Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MUET: Report Writing

Generally, the question requirements are:

The report should be between 150-200 words. The best thing to do is to write exactly 200 words or in the range of 190-200 words. Try not to go over 205 words as important points may not be counted in the marking.

You must use all visuals given in the report. Not mentioning either one, even those who are meant to be used as additional information, subtracts from the overall quality of the report. Not using main visuals means not enough analysis (and synthesis) points.
Remember the general format of the report. (More explained below)
General format- and tips for each section

- The question goes: "You have been asked to write a report on missing children in Malaysia." Most of the time, the main issue of the report will be highlighted in bold like this one. Therefore, the title of this example is the same as the words in bold. The title is normally implied in the question - look for it, and use it (add few words if required for some questions).
Overview (OV)
- The overview introduces the main visuals that are used in relation to the issue discussed. Statistics such as graphs and pie charts are the most common form of main visuals, as they contain the 'meat' or points for analysis. Start with "The visuals show..."
Overall trend (OT)
- The overall trend is a general statement of the most obvious trend or finding in the report. You would have to analyse all visuals in detail to get the big picture, which in turn will help you find the most obvious trend. Usually, this section starts with phrases such as "Generally" or "As a whole".
- Analysis is directly presenting the statistics in the main visuals in the report in the most efficient way, i.e minimizing number of words but maximizing information (a good report means you have mastered this art)
- Synthesis is implying from the analyses trends in the report - in BM Rumusan (Summary) SPM, (refresh!) this is the 'maksud tersirat' or 'hidden meaning' part. (Analysis is 'maksud tersurat'). Syntheses in this part of the report come from interpretation of the main visuals. In the body, analyses and syntheses can be either written separately or intertwined in the same sentence. (In the sample below there isn't much synthesis in the body - there may be more in other reports, especially if there is only one main visual)


Concluding statement
- This is basically a restatement of the OT - you can use different words with the same meaning to colour your language, though.
Concluding synthesis
- This synthesis comes either from secondary visuals (news clippings and other non-numerical visuals) or implying relevant/related suggestions connected to the report.
Sample report:
(this was the actual report I wrote for my exam. This one got 38/40 - my teacher said that if I added the title, which I forgot, I could have gotten full marks. Ah, careless mistakes!)

Missing Children In Malaysia

The visuals show the number of children lost and found in Malaysia from 2006 to 2008 as well as the reasons for children going missing. Generally, even though the number of missing children cases have decreased, so has its recovery rate.

In 2006, there were 2405 cases of missing children. This figure dropped considerably to 1803 cases in 2007 and then dropped further to 1485 cases in 2008.

Out of 2405 cases recorded in 2006, 1712 cases or 71% were solved. In 2007, the recovery rate dropped by 1%, where 1254 cases or 70% out of 1803 cases were solved. The recovery rate dropped significantly the following year, where only 60% or 900 cases were solved out of 1485 recorded cases.

Among the reasons children went missing were abusive parents, which contributed to 65% of recorded cases, followed by peer pressure at 18%. 10 percent of children who went missing were lured by strangers, whereas 5% rebelled against their parents. Another 2% of missing cases had unknown causes.

In conclusion, even though the number of missing children cases had dropped significantly, so has its recovery rate. Therefore, the Malaysian government has launched a hotline for child and domestic abuses.

(198 words)

Raya Bonus 2012

PM announces half-month bonus for civil servants

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced a half-month bonus, with a minimum of RM500, for civil servants as well as a special payment of RM500 for government pensioners.

In a statement Wednesday, Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said payment would be made on Aug 9.

The bonus and special payment will benefit 1.27 million civil servants and 657,000 government pensioners, respectively.

Najib said the payments were being made in view of the financial capability and fiscal position of the government.

He said the payments would involve an estimated cost of RM2.2bil.

Najib said the bonus and special payment represented the Government's appreciation for all civil servants and pensioners.

"The Government always has deep concern for and gives much emphasis to the welfare of civil servants and government servants," he said.

Najib said he hoped that the payments would help the people make the necessary preparations to celebrate Aidilfitri.

