Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phd comics

Came across this site -, which publishes comics regarding the life of PhD students.

Interesting. Even 1 month before I actually start my PhD, I'm already starting to 'feel' some of the comics. Here are some of my favourites.

1. On academic salaries, i.e. your salary prospect if you complete your PhD and then work in the academia.

2. On the life ambition of someone pursuing PhD.

3. On why people would pursue PhD.

4. On the vicious cycle that I'm already in right now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The day earth stood still...

I like the theme of the movie. Here are some of the quotes from the movie...

Human: Why have you come to our planet?
Klaatu: Your planet?
Human: Yes, this is our planet.
Klaatu: No, it's not.

Human: But, you said you came to save us!
Klaatu: No, I said I came to save the Earth.
Human: OMG, you came to save the Earth from us?

"People change on the brink of extinction"

But the ending was abrupt and disappointing. All it takes to convince Klaatu (Keanu) to change his mind is Jacob (Jaden Smith) crying in front of his father's grave?

I thought Klaatu said that the problem is us? That we, humans, cared for nothing but only for our own species. And that even among our own species, we fought. And that we must show that we're capable of change before the aliens would decide against destroying us. So when Jacob cried and when Helen (Connelly) held him in her arms didn't they do it for ...erm...our own species? Where did they show that they cared for Earth or other species?

Face it humans, we're selfish!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Applying to grad school in US or UK

Some juniors have been asking me for advice on this matter recently.

Since I've been applying to grad school for some time now and not to mention my dreaded VISA application experience, I think it's fitting for me to write a thing or two about applying to grad school in the US or UK.

Many undergraduate have a mixed feelings of fear and enthusiasm when it comes to pursuing a research degree. It is understandable because research is after all quite different from what we do in our undergraduate days. Some people prefer research, while some prefer studying text books, working on tutorials and dislike situations where what you study do not have a definite answer.

So before you embark on the (long) journey of grad school and research, let's make sure that you really know what you are up against and that you are still interested.

For grad school, especially Masters degree, there is usually two types - Taught programmes and research programmes.

Taught programmes are very much like undergraduate courses except that the content will be a bit more advance. Students who are unsure about the research interest, or have no intention to further pursue their education into research degrees, or would like to have an open, more flexible option after completing the Masters degree should opt for the taught programme. Such programmes, of course, include popular programs such as MBA.

Here, my blog will concentrate more on the latter. Research programmes are especially useful for those students who are already sure that they want to pursue a PhD degree. There are a few things one should know about research.

1. People who like Phd and research are people who like to dig deep and try to understand the roots of the problem. It is those people in the class who keeps on asking "Why, why, why?". In the industry, people are more concerned about costs and speed. The industry wants to get the design out to the shelf ASAP with as little cost as possible. Therefore there is usually little time for one to go into the very root of the problem. If Phd candidates are those that ask, "Why, why, why?" then industry people are usually people who says, "As long as it works, I don't care how." So if you like looking into problems at a more in depth level, you may like research.

2. Research could be a lonely job. Only you would know the answers to the questions in your research because if anyone else knows about it, you are either copying from them or they have already beat you to it. Even your supervisor would only be able to give you guidance, and not answers. So, most of the time, you'll be working alone.

3. Most of the things that you work on, do not have answers. Unlike in the undergraduate days when the answers are always at the back of the book, you'll have to learn to live with it, i.e. that some things just don't have answers. For those that have, you'll have to find the answers yourself.

4. The first few months could be very tiring and scary.

- Tiring, because you would have trouble understanding any bit of the journal papers you are reading. You'll start reading the reference, and then the reference of the reference, and then the reference of the reference of the reference. You'll find yourself backtracking a lot just to understand a single journal paper. This is normal. It could be weeks before you could actually proceed beyond the first paragraph of the journal paper. And this is especially true for a physical science research degree.

- Scary, because all the idea you thought was novel has already been thought of. They are either disproved, proven or work in progress. Given that thousands of people are taking Phd degrees across the world at any one instant, this is not surprising. In the end, you realised that a novel idea can only come up when you've read sufficient journal papers and understand where the trend of the research is. This is why literature review is important.

5. Doing a research degree is obviously tough. But for some, it's an intellectual challenge. And you'll find that your peers who are doing their research degree will have similar passion as you. But if you are not sure if research is for you, try the Masters degree first. The research level at Masters degree is quite enjoyable and relaxing. All you need to do is add a little transistor here and there or make a tweak here and there for your dissertation. However, at the PhD level, there is a huge quantum jump.

If you are already sure that grad school is what you want. Then these are the steps you should take now:

1. Identify the area of your research interest. The better you can narrow this down, the better it is.

2. Identify Research Centers, Universities or professors who are renowned in your research area.

- Some lowly ranked universities could be exceptionally good a a particular research area. e.g. Univ. of Southampton is not ranked top 10 in the UK but its electrical and electronic engineering research is outstanding.

3. Understand the admission process.

- This can be particularly tough as Universities have different criteria and admission process. Some can submit application online, some can't; some requires GRE, some don't; some requires 2 referrals, some requires 3; some requires TOEFL/IELTS, some don't. So you have to make sure you understand all the requirements.

- But most important of all, take note of the admission deadline! For most top ranked UK or US universities their admission deadline is usually in December of the year prior to your admission, i.e. if you are entering in Sept 2009, the deadline would be Dec 2008.

Taking the required exams and the first 3 steps mentioned above would already usually take up months. So prepare early!

4. Preparing the documents. This can be very ANNOYING.

- Usually, you'll need to send the ORIGNAL transcript, which we obviously only have one at the point of graduation. So more needs to be requested at the university registrar. And remember, it has to be in English, otherwise a certified translation would be required.

- Writing your personal statement is probably the toughest. Many Malaysians loathe this because they feel like it's writing something to boast yourself. But he/she couldn't be more wrong on this. No matter how bad your GPA is, and how bad you feel about yourself, there are always postives in yourself that you can find. The admission officer is not looking for a perfect person, but a person who is confident in himself/herself. For example, my whole life in secondary school is nothing but Chinese debate. Although I learn a lot from this activity, I couldn't pin down what exactly I have learned. I felt inferior when I wrote my personal statement. That is until I saw a personal statement written by the Stamp Club's president (yes, you hear me right. there's actually a stamp club. a club that promotes collecting stamp. yes, those stamps that you lick and paste onto your letters). Stamp Club's president obviously had little to do or learn, but the personal statement was written as though he/she could bring stars from the heaven to earth. And you know what, he/she is now in a prestigious US University. Now, I'm not asking you to lie. But one can be truthful and yet be confident of his/her own postives. e.g. you may not be able to get a good GPA, but you are always intrigued by tough questions in the exams and you are usually the only one who is able to solve that question, then this is something worth bragging about. Or if you do not get good grades because you are actively involved in multiple student acitivies or political activities, you may still make a good political science student. In short, prepare your personal statement early and proof-read it many times.

- Gettting referrees to write you a good letter is not as easy at it sounds either. Referrence letters are the single most important documents that you could submit with your application. Your referrees may take time because they may be busy and if we try to push for it too hard, chances are that your referrees may just simply write you a letter. So inform them early, and send them a kind reminder from time to time. Also, most people you approach for writting this referrence letter would usually ask you to send them a 'draft' so that they could use it as 'reference'. I'm not sure if this is right, but this is definitely common. So it has no harm if you could prepare a 'draft', just in case your referee needs it. (Note: Some Malaysians feel 'shy' to persistently bug lecturers for a reference letter, but remember it's their duty to do so. So do not be 'shy'.)

* the funny thing about applying to Cambridge is that although they are using online application, your reference letter is still submitted in written form. And what more is that you are required to send in the reference letter 3 weeks from submitting your online application. A very short time indeed. Unlike for the US Universities, your documents can arrive anytime before the admission deadline. Furthermore, after registering your online application with Cambridge, you'll be given a 'self-service' account where you can check all your application details. Again, this portal is far from being user-friendly. I just have to say that in terms of the ease-of-use of the online application, Cambridge is still quite far behind compared to the US Universities. And I do not understand why that the US Universities could do much better job at the admission process than the UK counterpart. But to be fair, Cambridge is one of the first few Universities in UK who uses online application and it started only a few years back. Whereas US has been using online application for almost a decade.

5. Search for scholarships. There are already a multitude of websites on this. The popular scholarships available are Maxis, King's scholarship (JPA), Bank Negara, Yayasan Khazanah, Chevening, Fulbright, Sime Darby, etc. The only thing that I wish to remind the applicants is that some of these scholarships are only opened for a very short period of time, i.e. 2 weeks (and they give very short notice too). So prepare all your documents and statements beforehand and check their websites/newspaper ads regularly, particularly during the months of January to April.

6. For US you can go to MACEE for more information. For UK you can go to MABECS for more information. These two organisations are very friendly and provide a lot of information about studying in the US or UK.

Lastly, I would like to say that these are just my thoughts. They may not reflect the actual thoughts of the admission officers. After all, I still did not get into Stanford (which is my first choice) despite getting (what I reckon is a) very good score for my GRE. So, the problem probably lies with my personal statement and my reference letters.

Applying to grad school was never easy. But it may be worth the effort. To some, PhD degrees are intellectually rewarding. While some of my friends pursued a Masters degree just because they wanted a break from their everyday work, or simply they wanted to experience life in a new country.Whatever the reason may be, to all those who are applying, good luck!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finally, I'm going to Cambridge

After 3 applications and 2 appeals (5 attempts in total) and dozens of 'farewells', I've finally got my UK Visa.

