Friday, February 27, 2009

The Art of Computer Science

Not so long ago there was only computer science. Everywhere you go the word was computer science to describe any program related to computers. Then the emergence of new technologies in data communication and networking has divided the field once known to many as computer science into several specialized areas. The new areas have developed and claimed its own place in the field of science and technology. The demand was so high in all of these newly developed areas in terms of technology and skilled individuals. In business, engineering ,arts, music , medicine, defense or in any imaginable area of knowledge, specialized computing skills have been in great needs. The reasons being the very survival of such areas greatly depends on how it reacts to the implementation of computing technology. The notions of globalization, real time factor, speed and efficiency have put a pressure for all to embrace this modern-day survival tool (a.k.a computers). A new culture has started to repaint the old and obsolete corporate goals and objectives. A new generation with jeans and snickers has been filling up the stairs to the new corporate head office. The change is inevitable and with these changes the institutions of higher learning have to change. Many have gone out to industries to get an outlook of these changes; and consequently the whole academic program related to computers have gone through the pace. Generally the principles of focus are two-fold : one is to prepare them as knowledge seekers and two, is to prepare them for the job market. In a broader sense, the first principle describes an idealistic target of an academic institution. A place where people go to learn something about life. Maybe they come to read history or law, doing computer science or engineering. They learn how to solve problems, lay out arguments and put them together with logic and reasons, they learn how to think, produce ideas and put them across for some meaningful discussions. After 3 to 4 years with grueling tasks and expounding pressures in the form of assignments ,exams or projects; they will walk out of the convocation hall as a new person with his/her own thoughts and ideas about the world. The world of engineering, business , management or computer science. In short, they learn the basics and the program should be catered to strengthen the basics.

The rhetoric on why do we study computer science has time and time again demands answers with wider perspective. All these years CS students have been taught to solve computing problems, speed up some application processes or facilitate a difficult task where humans might be able to handle. Is computer science the science about computers or the computation for scientific reasoning ? Those are two contrasting ideas that need detailed arguments and justification. The main reason for this intriguing question is to explore the possibility that computer science can be manipulated to serve a bigger and meaningful purpose. It is time to transform the finite nature of computers into the infinity of the natural world not the other way around.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When learning is a life-long journey

Earlier today , my fellow students and I did our presentations during the department's colloquium.Four out of my six students presented their project while one could not make it and another one was missing in action. I think they are all doing okay. The two final year students need some extra effort though as their presentations were a bit raw; and this is usually due to lack of preparation and understanding of the subject. I hope they will work harder before our next presentation. FYI, these students are doing research-based/project-based studies; thus, their progress is monitored through presentation or research papers. I like taking up research students as we can "work together" instead of "I teach you this and that". the only criteria that I look for in a research student is his/her commitment to the project. You show me your hard work and I'll go all the way to make sure that you'll get what you are here for---- knowledge and a scroll in your hand. I haven't got anyone graduated under my supervision as yet;hopefully there will be soon. There is one PhD student who has finished the time but still needs some more time to complete her research. It is natural in the research world to go beyond the limit because it knows no limit or boundary. Sometime you get it early, some time later and sometime never ever. You just never know. Despite all the odds, I am quite sure she will persevere and work hard until the end.

Post-graduate studies are a bit different from the undergraduate level. The focus is no longer into skill-building curriculum but more on making a thesis. We are getting into head-bashing academic terminology here; but, hey what the heck, while we are at it, let me explain. The word thesis is referred to as one's original claim or statement. That's it, not that complicated isn't it. If you said the world is round, then, you've made a claim or you have made a thesis. If you wanted it to be accepted by others then you have to "defend your thesis" or claim. Then we have a word such as " anti thesis"----a statement that goes against a thesis. If some one made a thesis and you claimed otherwise then you've made an "anti thesis". Another word which is much more familiar to us all is "synthesis", it simply means if we take the existing thesis and make it stronger with new data , new proof or new perspectives then we are making a synthesis. That is all to it. And with that I end our today's lesson. :)

Our robots are here !

The faculty has finally received a delivery of 8 robots for our intelligent systems lab. It's about time. Now students can test these robots with their algorithms . It will be fantastic!

What I want to see is whether they can jump and dance or not! Hmmmm....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Got My Passport

I spent about half an hour today at The Immigration Office in Shah Alam to get my international passport. I did not believe it ....half an hour!. I guess services are getting better at the other counters as well. It used to be like forever to get a passport; but today it came down to about half an hour. It costs me RM300. I would like to thank officer Kak Mah for being so nice and very helpful. The atmosphere at this office in Shah Alam was not as hectic as I thought it might be. Everyone got the service fairly quickly as I observed during the waiting. So thumbs up to The Immigration Office Shah Alam. You guys have changed for the better, keep up the good work.

