The U.M. Post

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To wear, or not to wear?

By Aisya Shurfa

There are a few guidelines regarding what we can and cannot wear on the UM campus, but this shouldn’t be an excuse for students to dress like they’ve just rolled out of bed and continued rolling all the way to classes.

While UM students should be thankful for not having to suffer from a strict dress code (like the formalwear-only one imposed upon UUM students), there are a few rules that they still have to adhere to. No skimpy skirts that exceed four inches above the knees; No tight pants that appear to have been painted on the legs; No pakaian menjolok mata, which loosely translates to ‘no clothes that make the eyeballs of onlookers pop out of their sockets’.

(Above: UM's dress code poster, which can be found on bulletin boards throughout campus)

Sure, dress codes may seem to restrict freedom of expression, but this does not mean students should grab whatever frumpy, grubby outfit they can find and wear them to lectures and tutorials. Yet this is exactly how most students choose to dress.

‘Students here at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FSSS) look anything but arty,’ says Idham*, an undergraduate from the FSSS.

When asked to describe how students here typically dress, Idham did not have anything nice to say. ‘Typically, the Malay girls here dress embarrassingly. Tight pants and tight tops, matched with the hijab.’ He points out that the hijab when worn along with tight clothes is completely useless, as the point of the hijab is to cover women’s aurat.

‘Most of the guys here all dress the same,’ he adds.’ Boring tatty old T-shirts paired with yesterday’s jeans. They look most unattractive and smelly.’

Idham’s statement may sound harsh, but it had to be said. It’s a sad, sad reality. But at least it forces female students to concentrate on more important things – like studying.

Lydiana*, another student from the FSSS agrees with Idham. ‘Not to be racist, or anything, but most Malay girls here don’t know how to dress well. The Chinese and Indians aren’t so bad, though. Even though nearly everyone here looks really dull, at least the Chinese and Indian look more presentable.’

Presentable. That’s the keyword.

We’re not asking you to go out and spend your student loan on the latest Chanel bag or waste your allowances on a pair of trendy skinny jeans from True Religion. Far from it. Following fashion trends is hardly affordable for students, plus it’s unnecessary (unless you’re a fashion student). What students should aim for is to look presentable.

‘Overdressing is just as bad as under dressing,’ says Madam Azimah, a lecturer from the Centre for Foundation Studies, International Islamic University Malaysia. ‘It’s unacceptable to wear clothes that make people feel disgusted to be near you, and it’s unacceptable if you wear clothes that can attract too much attention, as you will only distract people from their real purpose of being in university—which is to study. ’

So what does Madam Azimah expect students to wear to her classes? That’s right. ‘Anything presentable.’

But what constitutes ‘presentable’?

‘What’s presentable to one person might not be to the next,’ says Asmawi, an undergraduate from UUM.

UUM is infamous for having a strict dress code which requires male students to wear ties at all times, and prohibits slippers, short skirts and tops with short sleeves.

(Above: UUM's dress code)

‘The UUM dress code is over the top,’ he explains. ‘It’s suffocating to us, and there’s no point of having it in the first place. We’re only students, it’s not like we’re working in offices already.’

‘UM students should be thankful their dress code isn’t as strict, but this doesn’t mean they should wear whatever they want, like toilet slippers and bikinis, for example. I think what everyone can agree on is that to be presentable is to dress comfortably in clothes that other people are comfortable with, too.’

‘The worst thing to see in class is someone else’s bum crack peeping out of their tight jeans,’ says Idham grimly. ‘It’s just distracting, not to mention plain nasty.’

There you have it.

For those who may have thought that clothes are the least important thing you should care about when you’re in university, think again. Dressing appropriately and being presentable is actually being considerate towards other people. So the next time you’re choosing what to wear to class, pick something that’s not too flamboyant, and never reach for that blouse that’s been lying under your bed for the past week—Unless you’re picking it up to throw into the washing machine.

*Some names have been changed to protect privacy.

You Can Recycle

By Rachael Wong

The world today has too much trash and it is taking up precious land that could be used for so many other plans. Do we remember what we’ve learnt in school when the teacher taught us the topic of recycling and what we can do?

