Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Young Breed vs an Old Stallion

I am not much of a political analyst but the by-election in HS is something different. A unique fight for democracy ( read dirty-slimey-smug-of-political-ass-kicking-back-stabbing) led by two interesting faces from a diverse spectrum of Malaysian people as in Kamalanathan and Zaid Ibrahim. One is a fresh face with an awesome character and honesty in every word he uttered and another is a charismatic lawman that seems to have the world at his feet. Honestly I like them both because they represent the new Malaysia that my children will grow and raise their family in the future. Their faces , ideas and thoughts spell a big word of tolerance, honesty and liberty. The parties they represent however, are still struggling to make themselves relevant to the people. In a lot of ways, these two political hopefuls are also daunting the task to cleanse and rebrand the old and dirty look of their respective party. But that’s another story altogether.

Now the character shooting is taking place; and it seems that Zaid is ducking a lot of bullets that are coming his way. He seems cool and collected in not denying any of them. It is good to know though that he is one rich fella with a taste of high life. And for Kamalanthan…well someone is digging into his past I am sure and they should do it fast as time to the poll is getting closer. Come this Sunday the people of HS will decide which one of the two will suit them well. For I me I would like to have someone who is fluent in law of the land to represent me in Parliament. I don’t know nothing regarding the law, the constitution, the policy that govern this country ;so I want a good hand to represent me in the Dewan---and that’s really the purpose of having an elected rep in the Dewan. And clearly we can see right a way which one is a good choice---and hopefully the people of HS will know and pick the right one. That’s really all…the other surrounding issues are irrelevant and only serve to spice up the election. And we all like that very much; listening to fiery speech talking nonsense about what the others are doing badly.

I would like to see our fellow Malaysians assess the thing rationally rather than emotionally. See the hard facts rather than rhetoric inuendos….it’s no longer a game but our future. Best of luck to both candidates!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time for Presentations

With the semester is about to come to an end; mostly all lectures have ended with a few loose ends left to tighten up. And that’d better be the final presentations otherwise someone could be in a lot of trouble. In UiTM the final exam is well under way; you can see that as most of the streets and meeting places in Shah Alam are almost deserted because most of these people are nursing their splitting headache waiting for their turns to face the music in the examination hall. You can have fun some of the time ,babe, but not all the time. And this is one time that you have to prove once and for all that your existence is worth the while; prove it to your self, most importantly. But I am not gonna talk about examinations this time but the one that is less stressful---the presentations.

We use presentations as one of the assessment tools to measure how effective the learning has been for the students. In fact, it has been used so often in a lot of subjects I was worried that we would produce more ‘talkers’ than ‘doers’. The trend has started to show up as the materials for presentation have become easily available and students are getting comfortable talking and telling us what they would do rather than showing us what they have done. Most of them will get away with unfinished systems and poor presentations due to lack of proper assessment and lopsided evaluation criteria.

The most disturbing part is to sit there and listen to dull and boring presentations one right after another; almost like the same presentations over and over again. More disappointing are the ones coming from postgraduate students. The language is upside down with grammars and pronunciations are all over the place. If the language is difficult for you why can’t you spend a bit more time double check the grammar or the spelling of the words that you are going to shoot on the wall. That shows not the language disability but lack of concern for good presentation---‘pemalas’ would sum up perfectly. English is hard for me too, until this day, but I work for it and give a little bit of my time to check and edit my writing. And believe me if you work hard enough you will come to a point where you will LIKE the language. It helps you express your inner thoughts in a profound manner.

Anyway, for a good presentation your slides must contain :

1. Less texts
2. more images/graphics
3. minimal blink-blink

and when you do the talking please remember that : NEVER to read your slides. Anybody can read the slides so if you just stand there and start reading the slides you will put your audience into the most agonizing state of mind, not too long they will start talking and make their own presentation at the back. What you can do is to EXPLAIN the slide; face the audience and talk to them. OOOOooo that’s so hard, I can’t say things in English……well then PREPARE before you come and DO your HOMEWORK! That is the only way, no short cuts to learning/success. In case you haven’t figure it out yet. Good Luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A game called “democracy”

