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10 Notable Things in UTM

July 24, 2008

Welcome to a place where I work and play – Universiti Teknologi Malaysia – Malaysia’s Premier University in Engineering and Technology. Oh, look at that welcoming UTM’s logo that smiles like a teddy bear (can’t you see the cute teddy bear?).

Wow. It’s been a refreshing ride. After four months in the university, I have observed a few things that are worth to note. These are some of them.

1. The university is a dazzling garden city.

The moment you enter the university, don’t forget to look on your right – there are a lot of adorable deer playing around the gated slope. Then, be fascinated by the tranquility of Tasik Ilmu (Lake of Knowledge). Ah, don’t forget to climb to Balai Cerapan Astronomi (Observation Building). This awesome building is the highest point in UTM where you can catch the breathtaking bird’s eye view of the university. You’ll notice that the whole campus is actually landscaped in the middle of a jungle. So, make sure you get down before dusk. You don’t want to end up being a terrified hostage of wild monkeys and angry spirits from the jungle!

2. The organisation of buildings is bewildering.

It is always troublesome for me to look for correct buildings because they all look almost the same – charmingly old and worn-out (they really need a facelift). The only difference is their numbering system. All buildings start with an alphabet followed by a number like C-16 or D-06. Looking for these numbers around the campus is a headache. Of course, there are maps on the signboards, but they are placed at odd places such as across deep drains or beside busy roads. To make it worse, the maps are poorly designed and highly placed that I have to struggle for a better view. I truly learnt the university’s whereabouts the hard ways.

UTM’s Prestigious Hall

3. The staffs are practically humane.

I always think of those Doctors, Professors and Associate Professors as an invincible and elite community. Addressing them appropriately in informal settings is always an awkward and challenging task. They can be surprisingly friendly and willing to share their expertise with me. The support staff, on the other hand, can be a real pain in the neck. They are supposed to be supporting the academic staff but it seems that they are always the bosses. I have difficulties dealing with some of them who see me as a nuisance. Perhaps, they have been sitting so comfortably on their same exhausted desks for many years that they forget what their real duties are.

4. The students are beastly intelligent.

I have to serve in four different faculties across the campus. The senior students in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are no-nonsense kids that seriously perform in their work. Conversely, those in the Faculty of Chemical & Natural Resources Engineering are sometimes too playful that they look tired when performing serious tasks. The fresh students in the Faculty of Computer Science & Information System are always talkative and cheerful. Similarly, those freshies in the Faculty of Civil Engineering are diligent and brilliant who always exceed my expectation. I seriously enjoy having them in my class.

UTM’s Grand Library

5. The communication system is advanced, traditionally.

Checking pigeon holes is a primary task for me every morning while checking e-mails is secondary as most of the important information, memos, notices (and gifts!) could easily be found in the holy holes. I will definitely miss a lot important details in my department if I forget to look into the hole for even one day. While I like the idea of holding the memorandum physically, I am afraid that the government’s mission for a paperless administration seems to be a long long way to be realised here!

6. The National Language is proudly upheld.

Being so used to an institution that is so Anglicized, I always find myself struggling to make sense of the puzzling Malay terms and abbreviations that I have to translate them into English. It’s funny, for example, to read the minutes of my department’s meeting in Malay. Honestly, I refuse to revert myself to Bahasa Malaysia’s dominance. While I am not against the policy of National Language, this is, for me, a dangerously backward process especially in English language learning. I seriously pity those students who have to learn English in Bahasa Malaysia environment.

UTM’s Majestic Mosque

7. The online system is incredibly developed.

First, I could easily “slide in” the university through Simple Management Information System (SMIS). All the academic information could be accessed through Academic Information Management System (AIMS). Get your ACID (Academic Computing ID) and be overwhelmed by the rich information provided through mind-boggling e-learning portal. Even SPACE (School of Professional and Continuing Education) has its own portal that can sometimes be perplexing, thanks to its overcrowded information. Wherever and whenever you are, just be immersed in the virtual world beyond your imagination. Exciting.

8. The conduct of invigilation is an ABC task.

As an ex-manager for Examination Department in my previous company, I found it difficult to adapt to the loose system in the university. Exams are conducted at various odd places including the hostels’ student halls. Oh, there are no seating arrangements. Students are free to sit anywhere they like. And they are allowed to go out to the restroom with a minimum supervision. Apart from these lenient procedures, I am glad that there are examination assistants to help out the invigilators. And the best part is, if you are invigilating for SPACE papers, you’ll be handsomely paid!

