by Kevin Chong
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Education is perceived far and wide as the key to success and employment. Right after school, students jump straight into colleges and universities to acquire their degrees, and chase the highest scores; but what skills do they actually take with them through this journey? The skill of knowing what it takes to pass an exam is one, any other is uncertain. The education in Malaysia, in particular, is outdated and it has been the same since the beginning of the industrial age; this matter was addressed in Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh’s recent book release, “Out of Whack!”. 

In recent years, employers are looking for more than just a high-scoring student, aspects like leadership, maturity, passion, analytical finesse, etc., are very much more sought after rather than just a college degree. If anything, the pandemic has opened our eyes to the flaws in our education system which has not been progressing and lacks innovation to endure the high-tech era that is soon to come. The book, “Out of Whack!”, reminded readers that invention and innovation have always been the driving factor for mankind throughout existence, and those who weren’t able to adapt, perished. 

The “Out of Whack!” book

In his book, Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh tackled thought-provoking topics in regards to education that is overlooked by many in the world today. It is crucial for people to understand these issues in order to make a significant change for the future generation. The younger generation is the future of the world and should be prepared with relevant skills for jobs that “have not been created, for technologies that have not been invented, and to find solutions to problems that have yet to be encountered,” as quoted by Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, widely known as a distinguished science researcher, educator, administrator, and diplomat.

In an exclusive interview with Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh, he commented, “I started writing my thoughts about 3 years ago after seeing the dire situation of our own education systems here in Malaysia. We cannot even decide whether to use the English Language as the language of STEM after over 60 years of independence. This pandemic is already an endemic. It actually sped up the long-overdue aspects of using technological advances for our way of life, from educating our children to making big monies for mammoth conglomerates. We just have to live with this endemic, but to be able to live a ‘new normal’ is to constantly acquire knowledge and skillsets to keep moving on with our daily livelihoods and appreciate our existence.” 

Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh drew inspiration to write this book from the late Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, who he worked under for more than 5 years. “I would definitely like to dedicate this book to the late Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, without him, I would not have had the courage to start writing the book,” he said. ‘

Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad

4th and 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia himself, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, commended the book and Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh’s effort in being a Malaysian educator that advocates new reforms and innovations in education. Tun Dr. Mahathir said, “I understand that Dato’ Yeoh has been on an education-driven pursuit all over the world – spending three decades of his life dedicated to the advancement of education. I am aware that he is also the force behind Livelong Learning in Malaysia.” 

Here are 5 key takeaways that readers will enjoy in the “Out of Whack!” book:

  • Education can no longer be just for education’s sake and for the elite only. 
  • Education must be for the betterment of the community we live in.
  • Education must be personalized to the learning of every individual, as a lifelong journey. We should no longer put them into boxes of knowledge, hierarchy of education, rigid examination methods and labeling them into grades. 
  • Education systems in Malaysia should change drastically or we will regress. 
  • Education is not about formal examinations only, it should be about acquiring measurable skill sets that are manifested in our journey of life. 

Born in the 60s to a poor family who gave him away for adoption, Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh was adopted by a single mother who raised him on her own. Despite all the struggles and obstacles he had to go through, education paved his way out of the poverty cycle. Education is vital for the development of the nation, and the quality of it should be assessed. Get your copy of the  “Out of Whack!” book online at and OR at major books stores – MPH, Kinokuniya and Popular. *All net sales minus the cost of printing are given to charity for those affected by the pandemic.

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