So my quest to travel to Bonn, Germany continues. I need to find a sponsor to support my travelling and accomodation expenses. UiTM? MOSTI? MOHE? naahae! It's gonna be difficult but insyaALlah someone out there will be generous enough to fulfill my quest.

Why Bonn? Read here.

If nothing came up positively, I could just pop off to Bali or Phuket or better yet just follow AirAsia to their free destination flight.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ahmad is 7 today

My youngest son is seven years old today and asked for a pet as his birthday present. He chose to own a cat. Now that would be a bit of an issue in our household as we never had a cat or anything as such around our house. And everybody in the family could not stand cats except Ahmad and I. but this is his birthday and he could ask for anything on his birthday; that's a family tradition as well. So Ahmad is demanding for his wish to be fulfilled. So we are in a bit of dilemma here. Cats ..... Let's see if we can find one for Ahmad.

I guess better call mum ......she always has stray cats at home.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Weekend in Besut

A trip back to the east coast is always refreshing. Not only that I would pop over to see my mum and family but to be back to the place I used to play and grow up. The trip was to see my daughter at her school in Kg Raja, Besut Terengganu. She is studying at Imtiaz Besut, a school under the state of Terengganu. It was a long way from Shah Alam ( a 7 hour drive) but I like the place so much I would come anytime. The kampung(village) environment makes you believe that time do stand still. You could drive unhurriedly and enjoy the breezy wind from the big South Chine sea. Kg Raja is just a few kilometers away from the beach; there is a port to the famous Pulau Perhentian at Kuala Besut.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Lecture by Sir Brian Smith

I was fortunate yesterday to have the opportunity to attend a lecture by a prominent British figure, Sir Brian Smith. His biography can be found here. The event took place at Marriot Putrajaya organised by AKePT (Akademi Kepimpinan Pengajian Tinggi); the lecture entitled " Developing Research-Led Universities ".

He emphasized the role of government as follows :

  1. The degree to which research should be concentrated i selected institutions.
  2. The balance between the funding of specific research projects and non-specific support for research infrastructure.
  1. The balance between pure and applied research.
  2. The idenstification of priority areas for research funding.
  3. The level of institutional autonomy.
In UK, Research Assesment exercise is done every five to six years to determine research infrastructure funding. Every university has to send in publications from every staff ( four best from each academic staff) in order to rank the university and get the funding accordingly. Sir Brian talked about curiosity-driven research---"major innovations flow from breakthroughs made my curiosity-driven research. It is no accident that universities which are famous for producing a spin-off companies and for stimulating growth in their local economies are also famous for the fundamental research they do." He stated her concerns over the ranking tables that every institution is trying to get improved at, that it has become an obssession up to the point that it is no longer reflect the real-life excellence. the dangerous part is to pass over judgement to the journalists. Effective management criteria for universities are focussed on 5 key elements :
  • Devolving responsibilty which is the transfer of authority to academic departments to ensure that all decisions are taken at the "lowest" appropriate level where the expertise resides.
  • Delayering which to minimising the number of levels of administration between the academic members of staff and the central administrative office.
  • Formula funding that allowas flexibility of distribution of resources within departments.
  • selectivity of focus.
  • recruitment of "leaders" ---good and quality of academic staff play vital role in research-led universities.
Sir Brian's final comment -- Management cannot by itself produce high quality research. that is a product of that rare and remarkable human quality-original thought.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The time I hated life

(updated version)

It was like yesterday when I started school
The best school in the whole wide world
… they said
Can still remember my mates
Some faces looked so nice and friendly
The others blank and lost
But later they all had one thing in common
Bold and brutal
Ready to kick ass who ever in the way
So my life began
….. at a place some called heaven
but for me it was nothing but hell
Form One was always exciting
The teacher came in and asked where have all the chalks gone
I went away and came back with a bunch
They made me a monitor for that effort
Not that I know how to be one
Just wanted to impress the girls … the pretty little girls
I tried to get one … the girls I mean
But never succeeded…they went for the macho ones
I dreamt on …until I realized what I was good at … dreaming
They called me names (never mind…you might have guessed it anyway)
For the stupid face with no hair and the sweet little ass that I have
They put me in a hostel … I mean hell !
The big boys knew about my sweet little ass
And started to chase me around when the lights went out
I’d end up at the place where I always hid…. the toilet
Sometime I woke up and still there …. in the toilet
I was weak and small and never put up a fight
So lonely and confused I could not imagine
how I got through all those years
full of misery

One time this boy asked me to swap beds
I sleep in your bed and you can sleep in my bed
Night after night after night
I just didn’t understand why but never dare to ask
This swapping thing went on for a week or so
And then one night he said
I sleep in your bed but you can’t sleep in mine
Now, where in hell am I suppose to sleep ?!
Come to think of it , now I realize what it was all about
He didn’t want to make up his bed in the morning !!!
So naughty ….

