Saturday, September 09, 2006

Just like Harvard?

I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this article in the Star - "Harvard varsity-like campus for Terengganu". I was even more amused when it was reported that 'Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the concept of the centre would be the same as Harvard – just minus the lecturers.'

I wonder if our dear MB has even been to Harvard or if he understands what the concept of a university is. Harvard was a renowned institution of higher learning when there was no such thing as wireless internet access and other modern technologies. Ditto with Cambridge and Oxford. The core of any university is the intellectual output that it produces and where does this output come from? It comes from the academia, the 'lecturers' as our dear MB puts it.

And how about the other things which makes a university a university? Such as students and student activities, libraries, laboratories, sports facilities and so on?

I wonder if he realizes how absurd his statements sound. Imagine building a state of the art 80,000 seater football stadium complete with the latest facilities and saying that "This stadium is the same as Chelsea or Man United - just minus the players".

Our politicians should refrain from such hyperbole. He was talking about something called the "International Training Centre", not even a full fledge university. It is an RM20 million facility which hopes to be a place where 'consultants from management-related industries' will 'conduct lectures', a place to 'mould students to be more skilful', where there will be 'video conferencing facilities to encourage distance learning' and a place 'to conduct courses to upgrade the skills of civil servants'.

Somebody should infrom MB Jusoh that RM20 million isn't sufficient to run a single laboratory in Harvard, much less the whole university.

My guess is that this centre will be another white elephant - underutilized, poorly maintained with many of the state-of-the-art facilities not functioning properly.

And that's certainly not 'just like Harvard'.


KEMAS university graduate said...

When everytime these UMNO politicians talk, I always wonder which end of the body is talking.
He He

All are having the same foot in mouth disease exhibited by Hashim Yaacob

How easy they talk....
Trying to count the chickens before they are hatched.
Claiming world class from within not from comments by academics outside. Typical of a "self admiration " society. he he he

Who are they trying to kid? Kindergaten kids? Morons? Imbecilies?

After the mockery of being kicked out of the THES top universities still too dumb or too thick skinned to say that we are world class.

My god...wat sort of people are we having to decide the future of our education?

It seems now every IPTAs are now WORLD CLASS! All Harvard standards or MIT standard!

Oh My God! Help me!
I think our countru are going from dumb to dumber...

Anonymous said...

Repair UM first before making another "harvard University"
I would not be syrprised soon there will be "Universiti Hadari"

Anonymous said...

University Hadhari u mean.

By the way Kian Ming, please forgive our politicians. Their highest level is only Bachelor's Degree, and mostly done in the local U during the 60s. How many of them experienced the true university education? Some don't even have higher education. (Compare with our little neighbour) So, no doubt they can't use their brain properly when making remarks. Probably they don't have brains after all. All they need is just a BIG mouth and lots of saliva so that they can talk cock non-stop =)

Malay Boleh

Anonymous said...

You must not blame Mentri Besar Seri Idris Jusoh for saying such speech. By tradition his speech or text have been prepared by the Professor or VC of the of University Trengannu or "Harvard wanna bees".

It must be the "pipe dream" of the VC or senior academicians of that University to equate their university with Harvard...

daniel said...

Sad but true. This is the modus operandi for our Malaysian ministers and civil servants, at all levels. First, they come up with some grand cockamamy scheme. Then, they throw in huge amounts of our tax money or petroringgit, mostly lining their or their cronies' pockets.

The next step involves a lengthy debate/argument to give the project a fantastic name, often bearing superlatives.

There we have it...another white elephant called, SMART Schools, Multimedia SUPER Corridor, SUPER League, UK Centre of Sports EXCELLENCE...and the list goes on.

OU said...

Now, compare to Manchester University, UK which aims to be a world top 25 university by 2015.

"The university, synonymous with Rutherford and the splitting of the atom, is still pushing back the frontiers of knowledge today. It earns more than £170m a year from its research work and has more than 1,600 research-active staff. Six research institutes were established within months of the 2004 merger between the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology as the new university put down a marker in research terms."

Read more at,,8403-2340116,00.html

Anonymous said...

Now.... surely " Harvard of Malaysia" or University Trengganu can beat Manchester University!!!

I think all these Mentri Besars should spend sometime at the Universities in UK or at least in NUS Singapore in order to know what makes a GOOD UNIVERSITY tick!

