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。