Skip to main content

In Kuala Lumpur and reading about Malaysia's PhD debate

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- This is my second time to visit Malaysia and still I am not on holiday but on a business trip in environment management. But now being a Sunday I have more time to see the sights. I took the Cebu Pacific budget flight to KL. The only irritating thing is during check-in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila where the lack of check-in counters made a few impatient people fume (These people should note that good behaviour and a sense of decency and cheer goes a long way in these situations.) . Obviously the NAIA is run down and needs to be replaced. We have a mothballed terminal whose ceiling is collapsing.

Cebu Pacific's planes are brand new and being a budget airline, the inflight service and amenities are infinitely better than that of budget airlines in the USA. At least you don't sit in for a 4 hour flight in a 12 seater jet. What Cebu Pacific has to improve is its ground handling

Cebu Pacific pulled out of the gate at exactly 8:50 PM Sept 1 and landed at 12:35 AM on Sept 2 exactly as what my ticket says.

The KL budget terminal is basic in its amenities but is efficient enough. Notwithstanding the queue at the immigration counters (there were two other budget flights coming in minutes of each other), I was out of the airport in less than 20 minutes after coming out of immigration and customs. You don't need a fancy airport these days. Time is an important commodity and going down the stairs from the plane gives a feeling that I have landed!

Scanning the papers this morning over my morning cuppa, the Sunday Times has a whole section on Malaysia's debate on its higher education system. The government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi plans to invest more in PhD scholarships. Malaysia according to the higher education minister needs 21,000 PhDs to man its research universities and higher education system. Now the vice-chancellors of the universities are concerned about the quality of the PhDs that will be produced.

The vice-chancellors are concerned about the problem that many of the PhDs may not have enough lab spaces and also may not be able to publish their results. One vice-chancellor of a leading university here says that a PhD is not really needed if one just intends to embark on a purely teaching career. The PhDs should be geared towards doing research and publishing their work.

What seems to differentiate what Malaysians think about improving their higher education capacity from that we have in the Philippines is that they want to strengthen the idea of Malaysians being a nation in a competitive but global economy and this goes beyond the usual science and economics mantra of President Arroyo, the Chancellors of the University of the Philippines, Presidents of Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle, CHED commissioners, the DepEd etc.

I am beginning to suspect that the major reason why our higher education system is totally screwed up is that the system has jettisoned the idea of Filipinos being a nation. A nation must have connection with its geography. A nation in diaspora as what our government is proud about is in citing a 7.2% economic growth, is in fact shackled.

This sense of being a nation is the most competitive value a people can have in a globalised economy.

Malaysia just celebrated 50 years of Merdeka or Independence. I told my grad student that they started out in a worse state than the Philippines. Look where they are now? Malaysia and its neighbours Indonesia and Thailand are our "kapatid na bansa" or sibling countries.

Mabuhay Malaysia! Maligayang bati sa kanyang araw ng kalayaan.



I've seen a couple of posts of yours, I think in Quezon's blog (not sure anymore) but didn't know you had a blog of your own.

Just to say I was in KL for the Merdeka celebration with my family and to point out that Merdeka is the independence day for former Malaya (Malaya and Singapore) and not for Malaysian, which if you want would be independent OF Singapore and should be celebrating Malaysia as an independent country in 2010.

The country that calls itself Malaysia only became Malaysia 3 years after the Merdeka of 1957 (for Malaya).

My father in law was seconded to the Sultan immediately after Malaya achieved their independence from the British in 1957, hence I'm a litter bit familiar with the history of Malaya (Malaysia-Singapore.)

You might think I'm hair splitting but far from my mind to sow any sort of confusion.


blackshama said…
The story of Singapore separating from Malaysia is both providential and unfortunate. It seems this Merdeka celebration did not merit a ripple across the causeway in Woodlands.

Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Kartilla of the Katipunan

In celebration of Andres Bonifacio Day on Nov 30, I am blogging my English translation of the Katipunan's Code of Ethics or Kartilla (Kartilya). Recruits to the revolutionary association had to learn these by heart. The code was first written by Emilio Jacinto. The Kartilya remains as relevant today as in 1896 .

My apologies for errors in translation. I know there are better translations than this one.

1) A life not spent for a holy and noble cause is like a tree without shade or a noxious weed.

2) Acts that stem from pride and selfishness do not come from a desire to help others..

3) True holiness comes from helping others, charity towards others and the measure of such is in each reasonable act or word.

4) Dark or white your skin may be, all men are equal though one may be greater in knowledge, material wealth, beauty these do not add to one’s humanity.

5) Those who are men of goodwill put honour before concern for self and those who do no good puts the self before honour.

6) For an ho…