Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dentist Also Debate

I paid my dentist (she's a chatty one :-)) a visit today. Interestingly enough, the first topic of conversation while I was having my tooth examined was on Universiti Malaya (UM) and the controversy surrounding its world university rankings. And she doesn't know that I'm a blog on these issues (at least, I don't think she knows anyway :-))

She was examining an old filling I had which seemed to be a tad sensitive recently and she discovered that some of the old decay was not properly "cleaned", hence my 10-year old filling had to be re-done. She was then commenting that some of the proper techniques are not properly taught at UM, while it was, at her alma mater, National University of Singapore (NUS).

As if highlighting the standards differential, she commented that the "last boy" of her Form 6 class at Victoria Institution, is now a professor in the universiti's Faculty of Dentistry. She noted that UM's degree in dentistry was not recognised out of Malaysia at one stage, but because the new vice-chancellor who was a dentist himself, then "did some stuff" to have it recognised by extending the course by an additional year. There was also another case whereby due to no proper recruitment process or succession management, a 35-year old was promoted to become a Head of Department.

She argued that there's no real need for so much debate on the university rankings. All that's needed is to take the necessary steps to improve two simple things - lift the minimum entry requirements and attract the right calibre academics. All the rest will pretty much take care of itself. I'm pretty much in general agreemnt with her.

It's great that the general debate and media publicity is able to reach out to the man in the street. No wonder the UM vice-chancellor has been particularly defensive, to the extent of spending previous university funds to put up an advertorial in the Sunday Star and New Straits Times entitled "UM - Worthy of Our Pride". But more on this advertorial later...


John Lee said...

Should I be worried that my dentist is a UM alum?

Anonymous said...

then we should worry that our buildings and cars are build by UM engineers .....

Anonymous said...

Today, under the same meritocracy quota system, the local universities are actually MANUFACTURING graduates.

In order to place as many as those unqualified matriculation people in public universities, matriculation exam standard is lowered, then in universities, this kind of students cannot survive, there are side effects - the ratio of the fail students is too much, what lecturers can do?

They will be blamed by dean or head of department, so lecturer will narrow down the subject's exam difficulty, or giving tips before exam........

With the meritocracy quota system, our universities produce only: UN-EMPLOY-ABLE GRADUATES.

And the number is growing and growing.

One fine day, the political idiots from Umno will find themselves surrounded by 'graduates' asking for a RM500 job.

The MADE IN MALAYSIA graduates realize that they themselves are not up to mark. For this reason, they can only ask for a RM500 job.

So, our public universities produce useless graduates, unemployed students........

These are MADE IN MALAYSIA graduates who cannot even find employment elsewhere.

STPM - one of toughest public examination in the world. Many student doesn't dare to take STPM due to its difficulty, but the main reason behind is not only the one mention above, but it is due to uncertainty of entering university.

Should not say competence, but should say colonisation, matriculation as we all know is an internal exam and it is much much easier than STPM (noticed that this is a fact from many university lecturer, educational personnel and other professional).

Frankly, the country make those student who score well disappointed, although proven their ability is more than enough to entitled for the course (such as medicine, dentistry), but government is merciless, take away their chances and replace by those who are weaker, in other words, taking away the opportunity of those who able to contribute to the country development and improvement.

The fact has told us that the percentage of entry from certain ethnic group has substantially increase annually due to intake of lower grade recruitment for satisfying their own supporters or promise given during an event which bring benefit terms for their own leaders.

I will not surprise if a very good result achiever has failed to obtain a seat in pursuit their further study in an internal higher institution which becoming too obvious compare with nowadays technology.

My daughter scored straight As in her STPM exam in 2002, but couldn't get a place to study pharmacy course in one of the local universities, Why?

My daughter was so disgruntled, eventually with the help of her school teachers, she managed to enroll in a Singapore University and she was offered a scholarship, many thanks to Singapore government.

Now she is one of the top students in the faculty.

Anonymous said...

The world is very small this day, and with the concept of globalization which is unavoidable any way, goes to where an equal opportunity is available if you can.

Education is an important investment, and there is only a certain time frame that your children could utilize it at the best. So do not waste that time! There is more assistance than you could imagine if your kids do find difficulties on the path.

There is a thing called "quality of life". It means that there is a place where children have equal opportunity to develop themselves to the fullest, and the children believe that they are not prejudiced and could achieve what they want to be as opportunities are just there.

Good social order and hence personal safety, (not so much of snatch thieves, robbers, road rages, rapists, pirates etc), good living environment (safe water, and clean air), educated society (people say "please" and "thank you" more often), up to date medical care, and good and efficient government administration (you get your income tax refund not more than six weeks after your submission etc).

But you must be prepared to earn an honest living, as the laws are very strict against any illegal acts, which many underdeveloped countries utilize to make money under the name so called as "business".

So consider ourselves as global citizens and if we are good we still can contribute a lot to the humanity and the world community where your effort is appreciated.

Success or failure is not measured by its size but rather an effort to make the best out of oneself, and for that, fair and equal opportunity must be available.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to see the country I was born in and raised stagnating in so many ways - ideologically, sociologically and technologically.

As with every government initiative in Malaysia, there is no 'grand vision' (Vision 2020 is in serious need of updating) and its associated plan or strategy for execution with the attendant accountability component at every stage.