I remember a particular English lesson when the teacher took us the television room and showed us a documentary. It started of with a boy living in an area where there are buildings everywhere and no trees. The city is very small and very congested with tall buildings everywhere. There are loud noises everywhere from cars, factories and the smell in that area is not pleasant. Turns out, there is a huge rubbish wasteland next to the boy’s neighbourhood. The next part of the documentary tells us that if we don’t recycle, that is what will happen to our environment many years later.

Other students must have learnt something about recycling sometime in school. But how often to we practice it? Has it become a culture for us to recycle? Perhaps is has not. We may rationalize by saying not everything can be recycled but have we done our part in trying? There are, in fact, many materials that can be easily recycled such as these:

  • Metals--such as aluminum, steel, and tin. All of these metals must be mined from the ground, which can damage the local landscape and create water and air pollution. Most metals can be melted down and recycled again and again. This saves huge amounts of energy.
  • Glass--is made largely from sand, and there is hardly a shortage of that in the world. However, turning the sand into glass takes a large amount of energy. Much less energy (and much less sand) is used when glass is melted down and made into new bottles and jars. Every ton of crushed waste glass used saved the equivalent of about 30 gallons of oil.
  • Paper--is made from trees, of course, and cutting down trees can cause environmental problemsIt takes at least 25 years for a tree to grow tall enough to be made into paper--which we may use and throw away in a matter of minutes! Turning trees into paper also uses tremendous amounts of energy and water and causes a great deal of air and water pollution.
  • Plastics--are made from chemicals, many of which are made of fossil fuels such as oil. Because the technology has not been perfected, very little plastic is being recycled. Recycling plastic is different from recycling glass, aluminum, and paper. While you can turn used paper into new paper, and turn an aluminum can or glass bottle into another can or bottle, you cannot turn a plastic hamburger container into another container. At best, the container can be made into something different--a flowerpot, for example, or a videocassette box--so there are limits to the usefulness of recycling plastic.
  • Other materials--this includes a variety of products that we can use every day, such as batteries (including automobile batteries), clothing, oil, tires, and yard wastes. Check out the rest of this site for specific suggestions on how to recycle some of these things.


Why not try recycling? In our university, there are in fact some places you can find the recycling bins where we separate our rubbish into the different components and the collectors will take them to the factories to recycle. In fact, you can find one at the Arts Faculty and the Bangunan Siswarama. It doesn’t take much effort to start recycling. We can all begin with that conscience telling us that we NEED to recycle for our children in the future.

There are some tips to keep in mind. Refuse to buy what is not fully recyclable or are wasteful. Reuse what you can and don’t throw away things unnecessarily. Keep sorting out your waste for recycling purposes. You can also start a recycling campaign or project like the ones they have in the different colleges and the one recently organized by the Environmental Engineering students of UM.

Start by remembering the three Rs. No, it’s not Reading, Writing and ARithmatic but Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

by Daniel Khoo

Where? By the row of shacks in Taman Mayang Jaya, opposite Plaza Mayang.Why? Some call it the greatest mamak of all time. Some despised it. We're just there to eat and review!
Look, it's everybody's favourite mamak...Williams! Well, it applies only to those who are aware of it's existence, of course.

Based on my knowledge, you will either hate this place or love it very much. The tauke or boss, who's name is William, does not allow us to refer to this place as a mamak."This is William's, not mamak!" quipped William when he overheard us referring to his place.

In my opinion, food here generally taste great. The only thing is the price! William charges considerably high prices for every food that he serves. For comparison, a cheese naan here cost RM5 while at Murni's, they cost RM2.50. Newcomers generally dislike this place as William tend to cut their throats by jacking up the price - again, because he can.
Being a fusion-style place, William offers steak as well as other weird concoctions of food. He loves watching Astro and getting all kinds of new recipe from there, and then trying it out himself. Generally, it turns out to be good, if not great. In order to know when to get great steak here (the steak are not always good everyday), you'd have to personally know him and ask his opinion, otherwise he might just throw you some crappy ones. It cost RM35 to get a plate of steak here that comes with a sidedish of onion rings, baked potato and some creamy sauce. Expensive for a roadsite stall? I'll let you be the judge.