My Faculty

9. The Department of Modern Languages is apparently misplaced.

When I first came to the university, I thought I would be attached to the English Language Unit in the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). However I was surprised to find myself in the Department of Modern Languages in the Faculty of Management of Human Resource Development. One would be wondering – what on earth is this department doing in this particular faculty? Something is seriously wrong. Being a robust and dynamic entity, the department deserves an autonomous status. For that, I fully support my Dean’s mission to strive for the independent Academy of Languages and Communication!

10. The research opportunities are up for grab.

I have started my own research in phonetics for my doctoral pursuit, and I must get it done within five years! All academicians seem so occupied with chautauqua (intellectual symposiums) and colloquium. Even though UTM is nowhere in the world ranking of top 100 universities, the university is striving very hard to get the status of a research university by 2010. This is a bit ironic because the university has long trained its students to conduct a research in their final years. There must be thousands of ideas from these students which can be utilized by the academics for publishable papers. Perhaps, they should strive for quality, not quantity.

Way to go, UTM!

Landing on the highest point in UTM

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2008 3:58 am

    hej! hilmi…hope this new workplace is much better than the previous one…i guess you have a great time there…:)


  2. Hajar permalink
    July 25, 2008 9:32 pm

    Salam. Wow, there’s so much change in UTM now especially FPPSM building. Been missing all my moments there. Thanks for bringing back all my sweet memories here. 🙂


  3. July 26, 2008 11:51 am

    hye there 🙂

    termasuk ur blog from josh’s blog and danial 🙂

    working in UTM? hope u enjoy working there as i enjoyed working in UKM 🙂

    btw..i’m a also always known as Kelantanese murtad,..well..who cares 😛


  4. July 31, 2008 7:36 pm

    i like the mosque’s design. so unique. mcm castle kat citer fairy tales gitu hehe.btw the buildings at utm look nicer than the buildings at um.


  5. July 31, 2008 9:39 pm

    danial> i indeed have a great time here. there are still a lot more to explore!

    siti> those buildings are old ones. i believe there are also interesting ‘monuments’ in um. there is always something to see in every place. just open up our senses and enjoy them 😉 (hey, i haven’t received your blog invitation hehe)


  6. August 1, 2008 10:32 am

    haha yea there are a few interesting monuments in um.

    p.s:hmmm thts weird ive sent u the invitation.the invitation is under mail account.k nevermind i will resend u again k.sorry for the inconvenience hehe


  7. August 5, 2008 5:18 pm

    hmmm ok i assume u still havent got the invitation to view my blog right? ur email add is right?hmm try to check ur junk mail n see if it is there or not.let me know if u still havent receive it yet k.sorry for the inconvenience :p


  8. Hilmi Hamzah permalink
    August 5, 2008 10:25 pm

    siti, i will check it out and let you know asap 😉


  9. August 5, 2008 10:41 pm

    Hajar, this place must be one of your playgrounds those days, huh? I hope I would create sweet memories here too, just like what you did.

    Inah, I’m glad we are both working at universities – we could understand things better here (i hope you got what i mean hehe). oh, we are both kelantanese murtads! hmmm.. 😉


  10. August 26, 2008 2:49 pm

    wahh u really like this place, dont u? hehe. good for u. i guess the old place is nothing compare to UTM. the facilities, buildings, scenery and most importantly, the PEOPLE. hehehehe. (and that includes me!) :p

    but u know what, having u as my lecturer was one of the best thing that happened to me there. if it wasn’t for u and some other great lecturers, plus my crazy friends, i would’ve been studying in the last level of hell. heheee (and i have no idea what i’m typing already) :p


  11. August 26, 2008 9:01 pm

    jihan, i love working at my current place right now. but IIC will always stay there in my heart, coz it taught me a lot of things. And one of them was you! haha.

    Hey, the best things in life are well treasured, not well hated 😉


  12. Sultan permalink
    December 17, 2008 6:45 pm

    Wow.. UTM looks like a nice place….unlike UM. I feel the building in UM are quite old….


  13. nora permalink
    July 31, 2009 8:57 pm

    what do you think of the library?


    • September 26, 2009 6:56 pm

      Hi Nora. I think UTM library is physically pathetic. But it has one of the best resources in Malaysian universities, especially if you browse its website and use the online database. I’m so happy to get access to a lot of international databases. In fact, the library has won a lot of awards. But the students always find it boring. Yes, something is wrong 🙂


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