Everybody was into sports…except me
I hated sports, just about everything about it
Especially the one they called standard sports…remember that one
When everybody has to participate
Running , jumping, more running and more jumping
OMG just could not get over it
I hid in the locker when there was one
Sports practice and all…
Did not want to make a fool out of myself
Once, I got caught by the warden
That was the worst day of my life
To get herded into the field
Where everybody else was running and jumping

I was okay,though
Made my own secret world among others
I hugged myself and closed my eyes
And my world opened up before me
No one else…no teachers, no wardens, and no bullyheads
Just me and my thoughts
We ran into the wilderness to seek solitude
…to run away from it all
Such a beautiful moment, so peace and quiet
Did not want to open my eyes
to see myself weak and helpless
poor and tattered
life was not fair, I said through the tears
I had been asking a lot of questions
But no one was there to give any answer
I looked up the skies and the clouds
And hope for the wind ….
…….to blow away the pains

But I knew one thing
I was there to study and make good grades
I liked books, study and all
But never made good grades
It was enough though
To get me through and out of that hell hole
Soon I found life outside was no different
brutal and unforgiving
…… I fit in real well

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Malay Archipelago & The Theory Of Evolution

It is interesting to know about the connection between Malaysia and the infamous theory of evolution; whether or not we agree with it is completely another story. Let's hold the thought for now and read my story.

Alfred Russel Wallace, during his tour of the Malay Archipelago between 1854 and 1862, made seminal observations of the distribution of species in the various islands of the group. he discovered that there were two distinct groups of species : the islands to the east are clearly allied to Australia while those nearest the Malay peninsula itself have Asian-type flora and fauna. The two groups approach most closely at the narrow strait separating the island of Bali and Lombok. The inference is that the two groups of islands, while having in many case almost identical physical conditions, had formerly been in close contact with the sources of their respective and very different species. Species divergent within each group seemed to inversely related to the length of time since direct contact with the source had been lost.

In 1855, Wallace was in Sarawak and wrote a paper " On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species" in which he suggests that every species has come into existence " both in space and time with a preexisting closely-allied species". Three years later he wrote the famous essay " On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type", in which he explains the principle of natural selection in the evolution of species. He already knew of Darwin, but not his parallel conception of the identical theory, and asked Darwin's opinion of it. The result was the joint appearance in the Journal of the Proceedings of Linnean Society of Wallace's essay and a extract from Darwin's preparatory work for The Origin of Species. The paper generated little public reaction, and Darwin was persuaded instead to write the longer version of the Origin which eventually appeared in November 1859, with the results that are now well known. Darwin and Wallace retained strong mutual admiration; indeed Wallace's book The Malay Archipelago, published in 1869 is warmly dedicated to Darwin.

Isn't it fascinating ? Now where were we in 1855?

(an excerpt from a lecture by T J Dennis, University of Essex, Feb 1995)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

The theory of evolution has been one of the most fundamentally intriguing theory in the world since Darwin presented it to the Royal Society of Natural History in London. He wrote the famous book The Origin of Species and recently sold for more than RM700K at Christie’s (more here).
The most interesting part of the theory of evolution is that it challenged the common views of the origin of man.
All religious doctrines in the world, Islam ,Christian etc, have a firm believe that all men were created by God. When Darwin tried to say otherwise everyone just got excited until the present day ( …and divide). As a Muslim I believe in creation as stated in the Holy Quran; my discussion today is about the scientific contribution of this theory to the world of natural history. And this is really what makes it so controversial through out the world due to its strong scientific analysis of the subject concerning our faith and belief. First of all, Darwin did not create or invent the theory of evolution (also explained here). He presented his scientific findings about how the species evolved or changed with the environment through the process of natural selection (also known as “ the survival of the fittest”).

It was like any other scientific analysis and was never intended to create any controversy. He did however made a thesis that men might follow the same natural process. That was his scientific discovery and not a conspiracy to ruin the many faiths the world has religiously indoctrinated. We are at the liberty to accept or reject his belief. After the book came out, many quarters of the British society started to get excited and as a result produced the infamous chart of an animal turning into a black man and a black man went on to become a white man; and the process completes. And the white men have become “a complete” species of mankind. This chart was a mere exploitation of the theory and tarnished the valuable scientific theory into a chauvinistic racist statement. It’s no where in the book about this chart or anything related to the races of the world. If we were to go back in time when Darwin was working on his research, we would find there were a number of other scientists working on the same subject. As a matter of fact, the subject of his research , the origin of man, was the main research theme at that time. All scientists were struggling to answer the question---where do we come from? The time when people were so fascinated about their own beings. That was the time and life in 1800s. Among other famous scientists that were doing the same research theme was Lamarck , Baldwin. Lamarck explained evolution through the collection of fossil samples. There were flaws (unexplained in some part of the theory) in his theory so it collapsed.