Yes, my friends have thrown in so many farewells for me that they lost count and lost hope. They even suggested having a farewell 'anniversary' for me since my first farewell was in April. Every time I attend a wedding dinner all my friends will stare at me for seconds and then asked, "Why the hell are you still here?". And believe me, that's the most difficult question to answer.

I was suppose to go there in April. So there is delay of 8 months. If I had not resigned from Maxis, I'd have got my stock options this October and then I'll have plenty to invest during this economic low.

But I did many things during this 8 months that I wouldn't have do if I have not resigned. I guess there is reason for everything that happens. As my previous post said, "God work in a mysterious way!".

One of the first things I did was to start this blog. When I was working in Maxis, I was so indulged in work that I did not bother about this thing called blog. I always thought that it would take up a lot of my time (and it did). But setting up my own blog wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. And as a result of this, I've met a lot of new friends. Also, I've become a frequent blog reader these days.

Secondly, I've worked as a part-time lecturer at UTAR, which gave me a glimpse into what a career would be if I ended up as a lecturer at a local university instead of a multi-national corporate.

Thirdly, I've witnessed two losses and one wins for UM debate team, which I played some part in it as one of the member of the coaching team.

I attended 'Kursus Kenegaraan' and understood first-hand what is called a govt. brainwashing session. But the friends I met there are awesome!

I've traveled to Bali and Hong Kong (again) and had a good time.

And most importantly, I've spent more time with all my loved ones.

Thank you to all of you who have been organising these farewells, and supporting me when I was sad over the failed Visa application. Also thank you to Dr. Flack and Penny Patterson from Cambridge and Siew C J for assisting my over the appeal/application with the UK Visa.

Just in case if you ask, my flight is on 6 Jan 2009.

Monday, November 24, 2008

trying your best...

God always work in mysterious ways...

If you prayed hard enough,
you might not get what you prayed for,
but you may get what is best for you.

So, as my dad always say, "Try your best, God will do the rest!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ISA and the separation of powers

It's really surprising to me that a lot of young people these days, who are politically aware, lack the history knowledge and the reasoning power to be in the politic arena. This is dangerous but not surprising since our education system pays very little attention to history that really matters. One such group are the young people advocating the use of ISA.

Very often, the advocates of ISA say that it was necessary because there will be time when we need ISA such as to apprehend communist, terrorist or religion extremist. They would further emphasizes that what is happening now in Malaysia is merely the abuse of ISA, but ISA in itself has merits and therefore we should we refrain from abolishing it. How should we justify the existence of a particular law? If a law is susceptible to abuse, should the law remain? If the law is susceptible to interpretation errors, should the law remain? If the application of the law is solely dependent on those that are in power, should the law remain?

First, let us go back in history and try to understand how our modern political structure has evolved and why such structure is the best the civilization has to offer so far.

Centuries ago, Monarchy is the dominating political structure. All the power to govern a nation is in the hands of the king. There isn't anything wrong with all the power in the world in one person's hand. In fact, history have shown that there were good leaders that used this power to the benefit of the country.

The problem is that it takes only one 'suck-up' corrupted leader to ruin the whole thing. Once this 'suck-up' leader gets hold of the power, he/she would never let go the power, undoing all the good that the previous leader had done. Simply said, such model is just not sustainable. Countries using such model are resting their fate all on one person, and knowing that a person's character is always susceptible to greed and difficult to predict, the country's fate would then be a matter of dice-throwing. For historical reasons, it is obvious now that this system fails.

Democracy, as many of us know, means that the power is in the hands of the citizens instead of the king. The elected leader should be 'of the people, by the people and for the people'. So many thought, since the power is now not in the hands of the king but in people like us, this should be good! But that is not why democracy prevails. For if the citizens, through election, has chosen a leader that has absolute power, then the situation is exactly the same as above. The only difference being the name of the leader. Instead of being called the 'king', he/she is now called president/prime minister.

Therefore it is important to introduce another concept - the separation of powers. The French philosopher Montesquieu introduced the idea that the power of governing a nation can be separated into 3 distinct groups - legislative, judicial and executive. By distributing such powers among different group of people we will ensure that no single entity will have absolute power. Through such distribution of power, check and balance will be achieved.

The important of check and balance can be understood in a more simple manner. Anyone can and will make mistakes in their lifetime. But the chances of 3 different entity of different views making the same mistake at the same time is slim. And the purpose of check and balance is to have this 'self-reparing' mechanism, to ensure that a stupendously grave mistake is avoided at the country's highest decision making.

Obviously, such system is by no means the most efficient system. Monarchy is more efficient because what the King says, the country do. No debate necessary, no discussion necessary. On the contrary, for even a single thing to move in democracy, countless debates and discussions and revisions are required. Slow, but at least it ensures that mistakes are minimised.

Recall again why historical reasons have led us to democracy and separation of powers. We would rather have a less efficient system than a system that is fast and efficient but will doom us all.

In Malaysia, our prime minister (executive) is the leader of the majority party in the Parliament (legislative) and he chooses the Chief Justice (judicial). So where's the separation? Every four years, aren't we just choosing another 'King'?

Surely, until this point you must be pondering what has this to do with ISA?

ISA gives the right to the leader of this country to capture anyone who is deemed a threat to the country. The interpretation of this 'threat' should be done by the judicial arm of the country. But in Malaysia, it's the executive. As far as ISA is concerned, it's a complete overlap of executive and judicial powers. Again, how does this differ from the Monarchy system that we once had? The 'King' or the leader of the country, has at its own discretion decides who is a threat and order the apprehension of anyone in this country.

I have no qualms on the nature of the ISA, as its initial intentions may be good. As always, initial intentions of all things are always good-natured but somehow, someway along the history, things turn sour. Such is the case for ISA too. Since the end of the emergency in Malaysia, the ISA has been numerously invoked in the name of peace for the country, but in reality it's for the self-perseverance of a certain political party. The interpretation of the law is so subjective that it is easily susceptible to abuse. Granted that no law is free of abuse, but if a law such as ISA have in the past shown to have been severely abused more than it has been properly used, should not we re-consider?

If a law is susceptible to abuse and its application to the benefit of the country is solely dependent on the good-will of our leaders, why should such a law still exist? Isn't this going back to the 'good-old' Monarchy days when the fate of a country is solely dependent on the King? Hasn't history already shown that this will not work (in the long run)?

There have been calls for the ISA to be invoked only upon approval from, perhaps, the Chief Justice of Malaysia. But where would the Chief Justice get the information/advice from? If it is from the Police or the Prime Minister or the Home Minister, the result will obviously be the same because the source of information is the same (albeit the interpretation may be different). If he/she has to go through a series of investigation to make a decision to invoke ISA, then why not go through the normal procedure of prosecution instead of ISA? If that is the case, then ISA is only ISA in its name but not in its nature, for its initial conception was to be used for apprehending a person before he/she is proven guilty.

Either way, it is clear that there isn't a need for ISA in Malaysia, at least for now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On education and knowledge

Systems and processes are there to prevent our evil;
Education and knowledge are there to bring out the very best in us.
- sl, Nov 2008


Systems, like legal systems are there only to prevent us from any wrongdoings and to maintain security. They are the fundamental, but not the pinnacle of human civilisation. Law can be made to prevent people from killing people, but only education and knowledge can make people to love other people.

Processes are there to ensure that organisations will continue to work even when there is a large flux of people coming in or going out. But education and knowledge makes us rethink our processes into better ones.

So, invest in education and knowledge. It's worthwhile.

Friday, November 7, 2008

politicians are like salesperson

I use to think that if you can convince someone, you can be a good politician.

And that if you uphold what is the truth and justice, and use reasons to convince the rest, you will get support.

Then I realised that it's impossible to convince everyone. Even when reasons are crystal clear.

Politics then become something like sales. Out of 10 people you talk to, 1 would 'buy'. You just have to reach out to more people than your competitor to ‘win'.

That probably explains why no matter how hard people is trying to fight for peace and justice, there will always be proponents of war and chaos in the world. There is always a market for the evil things in this world.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

winning an argument

"We can never win an argument when we have no common goal."
- sl, Nov 2008

"Only try to win an argument, when winning it means something"
- sl, Nov 2008

written after several heated debate with some college kids.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008










他以反问的方法说:台湾影院也可以上映三级片,难道马来西亚也可以吗?这跟媒体自由适合不适合于马来西亚是两回事儿。马来西亚不适合三级片等于马来西亚不适合台湾、美国的媒体自由吗 ?何况,我们不是在谈论着3级 片而是媒体的自由。当我们说要引进美国的媒体自由当然不会是在指这些色情方面的,而是泛指美国媒体对于正面言论与思想发表的自由空间。不要每次在人民要求自由的时候,就把自由推向极端。在我国的自由程度与绝对自由之间,尚有很大的空间。

2.张庆信那天在国会上说“媒体只是报忧不报喜”,因此建议要更好地去“监控”。那是不是说每个电视节目必须有大概一半是报喜,一半是报忧的咧?那么电视制作人不是很难做?或许说某个电台的电视节目有大概一半是以报喜为主题,另一半则是报忧可以吗?那么既然AEC已经有报喜的节目了,《身在大马》 来个报忧又何妨?况且,它也没有歪曲事实。





世界每一个民主自由的国家,不管它有没有类似《内》或《印》的法令,都会对印刷品和言论的管制。在任何一个国家,诽谤和蓄意破坏他人的新闻都要受到法律的制裁。这不是《内》或《印》存在的目的。认为没有了这两个法令, 媒体就会诽谤是一个非常幼稚的想法。




Obama wins!

