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Tag: education

Why Muslims are more educated than their peers

Published in Malay Mail Online

A recent Pew Research Center study showed that in Malaysia, Muslims on average are more educated than adherents of other religions, that is they have more formal schooling compared to others.

It had measured the level of education of three cohorts: the “oldest” (born 1936-1955), “middle” (born 1956-1975) and “youngest” (born 1976-1985).

Pew found that in the country, Muslims receive an average of 10.2 years of formal schooling followed by Buddhists (9.8 years), Hindus (9.7), Christians (9), and those unaffiliated to the four religion groups (8.2).

The average period of schooling in Malaysia is 9.9 years, below the required six years of primary education added with five of secondary.

The study caught the attention of non-Muslims and non-religious in the country who felt slighted and had a hard time accepting the fact. It is as if their deep-rooted racism and prejudice made them believe that the Muslims are bound to be uneducated, backwards, and perhaps stupid.

But few of them asked the right questions.

In defence of pseudo-intellectualism

Published in The Malaysian Insider

By the time you read this, I’ll be away from the city enjoying my honeymoon, probably reading Greg Epstein’s Good Without God and pondering on a Nietzschean thought or two. If that makes me a pseudo-intellectual, I guess you can call me one.

Recently, lawyer Syahredzan Johan wrote in The Star and called on everyone to stand up against pesudo-intellectualism: Down with it, and long live honesty.

A response by feminist writer Alicia Izharuddin, published in the blog LoyarBurok, had his defenders and supporters claiming that the article was just a poke against the pretenders, not the “real” intellectuals.

My opinion is that they are both related, and an attack on one means an attack against the other.

Teach me about sex

Published in The Malaysian Insider

Forget that when people think about sexual prowess, they don’t automatically think keropok lekor. Forget that the amount of Tongkat Ali additive available in health supplement products is too little to work. The fact that Terengganu thinks it’s a prudent idea to sell Tongkat Ali-laced keropok lekor reflects that there is a sizable demand for it.

Perhaps it is time to admit that our society is obsessed with sex. More accurately, we are obsessed with ubat kuat-kind of sexual performance, but not so much the aspects that would benefit from sex education.

Last month, my fiancee and I attended the nationally-mandatory two-day kursus kahwin. If anything, we were looking forward to the class about sexual health, in particular family planning. Instead, we were left unsatisfied (your mileage might vary).

How many kids do you think can a woman bear in her lifetime? Six? 10? By some dubious mathematics, a preacher suggested that women can bear 30 kids in their lifetime, and therefore the participants must breed as many children as biologically possible.

“If you don’t breed, we Malays will be over-run in numbers by the non-Malays. We will then lose our voting power,” he explained. “Just look at Singapore, where Muslims are the minority.”

It sounded like a bad joke, but many of the participants took the advice to heart. The preacher also warned against masturbating: “Your testes are gifts from God, the human race will disappear if you don’t take care of your sperm.”

“You only have 30 million sperms in your ejaculate, you need as many of them as possible to inseminate the egg,” he urged sternly. I hesitated to tell him that’s not exactly how it works.

This emphasis on performing as a way to prove your manliness, and delivering babies upon babies is in stark conflict with the attitude towards unmarried couples who are expected to remain chaste.