There are so many types of dishes here. The only thing that limits you is your imagination and of course, your wallet. From roti canai and seafood fried rice with softshell crab, to anti-pestos and spagetthi bolognese with meatballs, Williams has it all.


Apart from the occasionally foul odour lingering in the air, this place is not a bad place to hangout and have a proper dinner. My only complaints was the stench of the cockroaches, rats and all things bad - well, this place is after on top of a drain, and the freaking nearly-astronomical price of foods. This is after all, still a mamak and the prices you pay could match those in restaurants!
Service - 6/10

Quality - 7.5/10

Quantity - 7.5/10

Value for money - 5/10

Satisfaction - 7/10

Will I return? Not always. I don't want to die a pauper.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Craze for Bags

By Michelle Ramaiah

Bags are used to carry items. Nowadays there are many types of bags and it is fashion, a trend among the youth. Some buy just to add to their collection while others change bags to match their mood or attire. Moreover, it is rich in tradition, is sturdy in construction and is attractively priced. Bags can come with brand labels, embroidered name, sorority or catchy university mascot logo or even team names. It is also a unique present for a girl’s graduation from high school and college. So lets see what some UM students have to say about it.

Anitha Devi Banuarilal, 21, English Literature Student

I sometimes carry this sport bag when I have extra classes and I change my bags according to my attire. I am not very particular about brands as long I like it. I prefer lighter colours which I think matches all my attire.

Choh Suet Wei, 21, Counselling Student

I love bags with patterns and colours. I usually change my bags depending on my mood. This sport sack bag is light and it easy for me to carry it everywhere.

Lim Meng Yah, 20, Accounting Student

I love this Jungle bag because it is so versatile; I can also use it as a sling bag. I prefer blue, black and white. Most of all, this bag is so spacious that I can fit all my stuff in.

Fairuz Syahira bt Yahya, 20, Science(Chemistry) Student

This is one of my favourite, the soft rattan with a big ribbon. I change my bags all the time according to my attire. I love light colours and I usually choose according to the design and trend.
Chye May Teng, 21, Counselling Student

I love to carry handbags so that I can put all my personal items and stuff for class. I usually choose the soft type and which is convenient to carry. I prefer bright colours.

Kuppu Subramaniam, 20, Accounting Student

I carry this everyday to class and wont go anywhere without this coach bag. I seldom change my bags and I prefer black and white. My brand would be M&G.
Review: Max Payne
by Daniel Khoo

"Oh my, here it comes!" I thought to myself as I grabbed a few popcorns out of the bucket that was on my lap. Every single character on the big screen slowed down to a near halt as we saw bullets after bullets being released from their chambers - each flying wildly into the air, while some end up hitting stray targets. The entire cinema remained in a single silence as the scene was being played out.

No, there wasn't a lag in the timeframe. It was Max entering 'bullet time', a concept that originally burst onto the PC games world while riding on the success of the Max Payne series. We had never seen anything like it before and its introduction took many of us by storm. We were totally in love with it.

If you did not already know, Max Payne is a computer game character brought to life on the silver screen. Mark Wahlberg stars as the main hero of the show, a detective who decides to seek out the people responsible for brutally killing his wife, baby and his partner - although there remains some doubt as to whether he fitted perfectly into the role.

His misadventure saw him teaming up with Mona Sax (Mila Kunis, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall), who was also out for blood after hearing about her sister being murdered. Death by chopping her up into pieces? Simply a work of a madman!

Hell, even Ludacris (yes, the rapper) gets a role as Jim Bravura, an internal affairs agent. Not too solid performance from him, in my opinion.

Prior to the show, I had read some comments about how Wahlberg's acting was similar with that of a stoner. But here's my thoughts: He did pretty well in portraying Max Payne. I didn't expect someone of a chirpy or talkative persona such as Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) or whatsoever. His dark and enigmatic presence does make him a force to be dealt with.

The point is that Max Payne just had his family and his partner killed before his very eyes - which obviously meant that his world was totally upside down. It makes sense if he was all serious, frowning or for that matter, stoning.

The setting of the movie was pretty good as well, with producers choosing the color contrast very carefully to match the gloomy-like scenario of the game. If it isn't raining, it is snowing! Everything looks very depressing and dull, which kinda reminded me of the show Seven Sins.

