On motivating students to fall in love with knowledge – NewsIn.Asia


By Surya Vishwa/Harmony page/DailyFT

Reacting  to an earlier article of mine entitled: ‘A case for integrated knowledge to be introduced in school curricula’, a friend said I was making knowledge sound so romantic. I told her she got it exactly right and explained to her that students should be taught to be enthusiastic about knowledge so that they fall in love with it.

I also told her that teachers should be continuous students; always in the quest of knowledge – seeing it as a continuing entity and not as something having an end, if they are to inspire students. An uninspired teacher cannot inspire students.

Knowledge should not be made to be a tinsel bargaining chip gained for surface value of belonging in a world that has lost its humaneness and meaning; which is what the modern education sector, founded as a pillar of the era of industrialization has done.

Anyone who has made something meaningful of a branch of knowledge and uses it to serve the world to truly make a change (as Amartya Sen did with economics) knows that knowledge cannot be perfected unless one truly cares for it. One cannot truly care for knowledge when all one wants is to pass an exam and get a job. One cannot truly care for knowledge unless we question and make each child question as to the purpose of obtaining knowledge. The purpose has to rise above the pettiness of being ‘given a job’ after passing an exam. Instead, we should motivate children to be creators; job creators by being idea creators – children who will be adults who create new things by looking at knowledge in deep introspective ways and putting these thoughts into practice.

If we honestly seek educational reforms, we should seek solutions for the problems the world faces – mostly created by modern education itself. Sir Ken Robinson a highly respected British education reformer who showed consistently how the industrial age education system unleashed on the world is dying of uselessness was Director of the Arts in Schools Project and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick. Those who attempt to remove the mechanization from education should definitely study the work of Ken Robinson.

What should be reiterated is that knowledge which is gained for petty trade off; for a social position, for a job, for survival cannot create a meaningful world. At best it can create apathy and frustration and at worst greed or vice. This is why we have technology created by modern knowledge used more for the destruction of the planet and humans than for safeguarding it. We have failed to incorporate into the modern education system empathy that should be formulated as a solid foundation before technicalities of knowledge are passed on.

Societies such as Sri Lanka which had a rich pre-colonial education structure in the form of the Gurukula tradition should take a cue, if it is seriously pursuing education reforms, as to how the idea of knowledge was conceptualized in ancient times in this country. There is scope to introduce our ancient apprentice system innovatively into the current education reforms to create children who can do things as opposed to merely write exam answers.

If we include our heritage values and knowledge into the current changes we want to see within education reforms it will create an empathy-based knowledge structure which will constantly make the student question as to how she or he could perfect that particular discipline analytically while never forgetting the importance of simplicity, traditional knowledge, country’s history and overall humane purpose and duty of knowledge accumulation. A country cannot progress if it cuts itself off from its heritage – and this is one of the things that is wrong with the modern knowledge systems in much of the world. The very rich ancient cultures, values, thoughts and indigenous knowledge systems are suppressed in the name of modern Western science-based knowledge. Should this be so?

Knowledge is a vast sea. In this sea we are all fishermen. We catch the fish. We think we have caught the ocean; that we have mastered the sea. But in fact, we have caught just one fish – or two or three or ten. The sea awaits us. That far horizon tells us that we have a whole range of knowledge in its entirety to explore.

Modern knowledge that is clueless

We today have modern knowledge that is clueless to explain past expertise. Try asking a Lankan engineer just how exactly water engineering was carried out by the ancient Sinhalese who created Sigiriya. I tried many times and was told that this is not taught to Sri Lankan engineers. It is not taught because it is not included in Western engineering concepts and we are blindly following the Western model of education with no mental or emotional connection to our past expertise in this realm of knowledge.

This heritage based and contextual disconnectedness accompanied by a lack of thinking of anything seemingly beyond comprehension begins in the school system as we know it today. A school system we have made so excruciatingly formal and dismal and dreary but where at the end of it we hardly know what we should know.

Have we ever thought about the meaninglessness of our Grade 5 scholarship system and that it prevents rural schools from developing, while making young children robots of memorization? Speaking to children about what they ‘love’ about school very rarely will I get an answer that they ‘love’ a particular subject. And when a student says he or she ‘love’ a subject, you can see the difference in the manner in which it is said. The entire face lights up as they explain what they love about a subject.

But does our education system encourage such enthusiasm? Does it encourage curiosity? Are our tired, overworked, underpaid school teachers connected with any emotion or remotely connected with enthusiasm, curiosity and joy about the subject they are teaching? Are teachers themselves curious to learn something new every day about the subject they teach? On the contrary one hears horrific stories.

A university student of mine; an extremely gifted thinker whose thought processes are unique and whose reading choices are vast, told me how she loved maths as a teen. She emphasized the word love. She loved mathematics. She absolutely loved maths and she was scoring very high for this subject at term tests. In the mathematics class she would be constantly thinking how a particular mathematical problem could be solved in a shorter, different, more innovative, more radical manner than how it is taught formally. She had a fan club of others students – she could teach them maths in an interesting way. The class mathematics teacher/s could not do this. It must have been apparent to the teachers that she was above them in both techniques of handling mathematics.

