Substance abuse refers to an act of misuse or excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. There is no denying that substance abuse is on the increase at both the global and national level in Malaysia. Even though substance abuse is a strictly prohibited behaviour in all Malaysian schools, studies have indicated that this delinquent behaviour often stems from schools. Therefore the main aim of this paper is to present students' perspectives of substance abuse among secondary school students in Malaysia. The data for the study were collected using a questionnaire, checklist and semi-structured interviews which involved 1800 secondary school students from 18 high risk secondary schools from the states of Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. The Risk and Protective Factor Questionnaire (RPFQ) has 13 sub-sections and is an adapted version of the Communities That Care Youth Survey which has 14 sub-sections. The findings indicated that the common substance abuse behaviours in schools were smoking, consuming alcohol, using marijuana and glue-sniffing. More than half of the student respondents had 1 to 3 friends who were involved in smoking. Furthermore, findings indicated that a majority of them became involved in these unhealthy activities between the ages of 15 and 17 years and were most likely to be engaged in these activities during weekends and outside school. Findings also revealed that close to 405 of the students (>30%) felt that their parents did not view glue sniffing, consuming alcohol or smoking as an offence. These findings imply that the increase in the number of substance abusers among secondary school students can have an adverse effect on their peers and that as a nation Malaysia needs to embrace the fact that substance abuse can derail the noble aspirations of the country to become a developed economy by 2020. Therefore, it is pertinent that all authorities in schools and community stakeholders such as AADK and Ministry of Education understand the pattern of substance abuse among secondary school students in Malaysia and develop suitable programmes or strategies to curb such behaviours in school.
Adolescents are aware of the health risks of cigarette smoking yet still they continue to smoke. This article reports on how Malaysian adolescents rationalised their smoking behaviour despite knowing its danger. In this qualitative study, 26 adolescents (23 smokers and 3 former smokers) were interviewed through 3 focus group interviews and 3 in-depth interviews. The interviews were guided by a semi-structured interview protocol and recorded using audio recorders. This study highlights that the adolescents continued to smoke despite knowing the risks of smoking. They rationalised their smoking by disengaging themselves from the risks through: (1) disregarding the immediate effects of smoking, (2) ignoring the risk information, (3) normalising the mortality risk of smoking, (4) emotionally detaching themselves from relating to the threat, (5) regarding smoking as the lesser evil than other risky behaviour, and (6) discounting the actual risks by citing the exceptional cases. In conclusion, the adolescents might have made a calculated decision after weighing the risks and benefits of smoking but they chose smoking over quitting. This study provides meaningful insights for clinicians and policy makers to understand adolescents' reasoning for smoking, which then may result in the development of better strategies for challenging the rationalisations of adolescents.
Smoking, adolescent, rationalisation, reasoning, disengagement, decision making
As the main public sector procurement agencies, public works departments, especially in developing countries, play a vital nation building role of providing physical infrastructure and public buildings. Their under-performance has often been criticised. Blame is often attached to their project managers for being incompetent. Yet, the technical competencies of project managers in public organisations in developing countries have been very much under-studied. Research was conducted to examine the technical competencies of project managers required by Malaysia's Public Works Department. Using the Delphi Technique to collect data from senior staff who regularly appraise their subordinates' performance, the study sought to uncover very important and always used technical competencies. By combining the two data sets, those deemed critical were isolated. Eight competencies were found to be very important, nine always used and nine critical. The critical competencies are time management, quality assurance, strategic planning, project technical capability, coordination of nominated subcontractors and utility companies, budget development, resource needs identification, project control administration, and determination of project deliverables. The findings of the study can feed into the organisation's quest to increase the level of project management performance particularly during staff selection and training exercises. Their sister organisations in other developing countries can replicate the study to uncover their own sets of requisite critical competencies which can likewise be used for targeted staff selection and training.
