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Showing posts from July, 2014

The Kampung Spirit and Racial Harmony

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I grew up in a kampung in the 50s when I started school. In our community we had Chinese, Malays and Indians for neighbours. We had no running water and our homes were lighted up by a common generator. Kerosene lamps were quite common. We shared a common kitchen for several households, a common well and common toilet facilities. We were a ‘commonwealth’ for we share some common wealth of simple necessities of life.

One of our neighbours was a Malay teacher. He was single and he lived alone. I used to visit him and he taught me Malay and Jawi. I learned to write Jawi script which is constructed from right to left. It was much later in life that I learnt Hebrew and Arabic at college level, and realized how these languages are inter-related.

My Malay neighbour was very kind to me. Not only did he teach me bahasa he also taught me Malay folk songs and stories, some of which I still remember. Songs like Chan Mali Chan and Ikan Kekek still ring in my ears. My favourite stories …

My Grandson, Our Intern

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Today, Lucas, my grandson started his internship with the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM). I am very glad that he chose to come all the way from Canada to intern here. And it leads me to reflect on the notion of internship.

Internship is an effective programme for anyone interested in learning hands-on what a particular job entails. It can be a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training, similar to an apprenticeship. For people who are not sure about what they want to do, and it serves as a trial. It can also be for students who are looking at the prospect of entering a course of study in a particular discipline and wants to know what it is like to be in that industry. Or it can be a time for students to be exposed to the working world in a realistic environment.

From the employers’ perspective, internship can provide them with cheap or free labour for low-level tasks. Stereotypically, interns had been treated no better than “tea and office boys” in the past. …