Friday, February 18, 2011

PhD anyone?

I went through the files of my PhD students and smiled…nothing is funny actually. The records desperately seeking some actions but I held on for some thing good to come out some where….I am praying for some miracles. Out of 5 students registered under my supervision, one is missing in action, maybe indefinitely, another one has been spotted in Dubai (maybe on self-exiled mission), another just come and go as pleased and I am left with just two active students. And nowadays people are talking about KPI; so this is my KPI and it does not help me at all. I need to “graduate” someone fast or I’ll grow old waiting for nothing. I have been through the process and have experienced the ups and downs of it so please trust me. Deep down inside I have a strong feeling that they can make it through, that’s why I took them in the first place. But as they started the journey, they turn into something else---untouchable souls that defy the law of nature. At the first turn they became the “honeymooners”, the ones that have just unleashed the true face of freedom seekers. Paid holidays with running salary and a handful of pocket money, my honeymoon will start right now, thank you very much. Well that’s okay, don’t feel bad about it, enjoy before it lasts. This thing will come to an end eventually , okay; some will come down to their senses but there is always a handful of them that refused to accept the fact that the honeymoon is over.
At the next turn, when the dust settled, the work begins. It is not like a hard labor that will break your back but you have to turn on the light and start flipping the pages, running the programs and talking to people. The next phase is not easy to follow through but not as hard as you might think. PhD is all about doing things correctly, report the findings truthfully and the “discovery” part will eventually emerge. The keyword is DOING and if you’ve done nothing , there is no finding to report and with that there is absolutely no discovery. If you want to swim from this edge to the other end, then you have to do the swimming yourself, I will look from the distant and see if you need help. I will go in only if you are about to drown or something but do not expect me to swim with you in the water. The hard part of doing PhD is finding the reasons (Why?) when everything works against you. It’s like a group of people keep bashing your head while you’re trying to get up. Believe me that part is unbearable and it takes a strong gut to pull you through. I had been there and gone through it myself. I wrote about this and it is somewhere in this blog , dig it if you’re interested to know my story. At the end of the day you have to get up and face like a man. Cry yourself to sleep or bang your head but never give up. You must refuse to give up, even if someone told you to do so. Heck I’m not going home empty handed, no way---what I used to say when the faculty refused to accept my thesis. Well , the British have their own ego when it comes to this, how come this kampung boy from former colony want us to believe this rubbish…… I argued and stood behind my thesis. And the rest is history.

The three year-period is not that long but one needs to know exactly what to do, one thing after another and by the end of it your model has been justified and ready for the presentation. Don’t depend on luck because in PhD nothing is left to luck, everything must be accounted for. Believe in yourself and what you can do; make doa for your consistent effort and blessed intention. You can expect something rewarding to follow after you’ve finished…maybe more than you expected. Only Allah knows. I wish best of luck to my students and any of my beloved readers who happen to follow this same path. Good luck.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Running out of time

“CePat sikit, kita dah lewat….” my favorite morning call for my kids to hurry up with whatever they’re doing and get into the car. It is early in the morning and they’re still sleepy and slow moving…making me more upset. The thing is I am not good in getting people up and do something .Being bossy is the last thing I will make myself do even with my own children. The only way I know to make someone else listen to me is to turn myself into “an incredible hulk”---the green man that looks so mean. It works with my children (well some of them anyway) but of course never with other people. But now I am tired of being green; it just turns the people off. So nowadays I am more relax; more looking at myself rather than other people.  I saw a male student earlier today with make-up and sissy t-shirt……you know what --I am not going after him and lecture him about not being so pondan and follow the proper dress code…I am not gonna get angry over this anymore  that will ruin my day…I’ve had enough, if he wants to be Victoria Beckham instead of David Beckham then the hell with it. Anyway, I don’t want to  talk about sissy students or my compulsive anger ;today I want to talk about time. The time  that I always don’t seem to have.
Just-in-time, overtime, half-time, full-time or no time seem to push me around these days. I can’t be late for whatever reason or whatever event. The term ”better late than never”  has never been in my vocabulary. I am more into “better skip it than being late”. That’s why I don’t plan much of things around me; afraid of being late. Maybe people don’t even care of me being late but I do. I would lose my sleep for thinking about it. If the event is seven days away then I will keep thinking, thinking and thinking about it for the whole seven days. At the end of it I feel stressed and tensed. Nowadays my wife likes to plan our holidays 6-7 months ahead of time (to get the cheap airfares), and I would be miserable for the whole time and by the time we get to the airport I would be exploded with anxieties and ruined the whole trip.  No more bad holidays, I’ll just stay out of it. If I need to go then I just go without making myself miserable with the process of going. So for me it is more of “spontaneous” trip…..the last minute one.

