Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Farewell Yasmin.

Upon hearing the death of Yasmin Ahmad, I suddenly feel compelled to say my farewell to arwah. In every one of her creations, she managed to make the differences among us invisible. In every one of her creations, she lights up hopes that unity is indeed welcome. And true enough, in every one of her creations, she managed to touch my heart..deeply. The idea she lets across is universal. That all of us are one and the same. That the colorful nation has always been Malaysia’s destiny. It is just a shame that we sometimes failed to see our own best talent when others did.

So to Yasmin, thank you very much for reminding me of the little things that I always take for granted. We’ve never met. But looking back, it would have been an honor for me if we did. I will miss your commercials and short stories. Most of all, I will miss your words.

"In the end it's these small things that you remember with imperfections that make them perfect for you.."Al-Fatihah.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

X or Y?

When Douglas McGregor first came up with Theory X and Y, the idea is simple although the implication of the theories in our lives is far greater. Theory X regards people to be lazy, to dislike work, to avoid working hard, and to prefer to be directed. On the contrary, Theory Y regards people to be motivated to work; to feel unfulfilled without the opportunity to work and contribute to society; to prefer control over their work; and to take responsibility for their work. In general, when I think of an X person, I always think of direction..direction..direction..and spoon-feeding. However, if I think of a Y person, the main thing that comes to my mind would be independent.

What actually trigger my discussion on Theory X and Y? See, yesterday, while I was teaching, suddenly a question popped up in my mind. Can we actually say that the education system that we have currently in schools is based on developing students to be in the scope of X individuals and the education system we have in the university is actually moving towards developing the Y individuals. You may ask, why the transition? Because organizations want Y employees. Just browse through the job advertisements in STAR for an example to see the kind of applicants that these organizations want. ‘Performance driven and able to adapt to a fast paced working environment , ‘ ‘Independent,’ ‘Process oriented and meticulous with a keen eye for detail,’ ‘Consistently achieve their performance deliverables and add value to the organization,’ ‘Demonstrate capability beyond their current scope of function.’

In schools, students are given all the materials they need to succeed. Those who work hard will eventually score in exams. The moment they enter the university, they are required to actually take one step further. Success now will not only depend simply on the materials given. Instead success is owned by those who are independent. The end goal should not be just to get a 4.0 CGPA. The end goal should be to get a GOOD job. And keep on improving until you fulfill your self-actualization. To get a good job, a student needs to be an all-rounder. One general comment that we get from future employers is ‘yes, the results are a straight line, but other than that, they know nothing.’ This is a challenge. How do we get our students to think out of the box? I told my students, one of the simplest ways to start knowing is by actually mixing with people from various backgrounds. As students, they are faced with the opportunity to make new friends everyday in class. The problem is they normally come into class and sit with their current friends. Some have been sitting beside the same person since their first year in the university. Why? Why not take that opportunity to actually sit besides somebody new and begin the process of learning. Why not mingle yourself among people from different cultures. Everything actually starts with you. If you have the will, you will always find a way.

Monday, July 6, 2009

There's No Turning Back in Life.

Sometimes it was so frustrating to witness gloomy faces among students especially in the beginning of the semester. A student’s life should be filled with happiness and joy. It was such a loss to have not experienced all of those. Because looking back, you will wish that you would have done it differently. Trust me.

I remembered behaving totally different during my time in Mizzou. Everyday was like a journey to be discovered. And every morning (well most mornings actually) I woke up with such a high spirited energy. There was always something to do, something to explore. We bowled, we played roller blade, we barbequed, we jammed, we laughed and we cried. We did our laundry and went grocery shopping normally after midnight when there were less people using the services. We studied hard and played hard too. Everyday of the semesters we spent going to classes, talking to friends, getting to know our lecturers and giving them opportunities to know us, and of course..WORKING (this was mainly to pay for our travelling expenses later). Come exam week, we spent hours and hours in the library, stopping only for some fries and a cup of hot chocolate at Mc D just before midnight. We only went home when the library closed its doors around 3 in the morning. Sleeping was never a priority. After exam, well…this was the payback for our efforts. We travelled!!! One time, we travelled for 2 weeks straight..from Missouri to Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and up to Canada (Niagara Falls, Quebec, Montreal) and finally back to Missouri. A breathtaking journey ending with me catching chicken pox! And I actually spread the virus to another three of my friends in Mizzou. Hahaha! That was a riot!!! Everybody cursed me back then.

Well, those are my memories, my stories. I keep reminding my students to enjoy the process of learning and of maturity. Being a student is a-one-in-a-lifetime experience. So please, grab it while you can…This is your time. Start creating your memories.