ASEAN-reach of My Green School via Bahasa Melayu

My Green School, translated into Bahasa Melayu by Dr. Hajizulkifly Baharom

Sangay Rabten

With brand Gerakbudaya publishing the Sejahtera edition of My Green School, translated into Bahasa Melayu by Dr. Hajizulkifly Baharom, Bhutan’s message of the Noble Sector finds a welcoming home in the fabled Federation of Malaysia and supports the holistic educational aspiration of Indonesia, Brunei, parts of the Philippines as well as the Bahasa-speaking population of the ASEAN region. The book is already available in Vietnamese, Thai, and Lao in the region, with the Burmese translation underway. Japan in the Far East has its own edition of My Green School as do many other countries from India to Spain.

Based on his two visits to Bhutan and close observation of the country’s overarching sustainable development goal and its holistic educational vision, Dr. Baharom, Chief Executive Officer of the Sejahtera Leadership Initiative (SLI), is convinced that the abiding message of My Green School is highly relevant to Malaysia’s National Philosophy of Education 1996 that seeks to nurture well-rounded, conscientious, and responsible leaders and citizens for the country. As soon as he discovered a copy of the book, he set out to translate it into Bahasa Malaysia and mobilised necessary publication resources through the goodwill of senior citizens, members of the SLI fraternity as well as well-wishers who saw the value of the book to their society.

Dr. Baharom believes that the deep message of the book will reach policy-makers, planners, administrators, educators, students as well as citizens beyond Malaysia and travel as far as Indonesia, Brunei, parts of the Philippines and other Bahasa-speaking people of the ASEAN region.

In the words of the eminent Rector of the iconic International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Tan Sri Dató Professor Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, also a keen follower of Bhutan’s development vision and educational initiatives, the translation of My Green School into Bahasa Melayu is timely and re-energising as it offers a holistic view of education that modern education systems at all levels are deficient in. He adds that the book complements and enriches the objectives of the National Philosophy of Education 1996.

In his Message for the Sejahtera edition of My Green School, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Malaysia, H.E. Pascal H Gregorie, an ardent admirer of Bhutan’s development story, stresses the need for leveraging the power of education to build a greener world by greening the mind and greening the heart, thereby creating a better home for humanity.  

For the author of My Green School, former minister of education, Professor Thakur S Powdyel, the fact that the deep reflections of an ordinary educator from Bhutan should resonate so well with the educational goals of even advanced nations around the world is at once humbling as it is inspiring. Many educational thought-leaders believe that since such profound ideas originate in Bhutan, the education system in this country must be excellent. Some call the message of the book the best knowledge-gift from Bhutan. For others, it is Bhutan’s ‘green ambassador’.

Professor Powdyel is “…most grateful to Dr. Zulkifly Baharom for discovering some merit in my little book and taking on the challenging task of breathing a new life into it through the wide lingua franca of Bahasa Melayu, and for taking care of every minute detail of publication from end to end. I thank all the generous sponsors who volunteered to fund the publication of Selokah Hijauku. I admire the professional outlook of Gerakbudaya, particularly the chastening commitment of Ms Janice Cheong, in the design of the book by leveraging its established credentials”.   

Beyond Selokah Hijauku, says the author, “I will always treasure with gratitude the joy and privilege of the quintessential Malaysian warmth, generous hospitality and moving receptions at the IIUM, SLI, Taylor’s University, Lincoln University, and the Royal Lake Club, and indeed my engagements with Astro Awani TV, BFM Radio, The Straits Times, Buddhistdoor, and other news outlets”. 

“Back home, I thank my fellow-educators across the country who continue quietly and faithfully to implement the abiding ideas of My Green School often in the face of heavy odds, convinced that education must have a bigger and worthwhile purpose and rise above ugly politics and corrosive prejudice. I am forever indebted to His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck from whose enlightened vision of Gross Nation Happiness the holistic education model of My Green School derives its life-force”, notes the author.

Nurturing Green Schools was the strategy identified by the Ministry of Education in 2010 when it launched the nationwide educational reform initiative called Educating for Gross National Happiness to honour the country’s all-embracing, sustainable development vision of Gyalyong Gakid Pelzom and to restore education to its core function as a vital instrument for human and societal flourishing. 

It was deeply heartening to see many positive changes that were happening in the collective life of our institutions and the personal lives of our students and educators since the launch of the strategic initiative. The world beyond is overtaking us now!

Selokah Hijauku, the Bahasa Melayu edition of My Green School, will be formally launched coinciding with the beginning of the Malaysian New Year in August. Selokah Hijauku is dedicated to the healers of our Planet Earth, the trustees of the Sector Noble as well as to the 2000-year old Malaysian world-view of Sejahtera.