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7 things we wish we had learned in Malaysian schools

We all need a little help when it comes to growing up! And we’re talking about real adult stuff, y’know like how to file income tax, or make police report, or buy a house. As kids our parents would tie our shoelaces for us, but as big buffaloes, it’s time for us to stand on our own two feet.

Sadly, in school they didn’t teach us how to handle grown-up stuff. It was all books, theory, books, memorise stuff, and vomit back on exam paper. Haiyo, how to be ready for life and the real world liddat? And you know sometimes, you just don’t wanna ask your older, savvy colleagues, coz *tsk* malu lahhh. Or if you have go-learn-it-yourself parents, they’re no help at all. 🙁

So we asked ugaiz what were some of the things you wished you learnt in school, that would have helped you a lot as an adult. Here are 7.


1. How to file income tax

how to do income tax frus chinese guy laptop

Image from

Seriously tho, if there’s one thing that really puzzles young adults who’ve entered the working world is HOW ON EARTH DO I FILE INCOME TAX?

Lydia fb comment wish we learned in school 5 tax

Comments on FB

It’s so basic, yet so complex. As kids, the only time we saw or heard about taxes is government tax on the receipt for our McDonald’s Happy Meal. First thing’s first…you need to find out if you are taxable at all, coz not everyone who is working has to pay income tax. Is your annual income after EPF deduction RM30,667 and above? Yes? Then it’s finally time for you to start paying taxes, you grown-up, you. 😛

But chillax, here’s a step-by-step guide we found on iMoney to help first-timers. There’s a few types of forms, but most of you will fall under the BE Form, which is for people with jobs and no outside income. If you do have outside income, then go for the B form instead. If it’s the other forms for owning real businesses then YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO THIS YO!

It’s actually not that hard, but don’t miss the deadline (April 30th or later depending on which form) or you could face some pretty harsh penalties. You know what, guys? We should be grateful we live in this era coz everything’s done online now. From registering your account, to filing it, to paying it.


2. When to report a crime

indian girl report police Image from

Image from

Some of us barely know what constitutes a crime in Malaysia, apparently you could even get jailed for tweeting! So how do we know when we have to report something to the police? In these moments, we wish our schools taught us:

Chak FB comment wish we learned in school 1 law instead of moral

Taken from FB

Well, at least some law basics la. Anyways, if you’re not sure, then click here to check the Penal Code, Ctrl+F and look for whatever thing you suspect someone of doing. Alternatively, read this CILISOS article on 7 ‘crimes’ you didn’t know you could get prosecuted for. Besides, you can always ask a lawyer friend.

Ok, so here are some things you need to know about making police reports. According to the law, specifically Sections 107 & 107A of the Criminal Procedure Code, it’s your RIGHT to make a police report and the police cannot dissuade you from it. That means they have to take it down in a written statement. And you can check it once they’ve typed it out to make sure they got everything correct. And you must sign it. And make copies if you feel it would help in investigations.

Also, the police cannot reject your complaint even if you guys are not physically IN a police station. The law states that it’s their duty to receive complaints anywhere. Make sure the Abang Polis records your name and address, date and time, and informs the officer in charge of a police station (OCP). Don’t forget to sign it!


3. Signs of an STD…and what to do

venereals disease STD plushies Image from Gaint Microbes

OMG STD plush toys?!? How cute/creepy is that? Click to buy

Yes, Sains Bab 4, we all studied that, but did you guys really come off with enough knowledge on the birds and bees? Particularly on STDs? We’ve written an article on this before and found a local study that stated science teachers did a good job explaining sex organs and fertilization, but a not so great job in the social and personal aspect of it, on intercourse itself, or…STDs!!

Not everyone is a doctor, so how will you know the SIGNS if you have an STD? Well, good thing for this generation, we have Internet! But to start you off, there are a couple of things you needa know. Have you noticed any:

  • Bumps, sores, warts, or redness near the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina
  • Painful peeing
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Severe itching near the penis or vagina
  • Bleeding from the vagina other than during a monthly period

If you see these signs, go get yourself checked at the doctor immediately! At the end of the day, if your school teachers just talked about abstinence, it clearly hasn’t worked – since MORE teens have gotten pregnant rather than having safe sex.


4. How to rent or buy a house


Image from

We might actually expand this topic into an article some day, but in the meantime, this is a very valid question for young people who are moving out of their parents’ house for the first time. You could always ask your parents, coz they have experience right?

Lydia fb comment wish we learned in school 6 buy house

Screenshot from FB

Otherwise, here are some tips. First of all, real estate experts are saying, RENT… don’t BUY. Because it’s cheaper to rent, you don’t pay for property taxes and maintenance, and it’s less risky coz you’re not tied to bank loans. If you’re still not sure, here are some things to consider.

