Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Academicians in Malaysia

Story 1:
Last Tuesday I went to my Research Topic class. It is a course for graduate student. I don't really know why they named the course Research Topic because so far I have not felt that I was lectured on how to choose topic for research, instead I was lectured on how to publish paper, how to choose journal, etc.

Anyway, last Tuesday the lecturer was talking something about choosing the right journal, and a little bit on how to write your paper so that it is not rejected. Then the lecturer talked about how to write the methodology section. She said, the methodology section should be detail enough for the readers to understand and to repeat the experiment, but always keep something hidden. She further said that we should not reveal everything because if we reveal everything, then someone else could repeat the exact experiment, and if the person found a better result, what would happen to us? (I think she was saying we would be considered as incompetence)

Anyway, I totally disagree with her statement. I think methodology section should be detail for other researcher to repeat the experiment, and get the same result. If other researcher repeat the experiment and get a better result, that means that maybe we have missed something, or maybe the result of the experiment varies according to the location (for example, my prof told us, the yeast for sourdough bread works only in the bay area, when the bread is done somewhere else, even using the same yeast, the taste of the bread is different..wonder why). And as academicians, we should not be afraid of revealing everything to the other researchers because no matter how the consequences, there is always something to learn. If our result is good, then good for us, and other researchers can do further studies based on what we have found. If our result is not-so-good, then we can always learn from that. Maybe our technique is wrong, or maybe there is something that we have missed. I think we should reveal everything for the sake of the knowledge. And also I think, it is unethical for us to not revealing everything because what if our result is not accurate, and it is used as a foundation for something big, which might effect lives and the planet?

Story 2:
This morning I was having breakfast with my friend. We were chatting and she told me about her superior (a lecturer) who asked her to be lenient when grading lab reports. He told her to give all the students at least an 8/10, not less than that. When my friend said she wanted to check the grammar in the lab reports just for the sake of educating--not grading--the lecturer told her not too. The lecturer also told her that it is okay if she found students who plagiarize.

Okay...what was that?? As a lecturer, as an educator, should he told my friend all those things? Where is his ethics? I totally think that as an educator, as an academician, he should not have said that. A sincere academician and educator will respect knowledge and make sure that all students be graded equally, and the grade that the students receive should reflect the quality of their work. If everyone will get an A, why do we grade in the first place anyway? And plus, saying that it is okay if the students plagiarize? And it does not matter if their grammar is terrible? What kind of graduates do you expect to get from this kind of incompetent, insincere lecturer?

Another thing that ticks me off is when it comes to writing recommendation letter. I would say, 90% of the time, when a student asks for a recommendation letter from his/her lecturer, the student would have to write the letter him/herself, and the lecturer would just sign the letter. I think this is very unethical. Lecturers are paid to do all these kinda things. And the university/employer who want the recommendation letters do not want to know what the students think of themselves, they want to know what other people think of the students. If we write something about ourselves, that is called personal statement, not recommendation letter.

Sometimes I wonder why some lecturers in Malaysia are so incompetence. I think they are not sincere in doing their job. It feels like they are forced to become lecturers--not because they want to become lecturers--thus, they do their job half-heartedly. As academicians/educators, we should show good examples to the students by being ethical, and by showing the respect and the love to the knowledge. For me, knowledge is something that is too noble to be disrespectful to; it should never be exploited for personal gain. This kind of lecturers really give bad image to the country's education system, and I think they should be brain-washed so that they realize how important and noble their job is, so that they would be more sincere in doing their job.

p/s: praying that I will never be in the same category as these incompetent and insincere lecturers.


masmuni said...

Story 2 tuh cam kenal je..

haha ko tulis lagi awal dr ak

Fiza Pushie said...

aku productive.


masmuni said...

ye, productive dlm mengupdate blog lalala

Fiza Pushie said...

hey, aku dah tulis DUA essay for toefl tau~!

Adilla said...

I'm sorry la but day by day, I keep hearing things that make me NOT want to do research in Malaysia. Which is horrible, because I DO want to, but if my peers were to be like that, I suspect I'd be so pissed and tak boleh tahan and would want to come running back to the US. Seriously.

This is despicable. What kind of professors are these? How do you expect to produce quality graduates when you have these kind of people educating them? Huh?

And what the fuck is your lecturer teaching you in your freaking CLASS? OF COURSE the methods section needs to include every detail needed so that anyone can repeat your experiment -- that is essential in the field of science, as if it showed the exact same result, then it'd lend credibility of your results. If they got better results, great, but you don't LOSE anything. You're not a freaking company -- you're a fucking university. And that happens ALL the time, even to people who publish in NATURE and SCIENCE. Because as time goes by, people always know more about a certain technique that they know how to improve it and what to avoid doing.

I'm sorry, but this is horrible. I don't know what the future holds for Malaysian education ...

masmuni said...

ok baik~

masmuni said...

i ckp baik kat comment pushie, bukan comment adilla huhu

Fiza Pushie said...

In the surface--the policies and all--Malaysian education does show some improvements, I think. But I think the problem now lies more on the educators themselves. I see most of them do their work because they have to, not because they want to. They are not sincere, and they only work for money. And to make the matter worse, they tend to be unethical in what they do. Seriously they need to take ethics classes.

Of course, having that said, I have found at least a couple of lecturers who really love what they do and really sincere in educating the students. One of them actually said, "Biarlah hidup dan matiku sebagai ilmuan." Ha!

And Adilla, don't run away to the States..let us be the force in making the system right! Yeah~!!

(chewah~ poyo jek ayat)

Adilla said...

No, honestly ... by the time I settle down in Malaysia, entah-entah the only researchers I would want to work with are you guys from Davis yang kat Malaysia.

Orait, c'mon, collaboration!

But of course, I'm not saying there aren't good researchers at all in Malaysia la. I am sure there are many talented, dedicated scientists. I have met some. It's just that ada je orang lain yang tarnish the image.

O-man said...

welcome to Malaysia!!

Fiza Pushie said...

oman. i totally understand why you left. i feel you. rase nak ditch the program gak. boleh tak?

O-man said...

boleh sangat!!
i come, i fukalot, i go LoLz
Emylea (prof raja), Kak Nik, Iffa, & Naeem ada lg? woot2~ /*antara sebab aku bertahan suatu ketika dahulu hahahaha*/

mamau said...

I loooike this entry. Well-said Pushie. Bile lecturer malas jatuh la university.

Kat sini ada lecturer yg supervise Masters student tapi xtau or x ambik tau apa student dia buat. Kesian aku tengok student terkial2..

I feel you have to be responsible for your student, a good academician will guide the student bukan mengkulikannya.

Pastuh some supervisors are result-oriented. Like, when a student fails to give a +ve result, nak pressure2 student utk dpt kan result yg bagus. if not, the student is doomed to fail. Helooo, xpernah buat research ke? -ve result is still a result. You are supposed to guide the student to think about WHY the result was -ve.

An academician is supposed to guide the student, if the student slalu buat hal, yes you can punish them but don't be too emotional. Ada one lecturer kat sini terus buang a final year Masters student dia yg suka ponteng, slalu unreachable bila call. Like, Ok, this student might have a personal problem ke ape, memang salah student gak. But IMO the lecturer should not punish sampai terus buang dari uni. Habis la future student tu. Skrg ni dah kire cerai talak 3 aa xleh rujuk balik.

Fiza Pushie said...

Owh sungguh agree dgn Mamau. Supervisors in Malaysia (not all of course) are not helpful. They tend to use the students as their kuli and not helping them with their research. Coupled with the not condusive study/research environment. Aku tertekan.

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