Friday, December 25, 2009

PMR 2009 : Imtiaz Besut Is The Best in Malaysia (SMKA Categrory)

Many many congratulations to the students and staff of Imtiaz Besut for coming out the first in SMKA category. My daughter Nabiela Husna studies there and she also has scored brilliant A for all 9 subjects. AlhamduliLlah.

Some school photos here
Imtiaz Besut Website here
Read Pesan Abah here

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finally I Can Let It Go

The stormy Friday night saw me looking anxiously for Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Spa Resort. I wish it had everything to do with horses or getting into the mud bath;but not this event, it drained so much of my energy. Tonight I will let it go …. for good. The place hosted our EGM when the AGM was deserted by the majority of the members. I was the president of an alumni association and my tenure ended when the motion passed later that night. What a relief! Usually people hang on to the post for a couple of terms but I just could not wait to let go. Not because I hate the association or its missions but I found some ugly piece of stinking hearts in souls that were making pathetic smiles all around me. I felt being cheated, hated and disgusted all the time. Do all leaders get them? Why can’t we respect our leaders for once? But for the majority respect has to be earned not given. I think that was my problem …I did not know how to earn respect It’s hard…too damn hard for me. I rarely spent time at the mamak stall until 2-3 in the morning to “layan” friends; if that is one of the ways to earn their respect. Or give money away because I don’t have the liberty to do so. Or talking like you know everyone in the upperclass and know everything because I don’t lie. I don’t know how to lie. Even my children will know when I made something up. So I was deserted. Emotionally I was okay because being alone gives me freedom to work out my own ideas but technically it was a disaster; you can’t, not even for another million years to do it alone. It does not work that way. I always prayed for the strength to hang on but the challenges were huge and I have no energy or support to fight back. It’s time to let go.

This is politics and it was dirty as hell. The reason I joined the association was to give back to the alma mater. Its theme says it all –“kembali berbakti”(return to give back); so the idea of giving back really touched my heart. I have no good memories during my schooling years ; no medals or awards for high achievements, but to help out is not really a problem. By helping out, the attachment grew stronger and stronger. I was so mad at it until I was ready to risk it all. That was the time I braced myself and ran for the presidency. Many people underestimated my will ( well this happens through out my life actually); even my close friends did not vote for me. But fate has it and I was elected president. The horror film has just begun and in many horror movies this is the part where the innocent guy has yet to realize that he is the victim. Looking all too na├»ve and going around as if everything is tip top. But the zombies are all around waiting to take the taste of your flesh. I pretended not believe that and everyone was my friend. I guess that was my biggest mistake; to trust everyone including my enemy. I realized now that I should have a few layers of friends: loyal friends, trusted friends, sweet talking friends, teh tarik friends, back stabbing friends, munafik friends, wicked witch friends etc. I did not do that and treated all as my trusted friends. How wrong that was and I am paying the price. Licking the wounds like an old lion lost in the battle fight. I hope this is the lesson for me from Allah to test my iman and my faith.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Hijrah Year 1431

At Pusat Sains Negara (National Science Center)

an ancient astronomy equipment used by great Islamic scholars
another astronomy equipment
the planet earth
One of the scientists portrayed in the gallery;unfortunately not many Islamic scientists being posted in the  gallery. I guess the Science  Center is still run by the western minded  people where Islamic scholars have little reputation in the scientific world. and the shool children came to the Center by bus loads. Very disapointing indeed.

The molecules stacked in the corner more like in the scinece lab storage room rather than a science center. 
The chemistry elements, I have forgotten some this stuff but still find it very interesting.
The planets
My children trying out the jigsaw puzzle of Monalisa
I don't really know what this  face is doing in the  Science Center. Looks like an old  chinese medicine man or something
The big eye ....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ahmad claimed his manhood and ……PSP!

My son Ahmad got circumsized today and we grace for a stormy night tonight. We have postponed for him to get cut a few times but he finally agreed a few days ago…with a prize of course.—a PSP.(PlayStation Portable) We managed to control his anxiety by not talking about it and not telling anyone until the last minute. No ceremony whatsoever as we believe that such ceremony will only get him scared and panicked. Usually in Kelantan we do pulut kuning (yellow rice) also called pulut semangat to retain the spirit of the event. It’s a bit of cultural thing that still being practiced in a smaller scale. Ahmad maintained himself until the time he was laid down on the operating table. He was spread eagle and looking rather calm. I was started to get nervous when the procedure started to take place. When the needle got into his skin Ahmad now realized that the hell’s gate has just opened. The grin turned surprised turned panicked turned painful……………..screeaaaaammmmmm! Luckily it was not long as the anesthetic got into effect and numbness replaced the pain. He relaxed himself and looked up at me with his usual long grin. So everything is gonna be fine except me that I started to feel nausea with all the blood and the smell.

I sat myself down while holding Ahmad just to let him know that I was still there and went back to the time when I was about to be cut myself. As a boy I knew when the time was right to get the cut. I made plan with my cousin and set a date. We told our parents and they agreed to take us to the Tok Mudim’s (the dick cutter)house. I remember to get an injection before I was placed on a banana trunk. A lot of people tried to poke their stupid faces in between my legs as I was lying there naked, scared and helpless. The procedure finished as quickly as it started and we were off heading back home by the late afternoon. When the pain killer subsided, I felt like I was sliced alive over and over again. So painful that I just could not imagine how Ahmad will manage his pain later that night.

After one hour we left the clinic and went home while Ahmad started to feel the pain. By night when the painkiller was completely off he screamed on top of his voice. I knew this would be coming and graced for a long night. We gave him another dose of medicine and that eased the pain a bit and he dozed off for the rest of the night. In the morning the pain was back so we pulled out the biggest painkiller of all---his PSP. He gave us a long grin; we knew he’s no longer in pain.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Evaluating PTK participants was not always an easy task. The exercise is to ensure that our staff is up to the minimum level of competency (as set for all govt servants). They have to present their publication and research proposal. The first day went through quite smoothly as we restrained ourselves from asking any question. We needed to evaluate too many people in a short period of time, so the trick was not to ask any question. I was the panel so when the boss said so I just did not try to say otherwise. I guessed there is no harm to try it. As they presented their work one by one I just could not believe the state of their publications; some were good but there were many not as good as expected. Mind you that they are lecturers with at least a master’s degree. A short abstract in a paper can be littered with so many grammatical errors; and the same mistakes appeared in many of the papers presented at several conferences and got into many proceedings. People just don’t read anymore and grammar is a small matter for most of us. At least you find someone to proof read the paper before sending it out. So I started to feel uneasy with this arrangement for not asking questions. They must know their mistakes and we must ensure that they will make the corrections. One after another the papers came before us with silly mistakes and we kind of ignore it. I did make some corrections with my red pen but sometime the errors were so severe that I felt like making a big X over the paragraph and exclaimed it with a silly word. We finished on time and everyone was so happy as there was nothing to it. I was never felt so guilty in my life; giving them wrong impressions of their work. I reckoned tomorrow will be different.

The next day I arrived early compared to yesterday as I was half an hour late. I just underestimated the traffics; but today I learnt the lesson ,planned the time properly and drove unforgivingly. The place was in Puncak Alam about half an hour drive from Shah Alam The participants started to present their research proposal. And right away I spotted the flaws in every slide that came on the screen. I am still figuring out how the mistakes were done. Weren’t they aware of the errors before coming to the presentation? How come such significant flaws being allowed to take the screen? I would take all effort to clean the slides; but how come some people just willingly ignore the errors made? I just do not understand. As I scanned through the proposals and tried to put together the meaning of them all, I developed a pounding headache. A sign of aging . I just could not do this as good as I used to. I used to read, spot the mistakes and propose a correction all within a minute or so, but not this time. I was tired and easily agitated; and that’s a recipe for a grumpy old man. I tried to be fair and objective but the flaws sometime became too ridiculous that I ignored some of them altogether. I think next time will start with a pep talk about evaluation and why we all need to be evaluated all the time. The process of evaluation will “mature” us and make us do things better the next time around. Would you like to walk around with your fly open or rather have someone to remind you to zip up?of course we do not want to be embarrassed ,right.well that the easy one to say, hey! Your fly is open la…..and have a good laugh with it. But when you talk with someone and smell a dog breath, would you have a gut to tell him that his mouth smells like an open garbage bin? I doubt it. Maybe we just make an excuse and ran away to the toilet and puke. But I think if someone dare to say so about my breath I would be thankful. You see evaluation is sometime painful but it would not do anything other than good thing to us. Good comments or bad comments will always improve us; but the bad ones will be most useful. But there is one tiny problem –we usually could not accept bad comments with open heart. We hate to hear that we are a loser, the one that fails or just could not make the point. The failure is hard to swallow. Well if you feel that then it’s normal; because we are human. What we can do is to train ourselves to accept it and not being carried away with the failure. Swallow the pride and dig into the mistakes ; improve it and represent yourself as the improved one. So how do train yourself to accept criticism? Get into the process of evaluation more often; the more you have people telling garbage onto your face the stronger you feel and you will eventually have the strength to resist and argue. And when you can argue, you have understood your stuff better. In the end, you start to appreciate the perfection of your work.

