then, women are paid more than their spouse and some men consider this intolerable, triggering a crisis of male supremacy and success. The solution to, she said, was for couples to regard each other on equal terms. If Malaysians want to live in a more equitable and non-discriminatory country, men must acknowledge and accept that it is essential that they make way for women to be empowered. Establishing a space for women to speak up in the boardroom and in the house is a virtuous step forward.

A stereotype is a broadly accepted judgment or bias about an individual or community. However, they are often overly generalised and rarely precise. Stereotypes concerning gender can cause disparate and one-sided treatment. In other words, sexism. It is not always done consciously. Some Malay people may proclaim themselves to be a feminists, egalitarians, but sexism can still take place in the best of us. Sexism can transpire within or between people of the same sex. Believe it or not, it is a commonality for Malay women to be convinced that her sex is inferior to the male counterpart, unworthy of equal rights. It is also commonplace for Malay women to criticize other women for not following the social norms designated for them. Men and sexism are not mutually exclusive. A great number of Malay men refuses to wear pink colored  Baju Melayu to events or family gatherings. They also withhold their urge to cry because their parents told them since childhood that strong men don’t cry. Some men do not permit their wives to work.

Alas, there are always different perspectives on the same situation. If we take a closer look, we can observe many instances and justifications why traditional gender roles can benefit Malay people today. Traditional gender roles offer men a fully developed identity. A responsible, reliable, loyal, protective, and persistence in his efforts to better the life of himself and his family are qualities that women hope to find in men. It reveals the difference between a boy and a man. It is a standard we should hold the men in our society to because these qualities are what make high quality spouses and fathers. Some feminists would say that conventional gender roles put a stop to women from expressing themselves and force them into a submissive and docile position. According to Steven Doughty, a writer for Britain’s Daily Mail, a recent study revealed mothers who stay at home are as gratified with their lives as those who choose to enter the workforce. In contrast, the report discovered that a house husband is generally much less willing and pleased. To be expected, the study also revealed that the happiest people are traditional married families. This shows that for the most part, women who are homemakers in actuality take pleasure in what they do. The protests and allegations by feminists that women are oppressed into being housewives are in fact defunct. Whether they realise it or not, women in truth tend to prefer traditional gender roles because it simply makes sense. Despite media portrayal, they are in reality not being oppressed into these roles, but decide to adopt them for practicality and preference.

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Photo by Firdaus Roslan