Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plagiarism..Think Twice.

Plagiarism is always one of the main problems among students especially the undergraduates. Recently I have caught a few with plagiarized materials. In simple words, plagiarism is basically taking other people’s ideas and uses the ideas as one's own original work. Most students seem to think that it is not considered plagiarism as long as the authors' are cited somewhere in the assignment (or not cited…). Well, that notion is wrong. If you were to take someone else's idea, at least you must paraphrase it and then cite the author. If you were to insert the idea word by word, you must put the whole sentence in a quotation mark with the citation at the end. In the three cases that I have examined, the students simply cut-and-paste most of the materials found in the Web and combined them to make a complete project paper. They didn't even bother to change the logo of the company that they copied from the Web or the different fonts used. What is it with students nowadays? Do they think we are not going to notice when their writing suddenly miraculously improves? Or when suddenly all the bombastic words are expressed perfectly? Or when their grammatical errors are almost nil? Personally, I feel that the act is just simply an insult to my intelligence.

Still, I do not blame them 100 per cent. The universities and the academicians should also play their roles. Questions need to be asked. To what extend that academicians are willing to uphold their principles? Should we fail them, give warning or do nothing (grade the paper as a normal paper)? I know for sure that Western academicians adhere to zero tolerance for plagiarism. Most Western universities even required students to submit all their assignments directly to Turnitin online (one of widely used plagiarism software detection) before the assignments are graded by the lecturers. Personally, I believe that we should do the same in Malaysia. I don't mind about not having the software. I can still detect plagiarism manually through the internet by google-ing key words or sentences. But, students need to be told of the severity of the penalty and the universities along with the academicians should unite in our effort to curb this problem. Many things are acceptable or negotiable, but plagiarism should not be one of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fresh from the Trees...

Yesterday, Monday 7th July 2008 was the first day of the semester. And my class was one of the first for new students. I like teaching new students. Why? Because no matter what, my class will always be full. And these new students, they looked fresh, alert and interested. They even asked me about the dress code to come to my class. Hehehe. What more can a lecturer ask, kan? My second class of the day, which was at 12pm, was also no shock to me. It was a 3rd level class...and it only lasted 5 minutes. Again, you may wonder why..because there were only 3 students present. I told them thanks for coming, gave them the course synopsis and ended the class. Hopefully I can start teaching by this coming Wednesday. And this morning was my first GSM class for MBA students. Kind of scary in the beginning but all ended well. Thank God. The class had a good mixture of students from various backgrounds such as Business, Engineering, Microbiology, etc. And there were a few students on study leaves ranging from 1 to 2 years who work for MAS and several other organizations. There was even one French student coming under GSM student exchange program. This class will surely pose a challenge to me especially in trying to get them to understand the impact of OB on real-life situations. At the same time, it will also provide me with valuable experience. No doubt about that. Well, I have news for me, my colleagues and all my students:

'That's it people! Holidays are officially over...'

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

All in a Week...

3rd of July, 09.30am:

1st July 2008:
Dr Simon Booth who is also the Head of Management Department and my Ph.D. internal examiner in Reading came to visit our faculty with a very interesting proposal..an opportunity for collaboration. As I was listening to him in the meeting, I can't stop my mind from taking a walk down the memory lane. I wish Denise, Peter and Evelyn were here too. It seems that a lot of exciting things are happening in Reading after I graduated last year. They are now in the process of merging with the Henley Management College. The merger, due to be completed in August 2008, will unite Henley, currently ranked among the top 25 business schools in Europe and the University of Reading Business School. The new Henley Business School will become the fourth largest business school in the UK and house the Schools of Economics, Management and Real Estate & Planning, alongside the ICMA Centre (for financial markets).

Wow..this is really great! Still, I regret not being there in Reading during the transformation. I would have liked to be able to explore the new building. Simon said it's going to be a state-of-the-art building. Well, perhaps with the collaboration, I will get another chance to visit Reading.