Obama is the new President of U.S. of A.!!

(I have earlier declared my support for Obama here)

It took USA about 100 years since independence for Lincoln to denounce slavery.
About 200 years for Martin Luther King to 'have a dream'.
And 230 years for the first Afro-American to be President.

How long would Malaysia take to have a non-Malay Prime Minister?

Imagine, just 50 years ago, blacks in the USA have to be segregated when sitting in a public bus. Coincidentally, that's how long since Malaysia have gained independence.


written after seeing on CNN that the exit polls showed Obama won the race to be the President elect of USA

Monday, November 3, 2008

Max Payne with no 'bullet time'

I just watched the movie, starring Mark Wahlberg.

And there wasn't any 'bullet time'.

Ok, all the 80's babies who played Max Payne knew why we played Max Payne. It's because of 'bullet time'.

Max Payne without 'bullet time' is Max Pain. C'mon, why make a movie called Max Payne when you do not have the cool 'slow-the-time-and-shoot-all-the-bad-guys feature'? Without 'bullet time' it's like any other cop-criminal movie where the detective just happen to be called Max Payne'


Friday, October 31, 2008

i don't see it...

I just don't see it. I don't see how there's any future for Malaysia.

My dad told me it was like that 40 years ago. But that's exactly my point, 40 years have past and me, the next generation, have to endure the same damn thing all over again? Just when I thought the events on 308 would give a glimpse of hope for the future of Malaysia.

Razak Baginda got off scot-free. Not even prima facie was established!
Mukrhiz and many others say that our judiciary system needs no revamp.
Malays protesting a Chinese is being elected as the head of PKNS, because merely she's a Chinese and on the name of 'Ketuanan Melayu'.
Half a century into independence and non-Malay citizens are still called 'immigrants'.
People are taken into custody without trials and for reasons that are stupenduosly stupid.
Badawi is all talk and no action on reformations.

More disappointing so, I've recently spoken to a young Chinese chap who is so blinded that he really thinks everything in our country is ok and fine. All the MP in BN are kind people, street protest is bad for the country, freedom of speech is unnecessary, M'sia is democratic enough, there's no problem with our judiciary system, etc.

Maybe, I ought to be the ignorant mass. If I knew less, and concentrated on my monthly salary and house loan, I won't be that sad. That is, I have to have my finger crossed and hope that such unfairness will only hit the minority and I won't be unlucky enough to be one of it. That's the mentality of the ignorant mass anyway. They just don't bother, because it doesn't affect them now.

On the other hand, what did I ever do? Nothing. So I'm not so far off. I may be aware of such unfairness, but till now, I have yet to act upon it.

All I do is talk and vet my anger. And these days, everything that we talk about that are unpleasant to the government are deemed "sensitive".

There is a reason for everything. There is a reason why a particular issue is sensitive. Now if you put this in the shelf and say that it is sensitif therefore it is off-limits, then decades from now you would never know why you put it there in the first place.

People change. And therefore so would the issues. If you never discuss the sensitive issues, you never know why it is sensitive. It will just be a taboo, or an excuse for those in power to use it against the powerless people of Malaysia.

What's wrong in asking that in protecting the special rights of Malay, could we do it without NEP? What's wrong with seeking a way to benefit all those that are poor regardless of race, and at the same time take care of the special rights of the Malay? How is this, in anyway, challenging the special rights of Malay? (Bah! this is not the first time we heard this and I'm not the first to talk about it either. No one listens in Malaysia.)

I want to care for Malaysian, and all UMNO cares for is Malay. The former is a nation, the latter being a race. So how could I be a racist? It could only be you.

Written on the day Razak Baginda was acquitted


Upon reading news that Razak Baginda is acquitted, I can help but to get this off my chest.
And to re-think of the image of his wife outside the court, with those humungous jewelry just make me wanna puke, again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What experience can't tell us?

It is very common that people use their experience to tell us to do something.

Someone once told me, "Look, young man, until you get married you will then know how difficult it is."

My parents told me, "I eat salt more than you eat rice."

When I took on my first job in Maxis, someone told me, "I've been working here for 6 years so don't you try to tell me what to do!"

They all have one thing in common. They are trying to tell me to do something, just because they have the experience.

But having experience, doesn't mean we are right. In fact, it may blind us into believing that we are right. Thus, making us repeating the same wrong thing over and over again.

More appalling so if a MP tries to justifies his/her decision by saying that he/she has been an MP for X number of terms. Just because you've been an MP for a decade, doesn't make you any wiser. Worse, if you've been a BN MP because you've been sticking to the wrong decision for the entire decade.

If the number of terms you are an MP is any indication that your decision is correct, then Samy Velu would be the 'truth'. Then next time when he speaks, you shut up (because it's the 'truth' speaking). Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) this truth is no longer in the Parliament for this term.

If you do not agree to let Samy Velu take charge, then let's not decide everything on experience alone. Use logic and reasoning.

However, experience is not that useless. What it can tell us is when we are making decision in an ambigious situation. Where we do not know the correct answer, but we know that it lies somewhere between point A and point B. Experience will help us to narrow down the range.

E.g. If marketing tells you that 2000 people would be coming for the MATTA fair at PWTC, would 3 TRX suffice to cater for the GSM traffic? As a fresh engineer, you would try to come out with all types of calculation and engineering maths to justify your decision. But there's too many uncertainties and an exact answer is almost impossible. Experience, however, will tell that 3 TRX will not be sufficient, not in a million years. Besides, marketing's crowd estimation is always wrong.

I'm not saying experience is not important. After all, one of the biggest attack on Obama's campaign from the McCain's side is that Obama lacks experience. So yes, experience does matter, especially when it comes to a leader.

But it can also blind us. Just beware.

Experience doesn't tell us a lot of things. And the last thing it will tell us is the truth. That's the reason for 'emptying your cup', and re-learn!


just want to put a note here that i just got another attack of vertigo.
i gotta monitor how frequent it attacks.

my hunch is that it is getting more and more frequent......tumor?

ah goes on.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A better lecturer...

Today, my junior at University of Malaya told me a grim story:

Examination is just round the corner. So after days of studying, he had a list of questions which he wanted to ask the lecturer. However, as he approached the lecturer, he was told by the lecturer, "my consultation fee is MYR500.00 an hour. Are you going to pay me?" Now, to make matters worse, that lecturer happens to be the dean of the faculty.

Funny, I had similar experiences too when I was at UM. I remember during one of the class for 1-st year students on mechanics: one of the students in the class asked, "what is moment of inertia?" The lecturer simply ask the student to push the entrance door and look at how it swung. He then claimed, "that is moment of inertia! Now, if you have vacuum in your brain, please do not ask questions!".

I believe this is not an isolated case, not only in UM, but in local government universities in general.

I am not interested in what has gone wrong, but what we can do to make it right.

We need to educate these people (who is, ironically, working in the education industry). There is need for lecturers not to confine themselves to their own academic world, but to cultivate a passion for teaching as well. To respect the students as much as the students respect you.

There are no doubt some good lecturers, dean and VCs within our local universities. And whenever, these 'good' people found out that bad attitude such as the above is present, they will try to 'educate' those 'bad' people. These 'good' people will emanate an aura that will help to reduce the occurrence of events such as the above.

However, they are the minority and they can only do so much. It is quite impossible that their aura can reach each and every staff of the university to make a significant change. And most critically, good people leave more often than they come.

The key to improvement, I believe, is in setting up a system that 'automates' such an 'education', that is self-sustaining in this sense.

Leading universities in the world like Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford and MIT relies on a strong culture for this 'automation'. Whenever a lecturer behaves out-of-place, students and lecturers alike will condemn him/her because it is just not the norm in that university. Whenever a new lecturer joins the faculty, he/she will be overwhelmed by this culture that 'forces' him/her to change attitude to fit into this group of people.

We do not have such culture here.

Therefore we need another kind of 'system'. Remember those survey forms or questionnaires that we submit at the end of every course? I always wondered what happened to them. Are they processed? What bearing do they have on the appraisal of the lecturer? What if the dean is the one getting 'hit' badly by the students?

The thing is, faculties do not put too much emphasis on those surveys. They are just supplements to 'help' lecturers improve themselves. However, more often than not, the lecturers just turn a deaf ear to them.

I would like to suggest that these surveys be published to students at the notice board, just as the students' exam results would be published. So, not only the students will be judged, so will the lecturer. Lecturers have to be accountable, play their role as educators and cannot get off scot-free for intimidating students like above.

Of course, this will generally put lecturer in an unfavorable situation because students can gang up to 'score' their lecturer unfavorably low. But if the survey forms or questionnaires are carefully constructed, it can help to develop an effective communication between the lecturers and the students. The students can voice their dissatisfaction, but so can the lecturer defend themselves. And I'm sure, that if the students disliked this lecturer merely because he/she gave the student bad grades, the students themselves will be disgraced and it would instead reinstate the lecturer's pride.

It would be difficult for the lecturer if their sole appraisal is based on the surveys alone. This is because as students, they care for nothing except for getting a pass (or good grades). Previously, even as a part-time lecturer, I received numerous e-mails and calls requesting for me to pass them for exam even though they handed in the answer sheet scribbled with all the wrong answers.

