A Farewell to UKM;
1428 J'Awal 23; 2007 Jun 9 Sat

Chemistry UKM - An Infant in 1970-1980's

www.ukm.my/mbz Final Update, 2007 Apr 19, (if they were not deleted)

A Costly Passion - 2007 Jun 19

Those Were the Days 1978

Count Down to Retirement 2007 Apr 20

A Farewell to UKM - 2007 Jun 9

The Epic of Chitosan - 2007 July 15

Deliverance of a Retiree 2007 Aug 3

Ke Tepian Sang Seluang Melaut 2007 Nov 3

My last day in UKM was 19 Apr 2007. JPA recorded my service 32 years 8 months 8 days. Adding my undergraduate tenure from 1971 May 17, when UKM was just past its one year old, it makes 35 years 11 months 4 days. Close to 36 years, one year less than the age of the UKM itself. More than half of my life to the date of writing. Career-wise, I was 'born' in UKM and 'expired' in UKM. I was 'born' a student in UKM, and I 'expired' a teacher in UKM. I knew no other place, and experience no other career.

My first day in UKM, 1971 May 17 Mon. And my last day in UKM, 2007 Apr 19 Thu.

But for the administrative purposes this is of no significance. As insignificance are the residual pedigrees in the current administrative; with some even spasmically 'claimed' the ownership.

When UKM was born, 1970 in Jln Pantai Bharu, it was a settlement. UKM today, 2007 mainly in Bangi, is a Serrenggeti to the horizon. Subjected to seasonal dynamics that dictate the welfare of the flora and fauna which are mere entropic particles. And being poached from time to time. Since its first breath, it cracked everywhere everytime ["terkopak di mana-mana"]. Could not tell it is, or it is not. Been fighting in every which way for self-deliriation. Life in three campuses was rather for the wabbling evolution, not something else. Like the floral or fauna world variants, one could be a long-lived giant that stops the falling sky over the inpenetrable jungle, or a short-lived herbal that has to reproduce over and over in the open to survive.

In the very first office in the 1976 Oct. The third box on the second floor which I shared with Dr Sri Nuresteri. It was in Sect 16 Petaling Jaya; the homes of the Faculty of Islamic Study, and the Chemistry Department (and some Geology Labs). The Dept Office and lecturers offices then moved to Jalan Pantai Campus in 1978 when the non-sciences faculties moved to Bangi, and the Medical Faculty, to Kuala Lumpur, near the General Hospital. The final move to Bangi was in 1982, after then both premises in Jalan Pantai Bharu and in Sect 16 were returned. I was then in England on the final leg of a Doctorate program - since 1979 Sep. The medical faculty hang on to GHKL many years more, untill late 1997 when it moved to its own hospital in Cheras, to where it is known as HUKM. Every one in the university could not answer satisfactorily the question of why the hospital was built isolated in the deep hard-to-access Cheras, away from the many thousands of hactres of land in Bangi.

At the end of the day, chemistry building is the only building in the campus that does not have a lecture theatre. Chemistry building exist with two floors "rented" out. In 1970 when UKM was born, chemistry was one of the prominent organ. Today, chemistry was one of the forgotten elements in the university. No one percieved the importance of chemistry anymone even though the top level keep screaming 'science' every morning and evening; even more: in english. No one could perceive anymore the fact that there is nothing in the world which is not materially chemistry, just as there is nothing in the world that is not quantitatively mathematic. The "Dalton" chemistry in UKM slowly stopped twinkling since the third millenium. It was replaced with what were percieved to be that on demand, not necessarily of pure chemistry. Luckily they were not of the matter of life and death.

Southern Wing, Level 2, Room 2154, was my office. And the opposite lab 2144. I aboded this box, nearly a cube, since 1983 Mar 30 Wed, as the first ever occupant. Twenty four years and twenty days. Obviously, I massed up a lot during the long period of time. I had been passing along this corridor perhaps more than a million times during this period. Hundreds of students did the same. They came to see me about their chemistry. Many stories trickled out from this floor. Mostly the nightly story. I smiled, and "hik-hik-hik-ed" and "ha-ha-ha-ed" every time the stories were narrated. Mostly ghostly stories. I hope the ghosts are still there, and keep on guarding my "history" in the box. And they would not confuse with whoever that take over the room. Many of them are my former students that the ghosts have to guard my history from.
"My belongings" were safely shipped out in time, and at home at last. They took some space though. In the room, on the stairs, and still some bundles outside the house. Excluding were the books which I have taken home in batches since two years ago and resided safely on the shelves together with others which are not really chemistry and had been there since I resided here in 1987 Nov.

