The Road Less Travelled


1. I like adventure, not a physical one but experiential learning adventure. One of the ways to participate in experiential learning is by literally taking the road less traveled. Metaphorically true, it’s my choice and I bear full responsibility for my decision.

2. I am lucky to have a spouse who is understanding and supportive of what I determine to do. Once my experiences have reach ceiling and I feel I need to move on and set, there I go. At the same time, I have to make sure that my children schooling is not jeopardized with my inquisitive for multifaceted experiences.

3. What it takes to run a university? Running a university is akin to running a cruise. It is crucial to know MQA procedures. Students’ selection, lecturers’ qualification, curriculum design and development as well as quality monitoring, just to mention a few. These areas need to be repeatedly reviewed time and again.

4. Horizontal relationship with students, lecturers, and parents has to be kept parallel and unequivocal in concordance with vertical relationship to VC, Registrar, and Bursar. On top of the pyramid is a Board of Director. These group of people governs the cruise either to turn right, left or to stop cruising altogether.

5. A University programme leader has to defend the programme at any cost. Knowing the curriculum thoroughly takes determination and hard work since the curriculum encompasses multiple course programme outcomes, course learning outcomes as well as course objectives.

6. The challenges: funding and fulfilling regulatory framework (MQA)! Next is maintaining the quality of the programme.

7. In the last few years, funding of public university has gradually transformed from government grants to students’ tuition fees, research-business collaboration, and consultation activities. Many university executive heads have to spend a large chunk of their work on business networking and various other ways of fundraising.

8. Universities in the future have to form consortiums in order to address those challenges.

UniSHAMS2

UniSHAMS3

Social Analysis in Psychiatric Formulation


1. Psychiatrist works very closely with the social worker but in most cases psychiatric case presentation lack thorough social analysis.

2.  In most cases, psychiatrists tend to focus on inadequacies inherent in individual genes, social interaction, inter- and intrapersonal relationships. That is OK. But definitely inadequate. For future presentation, the following themes in social history have to be given more emphasis:

a) tracing personal problems in the socioeconomic structure and what role they play in causing the problem situation.

b) social control i.e. function of certain groups and individual members of this group so that existing social and power divisions are maintained. I give example of how families are isolated from certain quarters that are powerful in the society.

c) some critique of existing social and economic arrangement.

d) issues like oppression, exploitation, gender and social change.

3. A gentleman is seeking assistance for stress management after his divorce. His wife said that the husband was boring. Though he has tried to be a good husband and very hard working, but it is still hard “to know what the women want these days” he confessed. “Now I can’t sleep at night because I am awake thinking none of my sacrifices been worth it”

4. Well, in this case, for instance, this man seems puzzled that he doesn’t measure up to his wife’s expectations. He is wondering whether this is his fault or his wife, or the fault of women generally for not being clear about what they want.

5. This man is worried about the current social expectations women place on men. He is implying women want too much or that what they want is unrealistic or they are unclear about it.

6. Stress management is the issue for the psychiatrist to manage here. Probing on anxiety, depression and a long list of psychiatric disorders is a must.

7. Not to forget issues like (1) socioeconomic structure of the family, (2) social and religious controls pertaining to concept like redha and tawakal (for Muslim) (3) critique on probable workaholic attitude that wife found him boring and last but not least is the issue pertaining to the stress of modern living.

8. Social analysis helps for better understanding and management of the case.

Intimacy: Sharing Heart, Mind, Body and Soul


Still in the spirit of Royal Wedding, let me touch something on intimacy, one of the pillar in Erikson’s psychosocial stages.

Many people equate intimacy with sex. No doubt, partly true that making love to a loving partner means having intimate relationship. But, for sure, it doesn’t come with a guarantee. Partners can have vast differences and yet they reproduce year by year.

I believe intimacy involves more that just a physical contact. The need for emotional, spiritual and intellectual sharing is far greater than just being physical. As a result, intimacy is about sharing. Everything….from physical to emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual.

In order to make sharing work, one needs to reveal the whole lot about him/herself. Relationships by itself are a process of self-revelation. Therefore, intimacy requires that you allow your partner into your heart, mind, body and soul.

That, intimacy is all about.