Also, in general, Malaysian students like to complain that lecturers do not spend enough time teaching. However, in other parts of the world, it is common that a more renowned professor will actually spend less time teaching. Lecturer is slightly different than a teacher. A lecturer imparts his/her experience and insights, a lecturer does not go through line-by-line of the syllabus, and it is the student's responsibility to ask question when he/she doesn't understand. However, when the students do ask a valid question, the lecturer should answer it to the best of his/her knowledge.

So there must be a balance. The student must know their responsibility too.

I believe this mechanism of revealing the outcome of the survey, and encouraging discussions between the lecturer and the students on how to improve teaching sessions is like freedom of speech in the society. It's the clashes of different views that would help both the lecturer and the students to improve themselves.

Instill freedom of information in the faculty and it shall help to instill a culture for excellence among local varsities.

Monday, October 20, 2008





这样的情景还会持续吗? 当有一天大家都有自己的家,有孩子的时候,我们还能像这样吗?





结婚,就是进入 ‘老’ 之前的最后一个阶段。多么恐怖!




Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A letter to the despicable British High Commission of Malaysia

I've no guts to send this to British High Comm. or the press...

So I put it here...


I write to complain about the process of the UK Visa appeal, and not regarding the outcome of my appeal. I’ve sent a copy of this complain to the British Council of Malaysia because I believe they need to know how the current Visa process may jeopardize the interest of many Malaysian students wanting to study in UK.

My name is Shin Liang Chin and I have applied for the UK Visa at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia because I’m pursuing my PhD degree in the University of Cambridge. Twice I’ve applied, twice I appealed, and all of them failed. I do not wish to contest the decision here, for if that is my intention I would have continued to pursue this matter to the tribunal in UK. (For your reference, the notice of refusal’s post reference no. is KUALA LUMPUR\99895).

My complain is that due to lack of information and transparency on British High Commission part, the process of Visa appeal could become a matter of trial and error. Thus, it becomes an extreme nuisance to the applicant.

In my first application in April, I was rightly denied the Visa for I do not show sufficient funds. But after I’ve acquired a scholarship from Maxis in September, the application was still rejected on the reason that:

1. the ECO does not believe the letterhead from my sponsor was genuine
2. the ECO does not comprehend why my sponsor - Maxis was still willing to sponsor me when I’ve already resigned 4 months ago.

This is not the standard requirement for Visa application. While I agree that the ECO have the rights to question, but how could an applicant know, beforehand, that this is what the ECO would need? How could the ECO assume that the scholarship HAS to be given to an employee and not to the public? How could the applicant know that we need to provide evidence that this scholarship is not limited to the employees of the company?

If such ‘special’ situation arises, shouldn’t the ECO call the sponsor (which the contact was given in the application form)? Or call for an interview with the applicant? Then how could the ECO say that he/she has reached this decision without the need of an interview?

Besides, the letterhead was genuine. Perhaps, the ECO should tell the applicant how to prove that the letterhead was genuine? For your information, the letterhead attached was NOT a photocopy.

Again, if such ‘special’ doubt arises, shouldn’t the ECO call the company to verify? Or interview the applicant?

In order for me to better prepare my appeal/application, it was necessary for me to know what exactly does the ECO needs. But there just wasn’t any information to assist me in either appealing or re-application. What does the ECO needs me to provide to show that the letter is genuine? That I am indeed a recipient of the scholarship? The information in the notice of refusal is clearly insufficient (i.e. it only states that the letterhead may not look genuine, but when in actual fact it is, and how is the applicant going to prove this?). Unless the applicant has a simple straight-forward application, e.g. having 1 million MYR in his/her bank account, there is no way that the applicant can know from where the ECO will attack him/her because there are just too many angles. And in this case, it is unfair to bring up the issue of “burden of proof”. ECO doesn’t have the burden of proof, but that shouldn’t mean ECO has no burden at all.

But the most frustrating bit is that the ECO is off-limits to public, which cuts-off all possible source of information. Neither VFS, the British council nor anyone else in this world can be consulted prior to my appeal. It’d seem that the ECO is contacting the applicants via a ‘3rd party’, shielding behind the security guards at the British High Commission or the personnel at VFS. ECO is not even contactable on phone or email. Applicants are only allowed to leave messages at the voice mailbox of British High Commission.

I understand the requirement for ECO to be off-limits to the public. Among the reasons I can think of is

i. for ECO to be free from the public’s influence

ii. to ensure ECO’s safety and ensure that ECO will not be subjected to the applicant’s harassment (since ECO processes a lot applications a year).

iii. to assist ECO in better focusing on their job, i.e. to make decision on Visa approval rather than addressing complaints.

But such “shielding” has to be reasonable too. If such “shielding” is excessive, I’m afraid it will cause a lot of tension between the British High Commission and the applicant, as such is the case for me.

After my failed second application, I’ve submitted my second appeal. In this letter of appeal, I’ve tried to address the concerns by submitting pictures of me attending the scholarship awarding ceremony, by attaching news articles covering the ceremony and mentioning that I was indeed of the recipients of the scholarship. I’ve also included an additional letter from my sponsor – Maxis. Yet, the appeal did not succeed and the decision to reject my Visa was not overturned.

No reason was given.

I was merely given two choices: bring it up to the tribunal in UK, which will take 6 months to a year. Or re-apply.

I’ve asked repeatedly to the ‘3rd party’, “what is missing? What is the reason? What do you need me to do?”.

Again, no reason was given. Only the two options were repeated.

Obviously, it was easy for the 3rd party to repeat that he/she is not in charge of the decision. Easy on the ECO, but hard on the applicant. I was almost down to tears at this moment as I’ve been longing to go to Cambridge University and I thought this would be the final nail in the coffin that would seal my fate.

Have I sufficiently addressed the original issues on the notice of refusal? Or has there been a new issue due to my appeal letter? Or did I submit the wrong evidence?

I did not get any answer for these. Instead, I was told to wait for 6 months to a year. Logically, would any prospective UK student want to wait that long? I’m seeking for Student Visa not asylum for refugees.

By not providing us sufficient information, letting us know exactly what are the documents that can address the issues to your satisfaction, my application/appeal for UK Visa becomes a matter of trial and error. And each trial costs me 100 GBP. If the ECO or the British High Commission can have someone to talk to us, you may find that we may have the documents you require.

Why such secrecy over the true reasons for rejecting our appeal?

No one in his/her right mind would want to bring this to the tribunal in UK, because as a student, 6 months is too long and he/she will have to re-negotiate the admission date. Students will always opt for re-application, and that means the ECO decision will always stand, and be “correct” because no actual contest to the decision will ever happen. It is as though the ECO can get off scot-free for any biasness in his/her decision. Is this a good process? This situation will only worsen if there is only one ECO reviewing each application and the same ECO reviewing the application’s appeal.

I understand that the decision of the ECO is purely at his/her discretion, subjected to the Immigration Acts of UK. After all, we (non-citizens of UK) are trying to enter your country. Therefore, the British High Commission has every right to reject our application for UK’s interest and national security.

However, such discretion has to be reasonable and has to be ensured that it does not put excessive burden on the applicant. After all, the British High Commission of Kuala Lumpur’s objectives (as stated on the website) are to be helpful, efficient and to improve relationship between Malaysia and the UK.

Given the lack of response from British High Commission in my previous enquiries, seriously, I do not expect much response from this complain letter too.

For the British High Commission of Kuala Lumpur, which receives hundreds of applications a year, I may be insignificant. Insignificant as I may be, but until I obtain a satisfactory response, I will spread words as a Malaysian citizen, as a PhD student in Cambridge, and as a lecturer in University that British High Commission of Kuala Lumpur is far from being helpful.


starting with my own blog.....




(写于British High Comm. 拒绝我的 Visa Appeal 的第二天)

Friday, October 3, 2008










也许是因为我现在心情的配合下,我才觉得这部偶像剧有feel。 但我想这会是我第一部,也是最后一部。因为,它实在是太吃时间了啦。




Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maxis Scholarship for Excellence

Today is the day. The day where my parents are dressed up so smartly and so proud of me. I am very happy for them. And I am happy for myself too.

Today is the awarding ceremony for Maxis scholarship. It was a grand occasion with many journalist and the CEO, CMO, CFO and many other tier-1 leaders of Maxis present at the ceremony. It was very fun indeed to see ex-colleagues (as I was previously employed by Maxis). I was also delighted to meet Aziz and Boo, who were the first recipients of the award in 2005.

Back in 2005, I just joined Maxis. And the first task I was assigned to do as MGTP X was to coordinate the interview sessions between the candidates of the scholarship with the panel of interviewer. There was when I first met Aziz and Boo. They left a lasting impression on me. We had a great chat and they suggested to form a club where past recipients of the scholarship can come together and socialise. This is indeed a good idea.

Into its 3rd year, Maxis Scholarship for Excellence (MSFE) already has 12 recipients (3 from 1st year, 5 from 2nd year, and 4 from this year). And Maxis has just announced today that they intend to expand this scholarship. So having a social network with a group of scholars is definitely a good idea. At least, for me, I've enjoyed being MGTP in Maxis and I am so proud to be in it. So I can only look forward to joining another such affiliations within Maxis.

