Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh my little experience

15 April 2008, I woke up at 8.53 and gazed into the morning sun. What a wonderful day, I thought. I was still overwhelmed by the compliment given by a friend of mine over my ability to write. Well, I guess I have all the reasons to be happy on that. It is a sad fact that in 1 year, a normal Malaysian in pro rata reads only one page. It’s very rare for us to see a typical Malaysian finishing a book every month. For example, last week a reading of The Sun revealed to me that our own National Laureate, A. Samad Said has produced more than 60 books but only less than 5 are known by the public. Shame on me too for not knowing his works, but that’s not the point here. The fact that only a nominal number of literature-conscious people know about his works as compared to the more than two-thirds majority of the people in Malaysia points out to only one thing, which is lacks of reading. Consequently, it results in the lack of literature product produced by the Malaysian people. Hence I guess we have to brush up our interest over reading material. As a Jewish proverb goes, ‘embrace knowledge and she will exalt you’. It literally means seek knowledge and it will help you. How to seek for knowledge? The answer is simple, start reading.

I remember I bought 2 newspapers on 18 March 2008, that's about a month ago. They were The Sun as well as The Star. The Sun has always been my favourite because judging from its content; it is more neutral in its reports compared to the other mainstream newspapers. I recalled back things that I read in both newspapers.Essentially, both newspapers had the same content. The Café Latte section in The Star with Penang Chief Minister is still fresh in my memory. News and stories relating to Lim Guan Eng, for the past few months have been dominating the newspapers. Stories ranging from his stance over the NEP to his opinion about the street demonstration staged by UMNO Penang have helped the newspapers to be sold like hot cakes.

One of the questions posed towards him asked how he expects to run the state, in light of his post as the Penang new Chief Minister, as he does not have any experience in government before. The response given, to me was thus far the wittiest response I’ve ever encountered from a politician. If I may quote, ‘when we talk about experience, I always say that I don’t have experience in corruption and misappropriation of funds.’

In this world of competitiveness, employers always look for experienced workers or persons. While it is entirely up to the discretion of the employer to employ such experienced people, this act nevertheless has driven the whole concept of experience to deviation.

Does experience have any merits? Of course yes. Through experience, we could get things done smoothly. But the requirement for an experience on the part of the employees has nevertheless discriminated the fresh graduates or those who seek to build or start their career afresh. The question posed against Guan Eng is an evasive question. It’s not that they really want to know what his expectation is but instead they are testing him, whether he could perform to the expectation of the people of Penang or not.

In most of job vacancies advertisements that I often come across with, the requirement of not less than 2 years of working experience is always replicated in most of the offers. No wonder Malaysia’s employment rate is very high. Every year, the countries’ higher learning institutions produce about 40 000 fresh universities graduates. These graduates come out from the universities without any experience; for how can they gain the required 2 years of working experience when prior to their graduation, they spent 3 to 4 years sitting in classrooms learning all the necessary craps relating to their prospective job field. It is sad that most of the graduates fail to secure jobs because of the absent of working experience. The money and time that they have invested for 5 years suddenly become futile because they cannot reap any benefit from the investment.

The private sector, primarily the employers have to be considerate to these fresh graduates as well as to those who wish to start afresh in their career. Experience should not be the ultimate determining factor of finding potential employees. Look beyond the experience, like go into the abilities, capabilities and potentials of the candidates. Most importantly, employers should be able to dive into the personalities of the prospective employees. Honesty, sincerity, sense of integrity as well as the determination to excel oneself should be the yardstick of what make a good worker. Working experience is a learning curve and nobody would be able to collect it if no chance is given.

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