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.