Sriram Krishnan said...

yeah i agree with above. the least they could do is to spend one week in NUS...and see how the campus is, the curriculum is etc.

idiots. I can't recall if jeff bezos ( founder i think) said this..

As hire As
Bs hire Bs
Cs hire Cs
Ds hire Ds

ah piau said...


Give the MB a break. In my humble opinion, at least he has a target to achieve (to become Harvard like).

If we start a project from scratch at least we need a model as a guide though u know from the beginning that u cannot be the same.

SK said...

Great idea comes with zero knowledge.

That's the issue for some people back here.

Black Mojo said...

Ah Piau....You are so sarcastic!
Love your sarcasms!!! :)))))

What A Lulu said...

my 1st thought was genuine 100% case of

but then again, looking at the workmanship of M'sian projects, there will be cutting corners, shoddy workmanship and dubious materials which will render the building useless in no time.

last but not least,

Anonymous said...

kian ming,

i would like to bring to your attention on what the mohe minister said today:

Cash boost for Malaysian students

MELBOURNE: Malaysian government-sponsored students in Australia and New Zealand will get an increase of up to 100% in their allowance from February.

This has been announced by Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed to wild cheers from students at meetings in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Sydney and here.

He will be in Perth today and tomorrow.

Mustapa said the revised Public Services Department rates were to keep up with the rising cost of living in Australia and New Zealand, highlighted by strong representation from scholarship holders.

There will be two categories of payments. Rate A caters for students in Wellington, Auckland, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and here, and Rate B for those in other cities in the two countries.

In New Zealand, Rate A pre-university students will have their allowance increased from NZ$644 (RM1,505) a month to NZ$1,145 (RM2,676), undergraduates, from NZ$720 (RM1,683) to NZ$1,260 (RM2,945) and postgraduates, from NZ$775 (RM1,811) to NZ$1,449 (RM3,386) .

In Australia, the Rate A increases will go from A$637 (RM1,760) to A$1,091 (RM3,014) a month for pre-university students, from A$637 (RM1,760) to A$1,200 (RM3,315) for undergraduates and from A$680 (RM1,879) to A$1,380 (RM3,813) for postgraduates.

The Rate B allowance in New Zealand will rise from NZ$644 (RM1,505) to NZ$942 (RM2,201) for pre-university students, from NZ$720 (RM1,683) to NZ$1,037 (RM2,423) for undergraduates and from NZ$775 (RM1,811) to NZ$1,193 (RM2,788) for postgraduates.

Pre-university students in Australia in the Rate B category will have their allowance increased from A$532 (RM1,470) to A$891 (RM2,462), undergraduates, from A$532 (RM1,470) to A$980 (RM2,708) and postgraduates, from A$568 (RM1,569) to A$1,127 (RM3,114).

In addition, postgraduate students with dependants will get increases in family and housing allowances.

Speaking to students in Melbourne yesterday, Mustafa said the Government would select about 7,000 young lecturers and postgraduate students for doctoral studies.

Of these, a little more than half will study in Malaysia and the rest overseas, with Australia set to get a large proportion of the students. – Bernama

May i know what is the current rate of sponsorship given to Malaysian students at US? And in your mind, how much the government should sponsor in order to fully cover the living costs there?

Anonymous said...

What I read about our intention to have a "Harvard of the East", my first reaction was to reach for my reading glasses. Thank goodness, my eyes are still reliable - I have not read incorrectly the first time.

I am always amazed that ppl continue to express surprise/shock/incredulity on reading about such grand designs. This is not the first and will not be the last. Let them be; someone else will soon say that because one state is going to have a Harvard of the East, then another state must have an Oxford of the North. As the nation continues to be consumed by delusions of grandeur in every aspect of our lives, rather than be angered or shocked at such pronouncements, one must by now have been able to spontaneously sympathise with these Mentris and others in authority - they know not what there are saying. Their abject and pitiable ignorance must be viewed within the context that they themselves are products of a system that they have to continue to sustain to give themselves a sense of balance and footing. Any suspicion that they are not intending the truth may be unfounded. When all else is lost, we need hope and blind faith.

Black Mojo said...

