Isnin, 14 April 2014

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Karim Raslan - Surabaya (Part 1)

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 04:10 PM PDT

Ceritalah Indonesia chronicles the transformation of Indonesia from 1998 to 2014. Once a nation in turmoil, Indonesia is now a rising regional power thanks to the wisdom of its leaders and the resilience of its people.

The writer Karim Raslan - who has travelled across the archipelago for more than 20 years - explores the lives and stories of ordinary Indonesians across the archipelago while also identifying new, emerging, challenges to Indonesia.

He explores four locations that highlight the stunning diversity of Indonesia - Solo, Banda Aceh, Ambon and Surabaya - to understand one of the most remarkable developments of our time.

Ceritalah Indonesia concludes in the capital of East Java, Surabaya. A lively and bustling metropolis, Surabaya is also Indonesia's second-largest city. There, he visits the renowned religious leader, Ustad Khoiron. The Ustad, along with his wife Roudhatul, have spent years working and living in Bangunari, one of Surabaya's most notorious red light districts.

Karim also speaks to a former prostitute and local thug who were won over by the Ustad's message of compassion and repentance. Thanks to the Ustad's gentle and patient approach, vice activities have ended in Bangunsari.

Teacher makes learning fun with graphic blogs

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: School teacher J. Ammani has turned to Glogster to make learning English fun and it has become an eye-opener to not only her students here but also educators worldwide.

Those not familiar with this social network, Glogster allows users to create free interactive posters, or glogs, which is short for graphic blogs.

This interactive multimedia image looks like a poster, but readers can interact with the content. While the majority of users are young people, the tool has become helpful to tea­chers, educators and those in the advertising business.

The user inserts text, images, photos, audio (MP3), videos, special effects and other elements into their glogs to generate a multimedia online creation and share with other users on the site or via other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ammani, 29, who teaches at SMK Kempas said her own teaching module on Glogster had been internationally recognised, when she represented Malaysia at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, between March 9 and March 16.

"I was the winner in the Expert Educator Competition in the category of knowledge construction and critical thinking with my module, titled Poster Yourself Programme.

"I won after being a finalist among 250 people from 78 countries. A total of 23,000 people worldwide took part in the competition," she said in a recent interview here.

Ammani, who has been a teacher for six years, added that her passion for teaching English had pushed her to come up with ideas and ways to make learning the language fun through her module, which was developed last year.

"I decided to make the traditional classroom learning of English fun with technology and interacting with the community," she said, explaining that as part of her module, her students were divided into groups and required to interview goreng pisang sellers, stall operators and shops within a 2km radius from the school.

"My students record their interviews. If it is in Malay, I ask them to use the Bing software to translate the interview into English and then use movie maker to show their project to the entire class," she added.

Besides the social media, Ammani got her 13-year-old and 14-year-old students to speak in English with students from overseas via Skype.

"So far we have conversed with students from Thailand, Indonesia and India and it was a real eye opener for my students who realise that English is an important language, especially internationally," she said, adding that it helped them learn about different cultures.

Ammani said within two weeks of using her module, she had seen marked improvements in her students with regard to their personality, proficiency in the language and their level of motivation, adding that the students also became more keen to learn English.

Prior to the Microsoft competition last month, Ammani had represented Malaysia in a Unesco event on associated school projects in New Delhi in 2009, had won a gold award from the Asia Europe Foundation in 2010 and was a moderator at the Johor International Leadership conference in 2011.

She credits her students for all her winnings and thanked her school administration for their support, especially in granting her unrecorded leave to represent Malaysia in Spain.

Woman in custody battle with ex-hubby feels empty without her son

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SEREMBAN: Today is the Tamil new year of Chittirai Puthandu. But instead of performing special prayers and making food offerings at temples, Hindu mother S. Deepa will spend it with her nine-year-old daughter, away from other family members.

The mother of two said she felt empty as her six-year-old son was not with her to celebrate the occasion.

The son was allegedly snatched by her Muslim convert ex-husband Izwan Abdullah about 48 hours after the High Court gave Deepa the custody of the couple's two children.

"In previous years, we would celebrate the occasion on a grand scale dressed in new clothes and would perform prayers at a temple near our home," said Deepa, who had to move out of her home after the son was taken away.

"Instead of being at the temple on this auspicious day, here I am thinking where I would have to move tomorrow so that my daughter will be safe with me," she said without disclosing her whereabouts.

Deepa, a clerk, and Izwan are in the midst of a bitter custody battle over their two children.

She claimed that Izwan had, prior to that, abandoned the family but discreetly returned and converted the children to Islam last April.

He also applied for and was granted custody of their children by the Syariah High Court.

Deepa said although the police refused to investigate her ex-husband for allegedly snatching their son from her, she would continue to fight for justice.

"I am not going to take this sitting down. I will fight until my children are back with me and will certainly challenge their conversion, which was done without my knowledge," she said.

However, she said she would give her children the freedom to choose which faith they wanted once they turned 18.

Deepa said she had nothing against Islam as her mother and siblings had also embraced the faith and are married to Muslims.

She also refuted a claim made by Izwan that her son was happier living with him.

"I do not want to talk about this as the judge can ask them directly when the matter is heard before the higher civil court," she said.

Izwan, a former lorry driver who is now a volunteer with Muslim non-governmental organisation Yayasan Kasih Sayang Negri Sembilan, said he might call for a press conference next week to give his side of the story.


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