But we found this really helpful infographic on iProperty and we’ll just condense their points here:

  1. Meet & learn from experts, investors and homebuyers. This is a great time to ask them questions like average prices of property in that area so you don’t kena cheated.
  2. Check out first-time homebuyer schemes: My First Home Scheme and Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA).
  3. Find a real estate agent. Like on PropSocial (also our sister company #shameless plug).
  4. Lower your monthly installment. Here are 3 ways: Place bigger down payment, search lowest interest rate and packages, and ask for longer loan period.
Guess how many Msians use this simple trick to protect their homes from robbers

More tips here on The Malay Mail Online.


5. Understanding how a credit card works

swimming in credit card debt. Image from Ringgit Plus

Image from Ringgit Plus

Lydia fb comment wish we learned in school 4

Screenshot from FB

By that, we mean using a credit card responsibly and other banking stuff. Unfortunately, credit card debt is on the rise among young Malaysians. But if you know how to use the plastic wisely, you won’t end up a slave to it. Before you even register for one, are you ready for it? Here are 4 signs that you are according to Ringgit Plus:

  1. The bank approves your application. If yes, CONGRATS. It means you are credit worthy.
  2. You are financially responsible in other things. Eg. you pay your phone bills on time.
  3. You have a stable job. Coz, y’know, you need the dough to pay the bank.
  4. You understand how the card works – how interest is charged, how payment works, and what credit limits are, etc.

So if you think you’re ready for it, here are some good options for first-time credit card holders. Ok, having covered credit card responsibility, let’s talk about debt. Not all debt is bad debt. There’s actually GOOD debt and BAD debt.

good bad debt Image from

Image from

Basically, good debt means things you invest in that helps you generate income. For example:

  1. Property – This is one of the things that appreciate in value. So you are in debt to buy it first, then years later, you sell it at a profit.
  2. PTPTN – Or student loans. You take a loan now to pay for your education, years later your education pays off when you become a bigshot career person.

And here are the bad debts:

  1. Cars – Vehicles are a necessity, but unlike houses, they depreciate in value. When you sell it off later, it’ll be a cheaper price than what you paid for.
  2. Credit card – Yep, credit card debts and BAD debts.


6. How to apply for a job and get an interview

Face to face interview merdeka center. Image from

Gulp! It’s like a rite of passage. Image from

If the point of school is to prepare us for adult working life, shouldn’t exploring career options, acing interviews, and writing awesome CVs be part of our education?

We remember one of the karangan formats they made us learn in school for BM and English is formal letter-writing. Which means some of us may have learned how to write job applications. But what they don’t teach you is how to write something that really IMPRESSES the employers and gets you on the short-list. 

If you haven’t a clue where to start looking, how about looking through sites like JobStreet, LinkedIn, or ReferJobs (which incidentally is another of CILISOS’ sister company). Once you’ve got the companies you’re interested in, start writing a really cool, kickass CV and application letter they.cannot.turn.down!! Click here for some tips. To write something good, you’ll wanna do some research into the company first. Don’t la look like you didn’t even bother going to their website or Facebook!

People often say it helps if you have connections within the company or industry that can help taichi the process of your application faster. But what’s more important is building connections with the person who’s gonna hire you and the team you’re gonna work with. If not, try starting with an internship? What better way to get them to notice you than actually working there, right?


BONUS: How not to be a douchebag

Lydia fb comment wish we learned in school 4

Screenshot from FB

This is more of a bonus point coz, well, some things cannot teach one la. Yes, we learned Pendidikan Moral in school, but seriously all we did then was memorize the nilai-nilai murni. There was no promise we’d instantly become a better, more mature and responsible adult.

In school, some of us may have done things we’re not proud of (like mebe we bullied someone?). But when we grow up, we have a reputation and our livelihood at stake. If you’re gonna be to office douchebag, how to work along with others in the team? Sometimes, we can’t see these mistakes in ourselves, so ask other people around you – colleagues, friends, family – am I a jerk? Then be nicer larr.


Wow, we really sound like we’re missing out a lot lehh…

school girl ask teacher credit debit card. Image from WWF

Image from WWF

You probably never expected to read about STDs and how to write a good CV in the same article. So does this show there are A LOT of things we’re missing out on in the Malaysian edumacation system? Too bad we don’t have a Life 101 subject or something, coz there are tons of other things we wished we learned in school – how to change a tyre la, how to write a cheque, how to apply for a loan, and so on.

In a way, schools do teach a bit of these skills, for example, how to write cheque, they would sorta show us picture samples in Prinsip Perakaunan (accounts), or how to fix toilet bowl in Kemahiran Hidup, etc. In fact, we found an article on this website called Malaysia Students, where the writer believes school does prepare us for life to a certain extent. It’s just that they are not a UNIVERSAL part of our curriculum. 

On the other hand, students are taught so many things they barely use later in life, like calculus (WTH?). Not that we’re saying EVERYONE won’t use what they’ve learned in schools (we’re sure mathematicians will find calculus useful), but you get the idea la.

Anyway, we did think of one positive thing to not learning all this in school… and that it makes us all independent. Sink or swim, we learn how to handle these things by ourselves in our adult life. This makes us tougher people. See, got silver lining.

But honestly tho, just imagine how much time, or money, or even embarrassment we would have saved ourselves if schools had taught these things?

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