Mar 23, 2006

am i greedy?

greedy chinese? lazy malay? sneaky indian?

just last week, my younger cousin brother started his journey into the National Service programme. He phoned back to his mom and he cried. Not pitifully, but in a way, very bored and annoyed, mainly because there are only 1 chinese in his group/dorm.

isn’t this is just plain racism?

here’s part of a survey done…

… According to the survey, 58 percent of Malays, 63 percent of Chinese and 43 percent of Indians polled agreed that ”in general, most Malays are lazy.”

Meanwhile, 71 percent of Malays, 60 percent of Chinese and 47 percent of Indians agree that ”in general, most Chinese are greedy.” Sixty-four percent of Malays, 58 percent of Chinese and 20 percent of Indians agreed that ”in general, most Indians cannot be trusted.”….

sad but true… is there a solution?

Mar 21, 2006


yes, life pretty laidback. i need to start reading some academic books.

tomorrow’s the interview with SPA. pretty boring tonight.

here i am at cyber cafe of the college, browsing through internet for places of interest, for my holiday trips plus chatting through MSN.

can’t help it but heard some amusing discussion by 1st year juniors sitting beside me. they are actually talking very loud, discussing about problems encountered in their CFCS program visits.

"language barrier, i tak tau cakap inggelis" (for goodness sake, first year medical student, almost finishing first year, having trouble speaking english to a layperson)

"kita diserang monyet" (what does this have to do with your visit?)

"bandit, crook, robber…" (i’m not sure where she’s going, but this does not sound like CFCS, more like an adventure to me)

Mar 20, 2006

exam: before and after



stack of notes in study room



good luck note from junior




Fa guo shan (Flower Fruit Mountain, literally), famous temple in Johor (superb!!)



grandma took the bus here, together with mom, of course



purple arrow: tortoise pond

red arrow: bathroom with spring water, refreshing and cool. Each bathroom is being tagged with good wishes such as good health, great wealth, all the best, safe journey, and etc (in mandarin, of course)



bowling at 1 Utama (eh what happen to fooji… oh, he’s the cameraman)



crouching tiger hidden dragon? the post-throw defecating-like stance that made king chong the winner, spinning me out of the race



the final score - King Chong is the real KING for the day…



post-exam dinner with buddies..



post-exam post-dinner foosball



post-exam pre-result pork lunch with "chu yok" gang

Mar 16, 2006



it’s late midnight. I pinch myself. Again. and again. and again.

the reality of things somehow seems pretty fiction to me.

Just came back from the graduation dinner (or better known as graduand* night). Kind of cool dinner. Coolest ever, i guess. This D&D (dinner and dance) actually have the dance component in it. Dancing was cool, as you can actually dance with all our profs. I really couldn’t imagine all this happening before my eyes. Sitting up, typing my resume for my interview next week with SPA Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam, and at the same time, enjoying myself with the series House MD - superb show. I didn’t write much that night.

thinking back, this afternoon was a total havoc. dean will be announcing the results of our final exam. we were all told to gather around 10am after receiving an SMS asking us to go to DK3 at once. we did just that, and we all ended up waiting 2 hours.

1225pm: Don Ismail aka the don (our class leader): "why don’t we all go for lunch and come back 2pm"

lunch at college was not fun. so i followed Pravin for a great meal of "chu yok" (the amazing pork) at taman megah. the shop actually have pork burger as well. before my first bite, my nokia 3330 made the usual squeal. big well-nourished body of the dean had finally dropped an anchor into podium of DK3. the "chu yok" convoy rushed through our meals and got our butt into DK3 as swift as possible. But I was late, too late. obviously. My name had already been called upon.

"I passed"

the reality of things somehow seems so fiction to me. this is indeed a great blessing.

Thanks dad, thanks mom, thanks Profs, Drs, and my colleague.

*yes, this word does exist, surprisingly




Thursday - taking the Hippocrates oath, a mini convo at our faculty


from them, i received the 46XY and the unconditional undying love.



one of my close friend - Dr. KC Chieng aka Lau Pan (the boss)

u blog?

copied totally from wei shyong

Blogging and its codes of conduct?

