What about your current life would shock 17 year old you the most?

When I was 17 year old, I’ve made some plans. During the time, I was so naive and ambitious. As an overview, the plans that I made was generally related to what career that I shall choose and when I’ll get married. Until today I still don’t understand why I was so keen about this two things, probably it relates to the bigger picture on attempting to achieve stability and prosperity? I strongly believe that your career and to whom you get married will determine the convenience of your life in the future. Without further ado, let’s see what about my current life that would shock my 17 year old me (2000) the most.

  1. I am an engineer. When I was 17 I always wanted to be an engineer.
    I was enrolled in one of the most prestigious university in Malaysia (University of Malaya) in Mechanical Engineering programme. Finished on time (2006) with a fairly good CGPA (hint: 3 point something), and even started working as an engineer before I finished my final semester.
  2. I have Doctor as a title. When I was 17, I was torn, whether to become a Doctor or an Engineer
    Since I was not that ultra-genius, I can’t become a medical doctor. After 2 years of working as an engineer (2008), I decided to enrol in PhD programme in Mechanical Engineering and obtained my PhD in 2011. I guess having the title itself soothe the 17 year old me.
  3. I got married at the age of 25 (2008). When I was 17, I was planning to get married at 27.
    I put a target of 10 years later to get married. But I found my true love earlier than that and we got married two years earlier than I was planning. Both myself and my wife ventured out to finish our PhD afterwards.
  4. Perfect family setup (wife, kid, own a house, car and motorbike) by 32 (2015). I was planning to complete all this by 36.
    I am very thankful that everything went well, despite of the challenges. I guess when you get married to the right person, most of what you planned will be expedited through discussions, working towards the target and sticking with your ambitions.
  5. Jobs that I love. When I was 17, I anticipated that it would be hard to find job stability since in 1998, Malaysia was struck by economic downturn (Remember George Soros?).
    I love my job. I love being in university while at the same time retaining my status as an engineer in the society.

Moral of the story, be brave, dream big and have fun. Failures and success come and go. My SPM was not even that great. There will be many people smarter than you as you go through in your adventure. But be positive and be soulful in whatever you are doing. You’ll be surprised how remarkable things turn out.

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Lessons from other people’s regret

Sometimes we are immobilised not because of the lost of motivation, but due to confusion. The same thing cause us to be in this situation; where in some points in our life, we move real slow and we appear to have lack of motivation.

The answer is, you just need a reason that will entangle you from confusion. Sometimes, the way to move out from being confused is to take charge, and be a leader.

Today I’ve read an interesting piece entitled My Biggest Regret as a Programmer , and one key moral of the story that I can pull out is, if you have the opportunity to work on a leadership role in a high-growth organization/company, take it.

If having a leadership role gives you satisfaction, do it.
If having a leadership role makes you a source of inspiration, do it.
If having a leadership role will not make your generation left out, do it.
If having a leadership role will makes you sane, do it.
If having a leadership role will not make you confuse, do it.

Because moving forward matters. Make your mind up or, have something to assist you to make you mind up, and take action.

On getting possessed by work

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius,

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, If I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

—But it’s nicer here …

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

—But we have to sleep sometime…

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that—as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts. Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?

 

Full discussions here: How to Get Out of Bed

Berhenti sekolah atau teruskan ke universiti?

I think the value of getting a great education – that is going to college – is easy to underestimate. The most interesting jobs require a college education. The STEM related jobs are probably the most interesting although they are not for everyone. The value of staying curious – reading a lot and learning new things even after college is also underestimated.

Source: Bill Gates, 2016

Masyarakat di Malaysia kini mempunyai pilihan sama ada ingin bekerja terus selepas tamat persekolahan, ataupun meneruskan pengajian ke peringkat universiti. Kedua-duanya mempunyai faedah yang tersendiri, sama ada anda memilih untuk menjadi Street Smart atau Book Smart, atau menjadi kedua-duanya.

Saya memetik kata-kata Bill Gates di atas. The most interesting jobs memerlukan anda untuk mendapatkan pendidikan tinggi di kolej atau universiti. Ini yang perlu anda ingat.

Dahulu, saya memilih kedua-duanya, dengan cara bekerja part-time setiap kali waktu cuti semester. Dengan cara ini saya mendapat pengalaman kerja sambil saya dapat menamatkan pengajian di IPTA.

Buatlah pilihan yang bijak. Jadilah insan yang berjaya dan memberi faedah kepada manusia yang lain.

Life at Low Reynolds Number, Purcell 1976

Life at Low Reynolds Number
E.M. Purcell
Lyman Laboratory, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass 02138
June 1976
American Journal of Physics vol 45, pages 3-11, 1977.

