Tuesday, February 22, 2005

where is the passion?

I met a bloke the other day who came to the UK for an interview. The dude is sponsored by JPA to study medicine. He was saying how he was studying in UTP (Universiti Teknologi Petronas) for a couple of months while waiting for the results of his JPA application - studying Mechanical Engineering.

Now, what's a guy who wanted to do medicine studying mechanical engineering for? That's not the only case actually. I have heard of many such things. I don't know much about how the education system works back home, but I think, you submit your application to the unis stating the course of your choice. If there isn't a place for you, or if they think you suck, then they just throw you into another course.

It happens a lot, and a lot of students are forced to study something that they have no interest in. Its not really their fault, a degree is better than none at all. Hence, they just study whatever it is they were offered. That's where the flaw comes in.

A lot of people I know are studying courses which they probably have no interest in at all. A lot of people, in the final year, are wondering why they did such and such a course. Studying a subject for 3 years is no fun if you never really liked it anyway. And when there is no fun in it, you either do badly in it, or you excel, but like a lifeless zombie.

Its nobody's fault but their own if they chose a course they never really liked, and end up struggling with it, but somethings really wrong with the system if people are forced to study something which they have got no passion for. The end results are zombies who hold a degree but end up sulking on the job because they hate every single minute of it.

On a personal term, when people ask me for advice, I tell them to stay the fuck away from engineering unless they really really want to do it. There has to be a certain passion, or interest in the field. My mum recently told me that she always knew I would be a scientist or engineer or something like that. When I was a small kid, I used to pick up crap from the road side and play with it. I would pick up a cigarette butt (disgusting, I know!) tear it open and burn it, only to figure that its different and wont burn.

When I grew older, I dismantled things around the house to figure out how they work. I took apart a table fan, I made a hot air balloon (failed miserably), and ripped open an old car battery before. By Form 2, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer. In short, I was a science nerd since I was a kid.

I do not expect many people to have that same inquisitive passion from an early age, but some sort of desire helps. I hate studying. This marks the 16th year studying. I am sick of it. I would have quit and graduated early last year, if not for my love of what I am doing. Everytime I get pissed offed at studying, I remind myself again why I wanted to be an engineer in the first place.
Nowadays, people study stuffs for the fun of studying. It sucks in Malaysia because everything is education orientated. Immediately after school, you go to college, do a pre-u and then go on to uni. Most kids have no idea what they want to do or want to study. Most of the time, its the parents that decide it. I like the system here in the UK. Its extremely common for a student to take a gap year after school or (usually) after A-Levels. They take a year out, commonly travel to poorer parts of the world and help out in the community. Either that or they do stuffs like social work. It helps the kids figure out what they want in life, and where their passion lies.

So really........if you can't decide what you want to do, then chill, figure out what you love and then only decide what you want to study. On the other hand, if you already decided, but are forced to study something else, my condolences then. I had never fancied the education system in Malaysia. For as long as I can remember, moonbats have been sitting in the minister's post - no difference 20 years ago, no difference 10 years ago, and no difference now.


Goog entry, hitting the right point :-)

Take my field of study (IT) for example. I've heard from a number of people, who have no idea of what field to enroll in for Degree programme, and yet ending up in IT. The commmon reason? "cos I see this field was hot, and a lot people were rushing for IT" *OMG* Thus, in the end, these people usually ended up with a lot of frustration, and regreted their initial decision. Isn't it too late? In IT, I don't think anyone can survive without real interest. If you don't have the interest in thinking for unique solution and improving existing algorithm, you'll faint whenever a new programming project came to you.

Some people, they enroll in un-intended study field, due to scare of opportunity. They have enrolled in STPM, and waiting for acceptance from public uni. Though they were given chance to choose their interested field; but, sometimes the end result is not always satisfying, even you've got straight As in STPM. I don't want to comment much on this issue, but you know what's going on.


1st thing is msia is still a developing country so the people cannot afford to 'chill'.. the clock ticks and taking a break means having wasted 1 year doing nothing in msian perspective.

yeah the education system sucks in msia. the spoonfeeding since young.. and the issue of ppl getting offered courses they have no liking at..

guess that's just the part and parcel of a live in a third world nation


Tien Soon: Our money is worth crap. Thats why people enroll in STPM and the "lottery".. As for IT, I have to agree with you..