I hate writing long posts. One, it takes time. Two, no one reads them. Compared to short, picture-filled posts which create a direct and instant impact on readers, long posts seem dreary and never-ending.

Yes, despite the just-mentioned dislike, I am still about to embark on a tedious task of writing a long essay, because I feel it is necessary. It is about my view of the ethics of blogging. Just breathe normally and read on.

I was lying comfortably on the couch watching a debate/discussion about blogging and its ethics on TV earlier that day. My exhausted mind was not in at all in the mood for serious thinking after a day of packing (as I am going overseas) and reading (to take an exam while I am overseas). I was rather hoping for some slapstick humour, an action movie or a variety show on TV. But the blogging topic caught my eye, as I just started writing an online journal myself about a month ago. Maybe I really should have stuck to watching Fear Factor involving the playmates.

Anyways, the discussion about blogger’s ethics raised more questions than answers. And it got me thinking nevertheless. Because blogging is a very transparent and penetrative activity, with governing rules barely established, it acts as a double-edged sword which can do as harm as it does good to the masses.

Transparency and Penetration
Being transparent means there are no rules nor limits with regard to the content the blogger wishes to publish to the world. Be it a highly informative piece of advice, a humorous joke, daily happenings in life, innermost feelings, pornography, foul language etc. No censorship board exists other than the blogger’s own. And this is scary, for no one can ever stop the blogger. I am just concerned that some people having so much power in their hands, keyboard and mouse might start abusing that privilege. I myself not excluded.

Penetration means anyone in the world, be it a 5- or 6-year child, a teenager, an adult, an elderly, of any profession, who has internet connection and no proper firewall settings can access the pages written by bloggers. So parents think their children are well-protected behind thick brick walls, but are they aware of the possible evils the bits and bytes of the internet cable are bringing to their homes?

I am not a saint. I commit mistakes as much as the next person. I don’t plan to lecture on morals. And I can’t change the world all by myself. I am brought up in a family which values a stringent set of rules. I believe total freedom leads to anarchy and total chaos, and don’t envision a future in which the world would have no criminals nor policemen. To me, men are like highly civilised monkeys just waiting to break the rules. Few achieve true enlightenment and become real men. But the rest of us are easily swayed towards acting on basic instincts, and do not think clearly many a times. Some rules and guidelines, I feel, are necesary to maintain the integrity of good blogging and for the betterment of mankind on the whole.

Let’s talk about the blogger. What is his/her motive for blogging? Noble reasons would be to get to know more friends, share information, spread laughs, vent frustrations, let out misery… Basically trying to make the world a better place for oneself and others? If you are a blogger, never forget why you started blogging in the first place. That initial innocence and excitement. That untainted life force in you eager to share how things through your eyes look like. And not just because of the fame and number of hits your webpage can generate. 10K hits per day, so what? Never trade honesty and your gift in expressing well in words for what the masses want to read. Never sell yourself cheaply. And please have some maturity and responsibility when writing. Otherwise put in a disclaimer. Because you never know when you are misguiding someone, especially when that someone is a child.

The audience should also take responsibility for what they choose to read. Parents and teachers should advise accordingly, especially to young impressionable minds. Certain really harmful sites should be banned or sent a warning to tone down or alter the content or language, governed by a community of well-reputed bloggers and members of the public.

Blogging is a fun thing to do. It gives me, the blogger, the chance to express myself to the world, connect with friends, and pass on knowledge to others. But it can also be easily abused. Can I be the sensible and responsible blogger and you the smart and discerning reader? Let us work towards a better blogging tomorrow!

<pilo-speaks> Am I the sensible and responsible blogger and you the smart and discerning reader?

Mar 12, 2006

man with balls

cheers for such a thought-provoking letter… & The Star for publishing it…

An open letter to Mustapa

Dear Sir,

Firstly, allow me to congratulate you on your new posting. It must be said though that you are not to be envied, for you are now faced with a Herculean task.