Our Malay culture tends to hide mistakes rather than to expose them. It is not proper to say bad things to people. Well that culture needs to be changed once and for all. I wish all PTK participants all over the country a smashing success, don't worry about it, just enjoy the whole thing.

*PTK(penilaian tahap kecekapan)---an evaluation exercise  for all civil servants in Malaysia

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes You Know.....Sometimes You Don't Know......

You know when things are good …

1. You know that you have a good night sleep when you do not have anything to complain after you wake up.
2. You know that you have met a good person when you strike interesting conversation after you shake his hand.
3. You know that you have a good meal when the taste exploded in your mouth. Just like that Chef in Ratatouille movie.
4. You know that you have delivered a good lecture when you yourself learnt something new during the lecture.
5. You know that a book is good and interesting by reading the first few pages of the book.
6. You know that this student will do good research or not by looking at his first five slides.
7. You know your marriage will last long after you survived the first week (living away from your in-laws that is).
8. You know that you have a good car when you do not feel any body ache after a long drive ( like a 7-hour drive going back to Kelantan)
9. You know that you have a good neighbor if they know when to leave you alone.
10. You know that you have a good sex when……well you just know it okay!

But Sometimes You Don't Know ….for sure...

1. the hotels : when you walk into a hotel lobby is similar to other hotel lobbies, don’t you think? . Difficult to tell the good ones from the bads.
2. gay men : some give you a very nice smile and good conversation. But is that the pick-up line or a friendly gesture? I am utterly confused!
3. when a woman in tears : are they happy or sad? I always got it wrong with my wife!
4. when your parent respond to your question : is it okay if Din do not go home for Raya holidays? And the answer : ok..hmmm….ok…..hmmm. Is that a yes or no?
5. A sunny day in December : OK so what’s the catch ? wet washing at the end of the day? God’s play tricks……
6. slow moving traffics on an open highway : move over you snail seeking ass…..huh…huh…and there is the answer to your puzzle, flagging you down for an ID a couple of km down the road.
7. that digital display on the highways : what are they for? Information?I’ve never got any useful information from the display…”perjalanan Lancar pandu berhati-hati” is that all? Waste of money really.
8. So who’s the MB of Perak?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For those who failed my classes

Success is sweet but not guaranteed. Sometime failing is better than passing but as always we are not keen to fail. We see failure as the end of everything and the nearing of the doomsday. We could not cope with the consequence ; feeling that people will downgrade us as a dumb ass and should be discarded from our circle of friends. And that is devastating. We are afraid to lose friends when we failed something, or lose face or maybe scolded by parents for wasting their hard-earned tuition fees.

The actual fact is that we learn more with failure compared to success. The success may exclaim our effort but it does not necessarily mean we have learnt the lesson. On the other hand, if you fail; you would know for sure the level of your learning effort and where to improve. Learning by mistakes is the best learning method in terms of impact to one’s own knowledge. The problem is that we do not how to cope with failures. Some people can rise above the failure but a lot of others may never recover from the fatality of failure. They could not find any reason to turn things around; failure, for some people, means finished and done with. This is not normal and if you suffer from this trauma then please seek help from counselors or somebody that you might think can help.

Time and again I keep telling my students ( even myself sometimes) that it’s OK to fail. It’s okay if things are messed up; we pay for it and move on. Swallow the stinking failure and march on. If you want to cry then go on , find a private place and cry your self to sleep. It’s ok just let it out. I don’t cry anymore for failing things because for me it is to trivial to get your emotion muddled up. Maybe also I have run out of tears as failures have come across my way quite often. You know until some point you are just feeling numb when failure came crashing into your face. But young people like most of my students are having trouble accepting the failures. Sometime I never knew I have so many other names given by my students.

So what does it mean when you fail my classes ? It means everything else other than failure itself. I wanted to tell you to do and submit your assignment on time next time around. Never talk at the back when I was getting my ass burned at the front; showing you everything about the subject. The etiquette of being a student has to be respected and followed. Somehow or rather you have failed to show me that you have what it takes to command this subject. You should learn by my rules and not your own stupid rules. Bring yourself down to the level of tholibaan ( students ) and seek knowledge with all the humbleness and pure honesty.

I was looking for hard-work, attentive presence, meticulous analysis on some issues and aggressive drive to learn. If you were an A student in my class then you definitely deserved it but most importantly I have found the criteria as mentioned above shining out of your face. A failure means they were not there and the marks would probably say the same thing. It will cause your points to be downgraded but that’s a small price to pay compared to the whole process of impact knowledge acquisition that you will experience again in the coming semester. Yes you have to repeat it again!. Sorry but life is like that …..

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Evaluating research applications for fundamental research grant scheme(FRGS)

Doing research is the in-thing in UiTM now. Everyone is struggling to cope with this the best way we can. I mean with teaching, exams and now research; things will get pretty uptight. But to survive that end of the month paycheck, you are somehow obliged to the system.  What can I say this is life.. and most importantly my life. Honestly, I think UiTM staff/lecturers are getting into research quite well. Many have produced outstanding products and research articles. Sometime I do feel a bit intimidated when compared to my own accomplishments. Nothing . Just a big stack pile of craps that have no RU-value whatsoever. But you know what? I love it. I love what I do and I love my big pile of craps….all the articles and papers that I have written all this while. Some just sitting quietly somewhere in the hard disk waiting for me to read them over and over again.  I read them, admire/sometime cry over them and put them back in the folders. They are my stories about nothing, my poems about love, sex and naked self, some unfinished articles and scribbles about things around me. I guess I am a mad writer, writing for his own literary fulfillment. The ones posted in the blog are the general audience rated----flat and boring.

Anyway, today’s research evaluation exercise saw a few proposals that I think were very good(hmmm...maybe some)

  1. Modeling Bio-Inspired Techniques For The Purpose of Texture-Based Image Segmentation : Quite good topic for research. The subject is pretty straight forward but with the emergence of various “bio-inspired” techniques we need to know which one is the best especially for this particular domain.

Budget : 50K
Level of Difficulty : Moderate
I-Like Rating :  3 out of max 5

  1. Mining Medical Data For Diagnosing The Patient Condition : This one is my favorite because of the dynamic domain and endless future research opportunity. But again it is good only if they can get all the data properly and the tools robustly designed.

Budget : 81K
Level of Difficulty : Very Difficult
I-Like Rating : 4.5 /5.0

  1. Integrating Medicinal Plant Databases … : Highly biotech stuff. This research is an evident that our research direction has gone into new domain which is very popular outside. I have no objection as the team has proved capable to pursue such  challenging endeavour.

Budget : 55K
Level of Difficulty : Moderate
I-Like Rating : 3/5

  1. Shape Recognition in  Responsive Learning Environment: This proposal from Multimedia colleague shows a good initiative. It is about time we have a lot of high tech multimedia research as the domain has huge potential in terms of commercial value. Somehow our staff like to play with power point and ignore a big portion of dynamic research area of multimedia.

Budget : 32K (I don’t think this is enough)
Level of Difficulty : Moderate
I-Like Rating : 2.75/5
  1. Web Personalization : This proposal came from our IT department and tends to improve the search mechanism on the web. Usually we get garbage whenever we use Mr Google or Mr Yahoo but this soon will be things of the past when this research is completed.

Budget : 96K
Level of Difficulty : Easy
I-Like Rating : -(

  1. Kansei Engineering : This is about that Japanese engineering methodology. The word Kansei is a Japanese term that reflects  the feeling and emotion people have in their mind when interacting with a product. I think the Look East policy is already obsolete and any cultural thing out Japan is as good as our own kampong style method. It is time to give up the superiority of the “other“ people that once brutally colonized our country and killed many of our countrymen.

Budget : 100K
Level of Difficulty : Easy
I-Like Rating : -(

  1. Governance Portfolio Measurement : The proposal is about looking into the determinant of good governance use them to measure potential good governance in IT projects. I was confused as you are but overall I think this one is viable.

