Monday, June 13, 2011

I don't trust Malaysian public universities

Standing in the heart of Parkville research precinct, I can't help but exclaimed. Before I began my university life, I've been longing to head over to Canberra, being the first Malaysian (dispute me!) to receive an offer to try out something no one else has tried before. Instead, I was brought to Melbourne, knowing that no one else has gone to science under the university full scholarship for international students. I am blessed to have such a provision, bonus attached is really, an honoured addition.

Melbourne is centre-stage to Australian life science. I am glad to have passionate people to share with me their findings and guide me to my dreams. Every moment, they are impacting lives. Major discoveries, as soon as they're made, they're excited to tell the world, look at what we've found, it's a big leap in our knowledge.

taylors lakeside shoot

Nerds? Don't underestimate them. You may not be able to relate to them well because they talk in a language alien to you all the time. Who knows, a thought that came to their mind may save your life or make your life easier one day, I'm telling you now.

To touch lives, you must first reach that level. At what level? How good you gonna be? Just like singers producing great songs as required by the entertainment industry, that's how good you gonna be. Singers are not signed with talent agencies by accident. Most of you are so used to listening music tracks of established singers, but to fully understand how things are not easy, watch reality shows, I ask you. Don't only watch to good participants, but watch the bad ones too. Then, you'll come to know what true talent is all about.

I attended my brother's prize giving ceremony in primary school. My mom reminded that, although my brother obtained a trophy for his academic achievement, don't forget that there are students who didn't get a prize but in fact rank higher, in absolute terms.

taylors lakeside academic blocks

IU @ Lee Ji Eun has been rejected over 20 times in auditions but she's now the singing sensation in Kpop. Does that surprise me? Embarrassing misses are everywhere. Scientists know Nature is a great journal, the editors had a few misses too. To name a few, these discoveries includes: meson, beta radioactive decay, photosynthesis. Who has the foresight of somebody turning out to be successful, or a result turned out to be an important discovery?

Back to the title, I have so much to say about public universities in Malaysia. I distrust the public universities.

I have attended a public university in Australia but not in Malaysia, so it's not my position to say anything about the teaching. What I can do is to look at my Malaysian universities like a prospective research student would do. With specialised knowledge I've learned from my interests, I am confident to judge the standard by looking at the academic's research interests. By looking at the project titles, I asked myself: do they make impactful contribution to knowledge?

What really put me off was: Publications of research are made in journals I wouldn't even bother to read. Journals with titles starting with African Journal of XXXXX. I would be proud to read Asian journals, but Malaysian publications are a rare find. Judging from number of publications, India is overtaking us in the Asian academia.

The root of the problem lies with the people itself. How are academics appointed? You know the answer. Not by knowledge contribution but political patronage.

I have more faith in Malaysian private universities.

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