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Archive for November, 2008

I call it the highest decision-making council for issues concerning students welfare in UPM. Enacted in AUKU in year 2002, at last in is now a reality. But you may ask? What is so important about this committee? In layman terms, it’s where all the most important issues regarding students welfare are discussed and decisions made.

The members of the committee are:

  1. Dato’ Suriah (Chairman of the committee, one of the members of the Board of Directors)
  2. Naib Canselor
  3. Timbalan Naib Canselor (Hal Ehwal Pelajar dan Alumni)
  4. Pendaftar
  5. Bendahari
  6. Pengerusi Jemaah Dekan
  7. Pengerusi Jemaah Pengetua
  8. Yang Dipertua MPP UPM
  9. Ketua BHEP sebagai setiausaha

The powers of the commitee as stated under P.U. (A) 106/97 are:

  1. menimbang semua perkara yang berkaitan dengan hal ehwal pelajar bagi menasihati Lembaga Pengarah Universiti, Senat dan Pihak Pengurusan Universiti mengenainya;
  2. menyediakan polisi berkaitan dengan pinjaman dan bantuan kewangan kepada pelajar yang patut menerimanya dan juga mencadangkan penubuhan tabung amanah untuk kebajikan pelajar;
  3. mencadang Kaedah dan Peraturan-peraturan mengenai tempat tinggal untuk pelahar Universiti dan menjaga kebajikan mereka;
  4. mencadang Kaedah dan Peraturan-peraturan mengenai tatatertib pelajar; dan
  5. mencadang penggubalan satu dasar kebajikan pelajar yang merangkumi aspek pembentukan sahsiah, persekitraran pembelajaran yang kondusif, kemudahan pengangkutan dan perhubungan, pemakanan, kesihatan, keselamatan, rekreasi dan riadah.

So what important decisions have been achieved on our first meeting today?

  1. Book plan policy stays but the amount is refundable at the end of year should students wish to purchase their books elswhere.
  2. Affirmative action would be taken to ensure Desasiswa follows the basket price set by ILC-UPM.
  3. Bendahari would examine and undertake feasibility studies in upgrading Kolej Serumpun.
  4. Important student welfare issues which are discussed in ‘Persidangan Pemimpin Pelajar UPM’ would be brought up to the committee.

I won’t disclose other matters in the meeting as confidentiality and professionalism comes into play in meetings but nonetheless, it’s a good start.

Hence my future successors do have a clear straight path in voicing out their opinions. Welfare issues which could be settled at the administrative level (Colleges, BHEP) can be carried out by secretariats, MTM, units appointed by MPP while issues which needs special attention by the university management would be voiced out by MPP in the Jawatankuasa Kebajikan Pelajar.

As the foundation is laid down, it’s up to my successors. More power and trust are given to MPP, the more responsibilities are on your shoulder. At last, I could not agree more that MPP is an important player as a student representative, clearly stated in this committee.

Hence, the voice of student welfare significantly lies on the shoulders of MPP and it is with great hope my successors would carry out their duties diligently with integrity and neutrality.

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Perhaps this will be my first time revealing my ups and downs as an MPP. It was during my previous meeting with UPM Bintulu Student Leaders when I was addressed all the problems faced by the students. The situation that night was crucial, it was as if the students were powerless. On the other hand, certain officers reminded me that the students are young as they are in their diploma, thus immature. However claims from both sides, I was skeptical and would not pass down judgement on anyone.

bintulu

The problems were every problems faced by the students in the main campus at Serdang. From lack of academic equipments to beauracracy problems to student-officer relationship, as much as we the students in Serdang had, the Bintulu students shared similarities.

This time around I made it a point to cut the whole trip like the previous MPP did as changing it into a 2 days, one night working trip, tightly packed with schedules and meetings and only my SU and I were involved. It was strictly business. Nothing personal.