Budget : 111K
Level of Difficulty : Moderate
I-Like Rating : 2.5/5

All in all they are good proposals but the important thing is whether they contribute to the direction of UiTM’s research direction. I still have my doubt.

Monday, November 23, 2009

So I Thought ....

I posted this email three days ago ...Friday 20 Nov

aslkum all,

With the online marks processing I thought we have reached a new height in handling students marks. But you know in Uitm things are always not as they seem to be. I thought by uploading the marks, everything is done and completed....pheeeerghhh...I was wrong. and those like me don't be happy happy yet aahhh......

although we have uploaded the marks....

1. you STILL have to print the raw scores and LE15 and give it to Pejabat Akademik.
2. bring your marks (in softcopy----with pendrive etc) to the PAkademik for them to keep your marks. And they cannot download from the server!!!!---so why do we bother to download/upload from/to the server, I don't know! The same old stupidity is at play here.
3.and how did I find this out ? accidently went to return the answer scripts. Nobody cares to tell anybody anything anymore.

Thank you and have a good day.

The Responses

ya pun rasa amat pelik!!!
Apakah kita pensyarah ni pegawai sokongan kepada pegawai sokongan pula?
Tak nampak rasionalnya.

#2 ...

It is my intent that the AR/EO can download the marks directly from
the server, thus lecturers need do what has been communicated.
Hopefully soon, if npot next semester. I am experiencing some onternal


#3 ...

Oh God for heavens sake.. pleaselah ....before we all go crazy!!!! ..

I really think we should have tested the system first on a small scale and iterate the process untill a certain level of dissatisfactory tolerance before anxiously implementing it uitmwide.

As a matter of fact the calculation is also a bit off from my excel sheets which I have used so many semesters. The system need further check for improvement I think.

I also would like to suggest all lecturers POUR out their 'grouses' as we implement the system. while we remember. These 'grouses' must be taken positively so that the system can be further improved. If the grouses are taken negatively and defensively then .. too bad...

I do support the initiative. Daripada kita dok beli dari vendor ini satu projek yang sangat baik. Tapi nampak macam tak sabar2 nak pakai sistem .. kita perlu uji dan uji dan uji ...sampai betul2 murni!!!


And the answer ....

Salam Prof/Tuan/Puan

Pertama-tamanya, saya meminta maaf jika email saya ni, menganggu Prof/Tuan/Puan.
Saya mengambil risiko menghantar email ini, kerana, pertamanya, saya yang buat sistem ini (design and code), dan keduanya, saya adalah bekas pelajar FKM (saya respect lecturer saya dan semua yang ada di fakulti, kalau tak, saya buat tak tau je).
Sekali lagi, saya minta maaf banyak banyak kalau email ini mengganggu Prof/Tuan/Puan

Memang betul admin tidak boleh download markah yang diupload ke server (buat masa ini).
Ini adalah kerana, Planning saya adalah, operational excel comes first, Statistic excel, second, and Excel admin, last sekali.
Mengikut design saya, excel admin last sekali adalah kerana, significant excel tersebut adalah kecil, kerana, fungsinya adalah hanya untuk melihat markah dan membuat pembetulan, tidak lebih dari itu.

Whereas, operational excel mempunya lebih dari itu, termasuk hidden data seperti audit untuk setiap markah yang dimasukkan, siapa yang download, login/password siapa yang guna, parameter kursus, etc dan juga yang paling ketara adalah validasi.

Katakan lah admin boleh download markah, then, apa yang admin patut buat dengan file excel itu? validasi?. Tak boleh juga, kerana definasi validasi dah berubah, iaitu, nak validate apa yang diupload. Tetapi, excel admin, tiada apa yang nak diupload, semua adalah download.
For sure, column validasi adalah tidak releven. Dengan itu, satu cara sahaja procedure yang boleh dibuat, iaitu, admin kena hantar file tersebut kepada lecturer. Tetapi, kenapa nak buat macam itu, since excel operational yang ada pada lecturer ada semua data tersebut, termasuk validasi.

Adalah lebih mudah jika lecturer yang hantar softcopy tersebut kepada admin (saya hanya stress out softcopy, but bagi saya, hardcopy tak perlu, tetapi, requirement tersebut bergantung pada requirement di fakulti/kampus), at least lecturer puas hati yang markah diupload telah divalidasi, dan admin boleh check yang markah telah diupload dengan hanya melihat pada column validasi. Daripada mengharap blindly admin download data tanpa validasi. (kalau ada perbezaan data pada excel dengan apa yang ada di server, admin tak tau.)

Sememangnya excel ini adalah sistem masuk markah excel version 1, banyak lagi penambahbaikkan yang perlu dibuat dan banyak lagi dalam planning saya feature yang saya nak tambah (jika diizinkan), Saya admit yang tu (masih banyak kekurangan).
Pandangan dari Prof/Tuan/Puan, amat amat saya harapkan, terima kasih saya ucapkan.

Mengenai pengiraan yang agak berbeza, Saya terpaksa berbuat sesuatu supaya formula saya boleh diguna-pakai untuk keseluruhan UiTM. Jadi, dari segi pengiraan mungkin agak berbeza, tetapi, kalau prof/tuan/puan menerima email yang saya hantar kepada AR/EO kampus/fakulti, mengenai penerangan formula, saya rasa, tidak akan timbul masalah perbezaan hasil dari kiraan. Yang saya perhatikan, ramai lecturer di fakulti FKM, tidak dapat email saya tersebut (termasuklah email-email yang lain, yang saya hantar dari masa ke semasa). Yang pastinya, kemungkinan adalah kekeliruan tentang weightage/percentage dan fullmark, dan cara mengunakannya. (Ada orang blame sebab takde manual, tetapi, simple instruction yang saya hantar pun, tak ramai orang baca - tetapi orang akan blame lagi, at least ada manual, so takde la orang blame, mmm, itu lah kenapa saya keluarkan simple instrction cara guna excel tersebut, cuma takut email tu tak sampai ke user yang sepatutnya je).

Akhir kata, ramai pakar pakar di FKM, dan saya betul betul memerlukan pertolongan prof/tuan/puan.

Sekian, terima kasih. questions then ...why do you deploy the system before fully completed? Who's gonna responsible for any mistake during this half-baked-system implementation ?...if not us the lecturers! 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A memorable wedding at Surau Al Taqwa Sec 7 Shah Alam

Of the many wedding ceremonies, I think this one is the most interesting among all. We celebrated the akad and walimah of our friend Mohd Fitri Jason Tan (from Chinese/Indian parentage)...and we welcomed with all our warmth and good hearts the relatives from both sides whom many are not Muslim to join the majlis in the surau. The sight rarely seen before but will eventualy be our norms in the future.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weird things about final exam …

Yesterday I spent my whole afternoon invigilating a final exam .The word “invigilation” is always associated with final examination. I don’t really know the meaning of this word until I came to this university; I guess it means “ sitting around for 3 hours doing nothing with a bunch of miserable students trying to answer questions that they seem to have no clue whatsoever “. And did I emphasize “doing nothing”; and it is exactly that. You are not supposed to bring in a book or a magazine to fill up the time , it is against the procedure. I tell you it is the most agonizing time that a university lecturer has to endure during his lifetime with the university. And to add into that, this invigilation thing is part of the job; so I really got paid for it. Talking about productivity! I guess that ‘s why we did not get any bonus this year. So what exactly we do during that time. Apart from handing out the questions and the answer booklet, we just walk up and down the aisle counting the marble squares on the floor . You can’t even talk above the whispering level so not to make a noise. Most of the time you just make yourself to think (read: daydreaming) of what to make out of yourself for doing this thing. Sometime to imagine what would it like for these folks to take the exam…in the nude!kahkahkah! hhmmm not bad…ooops someone is going out to the toilet. Mind you there is a procedure for this; one of us has to go with the guy. Really! yes, really. The dude would sign the paper and one of us would follow him to the toilet.Just like a couple of gay men trying to find the best port. So dude you want to “berak” or “kencing”, I asked. He looked at me with a strange face. You see if you gonna “berak” then I have to go and clear the toilet so nothing related to the exam being stuffed in there and if you want to “kencing” then I have to see that some kind of water is coming out of your dick. What? He asked. Never mind I ‘ll wait outside. This is really ridiculous; I’ve spent over a decade of my life getting some degrees and here I am waiting for someone to finish his “call”. Then I would take him back to the exam hall and finish the exam.

The borang that vital for your urgent call ....