Another interesting part of Darwin’s work is that Malaysia has some contribution to the theory. Isn’t cool? It was the time of The White Rajah in Sarawak (circa 1854). More on this later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The game of politics

It has rules that nobody knows what they are exactly. The aim is of course to win no matter what the outcome is. A truly notion of a win-win situation paradigm. The players are those with high ambitions and deep pockets. They have little interest in championing the true cause of the house but they fight furiously for the title and reputation that come with it. The game is played almost everywhere ; in the election, in the office, persatuan, schools, faculties, masjid and suraus, persatuan penduduk and the like. The format is exactly the same; the degree of consequences might differ but it bares the same footprint.

Maybe we all are aware of the politics of the day : the Barisan and the Pakatan games of politics. It’s mindboggling and could turn an average Malaysian into modern Frankerstein that master the art of mad science as well as the science of anal intercourse. When your child ask about what is anal intercourse (AI) then the best possible answer to that is …”wait until you get into politics son, then you will know”.

But the game has powerful impact. It could ruin the whole country when it is not played well. The mere act of switching sides could turn the game around and thus gives a grave impact on the state and the people in it. Is it fair to let these people play around with the life of the masses? The answer is not about game they play but who is playing and how it is played. Politics are part of our life; we just could not get away from it whether we like or not. People have opinions about things. We want to run our life according to these opinions that we understand are the right ones. At the same time there are other opinions from other people that run against ours. They want their set of opinions for their own bloody life. Both sides argue theirs are the right one for the land. So the game of politics begin. We play on the big field called election and sometime on the small field called by-election; with rules referred to as democracy. Everything seems okay until the time the game starts. When the sweat starts to drip off the chin; the real spirit strikes out with greed and self-centeredness. Everything goes as long as the game is won. Money and extortion are the weapons for the 11th hour. If that do not work than wet pussy will be on the menu. Nothing can beat that, can’t it?

We like this game because everybody can play. You won ,you’d get the land. What a handsome prize! Dirty tricks are common order of the game so the soft-hearted ones can just never dream to get into the game. Good players are those with faces thick like the Berlin wall, see nothing but opportunities, feel nothing but the spirit to win and fear no one until everyone is at his feet. Politicians are like that; but great politicians have something else---the charm and the energy to drive the inner self of everyone else to believe in him….as in Barack Obama .

The four shitheads in Perak (more here) have brought the game of politics to the lowest , dirtiest level imaginable. A sad story for Malaysian politics. They betrayed the people and breached all moral values for some worldly gains. The thing is that this is real , in your face and mine so whether we like or not, we have to face it. But if the people put them into that seat than through God's grace the power of the people will someday kick their ass out of that same seat. let's wait who will get the last laugh!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

The phobia of Friday the 13th has a deep root in the western society. As described here.

The scariest movie of all(during that time ) But now we have even more scarier especially the Korean ones. aaarghhhh.....I hate scary takut.

Remember Freddy.

For me this Friday is the same as any other Friday in my life…with the yeeehhhaaa factor. Yeeehhhaaaa….the weekend is here!. In my hometown in Kelantan , Friday is a super special day, where the only legitimate activities to be held on this day are religious in nature. The streets are deserted in most places except around the morning market. There is one near my house (Wakaf Bharu) where things are sold dirt cheap.In Pasir Mas, things are even cheaper. I just could not understand how can they can make a living selling stuff with those prices. But then if you increase the price who are gonna buy your stuff. So every Friday after the Fajr prayers and morning kuliyyah people will throng the morning market to buy things. This will go on until noon when the men will start to prepare for Friday prayers. Everyone (the men) will go and listen to the sermon.

