WOU students offer a potpourri of Malaysian cultures

Staff of WOU were feted to a 60-minute cultural entertainment by the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students that offered a taste of the diverse cultures in Malaysia and the harmonious relationship between people of different faiths.

The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

In his opening remarks at the ‘OCL Cultural Evening: A Malaysian Potpourri’ held at the main campus today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye praised the hands-on participation by the 39 OCL students taking the Comparative Religions course in the September semester. The lecturer is School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

“Especially in a country like Malaysia where diversity is our hallmark, this course would promote our understanding of diversity from the perspective of religions, in terms of central concepts, beliefs and practices, cultural focus and so on,” said Prof Ho.

The kolattam or sticks dance.

The kolattam or sticks dance.

Kicking off the evening was a solo Indian classical dance, bharatanatyam, after which followed dance performances of the different ethnicities, namely the fan dance, umbrella dance, Indian folk dance, ‘kolattam’, dikir barat, and kung fu.

The fan dance.

The fan dance.

The students also presented two skits that afforded insights into the Chinese and Hindu traditions. The first titled ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is a tragic Chinese romantic folktale, reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and the other was ‘Ram and Sita’ from the famous ancient Indian epic of Ramayana.

The skit on Ram and Sita.

The skit on Ram and Sita.

Guest performer was OCL student Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad, 22, from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme, who rendered a Chinese song, the evergreen ‘What a Wonderful World’  and Jingle Bells while strumming his guitar.

The cultural evening closed with a fashion show showcasing the different traditional outfits of Malaysians, like salwar kameez, saree, kebaya, cheongsam, baju melayu and sherwani suits.

Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

The event was part of the coursework assessment component for the Comparative Religions course. Among those present were Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, HR Director Surrayya Shuib, academics and students.

The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

Jasmine highlighted, “This was a hands-on learning experience of each other’s cultures and religions. The project also exposed the students to a broader and deeper set of skills, knowledge and habits of success than those they develop through the traditional focus on academic content knowledge. This will serve to enhance graduate employability and prepare them for the challenges of work life.

Spirit of thanksgiving at Christmas gathering

The annual WOU Christmas high tea had a tinge of bitter sweetness and yet reverberated with feelings of thanksgiving as staff gathered for the celebration at the main campus today.

Staff gathered at the cafeteria for the Christmas event.

Staff gathered at the cafeteria for the Christmas event.

Everyone was greeted with a delightful door gift of a rabbit-shaped wooden phone holder of varied colours. The event then commenced on a rather sombre note as the venue for the high tea, the cafeteria, recently lost ‘Mami’ the chief cook, whose birthday falls on Christmas Day.  

Jasmine speaks about the inspiring qualities of 'Mami' who passed away on November 27th.

Jasmine speaks about the inspiring qualities of 'Mami' who passed away on November 27th.

Event organising chairperson Jasmine Emmanuel drew everyone’s thoughts to Mami, a “loving, friendly and cute” person and led in observing a minute of silence. “Her dedication made her very special in our WOU family.  She was an inspiration to all of us who knew her and her life and work resonate with a truth expressed by Mother Teresa who once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,’” she said.

Prof Ho presents a framed poem and a thumb drive containing a recent brief interview by ETP staff with Mami.

Prof Ho presents a framed poem and a thumb drive containing a recent brief interview by ETP staff with Mami.

The event was bittersweet also because it would be the last WOU festive gathering for Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye.  Jasmine declared, “Through your compassionate heart and support, you have put smiles on many faces. Your leadership has made working in this university a memorable one. You have instilled in us values, such as determination, tolerance, equity, kindness, honesty, patience, and professional skills that are needed to get on with the job even in your absence.”  

Prof Ho called staff to embrace a spirit of thanksgiving.

Prof Ho called staff to embrace a spirit of thanksgiving.

Prof Ho spoke of gratitude and thanksgiving for what WOU has achieved, with a message to staff to continue to persevere and work hard for the University. “Christmas is a merry season for thanksgiving, a time for gratitude. “ He said despite the tough times, WOU has managed to survive. “We should be thankful for what we have. I maintain we have a great team at WOU.”  He called for staff to pool their resources together and to put more effort to ride on the accomplishments to consolidate the position of the University.

