Yin and Yang
Interview by Azahar Ahmad Nizar (email@example.com)
KOK AH MOY has served OUM for nearly ten years as a
tutor for the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences
Azahar: Please describe your educational background.
Mrs Kok: I obtained my BA (Honours) from USM, majoring
in History and minoring in Sociology and Anthropology. I
did my Master's degree in Sociology in UM.
Azahar: What is your tutoring experience like in OUM?
Mrs Kok: As a tutor, I teach the following courses: Malaysian
Studies, Introduction to Social Science and Man, Society
and Culture. I was once involved in marking and setting
examination questions for Malaysian Studies. I have been
appointed as an e-tutor and FAQ developer for Introduction
to Social Science.
Azahar: Do you feel that gender makes a difference in
education? How so?
Mrs Kok: A few decades back, women had to give way to
their male siblings where education is concerned. A Chinese
saying goes: "Woman without knowledge is woman with
grace." This was meant to console women who missed out
on education and to cover up the gender discrimination in
education which still happens in poor Eastern societies.
Despite their academic achievements, women are considered
to be unsuited for certain courses such as civil engineering
which are highly technical and require handling of machinery.
Culture influences gender differences in education.
Azahar: Females are outnumbering males in universities
nowadays. Do you have anything to say about this?
Mrs Kok: In Chinese medicine, an imbalance of "yin? and
"yang? in our bodies will make us fall sick. Likewise, the
disproportionate ratio of male to female learners suggests
an imbalance in society. It means that along the way, males
are dropping out while their female counterparts remain
committed to their long-term education.
Azahar: It has been claimed, for instance, that, while male
learners might like adversarial tutors, female learners tend to
prefer a more supportive environment to share problems and
achievements. Is this true in your experience of tutoring?
Mrs Kok: This is not always true for adult learners. Both
male and female learners need a supportive and lively
learning environment given their work commitments. But
generally speaking, female learners tend to have more
domestic responsibilities. For example, a learner of mine
brings her children to a cybercafe in order to participate in
myVLE forums because she does not have internet service
at home. This rarely happens to a male learner.
Azahar: Do you believe that men and women are equal? Or
are they created for different roles and functions?
Mrs Kok: I am not a feminist. I believe that God created
men and women for different roles. Having said that, I am
fully aware that aside from biological differences such as
childbearing and breastfeeding, gender differences are often
the cultural product of socialisation and social norms. We
should strive to reduce the gender divide in our efforts to
develop a more egalitarian society in the near future.