So going here and there seems to take much of my time, plus the unforgivable traffics that will make my day a truly memorable one.  I don’t know why am I complaining…..I got myself into this so better buck up. Maybe just tired and need some rest. “Hectic” has a lot to with commitments and life is full of commitments without which life is nothing. But as you go on living and reach the other side of the hill, you’ve sort of chosen your own path in life. It might be great or might not be great, and soon enough you don’t give  a damn how it would turn out because at the end of it, it’s just you who will take the fall.

I wish the day was longer
I wish the people were friendlier
I wish the sky was always beautiful
I wish the wind blew softly
I wish happiness grew on trees
I wish tears were diamonds
I wish  time went back and forth
But they aren’t… is just like that
But life can also be beautiful again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fahrin Ahmad and The Academic Conference 2011 UiTM

It has been so long since my last entry. I’m very worried. That means I’m too busy to write; too busy to relax. I rest my mind by writing some crappy stuff. Sometime the more craps it has the more relax my mind would be afterwards. Writing can be therapeutic when you use it to let go everything from your mind. Just like hitting a golf ball; the sound of the impact says “ yes you are right this is shit, hit it hard and let it fly away into the horizon……” and when you see it goes up up and away; you feel warm and clean as if the problem within you has been stripped off and removed. But if it dropped dead in front of you then you are the SOB for trying too hard and not doing it by the rule.

For the last three days, I have been attending an Academic Conference—our internal conference talking about the future of UiTM. As you might have guessed, the speakers are from the top management of UiTM. We had Fahrin Ahmad moderating a forum on Friday morning, so that’s a surprise. He handled it quite well I must say and used his charm to make the ladies(and some of the men too) screaming and shrieking. But we are more excited to explore the new dewan actually (called Dewan Agong Tuanku Canselor) than the issues or the lectures during the session. It is built on a hill slope where the main entrance is on top of the hill overseeing a football field. The inside is huge and can comfortably seat 4000 people. Eight big screens hanging from the roof giving the stage view up close….and personal. The sound system was a bit off but not by much. I just don’t want to know how much they spent on it, for whatever amount…it’s worth it.

But the most disturbing news came on the big screen in the afternoon when HEA announced which faculties are considered “research faculties”. My faculty, the FSKM, was not on the list. I went through the screen again and again could not believe what I was watching . My FSKM was not there. Maybe it’s a mistake, I hope so but from the reality of it that list is correct. My hearts just went into pieces because it’s like coming at you and hitting you right on the face. I see myself failing and feeling so stupid. Ironically, Accounting was there among the engineering and medical faculties. I mean the term “accounting research” is so new and so recent ,it can be found nowhere other than UiTM. Bravo to them all for making accounting so dynamic. All I know that it is only about debit and credit… what is there to research. Apparently, I was wrong.

But I am more disappointed with the way my faculty FSKM handles the research issues. A couple of days before the conference I emailed my colleague about the lack of focus and directions regarding research. It has never been discussed, deliberated or strategically planned. But again who am I to criticize, just a grumpy old man who always wake up from the wrong the side of the bed. I left the conference dejected with no mood to stick around for the fashion show. Well they had these bunch of skinny-legged models doing the catwalk for the Art and Design Faculty. The stuff will be going to London, so they said, for whatever reason there might be.

"left shoulder up, right shoulder down, butts out, knees bent, back swing @9o'clock, finish @3o'clock, eyes on the ball, hip turns, arm pit closed".....locked!...hope I don't miss anything...then kaboom! will be beautiful again.