The ceremony was a blast. Never have I been seating in the front-seat surrounded by journalist and be the focus of the ceremony, which was attended by many many prominent people within Maxis (the other time this happened was in 2001 and 2003 International Chinese Debate Competition). Perhaps because I was previously in Maxis that I felt extra nervous being around the likes of Sandip, Azmi, Dr. Nikolai etc (all the big-shots in the company). But the presence of Aziz and Boo definitely makes it much bearable. They were the emcees and they were outstanding, showing again why they are the deserving recipients of the award. I particularly like what Aziz said at the end of his speech, "courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear." Very inspiring indeed. After the ceremony ended, I asked Aziz in private about this quote and to my surprise he told me that he got this from a movie - Princess Diary!!!!!

Recalling my interviewing session with Tan Sri Dr. Khoo Kay Kim, Prof. Bala, Prof. Dato Sharifah, and Mr. Sandip Das, it was actually quite enlightening. It was such a coincidence that Prof. Bala from the Indian Institute of Science has won numerous awards over the decades in his research related to computational electromagnetic - my phD's research area. So I was rather fortunate/unfortunate that Prof. Bala rained me with a string of technical questions to test my passion and understanding of computational electromagnetic. I think I must have scrape through this attack.

There are, however, a few areas where I think MSFE can improve:

1. There is no clear indication of the deadline for the scholarship or the intended date of interview for the the shortlisted candidate. The applicants will find it hard to know when to submit their application or when the outcome of their applications will be known. This adds complexity to studying in overseas because, like in my case, I was waiting for a scholarship before I could confirm my place in Cambridge. Preferably, Maxis will set the date to before September as that is the date which courses for UK and US will start.

2. There is no clear indication of the amount being awarded to the recipient. While I am very thankful to Maxis, I must say I was perhaps a bit naive to have expected Maxis to provide a 'complete' scholarship. When I was told the actual amount of the scholarship, I knew immediately that it was insufficient (for a full 4-year phD) and that my search for funding is not over. I must admit I was a bit disappointed. But the scholarship did covered most of it and having working with Maxis for so many years, I'm confident that they are working on something (just wait and see). Many scholars also revealed to me that scholarship was never meant to cover EVERYTHING, rather it was used to LESSEN THE BURDEN. I accepted this point and conceded that I was rather a bit greedy to expect too much. But I also attributed this disappointment to the management of expectation. Most scholarships would clearly specify the amount of the scholarship, and I hope that if MSFE does that, it would definitely help in expectation management and also such that the recipients can plan further ahead instead of being kept in the dark about their financial situation.

On the whole, I was very happy and proud to be the recipient of MSFE. I've waited for longer than a year. Finally, I've been awarded a scholarship, which will allow me to pursue my dream in Cambridge University, UK. I thank Maxis for this and everyone else who has make this happened for me. However, this is only the beginning. Maxis has given me the perfect jump start but I'll have to work for the remainder, which I'm more than willing to.

Monday, September 22, 2008



外面很宁静。在我房子里,也只有风扇旋转的“沙沙”声。 桌灯还亮着,我还忙着改考卷。。。



我还真的以为跟学生打成一片了。而且还以为我的课做到了教育与娱乐并重的境界。呵呵 ,看来还差得远!学生们都好像很喜欢我。大家也似乎能够理解我说教的。不过,一看学生的成绩单就直接反映了讲师的真正素质。如果未来要当讲师,我还真的要得多进步!


不过,有一位学生虽然不会回答,却很幽默地这么写:“this diagram is so complicated that I think this device cannot handle its complexity and will cease to function."


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Utusan Melayu - utusan yang tak bermakna

Saya menggesa supaya rakyat Malaysia yang berotak berhenti membaca ataupun membeli Utusan.

Saya merujuk kepada berita ini yang mengatakan bahawa Utusan mencabar Teresa Kok mengambil ujian untuk mengesahkan bahawa dia tidak berbohong ('lie detector test').

Tidakkah Utusan berasa serba salah kerana telah mengakibatkan seorang MP ditangkap masuk penjara?

Tidakkah mencukupi bagi Utusan untuk memfitnah seorang MP, malah sekarang hendak melupuskan maruah Teresa sama sekali dengan mencabar dia untuk mengambil ujian ini?

Adakah pemberita Utusan begitu 'racist' sehingga tergamak buat apa sahaja untuk memburukkan nama Teresa termasuk memaparkan berita yang jelas sekali 'one-sided'?

Adakah Utusan begitu zalim, walaupun pada masa Ramadhan yang menegaskan maaf and keinsafan?

Sebelum ini, saya masih lagi memahami kenapa Utusan diperlukan, sepertimana kaum Cina memerlukan Sin Chew. Namun sekarang semua ini sudah berubah. Saya yakin Utusan Melayu tiada nilai lagi. Utusan-utusannya tidak bermakna dan sekarang hanya berfungsi untuk membangkitkan kemarahan kaum Melayu terhadap kaum lain di Malaysia.

Saya harap bahawa akan terdapat akhbar Melayu lain yang dapat mencabar monopoli Utusan. Ini supaya kaum Melayu dan rakyat Malaysia masih lagi boleh baca berita yang sahih dalam Bahasa Melayu tanpa bergantung kepada Utusan yang kian ketinggalan zaman dan hilang nilainya.

(Bagi kawan-kawan Cina saya yang belum pernah baca Utusan. Cubalah bacanya untuk seminggu dan cubalah merasai bagaimana ia mewujudkan persepsi yang amat salah tentang kaum-kaum lain di kalangan pembacanya. Juga jelas sekali adalah bahawa Utusan memihak parti politik tertentu di Malaysia dan saya rasa semua orang tahu parti yang mana sedang saya cakapkan di sini.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

RPK arrested under ISA... what next? 916 or 513?


I cannot believe what I just saw in the news.

Just one day after the so-called actions taken against 'one-ball' Ahmad, one day after Malaysia-Today was unblocked, one day after all these and now they arrest RPK using ISA? Furthermore, they gave three newspapers show cause letter???

For what?

And for a moment there, we all thought what Pak La and UMNO did a day ago showed genuine interest to change the country for the better.


It'd seem I am wrong. We are all dead wrong. All the actions taken today once again showed that Pak La and UMNO agreed to every single word uttered by 'one-ball' Ahmad. Why? Why only remarks about the sensitive issues of Malay are considered seditious and a threat to the country, but not abusive remarks about the non-Malays?

Perhaps my friends are right, something IS brewing in the UMNO camp in preparation for the worse that could happen on 916.

As a sign of support to RPK, a detest to ISA and a reminder that we should be strong should the worst happens, I urge all readers to read this post by RPK regarding what really happened on May 13. And if you have a blog, link it!

It's a historical truth that we should all know and one that we should prevent from repeating itself this year. I hate to see those bad guys win again using the same old dirty trick.

However, I do have some advice for some of my Chinese friends out there who think fighting fire with fire is a good idea. Many Chinese, in response to the recent fiasco, chose to hurl abusive remarks back at Datuk Ahmad. That's not very wise. Because that's EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO DO. You are falling into their trap. So do otherwise! Initiate more sensible and intelligent discussions, stop name-callings and stop mocking other people's belief. Show that we are just as likeable as they are. All we want is a little peace and equality.

I myself is guilty of calling him 'one-ball' Ahmad. But hey, at least it sounds cool.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Apex University and the demise of UM

When I was in Maxis, I was told to have S-M-A-R-T goals, where 'R' is realistic. To aim to have our Apex university within the top 50 University in the world in a little more than 10 years is a bold aim, but unrealistic.

Despite that, it's a good move by the govt. And it's a good news for USM, but a calamity for UM, my alma-mater.

I have long said that UM has very little left of its 'branding' and over the past decade or so UM has been surviving based on this empty shell of 'branding' that says UM is the oldest, well-known and well-respected university in this country. Many well-known professors join UM because of this branding, not because of the pay. Many students choose UM over other local universities because the best students go to UM - you'll need maximum distinction to study Law, Electrical Engineering, or to study medicine. But all these will not be true anymore in the next few years after the recent announcement that USM got the Apex status.

A good university doesn't take these kind of branding or its people for granted. A good university provides the environment, the means, the system and the support for the intellects within its campus to grow, mature and contribute. But for long, UM has taken its students and good professors for granted. For long, everything that is nice and good that has come out of UM is because of the sheer hardwork of the students and professors alone, and the university played very little role in promoting them.

A good university is about creating a good synergy between the school, the academics and the students. And UM has relied only on its branding to fuel the two latter factors. With the Apex status awarded to USM, UM has no such advantage anymore and its demise as the best University in Malaysia will be slow, but imminent.

Long has UM sustain its status via its empty shell of branding, and this latest announcement is definitely the final nail in the coffin and the tipping point of no return for UM.

UM is my alma-mater. While I have my fair share of critics for UM and the way it's governed when I was a student there, I am still proud to tell people that I am a UM graduate. But knowing that this demise may be forthcoming, I cannot help but feel sad. I sincerely hope that the title of this blog post will not become a reality.

Have some balls Datuk Ahmad

Clap clap clap...

Only an UMNO MP is capable of this. First you call Malaysian Chinese "squatters" and "penumpang" then you demand our apology?

Now you say you are taken out of context because you were "merely" saying the state of the Chinese community during the pre-merdeka era?


Hey how about I call you barbarian? I'm just referring to the pre-historic era.

Or I call you monkey? I'm referring to the pre-homosapien. (that is if Datuk Ahmad even know what homosapien is....)

Explicitly, you spoke of us as though we are immigrants during the Permatang Pauh election to warn us that as immigrants we should be satisfied with what we have and not demand anymore than what is already given to us now. That is what you meant. That is the context in which you spoke of the Chinese "squatters". Period.