Leaving the office in peace. The table clear. One SU of my own PC, and a few boxes containg daily stationaries, etc. All in one last go. Now I am a bona fide private citizen operating from home; my 'office' is now in the bedroom. I do not feel that my former office is going to be one of the places in my revisiting list. No one feels so, I guess. And to some, not even the place called UKM. This is a Serrenggetic aspect, I suppose. UKM is a university in a developing country. It will continue to change to the tunes, unfortunately only of the shadows of that in the developed countries. It dances to the rhythm, unfortunately in Doppler fashion.
Some of the souvenirs my students left for me to remember them. Including is the two pieces of chalks. The very teaching aid since my first day in the school in 1958 Jan. It ended in about 1990, when OHP was widely used in the university. In other places, the blackboards were replaced with the whiteboards, and thus the white chalks were replaced with the colourful markers. The disappearence of chalks marked the declining of the effectiveness of the art of teaching.
I am considerably very much luckier than these apparatus. Some of them were 'employed' at about the same time as I was. Many were very much "younger". But had long been forgotten. Almost all of them were unsalvaged. Imagine a rose in a monkey's hand ["seperti kera mendapat bunga"]; imagine a diamond ring to an amputee ["si kudung mendapat cincin"]. The reason was uneconomical. Some were simply out of service because there were under use and the upgraded version had already been acquired. Some were simply due to some very minor ignorently irreplacable breaks that they were let to rot entropically to the nature.

One of the object of my passion during my tenure in UKM was what is today ICT, with the mother of all the harewares: computer. It began in 1972/1973, after the age of slide rule, which succeded the log book. It was not even a calculater (except the adding machine for the shopkeepers), and many more years to go before the PC.

In 1972 (I was in second year undergraduate) UKM bought an IBM 1130 mainframe. Apart from used by the treasury, it was offered for science student to devour its academics, initially as an optional paper in the Math Department under Drs M Bunyamin. It was also rumoured at that time that this subject was going to replace the social science subject that science students had to take. I grabbed the first chance I get. Since then I used it a lot, even in calculating the practical results (iteration). Its operation required a span of FORTRAN 4 understanding. And the input was via card reader. Every single data and instruction; a card for each line. With a firm fundation of computing, I graduated a chemist in 1974 Apr, and went for the postgraduate course in the same year Sep, in England.
I spent not less than 50K of my own salary to literate and gear myself with ICT to this date. These are the collection that I kept alive for my own passion; housing the operating systems: DOS v7, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. (Note the customised computer tables I made myself). Those storage media, starting with 5.5" FD, and the highly consumable FDD itself. The CDD, and finally the DVD drive. The HDD that surely went broke when the time comes, normally while in high use. The many cards, including the display cards which went black from time to its expirr date. Even the monitors themselves. The RAM which required upgrading from time to time. The printers and the toners, and the power supply inside the SU. The scanners. The UPS to prevent crash for my floor was infamous for its sudden blackout phenomenon. The books about ICT. And currently, the blank CD and DVD, and the thumb-drives. And mice which died so fast. Was it a good investment? For passion point of view, yes. For career point of view, NO. Most of my colleagues did not spent this much from their own pocket. That amount was better spent on subsidising oneself for the conferences; the attendence and presentation of which bear some points towards promotion (a.k.a. pay increase). Tagged with the promotion is a fatter grant which can be used to acquire bigger and better ICT gears. It's a longer route, but more profitable, shorter time and more "cost-saving". At one time (386 time) my computer was the biggest in the department (hik, hik, hik) with an expanded 16 MB RAM (it cost me 700RM). I started using CDD when it was 450RM. Learning the "stupidity", I refrained myself from using a thumb-drive when it was 1 RM per MB. Currently, at ca. 60 RM per GB (6 cent per MB), I carry with me four thumb-drives as my briefcase.

Better DTP appeared for Windows. Wordstar and dBASE had long gone. Lotus was one. It offered a suit that one normally needed to prepare a paper work. I found that Amipro, the Lotus's word processor was superb. After 1994 first Chitin and Chitosan Symposium, I took to my office the papers and prepare its CRC, solely on Amipro 3.11, and finally published as the proceedings, by UKM Publisher (1995). And also later "Profil Activiti Pusat Penyelidikan Kitin Kitosan, UKM /Activity Profile of Chitin Chitosan Research Centre, UKM, (1995). Eventually Windows took over every aspects of modern hard copy production. And one was the UKM-ITB 5 2002 Proceedings which I lead its CRC production. The sweety Amipro became Wordpro which was in Word's regalia. That was the end.