As usual, it was my job as an MPP to address the problems faced by the students. I was elected, appointed according to the laws drafted in the Malaysian parliament and I act according to my provision. Should I stop addressing the problems faced by students, then when do you call me? A puppet? Nay. Nay will my reign our team be called puppets. Be it anyone, I execute my duties be it hatred comes apart as it is my responsibility.

But I was shocked. Bintulu at this time is a no critism land. It was as if it was not right when I started discussing with the officers and deputy deans on problems faced by students. We look for discussions and solutions. Even I myself made it a habit, should I do wrong, I apologize and be it. Solve it. Not find other reasons or find people to put the blame. It was as if there was room to voice your opinions but no room for solutions.

But again I was wrong. It was not the ‘deputy dean”s fault. It was another problem with organization. Political and positional power made them become such.

And again another surprise occured. During my way back we paid a visit to the ‘acting dean’, which so happened to be the deputy dean of academic in Bintulu. I must say I was insulted. How could such a question being directed upon me saying “who gave me the permission to come to Bintulu?”. I replied, look at the Vice Chancellor’s letter, we are here approved and endorsed. And yet she replied sarcasticly saying that I came into the house and did not paid a visit to the master.

One thing crossed my mind. Between the administrators and our MPP, we had always shared good relations with all, be it pengetua of the seventeen colleges, TNC, VC and Deans even with the previous Board of Directors Chairman. We believe students and officers come hand in hand in university development just like wat Dato’ Nik Mustapha said to me when I asked on the student’s contribution in UPM’s APEX plan. He replied by assuring us that students were vital and important plus the other TNCs supported that with their explaination. It was none other for the betterment of UPM. But we just couldn’t believe my ears when this lady treated our goodwill gesture with total disgrace and disrespect.

Was it fear? Most probably. I heard too many gossips about our trip coming down here to the campus. Nonetheless, as far as I was concerned, I was doing my job. U can flame me now, but you have to remember that in the next 20 years,  we will be inheriting the leadership of the country.

Such are the challenges for student leaders. And lesson for those in the future. As for my future successors in MPP, remember that Jawatankuasa Kebajikan Pelajar UPM is already in full fledged operation under AUKU. Chaired by the members of Board of Directors, all student problems should be addressed. The next YDP should be addressed as stated in the clause as ahli Pihak Berkuasa Universiti. Not your seek permission to come to your place.

So ‘watch out’. Either be diplomatic, sit down and discuss it together, or get a show cause letter from your superiors.

Such is life when we are getting things accomplished with intellectual discourse, flamed by hatred or afraid of losing face to their superiors.

A glimpse of my life as a student leader. Sigh.

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What is Aikido?

Take a look at this Aikido clip below. It is a demo by Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan. Such splendid timing and readiness of ki. I’ve seen it when I was young during the demo of undisclosed Silat Batin, then the powers of qi by Qi Gong masters, Tibet masters and the masters of Systema from Russia. Is it merely magical or a knowledge in physics we do not possess?

Looks like the opponent is faking it? Read on based on my experience.

Layman terms: ‘Ai’ means love. ‘Ki’ means internal energy /spirit / love. ‘Do’ means way.

Then what makes this art so special? Is it the gracefulness of O~Sensei or the lightning fast techniques of Steven Seagal? Or is it the solidness of Christian Tissier Shihan?

I have no idea, but to grasp the spirit of Aiki is not easy. When I first started Aikido back then when I was 13, I was puzzled nor interested with Aikido yet my father insisted. But then I became an addict when I was 14.

Yet at such a young age I see Aikido not more than just a fighting technique. I knew how to make my shoulders limb and brought strong opponents down but I was missing something. My ikkyo / ikkajo was hard. It did not share the rythm or my partner nor blend in with my spirit. It was downright force.

Then it changed when I conducted experiments with my friend, Naim (1st Dan as of July 2008). We noticed timing, centeredness and blending with the opponent’s force and extension of gravity deeply changed our ikkyo. It was downright without resistance.

Oh dear, almost 10 years into Aikido and as I climb the ladder, so many things I do not know!