You want Malaysia for yourself and hated the fact that non-Malays are given citizenship. In UMNO, you are not alone in thinking this. Unlike a lot of the rest, at least you have the balls to say it.

But, you only have the balls to admit the partial statement - "Chinese as squatters during pre-merdeka days" (gosh). Why don't you admit that you weren't taken out of context, and that you are a racist, that you think Malaysian Chinese as immigrants, and that you do not want their lives to be improved, and you wanted to harm the Chinese community feelings?

Why only admit part of it? Having a ball for the former and nothing for the latter?

I call this syndrome unity ball. And I've decided to call you one-ball Ahmad until you have the balls to admit the whole damn thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Macamlah UMNO tak tuntut "pohon maaf"

This is in response to Tun Dr. M's latest blog post here.

(oh yeah, who am I to vent my anger against a 'Tun'? But I'm going to do it anyway)

Dr. M has no doubt gain respects from millions of Malaysians for his far-sightedness in growing Malaysia's economy by leaps and bounds during his reign. But he was more known for his prowess and shrewdness in the political game than his moral values.

And he showed that again in his latest blog post entitled "pohon maaf". He claimed that Malays are always wrongly labeled as racist and are often demanded to apologise whereas when non-Malays make racist remarks they are left off the hook. And I quote from his blog, "Sebaliknya, apabila orang yang bukan Melayu mengeluar perkataan atau catitan yang boleh ditafsir sebagai racist, orang Melayu tidak pernah tuntut supaya pihak berkuasa memohon maaf".

Is that true? Tak pernah? Tak pernah tuntut pihak berkuasa orang bukan Melayu memohom maaf? sekali aje pun tak da? If it is, then Tun must have had the same problem as the mother in the movie "money no enough 2" where her "wires sudah sambung salah".

What happened to Suqiu in 1998? Did UMNO youth not request the chinese community to apologise, and further labelled some chinese organisation as communist!?

What about when Penang's CM Lim Guan Eng said that he will reconsider Malay's special rights? Did UMNO not label him as racist and claimed that it's seditious and wanted him to retract his remarks.

And I'm sure my learned Tun Dr. M would surely remember that these are not isolated cases and what I mentioned above is nothing but merely the tip of the iceberg.

More importantly, whether it's Suqiu or YB Lim Guan Eng's remark, they are not racist remarks! But I can't say the same when some UMNO MP raised his keris and said that he shall bathe this keris with someone's blood. So who is the racist here? Not the Malay, but UMNO!

Tun cleverly used the term "Malay" in his blog, when in actuality the people that threw the racist remarks are not Malays in general but UMNO's MPs. Tun is trying to stir up something here. It's definitely seditious, but in a subtle way.

More often than not, when citizens utter anything bordering racist or rather anything that threatens those in power, no apology is usually required because UMNO would just bring them in using ISA, OSA or just block their website like what they do to Malaysia Today.

So, Dr. M, as if lah, that UMNO tak pernah tuntut supaya pihak berkuasa memohon maaf. Kalau ini betul, ini maksud UMNO tak tuntut supaya pihak berkuasa memohon maaf tetapi terus tuntut supaya pihak berkuasa masuk penjara melalui ISA. Tun, you should know this better than me.

As much as I respected him, I'm totally appalled by his latest entry.


Tun Dr. M later added "pohon maaf 2" which tried to explain that instead of being racist himself, he's merely stating that UMNO, since 308, is often on the defence when it comes to racial politics. He claimed that race based politics has actually been enhanced since 308 because we've been talking about it more.

A clever remark. So now according to Tun Dr. M, if we speak out against the race-based politics, it enhances it. If we do not speak out against it, UMNO will continue to rule with the race-based politics (maybe in a, errr, non-enhanced way?). Either way, Malaysia will be ruled using race-based politics. Check-mate.

Nice try Tun. I hope you do not deceive too many people with that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



请为每一个因素打分(0-10分)。10 分为非常重要,0分为不重要。
但是,4 个因素加起来不得超过25分。

- 其中包括清晰的主线,架构,以及适合的例子。但并不包括反驳的内容,以及呈现内容的方式

- 反驳的内容,语句结构。气势。

- 舞台感好,咬字清晰,发音标准。笑容,从容。

- 幽默,风趣,娱乐。未必有实质的内容,但也不至于离题。


内容 : 7
反驳技术 : 10
语言风度 : 4
幽默/娱乐 : 4

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Loving someone,
is not about giving the other what you think love is.
is about giving the other what the other think love is.

Sunday, August 17, 2008









我们受到攻击,遍体鳞伤。不过,对有意到大专参加辩论的同学们,我倒有个建议。要参加,就要参加像马大这种辩论队。有些人参加辩论比赛得了冠军以后,我看到他,还真的不好意思说他是辩论员。但在马大辩论队这种环境下成长,无论是输赢,出来以后不但可以堂堂正正地称自己为辩论员 ,还可以实实在在地学到什么是人生。更重要的是,你可以认识到一群又可爱,又认真,而且真挚的朋友。就好像昨天在唱K时的那首歌一样:“赢了世界,输走好友等于一切全部也飘走,。。。”



Sunday, August 3, 2008

the functions of languages - a war...

I'm no linguist. But since posting my previous personal post regarding the Chinese and English language, I am itching to write this post on the functions of languages.

Let me begin by describing my sins of the past. I used to loathe "bananas". Yes, by "bananas" I mean those English speaking Chinese who can't speak a word of Chinese (other than the few famous phrases spoken in those HK TV serials aired over RTM and ASTRO). That was more than 10 years ago. Many things happened since, and I've come to let go my prejudice. However, this doesn't mean I'm any less insistent on the education of the Chinese Language for Malaysian Chinese.

This is mainly because I see a Language as more than just a tool of communication. Language also represents a way of life, a way of thought and most importantly a cultural representation. Therefore, by foregoing your right to learn Chinese is like losing a part of you as Chinese. (Note: I'm not being racist or promoting cultural superiority here. That being a proud Chinese doesn't make you any less Malaysian because, I think, we all can agree that there's a vast difference between Malaysian Chinese and China Chinese)

Many of my English-speaking friends disagree with me. Insisting that culture and language are independent of each other. My simple answer to them is this: reading Shakespeare in Mandarin is quite different from the English version. And likewise if you are reading Sun Tzu's art of war in English, the 'feel' is very different. Moreover, terms such as 'gentleman' are difficult to translate to Chinese and likewise 君子 is not possible (or near impossible) to translate to the other.

It is not possible to describe what 君子 means in a word or two. You'll have to understand Chinese literature and history and stories to understand how the concept of 君子 is depicted. And there are many more words like that in both English and Chinese. Language is actually a bridge that connects our thoughts to the real world. But there is always a gap between what we think and what we say or write. Therefore a lot of expressions (words or phrases) in a language are beyond explanation. Only experiences can give you the true meaning of a word or phrase.

I'll give you another example. We all know what love is, in a very general way. But everyone understands love in a very different way because of the love stories we hear, the movies we watch, the way we are brought up, etc. There is nothing that would suffice in explaining what love is until you experience it. A definition of word is not given by the dictionary, but given by one's experience of the world. It is how one perceives the world. And therefore, the teaching of a language will inevitably include the teaching of how one perceives the world.

Given that, it is not surprising why Chinese-educated and English-educated folks think very much differently and view the world quite differently. Not just in the command of language, but also the way they think. And that's why I think there is a minute, but detectable polarisation among those that are Chinese-educated and English-educated. It's because language is closely tied to culture, behaviour and thinking patterns. In Chinese, 'respect' (尊敬) is closely tied to the relationship between the younger ones, and the older ones; between teachers and students. But there isn't any such ties in English version of 'respect'. This is why, in general, Chinese-educated students have a tendency not to challange teachers in the public.

In many parts of the world, there isn't any clear distinction in this function of language. The language used to communicate is the language used predominantly in their respective cultures, e.g. Germans, English, Japan, etc. That is why, I do not expect Chinese nationals (from China) to really understand this situation. In Malaysia, however, it is different. We are a multicultural (or heterogeneous) country, each race with our own preferred choice of language and hence a different set of thoughts.

As a result of this, there are many ongoing arguments in Malaysia on which language we should use for our Math and Science subjects. Some may even argue that Malaysians should use one unified language - English for our education system. There are two issues here. One, should there be only one language? Two, which language should it be if we should only have one unified language for our education system?

But first, let there be no doubt that using one single unified language as the medium of teaching helps the national unity. While learning your own mother tongue is human right, there is no denying that the nation needs to speak or understand one common language for unity to happen. And this so-called common language for unity is not just a language we learn and know per se, but also it becomes the preferred choice of language for communication among ourselves. This is something that even Dong Zong (董总)should realise. And obviously that language will not be Chinese.

Then should it be English? Or Malay?

I noticed that most Asean scholars or Singaporean-educated Malaysians, if given a choice, would prefer to use English as the sole medium of education. I guess, in giving me a choice between Malay and English, I would have chosen English too. As Tony Pua mentioned in his blog, many Chinese-educated students may find it difficult to obtain a good job at the highest level of corporates due to their inept in English language. However, one should not go to the other extreme of our neighbour too.

