Monday, December 22, 2008

Tea with the YDP: Student Club and Organisations

Hi, this is my second part of the video, again, sorry for the sound quality...

I suggest you guys also read this article, http://beyonduni.blogspot.com/2008/08/ciri-ciri-aktiviti-sebuah.html






If you read the article I suggested before, you have seen me argued that all student activities must have certain criteria. But I like to discuss some of the criteria again with further clarity.

Objective

I see a lot of clubs having no objective. They would waste time like on things the students don’t want or need like forcing students to put slippers in their rooms, traditional games day and etc, while issues like motorcycle safety, quality of activities are abandoned. Study your vision and mission. If it’s not good, remake them. From there, setup your clubs goal. It’s important for the club’s leader to create synergy between the organization/club and members of the club.

It would also be good for you to construct your own KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), a measurement of the club’s success. For example, the club must have 50 active members. Usually, students are afraid to make goals because they are afraid their club would fail. Students clubs also do not make their members accountable for their work, which make students have a half-assed attitude towards doing the activities.
And for those people who waste time jadi ajk makanan, ajk perhiasan and all that meaningless crap. Start to do something that contribute to your personal development or professional development. You think when you are collecting sijil banyak2…sijil presiden ini, sijil activity itu, baguih sangat…read this post…
http://sabrie.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/do-you-fresh-graduates-really-need-softskills-such-misconception/

Exposure

I see, especially in college, where people group themselves in too many gangs. Usually, these people do things together a lot and rarely mix around with others. They would usually join the same activities. Like I said in the video, it’s not good in getting new perspectives and experience. Like I said in the video, if the organizer is same college, the facilitator is same college, and even the delegates are the same college, wtf? I apologize to my college friends, for not taking part in your activities, you might see me as arrogant but the fact I am don’t have time and I don’t really want to join your activities. (sweat…hope that didn’t sound too harsh) Anyway, AIESEC is a very intense experience with the way we are taught to run it like a company. But I do not regret it one bit because if I were to join some secretariat or MTM in college, I would learn nothing and not be what I am now. (Don’t get me wrong, the MTM exels only when there is a strong person leading it, which was not in my case) See my friends post about his experience as an AIESECer and AIESEC Malaysia’s blog. People might say AIESEC is an elite club, but we never meant it to be that way. We are not Golden Key. Click here to see what AIESEC is all about. I chose to stay at AIESEC because it has all the criteria I said that is needed for students excel. Actually, I based those criteria on my observation of AIESEC. I think people say AIESEC is elite, because you can see that AIESECers are a bit above other students (maybe except in CGPA like in my case :p) because the ‘syllabus’/experiences we go through in AIESEC changes us to be that way. Okay, enough on AIESEC, dun wan people say I promote AIESEC pulak.

There are more I like to say about this issue but I want to keep it short today. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more on my theories of student club management. That's all

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We met the YDP to ask about the food crisis issue

I wanted to do something really different for the blog. Something more than just me blogging all day long. So i decided to take a serious and relevant issue, and do an interview with a prominent figure that can shed some light on the issue. So i tried to contact our YDP, technically he's no longer the YDP but who's counting anyway. There were a few topics we discussed with him, and I am going to post in 4 parts...

Part 1: the food issue
Part 2: Student clubs and organizations
Part 3: Student Politics
Part 4: the last lecture





Here's some additional stuff i wanna talk about this issue. Every student is complaining about food prices and food quality. It had been going on for years and it will continue for years to come. For candidates of the coming student election, rather than wasting time creating bombastic manifestos full of ideological and fanciful BS, student should just focus on this issue and convince us you can solve this problem.
But I wouldn’t put all the blame on student leaders. In the video above, one of the things that the MPP had tried to do was trying to reduce the rent so price of food would be cheaper. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I put the blame on the main contractor. The party that is sub-contracting to all the small café operators. I think the main contractor must not be so strict and give some consideration to students. After all, they practically have no cost incurred when they sub-contracted everything. Even the cost of building the cafes is already a sunk cost. I hope this party has a conscious to consider our situation as students. As far as I can see, sub-contracting everything is not a business but exploitation, yes; I’m also talking to all the Ali Baba construction people. I mean, if you’re just sub-contracting everything than you’re not learning to become a better company, you’re just taking advantage of situations. I hope I can see these people and ask what is really going on. Right now, I really think these people are greedy people who suck out the life of students by just being well connected. But I will try to remain objective, if contradictory news about it surfaces.