Michael J Fox and Parkinsonism


I’d still remember in the 80s, I used to sit down in front of TV set watching my favorite sitcom, Family Ties which starred Michael J Fox as a confident, young, brilliant yet funny youngster named Alex Keaton. When my daughter showed me the recently published Reader Digest portraying the picture of the actor and the story on his recipe for happiness, I’d just can’t say any word.

Michael J Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson (s0mething that I know for years) but his coping skills were fantastic. He talked about his wife, Tracy Pollan, his kids, his willingness to accept the fate and even took opportunity to advice others on ways to achieve happiness.

We, who believe in Islam may called it qaza & qadar that many finally succumb to accepting the illness.

He didn’t call it ‘struggle’ but he settled down by accepting it with positive attitude and gratitude to God, perhaps. It is rare for someone with chronic illness to come to a stage when he would come forward to advocate others on how to help themselves living with the illness. Many would just feel depressed and wanted to be left alone.

Parenting issues…as I see it


You must be wondering whether you are democratic enough as a parent. Too democratic, however, back off discipline. On many instances, neither power nor responsibility is equally distributed between children and adults. Let us say in the tender years, children can’t solve problem themselves. In the same note, to feel save, children need their parents to provide security. They need to be taught to be responsible to themselves. Hence, those years would be authoritarian years for parents.

I believe parents mustn’t be a police. Neither be a judge at all time. They should strive for a workable balance of power. I have seen a kid who is so scared of his mother who is a teacher. When I asked the mum, she claimed that the son was lovely sometimes by telling her what had happened in school etc. I was quick to point out that the child was revealing the story provided that at that time he found out that he was dealing with the ‘mother’ not the ‘teacher’. Of course, I am referring to the strict functional role of teacher as factual knowledge provider rather than a warmth, lovely mother. If teachers can play both roles, it would be very beneficial for the development of children. This is where parents must strike a balance between being too permissive on one hand and too authoritarian, on the other hand.

Finally don’t forget to show warmth, to praise your child when he deserves it and show sensitivity to your child’s special need. Bye..

The World is Flat


I like this book because it widen my understanding on  contemporary rivalry between companies which lead the world toward equality and flattened the playground after all. The Malay translation by Institut Terjemahan Negara (ITN) is timely as many readers could read and understand the current history of IT explosion that change the way we interact and behave.

The author is an award-winning New York Times journalist, Thomas Friedman who had traveled to almost every corner of the world in search of evidence on flattening world in the 21st century. He demystifies the traditional belief that the world is divided into various nations with different set of rules and proposed that rules have been made equal and as a result the world is seen literally flat. He based his argument on the successful outsource program by the US & Japanese companies in many sectors from medical transcription to telemarketing. However, his analysis on political roots of global Islamism has to be seen from Western rather than global perspective.

The translated Malay version is recommended as the quality of translation is good and I have to congratulate Mohd Daud Mat Din from ITN for his tireless effort to get this project completed. Finally, this book has opened up my understanding on the contemporary affair of the globalize world that we are living in right now.

GST..confuse?


Hey guys,

Do you know by 2011 consumers have to pay GST?

What is GST?

Goods and services tax (GST) or in some countries is known as value-added tax (VAT), is a consumption tax levied on the sale of goods and services. Personal end-consumers of products and services cannot recover GST or VAT on purchases. In this way, the total tax levied is a fraction of the value added by a business to its products, and most of the cost of collecting the tax is borne by business, rather than by the state. GST or VAT was invented because very high sales taxes and tariffs encourage cheating and smuggling.

The difference from conventional sales tax is that it is levied on every business as a fraction of the price of each sale they make, but they are in turn reimbursed GST/VAT on their purchases, hence the tax is applied to the value of the goods that has been added.

My little experience when shopping overseas shows that I had to reimbursed my GST in the airport upon returning home and worst of all, the office is situated in a far remote area of the airport as if not to allow easy access to customers in a hurry.

What if no GST/VAT? Let study this example. Without a GST/VAT, the situation is like this.

A pencil manufacturer spends $1 on raw materials to make a pencil.
The pencil is sold to a retailer for $1.20.
The retailer then sells the pencil to a consumer for $1.50.

By adding on a 10% GST/VAT, the situation will be like this:

The pencil manufacturer pays $1.10 for the raw materials.
The pencil manufacturer charges the retailer $1.32 and pays the government $0.02, leaving the same profit of $0.20. The retailer charges the consumer $1.65 and pays the government $0.03, leaving the same profit of $0.30. So the consumer has paid 10% extra.