In this modern day and age no one dares to neglect the so-called “democracy”. A game that we all play so that in the end some one will win and the losers will go home thinking that the game was fair and square. But in reality we are all scared to death when we play the game. Both sides have every bit of a chance to win and for whatever it takes we can not afford to lose. The subject at stake could be anything from small to enormously huge; and we are mean sometime….the future of a nation could be put at stake. But in the name of the game called “democracy” that is very civilized. So we play along with millions of our money spent(some goonies even spent rm77 millions of poor people money to see one black man in a white house and prove he can play the game very well!) and sometime the lives of our countrymen lost to protect the stupid game. We endured the challenges so the world will see us as one of them not some barbaric bunch of people doing their own little things. I call this democracy thing a game because of its very nature where people can be very good at it, manipulate everything to win his cause and get away with clean hands----fair and square? For the uninitiated that’s the way how democracy goes but for a seasoned player it’s the game people play---so win the game to champion democracy. Ironically, democracy is so generic that you can put any mask on it and people still can identify it as the true nature of a modern and civilized world.

I had a brief experience leading a small association and wanted so badly to play this game called “democracy” right to the letters. I did not “play-play” or get into the hanky-pangky of things just played it bare and plain. I even put up a blank face so everyone can relate and let the democracy things play the role in every aspect of our decision making process. It was naively stupid thing to do and ended up a sore loser, isolated to lick the bleeding wounds. People don’t play the game that way as I later found out; for people to play their hearts out the game must be fun and interesting. Just like any other game it would be dull and boring if everyone play by the rules, right? People look for a good fight, a back-stabbing drama, some good ‘ol ass-kicking, name-callings, fcukers and suckers…..or something along that nature. And if you are not that kind of person better stay out of this game. Last weekend I had an opportunity to attend meeting to select a surau committee at my housing area. It’s a small surau but even here the game of democracy is played so well I thought it’s a joke. It was well planned with call for meeting well in advance and preparation to register voters being done so well. I thought we have all matured over the years and this gonna be a really “fair and square” game. How na├»ve I could ever be? Over the years people do not grow up in this but have got better and better manipulating it. I laughed myself although I did not find it funny at all. We were “told” to wait for the signal then cast the vote accordingly. Never go against the majority or refute the chairman. Apparently the chairman had understood the situation on how the meeting would end. And so the meeting went without any “glitches and bumps”. Everyone was happy. And that includes those who were not there but got nominated and won! As if no one among all 200 who attended the meeting is no better than those people. What a joke!
A clear indication that there is an invisible hand trying to squabble with the running of our surau. Maybe I sound a bit disappointed for not being nominated myself but honestly that is not it. Time and time again we are talking about the liberty of our own thoughts and actions without any influence from outside people; this is it . If those nominations have been premeditated, supported and won; we can never be free. The real democracy is to free our minds and actions from any foreign influence where we decide what we want and who we want to do it. We set our own agenda and execute it to the best of our ability for our own good. If in this small isolated exercise we still depend on others to make decisions then by God in Heavens when are we going to learn. We can never be free.

I am new to the surau and its surrounding community; but now I have a clear picture on how things are run and executed. The true picture is as ugly as I never thought it would be. How the minds are manipulated and the actions are fabricated. How some people have gone all the way to protect everything they believe have their names on it; for them to make sure things are as they should be. Forgetting that the surau is a public place (a house of God) for everybody to come and worship the God they believe in. So that it will not fall into some false hands that will lock it down for some strange reasons. Maybe there is a hidden agenda to foresee a bigger cause that will happen in a distant future. I don’t know but I am still soaking up the meaning of it all and the reasons behind the results after that fateful meeting.

Not far from here in Hulu Selangor, people are facing a bigger and more serious picture of the same game called “democracy”. But the clash between two or more ideologies would make the game over there more interesting and relevant to reality. A lot of seasoned players will converge to put up shadow plays and pick up some credits for their own self along the way. In the end the quiet town of KKB will remain quiet and people will be left to pick up the garbage left by the town folks as they leave for their luxury homes in the city. Just like after any other game, the players as well as the spectators will leave the field with their winning smiles or wounded hearts. No one remains except the local people wondering what do they get from all of this mess?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

EGM at Surau Al Taqwa Seksyen 7 Shah Alam

So it’s the time again that we will pick the surau committee to manage and organize all activities at the surau to benefit the surrounding community.It seems uneventful but believe me the meeting will be a hot one. There’re already lobbying activities going on as the event is still more than two weeks away. There are people who will go all the way to make sure their team will sit in the committee. I mean what is there to fight after all this is only a surau. Well folks this is no ordinary surau and sect 7 shah alam is no ordinary community.That’s what they say, whatever that means. For me it’s just like any other surau and I go there to do my prayers, that’s all.Some people want the surau to be something else and when a lot of things are going on; the surau will be a bit complex in nature.I guess that will be good for everyone including myself so I shouldn’t be complaining.

