Month -3-05, Aug

August, the Month of Festival

The flower I never stop falling in love with, in any season. It does not smell very much, but it pleases my eyes a lot. The flower, soft in colour, pearcing in feeling. I love to accord this flower as the "The Flower of Festival", if it could be domesticated;

August is the festival month, especially those that have the attribution to the ancient civilisations, including in the whiteman lands; August is in autum, after the summer when all the harvest have been done. After the festivals, comes the winter when everything is frozen stiff. We do not have summer and winter, and autum and spring. We have only hot, wet, and rainy; sometimes all three in one day. Thus august or not, come festival, everyone is in frenzy.

Aug mid is the degree conferement season, and its accompanying "pesta konvo"; the festive mood of before and after thus covered the whole month. Graduating students and their parents flocked the campus and made "pilgrimage" at the usual "shrines". The jolly and jovial mood pushed almost to the yield point, incomprehensible by words, extricated out deep from the core, none left to go on with when the festival is over; for the exact of what I felt in Jun 1974 minus the latter.

From Aug 19 Sat was the one-week school break, and as always, friends were in frenzy having the festival of marriage of their grown up children; but cum reunion, since most of them were the friends I knew since the school days: Aug 13 Sun, Salamah in TTDI; and (missed) Wan Zaidah, the 2nd college manager Sec 17, of UKM 1970's days when I was a college boarder, who never forget to invite me, but unfortunately it always coincide with others of more indespensable. Aug 19 Sat, Mohd Embong in Titiwangsa Stadium, and another Mohd Embong in Sg Jelok. Aug 20 Sun, Dr Khalik in Sec 2 my student cum neighbour in the 1980's England, Dr Ibrahim Abdullah in Sg Tangkas a UKM geologist close colleague. Aug 26 Sat, Omran in Sec 4, another neighbour in 1980's England; Uztaz Halim in Teras Jernang, a senior colleague in the FPI - known among the colleagues to offer authentic "gulai kawah" every time he offers a walimah; (missed) Prof Thamby Subhan in Taman Cupecs, a more or less co-author in the late 1980's KBSM matter; and Abd Rahim Samsudin in Sec 2 whose #2son was marrying the daughter of Fahimah, a fellow SAS-ian U6 1970. Aug 31 Thu, in Kemaman was that of Ismail Mohamad 'A', a class of 66 which obviously needed a mission journey that I could not afford alone.

Two Airlines Go Up

This month day one hike a.k.a. price up, is the air travel. Also going up is, for the first day, the third arline in the country, Fly Asia Xpress (FAX), which seems to operate in the east. With Air Asia already in the sky, it's like three kites high in the sky, held through a very thin string by three players. For a watcher, it's hard to tell which kite is held by which player; only the players know. Note the closeness of the FAX paints to that of MAS;

Eventually, But ...

Dr. Mohd Rashdan Haji Baba
1 Sept. 1969 - 31 Mac 1971
Dr. Ariffin Ngah Marzuki
1 April 1971 - 31 Mac 1974
Dr. Mohd. Ghazali Haji Abd. Rahman
1 April 1974 - 31 Mac 1975
Dr. Anuwar Mahmud
1 April 1975 - 31 Mac 1980
Dr. Awang Had Salleh
16 Julai 1980 - 15 Februari 1984
Dr. Hj. Abdul Hamid Hj. A. Rahman
1 Februari 1984 - 31 Ogos 1993
Dr. Sham Sani
1 September 1993 - 25 Mac 1998
Dr. Anuwar Ali
1 Mei 1998 - 30 April 2003
Dr. Mohd Salleh Mohd Yasin
1 Mei 2003 - 26 Aug 2006 (10 days after convo #34)
Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hassan Shahabudin
27 Aug 2006 - 2 years
Appeared in the media Aug 3 Thu: The new VC, the 10th, for UKM from this Aug end, replacing the one who will retire, and according to the report, ironically traded-in their job.
The rehired retired new VC, 59 and the outgoing, 56; what an upside down! She is the second woman VC in this country, and this is her "second time appointed". Three previous VCs ascended from Deputy VCs, the 6th from a Dean, the 5th from a Director of a public academic institution (upgraded to a university four years ago), the 4th from a Director General of a research institution (now dwindling after loosing the no-win fight since it was forced to 'behave' like a corporate), the 3rd from a Deputy VC, the 2nd an O&G from a private hospital, and the 1st was from "the sky"; but this 10th was never nearer to the job, never even a dean, even though she had a "wide experience" in high education teaching, wholly a non-practioner in UKM Medical. The revolution is taking place in the university, and detached from its 1970 root; aligned to its evolution and pre-revolution since then. It was the 2nd VC when I checked-in as a student in 1971. On expiry he returned to the hospital where my #1daughter (1978), #3son (1983) and #4son (1985) were delivered by him, but inasmuch he never extended beyond that professional relationship. The 4th VC interviewed for my confirmation as a lecturer. The 6th VC interviewed for my assoc professorship. The 8th knew me personally at the tea break cafetaria table. I was an alien to the 1st and 5th, even when the former later (to his enforced-retirement) became the university LPU chairman. The 3rd sort of seen my face many-many times (up to in England) because we were such a small community in the 1970s. He however was so close to the first batchers science students to whom he was the first dean. So did the 7th and 9th in many occasions that required them and took me to take part - but never extended beyond the meeting room. I am an absolute alien from other galaxy to the 10th. PS. Some writing denoted #10 as the ninth. This is due to the fact that #3 was acting all along; did not get his confirmation although he ran the vc-ship, to his last day at UKM to become the director general of PUSPATI.