I still remember the Fridays when I was in a boarding school in Kelantan. Since there was no classes in this day, it was supposed to be fun but for me and the rest of my school mates Fridays were the-big-ass-days ….the inspection day. I remember to be so scary although I really had nothing to worry….you know being so na├»ve and innocent little boy. Early in the morning I would get up and get myself ready. The dorm leader had already assigned a task to get the room prepared for the inspection. You made your bed and lined your toothbrush, toothpaste and soap on a clean towel neatly on the bed . This is one thing that has become my habit until today; make my bed every morning before leaving the room. The shoes and uniform must be very neat and clean for the event. There was one senior in my dorm that had never done the things himself…and he would come around and forced the little ones( I was in Form One) to do the chores for him. He slept very late and got up very very late…..and on Friday that would mean very very bad for us. One Friday morning he got up late….it was almost the time to get ready; he called me up, went to him and “sembah” him and asked what does he want….pegi turun ambik nasi lemak dan telur rebus kat dewan, saya nak makan!…but it’s almost time ,I would not make it for the inspection, I argued with myself…..PEGI!(GO!) and gedebuk kena sepak… it was hopeless to argue with the animal such as this one so I went running down the stairs to the dining hall and got a plate of nasi lemak with that ugly looking sambal bilis and telur rebus with teh O. The time was almost up with a few minutes to spare. I gave him the plate; hey tunggu sini, nanti bawa balik turun ke dewan …. Yes he wanted me to wait for him like a dog and clean up after he had finished. If the warden saw this plate here we would be in a lot of trouble. The bell rang, it’s time to get ready, the warden would come around soon. And this guy still had not finished his nasi lemak. Huh ambik ni pegi bawa turun bawah…..I took the plate like a fcuking slave never looked straight to him and went away. I could not go down anymore because the stupid prefects would see me and asked a lot of ridiculous questions. Oh dear! now what?!….without much choice I slipped it under the table in the study room. I didn’t use the room so they could not possibly blame me or any of my friends; so I would be safe. I put down the thing and went back to my place.

Everyone would look nervous when the “entourage” approached the room. They all wore black shoes with hard sole; so would make that horrible knocking sound as they came nearer and nearer. The seniors would get very “pucat “ because they hid their cigarettes all over the dorm….in the shoes, behind the window frames …. And today they found a new place….inside my bloody pocket… naughty but very smart indeed. Nobody would suspect this innocent looking kid had a pack of Marlboro in his back pocket. I was okay but was very “pucat kesi” for being involved. I never smoked when I was in school. I guess “penakut” was the best word to describe why I did not do it. Everyone else seemed to try a few puff once in a while. I just did not do it…..until after the SPM .

Fridays were also the time to go outing to Kota Bharu. Usually we would go and just hung around the city with nothing to do (because we got money enough only for the bus fare back to school) and walked around the smelly market to kill the time.

OMG, I long for those Fridays, give me back my free-and-relax Fridays, please!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sibangsat Yang Pulang

Berdekad yang lalu
Kita hanya mampu merempat
Tak layak mendongak mengamati ketinggian alam
Kita hanya tunduk ditelunjuk penjajah
Tak kuasa mengorek khazanah mukabumi

Kini sibangsat telah pulang
Meninggalkan tanah yang gersang
… Lombong-lombong yang kosong
… sawah-sawah yang kering kontang
… budaya bangsa yang usang
… semangat juang yang lekang
… dan anak-anak bangsa hilang

Kini sibangsat telah pulang
Di atas kehancuran pertiwi kita bina mercu kejayaan
Di atas kemusnahan tamaddun kita bangunkan bangsa gemilang
Di hujung penderitaan itu terpaku kebebasan dan keceriaan
Di sebalik kekalahan itu terbinanya kejayaan dan kemuliaan.

Kini sibangsat telah tiada
Kita bebas untuk bermadah
Merangkap pantun-pantun berkias
Marilah sama-sama kita berpuisi dan berlagu
Mencabar ketajaman minda
Menguji ilmu di dada

Kini sibangsat tidak menganggu lagi
Dari tidur mu semalam
Dari mimpi ngeri yang tak munkin berulang
Pagi yang indah sudah menyingsing
Sedia Mendengar seribu angan-angan

Marilah kita bina bangsa ini
Agar mampu mendongak melihat alam
Mendabik dada menyata rasa
Mendokong cita-cita

Marilah kita
Isi jiwa yang kosong
Dengan semangat juang yang
Tak basah dek hujan
Tak kering dek mentari
Kita tiupkan ruh iman dan islam
Agar terus memamah pahit kehidupan

Usah dikira wang dan ringgit
Usah dikira keringat yang menitis
Usah dihitung masa berlalu
Anakanak sedang menuggu
Untuk belajar dan berbicara
Tentang hidup dan kehidupan

Jadilah kita bak pepohon
Menghijau dan melata
Meneduh dan melindung
Insan-insan dari keperitan hidup
Moga dedaun kan terus merimbun
Untuk seribu tahun lagi

Shah Alam
8 April 2004

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Farewell To All My Fellow Alumni

Bissmillahi rahmaani raheem
Assalamualaikum warohmatullahi wabarokatuh

SEMESTA ,as an association for SMS Kelantan/ SMTMFP/ SMSTMFP alumni, has always been trying to find ways to facilitate the needs and requests from all the members. We often talk about the old times when we have a chance to meet in a reunion or bump into each other in town. We might look different now with physical appearance in extra sizes , having position high in a corporate ladder, blessed with many off springs , wheeling around with a luxurious Brabus , rubbing shoulders with high flying politicians or rendering love notes with young popular artists. Whoever we are at the moment we still remember our humble beginnings. The best part is that we share this humble beginning with the rest of our class that might be numbered into a hundred. So at a reunion table we fool around at each other as if we were back in time 20 or 30 years ago. The names, the faces ,the places and the things that we had done are recalled amidst the laughter we long for so many years. Nothing could be more refreshing after an absence of such company other than a good old tale of events that happened over a decade ago.

