Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'WORLD-CLASS' MALAYSIAN UNIVERSITY IN ACTION?

Had a ball of a time at Bangkok attending the conference...

Didn't expect to meet any people I know...

But, was surprised (really?) to see quite a few familiar faces...

Also made many new friends as well... friends from all over...

Among the new friends were a bunch of folks from Malaysia...

There were three guys (Let's call them A, C, and M) who are working in Australian universities... and a lady, Y, who is working in a Singaporean university...

Two of them, A and C, I know from my literature readings...

'Terror' scholars they are, I must say...

So, it was an honor to meet these well-known yet humble and down-to-earth guys...

A's presentation was a delight to hear... clear and pretty robust...

C's presentation and mine unfortunately ran parallel, so I could not attend his...

M's presentation was like a puzzle, titillating the senses with questions and more questions, and prodding the audience to think over the issues raised...

Then, there was a lady I know, J, who is working in a Malaysian university...

I could not recognize her even when she sat beside me during the opening keynote session... (How could you peep sideways when a lady sits beside you, eh?)

She calmly said: 'You are Lim, aren't you?'

My response: 'Woooaah'...

She too, is a 'terror' scholar, as I know from literature...

I even learned quite a bit about the ropes of presentation during her session...

Don't prepare too many slides, that is...

A Malaysian guy L, runs his own company in Malaysia...

Although I didn't hear his presentation, he was a pleasant conversation partner...

My presentation was actually one of the first to be slated...

I thus had all the remaining time to cruise around, picking and choosing the sessions I wanted to hear...

Among them were two presentations, back to back, by the same author S, from a Malaysian university specifically designed for that one single 'superior' race...

Now, question... which Malaysian university could I possibly be referring to here?

No prizes for correct answers here... heheheee...

She started off lethargically, soft, and barely audible...

A mat salleh listener instantly cut in and asked the chairman to instruct her to use the microphone...

Her subject dealt with the perception of quality in that particular university, I would suppose...

Frankly speaking, I was not sure if I understood her presentation at all...

It is not for her lack of English skills, but rather the content and thrust of the presentation...

After the presentation, a few questions popped up which had me shaking my head... wondering why she was not answering the questions...

As she was preparing to present her next paper, a couple of people walked out...

Yours truly, tongue dangling, was one of them...

I was not prepared to risk my precious time on another dreary episode by that same languid, unenthusiastic presenter...

No way, Maria...

Outside, I chatted with the two mat salleh fellow 'fugitives' over coffee...

She didn't answer my question, said one...

He continued mentioning about some specifics and said, 'I was not planning to highlight to the lady about this and embarrass her in the session'...
My response: Adoooi...

Over the conference dinner, I talked with C, who was also at the session...

I said, 'this is not a question of quality in education per se... it is more a political question... until that question is solved in its rightful context, this quality perception stuff is all crap'...

And C: 'She criticized Australian universities for accepting students without bachelor degrees into the master programs'...

'She doesn't know much about Australian universities, lamented a head-shaking C, who is a professor there'...

My response: Woooooh... sakit....

I added that in fact, some Japanese universities do accept students without bachelor degrees into their master programs...

Ok, now back to the Malaysian university in question...

This is one Malaysian university that proudly proclaims to be 'A WORLD-CLASS SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENT', in original capital letters, mind you...

I am just wondering why such a world-class university is not opening up her doors to Malaysian folks with a different color configuration...

(I know, I know... they are 'opening' up a few token seats to those wretched 'marginalized' folks...)

For one general outcome of that contentious, warped, over-bearing, you-know-what-I-am-talking-about policy is here... yes, another teeny-weeny case of that cliched brain drain phenomenon...

Of course, this is not to say that yours truly nor the other scholars have had dreams in their younger years to school at that university in the first place...

Anyway, there we were, Malaysians, or former Malaysians (?) if you wish... five 'overseas' academicians gathered in an international business conference, strutting their stuff not in the name of Malaysian but Australian, Singaporean, and Japanese universities...

And the world goes on...

Stay tuned for Part 2...