The Last Tango ...

August 9-11, Open Day #2 PPSKTM. The preparation was from sixteen months ago. Eleven times meetings, but I 'sneaked-in' only twice; and put in two written reports. Deliberation of an absent in the first meeting failed to get excluded, instead was given the toughest "technical and logistic". Apparently those attended intended to get themselves aligned per wish. After a 'show', those two were separated, and Dr Harun and I were given the task to put up a current season "state of the art": the MM show. Obviously the actual focus was in Jul. Since both of us are at about the same point, a quite strategic 'map' was drawn and needed to convince Dr Harun. It was stunning neat show though of a crystallic cooperation among the lower staff, even with a vacuum of due supports from both the faculty and the university. They were like the potentials of a forest.

The preparation for the opening ceremony (in FST's DAM Meeting Room) was up to the mid-night of the night before; my MMedia included. It was an irony that DAM was not available. Could not get the lecture realigned. In my time, when DAM was needed, the 'pentadbir' wrote a letter to me saying the such and such ceremony were going to be held. They did not mention of cancelling the lecture. They still did not dare to instruct;

Judging by the reflex of the VIPs, the show was 'successful and attractive'; the outer two had been given the preview before;

I obviously undestood, we will be better made the next time; the press the size of which concluded the occasion significance;

The "acclaimed" chocs; the legendary kitosan high on in the gallery; the bunting;

As always, I stole the show like I did in May in Kenyir; I took a bus-load of SESERI-ans to visit; they arrived at ca. 3 pm; used up all the remaining time of the evening - dispensing their responsiveness, interactiveness, and receptiveness, - cheering up the exhibitors; and eventually the 'show' began when they were asked whereabout they came from and who brought them here since their arrangement and arrival was like a mystery.

They enjoyed themselves and bonded by the presence of their seniors (F4 2003 SESERI pioneers - happened to be my STKK1113 students on Food Science Programme); and before they go, I took them for a treat in Ungku Omar College; ostensibly a few of them will end up here in 2009. CheGu Noorisma Diana, a new councilor, accompanied.
Updated Dec 22 Fri: A token for every one who had put quite an effort to make it kicked and kicking. Scratching every part of the body to self-pleasurise; claiming a flower for a bud. It went mostly as planed. It would have been bigger had it got the full support from the "mother nature". The next is said to be in 2008, I guess conditional to the prevailing of the current mood and mode.

My time was made more extensible by Aug 8 Tue when the baton of STKK1113 was passed on to Dr Ishak for the second third. I extended more for the writing, the MatriQ things for the month end, and for the SESERI's PIBG Buletin. And for the MJAS electronic production some how I got enslaved into it by its chief editor Prof Md Pauzi, and on to maintaining its online publication asked to be hosted in the UKM's server.

The Festival ...

August 12-17, Degree Conferement Ceremony #34 UKM. The first degree conferement of UKM was in 1973, in Dewan Bankuasi, Parliament Building on June 23 Sat. It was not my degree, so I did not attend; but I participated a lot in the "Pesta" for the Persatuan Mahasiswa Sains stalls. This is probably the last degree conferement that I could attend. Would I attend? Or should I attend? The last I attended, was the 29th Ceremony 2001 Saturday July 7. Although I put on the academic gear, I did it for personal reason; it was for my #1daughter. Before that it was the Konvo #23 1995 Aug 6; and that was for my PhD student Zainal Abidin Harahap. But this occasion was when I swore that I would not attend any for the fac until the univ pay me back my dinner it owed. It was after the ceremony that I was enticed to follow the bunch to the admin building which ended at the banquet dinning. At the door, right among my friends and colleague (but they were no 'nonsensense' unlike me), I was stopped by the welcoming door-lady (who I knew) who knew me that I was not a senator. Apparently the lunch was for the senators only, not for the ordinary lecturers. I was ushered away! And I left in obedient; went to buy my own dinner. That was the price tag the university put on the ordinary lecturers like me: less than a convocation dinner for a senator. Before this event I usually like to attend the konvo ceremony, and rarely miss every year, because I felt sort of respected being paraded infront of the standing attendees in the mega-lighted hall DECTAR, in the academic regalia which I purchased in 1983 in England for none other reason, to wear it once a year and in only such occasion, and not for others. The last before that I attended was the Konvo #21 1993 Aug 6 Fri. Had it not for the touchy dinner, I would surely attend this ceremony; this is a last tango too, a last waltz in fact!

