Review on second half of December 2007

  1. I bought a new desktop. Hazwan chose everything, he set up everything, he basically made me a computer out of different components. I just handed the money to the damn cashier. Not that bad tho, just 16667 rubles (RM 2256) including discount under Hazwan’s name (else I wont be happy and pay extra 400 rubles). What happened to my laptop? I have to put him to rest before I can use it happily again.
  2. Wongkok’s (Chia Kok King @ Aizen-sama) birthday was celebrated in Tinkoff. We ordered a sushi set for business lunch price. It’s my first time eating a sushi set (bento). In Malaysia I eat only sushi from Tesco and 5-star hotels buffet. I’ve never been to a specialized Japanese restaurant. And went to another Japanese restaurant (Malenkaya Yaponiya in Bolshaya Pokrovskaya) again for some gossiping information sharing about my next (third) point.
  3.  A scandal of money matters in Nizhniy Games 2008. I honestly do not know who’s right and who’s wrong by jurisdiction because no one has that many proofs. MSA (Malaysian Students Association) etc should work real hard on making Nizhniy Games 2008 a success. Let the others gossip share out the informations since the scandal was made out to the public anyway. Is there really any money embezzlement/corruption or the money is lost somewhere?
  4. I really pity double-faced biatche and her shallow-brained suck ups. I mean, she doesn’t really have to be nice if she doesnt want to. Depan cakap manis macam cokelat, tapi belakang cakap pahit kelat. She said she hates hypocrites. Yeah, look who’s talking… Suddenly all the hated enemies become friends, eh…
  5. The time for Jamuan Raya Haji clashed with Christmas party. Attending both would mean that I am a glutton. But, I am not. I’ve lost quite significant weight since the summer holidays, 10 kg. Who could lose 10 kg in 4 months? Thanks to Ramadhan, I lost 7kg. And 3kg after I colored my hair… Maybe the chemicals ate up my nutrients 🙂 Back to the Jamuan Raya Haji, it was beefy. I liked it. I love red meat but I really have to control ingesting them because I suspect I have hypercholesterolemia since my mum’s using statins and my dad got stented in IJN at the age of 48.
  6. After reading a particular blog on medical specialties, my heart divides. Either Internal Medicine or General Surgery. Maybe people can tell me that I am far too early to make these choices, but I never liked to be confused. Internal Medicine’s good because it offers various subspecialties, and work wouldn’t be so intense like the general surgeons, but then, drugs are for slow pokes. General Surgery’s good because the work would show tangible and fast results, and work would be so much interesting than those of the drugs people, but then, it’s either you love the work so much or hate your family too much 🙂
  7. Benazir Bhutto was killed. Not that I cared that much except that I had known her since 1997 when I was in Bradford (West Yorkshire), UK, many of my Pakistani peers loved their PM so much, which was Bhutto at that time. I was sad when I knew she was assassinated, and honestly I dont know why. Many of her family members died from politics. Another good reason not to join the madness… And my last time in Pakistan was a year before whatever turmoil they have there. I don’t think I will be traveling there again anytime soon, but at least I’ve visited Pakistan.
  8. I am studying Immunology and Microbiology instead of my Hygiene exams. Why? Nyeh nyeh…
  9. Holiday is from 30th December 2007 till 8th January 2008. I have a lot of entertainments for myself and I believe everybody else does, but medical school is no playground to play all the time. You may joget once in a while (New Year’s party?), but else, medicine is what currently defines us, so make the studies top priority. HAPPY  FREAKIN’ NEW YEAR 2008.

Choosing a medical specialty?

Check out the flowchart.


 It doesnt take a genius to guess that this is a male’s work since Obs+Gynecology is distinctly absent. That’s only a rough guide for medical students tho…

There’s another aptitude test by University of Virginia on what medical specialty suits best for medical student, depending on one’s personality. That is just a rough guideline, not BIBLE.

 After all, for career satisfaction, the more important thing is what you WANT to do rather than what you CAN do.

Frequent misconceptions about lecturers

When we are in tertiary education, things work very differently. Some people get shocked on how things really change from school to college/university, especially about lecturers. When we were in school, we were used to be cared from teachers so much, but here, they couldn’t care less. What I have here is not my own personal thoughts, but the credit goes to a fellow forummer in for his very hardwork.


MISCONCEPTION 1: Lecturers are a more advanced version of teachers – since they are also “teaching”, but in higher education

A: it sounds true, but it’s technically wrong. Lecturers are not teachers, although they are in the educator family. Lecturers are not trained to teach, they don’t hold a diploma or certificate of teaching, and neither do they have any expertise in educating others. Teachers do, hence their expertise in making others understand what they say, which is part of their oath as a teacher. Lecturers go through no such thing.