There are some minor plot twist during the show, with betrayals and so forth. If you wondered why there was an angel with wings on the poster, I'd say there is a pretty good explaination for it.

A great deal of the show was film with an incorrect focus on the camera lens, which meant that the audience would regularly see blurred vision on the screen. Some people may think of as an error on the producers side, but I reckon that it was purposely meant to be done that way.

Well, the producers were trying to maintain the comic-like feel of the original game, where everything looks a little blurry and shady. I can't say that they've done a bad job at all. Now, the only problem I had was that there weren't enough gunfights! It would be great if they were to do something like the Matrix's lobby scene, but improvise on that. Sadly, there wasn't even a satisfying amount of 'bullet time' moves to go around. As a Max Payne fan, I am somewhat disappointed.

The first half of the show didn't had much action in it as the time was spent unveiling the story line - alot of detective work was done. So if you're not the type that can stand long talks and dramatic investigations, don't bother with this show. Ending wasn't really satisfying at all - it felt as though everything was just rushed through.

I was only there because I was a fan of the game. Nothing more.
Daniel Khoo is a guest writer for UM-Post. We're grateful to him for his contributions.
When Beckham meets Ribena and Hawaii
by Yeongru Wong

Roti Beckham, Roti Hawaii. Do these ring a bell? These are only a tiny portion of Restoran Murni’s specialties.

Hidden in a quiet nook in SS2, this place is anything but quiet. The number of dining tables can stretch from one end of the road the restaurant is located on to the other end on a very busy day.

Locals and people from as far as Kedah would come here at least once to try out and to experience the “Murni-ness”. Murni is not only a good place to hang-out with your friends and have a quiet meal, as it is also a place where you can witness harmonious relationships betwen people from all walks of life. This is a place where the young and the old of all races come together and share the same devotion for food.

(Above: the Roti Beckham and the Garlic Cheese Naan)

At Murni's, there are food and drinks galore. Many dishes are a fusion of the East and the West. Roti Beckham is a personal favourite. It resembles a bigger version of the murtabak (meat wrapped in a thin layer of dough), only better. The spider web sauce on top is actually mayonnaise, and beneath the crust is a generous amount of tuna. When you take a bite into it, the juices and the freshness of the tuna will tantalize your taste buds. Another dish named Roti Hawaii is very similar to Roti Beckham, only its filling is swapped with bits of chicken and sausages.

Typical mamak food such as the roti canai and fried noodles can be found here as well, but it’s fusion food that Murni specializes in. Their tasty crunchy Garlic Cheese Naan is another salivating treat. The unbeatable combination of garlic and cheese compliments each other, and the taste is simply wonderful.

There is a large selection of drinks that you can choose from, too. The Mango Special and the Ribena Special needs no introduction to people who frequent Murni. The Mango Special is a delicious mango treat filled with floating bite-sized chunks of fruit. The drinks come in bottles of various sizes, and the largest bottle costs RM20. Ordering a large drink can definitely turn heads, as the drinks are served in hefty Horlicks jars.

Feeling hungry now? Visit Restoran SS2 Murni at Jalan SS2/75, Petaling Jaya. The restaurant only opens at night, and is closed on Mondays.
Through the eyes of a blind student
By Michelle Ramaiah

Recently graduated with a degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from UM, Toh Wooi Seong enjoys the same things as others his age: music, socializing and psychology. The one aspect that makes this 23-year-old different is that he was born blind and no surgery can fix it. Despite his disability, this guy from Bayan Lepas, Penang, never gives up and lives a pretty normal life.

Even though he was born blind, he had a normal childhood and doesn't feel that he missed anything in life because he has a great family. Seong is the second of four siblings in a home with loving and supportive parents. His parents, being shopkeepers and coming from a moderate family, are still finding ways for Seong to get his eyesight back. However, Seong knows that surgery will not heal his eyes therefore doesn't want to undergo any surgery. He has learnt to accept his condition.