The festival usually began with many pre-festivals. PUSANIKA became a "mobile" instant shopping complex, changing face every few days; selling anything from recently announced computer, to all kinds of "pasar malam" goodies.

Festival could only be meant one and only one thing: the opportunity of making MONEY. The organiser make money by asking the money makers to come in frenzy so that the numbers of patrons multiply by thousand of which the latter were made to so-understood. And come, be any thing at all; and this one even the motivation talk. The hall could swallow up to 600 (I used to give lecture to 650 students in this hall), that makes 3k for 2 hrs talk. For the patrons to stay that long, the 'performer' must be a great comedian indeed. It needed to be so to get out of the paradox: one needs to be motivated to pay to attend the motivation talk, but motivated one does not need a motivation talk. Unmotivated one will rather go for 'relaks'. But, hey! This is a comedian show, let's go! And the punch lines goes ... "... nak jadi cemerlang senang saja, tidak susah. Semua orang boleh jadi cemerlang. Kita mesti rajin, mesti jangan malas; kita mesti jangan cepat putus asa, sentiasa berusaha; kita mesti kerja kuat, kita mesti jangan ...; kita mesti ..., kita mesti jangan ...". Many have already got it for free and many times: It was from our own parents; unfortunately in their own 'comedian dialect' which almost 'unamusing' to the intended listeners.

The "shrines" were in peace at night; but flocked by the "pilgrims" during the day time. For many of them this is the only time they spent the time with; they then either forget it or felt that the "structures" were, regretfully or not, just ordinary stones; erected there in exchange for a lot of money.
The "Festival Hill"; night time (above), and day time (below). A deeper adventure into other parts of the hill would hallucinate visitors into places like Chow Kit Rd, or Petaling Street, or Jln Masjid India; at worst a night market.
And the university's trade mark flag by the student - it was the longest during the time the students' much talk about the 'shortest' PNGK. The flag was at the palce for the past few convos. However its original sewn fabric pieces was replaced by this printed plastic piece; another example of students activity turned into somebody fat meal. But wait, a 'small' ripple at this month end may reverberate into next year convo #35. Just give a reservation for it;

It Wasn't Unsubstantiated after all

Well, 7000 out of ca. a quarter million, that is a very small number. This is not an urgent matter. If it is serious they would have gone deep into it. The situation is grave, on the ground however, but it is just a pimple. They could if they wanted it solved. Many agreed that almost all "youngsters" have pimple. It will go away by time. Every one knows what is happening in the school. They just let it to the nature to align themselves. When the children check-in at the school they were innocent. After several years in the hands of the teachers and the wardens, they ganged up to do (in practice to overcome) many clever things - and some were eventually expelled - some were said to have "committed crimes". It took rare eyes to see the very thin line of difference between a "criminal pupil" and a needy pupil; bad pupil and naughty pupil. A hungry pupil "fly" away to get some food. The warden verdicted him as "a criminal". Most teachers wish to become warden, because it was a job with extra pay and an accomodation in the school compound, free from the traffic woos. But when they got it, most of the time they act like they own the pupils, and the pupils are the source of their headache or problem maker. That was because the extra pay they receive for being the warden is used up to meet the demands of living. Forget about words that say teaching is a professional career.

Let's proceed on with the scientific methodology on this one - on this article, not on the research this article is about: the refereeing. First, was the research on the "safe sex" or on the "premarital sex"? The data presented sound like on the former, but the lines read like to be understood on the latter. Second, 727 respondents from two private colleges and two public universities, ostensibly one is the university the researcher is attached to. Taking into account that there are different ways of life among the ethnic that made up malaysian, and invariant mode of ethnic campus population among the private colleges versus public colleges, the article bears injustice in not carrying the data along the sub-column of ethnicity. Thirdly, ditto, along the male and female sub-column to shed some support for the 'polygamous' or 'polyandrous'. These two aspects, alone or together, demerit the randomness of the sampling, which in statistical jargon, flaws the conclusion when applied to the mass population.