The funny thing that happened yesterday was that I needed to get in touch with Simon, but he did not have any mobile phone with him. Luckily I asked about his schedule the day before. So, first thing first, I contacted PJ Hilton to ask about him. That was around 10.30am. They told me that he has checked out and gone somewhere. Then I remembered that he had a meeting with the British Council at noon. So, I contacted British Council and managed to speak to the receptionist. He told me that he was never informed of such visitor. I knew then that I had to change my tactic. Thinking fast, I asked him (in a polite manner of course..) that if a person from a UK university were to visit the organization, which department would they normally go. And he said it would usually involve the UK Education. I proceeded to ask him to connect me with UK Education and finally...the people there told me that yes, they were expecting Simon in a few hours. Oh my God! I am so proud of myself. It's not much, but it is still my outstanding accomplishment for the day! Hahaha. Three cheers for me!!!

To Simon; I wish you a good trip back to UK. Thank you for taking the time to visit us.

I am yet to look at all my notes for next week's classes. I have 5 classes this semester and all have to be completed earlier to give way for my sudden maternity leave. Hahaha. I have a feeling I will be alone in the delivery room this time around as I doubt that my husband will be able to fly back on time. Yeah, yeah, talk about me being a pessimist. Most people don't know this, but I am always optimist at work and most of the time pessimist at home. Funny, huh.

Another meeting awaits me. The final one this week since tomorrow is Friday. And..tomorrow is also my tenth wedding anniversary. The 4th of July..Americans will be celebrating it for sure. It's their Independence Day. Hmm..wonder what my husband has in store for me..probably nothing.

Glitter Words
3rd of July, 12.30pm:
I stand corrected. At about this time, I received a bouquet of roses and a box of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates from my husband. This is among those few times that he surprised me. And I am truly surprised! And touched. I am so touched, I feel like crying. As a matter of fact, I did cry. Oh gosh..how I wish he would not have gone to Brunei next month.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Life is Full of Surprises...

Forgive me my friends for not writing for quite some time. As I said before, time is moving so fast, I strain to maintain my pace. For the past few months, I've been bogged down with my work. Classes, exams and on top of that, my morning sickness. Yup, I am 5 months pregnant and now it is no more morning sickness, it's evening sickness. Well, what the baby wants, the baby gets, huh.

A few days ago, I was thinking about my hectic schedule and finally decided to reduce some of my teaching and administrative workload so that there will be more time with the family starting next semester. Well, it's not going to happen now, I guess. My husband told me last Friday that he will be sent to Brunei for a year for a company project. Upon hearing the news, I didn't know whether I should cry or laugh or scream. What should I do? Can I cope? How am I going to deliver the baby alone? (Let's be practical here, as much as I want my husband to be with me when I deliver the baby, deep in my heart I know that we can't really predict when the baby decide to face the world. And him being away in Brunei, hey who am I trying to kid, it will take time to book a flight ticket and to rush to my bedside.) Before I can even digest that information fully and accept the fact that we are going to be separated...again...my mom told me another shocking news..that my 17-year old cousin, Mohd Afiq Hadri who was vacationing with his family at The Orient Star Resort, Lumut had drowned in the swimming pool. He passed away just before Maghrib. And of course we then rushed to Seremban. Looking at my paklang and maklang's faces, I know how devastated they are with the lost of their beloved son. As for us, there's nothing that we can offer, except our prayers for Afiq. People speculate..of course they do. But I know paklang, and I know how protective he is with his children. And I believe, when it is time for a person to leave the world, there is nothing stopping him. As a Muslim, I believe in qada' and qadar...in heaven and earth. Qada’ (decree) is Allah’s specifying how things will be, in pre-eternality, by His Will, in accordance with His Knowledge. Qadar (destiny) is Allah’s bringing into being through His Power, that which His Will specified. We can cry as much as we want, but it will never bring him back. And therefore, I pray for them to be strong..although I myself am not sure of my reactions if the same thing were to happen to me. Semoga rohnya dicucuri rahmat. Amin.