As some of you might recall, three hours are given to finish the exam. I mean, THREE HOURS!, you can write a biography in three hours. Don’t you think the time is a bit too long? But then it’s fair enough---it’s like saying to you that you’ve got all the time in the world to answer the exam questions. Whether you answer it in an hour , two hours or three hours is up to you. The thing is that do you have all the materials to fill up that three hours ? Ironically some do use every minute of that three hours; I just can’t imagine how did they do it. I mean my bottom would cramp up after just an hour.

 I just couldn't see my life wasted away like that for three hours so brought in this Wharton book. Finished by the end of the period.

With the invigilator going around, there are still some students trying to peek under the table for that cheat sheet. I have seen all kinds of tactic that they used to get through the exam. Somehow I feel really sad for the students to have to resort to such actions. How’s it that the “barakah” will be given to your life if you cheat in the exam? But many just could not care less. They wrote on their arms or palms; some even scribble on the sleeves and some just brought in the whole sheet altogether. These students were mostly desperate to pass and did not even care what would happen. But the art of cheating is never the same and I have yet to find the most daring of them all or the latest technique being used by the students.

When I did my round during the invigilation I saw all kinds of faces and behaviors. I wondered if I were in their place I just could not bare the stress; maybe just drop dead that instant. I mean it was huge. OK, good luck to everyone if you happened to be in any final examination. Remember to be honest to yourself after all the hard work, believe in Allah that He would be with those who are honest and just and write away whatever comes to mind. I wish you all the best.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reign of Frustrations

The unique thing about Kelantan and its people is that we never boast to be best at anything but when we do everybody just get very excited. It’s like our hopeless brother who just got a job offer or a place at the university; he would get an immediate attention from everybody. So the Red Warriors got busted; the whole castle in the sky vanished into the thin air. We left them licking the wound in the middle of the wet field; so pathetic I must say. Making trouble out of extreme frustration, out of rage. But we must remember that the Reds has won already when we qualified in Kota Bharu; that was the ultimate winning, indeed. When every single man and woman celebrated in the streets of Kota Bharu; we have won already. The trip to Bukit Jalil was just the icing on the cake; nevertheless, winning would be a sweet victory.

For sometime we long for a triumph Piala Malaysia. The glory would compensate the economic turmoil brewing in the state. For so many years we have been victimised from the rights we entitled. Could we someday stand up to protect our own land and asset? The football glory might bring our politicians together but the smiles alone wont bring back the rights that we were deceivably promised. Politicians come and go but our beloved land of Kelantan will stand for years to come. The frustrations have been in the blood but so far we manage to endure it quite brilliantly.

People were created differently but in Kelantan we , as if ,came form the same family. The connection is immediate and somehow or rather it could be traced to the same root. Oh yes I know your father’s uncle ‘s brother’s cousin’s son…..we are teammates. The spirit can be witnessed in the stadium last night; together they roared like a hungry lion. It was as if the future is here….and the future is red. Close but yet too far. The lesson that we all need to learn; to be realistic and pragmatic for what we want with what we can do. When the frustration reigned, we were monsters unleashed.

Don’t worry we’ll get them next time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is Wrong with our FYP

I was thinking why students (especially those in our CS department, at UiTM) could not perform well as expected in their Final Year Project (FYP). I came up with a few reasons :

1. Do not know what topic to work on. Choosing a topic for FYP has always been a problem. Sometime it will drag all the way into the second half of the semester and still cannot decide what topic to work. I think SIG can help a lot in this area by providing not only a general subject area but go straight to the specific topic that a student can take it immediately. Our common practice is to respond to an email asking for the topics…some will do it and some just never bother to respond. I would like to suggest that all SIGs must submit the topics that relevant to them. Even better if the SIG has an on-going research project; do squeeze in our undergrad students so realize the importance of this project. But never to take advantage for your own benefit.

2. Confused which is which. Students are confused because we are not sure ourselves which is which. So the philosophy of FYP must be ironed out first for our lecturers to have better understanding ( we will talk about his later). But for the students to be confused is normal after all they ARE students. Please! Let’s take the benefit of the doubt rather than start the blaming game. If anything is wrong then we are to blame. Pretty hard to swallow aih? Same here; but we have to learn to deal with it one way or another. In order to resolve this issue, I suggest SIG will come in again and draw out any requirement that they feel should have in this FYP. If ER diagram is needed then specify what is the minimum requirement. If UML is supposed to be there, give some kind of template so we know it is there. For machine intelligence topics, for example, we need the algorithm to specifically explain the intelligent technique. So this has to be explained and provided to the students. In this manner everyone is thinking on the same paradigm. Things will be a lot easier to manage.

3. Point of reference. Alhamdulillah it seems that we are on the right track and the point raised by Dr Marina is my next issue : point of reference. We must again and again emphasize to students that the main point of reference is his/her supervisor. Not Mr Google, or Mr Yahoo or his/her favorite lecturer. No matter how pitiful the SV is; he or she must be highly regarded/respected. I guess we all need to realize this and remind the students to go back to their respective SV.But if the SV is unavailable or unwilling to answer the question or “tak nak melayan karenah pelajar” then we need to deal with the SV first etc, etc. so there are a lot of things that we need to sit down and agree with. We cannot leave it to the SV alone to deal with this “MIA behavior” but instead to take a collaborative effort and help each other out.
4. Motivation to innovate. One disappointing view from students is that this FYP is just one stupid course to take before graduating…don’t worry cut and paste aje…and so on. I came to get this view from the graduating students a few years ago before CS230 was born. So disappointing…but that’s the reality. It might still be true today or might not. But students seem to lose interest quite easily if help is not available, too difficult for them to handle or fed up with the system all together. We must give them space to move , be creative and innovative. Some of them do have this ability; we must strive to find them and nurture them with whatever we’ve got. Support, encourage, or just simply talk to them will do okay. Never underestimate our students no matter how “kurang ajar” or “bengong” they are….it is just an act of ignorance. Ladies can do this quite brilliantly but I have to struggle because kurang sabar and cepat nak marah. How do we tackle this ? I would suggest moral as well as financial support for potentially good FYP.give lab space, PC, buy instruments, etc…might be the way; but again we need to talk about this in detail.
5. What to read, how to read and when to read. Students don’t read enough; even if they do, it does not seem to benefit the FYP. Nothing relevant being put in the report or presentation that shows he /she has been reading enough materials. The thing is that reading needs to be done properly to be effective. Sometime we look at the page and nothing really sticks to the mind. One reason is that we do not have something to look for in the page but wait for something interesting to pop out of it. When we read a novel, we do hope something of good surprise to spring up to make the story alive and good. But for a scientific article nothing is interesting other than the tables and the graphs which we do not have a clue either. So the trick is to know what to read and what to look for in the article. Instead of reading , we “pick things out” of the page… the action is much more dynamic rather than the “passive” thinking and staring at the page. Have some kind of borang so that you can fill in the points from the article…fill up as you go through the pages. At the end of your reading, you will have a physical document as the outcome…not just a long sigh and sleepy yawn. I don’t know how much students are required to read but whatever the amount is, it must be at least give an impact to his/her knowledge…(increase or not). And I would like to see a table comparing the literature some where in the presentation. The table summarizes all the relevant points related to the topic. Maybe this is good during the proposal stage.
6. still taking it easy on plagiarism. I am hoping that students are aware of this plagiarism by the time they finish FYP. I am sure it is in the syllabus; if not please put it in ASAP. And make them really understand all aspects of plagiarism----put it in the test, quiz or whatever.
7. The “open source “ thing. If I could, I would like to ban this open source thing. It ruins everything that we have worked for the students to learn. But again we cannot deny reality; and open source is real in the real world. But what we can do is to make sure that the students know what they are doing and declare their contribution. It is not wrong but we want them to learn the skill of doing not searching
8. Presentation chill---butterfly in the stomach. Some students are very scared of presentation and some dare to skip it altogether. I think it is good if we spent time talking about presentation before hand. SV can share their experience from teaching to help student performs a brilliant presentation. Since the presentation is counted towards the grade I supposed all the details have been discussed in the class.
9. Forget GUI; work on the engine. Students seem to spent a lot of the time on GUI instead of the engine. I guess because it is the part that they can manage. Playing with dreamweavers or netbean to get that beautiful interface…but where is the engine? Nanti kang siap la encik! The usual answer that we received. With less than a month to go, I can’t imagine how are they gonna get it done. But come November the engine will be there…walllaaa…..siap! this is not healthy learning at all. So can we do away with GUI or not? Maybe give a standard GUI…..
10. Lack of programming skill. This is the main thing to evaluate. But are we giving them a chance to prove their programming skill? Or we just burden them with unnecessary task? So many questions with no answer……

But then the FYP itself could be improved to cater for better enrichment of knowledge at the end of students’ academic year. I suggest a few ways to improve;

1. FYP is a system development not research. If FYP stands for Final Year Project then I think it should be a project. But project could be a system development project or a research project. At this level a system development project would be more appropriate. Last time I pushed for some kind of research element to be incorporated into the project but looking at the outcome from the previous years I must admit that it is a tall order. We try hard to push research in there until everything got muddled up and we ended up looking at a half-baked product. They are confuse on how to write research objectives, research questions and hypothesis. What is the difference between method and methodology ? what to put in the methodology part of the report. I mean these confusions are NOT necessary because they originated from the mixed-up philosophy of the FYP itself. Let’s be clear on the path that FYP has been designed to take us all to---students as well as lecturers.

