Monday, November 3, 2014

Abstraction in Computer Science



·       If the role of computer language is to facilitate the manipulation of data, why then did Colburn argue against Ashenhurst’s proposition?


R. Ashenhurst describes information modeling as


The formulation of a model in support of information systems development. One in which information aspects of objective and subjective reality (“the application”) are represented, independently of the datasets and processes by which they may be realized (“the system”)


Colburn , on the other hand, argues that such proposition is not exactly true based on three fundamental reasons, First, the evolution of programming language allows both aspects of software creation to be facilitated simultaneously for better software quality; namely, datalogical as well as infological and their respective dimensions. Secondly, The distinction of infological and datalogical is gradually dissolved due to methods of data abstraction and procedural abstraction which are independent of any particular high level language and the corporation of data and information. Thirdly, the software tools for machine independent in software creation process allows programmers to think in both terms – data and information.




·       What does Colburn meant with this phrase in his conclusion:

“… the trend is towards narrowing the gap between  the infological and the datalogical [thinkings]?


Colburn sums up the chapter with the idea that in the future the gap between data and information will be narrowed due to the evolution of programming language that has resulted in the new paradigm which will dynamically support both components right from the onset of software development. This is possible through the advances in software engineering and the evolving programming languages. They will make users less burden of data and processes and empower users towards information modelers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visiting Vietnam


The border control will be closed at 5.30 pm. We rushed through for about 2 hours. It was pity to such in a hurry as the countryside was stunningly unique. This place is where they paddy grows; the paddy fields are everywhere and laid before us as long as the eyes can see. We went through so many villages and towns as I wondered the magnitude of human calamity must be so huge during the last war some 40 years ago. The border town was very busy and as we pushed through the traffics I was gradually ( in a complete subtlety) brought back to civilizations. The day was getting dark when we arrived at the immigration office. For one USD we stamped our passport out of Cambodia and said farewell to our nice  host Ustaz Loh and his family. We lug our bags over to the other side as we entered Vietnam. For one USD we stamped the passport and entered the country. The tour guide was there to take us to the hotel. The  bus ride to the city of Saigon took about two hours and during the time we were so engrossed with the tour guide telling us about the history of this place and what has brought him there.

The first thing that I noticed about this place is how everything has been more organized and in order. No doubt it is more modern and advanced compared to Cambodia. The highway is bigger and they have special lanes for motorbikes. Noticeably big portion of the highway is dedicated to motorbike users. Very nice. The red flags are everywhere to remind everyone that this is still a communist country with socialist government. But we were told not to worry that the war was over and Vietnam is so eager to bring its people to taste modernity and prosperity. The business is booming, the  tourists are coming and life seems so normal. Although I have reservations regarding all these, I really wanted to know the culture and people of this “new” Vietnam. It is very interesting to finally be here, to the place where we used to know some time ago the origin of all evils. The Vietnam War in the 70s. I was still in my primary school when the war broke out—must be about 10 or 11 years old. The waves of desperate people landing on our beaches to escape the atrocity of the war. They were finally housed at an island called Pulau Bidong. The pictures came back little by little as we approached the city center of Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City. It was late when we finally arrived at the hotel and the rain started to pour heavily but the night life of Ho Chi Minh City was definitely inviting.

The morning revealed the more exciting life of the city. The buildings were colonial from the French era I think and the famous market of Ban Than was just in walking distance. People seemed nice but since I don’t speak the language not much I could say about their hospitality. Surprisingly many can speak my language—Bahasa Malaysia in my kelantanese dialect. Very interesting indeed. We dropped by the National Library and tried to find some books on culture and history of Vietnam. Although not many books were in English, due to some government policy, the library assistants there were very helpful to locate the books that we requested. Spent the whole morning there and we discovered the long history of Champa Empire, Khmer Empire and dynasties in Vietnam dated all the way in the 12th/13th century. There was even a PhD viva in the year 1200s  during the height of Champa Empire. But the empires collapsed and disintegrated. The people scattered in the region and trickled down to the ethnic groups where they live in the remote villages. But it was an exciting experience to see how their villages are and the state of life they are living. The life in the afternoon seemed busy as we crossed  the city to search for an art museum.
 I don’t understand art very much but I think the artworks were fabulous and unique. And of course, a visit to this city would not be complete without a day out in the marketplace Ban Than. I could never imagine a marketplace can be so attractive to a tourist like me. I think we should learn a thing or two from these people. The market was  not  a pish posh shopping center; it was a regular market where you go every morning to get your house needs. It was acceptably clean where you can go in and do not feel irky or anything. No smelly fish or dead rats. It was okay and quite comfortable. It was like our pasar but cleaner. By 6.30 pm it will be closed for the day. I ordered a suit for less than 200 ringgit, delivered on time at 11 am the next morning—it suits me perfectly.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Getting into The Boom Boom Craze


