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Guidelines For Gay And Lesbian "Symptoms"

LGBTQ has always been a topic to be avoided and not discussed open publicly from where I'm from. Unfortunately, homophobia and just the idea of it scares many Malaysians away. This is because homosexuals engaging in sex are considered illegal in Malaysia and they continuously face discrimination from government policies such as a law that makes sodomy punishable by 20 years in prison. Just recently in the news, sixty-six Muslim schoolboys in Malaysia identified by teachers as effeminate have been sent to a special camp for counselling on masculine behaviour. As I read Blackburn’s Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It, I try to think of the reasons to promote how schools in Malaysia would be open to discuss about this topic. Could it be part of the core-curriculum of the national exam? If so, who would teach it? Perhaps the biggest obstacle for me is to convince parents. Just to demonstrate how the society views homosexual couples. In an article published in the news two years ago, the Malaysia's Education Ministry has "endorsed guidlines" to help parents identify gay and lesbian "symptoms" in their children. The following are the list of “symptoms” that were listed. From reading this statement alone, I am embarrassed and disgusted by my government’s actions. I can’t think of possible solutions to this especially since homosexuals are being punished legally in law. What would be the first step to tackle this subject and connect it to high school education?


Symptoms of gays:

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How do we decide?


I always felt that what defines and makes up an identity very fascinating. Most often I associate identity with religion, language, physical features and to some extent their likings and passions (eg. Type of food, subject, music, etc.) I try my best never to believe in stereotypes but it is always fun sometimes to guess a person’s origin and what they associate themselves as. Few days ago, I met guy A in one of my class. He looked familiar and reminded me so much of my good friend from high school. I told myself at that time, if I had to guess, he must be a mix kid (half Asian and half White). From then on, I proceeded with class and didn’t bother to go further and ask since my curiosity is sometimes pathetic. The next day, I saw him again and told him he looked so much like my friend from Kazakhstan. He immediately told me his parents are from there but he was raised in America. I always wanted to learn Russian so I asked him whether he spoke the language, as soon as he said yes; he began teaching me some phrases. Without much thought, I told A that I really like his identity, he neither looks typically Asian nor White, speaks a European language but grew up in America. I told him that it’s funny how you like meat so much and love math. My Kazakh friend is so similar. He didn’t say much but appreciated that I knew so much about Central Asia.


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A variety of white? black? yellow? Was I color-blind?

I’ve never understood the variety of Whites or Caucasian as you may point out. In Malaysia, the media often portrays a single type of White, the privilege one. There’s no such thing as poor whites, Latinos or a Jewish background. As long as you have white skin, you are considered “Guai Loi” which means ghost guy or white person. My experience at Bryn Mawr has taught me otherwise. A lot of my close Jewish friends taught me that Jews have been through a lot to get to where they are now. One of my most memorable lectures that I saw my Jewish friends fall into tears was a speech by Norman Finkelstein’s “How to Resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict”. As a fellow Malaysian who indirectly supports Palestine based it’s cruel history, seeing my Jewish friends blamed for being Jews was quite heartbreaking. I can never understand the true power dynamics that was involve. I find it quite interesting how a significant number of Jewish people I know come from hardworking families but are also blamed for their cruelty towards the Palestinians. I can see some form of grudge sometimes through silence. This will forever remain a sensitive topic at least in my circle of ‘diverse’ friends.


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Challenging assumptions and associations: My multicultural moment

Switzerland is known to be a neutral country and home to numerous international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank and Red Cross. As a result, one would assume people living in this country to be open-minded, diverse and non-discriminatory. However, one of my experiences living in Switzerland as an international student challenged my assumptions and demonstrated otherwise. It was frightening enough adjusting to the new temperature, language, people and food. I always had the belief that western teachers were friendly, creative and open to new suggestions. I left Malaysia in seek of a new life, perhaps a hope for a burst of inspiration that would expand my exposure of the world. The International Baccalaureate program allows me to pick a foreign language as one of my six subjects. It was either German or French. I picked French since I was living in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and I thought that the language was easier than German. I remembered entering French class on my first day of school. I was the second student that entered the classroom. The classroom was located in sous-sol, known as basement in English. I remembered how badly-lit and bone-chilling the setting was. When the teacher saw me, she greeted me with a smile and said bonjour. I smile and replied bonjour et merci. In Malaysia, I was always taught the importance of the teacher as an authoritative figure and it was necessary that I remain polite at all times.

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Students Face Tougher Test That Outpace Lesson Plans

I have started reading the newspaper more often and I found something really striking today. The article “Students Face Tougher Test That Outpace Lesson Plans” is self-explanatory demonstrates the issues of our current education system. In my field placement, I often do wonder how much of the school’s curriculum really focuses on the children’s individual needs and also considering their limitations. To what extent is the education system really heading towards the right direction especially if these children’s’ lives are affected by early exposure to stressful situations in this vulnerable childhood development period? Perhaps this question hasn’t been addressed in our class. In terms of literacy, are parents really pushing their children to read beyond their level as fast as possible? Where is the value of failures, mistakes and patience? 

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Journal Post 6

After having had read Lives of the Boundary Mike Rose and Noa’s Arkby David Schwarzer, I began entering the class feeling enthusiastic and of course full of ideas to experiment with my tutee. My goal from this visit was to further extend Mike Rose’s statement regarding human connection. I wanted to gain trust but equally gain respect from my tutee. I started the session by asking if he had any homework. He responded “yes” accompanied by an unwilling spirit. We started the homework with math problems regarding symbols such as < (less than), > (greater than) and = (equal). It occcured to me that it takes a lot of creativity to form something interesting that can gain my tutee’s interest.   In terms of English, we did a few words that required us to fill in the blanks. One of the vocabulary for today was the word “shade”. At first we tried to illustrate the word through drawing tall trees shading people below them. Later, I tried to illustrate this word through some acting techniques. I was trying my best to create a third space between us while reminding myself not to be oppressive but still gain respect. . It was certainly a tiring day but I learned so much more about my tutee and I was so proud of him when it came to reading time. Last session, my tutee was barely interested to get by two books. Today my tutee told me that he wanted to make his parents proud and he read me 5 books.

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