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.