Let's now have some recipe of figures.

While the study showed that only 11.3 per cent admitted to having premarital sex, 55 per cent said their friends were sexually active. "According to the World Health Organisation, when a young adult says his or her friend is having premarital sex, they are talking about themselves as well," Mazlin said, adding that of this figure, half had more than one partner.

... which means 55 percent, not 11.3. Which means not far off from developed nations in Europe and America. If this figures translate into numbers for a university like the one the researcher works which hosted circa 20k population in the main campus alone, 11k of them are committing. If they do it only once a year, there were 30 promiscuities per night (assuming at night - since this country still honours some degree of unmarried privacy), every night throughout the year. No, no, 15 only, since it takes two to tango, doesn't matter homo or hetero. In the campus colleges? Like that in the developed countries? Data not presented to support or otherwise. If this is true, in practice it is more than 15, because this thing is addictive. On consenting basis, and at the age, it would be most probable more than once a year; more likely more than once, perhaps more plausible on the weekly scale rather than on annual scale.

Next, the article revealed the research extension largely into the health aspect, viz, STD and HIV; not excluding pregnancy of which the article preffixed instead of suffixed. Say, out of the minimum 15 promiscuities per night, how many end with it? The article said the research found out that 80 percent did it by freeway. O&G says a freeway style would less likely does not do it, does not matter the first time or the nth time. Say 80 percent of the 80 percent did. It means, ca. 10 per night. If it happen in real life, it is indeed SHOCKING. It is very much more western than most of the western countries. Then how many new life is form in a year in the campus? Well, 10 per night, then a year? 3560? More than the annual Jul new intake!! No, no that linear, Mr statician. Once fertilised, it takes 9 months to ripe, and another three months to re-ready, even though promiscuities could be maintained at the projected rate. It means 10 a year, those outside the wedlock. Phew!! ... at last, 10 out of 20k; yep, 0.05 percent, or 1 in 2000. Hardly visible!

A Little Too Late

But it wasn't infrequent. It happened before when the lecturers were saturated; then when the assoc prof were saturated. Now, I guess it is the professors saturating in the IPTA. Still 'young' to retire, but the JPA things that made the lecturers 'pegawai' made the saturation actually bleed the university academic running. That saturation is reached is indicated by the fact that many dons continued their status quo; majority were even without the need any more for the "syarahan perdana", even to sit on the university chancellory altar.

The 'pegawai-ness' colour in the university, had caused many university academyness niched into PTH, rather than each university looks for its own niche, as it was intended in the 1970's when more than one universities were on the table in the making. Due to the PTH-ness, almost all university do the same thing; they though geniously worded them with different names to make them 'legal' on the papers even though every one knew them so well. If they don't do that, the saturation will reach faster. The IPTA are in dire need for a niche each, but no body there seems to care of, because such would mean a long term the end of which might not be within their time. Unlike the IPTS which had no choice but to define and to refine a niche different from each other, failing which is unforgivable. IPTA have yet to attain a spiritual throne with its fields extends over generations rather than PTH-type. Without this, the contribution of IPTA in the country's progress would remain infinitesimal, and stay competing with each other for the same job market.

Wedding On the Weekday
All the media were flashing the wedding of Aug 21 Mon, dubbed by some as the "(private) wedding of the year" - of private citizen though, not public figures. It was not so much of the wedded, Siti - Datuk K, but the wedding on Mon working day, rather than on the weekend Fri, Sat or Sun as usually done by many for such private family matters. This is no doubt the anti-climax in the local entertainment industry. Almost all kinds of media took part as part of their content to maintain the blood flow and many of them from each. Thus making it on Mon would just fit the routine working hours thus without any adjustments. Weekend would invoke the holidays time for the personnels, thus some 'adjustment' to the overtimes are needed. And this would not be little. And especially in public places like the FT Mosque and KL Convention Centre (Aug 28), though Sun in the bride’s hometown in Kuala Lipis (Sept 3), and, Jakarta, Indonesia, (Sept 10). Many people watched it happened, and continue watching it happening.

The wedding I attended always very private, on Sat or Sun. The most is being able to meet old mates, colleagues, etc, who we have not met for many years. On many occasions, who were getting married were less important than whose daughters or sons were getting married.