2. Evaluation through presentation and demo. I think this evaluation part has been done very thoroughly but I hope everyone understands the process in a bit detail. We want to ask the right question, comment specific to the flaws, put down the right scores and look for underlying potentials that emerge from that particular FYP. Be firm, be fair and be objective.

There is no point to “berleber”with no focus whatsoever and waste a lot of the time. In the end the students go home more confused.

3. Output : a report and a journal article/seminar paper. In addition to the report I would like to propose for SV and students jointly put an effort to produce a paper. Even better if this is a requirement with same weightage calculated towards the grade. I mean all the hard work, at the end of the semester, the lecturers will have a paper or two to their credit. Not bad I suppose. I would go a step further to suggest an online journal is setup to put all these papers.

4. Funding. I have never heard that funding is a problem. Maybe Coord have resolved this issue with the Fac or Dept. But if you are fed up with the bureaucracy, I would like to suggest we set up our own FYP Fund. Maybe students can contribute RM10 and all of us contribute RM20 (atleast) each, we can think of the mechanism to manage this fund. Then students can apply to buy some equipments like digital camera/webcam/rfid reader/thumb reader/ or whatever to encourage them do better in the project.

5. Managing through an online system. From what I see this issue is a must. It will resolve a lot of other outstanding issues such as topics that have been done, archives, plagiarism etc. What I mean by this online system is that students will submit proposal as well as the report online and the SV/Examiners can access it online.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

when things got messy

Things are getting pretty messy right now. This is that time of the year that everything will come crashing on you demanding this and that. The semester is coming to an end so exams are coming up and all sort of evaluations have to be done by now. But my dear students have their own agenda and they run their own schedule. They really are giving me a big headache. None of them can finish up the proposal and asked for a postponement. Perghhh!....will meet them later today…let’s see how to work that out.

I do like to tell my problems in this blog; but you guys never respond to my entry so how? It’s just like talking to myself which is not really a therapy that I am looking for. I know many people are reading my blog entries but never bother to comment, it’s not fair you know. You peeped into my window and run away. Anyway, I still can’t get over that stupid budget. Downgrading the civil servants with that 500 ringgits; yuran tadika pun tak lepas ! If the government has no money just say so…there is no reason to intimidate us and said so many millions have been spent on that. It sound generous but with no impact to our income. The amount is not the issue here but how much you value our contribution is very significant. Whatever……

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cintailah Daku Untuk Seribu Tahun Lagi

(Unuk isteri tersayang Salwana Hassan)

Dengan penuh kedaifan kita mengikat janji
Janji sehidup semati
Mengharung badai menongkah arus
Ada masa kita jatuh tersungkur
Kalah pada ketentuan hidup
Tapi dalam berdua kita mampu ....
Bingkas intuk bina hidup cemerlang
Bina mahligai indah
Rupanya bahagia tak menginap
Di lantai marmar bertangga cengal
Rupanya nikmat hidup tak mewarnai
Ruang mewah berbingkai jati
Bila musibah melanda sebagai tanda
Peringatan dari Yang esa
Kita pasrah dengan hidup ini
Ia bukan kita punya
Taman2 indah bukan milik kita
Kita lepaskan ia.....
Dengan airmata dan sedu bertautan

Tapi diri ini bertuah
Kerna di sampingku masih ada
Kurnia Ilahi
Yang tetap bersama
Dalam hidup yang cukup mencabar ini
Kita melata mencari rasa
Terbang merentas awan
Mengisi hidup di tempat orang
Aku tak takut lagi
Atau gerun pada cabaran melanda
Maupun Gementar menempuh ujian
Kerna di sampingku masih ada
Kurnia Ilahi
Yang senyum menelan kepahitan
Yang girang menyelubung kesedihan
Yang bertahan demi kasih
Yang merana demi cinta
Yang menangis pada malamnya
Hanya untuk diri ini
Mengenal satu erti kejayaan

Aku bersyukur
Untuk cinta yang masih mekar
Kasih yang masih berbunga
Kekadang mawar menghias kata
Kekadang melur menyentuh rasa
Kemboja juga membaja masa
Dan cempaka menyingkap ketika
Kita masih ada malam malam indah
Ditabur bunga bunga cinta
Mendengar bisikan kasih
Mengungkap seloka indah
Dari hati yang penuh merasa
Bak dewa dewi dari kayangan
Bermain dan bercinta
Bersaksikan malam penuh shahdu
Dan bintang yang bertaburan di langit
Membelai dan mengurai
Kata kata cinta

Kan senja nan menjelma
Melambai usia
Mengajak masa
Bila Tuhan menuntut kita
Usah diratap dengan kata
Usah diratib dengan airmata
Ingat janji kita
Untuk terus hidup
Berkasih dan bercinta...seribu tahun lagi

Kita punya anak anak
Bagai saksi cinta agung
Bak bunga mewarnai pepohon
Bak pelangi melangkah awan
Sungguh indah cinta kita
Hidup riang dalam jiwa anak anak
Untuk terus mengilai dan mengata
pada dunia seadanya

Ku bersyukur pada Ilahi
dengan hidup yang penuh nikmat
pada kata kata yang riang
pada janji yang terpahat
pada hati yang terikat
pada kasih yang terukir
pada cinta .........
cintailah daku untuk seribu tahun lagi.

Ps : happy anniversary , my love.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Passing of a friend

Al Fatihah my friend Pakdin has passed away this afternoon at 6.50pm. We visited him yesterday and indeed it was really a goodbye. may he be among the muttaqeen and the muqorrobbeen. Good bye my friend .....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pesan Abah

Pesan Abah
(Buat anakanda Nabiela Husna dan seluruh anak2 yang akan mengambil PMR nanti)

Dikala ini
Munkin hati begitu resah
Mengingatkan ujian yang bakal dihadapi
Satu beban yang begitu berat untuk kudrat ini
Terasa begitu cepat masa datang dan pergi
Terasa terlalu banyak untuk diingati
Terasa terlalu sedikit untuk bekal ke medan ujian
Terasa terlalu dangkal untuk merumus
Terasa terlalu tinggi untuk dicapai
Terasa terlalu luas untuk direnangi
Terasa terlalu dalam untk ditimba
Ingatlah Pesan Abah
Bahwa itu adalah mainan minda
Usah dilayan jauh dibayang
Hanya peringatan
Yang diri ini perlu bersedia
Untuk diasak pelbagai soal
Bagi menguji minda
Mengajak faham
Menggamit bijaksana

Ingatlah pesan Abah
Untuk terus tenang
Menyelam masa merentas ketika
Untuk sujud bersolat
Memohon ampun dari Yang Esa
Untuk tadah berdoa
Menjemput rahman dan raheem
Buat bekal ke medan perjuangan

Perjalananmu masih jauh
Jalan masih penuh berliku
Di perhentian ini
Pada ujian ini
Buatlah yang terbaik
Lontarkanlah yang terjauh
Uraikanlah dengan faham dan tahu
Lapik ungkapan dengan jujur
Lempar kata-kata dengan sopan
Kejayaan tak dikukur dengan nombor dan abjad
Tapi pada tahap usaha dan tawakkal
Rafakkan syukur pada Tuhan
Moga kemenangan milik kita
Ingat Pesan Abah
Renunglah pada langit
Dalam kepulan awan Abah kirim doa dan restu
Dengarlah deruan angin
Pada sang bayu Abah kirim bisikan kasih dan sayang
Senyumlah pada mentari
Dengan sang suria Abah pancarkan harapan dan cita-cita
Lambaikanlah pada hujan
Dalam titisan air Abah hembuskan nur kemenangan
Tadahkanlah tangan pada Tuhan
Dalam Iman dan Taqwa ada kejayaan hakiki

Ingatlah Pesan Abah
Untuk dunia dan akhirat

Shah Alam
5 Oktober 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Life As A Poor Kid

I always contemplate my moments in life and go back to relive the events of the past. It is my way of dealing with my past that has some dark moments. I always feel that it’s not fair but at the same time try to be positive and look at it from different perspectives---they have a term for it ----blessing in disguise. Whatever! But for me the pain is real and the sadness is just never-ending. I hope the stories of my past conciliate me with the pre-determination of my life. In the end maybe I could accept the fate and be thankful for what that has been bestowed upon me . I talked about my My Dark Moments #1 (MDM#1) here---my experience in school; it did not end there but continued until I finished my secondary school. This time is about my childhood; way back in the 70s.