He said the bonus for civil servants was also in appreciation of their contribution to and dedication in implementing the national development programme. - Bernama

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Many Muslims gain weight during Ramadan fasting

CAIRO -- The sun slips beyond the Nile and the fast is broken. As they have done for centuries during the holy month of Ramadan, Egyptians hurry home through the twilight to eat and drink after a long, scorching day.

Fasting renews the spirit but it often does little to trim the waist line. What happens between dusk and dawn can endanger health: Feasting, inactivity and disrupted sleep -– Muslims often stay up until 4 a.m. to eat a last meal before sunrise -- can add weight in a population already struggling with one of the highest obesity rates in the world.

“Unfortunately, many Muslim patients, and Muslims in general, tend to overeat upon breaking their fast, and usually the meal involves heavy, fatty foods that are high in calories,” Dr. Al Madani, head of Emirates Diabetes Society, told TradeArabia, an online news site.

The breaking of the fast usually begins with fresh dates and lots of water, followed by soups and juices, including a popular one made from berries and topped with pine nuts. Soon after evening prayers, a large meal called iftar is shared. Poor people are not left out: They dine under tents called “God’s tables,” which are donated by the wealthy and dot the neighborhoods of this sprawling, ancient city.

The feasting continues after dinner as Egyptians visit with family and friends. Special desserts such as creamy konafa and syrupy basboussa are served throughout the night. The next meal, or sohour, comes just before morning prayers; there are more sweets to supply fuel through the day’s fast.

This is repeated for 30 days.

Mahmoud Ismail said there are two ways to do Ramadan: one healthy, one less so. The 38 year-old father of two is a swim coach and physical education teacher in Cairo.

“I am working 8 until 3; then I exercise an hour before sunset,” he said.

“I cannot sleep the fast away,” Ismail added. “Too many people wake up at 3 in the afternoon or sleep at work during Ramadan.”

His wife struggles with her weight during Ramadan, often gaining more than 10 pounds: “Her schedule allows no chance to burn calories,” Ismail said. “All the night is eating and then cooking for the next iftar, then she sleeps at 3:20 after sohour until about 3 in the afternoon.”

Indeed, it is women -– the ones who in a patriarchal society spend endless hours in the kitchen -- who are most likely to have weight problems in Egypt.

Three in 4 Egyptian women are overweight, and nearly half are obese, according to the World Health Organization's most recent figures. Women here are among the fattest in the world, alongside their wealthy Arab neighbors in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Access to exercise is one more challenge for Egyptian women. Only the wealthiest can afford health clubs, said Dr. Gulsen Saleh of the National Nutrition Institute, and the rest have no place for exercise.

Unfortunately, a sedentary life may be just as harmful to health as obesity. A recent study in the journal Lancet showed that inactivity, regardless of weight and other factors, increases risk of chronic diseases and earlier death.

But sweets are also to blame. A fasting brain prefers high-calorie carbohydrates above all. Scientists in Ajman, the United Arab Emirates, observed that more fats and sweets were consumed during Ramadan.

Of 173 families interviewed in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, two-thirds reported weight gain among some or all of the family members after Ramadan. Many pointed to the rich food and lack of exercise.

Sleeping through a fast may sound inspired, but it sabotages good health in several ways. First, more time is spent awake during the feasting hours. And disrupted sleep cycles affect hormones that act on metabolic rate and appetite. The body responds by eating more.

The essence of this religious fast, said Cairo physician Wafaa Hawas, is to practice self-discipline.

Hawas advises her patients: “Start with a soup like lentil, have some salad and meat; stay away from Ramadan sweets or have a little only; I am sure if you follow this, you will lose weight by the end of Ramadan.”

As it is written in the Koran, "Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance but commit no excess therein."

Friday, July 20, 2012


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the cause of today's many social ills. What is your opinion?