I was a non believer of ki. But when we did it right with timing and etc., effortless was inevitable. For now I know Aikido is not just an art, it’s life itself. I may not now what ‘ki’ is nor could teach anyone of it. But I seek refuge from Allah s.w.t., for it is true we are bestowed with the power of mind, unexplainable from just our current knowledge.

So what am I missing? I have no idea, but my feelings tell me Aikido will always be one with me till death comes to pass.

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I’m worried of ‘mahasiswa’

1. Poyo. Certain people will call me that because of this post. Nonetheless since I have been in developing character errands since my appointment as Za’ba College President in 2006, I couldn’t feel more sentimental on these issues. Today is my last day of my finals, my last exam, I’ll be going for my practical at Horwath Malaysia this December and would not be in any kuliah anymore (most probably kalo xamik masters).

2. Yet as the curtain of lectures draw to a close, I feel worried. Extremely worried.

3. For the past few years, as I lead one team to another, we have been striving to change the landscape of UPM students ‘critical thinking’. And I admit we failed. Even if we succeeded, the numbers are too insignificant.

4. I admit, I am nowhere near 4.0, I had to sacrifice and settle for 3.0-3.5 cgpa as a result of my curiousity in entering and managing the problems of the university. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t trade the experience I earned all these years with anything. It wasn’t about being active, but sacrificing your youth life with meetings, conferences and errands which run daily. That was my life for the past 3 years and a half. I was a workaholic. It was completely different than being a society president.

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But.. Get to the point. What am I worried about? Here goes….

5. Us. We. I’m worried of students that have graduated and still doing their studies. Our recognition. Our critical thinking. Our capabilities. Our achievements. Our competing spirit. What the society thinks of us. Knowing that we are unable to compete & keep up with the pace of globalization.

6. These words are still widely used: “UPM? Oh universiti pertanian tu?” It’s not that I do not value agriculture but one day hopefully agriculture will be one of my businesses but the perception of society that we are of second class.

7. When they hear, so where are you studying? “UPM”. They replied, “Oh.” Should you say Malaya University, they’ll say, wahh.. pandai ar u. If you tell them you’re studying in UK, they’ll say, “you’ll have a bright future.” If you say you are studying in Harvard or Cambridge, they’ll say “sejuk perut ibu mengandung kat dia, anak dia berjaya betul.”

8. Looking into the future, imagine how proud your children will be when they know you come from UPM. Or maybe they’ll be proud if you come from Cambridge?

10. I’m not denying that certain people feels that being a ‘mahasiswa’ is already a big accomplishment as their siblings did not make it to the university, I congratulate you for your success, but I send my regretful regards as you are being taught like school children not like a university student.

11. Why do I say this?

OUR SYSTEM CRITICIZED BY EMPLOYERS

12. Perhaps it was during 2006 when I attended a meeting between Team A (Higher Education Minister, Higher Education Officials, Vice Chancellors, Deans) with Team B (CEO of companies in the financial industries) hosted by the Bank Negara Governor at Bank Negara Malaysia.

13. When a Vice Chancellor asked the reason why they won’t support or employ local students;

14. They (CEOs, presidents, directors) replied sarcasticly, “how are we going to employ your local students, they can’t speak english.” Another reply was “we run businesses, we need graduates that can contribute to our profits, if they themselves are lazy, how do you expect us to employ them?”. Another interesting reply was, “I rather take overseas students, they can think better, local students just do not have that analytical and critical skills.”

15. As a local university student there, I felt it as we were lambasted by all these generalize assumptions.

16. There was a second when I felt like I made the wrong decision when my parents suggested that I go for A-Levels in order to do my studies overseas. But it was my choice going for matriculation. Nonetheless, after being in IPTA, I never regreted a single moment.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

17. Having heard comments from employers, what is wrong with us?

18. Softskills? Presentation skills? Critical skills? Analytical skills? No sweat some of my friends said. We will learn it.

19. You can’t learn it you fool. It’s obtained through years of experience. You just can’t learn critical thinking. You need to experience it.