I just could not imagine how I survived in those days. Maybe God really works in mysterious ways. I was alone most of the time; playing around my house from dawn to dusk, every single day until I registered myself in the primary school. Mak and Ayah are busy earning money so I was there keeping myself busy with whatever we had around the house. Our family is well-known in the village for being big and poor; even as I walked down the street some people would ask if I wanted to come and live with them. “ maybe this kid has a brighter future with us”,they might say. I did not understand what they meant but I knew only one word to reply---NO!. as a 7/8-year-old I knew my Mak and Ayah and where my house was… and I was always welcomed there. I could rest myself in that house for the night although sometime my sleep was interrupted by the leaking roof that would be blown off during a storm. Find an empty corner in the house, get your bantal and selimut and there would be your bed for the night. It’s pathetic but that’s the life I lived for so many years during my early childhood. But somehow I survived; and my other 11 brothers and sisters survived that as well. Pretty amazing, I supposed.

I remember myself always sitting alone by the window and looking out at the other kids playing games. I never had an urge to join them because for me the games they played were all silly and made them dirty all over. I just did not want to get dirty. The games such as “petong tin”, “polis pencuri”, “bola awa”, “lawe guroh”, “buoh getoh”, and many more were the favorites----but not me. I also have never been to anywhere only an occasion trip to my grandmother’s. but I always wanted to go to that big mosque near my house. No one in my family was a mosque-goer; my parents would come home only when the night falls and would be busy with the house chores by then. But I did not do any chore but still could not get to that mosque. One day my brother was about to leave when I knew he’s going to the mosque. Maybe he had other agenda as I never see him going there before. Maybe there is a special event going on, I did not know. Can I follow you to the mosque? I asked him, looking at me with that annoying face he did not say anything. And for me that meant a green light. I tagged along before I knew he was joined by his friends---so something must be going on. I did not care what he would do with his friends, all I wanted to was to go to that mosque. And that night I finally did. The mosque was only about a 5-minute walk from my house. Literally –“depan tangga la” but nevertheless it was as if a journey of lifetime. I guess my brother will get all the pahala ever since he brought me there because that was the turning point of my life---the day I knew my Islam. I sat at the back while my brothers was doing stuff with his friends. Once in a while he would come and checked me out. I saw in the front a huge place(a mimbar/pulpit) with stairs going up. I thought that God maybe sitting up there and we all pray for him from down here. It was so strange for me but I liked it there and felt so happy being there. Can I go to the front and join those people praying? I asked my brother. No you can’t! just stay right there ! he gestured me with his hand. Why? I asked. Because your penis is so small that’s why, we grown up have big penis so we can pray at the front, my brother told me. And I believed him. So for the whole week I tried to make my penis grow big so that I can join the big people in the front row. I frequented the mosque after that where I learnt so many things. I did it all on my own and since back then everything was free at the mosque I was okay. I had never been to the Quranic lessons or tadika because they all cost money. Even though the kelas mengaji was next door taught by my own auntie. It was so unfortunate to be poor, I must say.

By the time I got into primary school, my life was pretty much a mess. Everyone seemed to know how to run my life. I would spent time with my relatives here and there for a short period of time like 1-2 months. I just did not understand back then as if there was not enough food at my house. My auntie was the one who persistently wanted me to be with her all the time. She was a widow with no kid. And as I remember her well she was very “bekeng” (strict and bossy)lady. Sometime it was too much to put up with her so we just ignored her all together. I told father that I would like to go home. He understood well. So one fine day I heard them calling names of each other on top of their voices…I knew father was trying to get me back. I remember to sit by the wall listening to everything that they had to say to each other; some of which I never got to understand the meaning of the words or what they were referring to. World had gone upside down because of me; I was so sad and felt it was all my fault. But from that day onwards I was back to my old corner in the house; the place I always called home. It was good to be back. My father was very concerned about my study. I ‘ve got no money or land to leave when I die so study hard to support your family…that would be the thing father repeats all the time like a lyric from a song. But he never had time to come and meet my teachers, well in those days parents were not that concern to drop by the school and say hello to the teachers. Ayah has to sign the paper, I told mom late one night so I can bring it to the school the following day.What paper? They both asked as if it was something they could not afford to commit. The school asked if I want to get into this express class or not; and ask your parent to sign if they agree. They had this express class program where some kids will do year 3 and year 4 in just one year. So I saved one year and got into secondary school one year earlier than everybody else. It was not that hard academically but I got into a lot of trouble socially. I guess one year makes a lot of difference in the growing up days. That’s why I hate my secondary school years a lot,

I grew up without a bicycle of my own or a TV in the house. I never complained or asked for one it’s just not fair that’s all. When our favorite show was coming on the air we would sneak out to the neighbor’s house. This had to be done discretely because otherwise the “small ones”—my younger brothers and sisters--- would follow; and that will ruin everything. I remember one night the neighbor gave us cookies instead so we can go home and do not bother them so much. So pathetic! But that’s the life of poor kids ---the ones that never understand why we were as we were. So for me a TV is not just a square wooden box with pictures and sound ; it was a symbol of freedom that can not be denied or taken away from me any longer. No one will give me cookies anymore to hush me away from my favorite program. So from the time I could afford to get my own TV; I’ve never been without it ever since. Even though I don’t watch it that often like I used to, the TV will always be there for me.

Travelling was another luxury thing back then when I was a kid. Father never had a car or motorcycle. He had an old bicycle once that he used to go to work. But it was not a problem for a poor kid like myself because I never understood why people go places anyway. “makan angin” they said, a phrase that had no meaning whatsoever to me. I would muntah2 when I travelled by bus until I hated doing that altogether. Never mind father I can stay at home, I remember responding when he offered to take us for our regular visit to grandma’s. And I stayed home minding my own business and playing around my house. I live with that habit for so long until I develop a phobia for travelling. Nowadays travelling will mean hard time for me; anxiety will come in and I would feel very much uneasy all the time. Never mind I can stay home. Indeed, I would rather stay home.
I had never wandered off to the town or anything so father was so pleased with me. When everybody was off into the kampung to play; I would stick around the house waiting for mom and dad to come home. “ a good little boy”---I must credit myself on this one---very proud of it indeed. But one time “BOBBY” was coming to town. That big blockbuster movie was coming to the Rex cinema in Pasir Mas—that old cinema is no longer there anymore. I miss that big painted poster as well; the one that was built at the junction near the bus station--- I would pass this junction late at night accompanied my auntie and used to stare at that huge poster under the street light---one day I will see that movie, I whispered to myself. But I never had a chance to go. This time I would go to see Bobby; so made plan with my buddy to get into the cinema. Being a good son, I asked my father for permission. He stared at me and said…what! And miss your maghrib prayers. The show started around Maghrib time and for sure I would miss the prayers. But looking at me maybe he felt the need for me to get some fun so he let me go with some money for the ticket. We could only get one ticket because the cinema was full. Never mind we could share the seat. I remember watching the movie with both of us sitting in a seat; we took turn to move in and out of that small wooden seat. That was the most enjoyable time of my life. Sadly I did miss my Maghrib prayers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Quiet Hari Raya

This time around we celebrated Raya with strange mood and different thoughts. For the first time we set our own priority for visiting relatives; only close ones and no returns if the first call has no answer. Tough luck maybe next year. Two days at the kampong and we headed back to Shah Alam. The streets were still empty and shops still closed. My kids were confused but they just went along. Why are we back so early? asked one of them. I have no answer to that so responded with a blank stare back. I have to ask myself that question and look for an honest answer. Actually we have nothing to celebrate just a sad feeling of Ramadhan going away. We were so busy with work that Ramadhan were not spent well with full amal and ibadat. We should leave office for the whole month and work up the full spirit of Ramadhan. I guess time is running out for us being old and all; in a sense it's true but the interesting part is that I live to feel the sweetness of solat,siyam,qiyam, doa, sadaqah and good deeds, Alhamdulillah.All because of Ramadhan al-mubarak. And today all that is gone and not sure whether the spirit can remain in me until the coming Ramadhan; may Allah give me strength and courage. So this Raya that strong sense of loss overshadowed the bang bang of mercun or the delicious food that come in only once a year. The hectic shopping and kueh preparations are also low key. So it's okay.