An optimistic young man, pursuing his dreams

His Childhood

. “I felt very sad when I knew that I was fully blind when I overheard my parents telling my teacher when I entered school.” said Seong. When he was a young child, children his age would be afraid of him and refuse to play with him but only his older sister would always spend time with him and look after him. He knew that it was not fun playing with him because he always gets angry and grumpy fast. “Even at school I was not a likeable student though my academic performance was good. I am a bit different from other Chinese students. I preferred languages compared to mathematics.” He developed a love for languages. “Words and languages are my favourite and I usually ask what the words mean from people who mention any unknown words to me and I make sure I remember it,” added Seong.

Sweet Memories

There were also many sweet memories during high school for Seong. In year 2000 he took part in a poem recitation and got third place. His poem was entitled 'Last Lesson of the afternoon by D.H. Lawrence’ and the best part was it was the very first time he won something for that school because it is Malay Language medium school and does not usually take part in this kind of competition. The school was very proud of him. Besides that, he also participated in a Braille reading competition where the pronunciation, intonation and fluency were emphasized. He had won a few competitions at the national level which made him improve in the language, especially the pronunciation.

He loves the English and Malay language and improves on them by listening to the radio and movies. He also loves trying new things. For example, in Form Five, he took a subject which non-Muslim students rarely or wouldn't take and that is Tassawur Islam in which he got an A. The media even interviewed him on his success.

While in University

Among the clerical staff of the Education Faculty

After graduating from high school, Seong applied to University Malaya for a course called TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and he was offered that course. He began working towards obtaining an education degree to fulfill his dream career: teaching. Seong's parents had no difficulty letting go of their son so he could live the normal University life in the dorms. He said they knew he had the academic ability and wanted him to achieve his dreams. Getting around campus can get quite puzzling for the visually impaired and Seong admits that he would be confused at times, especially around The Multipurpose Hall of the Za'ba College, because of the different walkways near that particular building. When he first arrived at college, there were some seniors who escorted him around. He says he did pretty well. Moreover, the university has made great improvements and provides good facilities for the disabled students.

Seong got through his classes using a machine called "Braille 'N Speak." It's a computer with Braille symbols so Seong is able to type notes during class. When his lecturers pass around handouts, he would scan them into a special computer in the library and it would read the text back to him. “I am glad that that I have some friends and students who volunteer to read and help me." One of the challenges he faced was to read the textbooks because not all textbooks are interactive. Visually impaired students have to scan their books in order to read them. Seong’s laptop computer is equipped with a software that reads the text under his cursor as well as the screen events and notifications. In addition, he navigates the Internet with ease. “I learned to use the computer the same as anyone else and improve it by using it almost everyday.” said Seong. People may think Seong is incapable of lot of things because he is blind but they are wrong. He enjoyed socializing, watching movies and listening to all kinds of music, He even loved to hang around with his friends and his family and made sure he kept himself updated with current issues. One impressive skill that Seong has is his photographic memory that is the ability to mentally visualize and then recall it in precise detail. For example, he remembered a classmate well just by hearing her voice and name. He only took one course with her but he could give a detailed description of her such as how active she was in class and the grade she got.

Recently, he had completed a semester of teaching practice, which is a requirement of all TESL students, at SMK Perempuan Taman Petaling where he taught Form 1 and 2 . He said that he has gain a lot experience by teaching in a normal school. It was very challenging but he coped. He learned a lot from teaching a noisy bunch of 40 students.

His life and goals

Unlike most normal students, his goals in life are to be happy and to make more friends. He also wishes to further his studies abroad and later contribute to the country by teaching, preferably teaching tuition. When asked if he would give it a try if there’s a possibility for a surgery to repair his eyesight, Seong gave a much unexpected response - he would refuse it. "What would it gain back?" He asked. I am used to it and I don't think anyone visually impaired would." He explained that the visually impaired grow up learning how to survive without the ability to see, and therefore it would be a challenge to re-learn everything. "I've accepted that I'm blind," he said. "There's no way I'd change my life."

His advice to us life is short so develop our potentials and not waste it. Life is more than drug addiction, being 'rempit’ and social illnesses. There also should not be prejudice toward the disabled. He urges us all to value every moment in our lives because we are born to live. Don't live because we are born. Be adventurous whoever you are.

UM-Post thanks Toh Wooi Seong for sharing with us and wishes him all the best in his future undertakings.