Lecturers LECTURE what their knowledge and expertise. They don’t TEACH their knowledge and expertise. Meaning, when they lecture, it’s the students’ responsibility to understand what they say. For a teacher, it’s the teacher’s responsibility to make sure the students understand. See the difference?

 MISCONCEPTION 2: Lecturers are required to teach – pretty obvious, isn’t it? 

A: a common misconception, but as elaborated above, lecturers are not required to teach. But they are required to SHARE their knowledge and expertise. And teaching is only ONE of the ways to share it. We often hear students complain about lecturers who can’t teach or couldn’t teach properly. Actual fact is, the students more often fail to learn from them. Remember, it’s not their job to make students understand. The students should make an effort to try to understand what they say, and seek further help in case they still don’t understand the issues.

 MISCONCEPTION 3: Good academicians are those who can lecture well – students understand better, get better grades, hence better rapport with the lecturers 

A: fair enough, but that’s not the sole definition of a good academicians. Mohe (ministry of higher education) have outlined 7 Ps that makes a good academician: penyelidikan (research), penerbitan (publication), pengajaran (teaching), perkhidmatan awam (public service), perundingan (consultancy), penulisan (writing) and pengurusan (management).Although it will be hard for a single person to be able to achieve all 7 Ps listed above, most IPT allow their academic staff to concentrate in 3 or 4 of them. This would mean that an academic who’re good in research, writing, publication and consultancy (the standard of what experts do), they usually don’t concentrate much on teaching.

 MICONCEPTION 4: Lecturers are the primary source of learning in higher education – as the primary “teaching staff” that is similar to the secondary and primary schools, students see the lecturers as the primary or sometimes the sole source of learning 

A: this misconception is understandable, knowing where the students came from. In school, teachers are the primary source of learning. They possess the knowledge and the ability to pass on the knowledge. The final say would also be in the hand of the teachers. This is what is commonly known as teacher-centered learning.In higher education, it is up to the students to involve themselves in the learning activities. They are placed in an environment where they could access as vast amount of resources: experts, books, publications, research, library, the internet as well as their peers. Being in the center of everything should allow a student to choose whichever way suitable for them to learn. This is known as student-centered learning.

Simply put, the lecturers (experts) are only one of the resources accessible for the students, and shouldn’t be treated as the ONLY absolute source.

 MISCONCEPTION 5: Lecturers are answerable to the students because the students pay the lecturers’ salary – technically it is true that the students pay the lecturers’ salary especially in IPTS 

A: although it is true, the lecturers are not answerable solely to the students. Lecturers are bound to the policies of the institution, which means that the students don’t really have a direct effect to their professional well-beings. For example, the students may deem the lecturer as kedekut markah, but if he actually follows the standard, there’s nothing the students can do about it.But lecturers are still answerable to the top management of the institution. This would be the best people the students can look for if they need to complain.

 MISCONCEPTION 6: Lecturers must GIVE ANSWER to the question asked – Since they are lecturers, they should give DIRECT answers to the questions asked. 

A: From the POV of students, it looks true enough but DIRECT answers may NOT necessary help the students. Sometimes, DIRECT answers may bring more harm than good to students. Also, some lecturers prefer having students to do their own research in order to widen their knowledge on that field, not merely an answer for the question asked.However, a lecturer MUST give CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS to ensure students understand what is expected by the lecturer. This includes providing ways to get the answer for the question rather than literally the answer itself.

 MISCONCEPTION 7: Lecturer is always right – since they’re the expert, whatever than comes out of his/her mouth would be a fact 

A: You couldn’t be more wrong. Lecturers are only human. With the amount of knowledge that they have, with a little added ego, he or she might feel that they are the center of the universe. This is where students MUST tread carefully. My personal default standing is: the lecturer is right unless proven otherwise.It means, the lecturers themselves must have an open standing of knowledge. 200 years ago the world was flat (or perceived that way) and the sun revolves around the earth. If the same lecturer were to be alive today, he must be open enough to accept if the students prove that the world is spherical and the earth revolves around the sun.

MISCONCEPTION 8: Lecturer who has been wrong before is a bad lecturer – Lecturer should be ALWAYS right. Once proven wrong, a lecturer is worthless and should be punished. 