Life is so cheap, don't you think?you do or do not do life, it's up to you. Big loss or great disappointment is only for you to measure. The sigh can be long or short depending on your effort. So I think live your life the way you want it to fulfill your dreams and needs; otherwise life can be such a waste. Life is a journey not a destiny(I think I read that some where…so true isn't it). There will be a point in time when you just could not car less what movie is coming on the first day of Raya or the second or the third…as long as they can keep the kids happy it's alright. So tired of showing off the new car every time you balik kampong;some people still do this,especially the young and stupid ones, so I just smile and look at the sky if lightning can strike now. The kids are getting bolder and bolder in asking the duit raya…..we don't know you folks but come for the duit raya, can or not? Isn't that like begging? But for the spirit of Raya we just don't bother…at least they know and have the courtesy to ask. I just appreciate that spirit, so here you go with my prayers and hope for your better future and good life.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eidul Fitr

ALlahuakbar ! ALlahuakbar ! ALlahuakbar ! walliLlahilHamd!
Ramadhan has officially come to an end. Some people celebrate the end of it while some others celebrate the start of a new dawn in Syawal. Some celebrate because no more puasa and some celebrate the successful puasa. Some celebrate for a new baju melayu while some celebrate for a new fashion of tudung. Whatever the reasons are, whether they are right or wrong, a sacred month of Ramadhan has again left us. We hope to see it again next year.
Taqoballahuminna wa minkum taqobbal ya Kareem

This Ramadhan saw a more peaceful world over. Or maybe that’s what I expected. Maybe people were tired of fighting and put up a rest for a while. For my family and I, Ramadhan brought a wind of change into our household. Something for the better and I hope to remain within our focus for the rest of the time. The country sees a more stable political landscape and productive economy ahead of us. I just hope for the future to be more certain for our kids to grow and have a good life of their own. But in Kelantan things have not change much. Life is hard for some as it used to be for many of us. People are poor and helpless as always where the old ones are stuck at home scrimping with the leftovers that life has to offer. We can see this on the streets, the surau and the masjid where most of them are; spending time to post hope and prayers so pains can be at least tolerated. But life in Kelantan has always been difficult so nothing is new. The society stands strong with minimum modern development and infrastructure for so long that the culture embedded unique characters deep into the society.

Have a safe and meaningful Eidul Fitr !

Di Pagi Syawal
Dalam syahdu bertakbir
Fikiran melayang ke bumi Gazza
Adakah anak-anak kerdil punya kemeriahan ini
Adakah muda mudi ilai keceriaan ini
Adakah bapa-bapa masih menagih syahid
Adakah ibu-ibu masih mengharap kepulangan
Kita menitis airmata kesayuan sedangkan
Mereka menangis bumi diambil orang
Berjayakah kita hari ini kalau ada yang merempat
Muliakah Islam kalau umat tertindas dan ditindas
Dalam syahdu bertakbir
Fikiran terus melayang
Ke pondok-pondok usang
Apa lah juadah dipagi syawal ini
Untuk mengubat hati yang pilu
Munkin sedikit wang zakat
Dari insan yang perihatin
Atau sekelumit doa dari hati yang bersyukur
Munkin juga sekilas sepi
Dari anak-anak yang tak muncul berkunjung
Airmata peneman duka
Merenung senja di kaki langit
Adakah mentari pagi kan menjelma
Menyapa insan menyuluh restu

Dalam syahdu bertakbir
Aku berfikir jauh
Menyelam sanubari
Mencari dosa kelmarin
Untuk disuci dan digarap
Agar diri ini khusu’ bersujud
Meminta dan merayu
Keredhaan serta kerahmatan
…..dari Yang Esa

Aku terfikir lagi ….
Adakah insan ini layak bertemu Engkau
Dengan secubit amal dan sekepal doa
Untuk mengetuk pintu syurga
Menagih rahmah wal maghfiroh
Wa itqan min an nar
Tiada apa yang nak ku sembahkan
Hanya taqwa dan syukur
Bagi kehidupan yang penuh nikmat
Hari ini kan ku raikan
Anugerah Ilahi
…untuk aku, alam dan manusia

eidul fitr
1 syawal 1430H

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alamak kantoi!!!

Two UPM Lecturers Caught for Plagiarism

The case shows the state of our academic and the so-called academicians. One small picture of our academic landscape in a sorry state—the tip of an iceberg—one might say, that gives indication of the bigger picture. The "cut-and-paste" culture has been embedded into our academia for so long but has recently given a boost by the explosion of Windows95 and the internet. It has become a trend and soon the final year profjects, master's dissertation and PhD thesis  have found a new lease of life to grow and eventually would take the students out of the classroom onto the graduation stage. The question is how come they can get away with such an heinous act ? because their lecturers never read the damn report and never bother to check the references.It looks good then it's fine, weigh them by the kilos and measure the thickness of the report. Then off you go into the real world to do exactly the same thing as they have been doing in college. The stupid UPM lecturers are the victim of such circumctances. How come a professor never bother to ask the sources that his very reputation will be based upon. "It looked fine to me", he said.Yeah, fine in what? In print? In graphics? Or you are just too lazy to check things out. And they live with it for six years before being discovered....mybe he got the professorship out of this book. So another "cut-and-paste" professor from our good old institution of higher learning....I guess there must a lot more from where he comes from, so I wonder. The book is only 64 pages and they could not come up with their own pathetic. They definitely do not have what it takes to be academicians. I say, SACK THEM BOTH!!! And make UPM pay for this as well---for ruining the good name of our Malaysian academics, and that includes me of course.

Plagiarism crept into act out of desperation. Desperation sets in during the last minute rush to complete a task, a project or a report. And why things are done at the very last minute ?.....lazy,lazy,lazy…that’s the root of the problem. There is a book entitled –The Culture of A Lazy Nation---or something like that from our very own author (could not remember which one); I guess he was talking about this very issue. There is nothing wrong for being lazy but it is a start of a damaging character.

To act responsibly in an academia is to be honest---“jujur dengan ilmu” a phrase from one of my colleague in UiTM----it sums up the whole thing. Remember that every time you want to write or produce an academic work. But with the pressures from up above and all around things will get really nasty. The pressure now is to get into the ranking; from the top right down to the individual lecturer, everyone will get the score. Everyone is like “lipas kudung” rushing around to meet the deadline—ours is end of September, so I was told. There is a simple formula to avoid plagiarism --- tell everyone what is NOT yours as you explain your part--- that’s all. But if everything is NOT yours how come you will ever get a grade? Time and again it goes back to our own work and effort. Do not expect to get something out of nothing---there must be hard work and genuine effort. Be truthful to yourself. Be honest!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

aku menanti

Dalam termangu aku kesepian
Didakapi gelap malam yang penuh syahdu
Tangan ku tadah
Mendoa kerahmatan dan keampunan
Untuk diri yang berdosa
Yang Mendabik dan menyanggah
Keagungan Ilahi
Sungguh sial dunia ini
Menuba iman yang rapuh
Bagi santapan nafsu yang rakus
Solat diringan-ringankan
Puasa dilekeh-lekehkan
Qiam ditangguh-tangguhkan
Hukum Tuhan dipersenda-sendakan
Untuk apa hidup ini
Kalau hanya….
Sekelumit senyum yang pahit
Secebis cinta yang palsu
Seikat janji yang kosong
Sebaris pangkat yang dangkal
Sejunjung kuasa yang boneka
Kita ditipu buat seketika
Tapi tidur selamanya
Dengan mimpi dan harapan
Bagai bintang dan bulan
Indah menawan tapi luluh tergapai

Tapi kita punya Tuhan dan Rasul
Yang menyayangi kita lebih dari segalanya
Kita punya Kitab dan Sunnah
Yang bercahaya bak bintang-bintang di langit
Kita punya malam-malam yang indah
Untuk berdoa dan bertasbih
Menyuci diri yang berdosa
Kita punya malam al qadr
Yang menjanji seribu kemenangan
Ingin ku cari malam al qadr ini
Buat bekalan dihari esok
Bila bertema azza wajalla
Menagih syurga dan keredhaanNya…..