Critical competencies, Delphi Technique, Malaysia, Public Works Department
A new technology and its application in any field brings more benefits to its users, if it is timely adopted and successfully used. New information and communication technologies (ICTs) like Global Positioning Systems (GPS), echo-sounders, mobile phones, wireless sets and beacons in the fisheries sector, from capturing to selling process, play an important role in enhancing both the productivity and standard of living of fishermen in Kerala. This study aimed to interpret the period and level of usage of ICT tools and compute the relationship between income and current usage of ICTs among the mechanised and motorised fishers of Kerala, India. The study showed that most of the mechanised and motorised boats use GPS, echo-sounders, mobile phones and wireless sets. GPS, mobile phones and echo sounders had been used for more than 15 years, but the usage of wireless sets and beacons were recent adopted ICT tools in the marine fisheries sector. The study shows a positive correlation between the use of ICTs and the income of fishing communities. The values of correlation coefficient ranges from 0.053 - 0.124, where GPS and mobile phones have more connection with the improvement of income, while ranking the ICT tools graph the preference of GPS and wireless sets among other gadgets.
ICT, mechanised and motorised boats, correlation coefficient
According to the Sufi doctrine, a Sufi has to sacrifice his 'base self' for union with God. The Sufis maintain that this self could be summed up in all worldliness and physical passions. The object of the Sufi is to break away from such demands and fully entrust himself or herself to the hands of God. For the realisation of such a purpose, the Sufi is expected to pass some stages of spiritual illumination which will culminate in detachment from his or her desires and attain selflessness. In George Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan (1923), the seeker covets to recover the state of "union" with God and thus, renounces her physical safety to fulfil the will of the Seeked. By framing our interpretation based on the doctrines of Sufism, this paper aims to examine Shaw's portrayal of Joan of Arc in Saint Joanin order to emphasise that the fulfilment of divine union is the supreme ideal of the Sufi.
God, Islam, Sufism, George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan, Union
One of the concerns in language testing is measuring the extent to which the same constructs occur over certain time, across different groups of test takers in an EFL situation. The present study aims to analyse written performance of a number of English language learners over a year in a thick description to provide in-depth empirical data focusing on performance of test takers in terms of CAF. Previously, the majority of language learners' written performance was evaluated based on some scales without taking into account the qualitative performance from the SLA perspective. Therefore, the present study tries to bridge the gap between testing and SLA. As far as the first research question, which is the relative contributions of each of the features, complexity, accuracy and fluency is concerned, the researchers found a noticeable negative correlation between the complexity, accuracy and fluency of learner performance. Concerning the development of participants in writing skill as the second research question, students did not reach the benchmarks of Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels. Moreover, it was observed that forms may not develop linearly among these three dimensions, and a learner's improvement in repeating a task does not guarantee that he/she will get the most from a target-language perspective unless it raises his/her awareness.
This study aimed to find out the effect of oral output and written output as two types of vocabulary instruction on Iranian EFL learners' listening comprehension and vocabulary learning. A pretest-posttest comparison group design, as one of the quasi-experimental research designs, was employed in this study. To this end, 40 male intermediate EFL learners within the age range of 14-18, studying at a Language Institute, participated in this study. At the beginning, pretests of vocabulary and listening comprehension were administered to determine the participants' initial listening comprehension ability and vocabulary knowledge and also collect a list of unknown words as the target words for the five treatment sessions. Each group practiced these words, one through the oral output instruction and the other through the written output instruction. Then, both groups took part in the posttests which were similar to the pretests. Within-group, results through Paired-Samples t-test showed that there were significant improvements in both the listening comprehension and vocabulary learning of the oral output group, while only vocabulary knowledge of the written output group was significantly improved from the pretest to the posttest. Between-group results through the Independent-Samples t-test indicated that oral output group significantly outperformed the written output group in the listening test, although no significant difference was found between their vocabulary test scores. The findings offer a wealth of opportunities to English teachers to employ the two types to enrich their instruction in order to motivate learners to expand their English vocabulary knowledge and become actively engaged in the listening process.
EFL, Listening comprehension, Oral output, Output, Vocabulary learning, Written output
This study explores the benefits of implementing lateral thinking skills involving tertiary level learners to improve second language communication skills at a University in South India. The paper elaborates the concept of lateral thinking skills from two interrelated angles: (1) practical aspects covering the reasons for introducing and building lateral thinking skills in ESL learners, particularly University students of engineering in India, by proposing a checklist of lateral thinking strategies to be mastered, and (2) pedagogical aspects covering the methods for efficiently imparting lateral thinking strategies in the classroom setup.