This student was a clear Ramanujan in the making. Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to the world of mathematics although he had almost no formal training. As for this student of mine – how did the teachers react? They get her parents down to school and told them that their daughter has a mental problem and forced them to take her to a psychiatrist! Thankfully the parents took her to a sensible child psychiatrist who after talking in detail with the child and being so impressed with her knowledge of mathematics had three solutions; 1. For the teachers to be taught maths by this child. 2. For the teachers to be brought to her (the psychiatrist). 3. If neither the 1st or 2nd option worked, for the said teachers to promptly be sacked from their teaching positions.

In my long conversations with this student, I constantly tell her to keep up her original yearning to change the face of mathematics in how it surfaces in schools. A mind like this could make a major contribution to the current education system to prevent teachers from ruining children’s connection with this subject perceived as difficult by many and creating failures through the Ordinary Level examination (because teachers do not know how to teach maths).

In an earlier article on integrated knowledge this writer showed how mathematics is a vital component of both music and art. If only teachers know such information which they could use to give life to the subject.

Sublime connection

Anyone who knows the basics about love will know that love cannot be forced. It is not as if one can write on a blackboard with white chalk and command; from this moment you will love Science or Maths or Geography or Art or Dance, or Poetry or Medicine or Cookery or Engineering or Forestry. What specific branch of knowledge chooses you will be decided by a sublime connection between the brain and the heart and probably genetics and many other factors.

A school education system should be geared to allow children to develop a deep connection of love with a branch of knowledge that is most suited to their inborn mental and emotional make up. This is not what happens today. After some 15 or so years of school education we often have jaded minds, because the education system has killed all of the love that should be there in a child’s heart and mind for knowledge.

In a recent conversation Vimukthi Jayasundara, one of Sri Lanka’s internationally acclaimed film makers, described Sri Lanka’s education system as one dedicated to ‘creating failures.’ He had written an article for this page on these lines. The link is as follows:

http://www.ft.lk/other-sectors/The-urgent-need-to-minimise-the-creation-of-ugliness/57-684051.

Jayasundara was fortunate to have a wise father who was also a teacher who allowed his son to totally break free from the current warped institutionalized knowledge system before it ruined his mind. The result is Sri Lanka having a world-renowned film maker who is now also conducting trainings on how creativity could be boosted within the mind.

Meanwhile speaking informally last week with one of the members of the education reforms committee members I suggested to her to get the assistance of Sri Lanka’s artistes in creating meaningful education reforms. Sri Lanka has some of the world’s best artistes in various spheres. It might also be a great boon to their overall task, if all members of the education reforms committee and other officials connected with this exercise watch two films created on the concept of knowledge and the education system – one is the Sri Lankan Sinhala language film Vishama Baga directed by Lalith Rathnayake and produced by Ven. Aludeniye Subodhi Thero for Shraddha Film Productions. The other is the Indian comic-drama film Three Idiots directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vindhu Vinod Chopra. Both the films, set in different frameworks of storytelling, focus on the same theme; the need to re-examine the modern robotics of education.

A truly educated person should not have to live life as a mere drudgery, an exchange for survival, a trade off that saps your time on this earth with neither meaning nor passion.

A truly educated mind

A truly educated mind actually puts the brain to do the task that it should do – think – create – question – read – create – act – implement. Rote learning would not encourage this. When I finally ended up getting a university degree, I was told repeatedly by my professors not to ‘over read’ and ‘over think’ and that it will affect me getting a ‘First Class.’ I told them that I am not in the least bothered and that I am not pursuing university education for getting either a piece of paper or rank but rather as a stepping stone to broaden my thinking and exposure to knowledge – because I love it – and because I want to be able to try and create new ideas and practical initiatives that will be meaningful.

Sri Lanka’s internationally acclaimed innovator Dr. Nandadasa Narayana, a major critic of this country’s rote learning menace, laments that Sri Lanka’s percentage of those who are categorized as entrepreneurs is somewhere around 3% when Vietnam, a country which surmounted so much of serious post-war challenges, is about six times higher.

How on earth can we create children who will invent and innovate and become entrepreneurs when their brains are clogged with textbooks and are hijacked by the tuition mafia? How can we create entrepreneurs/inventors when there is nothing remotely connected to encouraging invention/creation of new ideas in schools?

In my earlier article promoting integrated knowledge, I looked at how education should be a way to solve society’s problems.

http://www.ft.lk/harmony_page/A-case-for-integrated-knowledge-to-be-introduced-in-school-curricula/10523-712327.

Problems are solved when children and adults are made to think about them and create solutions. Right now, the biggest problem is the education system! The fact that a youth of 22 who had entered university can become a vicious ragger of other youth to the point of bringing death shows that what we have masquerading as education is definitely something damningly warped. Probably one reason is that we have moved very far away from nature. An Indian educator once told me that if education is to truly represent that word, it should be re-introduced under trees and not brick-made prisons.

There are many scientific studies that show the power of nature to heal and motivate our minds – reading a book under a tree is certainly different from reading it in a brick-made library. Since education reforms involve many aspects that could be considered, one is for children to be freed from these brick-made confinements and taken to nature where like in the age old Gurukula system we had, they will learn diverse disciplines being aware that we are part of nature and that whatever that we create out of knowledge should not destroy nature.

There we will have the learning of values and ethics incorporated into the knowledge structure – which will be the ultimate game changer. This will be a vital component of equating knowledge with the most noble of emotions; unconditional and selfless love that great philosophies such as Buddhism teaches us.