From YouTube to Facebook; from Xbox 360 to Nintendo Wii; from Intel-powered computers to multitasking mini netbooks; these evolutionary medium of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have become essential part of our lives that not using one of them is so irrelevant in our society. Indeed, the rapid advancement of technology propels the social welfare, for better or worse. Undeniably, I agree that ICT cause today’s many soial ills like cyber-bullying and privacy intrusion. However, I am not waywardly inclined towards the cons because ICT have pros as well when used to handle social ills such as terrorist attacks.

Knowingly, ICT is the platform for cyber-bullying. Nowadays, the unending rise of social networking sites that gives birth to Facebook, MySpace and more recently Twitter have shaped how this generation interacts. As if teenagers have fully understood and are practising the phrase “No man is an island,” they make new friends while keeping in touch with the others through these sites, virtually and dangerously. Photos posted that are initially intended to update their lifestyles are altered by stalkers and reposted to dent their reputations. On a more serious note, predators use these sites, especially MySpace, to lash harsh verbal abuses to innocent victims. A search through the dark side of MySpace would let us uncover hatred, vengeance and anger that are unleashed on helpless teens, causing social unrest about the potential psychological trauma the site could trigger. The problem is so disturbing to the social, specifically the parents, that the theme of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2009 is “Protecting children in cyberspace.”

Besides, privacy invasion is another sensitive issue caused by ICT. Ironically, computers, on which we rely excessively to store and save our private data, are the means of hackers to steal, destroy or even be exploited for their own selfish good. This hideous act could easily be done when uninformed surfers of the internet download good-looking software that turn out to be malicious. When perpetrators have got hold to credit card numbers, bank accounts or confidential documents, it’s frightening to imagine that the hard-earned money could be lost the next hour. The social, however, neglect this warning and as a result, cyber criminals gain the upper hand by pocketing social wealth. On a different and larger scale, the leaked photos of Hong Kong celebrities in compromising positions not only stunned the conservative community but shattered the faith of a million fans as well. The main culprit? A computer technician who unlawfully search and more importantly, copy the private photographs.

Nevertheless, ICT can be useful weapons to counter terrorist attacks. The Closed-circuit Televisions (CCTVs) that are placed literally everywhere in London indicates that it is unlikely for a person to commit a crime and flee unpunished. Better still, the eagle eyes coupled with facial recognition technology would provide clues on the whereabouts of a wanted individual. As an evidence, investigators of the 7 July London bombings – simultaneous attacks on public transports in the morning rush hour that claimed hundreds of lives and injured more – used CCTVs to trace the mindless, heartless bombers. Closer to home, law enforcers took advantage of the cameras installed in the hotels to catch the last moments before the bombing of JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton happened in Indonesia. Although the damage was done and the social plummeted into distraught and distress, the brilliant use of ICT serves as a stern reminder to extremist that you can hide, but you cannot run.

To tie it up, it depends on the users of ICT to determine whether the medium are beneficial or dangerous. If hackers intentionally want to inflict harm, social networking sites could be horrific indeed. If invaders want to tarnish anyone’s life, the word privacy might as well be taken out from the dictionary. Therefore, instead of centralising the discussion on ICT, let us scrutinise the creators; the propellers; the masterminds behind this technology: the humankind.


Friday, July 06, 2012


Tingkatan 6 distruktur semula

07:08:41 AM Daripada Mohd Azrone Sarabatin di Jogjakarta, Indonesia CetakEmel Kawan

MUHYIDDIN bertemu Menteri Pendidikan Tertiari Australia, Christopher Evans sebelum menghadiri Mesyuarat Menteri-Menteri Pelajaran Asia Timur dan Sidang Kemuncak Menteri Pelajaran Asia Timur Pertama, di Yogyakarta, Indonesia, semalam.
Pelajar dipisah dari sekolah, ditempat di pusat pengajian khas

SISTEM pendidikan tingkatan enam dicadang distruktur semula bagi meningkatkan imejnya sejajar dengan pendidikan pra-universiti seperti kolej matrikulasi dan pusat asasi sains. Antara langkah yang akan diambil ialah memisahkan pelajar tingkatan enam daripada sekolah biasa dan menempatkan mereka di pusat pengajian khas.
Mereka juga akan menggunakan pakaian berbeza, jadual waktu yang tidak sama dan guru berlainan berbanding sekolah sekolah biasa.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, berkata pemisahan pelajar tingkatan enam dengan sekolah biasa ialah untuk meningkatkan imej sistem dan kualiti pendidikan tingkatan enam.