Rather than just blaming other people like Malaysians always do, why not I give some suggestions. Again in the video, another effort of the MPP was to have a value plan for students. As far as I understand, it was to have the cafes to reduce price for a meal that consists of the basic food groups. If it’s wrong, forgive me. But I suggest another tactic for the value plan. Every meal time, one and only one dish is priced lower than it should be normally. It might not taste as good other dishes, but at least people have a choice, price or taste. And it’s only one dish, maybe two, one meat one vegetable. Another, way is too charge people less than normal, and charge more for people who buy more than normal. For example, normally you would pay a dish a meal with 1 meat and one vegetable cost RM4, so my idea is for cafes to charge the same meal RM3 and when somebody wants to add another dish it will cost more than usual. This way, there is a choice between extra food and price. Of course, there are pros and cons but I’m just giving my two cents of ideas.

No matter what ideas I come up with it is still susceptible to political effect. Seriously, Malaysia is too over-politicized in every field and every level. I’m getting sick of it. Maybe I would write a post titled “Unnecessary politics in Malaysian governance”. Anyway, what I’m trying to say there is not enough political will to solve this issue. “Political Will” I’m sure you guys hear this term a lot, please don’t associate me with any political party, mature a bit la. I’m not being political, I’m critical. We have been chasing stuff like ‘Apex University’, doing fancy projects, forcing students to join random activities but we fail to cater to these basic needs. We are what we eat, so imagine this. We are trying to improve our university’s standing, be the best in the world, but our leaders cannot understand that what are at the core towards this dream are students. With this quality of food, that we are feeding ourselves, our brain enough nutrition? You won’t see me pushing away my food, but I just want to say before even thinking about big things about UPM, think about the students basic needs, no need fancy-fancy and flashy stuff for us.

Another thing, is that the focus on students was never in UPM administration’s management system, as far as I know, even if it does, it’s not working. I feel there are no KPIs for student’s welfare. For those who don’t know, KPI means Key Performance Indicators. Every professional organization has a set of KPIs. Examples: 30% profit growth, open two more business premises, reduce inventory cost by 20% and etc. UPM has KPIs too (AIESEC also have KPIs, lol, wanna promote AIESEC a bit). But there are no KPIs that represent students need like “reduce food price to RM3”, although my example is not that good but something like that, a KPI that forces management to take students seriously. A mentality and attitude change is needed. I have a friend who wants to recheck his paper, and the clerk lady gave a sigh and “pandang slack” (dunno wat in English) as if my friend was bothering her, but my friend already paid the fee and after all, it was her job, her responsibility. What kind of attitude is that?! But enough of that, the point is that management should see students as leaders of tomorrow, and not just lip-sync it as great tag line for good publicity.

Before I get too emotional about this issue, I guess I should conclude by saying that unless an attitude and mentality to change of management towards university students happen, then no solution can be achieved about this food crisis issue. Goodbye, and don’t forget to come back to see more issues discussed with sabrie.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Be. You.

I realized something. If you check out the chat box at the far right of this blog you can see rue hann saying "BU rox", which then I looked at the blog's logo. I realized the logo's acronym is BU, as in "Be You!" It sounds so cool, and fits my persona. Remember, "you think I care?!"

Being you is important. Yeah, I’m sure you heard this before in motivational talks, cheesy, feel good, children movies. But it is still important. Usually, the need to be yourself would be most evident when you are under pressure and in conflict. If you are in a weaker position then another party then you are easily influenced to follow the stronger party either by provocation, intimidation or just as an act of avoiding conflict. However, this causes the weaker party to follow the stronger part even though if it is the wrong thing to do. This is where integrity and character plays its part.

There is an easy way and a right way to everything. In order to see the difference, you must have the integrity of the heart towards ethical behavior, and the intelligence and objectivity of the mind to choose the right decision. You see, usually the hardest thing to do is actually the right thing to do. So, when you face a dilemma remember these things. Somebody would do something the easy way, but that’s not an excuse for you to the easy way too, because the easy way is not worth it. Do things for the right reasons. For me, one way to identify is something is ethical is just a simple of process asking me, if someone else would do it to me, would I like it. Only with a strong grasp of ethics or religion would ensure our integrity, then would we be able to push away the lure of corruption.

But most of the time people get influenced by something that is more innocent in nature. Have you heard the word “peer pressure”? We are easily influenced by our friends and colleagues. Even, in consumer behavior studies, there is known something as opinion leaders. They are a group of people, who are approached by their friends and families for their opinions. Sometimes it’s just hard to say no to your friends. But some things you must be firm about, even to your friends. I hear so many times, individuals chasing after their peers approval and recognition. Agreeing to everything your peers say is not the way to get their approval. And that is what most people do. But this is a matter of character.

Character is a big part of our identity and it also determines how we react to our situations. Character is shaped by nature and nurture. By nature I mean genetics, and nurture I mean by our experiences. We cannot change much that is given by Mother Nature, but we can control our experiences. Our friends, our curricular activities, our education, our hobbies are the things we can control. What is important is to acquire experience INTERACTING with the people and issues that we are passionate in, and doing them for the right reasons.
I’m proud to be myself, and you should too. And not let anyone says otherwise about you. After all, you are what you think you are. So, BE YOU.

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