A Troublesome Class Registration

Register for class. Time is running out.

I finally managed to register for classes. Instead of the full load 18 credits hours I’d been hoping to take, my adviser told me to drop it to 14 credit hours. Apparently, the workload in this university is higher compared to other universities where the recommended preparation time is 3 hours outside study for each credit hour. Remorsefully, I took up upon her words and land myself in lighter course this semester, watching enviously as my friends trying to cope with 18 credit hours courses and an additional foreign language to boot.

I’m still in a dilemma as I managed to conjure up a nicely spread timetable with gaps of time in between for me to get across the campus to class in time. Yet, I saw a class which I’m interested in and registered for it, causing my timetable to screw up terribly. This class will definitely contribute to my core requirements and allows me to take higher level courses by next semester, but I will drop another class which interest me – Comparative politics and economics of South East Asia. I do have an interest to know the Western perspectives on the current Malaysian politics and the futures of SEA developing economics. I wonder whether the trade off I made is beneficially for me or not. Certainly, by changing to this newer timetable, I will be running across campus in order to attend classes in time.

I’d scheduled an appointment with my adviser next week to discuss about this dilemma, but a week of classes will have started by then. I hope I didn’t miss out too much by cramping up my timetable.

Another problem that I am dissatisfy with during registration is the time period it takes for me to register. I planned out nice schedule few months behind but can’t enroll in them since I haven’t met my adviser yet. The problem here is that, when I finally did meet my adviser after all the domestic students had their pick and other international students as well since I’m one of the last on the list, all my classes are already closed down by then. Dejectedly, I need to fix up a new timetable with different courses in a short space of time. I’m pretty upset because the feeling when watching one of my classes closed up half an hour before my registration time is exactly pleasant.

As one of the international student from China or Korea whom I talked too puts: “The international students pays the highest tuition fees but the university treats us like @#$%^.” I understand the prickly situation the university is having, but up to a certain degree, I do wished that we could at least have an earlier pick, comparable to the amount of money we are paying to the university.

Orientation Blues

Each seems to have their own cliques. Where will I fit in?

Recently, I attended an international student orientation for the new Fall intake. It took place over several days of duration (technically just one day), where the participants are supposed to discover new friends and get to know each other for they will be in contact for the rest of their university life.

Since the university didn’t really provide any place for social contact, I decided to go around looking for events myself. I’d been attending workshops, picnics and some gathering to adapt into a new place. While I do get to meet people, the result isn’t what I expected.

I admit that I’d been feeling a little blue this past few days. I just can’t get to know people well enough. Somehow, as far as international students go, they seems to be clump together according to nationality. Perhaps the language, physical, cultural barriers or just the extra sense of comfort is enough to keep them among their own “kind”. It felt so hard to pass through this barrier. Certainly, I need to answer the doubts and shyness in my heart as well, but, during Orientation is supposed to be the easiest time to get to know other people.

However, the case is different with those which countries have fewer members. Since they do not have any social dependents around, they are more freely trying to get to know others, to swap contacts and at least, just to broaden their contact horizon. Ah, how I wish I have the courage to stretch out and venture into new territories.

Another social stigma I found here is with the Malaysians. I talked with some Indian nationalities why they pick their course and they said that it’s a unwritten rule that Indian should take Engineering or Medicine courses, but recent trend suggests that it is spreading out to field like Dentistry. As for the Malaysians, it is too obvious what the effect of the government sponsorship program had contributed too in creating a pool of Malaysians concentrated in one particular field. Here goes the saying which I encountered quite frequently: “If you’re a Malaysian, you’re an Actuarial Science student”. Sometimes, it is this social categorization which creates a physical and psychological boundary which separates into “us” and “them”. How I hope it would just be “we”.

Michael Phelps Amazing Feat

Credits: Photo of Michael Phelps from uberminx

I am just amazed with a fellow Wolverine, Michael Phelps performance in the Olympics swimming competition. I’d been watching him since his rivalry with Ian Thorpe sometimes along the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. Although Ian Thorpe is the dominant figure in the swimming arena of that time (and still hold a big place in my memory), I couldn’t help but notice a strong contender in the form of Michael Phelps.