….the boom boom here…the boom boom there…you senamrobik guys would know exactly  what I am talking about…that sexy  boom boom dance.
Anyway, here we are, early in the morning, in the middle of a stadium under the heavy black cloud waiting for the music to kick away the morning  blues. We are attending UiTM 1000 langkah…walking for a thousand steps. It’s not far maybe within 20 minutes we can finish those steps. But that’s not what this program is all about; it is about taking care of your body through regular exercise. As the age is catching  up, the exercise would be less of priority. Time in the office and with family seem to take all the hours of the day. At the end of it, all is left is a tired bum and a couple of squeaky legs.
We just don’t have time to work out the heart, the muscles and the bulging tummy. I registered 50 of my students and staff to join this program. I wish to sign up at least 500 of the faculty members and students but the time is not right as today is the middle of the week. Many have classes and work to do so 50 is good enough. My concern is the faculty members who really push their time to write and teach but do not spare some time to jog or do some sort of exercise. They are getting bigger tummy and bigger bum. Hopefully someday will realize my true intention to encourage their participation is for them to see the important of exercise and live a healthy life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Journey To Meet The Forgotten Children of Cambodia---The Malay Champas


We arrived around 7 am in the morning. The airport was small just like the one in KB maybe less glamorous than that. It’s simple and quiet. The immigration and custom checks were brief and we were out  and ready to go less than half an hour from the time of our landing. Outside the airport saw the chaotic morning rush just like ours; the only difference is the presence of police and the army personnel. They’re everywhere and made the trip more stressful. We went straight to the Malaysia Embassy  for a 9 o’clock meeting. It was a huge compound and majestic building; made you so proud for being a Malaysian citizen. The briefing was short but very useful in terms of security issues and emergency cases. I mean this country has gone through years of war and tribulation; we do not know whether they are ready to accept us as a foreigner on their land. I know a lot of Cambodians back in Kelantan or Shah Alam but the locals here are a bit different. They are mainly Buddhist and very religious at that. Next we went for lunch at a halal restaurant and solat at the nearby mosque. Later in the afternoon we went on a slow boat down the river and watched the sunset. Then off to our hotel somewhere in the city to get a lot of rest as for tomorrow we will have to endure a 3-hour ride to Kg Cham.


The road to Kg Cham ran through a lot of kampongs. I mean really kampong; like our kampong in the 70s. The roads were dusty and many parts left unfinished. It was early morning and people were rushing not to work or offices but to the market place. We passed through many market places just like the ones we still have in some of our kampongs.  People sitting around having breakfast, talking , chatting and negotiating. A scenery I used to be part of during my childhood. Not many schoolchildren running around; they maybe already in the class or haven’t yet leave their houses. But every where you look you will see people living a hard life, struggling to make the ends meet. We drove on to our destination; the traffic was not bad as no vehicle really  on the road. We finally arrived in Kg Cham around 10 am to the cheering of children and the kampong folks. They were waiting for us.

Although these folks have no modern amenities but they have unbelievable hospitality. Maybe we cannot communicate directly but the gestures and body language are good enough to make yourself feel at home. The kids played basketball  cheerfully although they had no real court, or real basket ball or real basket. What they had was a ball, a handful of players, a basket ( I mean laundry basket) and a field full of fun. A quick visit to the compound of the school showed how much they have tried to educate the children and the people around them. This is the effort of a few people to educate their children about Islam and practices in Islam. The innocent eyes of the small children showed us how much have I got to help them out. We could turn a blind eye on them today but the guilt for doing so would come to haunt us tomorrow and the rest of the other days. My students and I just could not do that. We would give whatever we have for them today and hope to come again in the future. When I saw the old folks with beaten faces and a hard smile; my mind went back to my aunties and uncles that died some years ago. They had the same faces and the same smile; the smile of the poor.


Lunch was served late in the afternoon and it was unbelievably superb tastes of delicious kampong cooking. I hadn’t had such a taste for a long time from the yesteryears of my childhood. It was really good. We finished the program there and rushed to the border before it closes for the day. We were heading east to the troubled place of the past , Vietnam.

Monday, October 13, 2014


trains to Brussels

on the train
After two days in Paris (two lovely days!) we headed north to Brussels. A train ride from Gare de Nord in Paris to Brussels will take about an hour. It was a smooth ride  and in no time we arrived in Brussels…and no custom check ? cross border immigration stop? I thought it was easy to move around in Europe. And people speak English more here than in Paris; but they seem not too friendly. Any way our stop will be that atomic building called (I forget the name) the place was so boring I could not even remember the name of that place. It was in the middle of a park and as we were  in  the summer , the weather was fantastic. We enjoyed the sun shades, sitting around watching the little kids playing football in the field. That’s all I did in Belgium( so much of the holiday!). the rest of us went up that atomic building I just could not bother to join them. The souvenirs were lovely only if I could get my credit card through…apparently not, I forgot the password. Well I never use my password with the card anywhere else ,London or Paris,.…but in Belgium they asked for the darn password. I left the shop without my souvenirs as my euro was not enough to cover the payment. Any way by 4 pm we were off again to the airport to catch a flight back to London.
That's the atomic building in the back and you can go up into those 'molecules'
Booringg...I just stayed outside .

Umi   in the letter O