20. Just by jumping into activities organized by societies dosen’t mean you’ll can learn it. It depends on what you are experiencing. Being in PALAPES and MPP is two different things.

21. I blame it on the way we are taught to think.

IS IT THE MALAYSIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM?

22. Observe this. Exam orientated. That means we just care about A’s, not about getting knowledge sink into our minds.

23. When we are in primary school, we are taught to read and take exams. UPSR dapat 5A! Bagus! Pandai. And yet it’s so ironic when it was about doing workbook over and over again.

24. Come High School, SPM pulak. Go tuition and it’s not how you apply your physics nor how good your assignment is. It’s again your grades. A. You study last minute and get straight A’s means you’re good. When the fact is that you memorize the whole book.

25. Come university. We do the same. It’s our cgpa. Read and memorize our text books.

26. Wait. We are in a university. It supposed to be different. Why are we still memorizing our text books?

27. Should we as university students be able to debate theories and state our case in classes? Shouldn’t we be more than memorizing text books but churning out facts from journals and professors? Shouldn’t we be discussing with our professors the evolvement of atomic theory? Shouldn’t we be able to challenge assumptions and put forth our judgement that A can be a B? Shouldn’t we be the mahasiswa that have all the facts in mind?

28. Or are we sitting in our lecture halls keeping our mouth shut and let our lectures do the talking? Or are we the ‘mahasiswa’ that has little in our minds but speak as if we know everything in the world?

29. How have we changed!

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

30. Student leaders need to educate freshies the methods of studying in the university. The academia loving culture. Not orientation nor that and this. That is important but what is much more of importance is the culture of being a university student.

31. MPP should play a role in exposing and teaching newborn university students on ‘how to study’. How to actually read journals rather than memorizing text books. How to cherish assignments as projects to get deeper knowledge not just mere ‘additional marks’ for exam.

32. For the university, Student Centered Learning should be changed into small groups. I din get as much knowledge as I did in lectures. But I got more and learnt more on my own when we had to present and send reports every week. Yes I learn so much that way. Thank you Dr. Zul, Puan Shabnam, Dr. Hasri.

33. As university students we need to write articles and get in depth, not just learn and bring the culture of study last minute.

34. I’m not saying I don’t practice it, but on certain occassions it is better to train new students. It’s much easier that way.

UPM TODAY

35. We are nowhere in the Top 200 universty, nor recognized by the Nobel Foundation.

36. To ensure UPM has a better name and be recognized as the best requires the work of all.

37. It’s not just the students, but the mindset of the officers that feel they have superiority should change. Students and officers have their duty.

38. Will I be proud of my UPM as much as I am proud of my Victoria Institution and all its’ glory?

39. Maybe one day, perhaps one day, I could finally see UPM shine as one of the best universities in the world….

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Let me make it clear today that during my tenure as President in MPPUPM, I do not support nor hold any affiliations to any political parties, let it be from Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.

We have agreed in our meeting in MPP of such policies and we practiced it by not encouraging nor establishing close contacts except with government officials only for professionalism purposes.

Even if auditors check any documents so forth during our tenure there has been no congratulatory remarks nor documents sent to any political party.

Our reason for such disassociation was to ensure our interests in attacking or issuing statements for the students’ welfare are of our own and from the students itself.

For those that accuse me of sending the documents regarding issue makanan to penasihat PKR, let me make it clear that I have never authorized nor given any instruction to do so. We do not need or appreciate any political party meddling into our MPP affairs as it effect our judgement and integrity.

For those that dare said I did such a thing, give me your name and your IC if you have the guts so that I can sue you for making an insult to my judgement.

If you don’t, I’ll see you on Judgement Day (Akhirat).

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Blind Feeders

Hearts of men,

They seek and saw their objective.

Like a straight road it leads to their destination.

For they observe their surroundings and fell in love with it.

For they stood while their destination lies decay.

For their deeds made them forget how to reach it.

For they were dancing with their own shadows.

For they were lost,

Dwindling to the end.

For hearts of men and those that choose to think, when will they realise?

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