Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia

At the heart of Kinta Valley. The capital city of the state of Perak. An opposition stronghold. Factory of brilliant people. Desolated through emigration of its inhabitants to other parts of the country and overseas. Yet... it is forever remembered by its people.

Monday, June 14, 2004


I have no regret of staying awake to watch the France-England match this morning. With 3 Arsenal players in the starting 11 for France; Pires, Viera, and Henry together with their skillful and steady skipper, Zidane, there was no reason for me not to stay awake. England capitalised a typical Beckham's freekick in the first half to lead 1-0. Credit must be given to Lampard. He timed his running well, and with much good timing again, leaped and head with power to the left side of Barthez's goal post. No chance for the latter to save it at all.

Second half, France looked dominant again from the start. They kept on pressuring. Henry was more into his style of playing like when he was with Arsenal. But Trezeguet seemed drowned with not much performance and touch on the ball as well. Zidane, as usual, together with Viera really commanded the midfield with great power.

England's counter attack through Rooney midway through the second half proved to be disastrous to the French team. He was brought down in the penalty box by the desperate and out-of-idea Silvestre. The latter had no choice but to tackle, and that's it, a penalty. I was confident that Beckham would not put the ball pass Barthez into the net because I knew France were going to win. True enough, he didnt score. His penalty always quite predictable.

Then, it was the French comeback or rather the English downfall! First, in the 1st minute of the injury time after the full 90 minutes, Zidane curled a freekick and made it 1-1 the scoreline. David James moved to fast to his left and when the ball swung outwardly to his right, Zidane put his name on the scoresheet. 3rd minute into injury time, a misunderstanding between Ashley Cole and Gerrard forcing the latter to pass the ball back to his keeper and not knowing the speedy Henry was in the lurk.

Henry sprinted, dribbled the ball pass James and later only to be brought down. No doubt, clearly a penalty. Zidane, cool and skillful as he is all the time on the pitch, stepped up and yeah, sent James the wrong way and made a finale and emphatic swashbuckling victory for the French. 2-1 the final scoreline. 3 points for France.

Back in Malaysia this morning, most dailies especially the Chinese dailies, carry the "top STPM science student, Koong Lin Yee entering medical school and registering at UM" news in their frontpages together with a photo of his parents putting a lab coat on him at his room in UM's second residential college. Little did he know that with such publicity, he is going to face tremendous hardship of being oreinted to the maximum by his notorious seniors in the faculty of medicine. i wonder how is he going to cope up with questions from my very analytical, controversial but knowledgeful and well-rounded friend, HC Pang, and fellow great buddy, Fooji. i shall know later as whether i am going to hear good comments or bad ones about this top student from them.

Before that, I am wondering why top achievers choose UM over the other universities? Why many took the trouble to appeal to enter UM even though they were given courses of their choices in other universities? Why we cant see top students here opt for USM or UKM instead of UM, like top students in US who may reject Harvard and go to Cornell, MIT, Berkeley, Princeton or even Caltech?

The answers I have, number one, is because of UM's prestige and recognition in and out of Malaysia, number two, is due to the fact that other universities couldnt effectively challenge the position of UM as the premier institution in Malaysia, number three, lack of financial aids in private medical schools to attract top achievers to earn more recognised and reowned degrees from perhaps, John Hopkins, or top universities in UK and Ireland, number four lack of fundings and financial aids as well as recognition in the job market to technology-based private institutions like MMU to again attract top achievers, number five, lack of vision and contructive measures by other universities to establish themselves in a competitive level to defeat UM's overall prestige by focussing on R&Ds, and certain courses in which UM are very weak (it is like how Cornell being the more reowned engineering Ivy school compared to Harvard, although Harvard is no doubt, older and more pretige), number six, other universities should collaborate more with top organisations in various industries to making sure that there are offers for their top students upon graduation (without increasing the financial burdens to compensate for all these benefits), number seven, other universities should involve in more joint-ventures to offer top notch facilities and education services (MMU have a great vision of working together with Microsoft Malaysia), and the answers list continues.

In short, authorities have to just work on ways to set themselves on the mark and not just sit and surrender to the fact that they are not the elites. MMU should capitalise the many advantages they have in Malaysia own Silicon Valley at Cyberjaya to come out as "Stanford" of Malaysia. USM should continue and further enhance their R&Ds and inventing more and more patents and technologies and publicise themselves in and through CeBit, Intel Exhibition, etc to gain more positive recognition worldwide. They can be the "Berkeley" or perhaps the "MIT" of Malaysia.


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