Decades ago, the then Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew decided to discourage the use of Mandarin in Singapore. He reckons that learning two first languages (English and Chinese) will make Singapore less competitive. Obviously, at that time, when China was just recovering from the cultural revolution and during the pinnacle of cold war, Lee Kuan Yew chose to abandon Mandarin. Just a few years back, however, he changed that. The reason is again obvious - China's back as the superpower of the world. Therefore, I reckon that Singapore is the perfect example in the World that uses the language for nothing, but merely as a communication tool. More precisely, as a business communication tool. And I think that is pathetic.

Given that a language has its cultural value, there is no doubt that I want to learn Mandarin. And I would want my sons and grandsons to learn Mandarin. This language is built up upon more than 3000 years of history. But since, also knowing the fact that Mandarin is impossible to be the 'unifying' language used in Malaysia, I admit I'm in a dilemma in this issue.

But I'm adamant, that one should not pursue a language purely as a tool of communication. It's much more than that.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

English vs Chinese language

I've written quite some posts in mandarin lately. One of my friends wondered, why did I not write them all in one unified language? Is it because I have a specific audience in mind when I write in English and likewise for Chinese?

The answer is no.

Basically, I think in Chinese and English quite independently. Therefore, when I thought of something in English, or if I attended a class or a forum in English, I will write an account of it in English. It will be very difficult for me to translate it to Mandarin or vice versa.

However, there are draw backs to this. One of the most significant ones is that I learn both languages quite separately, i.e. it'll take more time. Also, I'm neither excellent in Mandarin or English. I'm ok at both. So those English-speaking friends find my English ok, but rather unpolished. And my Mandarin-speaking friends will find my Mandarin ok, but with occasional weird sentence structures.








试想想,我们为何推崇民主?回顾人类历史,我们不难发现许多古文明曾经在出色领袖的领导下创造出辉煌的成绩。不过,好景一般都不长留。这些文明一般都在出色领袖去世以后的几个时代就销声匿迹。 古罗马是这样,古希腊和埃及也是这样。在没有民主的情况下,一个文明只需要一个饿狼就能够把过去所有杰出领袖的功劳功亏一篑。民主不一定选出最好的、最善良的领袖。但,它却能确保破坏性能减至最低点。这就是伟大文明传承与延续的关键。

另外,成立更完善的民主机制还有一个重点。就是言论与思想的自由。大马华社可以大谈要开放固大制(quota system),其实多少也因为华社了解开放了以后对自身族群有利。如果换作你是弱势族群,你会这么着急要开放吗?不是说我不支持开放,其实我对固大制痛恨极了。然而,多少个马来西亚华人真正勇敢地把这个观点与普罗大众的巫裔同胞讨论过呢?在kopitiam就能把这个课题高谈阔论,但在马来朋友面前却步步为营。实际上,除了少数马来精英分子以外,绝大部分的马来人都不认为他们应该放弃固大制或是他们的特权。而我们从小就被灌输这是敏感课题,不宜多谈。merdeka center 曾经做过一个调查显示,大部分马来人认为现有的不公平,主要不是源于不公平的政策。而几乎90%的华人认为是因为不公平的政策。这个认知的落差是不容忽视的。


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

logic defying act...无言以对的逻辑判断。。。





况且,强奸犯被阉割了就不会以其他形式发泄如性虐待,吸毒,或杀人报复吗?我想啊,那个被阉割了的强奸犯一旦出狱,患上精神病的第一个人将会是那个受害者。想想吧,一个曾经性欲无比强的男人被阉了,他比死 还痛苦,必定找人算账。


让人有改过自新的机会。通过教育,防范措施,设立闭路电视网络以防范于未然才是办法。有许多罪行,只要有足够的deterring factor,犯罪率自然就会减低。我建议马华妇女组有空时,响应一下拿督黄家定所提倡的终身学习,多阅读有关犯罪学的书才来搞个什么研讨会。


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

what a coincidence...

what a coincidence... two posts back-to-back

one about sodomy the other about riding...

Anwar and the conspiracy theory...

(warning. content could cause some readers to feel discomfort and therefore parent discretion is adviced)

let's not SPECULATE what we do not know, and try to DEDUCE from what we know.

what we DO NOT KNOW (and perhaps never know) is that whether the sodomy allegation against Anwar is in fact true or not. but what we DO KNOW is this: that gays exist, even in Malaysia.

Let's face the fact, everyone knows that homosexuality could go as far back as stone age. Whether homosexuality should be accepted into our community, that is another topic which I do not wish to dwell upon here. But the fact remains that homosexuality exists, whether you are muslim or not. And because of the requirement of the 'ritual', you're most likely to have performed sodomy acts if you are a homosexual or bisexual. If gay exists, so does sodomy.

Sodomy is an offence. but it happens.
Oral sex is an offence too. but it happens.
Oh yeah, we all know that it happens.

Since it is not exactly an unusual activity, if such illicit acts were agreed by both parties, no one would ever know about it. In fact, both party would have enjoyed it. However, if either party do not agree and therefore was forced into such illicit actions, it would constitute as a rape and the authorities would usually be informed about it. If rape does occur, then, usually there will be marks of struggling (unless he/she was drugged!!)

Now, having established that sodomy, although seemingly an offence in Malaysia, is not really an offence until someone lodges a police report because he/she is unhappy about it. Let's take this one step further to see if Saiful did indeed have a reason to be unhappy.

let's assume that the sodomy did happen. and let's further assume that there is no political motivation behind Saiful's allegation.

Then did Saiful willingly do it?

If yes, why is he complaining now? (Anwar didn't give him 家用 or what?)
Maybe he was using this fact to threaten Anwar for political or monetary purposes? But would he risk his family's and his fiancee's and his own reputation for this?

If he didn't do it willingly, are there marks of struggling?
And most importantly, if Saiful was forced into it, how did the near-70-year-old man overpowered this young man in his 20s? (I do not think Anwar work-out at the gym 4 times a week)

If the sodomy really did take place, I could only see one possiblity - that Anwar somehow, cleverly, tricked him into doing it and he was afraid to reveal it to the pubic (err...i mean public) until now.

But, personally, I find that a bit hard to believe (I meant Anwar tricking him, not the 'public' thing).

If even the last possiblity is not viable, then it means that my assumptions were wrong, i.e. either the sodomy did not happen or that Saiful's allegation was politically motivated, or both.

The point I'm trying to make is this: it doesn't matter whether Anwar is bisexual or not, or whether he did conduct sodomy acts or not. The fact is that this is clearly a political murder. By whom? Not necessarily UMNO. I wouldn't know who. And I definitely do not want to speculate.

riding with a 7-year old (part 2)

I'm 28.

He's 7.

This time I went further.

I introduced myself as Chin. And him, his name is 'Race'. His home, is just two houses away from mine. This pretty much sums up what it's like to be a budak bandar - 28 years staying on this street and I only know my neighbour's son 3 days ago.

It's great to know that there's always someone riding next to me, guiding me how to ride. Although he's only 7, it was great to have him around. Contrary to what many may think, his presence actually took off a lot of my pressure / embarrassment trying to learn how to ride a bicycle at this age. I'm glad he's around.

Previously, I bruised my right knee. Today, I bruised my left knee. So I guess this kinda struck a balance. Maybe, as a result of this awkward 'balance', I was able to complete my lesson - moving in circles. And at long last, I'm able to tell my friend that I know how to ride a bicycle. Like what they said, "no pain, no gain".

Told you, I ain't giving it up...

And in the process, I met a new friend too. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

riding with a 7-year old

i'm 28.

he's 7.

I'm learning how to ride a bicycle. right next to this 7-year old kid who has been already riding it for years.

yup, you hear me right. I'm LEARNING TO RIDE A BICYCLE. and my sifu is 1/4 of my age. maybe this is why they call me - "budak bandar".

he was teasing me all the way, "c'mon, this is so easy..." but I was all too excited (like a 7-year old kid) learning how to balance on two wheels for the first time.

I still remember my first attempt. Me legs were short at that time (not that it's very long now but...) and they can't reach the floor when I'm sitting on a bike. So when I fell, I fell hard! After some bruises here and there, I gave up altogether.

It was not until 25 (whoa!), when I was in UK studying for MSc degree, that I next attempted this arduous task. I secretly borrowed a bicycle from a Malaysian friend, and carefully timed my practice session to be at 9pm at night such that not many people will notice this over-grown man trying to learn a kid's trick. Alas, what I did not realise was that during summer in UK, the sun doesn't completely set until past 10pm!! But I decided to endure the embarrassment anyway and kept on trying.

After trying for hours, I finally managed to move in straight lines! But whenever I try to start some circular motion (or turning), I will wobble out of control.

3 years after that.

28 June 2008.

My mom returned from shopping mall and bought a bicycle!!!! (I really sound like a 7-year old here...)

The bicycle was for herself, of course. But I borrowed it anyway. And today, I continued my lesson - trying to move in a circular motion without getting either feet on the ground. I ended up bruising my knee!!

But this time, I ain't giving it up.

(to be continued...)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Understanding what I do not understand

Sometime ago, I attended a training which revealed an interesting theory on 4-stages of learning (i.e. the process of gaining competence from incompetence).

Stage 1: unconscious incompetence
Stage 2: conscious incompetence
Stage 3: conscious competence
Stage 4: unconscious competence

The best way to describe these few stages is to consider driving lessons as an example. At stage 1, you do not know what are the skills required for driving. At stage 2, after attending some classes, you now know what are the skills you lack (traffic law and the principle of balancing clutch and accelerator, etc) and thus are conscious of your incompetence. Then comes stage 3, where after numerous hands-on lessons, you are now prepared to take the on-the-road examination and pass. At this stage, although competent, you are still very fully aware of what you are doing. But after driving for years, driving becomes an instinct. Pulling brakes, stepping on the accelerator, balancing on the cliff, all these comes naturally to you (subconsciously). At this time, you are at stage 4 - performing your task without fully aware of it.

