Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 Earth Hour Countdown

1. WWF Australia in 2007 initiated the Earth Hour to signal to the Australian governments, businesse and communities the importance of Global warming and climate change. The city of Sydney did it nd about 2.2 Australians took part.

2. In 2008, a total of 370 cities in 35 countries within 18 time zones took part, and the meassage went to the World's leaders even clearer.

3. This year WWF International hopes more than 1000 cities take part with more than 1 billion people participate in sending the message to their governments, businesses, communities and individuals.

4. WWF Malaysia hopes to initiate it tonight at 2030 hr both at KL Tower and Dataran Merdeka. It is our hope Malaysians in all walk of life will switch off light for an hour. It is a small gesture on our part but it means a lot to the sustainable energy and climate change initiatives.

5. This year in May the world leaders are going to meet in Copenhagen to talk about climate change and global warming and we hope the messages are delivered.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

R & D at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris

1. To-day I was invited by Prof. Dr. Saberi Othman, Director of Research Managment Centre, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjung Malim to judge their R & D Exhibition.

2. In her opening speech, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Dr. Aminah Ayub, one of the two female VCs in Malaysia, stressed the importance of research at the oldest institution of higher education in the country. While training teachers is equally important, the lecturers are urged to embark on serious R & D.

3. While going through boards after board of posters doing the judging the exhibitions, I can't help making the following observations:
a) The posters prepared are of not of high standard. This is possibly due to less competition on the part of private poster printers.
b) The use of English language needs improvement. I suggest the posters should be edited before they are put on show.
c) Lecturers are urged to show their products of R & D though there is not much of products to show off. I don't blame the university as this silly directives came from the Ministry.
d) There is no clear distinction between fundamental and applied research.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

60 Earth Hour

1. WWF Malaysia had initiated a campaign to save energy for Malaysia and the World. It was launched on Monday 16th February at the KL Tower. Our ambassador is Ms. Yasmin Ahmad, a well-known film producer

2. The Earth Hour Malaysian chapter will be officially observed at 2030 hr on Saturday 28th March and it would be for an hour.

3. Many Ministries, government departments, business outlets, TV stations, hotels and the public have signed for it. WWF Malaysia is still pursuading Petronas to switch the lights on the iconic Twin Towers for just an hour.

4. Dato' Dr. Sheikh Mudzaffar and Mr. Alex Yoong have been on the air campaigning so that millions of Malaysian join the World's citizens to save some energy. Just imagine if half of the 25 million Malaysians just switch their light for one hour on the coming Saturday, how much energy is saved!

5. TNB has already generated excess energy for the country and yet the government had contracted the private sectors to generate extra electrical energy at the expense of the tax payers money.

6. Let's come together as a sign of national solidarity and switch off your house lights between 2030-2130 on 28th March

7. My daughter is planning to have a candle light barbeque on that evening and I myself is planning to sit in the dark for an hour at my kampung house at Kampung Tok Betek, Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Monday, March 16, 2009

Diversity of Orang utan

1. On the 10-11th March, the Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation organised a two-day Symposium on ex situ conservation of Orang utan at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, Taiping, Perak.

2. Dr. Junaidi Payne of WWF Malaysia (Sabah) talked about the ecology and biology of Orang utan; Dr. Ramesh Boonratana, South-east Asia Primatological Association spoke about primate conservatiom; Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, University of Washington talked about the infectious agents transmission at the human-primate interphase; Dr. Jatna Supriatna. Conservation International Indonesia talked on primate-forestry conflict in Sumatera; Ms. Harjinder Kler, HUTAN and Mr. Wilfred Landong, SFCorporation talked about integrated approach to conservation in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively.

3. Dr. Noko Kuze, university of Kyoto discussed the ecology and behaviour of Orang utan and Dr. Noviar Andayani lamented on the policy in Orang Utan conservation.

4. Our own Malaysian contributions came from Dr. Ahmad Sofiman, USM who did the paternity analysis of the Orang utan infants at Bukit Merah; Dr. D Sabapathy talked about medical and veterinary management of infants; Prof. Mashhor Mansor reported on USM contributions to Orang utan R & D; Dr. Badrul Munir, UKM discussed the genetic studies of apes in general and Dr. Mohd. Fairuz UMS talked on riverine effects on genetic structure of Orang utan in Kinabantangan, Sabah, Borneo.

5. When I was a student I was told there is only one species of Orang utan, Pongo pygmaeus, inhabiting Borneo and Sumatera. Now I learned there are two species, the Bornean species is P. pygmaeus and the Sumateran sister is Pongo abelli. They differ in geographical distribution. morphology of fingers, shape of head, fur colour and DNA etc.

