Sunday, May 17, 2009

JPA Scholarships – Seeking A Fair & Equitable Policy

Grieving straight A students being denied the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships once again hit the news. Time and again, the controversy never seems to end.

Many are demanding an explanation over the scholarship award selection process. Aggrieving students feel they deserve the scholarship award when they score a string of As. The general public (taxpayers) wonders whether their money has gone to the well deserving students. The current and former local and overseas scholars may want to share some first hand experiences with the rest of the audiences, show the audiences the true story of being a scholar and shed some light over this issue. Whether a scholar and a non-scholar has any differences in academic performance has yet to be investigated. However, academicians may be able to share some views on this.

An opportunity to express and discuss our views and perspectives has come with a forum/ dialogue session organised by DAP to seek valuable feedbacks from the aggrieved students, current and former local and overseas scholars, academicians and the public on the selection process of PSD scholars.

The forum/dialogue session is scheduled as follow:

JPA Scholarships – Seeking A Fair & Equitable Policy

Venue: KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Date: 19th May 2009 (Tuesday)
Time: 8.00 pm

The panelists will include:

Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor,
Anthony Loke Siew Fook, MP for Rasah and DAPSY Chief,
Tony Pua, MP for Petaling Jaya Utara,
Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, PAS Research Centre Director and MP for Kuala Selangor
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Selangor ADUN for Seri Setia

Dr Goh Cheng Teik, eminent academic, former deputy minister and interviewer for Harvard University admission programme in Malaysia will also be a special guest for the evening.

Details are obtained from here

There will be a live webcast online and live video call with overseas students.

To PSD scholars:
It is hoped that some of us would be able to participate in the live webcast online and live video call to share some of our views and experiences being a PSD scholar.

To non PSD scholar:
You are most welcome to express your views on this issue as well as share the experience of being friends and studying together with the scholars.

Participation from all will only enhance the outcome of the forum and provide a clearer picture on the issue for the benefit of all.

Anyone who wish to participate in the live webcast and live video call, you may drop me a comment, buzz me in my flat H6 of JBC, or email me at I will get you connected to the right person.

Written submissions to the panel could also be submitted through email. Please write to: dapscholarship (at) rocketmail (dot) com

Complains, appeals and suggestions will be compiled at the end of the forum. Please participate and spread the word to all parties. It is time to contribute back to the society.

Thank you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Impressive National Health Service in Glasgow

After staying for almost 11 months in Glasgow, it was only recently that I got exceptionally impressed with the National Health Service (NHS) that was provided to not just their own citizens, but to overseas students as well.

On the first week of arrival in Glasgow, we were required to register with the local NHS. With the registration we will be able to call in for appointments with our doctor anytime. Initially, I wasn't very impressed with their system as we had to make an advance appointment before meeting the doctor. What make things difficult was, their appointment slots are ALWAYS almost full, and only left with a few weird slots for you to make an appointment. So, if you were not available during the particular slots, you will have to delay your appointment. This could delay up to a month, which by the time you get your appointment, the symptoms that you are having might have subsided.

Recently, I made appointments with the doctor, the dentist and the optician. Apart from the doctor, the dentist and optician service was impressive. We could simply go to any of the dental clinics (with appointment of course, but less busy) and get your teeth checked up. If a treatment is required, you will be asked to make another appointment. However they will first let you know the total cost of the treatment and asked if you are eligible for NHS or not. If yes, you could fill in the HC1 form and apply for a exemption certificate, which thereafter all your dental fees are covered by the NHS. Or you could pay first, and make a claim afterward.

As for the optician, the service was superb. I was toying the idea of having a pair of contact lenses. Hence, I went up the glasses shop that provides NHS service, made an appointment (which was quick) and had my eye checked for free! And the eyesight check includes not just the normal eye power check, but includes photographing the eye to check for any other health problems.

Opticians here use very extraordinarily advanced equipments to check for the eye power, eye tension, eye muscle and eye nerves. The eye nerves checking process was blinding indeed, as they will shine bright lights to check for any occlusions or abnormality in the nerves of the eye, but the outcome was very satisfying. The eye tension test was a little different as they drip a few drops of dye into my eye to check for the tension. I do not know how they analyse the eye tension, but it sure was interesting. The optician was very professional in her job. I was told that opticians in Scotland has taken over the role for checking the health through the eyes. This was done so that doctors could focus on what they really need to do. This system however, has yet to be implemented in England but they may follow suit soon.

After the checking, I was told that I could wear toric lenses, but it will cost me 15 pounds a month. Toric lenses requires special orders and hence more expensive compared to normal contact lenses. These toric lenses will be given as a trial pair for a month before I decide whether to continue or don't continue with the contact lenses. However, if i decided to quit, I would have to pay 20 pounds administrative fees. Otherwise, I can continue and enjoy the free toric lenses.

What was impressive was the near flawless service, thorough checking and their professionalism. And all these are covered under NHS. That is the best thing. :)