Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Travels and Media Varia

Today, I'm in Institute of Advanced Studies, Nanyang Technological University once again with some of my students. Just the day before came back from Gambang, Pahang. So, was feeling a bit tired with all the travels.

The travel to Gambang was for my third son's registration for Foundation Studies at IIUM. Apparently they have been asked to move from the Petaling Jaya (PJ) campus (close to KL) to the one in Gambang for their third semester. Gambang is a small town in Pahang and unlike PJ, to travel here is certainly not a one-day to and fro matter. We decided to take leave for a day (Friday) to come to Gambang. Initially we are worried about flash floods, which Gambang had, the week before. Indeed, it was raining all the way to Gambang but the road wasn't flooded. We stayed at Bukit Gambang Resort Centre, a place that has safari and water theme park, for which my family seems to love going to (have been here twice). Unfortunately, they have removed the wi-fi in the rooms and wi-fi is only available in public places. This was inconvenient for me since much of my work (e.g. submitting exam marks and endorsing staff assessment marks) requires me to be online. Being too tired and with work on my mind, I stayed mostly indoors and did not follow my family to the safari theme park. The only animal I saw there was the kitten who was trapped on the ledge near the balcony of our room, all shivering and hungry. We asked the hotel if it is OK for us to bring it home and they were grateful that we did. So we bought a carrier and some food to bring the kitten (my son named Melly - see pic below). She seemed rather fierce out of survival instinct being left in the open for so long and currently having problems adapting to our home environment with many cats.

On Sunday, we finally sned our son for registration at his new college. The college is just about 5 minute-drive away from the result, situated near Kolej Matrikulasi Pahang and the Paya Besar Community College. The campus facilities there seems much better than the one in PJ - quite big (with a stadium) if it is just for foundation studies. His room is again better than the one (see pics below). We hope that he adapts quickly to the new environment.

The next day was my flight to Singapore for the memorial conference for Robert Brout on Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking. Brout was a co-worker with the Nobel Laureate Francous Englert who will be there to give his talk on memories with Brout. Indeed the conference will be star-studded as usual with Nobel Laureates, Duncan Haldane, Gerard 't Hooft and Field Medalist Michael Atiyah. I am looking forward to the conference talks that begin today. Many of my students have come to IAS, NTU and I was encouraging those who had not been here to come. It will be a good experience for them to see many luminaries in action and the intense research atmosphere that they have here. It is certainly an atmosphere that I dream to build with our own institute back home (even if it is a fraction). Coupled to the fact that Singapore is just next door (travelling expenses are minimal with generous support of accommodation and really cheap registration fees), it is only a small sacrifice of time and money to be there with very much a good opportunity of great learning at the conference. Besides the educational experience, perhaps one thing that I hope to instill in my students is the need of sacrifice in our pursuit of knowledge. Have many fond memories at IAS, NTU and had always tried to be here whenever possible. Given that I'm about to retire, I hope that Dr. Nurisya and Dr. Chan can continue to bring students here for enrichment of their research experience.

Having said about my retirement, I'm trying my best to contribute as much as I can and give back to the society. Despite being media-shy and have avoided myself toomuch in the limelight, I agreed to be interviewed by Majalah Sains (whose editor cum founder I know). Some questions were given to me on 29 November last year but only got around to answering them (completely) on 5 January. The interview has been published sometime last week and can be found at https://www.majalahsains.com/temubual-bersama-prof-madya-dr-hishamuddin-zainuddin/. I have avoided publicising it myself in Facebook (some other people did) but I will do this here (less intrusive). Hope the interview meant something to some, letting everyone know what we are trying to build at UPM.

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