Ironically, that same Friday (6th of June) was actually my youngest daughter's birthday..Kamalia. We actually planned for a small family celebration, but it did not follow thru because the birth of Kamalia now signifies the death of her uncle Afiq. I think I will keep reminding her of the event so that she will remember him always.

Yes..life is full of surprises. And all the events of the day and the events that might take place after make me wonder further...will we regret not spending time with our beloved ones when death knocks on our doors?

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Act Of Being Sarcastic...

Have you ever come across individuals who always make sarcastic comments about almost everything? I have. Quite a few actually for the last 10, 15 years. I always wonder what makes a person do that. Is it because you secretly want certain things and therefore you envy people who have those things? Is it because you simply can't stand the sight of other people being happy? Or is it just because you are born with sarcasms?

Interestingly, most of these 'sarcastic individuals' seem to be so natural in being sarcastic. The sarcastic words just come out automatically as if on cue. They can't even praise you without being sarcastic first. And sometimes they smile while being sarcastic. I wonder are those compliments sincere then? How should one react to such situations? By smiling and by politely saying thank you? By agreeing with the sarcastic remarks? Or by pretending as if those sarcastic comments are something nice instead? I know..I know..I am using a lot of the 's' word here. It's just that, I couldn't find the perfect synonym for sarcasm or even sarcastic. Can you?

Sometimes you get people who don't have any intention to go any extra mile at all..but they are full of sarcasms. Wouldn't you feel like laughing? I mean..is there any logic in that? Think about it. You don't like doing it and yet you don't want others to snatch those opportunities from you. What do you expect? For the bounced ball to keep rolling back towards you everytime? Maybe it will..but believe me...it won't be forever. I believe individuals will always be given chances, but there are or course limits. Once you exceed the limit, your time is up. I am sure you have heard of this phrase.."grab it while you can...'

I guess if you ever in doubts, you might want to clarify by saying, 'excuse me, are you being sarcastic?' or 'I assume that you are being sarcastic' or somewhere between those lines. Hahaha. Now who is being sarcastic? At times you need to avoid being hurt by being sarcastic yourself. It's not revenge though. It's just getting even. Just like this Mrs Dot here:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Finally Can Swim!!!

Ahah! After 33 years, I finally can swim! It began with Tuesday being so stressful for me.. On Wednesday morning, I felt so annoyed with things happening at home. And when I arrived at the office, there were so much work to complete that I ended up not doing anything. So, I decided to take a dip in the pool with K.Ana. Just to cool off. Dr Murali said I was losing my focus..so no sense to continue working there. Yup! I wanted to practice anyway because by Saturday my young instructor would definitely want to see some improvements. She always said..'you need to practice..that will make the process of learning faster.' I always nodded my head..nod, nod, nod..of course, I understand that. I am a lecturer..hahaha. But, I just couldn't find the time. Alasan.

When we arrived, the pool was quite empty. The feeling of those cool water all over me gave a very soothing feeling. It calmed me. In the beginning I started my breast stroke like before...three strokes and breathed, three strokes and breathed...Then I saw K.Ana doing her breast stroke..so gracefully. She told me to find the rhythm. I had nothing better to do...so I tried. One stroke and breathed..one stroke and breathed. All the time my mind was humming the rhythm for my body to follow. The power of your mind can sometimes amazes you. When I was in Missouri last time, I wanted to learn roller blading. The first time I tried, I couldn't even balanced myself even to stand still for a few seconds. I was practising with my husband in front of his house. I managed to slid under his feet everytime I tried to stand. The people in the cars that went by his house were my witnesses. They honked at me! Somebody shouted encouraging words to me though. Thank you. God bless you. For the next few days, I remembered playing with my mind, imagining myself standing up while wearing my blades..and, guess what? The next time I tried, I was a natural. That experience was really amazing. Wow.

