The Tempinis diaries

March 2, 2009

VC chosen based solely on race

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 1:29 pm

From Malaysiakini. If I am not mistaken, all the Vice Chancellors in Malaysia are Malay. I guess the answer to Prof Ramasamy’s question is pretty obvious.

‘VC chosen based solely on race’
Rahmah Ghazali | Mar 2, 09 12:45pm
P Ramasamy (DAP-Batu Kawan) questioned the process of appointing vice-chancellors of public universities, asking if candidates are considered only from among bumiputeras.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Hou Kok Chung denied this, however, saying that a search committee appoints the vice-chancellor “based on qualifications and experiences rather than race”.

For SPM students

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 1:24 pm

What an absolutely brilliant idea! To publish a book on different routes which people took after spm. My own modest contribution is found here.

January 6, 2009

Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, tell us about your plans for USM

Filed under: education, malaysia, Uncategorized — toru @ 1:33 pm

I am happy to read that USM is organising class reunions. As I have written before, class reunions are important to keep in contact with alumni; the alumni is a huge untapped resource for funding for a university.

On another note, I realised that the Vice Chancellor of USM has a regular column in the Straits Times. Glancing through the past few pieces, his writings are a pleasant and light read. But what I really want to know from Prof Dzulkifli is his plans for USM especially since it has been granted the coveted Apex status. As the extra funding comes out of the taxpayers’ pocket, I feel that the public has a right to know. So please, enough of the lighthearted stuff. Can you tell us your plans for USM?

DZULKIFLI ABDUL RAZAK: Oh, the treasured memories at the reunions
By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak


FORTY years seems a very long time. But, when gathering for a reunion, 40 years seem just like yesterday as experiences and faces neatly fall into place. It’s much like a jigsaw puzzle meant for children. The pictures are vivid and large, the colours fresh and appealing. Most of all, it is fun as everything comes alive. At times, it is like re-living everything all over again, especially when it exudes happiness, in contrast to the predictions of gloom and doom ahead.

I discovered this twice last week when my alma mater celebrated its 40th anniversary. Both occasions were equally grand and captivating as though we were in a time-capsule, flashing from point to point, just quick enough to sample the moments.

The first time-capsule in this case brought us back to the days when Universiti Sains Malaysia, then known as Universiti Pulau Pinang, was newly established in 1969.

November 6, 2008

After the Euphoria

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 3:09 pm

After the euphoria, reality bites. Singapore’s biopolis better watch out.


November 5, 2008
Stem Cells and Economic Stimulus Will Top Democratic Agenda in New Congress
Washington — In her first post-election speech today, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Democrats would move quickly on economic-stimulus legislation and a bill to relax federal restrictions on stem-cell research.

She also acknowledged that the nation’s economic struggles could put a crimp in the party’s plans, despite large gains in yesterday’s election. Democrats picked up at least 20 seats in the House, with some races still too close to call.

“Many of our options have been diminished because of the downturn in the economy over the last couple months,” she said.

Details of the stimulus package are still being negotiated, but colleges are asking lawmakers to include money for education and research. Democrats hope to take up the bill during a lame-duck session later this month.


November 4, 2008

Yes We Can!

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 3:04 pm

November 2, 2008

Khaled Nordin Owes the Public an Explanation

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 1:15 pm

I agree with the letter below, although the language in the letter is a bit harsh.  This Apex university exercise is funded by tax payers’ money and it is incumbent that the Higher Education Minister explains why USM was chosen over UM.  This choice effectively means the death of UM as the premier university in Malaysia. 

A Choice That Defies Logic

31 October 2008

The Star 

REFER to the TV programme Ehwal Semasa (Current Affairs) on RTM1 on Oct 28 in which the vice-chancellors (VCs) of Universiti Malaya (UM), University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), a representative of the Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) and also a professor discussed the recent Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) ranking and the award of the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (Apex) status to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

From the discussions, it seemed that there was confusion among the panelists about the objective of the Apex programme and the way it was implemented.


October 27, 2008

A Brave and Startling Truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 2:42 pm

A Brave and Startling Truth   

Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet 
Traveling through casual space 
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns 
To a destination where all signs tell us 
It is possible and imperative that we learn 
A brave and startling truth 

And when we come to it 
To the day of peacemaking 
When we release our fingers 
From fists of hostility 
And allow the pure air to cool our palms 

When we come to it 
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate 
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean 
When battlefields and coliseum 
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters 
Up with the bruised and bloody grass 
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil 

When the rapacious storming of the churches 
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased 
When the pennants are waving gaily 
When the banners of the world tremble 
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze 

When we come to it 
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders 
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce 
When land mines of death have been removed 
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace 
When religious ritual is not perfumed 
By the incense of burning flesh 
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake 
By nightmares of abuse 

When we come to it 
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids 
With their stones set in mysterious perfection 
Nor the Gardens of Babylon 
Hanging as eternal beauty 
In our collective memory 
Not the Grand Canyon 
Kindled into delicious color 
By Western sunsets 

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe 
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji 
Stretching to the Rising Sun 
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor, 
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores 
These are not the only wonders of the world 