SEMESTA was formed in 1996 by a group of concerned alumni. The main objective of SEMESTA is represented by its theme which is “kembali berbakti”. The platform for all alumni to go back and contribute something to the school where we began to know the world around us. Now that some of the alumni may have reached the pinnacle of life, it is about time to look back and preserve the well being of the place that we used to call home. The contribution could be in any form that might benefit the school as a whole; be it in the form of financial aids, materials, trainings or just an hour of ceramah. As far as the activities are concerned, our alumni through SEMESTA, have responded very well to the call for “kembali berbakti”. The real proof of this concern is in the form of a majestic Masjid SEMESTA which was completed in 2001. It has resolved the problems of performing Jumaat prayers for the students as well as other spiritual activities. Back in the old days, we have to walk or ride a bus to the nearby mosques. We hope all citizen of the school will make full use of this mosque religiously. SEMESTA has also responded to the call of needy students at the school. A charity fund was set up to give away some pocket money for these students. At the moment we have managed to support 15 students for a RM70-a-month allowance. Every alumni has contributed to this cause one way or another; even, our patron himself, YAM Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Ibn Sultan Ismail, has given his personal donation of RM5000 for this charity fund. We are thankful for His Royal Highness’s generosity and gratitude. Apart from that, SEMESTA has continuously come back to give talks and organised programs for the students. There are some alumni who cannot contribute in term of materials but are able to do training and conduct programs for the students; therefore SEMESTA has facilitated such programs in the past. SEMESTA has been consistently committed to our code of honour -- “kembali berbakti” --and will continue to do so for so many years into the future, InsyaAllah.

To the school and teachers, SEMESTA would like to congratulate for the successful year in academic. We hope that all the teachers will continue to deliver excellent teachings as well as disseminating holistic education in life. The monetary rewards would never compensate the pain and the challenge caused in doing this job. Teaching is very noble and only God Almighty deserves the right to reward all the teachers here in this world and the hereafter. We pray that our intention is on the right path with complete sincerity and honesty.
As we stand and deliver
The light will always shine

To those who need to learn
To those who wish to lead
To those who have to feed
To anyone who wants to live

Be thankful for the opportunity
That dawns upon us

Not for the dollars and cents
Neither rewards nor reservations
Power or prosecutions
Or praises people give

But the ultimate please
From the One who created

Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alameen

To those students who are leaving the school, I would like to welcome all to SEMESTA and continue our noble tradition of “kembali berbakti”. As alumni of SMSTMFP, we should be proud of our alma mater and find all possible ways to “payback” for all the great memories and excellent learning environment that we have enjoyed for so many years. I would like to congratulate for your successful years at SMSTMFP and pray for fruitful opportunities for the years to come . Please contact our Secretariat as soon as you have settled down in your new place of study.
As you leave this haven
Remember your friends and teachers

As you journey the world
Remember your first step at the school

As you reach for the skies
Remember the dreams you once had

As you hold that scroll
Remember the promises you once made

As you taste that first success
Remember what your teachers once said

As you live your high life
Remember where it all began

It began right here
At this very school
With smelly socks and sticky armpits
Naive faces and nervous voices
First loves and nasty fights
Rules and rules and ....a lot of rules
To teach you about life and living

So ...
Remember to come back and ....
kembali berbakti

Finally, I would like to thank all alumni for this opportunity. Good luck to everyone and have a nice day.

Wassalamulaikum warohmatullahi wabarokatuh.

Prof Madya Dr Nordin Abu Bakar
Presiden SEMESTA( 2007-09)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good Morning To Me !

The early morning traffic in Shah Alam is bustling with parents ferrying their children to the nearby schools. It is our daily routine and those with schooling children know exactly the hectic moments behind our closed doors. The unforgiving scenes must be the time to wakeup the little lazy eyes. Sometime the older ones have the same problem too. I would call out names and they responded with the humming sounds for a few more minutes of sleep.”You better get up now and don’t make me go over and …bla…bla”, I would say with a higher tone. If you want to know, I am short-tempered and will get easily agitated if someone ignores my call…and my children know this very well. But they don’t give any attention to that. Abah is always like that !...and they just do whatever they want to do. They always stayed up late at night for chatting and watching youtube. Once, I was distrubed in the middle of the night by a strange sound outside my room just to find out someone was doing the shuffling….you know that stupid step dance that the teenagers are into now. I know teenagers are the most complicated species in the world and I have a couple of them at home enough to get me excited for the wrong reasons. Despite all that, I love them very much, of course.