Towards the end of my career-life, I was cornered into the dead-end so-called STPD. And it was on ICT. From 2000 Jun to 2005 Dec. The task was huge. Inseminating the fundamental of ICT to practically all the faculty first year student. It totalled close to a thousand per session; divided into two semester. These were the largest classes I was made to handle. The irony was, the period spanned from the era of the most primitive teaching gear: the OHP, to the most modern: the Laptop+LCD. And were conducted in the hall (DAM) which is not meant for teaching/lecture puposes. Plus the hand-on practical. Again ironically from the lowest compuer set: AST's pentium S to that of pentium 4 (Dell and HP).

An award from DEWAN BAHASA dan PUSTAKA (Institute of Language and Literary) for getting deeply involved with them. Intensively for ca ten years from late 1980's to late 1990's. Books of original authorship, a large volume of translation, editing, as well as being in their production team of encyclopedia, and dictionaries.

DBP is a Education Ministry organ for developing language. It is also a publisher of university books which private publishers dare not publish. This is the area where involvement of university staff is badly needed. My intimacy with DBP had a long history. It was since 1972 when I was still a student in UKM. Back then, I began by writing for "Dewan Masharakat". Then I approached the Book Division officials. My intensive participation was due to En Amran Joned in mid 1980's, a few years my junior in UKM. We were friends since then deep into the homes.

It was a lot of fun working together with DBP. To begin with, DBP always maintain its integrity of profesionalism: do it if you can, do not do it if you can not. And it put you in your place when it hire you for a certain "mission". I enjoyed very much going out on "mission" with DBP.

From an author point of view, DBP is the best and the most reliable publisher in town. It pays the royalty as agreed, and DBP never owe any author any single cent. Its only restriction is that its being a government body which has to follow certain rules, regulations, and guides that sometimes when subjected to it appeared like it is an inefficent institution. In the 1980's through to 1990's there were plenty of jobs for academia in DBP. And DBP was very vigorous in publishing the books in Bahasa Melayu. Until one day, someone had the opinion that DBP was wasting the public money whereas everybody alse saw it as the efforts of DBP to materialise the knowledge in Bahasa Melayu. Ironically, the commercial part of the institution was privatised.

My research was about chitosan. The major component in most exoskeleton of lower fauna such as crustacean, and mollusc, and insects. The original leader was my 1979 student, Dr Arisol Alimunir. We menanged to secure two grants in late eighties. He left the university while the group with the BIRO were in negotiation for the formation of a joint venture company to produce chitosan in this country. The company was eventually formed in post two thousands - Chito-Chem (M) Sdn Bhd. Many people benefitted from chitosan research. Since then chitosan was an epic. Every body in UKM (minus the social scientists and Islamic study) were going chitosan. To this date, this is the only research project that managed to calminate into a JVC commercialisation. They were very much cleverer than me. Commercialisation of a research project comes with one advantages plus one thousands disadvantages. The fate was similar to that of my investment in ICT.

My most nostalgic piece of involvement was in the Matriculation Division of the Education Ministry. And it happened at the end of my academic career even though I began squeezing them as early as in 1977. I loved very much to get involve in this. I saw holes every where when I first joined it in 2003 May. The standard of the questions, the language, the chemistry of the questions. Even the examination's mother purposes were all in the blind of the academia whose experience were just by passing through it. I pushed through, and managed to get some parts of it on course. But unfortunately, that was the end of my career. The appointment into the division was by virtue of my career in the university. And I am no longer a lecturer. The virtue thus disappeared.

-1; 2007 Apr 19; 1428 R'Akhir 01 Thu

LAST DAY. The arrival was like that of a celebration. Even looking forward since yesterday and thro to the night at home. Many friends were very supportive and sympathetic in cheering me up, many even since yesterday.

But the smooth one piece exit I planned was marred by the ewarga network down. I kept the record that it was 7.18 am that I loged-in, not 8.50 am as in their log. I will make up anyway that 50 minutes lag on the exit logout although I have one day of unspent leave. I have made the promise that the one day unspent is for the token of friendship with UKM. I wanted no due to UKM on my exit dot. Other parts of the network was running. Including the webmail. I took the opportunity to update the NAV virus definition - dated Apr 18 [20070418-024-x86.exe]. And spyware scanning, in case a new definition was published.