Aug 24, An Astronomical Event
The astronomers have redefined a "planet" as a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around a star or stellar remnants; (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape; (c) is not massive enough to initiate thermonuclear fusion of deuterium in its core; and, (d) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
Vista, Ceres, Moon
It affected to the demotion of Pluto from the decades of ninth planet of the Sun to just a major object in the Kuiper Belt, together with its satelite Charon, and the newly discovered bigger 2003_UB313, they are now called "dwarf planets" with the assigned asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC); Pluto's companion satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra are considered part of the same system and will not be assigned separate asteroid numbers. The Sun now has only eight (proper) planets. Pluto was the Greek god of wealth who ruled the underworld (the dark world); Pluto is the Mickey's pet dog which is more genius than its owner. Charon, in Greek mythology, is the ferryman of the dead. The souls of the deceased are brought to him by Hermes, and Charon ferries them across the river Acheron. He only accepts the dead which are buried or burned with the proper rites, and if they pay him an obolus (coin) for their passage. For that reason a corpse had always an obolus placed under the tongue. Those who cannot afford the passage, or are not admitted by Charon, are doomed to wander on the banks of the Styx for a hundred years. Living persons who wish to go to the underworld need a golden bough obtained from the Cumaean Sibyl. Charon is the son of Erebus and Nyx. He is depicted as an sulky old man, or as a winged demon carrying a double hammer. He is similar to the Etruscan (Charun). Ceres, previously was an asteroid in the belt between Mar and Jupiter, was 'promoted' to become a "dwarf planet". Ceres was the goddess of growing plants (particularly cereals) and of motherly love. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, wife-sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina by Jupiter and sister of Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. She was also patron of Enna, Sicily.

Sayonara ...

It doesn't say who said that though. Someone thought of unimind talk on behalf of everyone;

Aug 25 Fri late afternoon, VC #9 was farewelled in elegance, beginning with a festival of eulogy in the Senate Meeting Room, then down to the g-floor (a.k.a. gallery-floor) to take the PALAPES last salute, and off out of the campus. The jaga at the gate, switching to military mode, gave the last salute at the university edge. They have to, because Aug 26 Sat was his last day.

Several days before that, tributes for him was specially created in e-warga portal for those who would like it known to others that they pay tributes. It was opened for the university's community only though. That made him smiled all day long in those last several days.

Last logout.

He was dubbed "Bapa pengantarabangsaan UKM - the Father of Internationalisation of UKM", or was he given, or was he accorded, or was he acquired, or was it that he claimed, or was it that he accepted the suggestion that he be accorded. The previous eight VCs was not associated with any attribution - especially #3 in whose time UKM needed "internationalization" in order to attach the pioneer and the penultimate pioneer graduates in the established universities for postgraduate studies to qualify them to become the UKM staff -; even some were not properly farewelled. They were just like the many DVCs or the deans who come and go. Being academicians, one could not resist the temptation to know how differ "internationally" UKM was, delta plus, or delta minus, relative to the era whence UKM did not have such a personnel. So far no quantitative data are available, don't even mention any quantitative study. The only quantitative data available are the number of international flights that have been booked for him and the number, and the 'personnels' each in every of his entourage - the registrar and bendahari, not excluded. The bendahari had all the figures and the financial figure and the procedural reasons for them, judging by the very jig-saw-type procedures the bendahari stapled on when come to the expenditure by academicians - albeit, the grant the academician applied and awarded. He set a very tough 'pace' indeed for the incoming #10, including that about the inaugural lecture things which he first set not before the ascension. It was drizzling at vic 4 late afternoon Aug 25 Fri, but turned mad like a stampeding bisons batalion when the sun set.

I was not in when the new VC #10 checked-in, technically Aug 27 Sun. Yusof SMS-ed me congratulating for the UKM new VC to which I replied "Ha, ha, ha" which he re-SMS-ed for the interpretation which I gave as "For the three DVC" which he said he thought for the 3 b of the DVCA to which I replied as possible if one of the non-DVCA was. Aug 28-31 Mon-Thu, it was MatriQ outing, but not far, in fact very close by: Residence @ Uniten. Perhaps this outing is also my last or second last tango of such kind. It overlapped to August 30 Wed, which was counted down to the very last second; the midnight, then when the Aug 31 Thu first second began, all were in frenzy celebrating the Merdeka; this year #49. The national celebration was in Kuching; it then "very quiet" in KL. Albeit, as has been for the past four years, SESERI celebrated in its compound; backgrounded the KLCC and the closeby PWTC; the joint occasion with the school traditional "makan beradat" cum birthday celebration which after many times deferrement due to the 'unavailability' of the pengetua, only this late it could be held; which I have to attend. The month end Aug 31 was then a dead day; I could not afford a mission day-travel to Kemaman alone to attend the walimah of my school days mate Ismail Mohamad 'A'.

Chapter dated Aug 31, 2006