6. The Bornean species is further divided into three subspecies, namely, P. p. morio in Sabah, P. p. pygmaeus in Sarawak and P. p wurmbii in Kalimantan. The three subspecies differ from each other in geographical distrubution, size and DNA, amongst others. However, Dr. Mohd. Fairuz thinks there might be the fourth subspecies in Kalimantan.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proud to be born at Parang Puting

1. NST March 13, 2009, Prime News page 12 reported a student Cik Nik Nur Madihah bt Nik Mohd. Kamal, i8, set a record by scoring 20As in this year SPM public examination.

2. She obtained 19 A1s and one A2 and aimed to further her studies overseas so that she can help her poor parents and siblings in future. Anak soleh.

3. I happened to be born in the same kampung and share quite similar background. While her father is a fisherman, my late father was a coconut tapper who later became a bus driver with a monthly salary of $115 per month.

4. I went to Sekolah Kebangsaan Parang Puting (1955-1958) and I bet she did too for her primary education. I presumed her father Nik Mohd. Kamal Hussin, 42 and her mother Mariani Omar, 40, went to the same school too. But to-day the school has been built with bricks and tiles unlike in the 1950's. The floor was just fine sand, the walls were made of stitched bamboos and the roofs were made of nipah attaps.

5. Many congratulations to you and your family. We are all proud of you and for the village of Parang Puting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How many universities are there in Malaysia?

1. This week I met a professor of zoology from Egypt, and in the midst of our conversation he told me Malaysia has too few public universities for a progressive nation of more than 25 millions populations

2. I was shocked when he said that and went on to ask him to explain. He said
a) There is a University of Malaya. He had spent his sabattical there
b) University of Sultan Idris at Tanjung Malim
c) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
d) There are too many campuses of the University of Malaysia, more than the campuses of University of London and University of California .....Campus Putra Malaysia at Serdang, Teknologi Malaysia in Johor, Melaka, Sains Malaysia in Penang, Northern in Kedah, one in Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Darul Iman in Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak

3. I tried to correct him by saying we have a few more, Universiti Tun Hussin Onn in Johor, all those he mentioned are universities on their own NOT branch campuses of the Universiti of Malaysia

4. He asked me, don't tell me we don't have names of kings, sultans, prime ministers, philosophers to name them .... or why don't we name after the name of the states like in the US?

5. I shut up because to use the excuses of the Ministry of Education then when it named the various universities was too silly ......I bet when there will be universities in cities like Ipoh, Kuantan, Kuching ...the Ministry will name a few more branches such as Universiti Kuantan Malaysia, Universiti Ipoh Malaysia and Universiti Kuching Malaysia ....and Universiti Parang Puting Malaysia .....

6. Such as a Malaysian mentality

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Universities and Lecturers

Normally I don't subscribe to The Star as it contains massive colourful adverts, somehow to-day a copy of the paper was delivered to me. And I read it. Two news items struck my attentions.

1. On page 1 Ms Karen Chapman reported about 50 laggard lecturers from Universiti Malaya, my alma mater. She reported statements from her VC on the problem faced by UM with her staffs and tutors who for all reasons failed to complete their PhDs on time. Some of the problems cited were
a) changes in supervisors
b) lack of facilities and support

2. However, on page N4, the Deputy Prime Minister talked about having a better universities. He promised to improve the existing universities. However, why did he had been reported to have said,"All the states, including those that we have lost, already have universities"?

3. He also said Higher Education Ministry set for 70% of the academic staffs to have PhDs

4. I'm compelled to speak out as follows:-
a) After the introduction of a 3-year system for obtaining a First Degree many graduates are perceived by their lecturers and professors to have inadequate intellectual abilities to pursue and read for their MS and PhD
b) A few universities are perceived to award their students higher grades in their courses and obtained CGPA of >3.0 to enable them to get jobs or admitted to graduate studies. Upon their admission to graduate studies they were proven to be "what they were not" both in their basic knowledge and also intellectual capacity
c) Many lecturers are unable to teach and supervise their students in English well enough to make the students under their care understand their lectures and instructions

5. I had lamented on this issues many times that
a) Universities shall not be interefered by politicians
b) Universities academic leaders should reflect their academic excellence
c) Many universities, e.g. UKM, have laboratories and facilities which are under-equipped to compete with the regional counterparts, let alone their US or European or Japanese friends. The old OHP are still in use
d) Universities, e.g. UKM are run like hotels or municipalities with such things as "zon sitar tayar", "palang ke tempat letak kereta".

6. Tell me how is UKM going to be improved and be a university to reckon with in 2010 or 2020 when the universal fundamentals are not in place. The intellectual respect for professors are almost absent among the politicians and beaurocrats.