It'd be intrinsically implied that the transition from stage 1 to 2 and stage 3 to 4 is a natural progress. For the former, all that is required is for someone to inform you of your incompetence. And for the latter, all that is required is constant practice.

However, the same can't be said of the transition from stage 2 to 3. Because, simply said, it is not a natural progress to become from incompetent to competent. In fact, I'd like to argue that there will be an important transitional stage here, which I will call it - understanding what you do not understand. I think, this is the most frustrating stage of all learning processes.

Let me cite you an example, drawn from my recent personal experience.

I'm studying micro-magnetics in preparation for my PhD later this year. Now, I'm definitely conscious of my incompetence in this area and I'm trying very hard to achieve competence by reading a lot of texts in this area. As I read, I came across sentences such as this:

"..the competitive effects of the micromagnetic energy contributions upon minimization determine the equilibrium distribution of the magnetization..."


I understand EVERY SINGLE word of it.

But when I put them together, What the %@$%& does it mean??

This, is the classical case of me not understanding what I do not understand. And how am I going to gain competence through this?

I realised that I am not alone in such situations. Many people have problems expressing what they do not understand. It is very often difficult to express what you do not know into a valid question. And when we fail to do that, we cannot seek to gain competence or ask guidance from someone else, as no one (including yourself) would know what you do not understand.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008






第二,有人说拿督黄家定限定任期是为了打造黄氏王朝,而不是健康的政治文化。是不是为了打造黄氏王朝,说真的,我这个平民百姓不清楚所以不愿胡乱猜想。可是,限定任期是个比较健康的体制应该是无疑的。限定任期当然不能确保最高领袖是十全十美,但是能确保如果这个领袖贪污腐败,他不会任期超过3 届。就如民主一样,它不能确保选出来的领袖一定做出对的决定,但是一个屡屡犯错的领袖会被人民谴责并且在大选中被拉下台。横看大马,又有哪个政党领袖勇于作出这样的改变呢?近日在幕后高喊要马华总会长下台的人又是否是在此体制下无法得到利益的同一个人呢?



Saturday, June 14, 2008

the marketing of war

everything is about branding and marketing these days. Even when waging a war. A democratic country like U.S. can no longer just wage war as they like. They have to package it, re-brand it and "sell" it to the people. Then, the people would have to buy it.

And you know what? the Americans bought it.

The war on Iraq was packaged with the idea that Saddam had chemical weapons and other WMD that he will not hesitate to use. And I remember vividly, in pushing for the war on Iraq years ago, Bush used the slogan, "let there be no doubt..." (it was used as the beginning of all the speeches given by White House during that time)

During the recent visit to Europe, Bush re-iterated that he has no regrets over the war he waged in Iraq. Despite the fact that the initial motivation behind the war was completely flawed. Iraq has no WMD, has no intention of having WMD and has no capability of WMD. So all he can say now is that the world is a better place without a tyrant like Saddam.

The world is a better place without a lot of people (including Bush). Saying that the leader of a country is tyrant is not a sufficient reason to wage a war! I am pretty sure he wouldn't have make a case for war in 2003 if all he got on Saddam was that he is a tyrant.

Tyrants are abundant on this globe. And there's a handful of them which are more despicable than Saddam.

Iran and North Korea, both have confirmed WMD capabilities, but U.S. did not declare war. Myanmar's military junta refused to acknowledge the results of the election, put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest and put the citizens in grave danger after refusing international aid for the recent disaster - U.S. did nothing. And how about Zimbabwe and other war-ridden countries in Africa? Are these tyrants any less dangerous than Saddam?

So why don't Bush just invade them all?

Being a tyrant doesn't give Bush the green light to invade. And the least he could do is to apologise to the world for causing thousands of unncessary deaths.

And what is appaling to me is that the Americans are only concerned about the death toll of the American soldiers. How about the death of the Iraqis? Collateral damage you say? What gives the Americans the right to say those innocent Iraqis killed everyday are called collateral damage but those that were killed in the world trade center are called heroes?

I believe that the Americans have to show that they take responsibility over this war that should have never happened. They will have to take responsiblity by not voting for the Republicans in the coming election. By telling the World that they are sorry. And that they promise the world that this will not happen again - that US will not abuse its intelligence and wage war as she pleases. Bush is like the murderer and voting for the Republicans again just made the Americans the accomplice in this homicide. That's how democracy should work.

It may sound a bit pre-mature to vote against the Republicans based on the war alone. But I think that waging a war is not a game. It's a serious decision. And a wrong move here should be punished by the stepping down of the President, at the very least. This wrong move here should eclipse all other economy candy that the Republicans may offer.

I am happy that Obama has won the party nominee for the Democrats. And I hope he will continue to win in the coming presidential election in November. Hilary, was equally worthy of the nomination. As Obama put it, "she has shown the women around the world that there is no limits to your dream"

Either way, I hope the Republicans will not win.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


That's her name.


Pity, that we no longer talk.

They say, the first is the hardest to forget. It's true.

But the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with, usually isn't the first.

I am living a good life now, a life that I want. And wherever she is, whatever she is doing, I want to wish her well too.

Weina, that's her name.


when we meet again, I want to say "hello".

Godspeed my friend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

AP Varsity Chinese Debate Forum

Just got back from a 5-day hk trip for the Asia-Pacific (AP) Varsity Chinese Debate Forum, organised by RTHK. As a member of the University Malaya Chinese debate coaching team, I went there with 4 outstanding UM debaters.

This coincided with 3 days of incessant heavy down pour (categorised as black strom, the highest rating given by the HK govt. to a storm) and the outbreak of bird flu virus in Hong Kong. Whoa!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

the petrol price, greener cars and railways

"...the increase in petrol price should be in smaller steps instead of a whooping 40% overnight; the income per capita to petrol price ratio in Malaysia is unreasonable; the govt. should have a better control over the distribution of the petrol in view of the price hike; the govt. did not consider a holistic compensation for increase in petrol price; there will be a domino effect..."

I think almost all blogs in Malaysia will be about the increase in petrol price today. But I think my stand on this issue will be different from the rest, because I'm in favor of the price increase!

Yes, all the arguments against the price hike has its merit. And as a consumer myself, I can feel the pain too. But from a country point of view, it was necessary.

For long, our country's economy has relied on exports of raw material. In particular, oil export has proven to be a lucrative business. However, our dwindling oil reserves means that we can continue to enjoy this business for only another 10 years (or so). This means we need to plan ahead and 10 years is pretty short from a country's economy point of view.

For every cent of subsidy in petrol price, we are in fact taking away funds that could be use to prepare our country for the years after our oil reserves are depleted. The profit obtained from the price hike should be invested in building infrastructure, transportation and help building more research centers and improve our university such that we are still competitive when our oil reserves are gone.

The ratio of income per capita to the petrol price in Malaysia is obviously unreasonable and the price hike will definitely have a short term impact. But to improve this ratio, the govt. have to either reduce/maintain the price or to improve the income per capita. As of the current situation, it'd be difficult to improve the income per capita without having to resort to the increase in petrol price. Hence, this price hike is a necessary short term pain for a long term gain.


I have a proposal, which will perhaps kill two birds with a stone - the environment and the petrol price hike. I'd like the govt. to exclude all hybrid and electric cars from the import tax. Encourage car manufacturers (including Proton) to produce and sell green cars. This may just work in Malaysia because our car import tax is ridiculously high. And by taking away the import tax, you can probably buy an Honda Civic hybrid car for around MYR90k.

Again, in short term, it may hurt. This policy may hamper our local automobile industry as they try to adjust from selling conventional cars to electric cars. Malaysians will also be skeptical about such technology. But I think it's a good time to start to change. I hope this, could be the first of many steps that the govt. would take towards a greener society.


This petrol price hike could be a good thing for Malaysians, really. But if and only if the profits from this increase in price is put into good use. And knowing our govt., this should be our grave concern. Out of the 70 cents increase, how much of it will go to corruption and how much will go to developing our nation? Unfortunately, without transparency, we can only hope.

If the funds are used to build another twin towers, then please "kill me". I'd rather if the govt. use the funds to build infrastructures that could promote economic activities, to build things that will be catalyst to economic growth. For example, improving our transportation system, communication system, research centers etc.

Another proposal I have here (which YTL has already proposed something similar) is to build a high-speed train that connects our major cities - KL, Penang, JB and possibly to Singapore too. The main purpose of such a train service is not because that these routes are lucrative, but because by connecting these cities we are creating a synergy for our economy.

Imagine if you could be in KL in the morning and then travel to Penang for a meeting in the afternoon in a comfortable short trip. Imagine if you are staying in Penang and want to come to Midvalley for a shopping spree. Imagine if you are in KL and want to go Penang to try out its famous laksa. Imagine if I prefer to stay in Penang with my family but I can travel to work in KL everyday because of the advent of such high-speed train services.

KL has overgrown. We need to offset KL's cons with Penang's pros. And vice versa. These cities can complement each other. We need such a high-speed train service that connects these cities. It will be like combining 3 major cities into one location. Maybe the ROI of this railway won't be as lucrative, but the economic consequence of such service will be.