Ever since I was reappointed as a Deputy Director last June, I was thinking what else can I contribute to the institute. Things are getting tougher by the day with the declining budget. In the past, we used to have a good influx of visitors to the institute which I thought was one of the strong points of the institute then. With more restrictions on the use of our research grants, such opportunities have dwindled. Our KPIs are getting tougher with goalpost changes midway that tend to make us look bad. On another part, I have already set my mind to be ready for retirement in a few years time. Thus my thoughts have partly gone to matters that are beyond the institute itself, long-term matters for which the KPIs are really secondary. One of my concerns is what would happen if I retire. Establishing a theoretical physics group in the university has always been high on my agenda and I'm happy with the present group given that the conditions were not always inviting. I hope the group will stay sustainable and that some identified directions of research can be maintained. Will the group continue to be active with the institute depends very much on how the institute evolve. I hope they still do.
Much has happened since I last blogged. One of them was a surprise interview with a Deutsche-Well TV programme called Founders Valley. I was contacted by my ex-boss, Prof. Yusof Sulaiman to talk about high energy physics with the TV crew. Initially I told Prof. Yusof that maybe the UM group will be the right people to contact. However there was little time to make the arrangements and thus I agreed to be interviewed. The interview was conducted in the Planetarium (my own office lacked any form of attractions) on Thursday, August 10, 2017, just a few days before my trip to Bandung. The interview went more than an hour and the idea is to talk about energy from a physicist viewpoint. It was a fun experience and was looking forward to its outcome. The particular episode has then came out, but alas, the interview was not included. In a way, it is understandable since the series is about start-ups and my interview is probably not in the right context. It was a mixture of disappointment and relief. Disappointed, since I was looking forward to it; relief, because I can spend less time thinking about the outcome. Just my luck with the media, I guess. In the past, I have even been edited by out local university media for two events: the coverage of our Institute for the EMS-ERCE status and the inauguration of MICEMS. I guess my appearance being informal and sometimes scruffy does not go well with the editors. Never mind, I'm not hard-pressed for popularity.
The only evidence that I had left of the interview are the photos below. I have lost the other photos since they were accidentally deleted from my mobile phone.
Photo with Fridtjof Detzner, the interviewer:
Photo during the interview set-up:
If ever they kept the video of the interview, I would be grateful to have a copy so that I can share them privately with friends and students. It will also help me improve on my media appearance if there will ever be one again.