END



Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and checking out this article about Asian and related news items titled “On motivating students to fall in love with knowledge – NewsIn.Asia”. This news release was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

#motivating #students #fall #love #knowledge #NewsInAsia



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Test your knowledge in the 2020 Biz Quiz


The desert near Alice Springs is the perfect climate to store what? Credit:Janie Barrett

2. What does NASDAQ stand for?

a) Network of American Shares in Digital And Quantitative

b) National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations

c) Netflix, Alphabet, Starbucks, Dropbox, Apple, and Qualcomm

3. Which was one of the first companies to hit the capital raising panic button in March?

a) Telstra raising $200 million

b) Qantas raising $10 billion

c) Cochlear raising $930 million

4. From where did James Packer give his evidence to a NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts?

a) From Aspen where he has been stuck since the COVID-19 outbreak

b) From aboard a Crown Casino plane ferrying high rollers between Asia and Australia

c) From his luxury super yacht anchored near Tahiti

James Packer giving evidence at the NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts, but from where?

James Packer giving evidence at the NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts, but from where? Credit:Crown inquiry

5. What was the biggest daily movement on the ASX200 this year?

a) A fall of 13% on 9 March

b) A fall of 9.7% on 16 March

c) A rise of 8% on 1 November

6. What was the name of the book by Liberal NSW senator Andrew Bragg that caused headaches for the superannuation industry?

a) Bad Egg: How to Fix Super

b) Super Terrible: How to Fix Super

c) Super Sad: What happens if the working class controls capital

7. Which bank used a full page ad in this masthead to issue a mea culpa in 2020?

a) Bendigo Bank – for refusing to accept gold nuggets

b) Westpac – for 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws

c) ME Bank – for abruptly changing it policies around redraw facilities

8. Surging iron ore prices helped Andrew Twiggy Forrest’s Fortescue Metals increase its share price from a low of $8.58 in March to record highs of above $23 in December. From trough to peak in 2020, by how much did Twiggy’s 36.2 per cent stake increase in value?

a) By about $1 billion

b) Between $5 billion and $10 billion

c) More than $15 billion

9. In September, ASX-listed Domino’s Pizza said its biggest country was now Japan with more than 700 stores. Which of the following flavours was not available on the Domino’s Japan pizza menu website in December?

a) American cheeseburger

b) Roast chicken with Hokkaido camembert

c) Shrimp Mayonnaise

Is Domino's chief executive Don Meij tucking into a slice of roast chicken and with Hokkaido camembert?

Is Domino’s chief executive Don Meij tucking into a slice of roast chicken and with Hokkaido camembert? Credit:Attila Csaszar

10. What extraordinary event happened to oil prices in April 2020?

a) They dropped to $US20.20 per barrel for twenty days in a display of global solidarity by OPEC

b) Prices went negative, down to -$US37.63 per barrel, after an fund holding futures contracts panicked at the thought of actually taking possession of oil and paid someone to take the contracts

c) The price chart showed a contango front flip with a backwardation twist, something that hasn’t happened in a hundred years.

11. Which of the big four banks recorded the biggest decline in dividends in calendar 2020 compared to 2019?

a) Commonwealth Bank (dividend fell 15 per cent to $5.50)

b) Westpac (dividend fell 82 per cent to 31 cents)

c) National Australia Bank (dividend fell 100 per cent, it didn’t pay one)

Banks and their shareholders did their bit for the country as their shrivelled divvies show.

Banks and their shareholders did their bit for the country as their shrivelled divvies show.

12. Who phoned Woolworths boss Brad Banducci early in the pandemic to chat about toilet paper sales?

a) Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

b) Prime Minister Scott Morrison

c) Visy Industries executive chairman Anthony Pratt

13. Which of these three retailers received more in JobKeeper payments?

a) Department store Myer, which was forced to close its doors for nearly two months and stand down 10,000 staff

b) Smiggle, Portmans, and Peter Alexander owner Premier Investments, which also refused to pay rent for several months

c) Wesfarmers, which owns Officeworks, Kmart, and Bunnings.

14. How much cash did Crown Resorts find in a cupboard inside the private gaming parlour of its controversial “junket” partner Suncity at Crown Melbourne, which sent “money-laundering alarms ringing” but did not have any impact on the partnership?

a) $350,000

b) $2 million

c) $5.6 million

15. Which ASX-listed company lost its chief executive and chief financial officer within two weeks, is being sued by its former general counsel, and later revealed $590 million in losses?

a) Patriot Pastries

b) Freedom Foods

c) Nothing-left-to-lose Edibles

16. Which large corporate takeover did Treasurer Josh Frydenberg prevent on grounds it would be “contrary to the national interest”?

a) Chinese company Mengniu Dairy’s takeover of Japanese firm Lion Dairy & Drinks

b) Japanese group Asahi’s purchase of Carlton & United Breweries

c) The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System’s purchase of 19.99 per cent of electricity network operator Transgrid from Kuwaiti firm Wren House Infrastructure

Was the sale of Carlton & United Breweries to a foreign-owned company against the national interest?

