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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Voices in my head

That famous and oft-quoted line from the movie The Sixth Sense suddenly comes to mind. "I see dead people...," so said Cole Sear, the character played brilliantly by Haley Joel Osment.

Don't get me wrong. I do not see dead people. But I have been hearing voices in my head. More specifically, when I read books.

For the past couple of months, I have noticed that whenever I read books written by people I know personally, the words on the pages "speak" to me when I read them. And the voices that I hear are the voices of the people who wrote them, right down to their intonation. It is a surreal experience, most definitely, because I find myself hearing the words rather than reading them. It is as if the authors are speaking to me instead of me reading their work.

Somehow I don't feel that this is something that I should get freaked out with. Instead, I find this experience rather stimulating. It makes reading more interesting. I guess that is one of the reasons why I could finish reading three books at one go, virtually cover to cover, last night. Rather than reading as a mere visual experience, reading has now become an auditory experience as well.

I mentioned this experience to a friend earlier this afternoon. I may be off-tangent, but he seemed somewhat worried with what I told him. Anyone else has a similar experience, or at least knows of anyone else going through this experience? Do share.

Like I said earlier, I am not freaking myself out by this development. I prefer to look at this from a positive point of view. It enriches my reading experience. Either that, or I have obtained a mutant power.

"I hear my books talking."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New personal benchmark

I have been writing academic articles for journals since 1998. All these articles are mainly for locally-published journals. During this time period, I have not actually written anything for international journals, even though I have presented academic working papers in international conferences and also contributed to chapters in internationally-published academic books.

A few months back, Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman of the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya asked me whether I would be interested in co-writing an article for an international journal. Most definitely, my reply was in the affirmative. Earlier this evening, I received an e-mail from Professor Adeeba informing me that the article has been accepted for publication. The article will be published in the journal's issue due in April 2010.

The journal is the International Journal of Drug Policy, which is an ISI-WoS journal with a high impact factor. Professor Adeeba, by the way, ranks at number 15 in the Top 20 academics in Universiti Malaya who publishes in these high impact factor academic journals.

I am very grateful to Professor Adeeba for giving me this very valuable opportunity, and I am also thankful to Allah SWT for providing me with this avenue for my academic development. This first step is actually a new personal benchmark for myself. I hope to continuously challenge myself to do better in all that I do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing mode in full swing

Writing is something that I love doing. But as with most things, writing is also something that is very much dependent on mood swings.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been writing quite a lot. Most of the things that I write lately seems to focus more on academic stuff. Creative writing seems to be temporarily on hold. Of course, my attention lately is more towards writing up my thesis.

I pray that I be given the strength and good health so that I can continue to write consistently (and subsequently complete) my thesis.

[Note: The picture in this posting has nothing to do with this blog entry. It's there just for a smile or perhaps a giggle].

Monday, November 02, 2009

Heartfelt condolences

The news of the passing of Datuk Pian Sukro, the Chairman of the Energy Commission took me by surprise this morning. He passed away in Rome, Italy. I do not know him personally but I most certainly know his wife, Professor Datin Dr Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian whom I worked with way back in 1997-1998.

My heartfelt condolences to Professor Kobkua and her family.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

The perfect straight line

I am currently editing a compilation of articles for a philosophy book to be published by the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, Universiti Malaya. I came across a phrase I personally feel very interesting:
Science is not about drawing the perfect straight line.

Of course, this phrase can be interpreted in many ways. To me, most people look at science as a means to achieve perfection. But ask anyone who is a scientist, in conducting experiments, it is well-nigh impossible to draw a perfect straight line from the data gathered from the experiments conducted.

Students who study science have the tendency to manipulate and change their data so that they can draw the best straight line. Such manipulation is a manifestation of insincerity, and hence affects the students' integrity as future scientists. For, if this is to be allowed and if this is a common practice, are we to say that in the search for perfection, we are allowed to cheat? What then is the meaning of perfection when the road leading to it is far from perfect?

To me, these are thought-provoking questions. As a part-time lecturer teaching History and Philosophy of Science, I believe that the above-mentioned phrase can be a topic for a lengthy discussion all on its own.