A: I have seen numerous times lecturers lost students’ respect and attention for their subjects because of some particular incidents when lecturers made mistakes. Some of them even go further complaining it to the management. Well, not that I want to protect EVERY lecturers, but I believe everyone deserves second chance (or more). I would like to suggest that students to co-operate with lecturers to make the lecture/tutorial a win-win session. Making a problem worse will not benefit anyone.Not only that lecturer is a human and may not know-it-all, it’s also due to the ever-changing world we are having now, new researches/theories appear everyday.

 MISCONCEPTION 9: Students are the lecturers’ clients – similar to the one discussed earlier, since the students pay a huge amount of fees, it’ logically deduced that they are paying for the lecturer’s services. 

A: although it may seem that way, lecturers share their knowledge for a bigger/higher purpose. All lecturers belong to a specific field of study. They are often professionally qualified to practice in their field, but chose to educate. They have a bigger objective than just to serve the students’ need: to provide their field of practice good enough students to carry on their legacy.It literally means, the benefit of the practice outweighs the personal benefits of individual students. This takes priority over the students, and the lecturers would be more than willing to fail the entire class of students rather than let low quality students pass and eventually join practice.

Siapa yang perlu diikuti?

Ramai kenalan bertanya kepada saya mengapakah cara ibadat saya berlainan? Mengapa tak macam mazhab Shafi’e pun? Ni belajar dari mana nih? Benar, saya dibesarkan menurut mazhab Shafi’e, tetapi saya tidak mengikutinya 100%. Mengapa? Adakah saya lebih baik dan pandai dari Imam Shafi’e? Adakah saya sudah mempunyai kelayakan untuk bermujtahid setaraf dengan para ulama’? 

Saya sendiri tidak mengulang wudhu’ sekiranya tersentuh wanita bukan muhrim, brerkeyakinan bahawa daging sembelihan Kristian dan Yahudi halal dimakan, boleh menjama’ solat kalau memerlukan walaupun tidak bermusafir dan lain-lain lagi. Tetapi saya kembalikan semula: adakah korang ni betul-betul mengikut ajaran Mazhab Shafi’e? 

Memang betul bahawa mazhab menyenangkan pemahaman seorang Muslim tentang bagaimana untuk menjalankan ibadah terutamanya. Antara alasan yang diberikan ialah kerana Nabi Muhammad SAW sudah wafat dan para muslimeen memerlukan tunjuk ajar daripada imam-imam mazhab supaya tidak terkeliru. Itu benar. Tetapi imam para mazhab juga sudah meninggal. Jadi bagaimana pula nak memahami ajaran Islam? 

Saya berikan satu contoh: saya seorang muallaf dari Amerika Syarikat (AS). Di AS, tiada mazhab yang tetap untuk para muslimeen. Ada yang mengikuti Hanafi, ada yang mengikuti Shafie’, ada juga Maliki dan Hanbali. Jadi, adakah saya tidak boleh mengamalkan Islam selagi saya tidak memilih salah satu mazhab tersebut?

Wahai saudara-saudari sekalian, ketahuilah bahawa Islam itu indah. Tiada mana-mana dalil dari al-Quran dan as-Sunnah yang mewajibkan umat Islam mengikut mana-mana mazhab. Tentunya penerangan dan pembelajaran ayat-ayat al-Quran dan hadis Nabi SAW memerlukan tunjuk ajar seseorang yang diyakini ilmu islamnya. Cuma tidak semestinya daripada imam mazhab.

Saya sendiri dibesarkan secara agak ‘nomad’. Sepuluh tahun pertama saya hidup di Malaysia, dan kemudian di Bradford, UK selama setahun. Sekembalinya dari UK, saya juga dihantar berumrah dan belajar di Makkah untuk 2 kali selama 3 bulan. Di UK dan Makkah saya mempelajari dengan pelbagai Tok Guru yang mempunyai pelbagai pendapat. Pendapat yang sungguh berlainan daripada apa yang dipelajari daripada sekolah agama dan pendidikan Islam di Malaysia.

Tetapi adakah saya mengatakan pendapat ini salah dan pendapat ini lebih betul? Tidak sama sekali. Saya tidaklah setaraf mujtahid untuk menganalisa pendapat mana lebih betul atau salah. Saya cuma ikuti apa yang saya pelajari daripada Tok Guru pelbagai bangsa yang pernah saya berjumpa. Malah di kawasan perumahan saya di Kuala Lumpur, ada seorang ulama’ yang mempunyai jawatan dalam Ahli Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr. Abdul Hayei Abdul Shukor, memberi kuliah Tafsir al-Quran setiap pagi selepas solat subuh. Dan pendapat beliau amatlah berlainan dengan trend ulama lain di Malaysia.

