Buku Sifir 101


Let’s face it.  If you are born in the 80’s and before, you’d know how hard ‘manual maths‘ was.  You’d have a harsh time understanding all those small, irritating digits in the ‘Buku Sifir Matematik Cambridge‘.  Looking out for log790?? Ahh.. You’d have to know where to find the page which has log, and then, you have to start looking for the closest value.  Even then, If you look up the wrong value, you end up getting a huge ‘0’ written on your examination answer sheets.  Looking for tan73 was an equivalent hassle.

It wasn’t pleasant, but it thought us during the 80’s and years before how to think, and to appreciate something they now call the ‘scientific calculator‘.

Alright, maybe some would argue that we had the scientific calculator at that time, but as I recall it, I was not allowed to use it until it was the Additional Mathematics paper.  That time I was going: “So, what’s the point of having the calculator??  Why is the authorities so dumb to ask the students to find things ‘the old fashion way, when you have the modern way??

Urgghh… enough about that.. I saw the ‘Buku Sifir’ while invigilating STPM, and it brought memories of ‘those good old, hard days‘.  Student’s these days I can bet, never have ever seen such a book until, ummm.. Form 6 maybe…  Anyway, I guess those ‘Buku sifir’ days are numbered, but the difficulty of learning how to use it remains.

Ergh!!  How do you call “Buku Sifir’ in English by the way?? “Multiplication Book???”


  1. Haha! I almost forgot about THE book! Had it for my add maths class in Form 4 & 5, but i think i constantly struggled with it. 🙂 But if u can conquer the add maths, modern maths wud be peanuts! It’s still hard to use, isnt it? By now, I’ve already forgotten how to read it. left to right or right to left? Up and down… all those ways. Haiya… Thank God I dont do maths anymore these days. (Just when I go shopping)

    One other’s last blog post..Can’t change a guy…

    Honestly, I don’t remember how to read the book myself. But I admit that Modern Maths is so much easier compared to Add Maths.

  2. Goodness! You know what? I NEVER did knew how to use that book! Everytime got question that needed that book, I just ignored it. LOL!

    Mar’s last blog post..Hate that I love you

    Interesting. I get confused reading the book too.. but ignoring it means you’d be answering a lot of questionS!!

  3. Well well well, I am born in the year 90 and it happens that, I have seen and used this book. I ‘inherit’ my mum’s old one (English version, which , already extincted).

    My junior 3 teacher insisted every student to have one …I remember it was in the syllabus? And if I have not mistaken, we were distributed the book for Math subject during PMR, which I sat for 3 years ago.

    Honestly, I do enjoy searching values using that book, of course the scientific calculator do the job a lot faster…

    Wah.. Good that you like searching for the values. I’d be all confused about using it.. and I prefer the lazy way, the calculator way. Anyway, I do think the experience of using this book is good.

  4. I thought I left this damn thing far behind when I entered uni…to find out this was the bread and butter of finance subjects. Except in finance it’s disguise as “Cumulative Normal Distribution Table”.

    I think it’s an advantage to us that we weren’t allowed calculators til later though. I can personally attest that very, very, very few foreigners I have studied, lived, and hang out with cannot do math in their head. Why? Because they grew up doing math with calculators. Most of them can’t even figured out divisions manually.

    Gloria’s last blog post..Graduate! Finally!

    Ahh.. so, someone whom knows the importance of the ‘red book’ 😀 But I honestly never thought you’d see this book in Uni. EVER!!!

  5. I am not a fan of Add maths – only Modern maths in my Secondary days. But then again that Buku Sifir can do wonders with numbers. Choose the wrong column or row and you are dead. It should be renamed Buku Sihir then 🙂 Harry potter now uses calculator anyway for his potions…. waiting for you to come up with a Love Potion No. 9

    Deejay’s last blog post..Fiesta Sri Aman

    Bro, you made me burst in laughter when I read “Buku Sihir”.. I’m still smilling now you know.. hahahhaha


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