Was the sale of Carlton & United Breweries to a foreign-owned company against the national interest? Credit:Eamon Gallagher

17) How much did Afterpay’s market capitalisation grow from bottom of the market on March 23 to a peak on December 17?

a) from $500 million up to $3 billion

b) from $2.4 billion up to $34.2 billion

c) from $1 billion to $100 billion

18) Which neobank handed back its licence and all its customers’ money in December?

a) Xinhua

b) Xena

c) Xinja

19. Virgin Australia attracted a range of preliminary offers during a sale process run by the airline’s administrators. Which group was not a bidder?

a) Indigo Airlines from India via its largest shareholder InterGlobe Enterprises

b) Indigo Partners from Arizona

c) Indigo-go Aviation via its New York owner Cypress Capital

20. Which foreign company suddenly withdrew from Australia in January 2020 after spending hundreds of millions on property and staff, but never opening a store?

a) Canada’s Tim Horton’s

b) Germany’s Kaufland

c) China’s Alibaba

ANSWERS: 1:a 2:b 3:c 4:c 5:b 6:a 7:c 8:c 9:a 10:b 11:b 12:a 13:a 14:c 15:b 16:a 17:b 18:c 19:c 20:b

Score one point per correct answer.

Under 5 points: You will recover from 2020 without too much long term psychological scarring because you obviously avoided the news, but you also missed out the best gains in 30 years.

5 – 10 points: You managed to wake up and read the news most days. Congratulations!

10 – 15 points: Were you one of those annoying people who actually got fitter during lockdown?

15 – 20 points: Let’s hope you at least made a lot of money from paying so much attention to the rolling disaster that was 2020. Now go and spend it on someone who deserves it.

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Thanks for dropping by and checking this news article on News South Wales news published as “Test your knowledge in the 2020 Biz Quiz”. This article was presented by My Local Pages Australia as part of our news aggregator services.

#Test #knowledge #Biz #Quiz



Source link

Test your knowledge in the 2020 Biz Quiz


The desert near Alice Springs is the perfect climate to store what? Credit:Janie Barrett

2. What does NASDAQ stand for?

a) Network of American Shares in Digital And Quantitative

b) National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations

c) Netflix, Alphabet, Starbucks, Dropbox, Apple, and Qualcomm

3. Which was one of the first companies to hit the capital raising panic button in March?

a) Telstra raising $200 million

b) Qantas raising $10 billion

c) Cochlear raising $930 million

4. From where did James Packer give his evidence to a NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts?

a) From Aspen where he has been stuck since the COVID-19 outbreak

b) From aboard a Crown Casino plane ferrying high rollers between Asia and Australia

c) From his luxury super yacht anchored near Tahiti

James Packer giving evidence at the NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts, but from where?

James Packer giving evidence at the NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts, but from where? Credit:Crown inquiry

5. What was the biggest daily movement on the ASX200 this year?

a) A fall of 13% on 9 March

b) A fall of 9.7% on 16 March

c) A rise of 8% on 1 November

6. What was the name of the book by Liberal NSW senator Andrew Bragg that caused headaches for the superannuation industry?

a) Bad Egg: How to Fix Super

b) Super Terrible: How to Fix Super

c) Super Sad: What happens if the working class controls capital

7. Which bank used a full page ad in this masthead to issue a mea culpa in 2020?

a) Bendigo Bank – for refusing to accept gold nuggets

b) Westpac – for 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws

c) ME Bank – for abruptly changing it policies around redraw facilities

8. Surging iron ore prices helped Andrew Twiggy Forrest’s Fortescue Metals increase its share price from a low of $8.58 in March to record highs of above $23 in December. From trough to peak in 2020, by how much did Twiggy’s 36.2 per cent stake increase in value?

a) By about $1 billion

b) Between $5 billion and $10 billion

c) More than $15 billion

9. In September, ASX-listed Domino’s Pizza said its biggest country was now Japan with more than 700 stores. Which of the following flavours was not available on the Domino’s Japan pizza menu website in December?

a) American cheeseburger

b) Roast chicken with Hokkaido camembert

c) Shrimp Mayonnaise

Is Domino's chief executive Don Meij tucking into a slice of roast chicken and with Hokkaido camembert?

Is Domino’s chief executive Don Meij tucking into a slice of roast chicken and with Hokkaido camembert? Credit:Attila Csaszar

10. What extraordinary event happened to oil prices in April 2020?

a) They dropped to $US20.20 per barrel for twenty days in a display of global solidarity by OPEC

b) Prices went negative, down to -$US37.63 per barrel, after an fund holding futures contracts panicked at the thought of actually taking possession of oil and paid someone to take the contracts

c) The price chart showed a contango front flip with a backwardation twist, something that hasn’t happened in a hundred years.

11. Which of the big four banks recorded the biggest decline in dividends in calendar 2020 compared to 2019?

a) Commonwealth Bank (dividend fell 15 per cent to $5.50)

b) Westpac (dividend fell 82 per cent to 31 cents)

c) National Australia Bank (dividend fell 100 per cent, it didn’t pay one)

Banks and their shareholders did their bit for the country as their shrivelled divvies show.

Banks and their shareholders did their bit for the country as their shrivelled divvies show.

12. Who phoned Woolworths boss Brad Banducci early in the pandemic to chat about toilet paper sales?

a) Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

b) Prime Minister Scott Morrison

c) Visy Industries executive chairman Anthony Pratt

13. Which of these three retailers received more in JobKeeper payments?

a) Department store Myer, which was forced to close its doors for nearly two months and stand down 10,000 staff

b) Smiggle, Portmans, and Peter Alexander owner Premier Investments, which also refused to pay rent for several months

c) Wesfarmers, which owns Officeworks, Kmart, and Bunnings.