But, where are my manners? You have no idea who I am. I could be a complete nutcase.

Well, I’m an academic in a Malaysian public university. Which some people might consider a nutcase, anyway. But I’m very proud to be an academic.

It’s a noble profession, and it matters not that my students earn more than me within a few years of graduating and that little children run screaming from my hideously outdated clothes. It’s a calling to be an academic, and I care passionately about it.

That is why I’m writing to you. You see, there is much that is wrong with our universities and much that can be done by the Ministry to put things right.

You may not believe that my one purpose in writing to you is the improvement of our institutions, but let me assure you, we true academics (as opposed to wannabe politicians in lecturers’ clothes) don’t have hidden agendas.

Over the past few years, there has been this mantra chanted by the Government and university leaders: “We want our universities to be world-class universities.” Unfortunately, this mantra does not have any explanatory notes, so we don’t really know what “world-class” means. However, let us assume that a world-class university has the following:

  • Graduates who are employable, not only here but also abroad;
  • Academic staff who are respected worldwide;
  • Research and publications that are recognised by reputable international journals/publishers;
  • An academic programme that is recognised worldwide;
  • An academic atmosphere that can attract quality national and foreign students and staff.

If we accept these criteria as valid, what then can be done to achieve it?

Universities are not hampers

Universities are not rewards to be handed out. It has happened in Terengganu and the same has been promised to Kelantan. “Vote for us and we will give you a university.”

This may make political sense, but it does not make any academic sense. A lot of planning is needed to ensure that the resources are sufficient to create a university of quality.

Malaysia is not a very rich country – we can’t afford petrol subsidies, for goodness’ sake – and we definitely can’t afford to stretch our limited economic and intellectual resources to build universities in such a blasé manner.

Universities are not fast-food joints

They should instead be high-class restaurants. Universities have to be elitist in order to produce quality research and graduates.

An elitist university means that only the best candidates are taken in as students and only the best staff are hired. Classes and exams can then be pitched at a higher standard.

Furthermore, the resulting smaller student numbers mean seminars and tutorials can be truly conducive to discussions, and lecturers will have less of a teaching burden in order to concentrate on research.

This is not to say that higher education as a whole must be elitist. There are other forms of higher education institutions that can cater to school leavers who don’t make the cut, such as polytechnics and community colleges.

If you love your universities, you must set them free

Academics and students must be free to think and to express themselves.

Yes, I understand that this is Malaysia and freedom is seen as a dirty word by some, but without it, there is little hope of achieving “world-class” universities.

Intellectualism cannot grow in a repressive atmosphere.

We all know that in this country, there are many laws that restrict our freedom to express ourselves, but the irony is that for lecturers and students there are additional laws levelled at them.

You must be aware of the University and University Colleges Act – that wonderful piece of legislation designed to ensure that university students are little more than secondary school pupils.

You may not be aware, however, of the Statutory Bodies Discipline and Surcharge Act which affects academics who are the employees of statutory bodies.

According to this law, we can’t say anything for or against government policy without getting ministerial permission first.

Now, this may be all right for a mathematician quietly thinking up new formulae with which to calculate the possibility of Malaysia ever qualifying for the World Cup.

But for social scientists, it is akin to having the Malaysian football team play football without using their feet (which is perhaps something that they do anyway, looking at previous results).

The simple fact of the matter is that universities should first and foremost be the birthplace of ideas and original thought, discussion and debate, and this can’t be achieved with such laws hung around our necks.

And in case you’re worried that greater freedom will make our campuses hotbeds of radicalism, please let me put your fears to rest.

The number of students in this day and age who really care about matters beyond Akademi Fantasia is very small indeed.

Most students just want to graduate and as quickly as possible get into debt to pay for their three-bedroom flat and Proton Waja.