Now that we have a Bibik, the burden is less on me to get them prepared for school. I can just focus on my much awaited breakfast…..toasted bread with butter and honey and a cup of refreshing Tenom coffee from Sabah. I have been starving all night. I made a habit to have heavy meal only once a day—and that will be rice with everything on it---at about 4pm and that’s it no more rice until the next day. Well sometimes I cheated but that doesn’t count…hahahaha! Anyway, this has been going on for a while and I can keep my weight steady. It doesn’t go down but the important part for me is that it doesn’t go up. I have a couple of Calvin Klein’s men sweater in my closet that I can’t wait to put on. I feel like a male model going down the runaway when I tried it on but the extra tummy spoils it all. You know that spare tyre around your waist that will bulge out when you sit……aarrggghhh so pathetic. But ONE day, yes one day I will be gorgeous in that sweater!

But Shah Alam is a nice city. I do feel comfortable here now compared to 4-5 years ago when we first moved from Dungun, Terengganu. Most of the time Shah Alam is quiet and serene; it would go mad only when the students are around. The streets will go mad, the restaurants will go mad, the banks will go mad; just about everything will go mad in Shah Alam when students are around. It’s good for business but not for a resident like me. I will go mad as well!

Do You Have UFOs(Unidentified FLOATING Objects) in your Eyes ?

It's scary and nuisance but real. People do have these floating objects in their eyes. They are called floaters. And somehow could not get rid of them. Imagine the unbearable discomfort that these people have to suffer. From the information that I gathered, this thing is not painful but very annoying. It's like having something blocking your view but you just could not get rid of it----like your neighbor's dead flower pot so annoyingly situated on the fence right above your beautiful flower bed. It spoils the whole garden.

What are Eye Floaters ?

The eye is a ball filled with a gel/liquid type substance that is the vitreous humor. It is what maintains the eye’s round shape. Eye Floaters are dead tissue cells that get trapped in the vitreous humor (or the liquid that fills the eye ball and keeps it a round shape). As with the natural aging process, dead tissue is produced and
suspended in this liquid. These dead tissue cells cannot be removed since the eye is a closed and is sealed off. There is no means for the natural tissue debris to be removed. This dead tissue that is suspended in the vitreous humor casts a shadow in the retina—which is the part of the eye with photoreceptors that allow for sight. This shadow onto the retina is what causes the Eye Floaters to be seen.

All people are physiologically made up to have Eye Floaters. It is part of aging. It is apart of life. There is no immunity. There are no preventive measures that can be
done. There are no natural means to be rid of them.

I am glad to find such an informative site talking about this stuff. You can find more about Eye Floaters, why and how it happens as well as advice on how to deal with it. For more information, please go to or click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

When Are We Going To Learn

When they cried for help we gave'em deaf ears
When they asked for fund we turned away
When the the donation box came crawling, we pushed it away
When the jihad was called we sat cowardly
When the TV flashed the news we changed the channel
When they gave reasons we echoed with a thousand questions
When the war raged the land we created songs
When the death toll was announced we counted the number
When the houses crumbled to the ground, it was how things are over there
When the babies died, we felt nothing could be done
When the masked man appeared we believed they are really terrorists
When are we going to learn
To feel the pain and frustration
That Palestinians live by day and night
With death and sufferings
Not knowing when it will end
Only certain that it won’t be anytime soon
Leaders talk
News filled the air
And we watched.....when are going to learn
For every puff we put in the air ,children had been shot dead
For every burger we ate, we paid for the weapons
For every cola we drank, the innocent blood would spill
For every fried chicken we had, a bomb would destroy a village
The world is so fierce and brutal
But it is ours to live in
When are we going to learn
That our little effort would mean a lot
not because we have to
but because we want to
To make the world a better place
just to live and to wait
for another day, another hope .....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nostalgic Moment

Masihkah Kau Ingat

While driving my kids to school this morning, a song came on the air through Sinar FM. It was a hit in the 80s when I was a teenager struggling to make grades at a boarding school in Kelantan. It reminds me of the life back then; so free and happy with my friends. I wish there was a way to turn back the clock but that would not be possible, would it? I just make do with this simple yet beatiful song. Title : Masihkah Kau Ingat By Kopratasa.

Masihkah kau ingat (do you still remember?)
Pada waktu itu sekuntum bunga mekar (at the time when there was a flower)
Kuselit ke rambutmu(I put in your hair)

Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)
Ia menjadi mimpi dan menjadi rindu (it has become a dream and a nostalgia)
Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)

Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)
kita berlari-lari di kaki langit mencari pelangi(we ran together to chase the rainbow)
lalu hujan turun kita basah bersama(and the rain came down we all wet)

Masihkah kau ingat, Masihkah kau ingat (do you still remember?)

Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)
sekuntum bunga itu(that flower)
Ditapak tangan ini(on this palm)
Ia menjadi layu(it went dead)
Lalu kugengam ia menjadi debu(so I close it shut till it became dust)
Masihkah kau ingat, Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)

Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)
kita berlari-lari di kaki langit mencari pelangi(we ran together to chase the rainbow)
lalu hujan turun kita basah bersama(and the rain came down we all wet)

Masihkah kau ingat, Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)

Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)
sekuntum bunga itu(that flower)
Ditapak tangan ini(on this palm)
Ia menjadi layu(it went dead)
Lalu kugengam ia menjadi debu (so I close it shut till it became dust)
Masihkah kau ingat, Masihkah kau ingat(do you still remember?)

Masihkah kau ingat(8x)(do you still remember?)

Thank you Sinar FM.

Monday, February 2, 2009

To Go or Not To Go ???

Received an invitation to attend the conference . I am delighted. But again I am not optimistic as all expenses have to be borne by my institution---UiTM?? Hmmmm looking at the bureaucracy I might as well say bye! bye! Bonn. Ahhhh...Bonn, Germany must be a beautiful place. The old capital of Germany with museums, Rhine River and where did I put my passport ?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What a cute baby girl!

We are very excited today to receive news that my sister-in-law delivered a baby girl. Tahniah to Cik Rah and husband Azmi. the baby is so cute.

>>> They have yet to find a name for the baby.How about .....hhmmm...let them do it..picking a name is one of the greatest joy for a new parent (especially the father).

My Greatest Fear

Everyone fears something or someone in his life. Fear of height, fear of flying, fear of slithery animal or fear of closed space; they have happened to people. It is not something strange to have fears. In fact, having fears makes us more human and in touch with reality. Identifying the fear that we have is the first step to discover our own self. Some fears are more devastating than others; as a result of our dark past. Others are light and have less impact on our lives. I know only one Malay word to describe fear; which is “takut”, a negative connotation that closely related to the act of cowardness. Maybe there are other words but my childhood experience has taught me to avoid this by all means----fear no one, trust no body. In the end you would grow up as a stubborn old man ! I think having fear is normal; being “penakut” is the result of untreated fear. As a child I fear darkness, we did not have any closet in our bedroom so the monster could not hide in the closet but in the darkness. Or right up that big old tree that would haunt you when you came back from that nightly mengaji Quran (religious lesson). I would run like hell. The most fearful place was the cemetery. You have to recite some prayers while passing by the place and never look back whenever you thought you hear something. That fears have eased out of us as we grow older.

I grew up in a community that resort to shaman and witchcraft whenever people became ill. The bomoh (shaman) will do a ceremony to cure the ill. I remember not to miss it whenever the bomoh came around in the village. They set up elaborate offerings to the “dewa-dewa” and “jin” that will help the cure. This would be done a few hours before the actual ceremony started. I remember witnessing one ceremony being done on an elderly lady in our village that had been ill and bed-ridden for some time. The shaman would start with a chant followed by a ghostly music from seruling, gendang and gong. Pucuk pinang (leaves) would be used to wake up the soul of the ill elderly woman. The shaman would continue chanting to the tune of seruling and not long he will be in trance. He seemed to be out of this world speaking in a foreign language we all did not understand. He started to lose control of himself as something else started to occupy his actions and his speech. Everyone started to get excited as the healing process went to the next stage---the time when that elderly woman got into action. I would hide behind my brothers as the scene scared me to death. I would not let myself to get into such thing-----get really excited and lose your mind. The shaman went into dancing and shortly the sick elderly woman slowly got herself up and danced. That was the highlight of the night. The two would dance for while and more and more people got into trance and danced with them. The dancing would go on for a few hours. I never got to see the end of such ceremony as it would go on well into the wee hours of the morning. I usually fell asleep after the old lady woke up and started dancing. That was history and nowadays people don’t do such ceremony anymore. It’s scary.

My greatest fear is to lose control of my self. Some people like to lose control of himself. I just could not imagine myself being out of control. I fear that one day I would completely lose control of my mind that I forget people around me; family, friends and relatives. Maybe I would give a blind stare and have no idea who are all these people. I fear that I would run amok and beat anybody who stands in my way. When I see “orang gila” I always fear that it could be me; running around naked and jack off in front of the people. What would I do if the madness of King Henry the Eighth recur within my soul? It would be very sad indeed. People will say that and they would just leave it at that; because you are one crazy old man. I would fear after all these years of knowing and loving people, you would end your life as a grumpy old man that could not let anyone to love him. I imagine myself lying on a slumpy old bed stained with stinking pee and dirty soil with nobody around. Laa Haula wala QuwwataiLlah biLlah hil ‘aleey il ‘azim.