Sending most students to do their Phd in the same university is not a good idea...cos when all of them returned there is no infusion of knowkedge and research from various other countries....everybody will have the same set of Australian mentality...crikey! Thats bad!
Frankly I dont know what is going on behind the scenes...very very suspicious. In future all our universities will have Australian flavour, except perhaps our own university in trenggananu which shows "harvard" flavour.

Its amazing how our malaysian politicians are always capable of giving ridiculous statements and thinkings.

Casper said...

Come least give him 10 marks for at least having the inspiration to hope to be like harvard. When there is a dream, there is a chance :-p

Seriously, it shocked me when our leaders speak without thinking properly first..

BH said...

Instead of critizing negatively and talk, please contribute and act !

Anonymous said...

never knew bh is so dumb.....:)
definitely a BN supporter

clk said...

'Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the concept of the centre would be the same as Harvard – just minus the lecturers.'

The lecturers' brains are what makes Harvard, not the brick and mortar and if you minus the lecturer, there is no Harvard!

Anonymous said...

Actually we don't really expect the country's leaders ( all ranks ) to be as awesomely accomplised as J. Caesar me the stds. some of them are at..

..just curious

Kong Hee Fatt Choy said...

As they say it in China..." Chairman Mao TzeDong is 70% right and 30% wrong all the time..."

but in Malaysia I think its 95% wrong all the time

Anonymous said...

just happen to c ur blog about malaysian education i am home nursing a mother that has been a dedicated teacher of 30 years but is now suffering from depression due to the system.she gave all she could.bad administration made her a patient with a psychiatrist. give me back my mother.we don't want any thank you. just let her retire.

dracula77 said...

Dear Anon Mon Sep 11, 06:28:16 PM,
Regarding "Cash boost for Malaysian students in NZ and Australia"

Do you think this "cash boost" is really boost??? The current amount AUD600++ and NZD700++ are only enough to pay accomodation. Most students have to work to buy grocerries..

The new rate is actually lower than other scholarships i.e ADB, commonwealth etc..
The last time gov increased the scholarship for this region was in year 2000.

Anonymous said...

The Govt is smart! Too much money given to students might end up:
1) Students having cell phones which are really luxury items
2) Enjoying life when they should really be studying

So they maintain the students just about the "poverty line"

That is why students overseas end up living in poorly maintained, broken down houses just to sustain the rent.
Eat Mee Magee everyday until they get "MageeMeetitis"
Still they are better off than students who dont get anything, whose parents are not that rich enough!
In a way, count your blessings

Anonymous said...

dear dracula77(sep13),
i know that the previous sponsorship rate really sucks. but it is a good thing that the government is revising the rate now. wonder if the rate for other countries (regions) will be revised too or not.

Anonymous said...

dear anon (sep13 10:17:38am),
i agreed with what you said here. when i did my undergrad study at usmkk, many studenst actually get ptptn loan. some even get both, including jpa scholarship). with rm7000-14000/yr and modest living cost at kelantan (rm400/mth), i see many people buy new "toys" whenever new semester starts.

Anonymous said...

nowadays a handphone is almost a must for students. it is no longer a luxury item. the luxury concept comes in when students start subscrbing to unessential services/features (e.g 3G, latest hp). basic phone with sms is suffice.

Anonymous said...

Go to mid valley after PTPN is issued,lots of students there buying on So called luxury...
new hp's
fast food
new blouses
new brassieres

They act as if its free money...Remember, they to pay the loan!

Then half se,ester more money! Ask friends, ask parents! Eat college foods! When got money no mood to eat college foods, instead go KFC, McDonalds, Nandos

Students nowadays are so irresponsible.

Why cant they use ten cents a call public phones?

No! Must show HPs
Then spent hours yakking with Pak tows and even forget or got no time to study!

Conclusion..students generally irresponsible!

Anonymous said...







Anonymous said...

Why dont we just be like NTU Singapore? At least we dont set our sights too far...and more realistic!
Harvard is too far, too good...

clk said...

Anonymous said...
"Why dont we just be like NTU Singapore? At least we dont set our sights too far...and more realistic!
Harvard is too far, too good... "

Because if we fail to achieve realistic goals, we probably be a laughing stock. But if we set unrealistic goals, no one will blame us if we fail. So lets set unrealistic goals, Mr Politician..