Mun Kit: We arent the only people that practice this system.. Its the same in 1st world Singapore and Hong Kong.. Btw in a 3rd world country, Youd be fighting for your life, not filling up comment boxes. ;) Youre right though, we have to deal with it..

Vincent: I came from that University. Its a private university, which means you have to apply seperately after SPM and qualify via a pre-entrance camp.. And the bugger which you just met, hes what we term as a fucking hopper. He takes the first deal (usually a scholarship given by Petronas), with hope to move on to other scholarships later. All hes interested in doing is going overseas, nothing else.


tien soon : True. A lot of people study IT cause they think 'its good for us'. I have a few friends who had never mucked around with simple programming when they were in school, and yet expect to like it when they do it in uni. Guaranteed disaster.

munkit : I disagree. Waste one year? What's the rush? I rather waste 2 years than rush into something I am clueless about.

uhmir : I dunno the dude, and hence dunno his reasons. But I do know that its not a good idea at all.


With all due respect Amir, wouldn't you do the same if you were in his position? Imagine being lost and not knowing what to do, you apply for everything on offer. And if you were offered a chance to study overseas, well, that's the next best thing right? Interest can be developed. Yes, passion cannot. But being able to study overseas is hell of a good reason to develop some form of interest for the field. And Vincent, let me tell you that 80% of medicine JPA scholars actually did engineering before being offered the scholarship. Simply because it is too expensive for FAMA to pay 1 million RM for ur degree in the UK and engineering is the next good scientific field.Retrospectively, hmm....I rejected chemical engineering to continue my a levels...tough choice...but like you, I have always known...and I keep reminding myself everytime I feel like shit! SO yes vincent, I respect your passion. Can never imagine you doing something else! :)


Vincent, you're like a year or two younger than me, but such a negative outlook on life, no... :D

Hehehe... oh well, at least that dude didn't end up getting a Bachelor of Economics in UNIMAS - and I'd never even taken Economics in Form 5 even, let alone in Form 6!

Now, Margaret the economist... hmm... that's a thought! ;)


my passion is not having to work at all but with millions in my bank accounts, howzat ??

damn..Y my grandfather didnt buy any land in KL!!!


jasmine : like i said, if you don't have a choice, then too bad, a degree is better than none. what i was talking about for most of the article was that people who had a choice made the wrong decision.

mag : vincent the doctor. that would be way cool.

vader : i share your passion dude. but the millions come after the work. tough.


Worst when M'sians come up to me and say they wanna do my art/film studies degree instead of their current studies...
I tell them to stay the fuck away cos people often assume the grass is always greener. Just because it sounds cool doesn't mean its gonna be easy.


Passion is what it's all about, so I guess you're hitting a really good point here, Vincent.. Unfortunately, being from a developed (and not third world) country, most of us don't have the luxury to do as we please.. we just have to do the 'acceptable' and 'right' thing really.. Hopefully, we'll get to live our dreams later on in life..

Oh, and by the way, I know plenty of so-called hoppers too.. and I agree, it's just plain sad... Sometimes, I do feel so sorry for them! Haha..


what can you do if your family can't afford a private uni/college or foreign unis?

study for stpm and pray for a 4.0 gpa so you'll be given priority for your first choice course.

of course, if you're not from the "priviledged" group and your passion lies in something like medicine or pharmacy, chances are you'll be offered some weird obscure course like forestry (happened to my senior...5As for stpm) or 2nd year science (happened to my uncle...he left for singapore and is contributing to the economy there).

i'm not completely against the quota system (it's not supposed to exist anymore, but yeah), but when you work hard to get into the course you love so you'll be able to work happily for the next 35 years and someone "up there" denies you that chance...what do you do?

you end up studying half-heartedly. and you live a life that lacks passion.

not everyone has the strength to fight the odds and really go for what they love. when circumstances stack up against you, most people go with the flow and do things they don't love for the sake of putting food on the table.

i'm not saying that we should accept the path forced upon us without putting up a fight. and it's definitely our responsibility to take initiative and really explore our interests to decide on what we love before leaving secondary school...but sometimes that's really not enough. we still need help.

and alot of people aren't getting that help.


Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)


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