Regular colleagues were in the Rivera to greet. The candidate appeared to begin to feel that he was the numero uno in the faculty. The others were the audience who he thought responded at every "punch line".

Collected the MatriQ matters from the office which arrived yesterday. Into the boot of WCG, to be taken to Seremban Royal Adelphi Apr 23 Monday for the usual biannual gathering. Shown to Prof Pauzi at the desk PC of the gen office that MJAS Vol 10 no 2 was downloadable. Shown also the cover for the Vol 11 No 1, already on the net. Handed the resume to Rohaya. It was a quick extension from my 2004 resume of the ill-fated grade-C application.

10.20 went to the 5th floor for final matters. On the way met at the zero-lift, the FPI dean. He was stunned by my not receiving the contract letter and humorously suggested to return to UDiM. Surrendered the health log-book. Scribbled a letter to pendaftar for the permission to keep the ID card. Verbally done about the library since I had not borrowed any book (not since the advent of the net - from ca. Windows 95). Had a chat with En Shahir Naim, about going on things in the abstract I did not know whether we understand each other or not. One thing we invariably agreed. That the life-line is always from up there and only from up there. On the way down in the lift met En Razak the senior principal assistant pendaftar FST. Also expresses surprise of the non-receiving. I could not gauge his authenticity.

While around that corner of the 'world', I strolled the back corridors of the FSSK complexes along which I passed only a few times through out my 33 years in UKM. To Pusanika. Passing along the offices of lecturers of FSSK, perhaps of psychology deparment or something. Judging by the door-tags, only a few had PhD. All their offices were carved-nyatoh-wooden-doored, unlike ours which were plywood - the original 1980's, except that of the professors who insisted to the change which we were made to understand they qualified. Paid the electric and water bills at the post office after distilling the fund at the CIMB tellar - and hi-ed to the emerging-out manager who always greeted me nicely whenever I had matters in the place. The turn-calling-ding-dong at the post office kept on clucking for the next customer. At the same time the turn-number dispenser kept on peeping in error and no turn-number slip came out for the scarsely customer - almost zero-time waiting.

Then down to the cafe for a light meal. Deputy Dean FST, who I had a glance in the post office, stamping a letter, was there and had the meal together. Too innocent to bring the matter over. Did not even know how to mime my not-receiving even though I knew that he knew it. My case, and another more injurous case was the talk of the time in the faculty. This was the first time I have my meal there, since the new operator took over. Students were frozen in the exam period, thus not many swarming the eatery. But the food look, variety and attire appeared good. Including the young female tenders of mixed complexion. Many chinese students too, unlike during the previous operator. Have not enough attention to gauge the price which normally extrapolates to a "life-span" approximation. A glass of white hot tea, a "blank" roti canai, and half-keel chicken. 3.40 rm.

It was nearly twelve. Taxonomising and stacking the boxes in the cube. Then it was a prolonged home break. I was an ordinary staff in UKM who evolved from an ordinary student. It was the mere time that was on my side. My exit was so infinitesimal, of nano-size in today's term. Even if I were a star, it was a little star in a giant distant galaxy. I twinkled only locally, known only to very close friends. And I did not make quite a neutron star on my exit.

It's now 5 pm. My time in UKM is officially OVER. But I will hang on for another 50 minutes to make over the lag due to the ewarga breakdown. Juggling the contents of the boxes for easier transportation to the destination - seven km away. LAST e-mail checked 5.40 pm on Eudora from IP. Later, it would be from home streamyx via web-based webmail. In three months time this e-mail acc will be closed. Then perhaps I would be on gmail, or yahoo dot com.

Room 2154 Level 2 Chemistry Building, South Wing. The room I had been aboding since 1983 Mar 16 Wed. Together with the accompanying Lab 2144 opposite of it. 24 years 34 days. Nonetheless, I will sneak-in again into this room many more times to collect my things, supposedly at empty hrs no one would see. Ninety percents of my belongings are still in the room by the time of logout. 5.50 PM LAST LOGOUT - RETIRED.

0; 2007 Apr 20; 1428 R'Akhir 02 Fri: RETIRED

DOS ver 7 Windows 3.11 Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 2000 Windows XP