The businesses have not lost anything directly to the tax, but they do have the extra paperwork to do so that they correctly pass on to the government the difference between what they collect in GST/VAT and what they spend in GST/VAT.

So at the end of the day, the customers have to bear the tax. Well, everyone is the customer. You may be the employer to your employees but when you buy something, your are consumers…So, we all have to pay….then. What say you? Give your opinion?

Breaking News: Homicide In US Army


Eleven people plus a gunman were dead and 31 wounded after a shooting on Thursday at a soldier-processing center at Fort Hood, Texas, officials said. All the casualties took place at the soldier readiness facility around 13:30 [1:30 p.m. CT].

Ten of the other dead also were soldiers, while the remaining one was a civilian police officer who was working as a contractor on the base.

The slain gunman was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39. Hasan was a psychiatrist who previously worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center but more recently was practicing at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, according to professional records.

Hasan was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq, “and appeared to be upset about that,” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said.

President Obama called the shootings “tragic” and “a horrific outburst of violence.” He expressed his condolences for the shooting victims.

Comment:

This violence outburst of homicide may be triggered by the long-lasting resentment over Iraq and Afghanistan issues. It has nothing to do with the fact that Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a psychiatrist.

We do not know the antecedence behavior to make full behavioral analysis. At the same time, we need to know the chain of events and the mental status before the rampage to be able to formulate the motives and intentions.

All we can say based on the Senator’s comment is Major Hasan was facing a psychological dilemma at time he was about to be deployed to Iraq.

Deployment to foreign bases in general is a major life event. When someone receives news of the deployment, the brain’s sensory cortex simultaneously registers the information (a correlate) and sets in motion biological changes that cause the heart to pound faster.

He may experience an almost immediate fear that may later escalate to anxiety or depression and that response could trigger the act of homicide that occurs instantaneously, out-of-the blue.

It is significant to rule out the possibility of bully in the army, inner religious conflict, family and financial problems.

The commanding officer should be advised, that when he give order of significant importance, he must assess the reaction carefully in order to anticipate any possibility of grave reaction and consequence.

Persons who have access to dangerous weapons should be told to surrender their firearm in order to avoid such mishap.

This event can be avoided if careful surveillance was conducted before the deployment plan was executed.

Love Isn’t a Feeling, It’s a Choice


A heart being used as a symbol of love. Photo ...
Image via Wikipedia

Love is not a feeling. From young, through movies we were conditioned to believe that love is a feeling. It is not! If you believe, love is entirely feeling than believe me, feelings are one of the most inconsistent aspects of the human person. Our feeling alone shouldn’t direct our actions and our lives. Our action should be driven by our hopes, values, aspirations. More than that, they should be driven by our essential purpose. Full stop.

Love is a verb not a noun. It is something we do, not something that happens to us. Real love is totally different from a Cinderella story about a prostitute and the billionaire who loves her in Pretty Woman. If you feel, you didn’t love your partner anymore, than it is, indeed, a time to love her again, because love is a verb. Love – the feeling is a fruit of love, the verb. Therefore, love her, serve her, scarifies for her, listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her…etc…etc…etc.

So, finally remember. Love is a choice. A Difficult Choice.

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Lessons From Earthquake


tsunami02After tsunami that claimed more than 200,000 lives, scientists offered explanation on the rationale of having earthquake. Scientists believe that the quake changed the earth’s rotation and caused the planet to tremble on its axis.

The analogy is like when you drive, you had pushed in a clutch and changed gears.

Scientists showed that when earthquake happen, a certain amount of mass move toward the centre of the earth. When more mass close to the centre, the planet would rotate faster. Just imagine a spinning ice skater who pulls in her arms starts to spin so fast as she becomes a blur figure.

What are the lessons?

The lessons to learn are, first, though earthquake cause destruction, it is a system that make life possible. Movement of the earth plate is essential to the recycling of carbon and the earth is the only planet in the solar system that known to support life, at the same time, the only object with tectonic activity. Take for example Mars. It has no earthquake. The weather is very cold. It has no air and hence, no life.

Second, the human existence in this biosphere may require the planet to be dynamic and sometime violent. It is similar to human life. Human life has to be dynamic. In doing so, sometimes we experience turmoil and at another times we lead a peaceful life.

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