Education, India, Lateral thinking skills, Second Language teaching
This study on HIV-related stigmatisation and discrimination was conducted to summarise key findings and identify existing research gaps in this line of research in Malaysia. A search on available online databases yielded 58 documents, but only 25 were eventually included in the review. Searching process was conducted at the end of 2013 to include all previous relevant studies up to this year but not limited to any specific starting date. Eight journal articles and one research report were empirical studies, and hence were the core documents in the analysis. The studies included were synthesised to identify common shared areas that they investigated and make an updated conclusion about the current state of knowledge on HIV-related stigma in Malaysia. Results revealed that the published works mainly focused on knowledge and attitudes toward HIV. Most studies were descriptive and correlation research. Information about self-stigmatisation is limited, while HIV campaigns in some cases instigate fears that HIV kills. HIV-related stigma still remains pervasive in Malaysia and its literature is very limited and underdeveloped. To gain a better understanding of HIV-related stigma, more theoretically driven studies with rigorous research design and method need to be done.
HIV/AIDS, Malaysia, stigmatization, discrimination, self-stigma, public-stigma
The people of Tengger and Baduy represent the indigenous communities of Indonesia who still endear themselves to the noble values of their ancestors despite deep globalisation that has triggered changes in customs, behaviours, and traditions among societies. Tengger is considered to be more adaptive to foreign cultures, while Baduy (especially the inner Baduy) is seen to be more protective or even 'preventive' to all forms of new cultures from outside. Peaceful, well-organized, and secure way of life is reflected from these two tribes through good social system. The failure of the Indonesian government to create a miniature laboratory of cultures in capital cities of Indonesia requires more attention. The policy seems to uproot arts and cultures of the nation from indigenous societies in the archipelago. Through the study of legal anthropology, the author came up with the notion of development design for 'an inclusive museum', which stems from local wisdom but still maintains institutional integrity and sensitivity towards native arts and cultures. This inclusive museum is reflected from the 'Sodor dance' of the Tengger society and from a traditional musical instrument called angklung buhun (traditional bamboo musical instrument) of the Baduy society.
Indigenous people, inclusive museum, good village governance, modifying design
Studies on climate change in the last two decades are growing rapidly that might have shadowed some of the other fields of studies. The changes have spatial characteristics and studies are yet to cover many isolated areas of the world. Existing literature showed abrupt change in the Himalaya climate. However, such generalisations are not appropriate for the Himalaya because of the complex topography of the region that has caused several microclimates in the region. Understanding climate dynamism in microclimatic regions is an important component of climate change research, particularly to comprehend impacts of climate change on the social-ecological systems of the Himalaya and to assess adaptive capacity of the communities. This paper examines climate dynamics in the Himalaya in reference to the meteorological records of four decades (1971-2010) at three stations of the Kaligandaki Basin. The findings suggest that the climates of the basin are changed, with variable rates across the stations located at different ecological zones. The extreme maximum and maximum temperatures of Lumle and Rampur stations, minimum temperature of Jomsom and Rampur stations, and extreme minimum temperatures of all of the studied meteorological stations increased significantly. Contrary to the increase in the temperatures, precipitation data revealed trend-less but inter-annual variability. Annual numbers of wet-days were decreased at Rampur and Lumle stations while rainy days were increased at Jomsom. In addition, extreme rainfall events were increased in general in the basin.
A psychometrically sound measurement instrument is crucialy in understanding needed athletes' psychological profile. Among indices of a psychometrically sound instrument are its factor structure and internal consistency. The present study examined the factorial validity and reliability of the Malaysian version of the Revised Competitive State Anxiety Inventory - 2 using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Cronbach alpha, respectively. The questionnaire was administered to 267 Taekwondo athletes. The sample consisted of 58% boys and 42% girls. Mean age for the overall sample was 13.2±3.01. Four models were tested: a 1-factor, a 2-factor, a 3-factor models and a 3-factor model with correlated error terms. The 3-factor model was predicted to produce the best model fit consisting of somatic anxiety, self-confidence, and cognitive anxiety components. Confirmatory Factor Analysis results revealed a theoretically meaningful and close model fit of the 3-factor model (χ2 = 223.13, df = 116, df/ χ2 = 1.92, CFI = 0.92, TLI = 0.91, RMSEA = 0.05) compared to the other three models. The results also showed an acceptable level of alpha coefficient for the subscales (α = 0.78 for somatic anxiety, 0.76 for cognitive anxiety and 0.83 for self-confidence subscales). However, a slightly high relationship was observed between somatic and cognitive anxiety subscales (r = 0.81), indicating an issue with the subscales discriminant validity. In conclusion, the results generally support the factorial structure and internal consistency of the Malaysian version of CSAI-2R but future analysis is still needed to confirm the findings.