Aku menanti….
Moga malam ini ku temui al- qadr

Shah Alam
20 Ramadhan 1430H

Learning Tips #6


Kaedah menghafal adalah menjadi kegemaran para pelajar sebagai satu persediaan menghadapi peperiksaan. Walaupun menghafal tidak dapat menentukan seseorang itu menguasai subjek yang berkaitan , ia sedikit sebanyak membantu dalam menghadapi peperiksaan. Tujuan utama menghafal adalah supaya perkara yang dipelajari itu diingat semasa menjawab soalan. Jika hafalan disertai dengan pemahaman dan dibuat dengan lebih sistematik, proses ini akan lebih bermakna.

Kaedah hafalan :

1. Ringkaskan perkara yang perlu diingat dengan fokus kepada isi-isi penting.
2. Susun bahan tersebut dalam bentuk yang mudah seperti carta ataupun diagram.
3. Hubungkaitkan bahan tersebut dengan kehidupan anda seharian.
4. Jangan cuba nak ingat perkara yang belum anda fahami.
5. Hafal pada masa-masa yang agak tenang seperti selepas Suboh.
6. Doa.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Learning Tips #5

Begin With The End In Mind

(from Covey's T7HOHEP)

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.

The most effective way to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be and to do and on the values or principles that you base your life upon. Some examples of such mission statements are as follows :

• Plan tomorrow’s work today
• Be sincere yet decisive
• Keep a sense of humor
• Be orderly in person and in work
• Do not fear mistakes
• Listen twice as much as you speak
• Hear both sides before judging
• I will study hard and ask questions
• I will always try to keep myself free from addictive and destructive habits

A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes the same kind of standard for an individual. It becomes a personal constitution, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives. It empowers individuals with the same timeless strength in the midst of change.

Take time to write down your own personal mission statement !

Sunday, September 6, 2009

44 Wishes for My Birthday

My wish list

44. Meet Obama.
43. Visit the Great Wall.
42. Cruise the street of Teheran.
41. Go up the Eiffel Tower(last time did not have a chance to go up only at the ground)
40. Buy groceries at muslim shops in South London.
39. Dine at Sima’s father restaurant in Colchester (Bangla dish).
38. Sunday’s car boot sale in Essex.
37. Drive through North Roosevelt in Wichita ,Kansas.
36. New York City
35. Pray at the mosque in Wichita (that we built in 1985)
34. Meet Mr Huff in Peoria.
33. Chat with my gay friends in Peoria (they must be damned old freaks now)
32. Cruising Chicago streets with my friend Ajax.
31. Walking down the leafy main street of Peoria.
30. Playing night tennis in the summer (in Peoria)
29. Meeting my old-out-of-contact-friend Tobiason.
28. Went to Louiseville,KY again where I met my beloved wife.
27. apply for a teaching post in UPM. The last time I waited the promised borang to come but never did.Why didn’t I just hop on a bus to Serdang and get the borang myself? I don’t know. I want to get it right this time.
26. my own wedding baju melayu. Last time, I borrowed from my brother. It was black so nobody noticed.
25. A bicycle for arwah Ayah. His bike was sold to pay off the tukang that renovated our house.
24. Those people in Dungun where I lived for nearly 15 years to have a better life. Feeling bad for haggling a cheaper price for a pot of fresh fish from the boat that came to shore every afternoon.
23. Have a small beach house along the beautiful beach in Dungun.
22. Jog along Jalan Pantai in Dungun one fine Friday morning.
21. camping in the jungle of Terengganu nearby the streaming waterfall.
20. crispy fried sotong at Pantai Kelulut.
19. Meeting my friend Hassan from Isfahan.
18. To have my Honda Integra back.Was sold to my friend in a hurry.
17. Visit Uncle Siddique and family in Braintree, Essex.
16. have a different supervisor during my Phd study.
15. Picnic at Castle Park on Sunday afternoon.
14. Design and build another house again. The one that we built in Dungun was sold when we moved to Shah Alam----a bungalow with an attic.
13. Return to Mecca and Madinah again.
12. Finish my swimming lessons.
11. Own a 10-acre kebun for my retirement.
10. keep my mom happy and healthy
9. make my brothers and sisters live a comfortable life
8. my children to have extra skills (other than academic)
7. my beloved wife to stay motivated for her PhD
6. manage my anger effectively
5. enough budget to sponsor more poor children
4. help more people using my knowledge
3. a kedai runcit of my own
2. be more approachable by other people
1. healthy and able for the remaining years of my life.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Learning Tips #4

Menghadapi peperiksaan

Persediaan Sebelum Peperiksaan

  1. Belajar dalam kumpulan adalah satu kemestian untuk lulus dengan cemerlang. Pastikan ahli kumpulan terdiri daripada mereka yang serius untuk belajar bukannya kawan rapat yang suka bersembang. Pilihlah mereka yang agak cemerlang agar anda akan banyak mendapat manafaat daripadanya.
  2. Diskusi mesti disusun dengan teliti agar pertemuan tidak disia-siakan begitu saja. Bincang sebanyak munkin masalah yang berkaitan dengan subjek Pastikan anda faham semua masalah dan jawapan yang diberikan. Jika ragu-ragu dapatkan nasihat pensyarah.
  3. Bentuk Nota Kecil. Buatkan nota kecil ini dengan meltakkan isi-isi penting berkaitan dengan subjek tersebut.
  4. Pastikan cukup tidur. Tidur yang cukup adalah amalan yang paling baik sebelum menghadapi saat-saat peperiksaan. Walaupun amalan ini tidak diamalkan oleh sebahagian besar pelajar, cubalah dapatkan seketika untuk melelapkan mata dan merehatkan minda. Luangkan masa bersolat hajat dan berdoa agar dilapangkan minda dan diberkati segala usaha kita.
  5. Bangun awal.
  6. Pastikan akan tiba awal di Dewan peperiksaan.
  7. Peralatan. Sediakan peralatan peperiksaan sebelum anda tidur seperti kad matrik,slip peperiksaan, pen,pensil dsbgnya. Persediaan kecil ini akan memberi sedikit keyakinan bahawa anda telah bersedia untuk menghadapi peperiksaan.

Cara Menjawab Soalan Peperiksaan

  1. Mulakan dengan Bismillah dan sekelumit doa semoga berjaya dalam peperiksan ini. Baca semua soalan sebelum anda mula menulis.
  2. Pilih soalan yang anda rasa mudah dan jawab. Teruskan menjawab soalan-soalan mudah dikuti seterusnya dengan soalan yang susah.
  3. Sentiasa aktif !!! Tulis jawapan anda secara berterusan selagi ada idea. Bila tersekat, fikir seketika dan jika tidak dapat juga tinggalkan soalan tersebut buat seketika dan teruskan dengan soalan yang lain. Jangan habiskan banyak masa mencuba sehingga tertinggal soalan-soalan lain yang munkin lebih banyak pecahan markahnya. Jangan termenung panjang bila anda tidak dapat menjawab, cubalah soalan yang lain dahulu.
  4. Tunjukkan jalan kerja dengan jelas. Pensyarah perlu melihat keupayaan anda menguasai soalan yang ditanya untuk diberi markah .
  5. Pastikan semua soalan dijawab. Jika anda tidak dapat menjawab pun cuba tulis perkara-perkara yang berkaitan.
  6. Tulis jawapan dengan jelas dan teratur. Cara-cara menulis jawapan munkin telah dibincang dalam kelas atau anda boleh dapatkan daripada skema jawapan yang lepas. Cara menulis jawapan yang berbeza akan mendapat markah yang berbeza.
  7. Tanya jika tak faham. Semasa peperiksaan dijalankan calon-calon boleh tanya soalan. Terutama sekali jika soalan yang diberikan itu munkin salah ataupu tidak cukup maklumat.
  8. Jangan panik. Jika anda rasa berpeluh ataupun resah, gunakan beberapa minit untuk rehatkan minda. Minta izin ke bilik air. Bila dah selesa, cubalah sambung semula peperiksaan anda.
  9. Jika ada masa, semak jawapan anda berulang kali. Jangan terlalu gopoh untuk meninggalkan dewan.
  10. Hantar buku jawapan anda bila masa tamat. Bisikkan pada diri anda bahawa itu adalah yang terbaik. Semoga akan mendapat kejayaan yang cemerlang. Raikanlah dengan penuh ceria kerana anda telah berjaya menjawab dengan baik.

Click image to see bigger pic.