Life at low Reynolds Number

Editor’s note: This is a reprint of a (slightly edited) paper of the same title that appeared in the book Physics and Our World: A Symposium in Honor of Victor F. Weiskopf, published by the American Journal of Physics (1976). The personal tone of the original talk has been preserved in the paper, which was itself a slightly edited transcript of a tape. The figures reproduce transparencies used in the talk. The demonstration involved a tall rectangular transparent vessel of corn syrup, projected by an overhead projector turned on its side. Some essential hand waving could not be reproduced.

Download: Life at Low Reynolds Number

Original source of the document: Link

Happiness is: Looking at life through a beautiful lens filter

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Me & Dato’ Ghazali bin Dato’ Mohd. Yusoff of Nusatek. Photo credit: My wife, 2016

On a nice afternoon at work, I’ve received a phone call from my wife. She and her team (PPSA, UMT) was in a meeting with Dato’ Ghazali (Dato’ Ghaz) of Nusatek Sdn Bhd (Dato’ Ghaz is currently appointed as one of the CEO in CEO@UMT programme). My wife told me that Dato’ Ghaz was very happy to meet me to discuss about future plans on marine renewable energy in Malaysia. I’ve manage to get some valuable notes from him. I’m quite fortunate because I manage to meet with Dato Ghaz prior to the UNESCO IOC-WESTPAC 11th Advisory Group Meeting 2016 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, in which I’m preparing some materials for the WG-004 Marine Renewable Energy Theme.

Other than work, in that short meeting I’ve managed to learn something really valuable from Dato’ Ghaz, regarding happy memories. If you read this blog since its inception in March 2011 (wow this blog is 6 years old now! Seriously?), sometimes I write on the theme of happiness, and this post is one of it. This time, the gem is, if you want happy memories, look at the event through a beautiful lens. A photo captured using a camera can have different feel due to lens effect, whether it felt retro, futuristic, refreshing, golden and so on. If you use instagram a lot, you’ll understand this as well.

There can be such thing like a sad memories that is beautiful, if you can see the silver lining in the event or if you can put a beautiful lens filter on that memory.

There can also be a happy memory that is ugly, if you focus on the small unfortunate detail, or if you put an ugly lens filter on that memory.

As a 70-year old man, Dato Ghaz always talk about of his beautiful memories. I believe a man of his capacity faced more challenges than me (a 33 year old kid), but yet, he said all of his memories are beautiful.

Therefore, it is up to us to choose the lens filter that we want to use to colour our memories.

How to Get A in Final Year Project/Post-Graduate Research

In Maritime Technology Programme at the School of Ocean Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, the final year project typically start at the third year second semester. At the start of the semester, the student roams around to find supervisors, eventually getting the final year project title assigned to them.

Normally in a semester, there would be at least 10 active lecturers are able to serve the 60 students per semester. Therefore ideally a lecturer shall be assigned 10 students by the Final Year Project Coordinator. However, as some of the lecturer hold some university administrative duty (e.g. Dean/Deputy Dean of School, Director/Deputy Director) they might be assigned two or three students.

In discussing about surviving Final Year Project, such topic can be divided into two facets; supervisor’s responsibilities and student’s responsibilities. A Final Year Project is a mutual cooperation between the student and the supervisor, where both shall diligently spend time together in solving the assigned problem. With that said, the content discussed below can also be applied to the Post-Graduate Research as well.

Supervisor’s Responsibilities

A supervisor’s responsibility is to make sure that the student is mentored to solve the assigned student’s project. In Final Year Project, a student is expected to conduct an individual independent project that combines various subjects to solve a problem that span across 2/3 research objectives. In this phase,  the term independent doesn’t mean that the student are being left to solve the assigned title. The supervisor must make sure that the student are given enough resources (notes, discussions, hardware, consumables) to assist the student to finish the project.

Student’s Responsibilities

A student’s responsibility is to finish the Final Year Project properly using the tools, knowledge obtained spanning across the earlier academic years and discussion with the supervisors. The student must catch the supervisor through appointments and ready to present progresses from time to time. Typically students who registered in the Final Year Project have small number of credit hours. Therefore the most of the time, the student shall spend their time in the lab/workshop to finish his/her projects.

Issues

Student’s readiness: I believe in maturity. That said, it should be made clear that maturity doesn’t really tied with age, but through experiences. Historically, for a 4-year programme, the university send their student to internship in the second semester of the 3rd year and come back to finish another year in the university which the student finally took the Final Year Project in the last two semesters. These students are hardened, matured due to the internship in the third year, which results for high quality work and overall great attitude in finishing their project.