Psychometric, Confirmatory factor analysis, Competitive state anxiety
This article is devoted to the analysis of main components of a national myth in John Fowles' novel A Maggot. Religion plays an important role in this regard. The writer creates his own national myth based on a synthesis of images of Celtic mythology and basic Christian tenets. In A Maggot, Fowles also presents the "feminist" variation of Christianity through the image of Rebecca. It is she who connects national myth with universal mythology in the novel. In this respect, there is a mythologising of space and history. The space is represented by the road (path) motif and by the opposition capital/ provinces. The author focuses on Stonehenge, one of the main objects of cultural and English national mythologisation today. The action of the novel takes place in 18th century. This epoch was important in the shaping of the historical development of England. Fowles shows two development paths for the English nation: "official" and "religious". That is why this epoch is very important for the author.
John Fowles, A Maggot, national myth, the Quakers, sanctification
The study analysed the effects of de-subsidised fertiliser input, as an alternative policy, in the rice sector in Malaysia. Time series data (1980-2012) were collected and analysed through different stages of analyses. The first stage of analysis involved time series econometric model, namely Auto Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) which was used for coefficients estimation. Estimated elasticities were subjected to and passed the relevant diagnostic tests. The estimated elasticities were then used for the second stage of analysis - that is scenario simulation (removal of fertiliser subsidy while retaining any other rice production subsidy and support) and forecast. Finally, the generated simulation results were further used in estimating societal welfare through the producer surplus change estimation technique. Results showed, on the average and by 2020, yields declined by 10%, national output contracted by 10% and net import increased by 19.1%. Producer welfare loss stood at RM839 million, revenue saved was RM183 million and the net loss or societal welfare loss was about RM655 million. Thus, the policy option should not be on the decision table of policy makers because of net lost to society in general.
The objective of this study is to model land development in the 17 sub-districts in Phuket province of Thailand from 2000 to 2009. Logistic regression was used to monitor changes in land-use over this period and predict future changes. The ROC curve was used to measure the performance of the model. Land-use from a previous survey in 2000 and sub-district identity were included as determinants. The area of developed land increased by 4557 ha over the study period. In 2000, agricultural land was more likely to become developed in 2009 and developed land was more likely to remain developed land in 2009. Land development occurred mostly in Chalong and Talat Nua sub-districts. The area under the ROC curve was 0.83, indicating a reasonably good fit of the model. Prediction of such changes may be used to provide useful information for decision makers and planners.
Developed land, urban growth, logistic regression model, land-use data
Colour is an environmental stimulus that exerts an influence on human beings in a multitude of ways. The effect of colours has been abundantly and unequivocally demonstrated in previous research on the integration of multimodal approaches such as the psychological, performance and non-performance and preferences assessments. Nevertheless, little research has been conducted locally on the integration of physiological assessment and consideration of subjects' living ecology. This is particularly true in the field of design. The objective of this paper is to propose an optimal colour for the hostel environment of female university students based on their heart-rate response. Four determined colours, namely strong red, bluish-green, pink and white, were painted in their rooms and divided according to exposures. In the experiment, a test and re-test method of assignment was conducted. The results show that subjects in the strong-red environment were stimulated after a short exposure, while subjects in the bluish-green environment were stimulated after long and sustained periods of exposure. In summary, the significance of a coloured environment is discussed with suggestions for a short, longer and sustainable period of exposure from a physiological perspective, aim of which being engagement.