No, it is not Pak Lah's fault. I don't doubt his sincerity in trying to do the right thing, but to expect one man to change the whole infected system within a year is really preposterous.

He can however, choose to surround himself with a group of forward-thinking technocrats from diverse fields of expertise and begin planning the course for transforming the nation - that is what it is going to take for Malaysia to be competitive in the 21st century.

However in Malaysia, I have observed in the government an acute reluctance to admit to any kind of past failure and even worse, a steadfast refusal to learn from its mistakes.

I fear that this particular malaise is the one crippling and overriding facet of the government that will cause it to bungle along if it does not alter its stance. Failure is okay if you can admit it, learn from it and improve as a result.

Our education system is in dire need of an urgent overhaul with emphasis shifted to quality rather than quantity. The low rankings of any of our local universities is nothing to shout about.

With the proliferation of universities, leading to a further lowering of entry barriers, I wouldn't be surprised if our local graduates will have even less employment prospects in the future. This has already been seen in certain neighbouring countries, where universities and colleges are a dime a dozen and some graduates have no choice but to become maids.

As for emigration, those unemployable grads should get real. If your degree has little or no intrinsic value here, it is very unlikely those countries seeking brain gain will take you on. It is with such thoughts, that many parents have or are making the decision to emigrate when their children are young.

Being a developed society does not mean having the tallest building, mega-shopping malls or big airports etc. It means having the right people to compete on the global stage. To be successful, Malaysia has to rid itself of old baggage and establish itself in markets that were once held by American, European or Japanese corporations.

One of the reasons why US is the most successful economy of the world lies in the fact that all immigrant communities contribute to the melting pot. This country promotes diversity for the well being of all. It is not even legal to ask an employee if he or she is a white or non-white.

Until and unless key policy leaders do something about the current education follies (I bet most realise the inadequacy of the system), Malaysia is not going to leapfrog into the ranks of developed countries in the next 15 years.

Anonymous said...

""As if highlighting the standards differential, she commented that the "last boy" of her Form 6 class at Victoria Institution, is now a professor in the universiti's Faculty of Dentistry""

well.. so what if the last boy became a professor. does being last in the class during Form 6 implies the boy will always be poor or mediocre during his/her undergraduate years?.

I do not think it is right to judge a person too much on his/her past. If he /she really is that good in his/her latter years then they should be given due respect.

Anonymous said...

It is clear vision 2020 is dead. Malaysia will not be anywhere close to being a developed nation by then. My prediction is that per capita income will be at most US$8000. We will have unemployment rates near the double digit if not worst. The minority population here will continue to shrink and you will see also a brain drain of the best not only of non-bumiputras but bumiputras also.

Dentist Down Under said...


I agree with you. I scored straight A's but couldn't get a spot to study dentistry whereas my classmate from a certain ethnic group got in. I left the country and never look back.

Anonymous said...

In the 70s, the non-bumis were the boogie-man and "replace them all and show the world who's ruling can succeed" was the way forward.

30 yrs later we are paying the price. Globalisation, Koreans and Chinese are the new boogie-man.

Unless and until we admit our shortcomings, we'll forever be short!

Anonymous said...

I was treated once in UM Dentistry Faculty.The treatment was very poor and the student treating me made alot of mistakes resulting in me walking away and visited a private clinic.The suffering incurred was tremendous.Never again step foot in UM dentistry eventhough it is free.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Malaysia ministers is that they are mostly underachievers academically!

That is the reason why they simply speak without logic and reasons. This is also the very reason that I admire Lim Kit Siang, Karpal, etc, who can debate intelligently with those monkeys who never bother to understand what is uttered.

Just compare the resume of Malaysia ministers with that from our southern neighbour! Then you will understand.

I know their prime minister has a first class honors in science from Cambridge if I am not mistaken. The rest of his cabinets are very highly qualified. Hence you don't hear nonsense from them.

For your information, some Malaysia ministers would not be at all qualified for even an assistant post!

Our country leaders, not necessary meaning the prime minister, but overall people in power, people of authority, etc have no integrity, no moral, no self respect and most of no accountability and responsibility.

Let's not compare with other countries, as no countries have perfect leaders, but what they have is integrity.

When they do something wrong and they know it is wrong, nobody need to tell them to resign, they won't say our Malaysia usual line "Nobody can resign me except the prime minister" - we should call this the ball-less line.

If you have integrity and honest enough, you should just resign.

Unknown said...

My niece has expressed an interest in taking up dentistry. Am wondering which univertisities' dentistry degree is recognised for practice in Malaysia? Many thanks if someone can point me to a site or share some information on this.

Anonymous said...

hi Kim you could check the recognised universities at the malaysian dental council website.and you could also check with the lan website,currenly known as mqa..in malaysia,there's AIMST in Kedah,IMU at Bukit Jalil and the new university called Penang International College.

Anonymous said...

"She was examining an old filling I had which seemed to be a tad sensitive recently and she discovered that some of the old decay was not properly "cleaned"- this is however not a right statement from a dentist, unproperly cleaned cavity will not last even 1 year. 10 year is a indication for a good simple restoration(its a succes).some may last for even 30 years in a proper oral hygiene care. i wonder how good is she to look down on others. after all, she only managed to look good in front of you.

Implants Cleveland said...

Its good thing that now doctors and dentists also take part in debate. They should also take part in social improvemnt.