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe 
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger 
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace 
We, this people on this mote of matter 
In whose mouths abide cankerous words 
Which challenge our very existence 
Yet out of those same mouths 
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness 
That the heart falters in its labor 
And the body is quieted into awe 

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet 
Whose hands can strike with such abandon 
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living 
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness 
That the haughty neck is happy to bow 
And the proud back is glad to bend 
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction 
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines 

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body 
Created on this earth, of this earth 
Have the power to fashion for this earth 
A climate where every man and every woman 
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety 
Without crippling fear 

When we come to it 
We must confess that we are the possible 
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world 
That is when, and only when 
We come to it

September 7, 2008

Saudis Lure Stanford and Cambridge

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 2:01 pm

The Saudis seem to be racing ahead under the leadership of Shih Choon Fong from NUS (and also big money from oil, of course).



September 5, 2008

USM gets Apex Status and Extra Funding

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 4:39 pm

Somehow, I am slightly uneasy about this. By giving USM all this extra funding, the government is undermining the status of the oldest university in Malaysia, University of Malaya. Does this spell the end of the road for UM? I hope this strategy of putting all eggs in one basket, i.e. USM, will work.

Thursday September 4, 2008
USM gets apex status

PUTRAJAYA: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been granted apex status. With it, USM can expect hundreds of millions of ringgit in additional funding to transform it into Malaysia’s first world-class university.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that quantitative and qualitative criteria were used to select USM under the accelerated programme for excellence (apex).
Announcement time: Khaled flanked by deputies Dr Hou Kok Chung (right) and Datuk Idris Haron with a copy of the statement announcing USM as the country’s first apex university.

“The selection committee evaluated each university’s state of readiness, transformation plan and preparedness for change.

“After a thorough evaluation, the committee decided that only one university truly met all the criteria, namely USM,” he told a press conference yesterday.

The Cabinet had agreed to USM being given the apex status on Aug 27.

The university that is given apex status is one that has the greatest potential among Malaysian universities to be world-class, and as such, would be given additional assistance to compete with top-ranked global institutions, added Khaled.

He said with apex status, USM will be expected to move up the World University Rankings with a target of top 200 in five years’ and top 100, if not top 50, by 2020.

In last year’s Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, Universiti Malaya (UM) was the highest ranked Malaysian university at 246, followed by USM (307), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (309) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (364).

A selection committee headed by former Universiti Malaysia Sarawak vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamad Zawawi Ismail short-listed USM, UM, UKM and UPM.

USM’s transformation plan, entitled “Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow” focussed, among other things, on diagnostics, medical biotechnology, waste management, pharmaceuticals, nano-technology, membrane technology and vaccines.

Asked why UM was not selected, Khaled said: “I hope the apex status will spur other universities to strive for excellence, too. It’s not about selecting the oldest university but choosing one with a doable plan that can help us transform our higher education.”

The other universities that applied for apex status were International Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Petronas and Universiti Tenaga Nasional.

What an Idiot!

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 4:31 pm

What an idiot!

Friday September 5, 2008

Ahmad: Why should I apologise?


GEORGE TOWN: Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail has refused to apologise over his racist remark calling the Chinese community “immigrants who do not deserve equal rights”.

“Why should I apologise? I didn’t do anything wrong. Those who do wrong should apologise but I haven’t done anything,” Ahmad said when The Star met him outside his Bayan Baru office yesterday.

He, however, refused to comment on whether the press misquoted him.

Sounding calm and collected on the phone, he said a full statement on what transpired would be released after a Penang Umno liaison meeting tomorrow.

Man in the news: Ahmad gesturing as he replies to a question in Bayan Baru yesterday. He said he had been leading a sepak takraw team to a tournament in Bangkok.

He added that he would not say much at present, but wanted to clear up the issue of reporting to the police.

Police are currently investigating five reports lodged against Ahmad under the Sedition Act 1948 for uttering the remarks at a ceramah on the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election.

He said there were reports of his going to the Bukit Mertajam police station on Wednesday night (to make a statement).

“I want to make it clear that I never told anyone or informed anyone that I would be there. It was their assumption,” he said.

Ahmad recorded a statement at the police contingent headquarters in Penang Road at about 10pm the same night while pressmen from television, online and print media were waiting for him on the mainland.

Asked where he had been over the last few days, Ahmad confirmed that he had been leading a sepak takraw team to a tournament in Bangkok.

“My phone has been on and off, but a lot of my anak buah (supporters) have been calling me, so maybe that’s why it has been hard to get through,” he said.

On the alleged misappropriation of funds involving now-defunct company Popular Profile Sdn Bhd (PPSB), Ahmad said he had resigned before any action was taken on the company.

“This issue has nothing to do with me. Action is taken on a company, not on a personal capacity. Moreover, I resigned from the company on Sept 1, 1998. What happened after that, I don’t know.

“The Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) shouldn’t be using his political muscle and power to attack me,” he said, adding that he would not say more on the land deal until he had checked the details.

Lim had recently attacked Ahmad on a 1997 land deal involving PPSB, in which Ahmad had been a director. Lim alleged that the company had cheated the state of RM500,000 in a deal involving 4.2ha of industrial land in Bukit Minyak.

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