Pan-Africanists and proponents of Negritude associate home with Africa. However, Derek Walcott detours from this essentialist belief. My interpretation of his epic poem, Omeros (1990), provides a detailed analysis of Walcott's negative attitude toward Negritude. Among the characters in Omeros, this paper focuses on Achille's quest for self and identity in Africa. Taking Homi Bhabha's concept of the "unhomely" as an analytical tool, I will show how Walcott critically illustrates the unhomeliness of Africa as home for Afro-Caribbeans. Even though essentially Africa is regarded as the ancestral homeland for people of African descent, the uncanny feeling it creates, negates this association. Yet, Omeros proposes that the New World itself, in spite of its ambivalences, can be home for the New World inhabitants as it could create a sense of familiarity—or what Yi-Fu Tuan terms "topophilia"—and a communal sense of relatedness. As I will argue, these features can be taken as characteristics of home and can create, albeit not a true home, but a sense of at-homeness with the context of the new location.
Walcott, Omeros, Achille, homecoming, Bhabha, topophilia, community relatedness
Integrated writing tasks require the writers to juxtapose the concepts and ideas presented in the given reading and/or listening based prompts in their essays. The issue of integrated writing has received considerable attention in recent years. This study explores the essential strategies employed and preferred by EFL learners in dealing with integrated writing tasks. This study relied on Yang and Plakans' (2012) framework on the use of and relationship among discourse synthesis, self-regulatory and test-wiseness strategies. The Strategy Inventory for Integrated Writing (SIIW), adopted from Yang and Plakans (2012), was the major instrument of data collection in the study. A total of 101 EFL learners undertaking a TOEFL iBT preparation course completed the questionnaire in the last session of the course to ensure their familiarity with integrated writing tasks and explore the strategies used by the participants in doing the tasks. Based on Friedman rank test results, it was found that discourse synthesis was the most preferred strategy, while self-regulatory and test-wiseness strategies were favoured less by the participants. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient demonstrated a significant relationship between self-regulatory and test-wiseness strategies, but discourse synthesis strategy showed no significant relationship with the other two strategies. This study calls for accommodating the processes underlying integrated writing construct and raising further awareness on the use of integrated strategies in teaching and testing EFL/ESL writing skill.
Doctoral completion rates are of concern to human resources development policy of universities as they endeavour to enhance the academic excellence of their university. The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors influencing doctoral completion success rates amongst staff of a public university in Thailand. The categories of the binary outcome variable, doctoral achievement are successful and unsuccessful or incomplete. The determinant variables include gender, age at the commencement of the doctoral degree, country group of doctoral study and the major or field of doctoral study. Data were obtained from the university's database. Logistic regression was employed to model the effects of multiple determinants on doctorate achievement. The results showed that gender, country of study and field of doctoral study are significant factors leading to successful doctoral completion but age at the commencement of a doctoral degree was not a significant factor. Identification of such factors could be done for other universities so that they can modify their human resources development strategies to support candidates who may be at risk of failure.
The simple past and present perfect are two areas of English grammar that are introduced to Malaysian learners at an early stage at primary school level. However, many Malaysian learners seem to have persistent difficulty distinguishing between the two and using them even at an advanced level of proficiency. This persistent difficulty raises the question of whether or not such difficulty is directly attributable to first language (L1) influence. Since competing hypotheses attempting to explain this phenomenon have received limited testing particularly in the Malaysian context, this study considers the implications of the FFFH approach, (Hawkins & Chan, 1997) to explain how the L1 might influence the L2 acquisition of the English present perfect. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether the persistent difficulty in the use of the present perfect and the simple past is directly attributable to L1 influence. In addition, the study also investigated whether or not Chinese speakers experience syntactic deficits in the L2 if specified parameterised features present in the functional categories of the L2 are not specified in the L1. Participants involved in this study were 30 Chinese ESL learners whose proficiency in English ranged from intermediate to advanced levels based on their combination scores in the Oxford Placement Test (OPT) and Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT). The instruments used for this study was a Paradigm Task, which was taken from Liszka's work (2005), and an oral production task. The study was in part a replication of Liszka's study (2005) which was the acquisition of form-meaning relations of the English present perfect among L2 learners. The results of the present study suggest that the Chinese ESL learners persistently face difficulty in their production of the present perfect and simple past forms. The finding would have implications for the Malaysian ESL classroom.
Present perfect, simple past, FFFH approach, Chinese ESL leaners, second language acquisition (SLA)