So far the surau is doing fine. The ceramahs are on most of the time and the five daily prayers are gaining more safs everytime. The Ramadhan and Qurban were celebrated without a miss; so if I had it my way I would have just retained the old committee and get on with our regular activities.The committee has lined up a few big names that have come our way such as the Mufti of Perak, Ust Hassan Mahmood al hafiz, Ust Ravi, Ann Wang Seng, YB Dr Zul, YB Dr Mujahid, YB Rantau Panjang in addition to our monthly Kuliah from Ust Nazmi, Ust Amran, Ust Aleh, Ust Halim Din, Ust Azahar UIA, Ust Heryanto, Ust Muhaimin, Ust Fadhil, and a few others. It was quite active and every night it has become a routine to prepare for the kuliah as the timetable is available 1st day of the month. It’s hard to keep your notes updated as each ustaz will see you once a month and by the next lesson you may have forgotten the last one. A new and more structured way of learning should be in place and this is one thing that I would like to see done by the new committee.

I moved to Section 7 about five years ago and I’ve seen many things have changed at the surau over the years. Last time when I arrived for the solah (especially Maghrib) there would always be a circle just beside the entrance where people chatted and smoked. This is a regular scene at a surau in my kampong many many years ago. So when I saw it here I said Oh no not here also……everytime you want to go in then you have to greet every single one in the circle; especially if you are a new member of the community I really didn't feel comfortable with that because for me it is just nothing but a waste of time. Besides, I don’t smoke. But today alhamd that circle has disappeared, all the chairs are gone and people don’t sit around anymore. I think that’s a big improvement and, unless the new committee feels the need to reminiscent, things are good as they are.The surau is air-conditioned; very comfortable in fact that was the first surau I went into that has an air-conditioning system….only in Shah Alam. And the people are very generous; the tabung could see a few hundred dollars collected every night during the kuliah maghrib alone. The Gazza fund was nearly RM30K where RM17K was collected cash during that night alone. And every year they have a Golf tournament going on and that will contribute about RM12K to the surau fund. All these figures are posted at the surau for everyone to see. Very transparent indeed. And at the moment a renovation is going on and the surau will be spending more than 100K for that; about 50K came from the people and the rest was generously sponsored by a corporate individual.

I am proud to be part of this Surau---Al Taqwa Seksyen 7 Shah Alam.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Collegiality and Congeniality Test

Collegiality is the ability of faculty members to get along with each other and contribute to the collective good. It is a key component of success within the department and the higher education institution as a whole. Collegiality is also defined as “conducting oneself in a manner that does not impinge upon the ability of one’s colleagues to do their jobs or on the capacity of one’s instituion to fulfill its mission”.

Congeniality is the ability of being pleasant and friendly; agreeable, amiable, supportive and cordial; and possessing good and effective interpersonal skills.

This is to be my new knowledge that one has to pass the tests in order to be conferred a professorship in UiTM. I guess it is also new to everyone else as this is a pilot study. I am not sure about this exercise to tell you the truth. First of all who are we to judge their characters and personality. Second of all, even if you go ahead and put the down the ticks, how strong is it going to impact the decision. I am looking at the consequences a few years down the road. The guilt that would overcome you for the decision you had made. How long the borang will be kept safe and confidential ? I have returned the form personally so my name is forever there for anybody to go back and look at it. A professor might someday be the dean/ the boss with absolute authority to revisit the old records and all. I am worried that it will come back and make a full circle; and that evil urge to get even somehow crossed his/her mind. I don’t want to suck up and give everyone the best scores because if that’s the case then there is no need for this stupid survey, we just give away whatever scores they need. I want to give my objective and honest views but I’m gonna be very sad to see someone being downgraded due to my honesty. I am in a very difficult position.
Are we making things more difficult? Because as far as I know the procedures are as daunting as it can be already. The academic merit is difficult to gain already and now you want the candidates to go around and smile to everyone some more. And is it fair to deny the professorship just because of his/her weird personality? Be real folks! It’s not gonna happen. So in the end this exercise is nothing but making our lives more difficult. that’s why I can understand if someone finds it a bit akward to fill up the form.

Ps: thinking how people would fill up my form...if that would ever happen!