Faktor lain ialah jumlahnya yang ketika ini bertaburan di seluruh negara, selain ada sekolah tertentu hanya mempunyai satu atau dua kelas.

Bagaimanapun, beliau yang juga Menteri Pelajaran berkata ia masih di peringkat kajian dan perbincangan sebelum dilaksanakan.
"Kerajaan juga bersedia mengkaji kemungkinan tempoh pembelajaran dipendekkan enam bulan lebih awal seperti Kolej Matrikulasi Kementerian Pelajaran," katanya di sini semalam.

Terdahulu, beliau menghadiri Mesyuarat Menteri-Menteri Pelajaran Asia Timur dan Sidang Kemuncak Menteri Pelajaran Asia Timur Pertama.

Muhyiddin berkata, untuk menjayakan penstrukturan tingkatan enam, sistem sokongan yang lebih kukuh diperlukan, termasuk faktor logistik yang diperluaskan.

“Ketika ini tingkatan enam dilihat kesinambungan daripada tingkatan lima, sedangkan sebenarnya mereka sudah dewasa dan matang. Walaupun pelajar tingkatan enam bersekolah di premis sama dengan pelajar sekolah menengah, namun Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) setaraf kolej matrikulasi,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, persepsi masyarakat sekarang ialah pendidikan di kolej matrikulasi lebih baik berbanding tingkatan enam, sedangkan kelulusan dan kelayakan mereka untuk bersaing ke universiti awam adalah sama.

Justeru, masyarakat tidak harus melihat pendidikan matrikulasi mempunyai kelebihan kerana ada masanya pencapaian pelajar tingkatan enam lebih cemerlang daripada pelajar matrikulasi.

“Jadi, pelajar lepasan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) harus melihat bahawa pendidikan tingkatan enam juga antara pilihan terbaik untuk pendidikan pra-universiti,” katanya.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Revision Q1

These are the terms/keywords/clues that you should know when attempting Q1 800/4 (Writing) paper :
  1. Introduction
  2. Overview / Trend
  3. Synthesis
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion

Study the following charts. Using only the information given, write about co curricular activities in Sekolah Menengah Seri Gemilang. In your writing, integrate the data presented in both charts. You should write 150 to 200 words.

How much could you know from this part of the question alone?
You have to study both the charts. Why? You need to compare the data given in both charts. This is called synthesizing. How? Look at the numbers. It helps to write the number on each bar of the graph so that you will not misread it. Compare the differences and similarities.Try to work out a pattern between both charts.
When it says 'using only the information given..' pay attention to the word 'ONLY'. It means you are NOT supposed to include any other information whatsoever in your answer. No, do not elaborate! NO! If it's not given in the stimuli, it's not supposed to be in your response.
Pay attention to what comes after 'write about...'. Usually (not always), this is where you can get the title for your response. So, for this question, your response should have 'CO CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN SEKOLAH MENENGAH SERI GEMILANG' as the title. Yes, you are encouraged to use all capital letters for the title.
Integrate the data. Compare the data from both charts! See no. 1. It is important to synthesize the information given because basically that's the whole point of assessing your language skills using Question 1.
Word limit. No, it is not a mere warning. Your response only matters up to the 200th word and that is it. Logically, if you stick to the rule (see no.2) - that is not to elaborate or include any irrelevancies - you should get around 150 to 200 words only. Proper nouns are counted as one.
Spend the first few minutes from the suggested 40 minutes to be spent on Question 1 to analyse the question.
After all, remember, you are being assessed on both task fulfillment AND language.
It's important to understand the task first before you could go on and prepare an outline of your response.
Seriously, if I asked you to get a cup of tea and you get me a cup of coffee, you fail the task. It doesn't even matter even if the coffee you brought is the best in the world or in the finest porcelain cup. You get the idea.