Well...I guess that was what happened with my swimming. After 1/2 hour of mind training, I finally did it. Congratulations to me. Hahaha. It felt great!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Tonight I attended my first PIBG (Persatuan Ibubapa dan Guru or Parents and Teachers Association) meeting. It was a new territory for me..kind of embarrassing to be so out of loop in the discussion. I was so far behind because I never attended any PIBG AGM (Annual General Meeting) for the past 2 years because I was away, studying for my PhD. So, the last AGM (that was in January), I decided to come. I dunno what happened, but somehow I got elected as one of the AJK (ahli jawatankuasa or committee members). Which literally means, more work for me. It's hard enough to juggle my day schedule, now I will have meetings at night. My parents are of course jumping with joy when they heard the news. Having previously worked as teachers, both of them see this election as an opportunity to make a difference for my children. As for me, I have my own doubts. Although my husband is willing to take care of the kids during my night meetings, the intellectual support I get from him is almost nil. He is an IT person and his life is just his work..back and forth. Nothing more, nothing less. No more thinking after office hours. In the 10 years that I have been married to him, I can count the intellectual discussions that I had with him.

Most of the AJK have worked together before. Many have been re-elected. So they know each other well. Most are quite veterans..and they seemed to have made up their minds on certain things already tonight. Felt like I was the youngest parent there (more in terms of my experience as opposed to my age - though I always feel young..hehehe) and I was having this awkward feeling..butterflies in my stomach. I couldn't helped myself from feeling a bit low in terms of my self-esteem. I kept thinking, 'they are just waiting to see me do something foolish so that they can laugh.' God help me. I hope I will be able to do something good. My credibility is at stake here. If I fail, indirectly my children will also feel the impact. The teachers will know about my failure. And then, how will they perceive our family? What shud I do? What shud I do? What will you do if you were in my shoes?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Hari Raya Cina Vacation...

'the young becaman, not the pakcik'

'fun in the pool'

'the Lion Dance'

'on the top of the hill!'

Oh well..where should I start? Hmm...I had a great Chinese New Year vacation! We took the kids to Malacca for a new experience. Of course for us it was to relive our past. It was so..so long ago when my father took me to Malacca. I remembered going for a swim in Tanjong Bidara..but the rest of the trip was just a blur now. In those days, we didn't have a camera. So there were no pictures to remind us. We relied more on our memories. Today, we are so blessed with the technology. It is easier to remember things that you can see, isn't it?

Although we were stuck in a traffic jam for a few hours, the excitement on my children's faces was clear. The Equatorial was at the heart of Malacca. That made it easier for us to wander around. The walk to Mahkota Parade, Dataran Pahlawan, A'Famosa, St Paul Church, etc. just took us only a few minutes. My daughter, Kamalia, seemed so happy when we went out for a walk that night. Perhaps, for her it was really a new and breathtaking encounter. She couldn't really describe her happiness in words, but her many smiles just said it all.The next day we rode the tricycle rickshaws (beca in Malay)..just for fun. I kept telling my husband to get the older becamen. Called me 'sensitive' if you want, but it really depressed me to see those pakcik-pakcik working very hard. At their ages, they should have proper rests, not spending their days under the hot sun, cycling around town with passengers. I asked that pakcik, 'tak penat ke?' (aren't you tired?) and he said, 'apa nak buat, dah terpaksa. Anak pakcik sorang jer yang dah kerja. Lagipun pakcik dah biasa.' (what can I do, I have to. I have only one kid who has just started working. Anyway, I am used to it.) Who says life is fair, eh?

Ooh..I forgot to tell you..the hotel had a Lion Dance show in the morning. I was so excited because I had always wanted to see a Lion Dance from beginning to end (kungfu movies are always my favourites..and kungfu movies almost always have those Lion or Dragon dances). I practically forced everybody to be back at the hotel on time and stayed at the lounge until the dance finished. I wished Jet Li was the one doing the dance. Hahaha. 'Not in a million years,' said my husband. Ooh, he was just jealous. My daughter managed to get an orange from the lion and she eventually became excited too. I whispered to my husband, 'trust me..the feeling was contagious, and people tended to become more and more excited as the music grew louder.'