14. How much cash did Crown Resorts find in a cupboard inside the private gaming parlour of its controversial “junket” partner Suncity at Crown Melbourne, which sent “money-laundering alarms ringing” but did not have any impact on the partnership?

a) $350,000

b) $2 million

c) $5.6 million

15. Which ASX-listed company lost its chief executive and chief financial officer within two weeks, is being sued by its former general counsel, and later revealed $590 million in losses?

a) Patriot Pastries

b) Freedom Foods

c) Nothing-left-to-lose Edibles

16. Which large corporate takeover did Treasurer Josh Frydenberg prevent on grounds it would be “contrary to the national interest”?

a) Chinese company Mengniu Dairy’s takeover of Japanese firm Lion Dairy & Drinks

b) Japanese group Asahi’s purchase of Carlton & United Breweries

c) The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System’s purchase of 19.99 per cent of electricity network operator Transgrid from Kuwaiti firm Wren House Infrastructure

Was the sale of Carlton & United Breweries to a foreign-owned company against the national interest?

Was the sale of Carlton & United Breweries to a foreign-owned company against the national interest? Credit:Eamon Gallagher

17) How much did Afterpay’s market capitalisation grow from bottom of the market on March 23 to a peak on December 17?

a) from $500 million up to $3 billion

b) from $2.4 billion up to $34.2 billion

c) from $1 billion to $100 billion

18) Which neobank handed back its licence and all its customers’ money in December?

a) Xinhua

b) Xena

c) Xinja

19. Virgin Australia attracted a range of preliminary offers during a sale process run by the airline’s administrators. Which group was not a bidder?

a) Indigo Airlines from India via its largest shareholder InterGlobe Enterprises

b) Indigo Partners from Arizona

c) Indigo-go Aviation via its New York owner Cypress Capital

20. Which foreign company suddenly withdrew from Australia in January 2020 after spending hundreds of millions on property and staff, but never opening a store?

a) Canada’s Tim Horton’s

b) Germany’s Kaufland

c) China’s Alibaba

ANSWERS: 1:a 2:b 3:c 4:c 5:b 6:a 7:c 8:c 9:a 10:b 11:b 12:a 13:a 14:c 15:b 16:a 17:b 18:c 19:c 20:b

Score one point per correct answer.

Under 5 points: You will recover from 2020 without too much long term psychological scarring because you obviously avoided the news, but you also missed out the best gains in 30 years.

5 – 10 points: You managed to wake up and read the news most days. Congratulations!

10 – 15 points: Were you one of those annoying people who actually got fitter during lockdown?

15 – 20 points: Let’s hope you at least made a lot of money from paying so much attention to the rolling disaster that was 2020. Now go and spend it on someone who deserves it.

Business Briefing

Start the day with major stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion from our leading business journalists delivered to your inbox. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Business

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Test your rugby league knowledge


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 25: Cameron Smith of the Storm holds aloft the Premiership trophy and celebrates with team mates after winning the 2020 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

It’s the rugby league quiz that will leave you wondering whether you even know the sport.



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iPORTAL Live, MDEC launch Global Knowledge Platform for US$2 trillion Islamic Economy


  • Portal to offer one-stop avenue for consolidated knowledge of Islamic Economy
  • Aims to be digital meeting place for education, consumption, investment, business

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and iPORTAL Live Sdn Bhd signed an MOU on 18 Nov and launched a new Islamic Economy Knowledge Portal that will further enhance the ease-of-access to information and knowledge of the Islamic Economy to users, as well as facilitate connection and encourage collaboration by industry users dispersed globally.

As the leading hub of Southeast Asia’s Islamic Digital economy, Malaysia has the resources and depth of knowledge that makes it the perfect location for iPORTAL to launch its platform.

Through its partnership with MDEC, iPORTAL Live will bring in global expertise and knowledge transfer in the area of Islamic Digital Economy into Malaysia. This will elevate Malaysia’s position as a global Islamic Digital Economy hub, and further strengthen the country as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.

The launch of the new knowledge portal comes amidst significant growth in the Islamic Digital Economy according to the latest State of Global Islamic Economy Report. It is estimated that Muslims spent US$2.02 trillion (RM8.18 trillion) in 2019 including the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, fashion, travel and media/recreation sectors, all of which are impacted by Islamic faith-inspired ethical consumption needs.

This spending reflects a 3.2% year-on-year growth from 2018. In addition, Islamic finance assets were estimated to have reached US$2.88 trillion (RM11.7 trillion) in 2019.

The issue is that while there is significant growth in the Islamic economy, the information and data for consumers, products, insights and research is dispersed globally. The challenge then is placing all this information in one place for easy access and reference.

iPORTAL Live aims to address this issue with the launch of its Islamic Digital Economy knowledge portal at www.iPORTAL.live. The portal is a global platform that will showcase the 10 sectors of the Islamic Economy all in one easy to access place. It will start the users’ journey with knowledge, under Academy, which will then continue to Entrepreneurship, Insights, Waqf Economy, Research, Marketplace and a Job Board.

The new portal will also provide digital pathways for inclusion and connectivity for all sectors. For example, through the portal, Islamic Financial services can connect to players of modest fashion or Muslim media for funding opportunities; the halal industry can connect with the Takaful industry for matters of insurance; or social impact startups can showcase their innovative suggestions for the Islamic economy verticals.

