Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Just a little bit closer...USM!

At last an utterance from Tan Sri VC of USM . . . on the issue of the erroneous acceptance list of 4574 students on May 30th.
Just a little bit closer, but not quite there yet . . . The response from the CEO in NST today, June 30th, was that although they had finished investigations, USM is 'not going to hang them immediately because they had also contributed a lot to the university'.
What on earth does that mean? Hang them? I should hope not!
It still goes back to taking responsibility of the ship . . . the Captain should lead the sailors to safety first, and then if unavoidable, go down with the ship. . .

Monday, 29 June 2009

Developing the right brain...

These days when one has time to ponder, I wonder if we have got it all wrong?

We beat ourselves up silly through 12 years of schooling, 4 to 10 years of tertiary education, work our butt off for organisations who do not really care and then retire and come to the realisation that we had only been using half our brains for more than half of our lives. A blissfully ignorant majority remain happy with their achievements or under achievements, as the case maybe.

Conventional education only focuses on left brain development; from the logical, objective, rational and analytical. It looks at parts rather than the whole. The right brain involves higher functions of intuition, holistic synthesizing and the subjective. Throw in creativity, imagination and feeling, you get the softer side of the human being.

From a medical view point, I can add that at least the medics did try to get it right with problem-solving approaches to learning, synthesising diagnosis and treatment from holistic good medical practice and sharpening intuitive skills along with creative ones. The only critique would be; how true is the implementation in doctor factories of today.

How many times have we come across people in our lives who are overtly unimaginative, insensitive, lack compassion and regularly prove inability to problem-solve.

We are governed by Peters who have no principles and do not have a creative bone in their body. Too harsh?

Perhaps it takes a whole life time to realise certain simple facts about life.

Try this. Its not as easy as it looks . . .

Right brain development requires exercise just like any part of the body.

Some have the gift, which recognised early and further developed can lead to great works.

But to get from here . . .

. . . to here will take practice.

The National Art Gallery in Jalan Termeloh, KL is doing a good job of addressing this niche area, painstakingly nutured by a local artist. Too bad only the expatriate community is taking advantage of it.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Bali Dreams II

Breaking from the holiday mode, the intrepid travellers, now joined by another adventurous pair, the only difference being they are still in the child-raring phase, decided to check out the Bali real estate market - villa viewing! Encouraged by the drastic drop in real estate everywhere, this fact had to be verified by this team. Imagine waking up every morning to this organic view beside padi fields in a quiet part of Bali. . . . and this facing you in your king-sized four poster bed in the en suite master bedroom.

Escape Villa complex surrounded by padi fields and blue skies.

A last longing look at the environs of this dream villa.
The next few properties had something missing; either great bedroom views but bad structural design or bad views and even worse construction quality. Even with a soft property market the prices were not inviting.
Moving on, we are told that this house belongs to an 80's pop star who is in the red! The house is rustic with a lived-in feel sitting on a generous-sized land area . . .
. . . surrounded by padi fields. What is most impressive is the high level of maintenance that is evident in the better villas. Luscious well-groomed garden, Balinese veranda and open-air bathroom.

Just Googling 'Bali villas for sale' you get 13,800,000 hits and our agent, Ian (resident in Bali since 1997) from the UK tells us that there are 64 real estate agents in Bali fighting over the same turf.

Finally the creme de la creme of super villas - Layar, or so goes the marketing blurb. The interior design of clean lines and woody finish are contemporary and impeccable in taste. The variety of outdoor bathrooms have been a feast for the eyes - all Conde Nast stuff.

The journey ends with thoughts of a second visit to view more villas in the near future. Major issues to consider in buying property in Bali or anywhere in Indonesia is that the property would have to be bought under the name of an Indonesian nominee (whatever that means?). The agents flick this off when questioned as 'its normal', 'done all the time by expat buyers' and the 'lawyers know what to do'. The later statement itself is enough for the more discerning Asian buyer to view this some amount of apprehension.

All said and done, the fun was in the chase . . .

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Bali Dreams I

The visit to Bali for a couple of birthdays turned out to be a trip with a difference. The long trek up to Tembok, on the northern coast of the island took more than five hours through scenic villages, terraced padi fields and local culture. The roads were surprisingly roadworthy and although narrow, traffic flowed smoothly enough. I compared this to our drive to Agra from Delhi in a jaunty white Ambassador four-seater, where being stuck behind a bullock cart pregnant with dried grass was a test of patience for the passengers more than the driver.
Tembok was like a diamond in the rough. The peaceful ambiance was a trademark of YLT resorts. Peaceful being the operative word - no children, no TV and no computers. An IPod docket is provided in the rooms for the trendy. Perfect for honeymooners, of which there several pairs from India, Europe and China, the new profile of today's travellers who seek a different experience. Beach-front cabana's draped in white linen would be the perfect setting for an intimate cuddle for lovers. The spiritual merges with the physical and then becomes one with nature on black sanded beaches - idyllic personified. Dusk brings on a different mood . . . the golden glow spreading from the skies on to the sand and pebbles in one fluid sweep, like an artist executing a water-colour wash. . . . one merging into the other. . . hand in glove. As if by magic the 'kechak' monkeys make their appearance, and beckon the spirits to be kind to lovers and protect them from ogres and demons.
While the night is still young, a gentle man, is already in slumber mode oblivious of cosy cabanas or starry skies. The return journey, through the central spine of the island, led us to an imposing view of an active volcano, Mount Batur.
Back to urban culture, the local flavour melts into international pop themes . . . But it is all good, and all things are relative - so it is said . . .

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

USM admissions bungle 2009

After the elation of having been selected as the first Apex University in the country (accelerated programme for excellence), USM's bungle in the 2009 admissions is really like falling face down on the apex of a turd!
Surely, this being the first opportunity for direct intake by a University, rather than by Big Brother UPU, some sort of effort should have been made to ensure no fouls ups?

Statements from the Deputy Vice Chancellor of USM saying "they will get to the bottom of this", "technical error" and "sorry" doesn't really cut it.

The resposibilty lies solidly on the shoulders of the Vice Chancellor as this admissions exercise is a major milestone in higher education autonomy. The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs comes in as a close second, and the Registrar, the third in line, for the administrative execution, or in this case mis-execution.

How does an Apex university mix-up the figures 3,599 and 8,173 ? Close supervision and stringent SOP were obviously not instituted. Discovery of the error only some 24 hours later is nothing short of incompetence! Did none of the afore-mentioned executives bother to check the uploaded list? Obviously not.

In ISO terms this is a major non-compliance or NC of the biggest kind. I wonder if this resonates with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)?

Of course it is human error! Its not an act of God, turbulence or a Tsunami!! It is plain old sloppy work which is becoming the norm...

And what of the 4574 students and concerned parents?

Hey Malaysia, wake up lah! Get with the program man!

Monday, 1 June 2009

This May with Baby Mei

Baby Mei came to visit in May......with mummy...
...and Daddy...and his videocam. ...Drank lots of water 'cos it was hot... ...Played "where's it gone?"...(English et French accent?!?) ...the ball, that is, with a new found friend Hanie... ...swam in the pool with lots of sunblock (plethhh!) for that peaches and cream complexion...
...even in the rain.
...Played 'monkey on my back'... ...and 'how long can his hands stretch' for about 2 minutes!... ...Concentrating on the job at hand...Its hard work being cute you know... "Here's looking at you kid"... I said enough already!

~The End~