Later, in the evening, we went to the zoo and we visited the ocean the next day. Then, suddenly ..poof..everything was over. I guess, when you had fun, time always seemed to fly very fast. Your life reluctantly turns back to its ordinary nature, following similar routines day after day...but silently it waits.. patiently..for yet another chance to become extraordinary once again!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Never Would Have Thought...

Lately..I feel stressed over the unknown future and my inability (in my opinion) to perform up to my own high standard. As a result, I fail to view life as welcoming as I should have. And that redirects further to my frustration. These negative feelings seem to be wheeling around me..I feel myself drowning slowly...bit by bit. And out of a sudden..tonight..my thoughts were suddenly shifted back to the life I once had in Reading. I really dunno whether it was the fun times that had me thinking about the one place that I thought I had or rather would not miss, or was it the sadness and shed tears that brought back the memories. Of course I miss going for the shopping sprees at Next, etc. with my friends at 7am, or browsing through the racks in La Senza for cheap lingerie (hehe..when I say cheap..it was DIRT cheap..). On the other hand, I also miss the ride on my bike early in the morning, in the midst of winter..I miss my session of hazelnut hot chocolate with my friends when I feel sad..I miss running back to my house without any proper protections through hails and rains...I miss the very, very early morning chat that I had with my husband everyday, and I miss the excitement and the depressions I felt over the process of writing the thesis. I even miss the university guard that to me, looks like the chubby bad guy in Jurassic Park who had stolen the dinosaurs' DNA and cut the electricity in his effort to run away. He always made fun gestures to me and he smiled a lot. On top of all..I really miss missing my husband and my kids! People say that when you are far from your loved ones, the affections grow stronger each minute. Once together, the feelings are neutral cause sooner or later you tend to take those in front of you for granted. When I was in Reading, I sort of made a pact with myself to never set foot there again for the place brought me more sadness and tears than I had thought possible. I used to joke with my friends that my tears would be able to fill the seven barrels requested by Puteri Gunung Ledang. Little that I know how those tears affected me in the long run. Now it feels that somehow a part of me was left there. And no matter how hard I try, I doubt that I would ever find it again. So long, my friend.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My New Year's Resolution...

Yeah..yeah..I know it's a bit late to discuss about my new year's resolution, but I can't seem to think of any before the new year. It was only after the second week of January when I suddenly had an interest in buying colorful accessories..mainly bracelets and rings. This new interest was sparked really when my husband bought me a ring for no occasion at all and told me so..very..implicitly that he wanted me to wear one to work. I suddenly realized that I have never ever worn any ring whatsoever when I went to work..I also always wear the same bracelet and necklace since the past 7 years..I think..(yeah..the timing was about right. I did buy a new bracelet a few years after I got married because I lost the one that my mom gave me..hehe). The reason for not changing my accessories is partly because I don't have the time..and as for the necklace..it was made for me by my mom and it has a pendant bearing my name in sort of a unique vertical design. You can't find that design now. That pendant has been with me since I was 2 years old. Of course that is not the reason not to wear another one. There are always longer necklaces now... Well..simply said..I was plain lazy..hahaha. Don't get me wrong though..I am not so out of date in terms of fashion..my wardrobe collections are okay, I guess. Now and then I got compliments from my colleagues and friends. But still I think some changes are due this new year. I should pamper myself a bit and spend more money now on accessories..like trying to match the color of my bracelets to my dresses and 'baju kurung.' Truthfully, I am not doing it to get more attention..it's just..it's for me..my own satisfaction, it is fun..and it makes me feel happy and confident when I face the world. So, why not?

Just the other day, I was teaching my students the importance of self praise and self recognition. I asked them whether they have ever muttered some kinds of praises to themselves when they did a good job in anything. The funny thing was...they never did! I remembered thinking..this was not possible. I talk to myself all the time..I praise myself almost everyday...hehe..not for the whole world to hear of course, but just for me. My thinking is simple..if nobody else is going to praise me..I might as well praise myself..if nobody else is proud of me..not to worry...I am always proud of ME...So, the bottom line is..if nobody cares about my new year's resolution of changing accessories...that's fine. As long as I care.... Happy New Year people!