“Malaysia has been a pioneering leader in Islamic finance and remains the biggest Islamic finance market in Southeast Asia. Backed by our strong regulatory framework and an expanding Islamic finance ecosystem that includes Sukuk, Takaful and Syariah-compliant funds, Malaysia is on track to reach the central bank’s target of 40% share of total financing by the end of 2020. We believe the launch of iPORTAL’s global Islamic Economy platform, will enable many more global stakeholders to learn and adopt from Malaysia’s decades of experience and contribute towards the global growth of the Islamic digital industry,” says Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia.

“Malaysia has been at the forefront of championing Islamic banking and finance for the last three decades. The Malaysian government, through MDEC, has started serious work to embed the Islamic digital economy in the grand design of the Malaysian blueprint of the digital economy. Through the launch of iPORTAL Live, the information will be readily available and accessible for the interested masses, contributing to the creation of an inclusive Fintech hub while firmly establishing Malaysia as the heart of digital ASEAN,” added Dr Rais Hussin Mohammed Ariff, MDEC’s chairman.

Dr Rushdi Siddiqui cofounder/CEO iPORTAL Live said, “The launch of iPORTAL Live could not have happened without the hard work of Malaysia, UAE, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, Pakistan, UK and others in raising the profile of the 10 sector US$3 trillion Islamic Economy. iPORTAL Live has 74 introductory courses, 50% are free. Meanwhile, on the verticals of the Islamic economy, it has more than 400 social impact startups, including women owned, from 12 countries that get updated monthly, it has Islamic banking regulations from 14 countries in one place with opportunity for public comment, it has Waqf research and projects from 8 countries, it has job board with 250 openings, it has 26 members on its advisory board and 27 partnerships, etc.”

Thus, iPORTAL Live is a B2C2B platform that is part Google (search on Islamic economy), part Amazon (content by third parties) and part Wikipedia (contribution to the Islamic economy). It’s about reducing friction and user journey for connecting to the global Islamic economy community with content, commerce and opportunity to collaborate.

“The Islamic Economy is open for business for all in the new normal, and iPORTAL Live is the digital meeting place for values aligned education, consumption, investment, funding and business,” adds Rushdi.



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Driver had ‘no knowledge’ passenger was on car roof



A CEDAR POINT woman will face sentencing next year after pleading guilty in Casino Local Court to driving recklessly, furiously or at speed or manner dangerous.

Hannah Buscall was found to have driven a Honda CRV in a manner dangerous to the public on Bariamal Lane at Cedar Point between 8:15pm and 9:05pm on September 11.

The court was told this involved the vehicle allegedly reaching 90 km per hour and swerving the car on the road.

The court also heard that one of the five passengers allegedly climbed out of the CRV and ended up on the roof of the vehicle while it was in motion.

In defence, it was argued that Ms Buscall had “no knowledge” of whether the passenger “climbed out of the car or was on the roof” and therefore her responsibility was “minimal”.

A charge of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm was withdrawn.

Ms Buscall’s boyfriend, who was injured in the incident, was present in court on Thursday.

Ms Buscall will be sentenced on February 4 and a full sentence assessment report has been ordered.





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Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii opens up on the knowledge which has turned him into the game’s most destructive prop


It’s too late. The Canberra giant already has his weight low, his legs driving and the tryline within reach.

It takes no more than a couple of seconds. There’s a bit of sweet stepping, a bit of speed and a lot of strength. Three of the Roosters’ biggest forwards can’t stop the NRL’s most destructive prop, who opens the scoring in a pressure-packed final. In the end, the Raiders only win by four points.

I do things practically. I hardly do video at training, it’s all watching at home. The stop, pause and play button is all I do.

Josh Papalii

But for all his physical gifts, what really goes on in the mind of one of the NRL’s best players?

“I really can’t spell or read or write,” Papalii laughs, before pointing to his head. “[But] I do all my thinking up here [about rugby league]. I do things practically. I hardly do video at training, it’s all watching at home. The stop, pause and play button is all I do.

“I found it a bit funny [last Sunday] as I was waiting for the 4pm game and all there was on was union [the Bledisloe Cup draw between the All Blacks and Wallabies]. It was a bit weird.”

In an era where the NRL’s modern day player and increasing millennial contingent play – yet rarely watch – the game, Papalii is as old school as they come. He learns traits about others they probably don’t even know themselves.

Josh Papali draws first blood for the Raiders against the Roosters.Credit:Getty Images

His wife, Sepa, who famously drew up a contract requesting her husband meet certain fitness and household standards before being allowed to play golf during the COVID break, will watch matches with him.

Papalii doesn’t need to study the Storm this week because he’s already watched them last week, and he didn’t need to cram on the Roosters, because he understood how Cordner, Taukeiaho and Waerea-Hargreaves move close to their line long before that.

“I watch a lot of footy,” says Papalii, who last month signed a monster deal to stay with the Raiders until the end of 2024. “If we were playing the Tigers and I know we’ve got Souths next week, I’m watching the Souths game pretty closely that week.

“I’m always looking at bigger men, smaller men. I want to find the bigger men who move laterally slower than most, and the smaller men, because I’m a bigger man myself. I look for which shoulders are their go to. I try to take all that in and use it.

