Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 34

Japanese high school student prodigy ends up becoming a truck driver to make ends meet

By Koh Ruide

No matter how accomplished students are in science, it seems Japan doesn’t have the resources to tap into their full potential.

Japanese students can be absolutely brilliant, with some of them able to break through the strict rigidity that the Japanese school system enforces. And with their rare talent, a bright future surely lays ahead of them.

Or so we’d like to think, but reality can be a harsh master indeed. A recent Japanese TV program took a peek into the present day lives of ten people who were considered geniuses during their younger years, and one particular case stood out among the rest: a truck driver.

The driver of the bus you’re on could’ve been a science prodigy once.

He was a high school student who excelled in physics, and the first in Japan to be offered a grade acceleration program that let him skip grades and jump straight into Chiba University. He got married and became a father while still in graduate school, and his outstanding academic record supposedly guaranteed him a comfortable life.

He poured all his energy into cutting-edge scientific research after graduation, only to be rewarded with an unstable job that came with a meager monthly salary of 200,000 yen (US$1,763). Feeling exploited, he called it quits and took up truck driving instead to support his family, which netted him a stable 300,000 yen every month.

Full story at Sora News (December 2017)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor given 60 years in prison for child abuse images

⚫ Dr Larry Nassar sentenced to 60 years for child abuse imagery crimes

⚫ Nassar, 54, has also separately pleaded guilty to molesting gymnasts

Larry Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

An elite Michigan sports doctor who possessed images of child abuse imagery and assaulted gymnasts was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in federal prison in one of three criminal cases that ensure he will never be free again.

US district judge Janet Neff followed the government’s recommendation in the case, saying Larry Nassar “should never again have access to children.”.

Neff said Nassar’s federal sentence won’t start until he completes his sentences for sexual assault. The 54-year-old will get punishments in those two cases in state court in January.

Nassar worked at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics, the Indianapolis-based group that trains Olympians. He admits he molested girls with his hands when they sought treatment for hip and back pain.

“Underneath this veneer lurked a predator,” assistant US attorney Sean Lewis said in a court filing.

Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas say they were victims when Nassar worked for USA Gymnastics and accompanied them at workouts or international events.

Full story at The Guardian (December 2017)

Two Hong Kong students kicked out of graduation ceremony after not standing for national anthem

The social work students from Hong Kong College of Technology sat silently while March of the Volunteers played during ceremony at Ma On Shan campus

Chan Cheuk-hay told the students their school ‘loves the country and Hong Kong’. Photo: Handout

By Danny Mok

The social work students from Hong Kong College of Technology sat silently while March of the Volunteers played during the ceremony at a Ma On Shan campus, defying a new school rule which defines disrespecting the national anthem as misconduct.

School staff cut the anthem short not long after it had begun, having noticed not everyone was standing. The two seated graduands were ordered to leave.

More than 10 students at the ceremony walked out to show support to the pair. All of the students were reportedly not awarded their certificates. The ceremony resumed after some disruption, which lasted about 20 minutes.

The president and principal of the institution, Chan Cheuk-hay, spoke to the students after the ceremony.

One student told him: “That we sat down [during the anthem] did not mean we don’t respect the national anthem. And if we sang the song, it would not mean we loved the country.

“We don’t understand why the school rejected the social work students it trained up during the graduation ceremony just because of a national song.”

The students said they understood the situation in the country well and held that the Chinese government was not serving the people and that they, as social work students, should speak out.

But Chan said the institution, established as Mongkok Workers’ Night School in 1957 and led by a board with Beijing-friendly members, had always loved the country and the city.

Full story at South China Morning Post (December 2017)

To sue or not to sue? Parents of boy allegedly hit by teacher in a tangle

Azizan Manap (centre) was first charged in Seremban Magistrate Court on October 31 for allegedly voluntarily causing injuries on the left cheek of the student during school assembly at 7 am on April 6, before the trial hearing yesterday. — Picture via Facebook/Rima Nilzah

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — It is uncertain whether the family of the student allegedly abused by the teacher Azizan Manap, who was freed by the courts yesterday, would continue with a civil suit after reports quoting the parents contradicted each other.

The Star and other media outlets earlier reported that the 11-year-old boy’s mother who wished to be known only as Mas is considering a civil suit against the teacher.

“We have photographs and a medical report to prove that our son was slapped and that he suffered injury to his cheek,” Mas, 45, reportedly said.

She also reportedly claim that the school, Sekolah Rendah Taman Semarak located in Nilai did not inform her or her husband regarding the boy’s disciplinary problems, following allegation he was sniffing glue.

Mas said she was aware that her son had bought the glue but was told that he wanted to use it to repair punctures in his bicycle tyres.

