Friday, January 28, 2011

Research: To Do or Not to Do

Doctors do research to look for cures for illnesses. Engineers do research to see if they could come up with safer designs for buildings. Teachers also need to do research to look for ways to enhance learning. But what about something more specific like language teachers? What are they researching for?

Over the past years, local universities are so crazy about doing researches, not realising that in the social science field, it is tough to come up with research that is niche. Social science people are unlike those in the pure science and engineering field where there are too many things to discover and too many new inventions that could be made. Why do universities keep pushing their staff to do research when sometimes there's hardly anything to research on? Why can't these academicians do what they do best - impart knowledge, which should be paramount, rather than unwillingly dwell into research? Yes, research does contribute to acquisition of new knowledge, but can everyone do research? And if an academic staff doesn't do research, does that mean they're inadequate, inefficient and less knowledgeable, therefore do not deserve good annual appraisals or salary increments?

I'm not against doing research, but making research compulsory for all staff in order to fulfill a university's Key Performance Indicators (KPI), is not a good way to encourage research, for the focus will be on meeting the KPI rather than the purpose, outcome and value of the research to the institution, community or nation. Could the research culture be forced into unwilling researchers this way? I've done a research when I did my masters' (still at it), and I can tell you that it is not easy, and not everyone is cut out to be a researcher. I find it tough to analyze results and to synthesize articles that I read for my research, and that's why it is taking me so long to complete my thesis, if I ever complete it.

Anyone who aspires to be a researcher - even an amateur one - firstly needs to love reading, and have interest in an area of research. Then he also needs to have an analytical mind or else it would be very difficult to synthesize articles, use the correct instruments, report findings and make recommendations. Forcing anyone to do a research would possibly lead to plagiarism, and result in half-baked efforts.

So, what would you want to research on? How would you go about it?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slow Drivers

How fast can you drive? 80km/h? 160km/h? Does speed matter? To a certain extent, speed does matter if you're in a hurry to reach your destination. On a freeway, you could drive 160km/h or more though the speed limit is a mere 110 km/h in our country. You'll still arrive in one piece provided your car tires and engine are in top condition, and your driving skills is 9 out of 10.

However, not everyone is able to handle that kind of adrenaline rush. This does not make them a sissy. I believe there are many tortoises out there who are careful drivers, and they're slow because they want to be safe, and they want their passengers and other drivers on the road to be safe too. On the other hand, driving at a snail's pace on a freeway is a bit too much because freeways are not built for extremely slow drivers.

People drive super fast because they like the thrill of having the adrenaline pumping through their heads and feeling good when they arrive at their destination. Others don't want the thrill, but the enjoyment of cruising along at a constant speed. If you're in a hurry, well... drive a little faster but just be sure that you're careful.

If a driver drives slow and you push them to go faster, chances are, you might not arrive your destination in one piece. Slow or fast, drive safely - that's what matters most.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Reason for Everything

There is an explanation for everything. Or is there? As far as I'm concerned, things happen for a reason, and we do not need to know the reason for it to happen because we won't until you see the outcome. Then all of a sudden, it strikes you: "Oh, now I see why it happens."

Scenario 1:
You've been working in Company A for a long time as a junior executive. One fine day, you were told of a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) and before you know it, you're out of job. You're severely depressed and wonder why must it be you. You look high and low, and finally secure a new job. While in this new firm, you not only got promoted quickly to a manager but also got yourself a life partner.

Scenario 2:
You're in a relationship with a great man, and you believe things will work out well. Then he meets a new colleague, goes out with her a couple of times. Before long, he tells you that he's moving out of your life as he's found the one he truly loves. You wonder, you've loved him so dearly and cared immensely for him, why is he betraying you? To get away from it all, you run to another State so that your mind does not think too much of the excruciating pain of being dumped. You get support from your new colleagues there and you finally find true love.

Scenario 3:
You're on the verge of filing for mutual divorce. One day, he calls you and informs that his mother is very ill and asks you for help. You agree but you were adamant that will not change your mind about the divorce as you'd been so tired of his attitude. On the day you visit his mom, he is there by her bedside. You chat with him and his mom. Then his mom asks you to forgive him and give him another chance to change. You give it a thought. You feel sorry for being so silly. You reminisce the good times you had with him, and you don't want your child to suffer as a result of the divorce. In the end, you shred the papers and return to his arms. Can you explain that?

Things like this happen again and again and again... someone will be hurt; someone will be happy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From Being Homeless to Having a Good Job

I came across this video yesterday. It showed this homeless unkempt man trying to make a living off the streets. But then, just 24-hours later, things changed for him... when I saw his transformation this morning, I smiled. I was so happy for him - happy that someone out there heard him and helped him. I just wonder if such things have happened, or will ever happen in this country.

God bless Ted Williams. He'll do good from now on.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Do Women Want, ah?

They want the 3Cs and the 5Cs - horrors!!! That's so cliche....

While it is true that there are some women who look for the "Cs", in general, I believe that most don't. There's no specific list as to what they actually want from you as each woman's want is different. As an individual, you have to make a study of the woman you are attracted to, and learn what makes them tick. Let me give you a list of what I believe women want from men. I call it the 3Cs and 3Rs:

My 3Cs
  • Caring (not only when she's sick)
  • Courageous (not only to protect them from criminals)
  • Committed (not just a touch and go relationship)
My 3Rs
  • Respectful (mutual, not one-sided)
  • Real love (not love for lust or beauty)
  • Responsible (not running away when things go wrong)

Notice that I didn't say anything about money and beauty because money can be earned if you know how, and beauty is only temporary.

So, good luck if you're looking for a woman now. :-)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chinese New Year Already???

Well, Christmas is supposed to last 12 days. Remember the song "The 12 Days of Christmas"? - or at least till 31 Dec. 2010 but what I saw at a local shopping mall yesterday pissed me off.

Chinese New Year deco on the ceiling

Chinese New Year greeting at the entrance!

I'm not a devout Christian, and I have never celebrated Christmas except this year. What I want to know is why the hell has this shopping centre begun putting up Chinese New Year (CNY) decorations and greetings when the festival is on 3 Feb. 2011? That's nearly 2 months ahead of time. Where is the respect for Christmas? Can't they wait till a week later to start their massive CNY promotions?

The same thing happens with other festivals. Our festive seasons are now highly commercialised that they have lost their true meaning and value, no thanks to such ignorant acts. Festivals equals major shopping spree at great discounts.

This is not the 1-Malaysia that we want. In fact, this has nothing to do with 1-Malaysia at all but has everything to do with profit-making.