And this time, during the Beijing Summer Olympics 2008, he just blew my expectations of him away. Already confirmed as a Great Olympian with his 14 gold medals, 8 from this year Summer Olympics, he went on to acquire these gold medals by creating 7 world records and a smaller consolation prize of 1 Olympic record. It’s not a small accomplishment here. I doubt whether I can create so many world record in just one year.

Looking back at all this competitive swimming brings me back to the time where I used to have intensive swimming. The intense feeling as the heart pounds on my chest, beating so hard till I sometimes felt like I will be having a heart attack soon. The adrenaline rush and the excitement at the blow of the whistle, trying to swim past everyone else, the mind numb as soon as the hands start to move along. The cold water in the indoor diving pool, sucking off my body heat less I get hypothermia if I don’t keep swimming to warm myself up.

Ah, the bottomless pit of the diving pool. How I love the feeling that there’s no boundary to limit my movements

Beijing Olympic 2008

The awe inspiring logo of Beijing Olympic 2008

These few days, I’d been anticipating for the start of the Olympic Games, hoping to catch a game where Malaysia finally win a gold medal. Before the start of the Games, China had already broken world records with the architecture designs of the various infrastructures and buildings in Beijing. I’m expecting nothing less during the duration of the Games.

Furthermore, it is the first time China is hosting the Games. There is a sense of pride and honor in the country to be the host. No doubt, Confucius teaching of “keeping face” plays a big role where China is trying to give the best image to the world. In a country where the governance is placed on collective strength, it is of no doubt that the Chinese government has divert a lot of funding towards Beijing (40 billion USD – most expensive Olympic ever) to provide a spectacular view for the international body view. The construction of the Bird Nest Stadium, the Cube and other massive structures has lead to the clearance of prime land in Beijing heart and certainly, a hole in the country’s budget. I doubt whether those massive structures will be put to good use after the Olympic Games since the maintenance of the building will also cost up to a bomb. If it comes to this, those building would be like “white elephants” and serve nothing more than to satisfy the ego and vanity of the country’s leaders.

From what I had seen from the Opening ceremony, the central government of China, or more specifically, the Olympic committee has pulled out a labor intensive performance with very flashy fireworks and high tech lighting. I just finished watching the whole opening ceremony and the most surprising part is the lighting of the torch. Defying gravity, flying round the stadium in a complete ellipse to reach the giant torch.

Although from the start of the year, the Beijing Olympic had been plagued with several misfortunes such as the TibetanĀ  unrest, the Sichuan disaster, the negative human rights image, serious pollution and various other concerns, as well as being the pawn for political pressure across the glob. In the end, the essence of the Olympic Games is about the sportsmanship spirit behind the competitions and the connections built through the Games. It is not about the people bickering at each other, but bringing them closer together as members of the human race.

Thus, I hope the Beijing Olympic 2008 will go on smoothly without a hitch. Besides, I really do hope that Malaysia will do well to earn gold medals in the badminton competition. I need the win to extract a dinner from Jia Min.

Jeffrey’s Dedication

Jeffrey wrote some dedications to his friends who are leaving for the States soon. He provide quite a comical, albeit almost true description of the Inti’s resident. Since his friends are my acquaitances too, I’ll put a link to the post to show what I would write instead or not should he didn’t wrote it instead šŸ˜›

The Paper Which Changes It All

Counting the straight As

I recently went back to my former school to retrieve my official SPM certificate. I check out the records and saw that some of my ex-classmates obtained their certificates about two months before. I cannot imagine that this certificate is suppose to represent what my ten years in public school education is supposed to lead up to.

On the other hand, it is exactly the same paper which opens up opportunity for me. Looking back, this paper provide some sort of motivation in my effort to be a Renaissance Man, but the effect might not be as pronound as I expected. I could have done just as well through reading and discussion elsewhere.

Things of value change its value with the change of time, owner, place, or shape. I guess that in this context, the value of this certificate has been milked and through the passage of this, its value is nothing more than the cost of paper the ink is printed on.