Sunday, September 16, 2007

Need more money? Get a job. Scholarships are gifts, not entitlements.

When I read this letter a JPA scholarship recipient sent to Malaysiakini complaining that his scholarship allowances had not been increased in next year's budget - I was incensed. I could not help blogging the responses below, which on hindsight might be a tad harsh and emotional, but which I'm sure reflects the feelings of many a Malaysian taxpayer. So, I've left my comments as is.

And note the words used in the letter - and the tone with which they were used - which I've highlighted in red! For brevity, I have also edited out some meandering bits which were of no consequence to the objective of the letter.

Budget: Hey, what about us in Egypt
FZ Rosli - published Sep12 on Malaysiakini.

I’m a Malaysian student currently studying in Egypt and am a JPA scholar. Ever since I was in the first year, we had been getting the same amount for scholarship, never more, which was US$220 per month which translates to RM840 per month. This year, as the US currency falls, logically we should be getting more in US dollars to be the equivalent to RM840 but surprisingly, we are still getting the same US$220. The big question is: ‘Where has our money gone?’
(Y)OUR money?! You mean MY money, don't you homie? You mean the Malaysian taxpayers' money, don't you? Let's get this straight. Scholarships are GIFTS! Not entitlements. It's not your money. It's my money... that the govt, in its 50 years of mismanagement, figures you should have.

In any case, would you complain less if the USD exchange rate went the other way and appreciated against the ringgit? Then the RM840 will be worth less in USD terms. Would you therefore complain less if you received less than USD 220? Read your scholarship terms and conditions. Are you sure your allowances are not denominated in USD?
In October 2005, a JPA officer who came with the new students had a meeting with the old students to talk about our allowances and announced a raise of US$40. However, in the end after all the calculations were worked out, it only amounted to a raise of US$3. If you ask me, even in a poor country like Egypt, people will laugh when they know that your government gave you a raise of US$3 per month.

So it was with keen attention that JPA students in Egypt listened to the announcement of the 2008 Budget, with hopefulness in their eyes. Maybe the government was thinking of raising our allowance monies. Imagine our shock when Pak Lah announced that the allowances for JPA students in Egypt, New Zealand and some other countries would remain the same as they had been already been raised last year! I’m not sure whether it’s just me, or us, but seriously, we didn’t notice this ‘raise’.Raise?
A raise is something you get when you are drawing a salary or wage in return for providing a service. In other words, raises are for people who are gainfully employed. You, sir are not. If you have not noticed, you are merely mooching off Malaysians who are gainfully employed.
Egypt, as a developing country, is hit worse than other countries when it comes to economic turmoil. Prices of essential goods have shot up over the past five years. Inflation is close to 50% and yet we are still getting the same amount of scholarship JPA students got 30 years ago.

We need the raise, we truly need the raise and we have the right to get it. But instead of getting it, Pak Lah is saying that the allowances have already been raised previously. Are people up there trying to brainwash us into believing something which is not real? It may work with some but not with all.
Like I said, scholarships are GIFTS. Stop talking as if we owe it to you. Since you have never been employed, you have not worked for it. And if you're like many govt scholarship recipients in the past, you'd probably stay overseas after graduating. Therefore, you won't be working for it after you graduate either.

So HELL NO. You do not have a right to it.
Maybe the real problem is that in Egypt we don’t have a somebody’s daughter or son coming so it doesn’t matter if they don’t raise our allowances. Nobody will say a word. Thank you, Mr Budget Maker for taking care of your children first, and making sure that they get their good night’s sleep even if it is at the expense of other people. Your ‘hard work’ is truly appreciated.
And at whose expense is your scholarship at? My tax payments have been funding scholarships (yours and that of other leeches like you) for the past 10 years. Those payments would have been put towards my own education or that of my loved ones, had it not been for 'your' scholarship.

So, yeah... it is at the expense of other people. Namely ME! and the countless other taxpayers like me.

It's ironic really. My parents and I paid for absolutely all my education ourselves, with not a sen from the govt. And our tax money is now paying for yours,... But you're the one who has the goddamn gall to complain about this 'arrangement'? Screw you, you P.O.S!

If you need more spending money, here's an idea... GET A F*CKING JOB! Wash plates, wait on tables, sell Amway. Show some backbone, why don'tcha, instead asking for larger handouts?

Btw... you are a JPA scholarship recipient. NOT a (JPA) scholar. A scholar is someone who has considerable and significant knowledge, skill and wisdom - to an uncommon extent - as a result of ongoing academic pursuits. Unless you received your scholarship by bettering your peers, and not by the colour of your skin (or the strings pulled by your parents) - you are no scholar.


Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal!

The stench from this NEP rot is all too familiar. Imagine what Rosli and his ilks will DEMAND when and if they return as "scholars". They'll milk the money trough some more!

Anonymous said...

Before going abroad, all JPA scholars undergo brainwashing couses conducted by BTN to make them more patriotic. BTN should now include a special program on how to make students more patriotic and not making complaints. Alternatively choose only scholars who are sons of UMNO people as they would always 'bersyukur' even if they were given shits.

karthiben said...

I agree with you on this issue. A scholarship holder myself, and of Indian heritage, your blog is one of the few ties I have to current affairs in Malaysia (alongside biased mainstream media). You'd be surprised how most of these people think. A large proportion of them really do believe they are entitled to an increase in sponsorship. I work. :)