“Then you’ll see in a game before receiving the ball I’ll look up at the line to see if that third man [in the tackle] is going back, if not you’re obviously going to punch behind the ruck. I’m listening to George [Williams] and Jack [Wighton] to see if they want the ball early. If they want it I’ll give it to them.”

Papalii’s coach Ricky Stuart has said he has never seen his Australian and Queensland prop in a better head space than this season as the Raiders chase another grand final berth.

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A couple of years ago Stuart dropped Papalii to Canterbury Cup with Mounties, where he prepared all week to play on an edge. On game morning Papalii was told he was playing in the middle for 80 minutes, on Stuart’s instruction. He’s been different ever since.

A Raiders club van drove around the perimeter of their new Braddon headquarters on Monday afternoon when a head popped out the window and bellowed: “Go the Raiders!”

A few bemused onlookers asked, “who was that?”

“That’s just Papa,” laughed Jarrod Croker.

By his own admission he might be able to make his teammates laugh at training, but Papalii has never really challenged them in the fitness stakes.

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It’s not as it he doesn’t try, it’s just not the same as playing in a game where Papalii always seems to be willing to drag those monster thighs into another scrap.

“If someone wants to come watch me do fitness at training they’ll realise I’m at the back all the time, I hardly make times at training,” he says.

“I just find it’s different in the game. I feel like I can play a full 80 [minutes] in a game. I just love playing the game. I tell a few of the younger boys fitness might not be my outlet, but I thrive off what’s happening in a game. You can’t get too excited about running around the oval.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer and Canberra hasn’t seen my best. I’m excited for the next few years. I’ll do all I can to bring the best out of my footy and I feel like I’m still on that track as well.”

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Local knowledge vital to contact tracing success in fight against coronavirus


When coronavirus hit the rural community of Colac in south-west Victoria it took everybody by surprise, including authorities who were reportedly slow to respond and contain it.

Trinity College school principal Peter Clohesy said after a student tested positive the school identified 76 close contacts, but they were not contacted by contact tracers for four days — prompting the school to do it themselves.

“It was a little bit frustrating, probably surprised given the seriousness of the issue,” he said.

“There was a lot going on for them and they may have been really overwhelmed.”

Trinity College Colac principal Paul Clohesy was surprised by how slow contact tracing was at the start of the Colac outbreak.(ABC News: Steven Schubert)

Since then the Victorian Government has set up regional contact tracing teams, including the first one in Geelong at Barwon Health tasked with taking over the contact tracing at Colac.

Mr Clohesy said communication improved immediately once Barwon Health took over.

Rapid response

The director of infectious diseases at Barwon Health, Professor Eugene Athan, would not comment on those early delays, but said local knowledge was vital.

“It gives us a rapid response to understand the context of the outbreak and then be able to respond quickly by knowing who to talk to,” he said.

“That’s a little bit harder to do so centrally from metro Melbourne.”

A man wearing a blue striped suit, blue shirt and glasses stares at the camera, behind him a Barwon Health banner.
Professor Eugene Athan says local knowledge is vital for contact tracers to respond rapidly in regional areas.(ABC News: Peter Healy)

But the Australian Medical Association’s Ballarat representative Mark Yates said it had come too late.

“We need to leverage off the skills of the GPs and the communities that are very close-knit and much more so than in Melbourne.”

Rising cases

There are now 492 coronavirus cases in regional Victoria, with a testing blitz underway.

It has come after concerns about the rising number of mystery cases in the regions, which is now at 13 per cent of all cases.

That has prompted calls for regional Victoria to follow the New South Wales approach of publicly listing the sites where positive cases have been.

Margaret O'Rourke wears a bright orange scarf and high-vis orange vest, she has glasses and grey hair.
Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke wants more detailed information about where coronavirus cases have been.(ABC News: Lauren Day)

Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said her community was crying out for more detailed information.

“I think in regional communities people are really fearful because it’s too broad, and doesn’t give us the understanding of where it is in our community.”

Public information

Residents of Colac were also frustrated by the lack of information last month as coronavirus cases grew to around 100 at the peak of the outbreak.

Local librarian Davida McDonald said she was glued to the daily press conferences.

“They [NSW] were very good at informing their whole state about places where they’d been asked about outbreaks and actual venues,” she said.

“Whereas I felt that when I listened to press conferences in Victoria, we were not given specifics about things like that.”

Davida McDonald has curly short hair and a striped shirt, she's in a library with shelves full of colourful children's books.
Colac librarian Davida McDonald wants more information about coronavirus cases made public.(Supplied)

Ms McDonald said it was brought home when the small community of Beeac, where her parents lived, went from one to 10 cases in a week without the community being informed.

“We felt that there was a big gap in the middle there where there could have been all sorts of transmissions happening in the community, but it hadn’t been communicated out there,” she said.

Dr Yates said the one-size-fits-all policy for Victoria was not working.

“But I don’t think you can make a universal decision, I think that that should be given greater flexibility.”

The State Government said public announcements and community safety must be weighed up against privacy concerns.

Decentralising contact tracing

A lady with long grey hair and a second lady with short brown hair have their photo taken
Bendigo Health chief medical officer Diana Badcock and Bendigo Health public health unit director Leanne Anderson are leading the contact tracing.(ABC Central Victoria: Tyrone Dalton)

The contact tracing centre at Bendigo, in central Victoria, has only been running for two weeks, but is already busy with 56 active cases to monitor.

