Sunday, October 12, 2003

Local vs overseas

Just a joke that a friend sent me (with slight modifications). Its quite funny
A fresh graduate from University Sains Malaysia, frustrated at not being able to get a job, was about to kill himself at Penang Bridge. But, before he could leap to his death, a passing pastor/priest/mullah manages to talk him out of it by getting him a job as a "part-time" gorilla at Zoo Negara. The ape, which was one of the popular animals in the zoo, had unfortunately passed away a few days ago... Anyway this guy in the ape suit goes about his job posing as a gorilla. His cage was next to a lion's cage. One stormy day, the gusty wind blows open the gate to the lion's cage and the lion casually strolls out. This guy posing as a gorilla wants to warn the zoo visitors but is unable to do so as this would mean revealing his identity. Finally he decides that he has no choice as the safety of the visitors comes first and starts to yell, "The lion has escaped! The lion has escaped!!!". All of a sudden, the lion rushes towards his cage and silently whispers to him in English, "Shh...shh... quiet... I am a graduate from University Malaya working as the lion, Lah!"
Jokes aside, just wondering about a discussion I had with some of my friends about local vs. overseas graduates. "Local" meaning students who passed out from local universities and "overseas" meaning students who passed out from foreign universities (usually US, UK or Australia. India and other countries don't count). One of my friends was telling me that some of the fresh local graduates he interviewed were terrible. According to him, they couldn't express themselves and couldn't even introduce themselves properly. Of course the problem was the lack of fluency in English. I disagreed saying that local graduates are just as good. I have friends who have passed out from local universities but who can write several pages long articles on the meaning of life and discuss in length the latest current issues in excellent English. On the other hand, I have friends and colleagues who passed out from UK and the US with horrendous English and couldn't even write a simple application letter without making spelling and grammatical errors. Maybe it's due to the fact that many of the Malaysian students would tend to hand around with other Malaysian students only (especially in places with a lot of Malaysian students). Some are even worse, hanging out with people from their own states or own ethnic group, eg., Kelantanese only, with the whole group speaking in the Kelantanese dialect. In fact many of the students come back without even having made a single friend overseas.
What's the difference then between them and local students? For me, one of the objectives of studying overseas is to learn about other cultures, make friends and at the same time act as an ambassador for your country.
Of course studying overseas has its advantages. You become wiser because of the exposure and the fact that the parents are not less than a few hours drive away. Also many of the students are forced to survive on a meager scholarship, stipend or parents money (unless of course you are a Petronas scholar and even better still, lucky kids of some rich business man). Any comments?

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