Universities need Mandelas

If there is one thing that Malaysian universities need, it is good leadership. And by a good leader, I mean a Vice-Chancellor who has the qualities of an outstanding intellectual, manager and diplomat, who can ensure that academic principles are paramount, not political expediency.

That promotions are given based on merit, not patronage. That students are treated like adults, not children. And finally, that the university is run on the highest ideals of civilisation and intellectualism, not self-aggrandisement and base toadying.

An outstanding academic leader, someone who can efficiently organise the place, represent the institution with dignity and command the respect of those working under him, or her, is a rare creature indeed.

To seek out such a person, may I suggest that the search committee your predecessor was talking about be made a reality.

This search committee, however, must be independent and transparent. It must not be hiHndered by any political agenda and must instead pick the candidates based on ability – and ability alone. Factors such as race, creed, gender and nationality should not be a consideration.

Perhaps we’d like to take lessons from elsewhere. Oh, before you think I’m suggesting a “study trip” abroad (with the usual sightseeing and cultural diversions), let me make it clear that I think the taxpayers’ money need not be wasted in such a fashion. After all, writing an e-mail is probably all you need to do to get the necessary information.

You may wish to start with New Zealand universities. I say New Zealand because the VC of Auckland University was recently poached by Oxford to be its Vice-Chancellor. The first non-English VC of Oxford since, well, since forever.

Now, that’s world-class, don’t you think? And from a country much smaller than us where the sheep outnumber the humans. Amazing.Well then, Sir, I think I’d best sign off now. You must have loads to do. Oh, before I forget, if you want to lighten the workload of your officers, may I make a last suggestion?

Why don’t you just leave the day-to-day running of the universities in the hands of the universities? I bet the Ministry has enough on its plate without having to decide about trivial things like professorial promotions and the approving of leave for academics to go to conferences and holidays overseas.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my letter. Good luck with your endeavours. Until next time, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Dr Azmi Sharom is an associate professor of the Law Faculty of Universiti Malaya

Mar 10, 2006


Final exam is finally over(pun intended).

Relieved? Song le yi kou qi? (loosen one breath? mandarin). More or less, I would say that I song le 0.8 kou qi. (+ 0.2 after my result)


Only one part of exam kept haunting me. That’s my long case.


Regrets. Not really, I had tried my best, I worked hard for it. Perhaps it is just luck that I had a poor historian as my patient. That’s the reality of life, i guess. Almost 80% of patients in the ward is considered to be poor historian, or else we won’t see those familiar words listed in the medical continuous sheets - trace old notes. Remind me of the famous hokkien song "Ai pneah chea eh eah"(Diligence will bring victory) - sar hun ti zu tia, chit hun kor pak pneah. (30% decided by the one above, 70% depends on striving)


It kept haunting me 24/7 but luckily it did not affect my short cases much, which was held at the late evening 4:50pm on last day of exam. I was in the last 2 group. Guess, I got so bored, so tired, so fed up of waiting and seeing all my coursemates one by one going off to holiday, that I could not wait to get in the exam hall and finish up. I did finish up well. Glad.


To all my friends, all my beloved mittas, my cute buddies, my medical compatriots and my dearest, thanks for the ‘good luck’ wishes and all the cheers.


And also thank you to all professors and lecturers for organizing this final exam for us. CHEERS TO YOU ALL!!


Another good news: my dear friend, mamat is no longer available and he chaperoned his gf to visit his room in the dorm, too. happy for him and his gf. they look like a lovely cute couple. soooooooooooooo cute!! (please don’t hate me for this comment, fooji!!)

This weekend going to be a great one - weekend escapade with my mom and grandma coming to johor.

Mar 3, 2006

first day in final

it’s the fun fun OSCE exam… everyone running around…

making a fool out of ourselves in front of lots of professors…

i did fumbled a bit, but generally, it felt great after the whole test…

and there were lots of funny stories to share, as I was ardently eavesdropping on the on-going of other stations and I was well-prepared before I reach that station.

one thing for sure…

prof christina organizing this whole mammoth events is not easy…

coordinating between so many departments…

highest praises for her