However, New Straits Times reported today that the student’s father had denied that his family plans to sue the teacher, saying the reports on the legal action could have been due to a confusion which occurred when his wife was interviewed by the media.

“We have been put under pressure by the situation. Our focus now is to recover from the trauma the family is facing. Proceeding with a civil suit is not in the plans for now,” said the 50-year-old man who declined to be named.

Full story at The Malay Mail Online (December 2017)

Malaysia has fourth highest number of parents supporting adult children

Parents are spending a third of their disposable income to support their grown-up children and less on themselves to provide more for their families

Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin towers are silhoutted as the sun sets over the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Photo: AFP/MANAN VATSYAYANA

By Adela Megan Willy

Malaysian parents ranked fourth in the world for financially supporting their children into adulthood, after the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Mexico, according to HSBC Holdings plc’s latest survey.

“The Power of Protection: Facing the Future” study found more than half or 57 per cent of those surveyed with children over 18, are still providing regular financial support to them. “This is despite most of the parents believe their grown-up children should stand on their own two feet financially,” said HSBC.

The study, conducted between March and May 2017, surveyed 1,000 people in Malaysia aged 25 and above from a nationally representative online sample. The study highlights parents’ ongoing commitments to their children, as well as the younger generation’s financial pressures.

HSBC said the study in Malaysia shows it is very common for parents to be supporting their children well into adulthood. “Almost half (50 per cent) of those supporting an adult child have been doing so. Education is where most parents (69 per cent) are providing financial support, while 41 per cent of them are helping with daily living costs such as utility bills, groceries and home repairs.

“They are also helping with medical and dental care (38 per cent) and rent or accommodation costs (27 per cent). Over one in four (29 per cent) are even helping to pay for holidays,” it added.

Most of the parents supporting grown-up children feel good about helping their family members, with 62 per cent feeling appreciated for the support they give to others and 63 per cent feeling they are a good provider for their family members.

The survey also found parents spending an average 33 per cent of their disposable income to support their grown-up children and 49 per cent are spending less on themselves to provide more for their families.

Full story at South China Morning Post (December 2017)

Connecticut parents pull kids from school as Ivanka Trump visits

By Megan Cerullo

First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump made a surprise visit to a Connecticut high school—prompting some parents who oppose President Trump’s agenda to yank their kids from classes Monday.

Trump appeared at the Norwalk Early College Academy to talk to its students about the importance of career education.

“To see the passion and enthusiasm for bringing real life skills into a classroom environment but then coupling it with real life experience through internship creates this really beautiful virtuous angle,” she said, News 12 New Jersey reported.

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump visited Norwalk Early College Academy in Norwalk, Conn., Dec. 18, 2017 (Ivanka Trump via Facebook)

Parents say they didn’t know that Trump was scheduled to speak to their kids—information they suspect was withheld due to security concerns.

“This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons,” parent Karey Fitzgerald told News 12. “I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home.” she added.

Parents reportedly weren't notified about Trump's visit. (Ivanka Trump via Facebook)

Not all parents were opposed to the visit.

Parent Angela Yaneth Guzman replied to a photo from Trump's visit on Facebook, and thanked her for speaking to her son.

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump visited Norwalk Early College Academy in Norwalk to talk to students about the importance of career education. (Ivanka Trump via Facebook)

"My son Nicolas Guzman is a NECA student and you talked to him today and he's so excited about it. It's something He will never forget. Thank you Ivanka," she wrote.

Full story at NY Daily News (December 2017)

Student bags A in Maths by watching YouTube

Parents are spending a third of their disposable income to support their grown-up children and less on themselves to provide more for their families

Embr-ace: Zhi Ching (left) with her mother Cammy Ong after receiving her PT3 results in Petaling Jaya.

By Lee Chonghui, Zazali Musa, Logeiswary Thevadass, Jessie Gan Ze Xin, and Jynn Kok E-Lynn

PETALING JAYA: Studying hard is no longer the secret to acing exams – studying smart is.

Brendan Mak, a student from SM Stella Marris in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, said this was a more effective way.

The student, who had never scored an A in Mathematics, managed to get a distinction in the subject in the Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3), or Form Three Assess­ment, simply by watching YouTube tutorial videos before the exam.

“The videos really helped me understand the formulae for maths equations,” said the 15-year-old, who scored 6As.

Brendan, who is interning under The Star’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme, said educational online resources for various subjects provided the boost he needed when preparing for the PT3.

Meanwhile, consistent practice and discipline were the secrets to Fong Jia Min’s success in scoring straight As in her PT3.

The student from Catholic High School, Petaling Jaya, credited workbooks and past-year exam questions for familiarising her with the latest answering techniques.

Full story at The Star Online (December 2017)