Bendigo Health’s Chief Medical Officer Diana Badcock said having a local team was a massive advantage in controlling the outbreak.

“It’s not always clear now that places are closed in lockdown how to contact the leaders and the managers,” Dr Badcock said.

“But there’s always somebody who knows somebody and we have managed to get hold of the right people to get the contacts.”

In the United Kingdom, the British Government has announced it will be dismantling its system of national contact tracing, admitting it had failed, and instead setting up 150 teams in local council areas.

Sir Chris Ham is a health policy expert from the UK and said he welcomed the government’s backflip.

Two women sit at desks in an office, working at their computers, both wearing facemasks.
The contact tracing team at Barwon Health in Geelong was set up after an outbreak at Colac in south-west Victoria.(ABC News: Peter Healy)

He said Victoria should consider a similar approach.

“It has to be done locally by people who are part of their communities, who understand the dynamics within those communities, who can do the detective work,” Sir Chris said.

But Barwon Health’s Professor Eugene Athan said what was most important was having the right resources.

“I think as long as there’s capacity to manage all of the cases, notifications, across the state, and the amount of work that goes into contact tracing, if that’s resourced adequately, either centrally or in the regions, that doesn’t really matter.”



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Indigenous knowledge meets bee-keeping science in Western Australia’s Kimberley region


It’s a dusty, hot day at Roebuck Plains station in Western Australia’s far north, but the cattle are not the only creatures at work on this country.

As Yawuru woman Dianne Appleby looks across the pindan landscape at an ancient belt of melaleuca trees she smiles, reflecting on thousands of years of tradition for her people.

This country is part of her hunting ground and she can hear the buzz of the worker bees busily collecting nectar to make honey.

Dianne Appleby is a Yawuru traditional owner from the Kimberley.(ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne)

Drawing on traditional knowledge

For traditional owners in the Kimberley, raw bush honey has been used for thousands of years for sustenance and medicine.

“In the early days when I used to sit down and listen, my mother says we didn’t have the shops you do now, we didn’t have the chemists and the pharmacies that you have now,” said Ms Appleby.

“But what they did have is the natural medicines.

Man leaning over behind jars of honey
David Appleby at his honey extraction facility in Broome.(ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne)

Ms Appleby and her husband, David, started Walaja Raw Bush honey six years ago.

Using an extraction facility in Broome, Mr Appleby produces anywhere between 700 and 800 kilograms of honey on a good day.

“But what makes this melaleuca so special is when I had it tested, the results came back with a total activity of 26.6… which is right up there with the best active honey I’ve been advised.”

What’s all the buzz about?

Honey has long been a staple on the kitchen table for Australian families and is worth about $99 million to the economy each year.

But it’s only in recent years, increasing consumer awareness around the anti-bacterial properties of honey, has seen it transform from an everyday sweetener, to a nice product in the booming superfood industry.

And it’s a trend the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Honeybee Products suspect is behind a spike in honey sales across Australia, during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Of course, now what we’re trying to do is build up our international markets, so that’s actually been quite difficult.”

Researchers say many Australian honey varieties are just as good as the rival Manuka product in New Zealand.
There has been an increasing research focus on the healing properties of honey.(ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne)

Once a market dominated by the New Zealand manuka product, the medicinal potential of honey has Australian researchers on the hunt for more liquid gold.

Last year, scientists funded by AgriFutures Australia discovered that specific chemical components relating to antibacterial activity of several Australian Leptospermum honeys, was similar to that of its manuka counterpart in New Zealand.

The study found at least seven Australian Leptospermum varieties are as active or more active than the one species from across the ditch.

WA honey the bees knees

Honeybee Products, based in Perth, has also been mapping native flora in the south-west of WA with high medicinal value for the local honey industry.

Dr Barbour said while the area was known for its Jarrah honey, scientists had genetically defined a rare Leptospermum species in the Esperance region that produced some of the highest grade manuka honey in the world.

“There’s always been this debate about whether peroxide honey is anywhere as good as manuka honey.

“They work differently but they both certainly have the fantastic benefits…and we have both peroxide and manuka honey in WA.”

Sample being taken from a Leptospermum tree.
More than 80 native plants that help bees make manuka honey have been identified around Australia.(Supplied: University of the Sunshine Coast)

Dr Barbour said WA’s area freedom from destructive bee diseases and pests like the Varroa mite made it attractive to overseas honey export markets and local agricultural pollination services.

Records from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development show the number of beekeepers in WA has exploded, from 660 in 2010 to more than 3,000 registered across the state today.

What about the north?

As far as the north of the state goes, the Kimberley is a largely untapped resource when it comes to honey research.

There are 54 registered beekeepers across the Kimberley and Pilbara, many of them hobbyists.

Dr Barbour said there were unique challenges for apiarists in the north, but she agreed researchers needed to take a closer look at the region’s honey production.

A close up of a hand holding a piece of honeycomb
The Yawuru people have been using raw honey in food and medicine for generations.(Supplied: Walaja Raw Bush honey)

For David and Dianne Appleby, scientifically testing their melaleuca honey product has only confirmed generations of Indigenous knowledge on Yawuru country.

“I think a lot of people — particularly Aboriginal people — know the history of these saltwater paperbark trees, and the fact they have very strong medicinal qualities,” said Mr Appleby.



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