Tuesday, 29 April 2014


We have been meeting a small amount of consumer resistance among students about late night patrols of the KYUEM campus. The purpose behind the patrols is to ensure that the 11.30 pm curfew is being observed and that students are locking their chalet or apartment doors at night.

The objections of the minority are slightly perplexing to me. Good security benefits everyone and obeying a pretty generous curfew is not really too much of a hardship. I guess part of the issue is the sensitivity many older teenagers feel when they perceive they are being treated like children. For my part, and I'm sure I speak for most of my colleagues on the staff, KYUEM students are nearly always regarded as mature and very well behaved young adults. It is not our intention to treat them in any other way.

However, and this applies to the wider world as much as to the confines of the college, there are rules which are not always popular, but which ought to be obeyed for the greater good. When we do our night patrols around the student accommodation we are checking several things: we check doors to see that they have been locked for the night; we check if there is unduly loud noise (AKA music) coming from a given room; and (the one that I assume is most contentious) we check that the right people are in the right accommodation by 11.30 pm.

Why, I am asked, should it matter if a student is in his or her own room after curfew? A curfew means that people are not out and about when they shouldn't be. I'm prepared to concede the point, but consider this: suppose a parent or sibling of one or our students is taken ill or that there is a family emergency reported to us late at night. How much easier will it be for our Student Services staff to relay the information to the appropriate person if s/he is actually where s/he's supposed to be?

It's not unreasonable to expect students to be in their own rooms between the hours of 11.30 pm and class the next day (8.00 am). We're not forcing a "lights out" policy or demanding that everyone shows up for breakfast. We are, however, giving everyone the opportunity to get some rest the night before class. If they choose not to take it, then let them indulge their insomniac habits in the appropriate place, and alone.

Talking of appropriate places, the issue of smoking continues to raise its ugly head on occasion. There can be no doubt of where we stand on this - you only have to see the evidence when you first enter the campus, as the picture above clearly shows. Smoking is becoming increasingly outlawed throughout the world and I'm sure for most of us, this is a very good thing. For students who are thinking of a university career in the UK or the US, the smoking bans are much, much tougher than in Malaysia. Very few places tolerate it indoors any more, which means that if you have to smoke, you are usually forced outside into the cold and wet. The price of cigarettes is also prohibitively expensive in Britain and America and economic necessity alone often forces people to quit.

To the secret smokers of KYUEM, therefore, I simply say this: we will not relent in enforcing the ban, so do yourselves a favour and give it up now. As with everything we do here, students come first - and that includes trying to encourage good health practices, at all times.

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