 Begitu juga dengan kemunculan ulama muda seperti Mufti Perlis Dr. Muhammad Asri Zainal Abidin (MAZA). Ramai ulama masa kini sudah membuka semula tirai ijtihad supaya umat Islam boleh kembali semula menjana minda berfikir. Dan ulama-ulama ini sangatlah berlainan pendapatnya berbanding dengan imam mazhab empat. Jadi, adakah sepatutnya perlu diikuti imam mazhab empat ataupun para ulama yang diyakini ilmunya dan lebih mengenali cabaran dunia masa kini?

Imam Shafi’e tidak pernah sesekali memaksa sesiapa pun untuk mengikuti ajarannya. Malah, beliau berkata ‚jika pendapatku bertentangan dengan hadis sahih, lemparlah pendapatku ke dinding dan ambillah hadis itu’. Betapa rendah dirinya imam Shafi’e sampai tidak mahu sesiapa pun untuk mengikuti mazhabnya. 

Kembali semula kepada permasalahan awal, saya tidak perlu mazhab untuk memahami al-Quran dan as-Sunnah. Tok guru saya yang pelbagai bangsa dan mazhab itu tidak pernah menyuruh saya untuk mengikuti mazhab Shafie sahaja. Malah, mana-mana pendapat yang lebih diyakini akan kebenarannya boleh digunakan, tidak kira sama ada pendapat tersebut lebih senang atau lebih sukar untuk dilaksanakan. 

Jika saya seorang muallaf di AS, tentunya ini akan lebih mengindahkan pandangan saya kepada Islam.

Review of myself in first half of December 2007

I finished my 2-week Surgical Diseases rotation. Starting tomorrow I’ll be having diagnostics rotation, which means I have more than enough free time for myself. Here are some review for the first half of December 2007, right till now:

  1. Started this blog. After several months of no-blogging period in my friendster blog, I feel like starting afresh here.
  2. I colored my hair. The first was base, dark brown. No one noticed anything yet at that time. Next was blond highlights. This one was very ugly because my Russian friend did it wrongly. The blond highlights were simply not appropriate with dark brown base. Luckily, the 3rd phase, Wongkok got it right. He basically intensified the base color to lighter brown. And my life was improved.
  3. My favourite grandma died. Her BP was down till 78/28, after getting norepinephrine shot, she was stabilized. She was then proclaimed dead the next day. She lived a good life, always bring my favourite lunches during weekends in MRSM PDRM, brought me together to Makkah twice, and favors me much more over my siblings and cousins. Unfortunately, after two surgeries on her brain, she turned aphasic and our family took very good care of her during her 3-4 year period of bed-confinement. Her death was about letting go. May she rest in peace.
  4. Malaysian Night 2007 was a success. Moderate to excellent performances, very good racially-based exhibitions. Malays with the pelamin and games like congkak, batu seremban and tenteng. Chinese with the fortune telling, some sweets in ginger stuffs, herbal eggs. Indians with the colorful exhibitions of rice-based kolam and exhibitions of lavish perencah rempah. And other ethnics exhibitions were included as well, espcially from Sarawak.
  5. Two nights before there was a falling out between me and a fellow colleague. Well, I didn’t regret what I said and did, because she has a big mouth though.
  6. I bought an AirBerlin tikcet costs 225 euros from Moscow Domodedovo to Nuremberg, Germany with my favourite senior in MRSM Taiping, Yani. She’ll meet her boyfriend later in Regensburg, while I will wonder around Prague, Zurich, and then Bavaria area. Maybe the Neuschwanstein castle in Fussen, the very famous inspirational castle for Beauty and the Beast and other fairy tales. I’m looking forward to meeting my friends in Nuremberg and Prague.
  7. I’m surprised to be studying so hard for Surgery because last year there was almost nothing to study at all. Well, needless to say, my class got a Professor-level surgery teacher, Professor Yuriy Markovich Zigmantovich. He was a strict one, as expected from a surgeon, and I am very grateful he trains us much more clinically than my previous surgery teachers. And everyone’s hardwork can simply be his rubbish. Lucky my research papers were not rubbish to him.
  8. I have to speed up and intensify my studies of clinical subjects. Else I’ll be left behind, and my plan of being an excellent world-class doctor will be a total fiasco.
  9. I learnt so many disturbing news. I got too much informations on falling out between people in Nizhniy Novgorod. Hopefully those who wronged could rectify the situations, and those who are not involved, please don’t get involve in the mess. It’s better being boring than being miserable.