Nowadays, the system was changed. The students are required to take the Final Year Project in the second semester of the 3rd year and the first semester of the 4th year, then on the last semester the student shall leave the university for internship. During this time, it is up to the lecturers to harden up the student to get the student ready with suitable work attitude before leaving the university. This, of course a tough job, which calls for blood, sweat and tears for both the supervisors and the students, to equip the student with maturity while finishing the project.

Setting Expectations: A Final Year Project is normally assessed based on the objectives defined in the earlier stage.  Therefore having a proper plan of execution is very important. As one wise guy said, ‘execution is king’, which means that a great idea is not really worth that much compared with the set of good execution. Frequent progress meeting calls for good progress, based from the expectations being set earlier. With that, I honestly think a weekly meeting on start of the week or the end of the week is important to make sure the student can progress with sensible directions and guidance from the supervisors.

To end this essay, I list here some tips for a smooth journey in completing Final Year Project/Post-Graduate Research:

  1. Make a point to see supervisor at least once a week. This is to make sure that the supervisor know that you are alive and progressing in your work.
  2. Utilize your log book. A log book is not for collecting your supervisor’s signature. A log book should be used to plan your experiments, record the relevant literature, record your findings and your ideas.
  3. Use time wisely. When I was in Japan, I notice the student do sleep in their lab. It was an engineering lab, so imagine how serious they take pride of their work.
  4. Be honest. Telling your supervisor that you work so hard without showing your results is only revealing that you are dishonest. Show the supervisor what worked and what doesn’t. Normally a project given are impossible to fail, anyway it’s a Final Year Project, not really to uncover the frontier of unknown. Never cheat your result. It will bite you later.
  5. Say no to plagiarism. Now, say it and repeat it 100 times, and put it deep in your heart. I’ve seen people lost their degree, and their jobs due to plagiarism. You don’t want people to lost their trust to you, right?
  6. Work faster. Yep. Never spend a year to finish your first objective. Move fast, break stuff, learn something.
  7. Write. At least one paragraph per day. It’s not that hard doesn’t it?
  8. Speak. Learn how to deliver great presentations. Don’t be a wood on the stage. In the age of internet, there are various of sources in the internet to conduct presentations properly.
  9. Focus. In the age of internet, I’ve noticed that our young minds of today are only interested in four things; Useless articles in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Don’t waste your time to be entertained, start working, earn billions, or millions or thousands.
  10. Attitude is everything. Great attitude bring you to places, bad attitude (coming late to the lab, absent from the lab without telling your supervisor in advance, run away from project, unnecessary defensiveness) will earn you bad rep and bad future. I have tonnes of stories, but let’s just leave it there.

Bagaimana cara untuk memperoleh etika kerja yang betul?

 

Masih lagi bekerja walaupun di dalam bilik hotel.

 
Etika kerja yang betul adalah sangat penting bagi memastikan masyarakat kita maju dengan penuh integriti. Dengan adanya etika kerja yang betul, amalan-amalan yang baik seperti ketelitian, kualiti yang tinggi dan pengurusan yang baik tak perlu diajar melalui kursus yang banyak.

Bagi memperoleh etika kerja yang baik, ia perlu dipupuk di semua peringkat masyarakat, bermula dari ibu-bapa sehinggalah ke peringkat anak-anak.

Lima daripadanya saya senaraikan di bawah.

  1. Jadikan pekerjaan sebagai identiti.
  2. Pupuk rasa bersalah sekiranya tidak bekerja.
  3. Kerja dengan amanah. Jangan mempunyai niat yang lain seperti mengaut keuntungan peribadi.
  4. Jangan jadikan bermalas-malasan sebagai habit. Fokus dengan tugasan dan lakukannya.
  5. Jadilah ibu-bapa yang mempunyai kesemua etika di atas supaya anak-anak kita akan mempunyai etika yang 10x lagi bagus dari kita.

Tips Interview Bagi Fresh Grads

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Just a quick note untuk mereka yang baru bergraduasi, Top 10 tips menjalani interview bagi fresh graduates.

  1. Jangan datang lambat untuk interview.
  2. Jangan kutuk boss/syarikat tempat anda pernah bekerja.
  3. Study dulu berkenaan syarikat yang anda sedang apply kerja.
  4. Sediakan soalan. Ya, anda boleh bertanya kepada panel interview. To loosen up the mood & get comfortable.
  5. Have a good time. Jangan terlalu stress. Smile.
  6. Be positive, look positive, feel positive.
  7. Jangan meleret. Jawab straight to the point.
  8. Jangan sibuk dengan smartphone.
  9. Be professionally dressed with respect to the position.
  10. Cuba fahami yang panel interview juga sedang nervous. So try to be a pleasant person to talk to 🙂