Prof Ho holds the wrapped wooden plaque gift presented by Kevin Tan (right).

Prof Ho holds the wrapped wooden plaque gift presented by Kevin Tan (right).

Lecturer Kevin Tan presented a gift to Prof Ho on behalf of the organising committee. It was a framed wooden plaque with the wordings, “Having somewhere to go is a Home; having someone to love is a Family; and having both is a Blessing”.

The staff mingled and feasted on chicken spaghetti bolognaise, sausage puff pastry, chicken ham sandwich, jam tarts, cheese sandwich, and an array of cakes and cookies complemented by coffee, tea and juice.

Tempting and delicious helpings at the Christmas high tea.

Tempting and delicious helpings at the Christmas high tea.

Bidding farewell to a true gentleman

The spotlight shined brightly on outgoing Vice Chancellor, Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, who ends his long years of service with education and WOU, with his retirement on December 31st.

In paying tribute to Prof Ho, the third and longest serving Vice Chancellor, the accolades lavished included gentleman of humble demeanour, reserved, understanding, patient, not one to give vent to his anger, authentic, and earliest to arrive to office practically every day.

WOU top management and staff take a 'family' photo with Prof Ho and spouse, Datin Mei.

WOU top management and staff take a 'family' photo with Prof Ho and spouse, Datin Mei.

WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap described him as “humble, down to earth, and gracious” and “absolutely shows no distinction in the way he interacts with staff from the different rungs of the ladder. He is reserved by nature, but shoulders every little role he is entrusted with, seriously.”

He said Prof Ho “does not lose his temper or his wits, maybe never I think, but confronts the challenges and pressures with much poise, not letting things get the best of him. He seems to always maintain that air of ‘being cool’ no matter what work or life throws at him. That I believe is a remarkable trait to have, not letting the toss and turn of life bring him down but using every challenge or setback as a lesson to be learnt for scaling greater heights in the future.”

Prof Ho is a genuine gentleman, says Dato' Seri Stephen.

Prof Ho is a genuine gentleman, says Dato' Seri Stephen.

Dato’ Seri Stephen, who has known Prof Ho for 10 years, declared, “He is really a genuine gentleman in demeanour and in the way he carries himself,” adding, “what stands out is your grace that comes from a place of strength and of course your friendliness.”

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon highlighted, “He is a very honest person, very transparent, empowering and passionate.” Dr Koh also used terms like “communicative, compassionate” but conceded that the best word to describe Prof Ho is “cool” since he stays cool under all circumstances.

Dr Koh asks to emulate Prof Ho's example of staying cool in all circumstances.

Dr Koh asks to emulate Prof Ho's example of staying cool in all circumstances.

He also referred to Prof Ho’s executive secretary Julie Lim’s remarks in a farewell video of never seeing her boss lose his temper and that we all can learn from him. Dr Koh stated, “This is one quality which is extremely difficult to emulate. Whenever you feel like losing your temper at your colleagues in WOU, because arguing over certain issues, or even at your loved ones, think of the cool Prof Ho.”

In regards to the comments from the previous Vice Chancellors in WOU’s 10th anniversary video, Dr Koh pointed out that Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng expressed confidence that when WOU celebrates its 21st anniversary, the University would be the leading provider of education in the ASEAN region. “So we must really think big for the next 11 years,” he urged.

(From left) Prof Ho, Dr Koh, Dato' Seri Stephen and Prof Wong cut the anniversary cake.

(From left) Prof Ho, Dr Koh, Dato' Seri Stephen and Prof Wong cut the anniversary cake.

He also agreed with Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan in which the latter expressed concern whether WOU is ready to meet the future challenges. “So it is not a matter of hardware, it’s not a matter of software, but is very important, mind ware, the mindset. We have to have a mindset ready for change,” Dr Koh stressed.

Dr Koh presented a leather briefcase as a farewell gift from WOU, while the very fitting song, “Simply the Best”, blasted in the background.

Dr Koh (right) presents a leather briefcase to Prof Ho as Dato' Seri Stephen looks on.

Dr Koh (right) presents a leather briefcase to Prof Ho as Dato' Seri Stephen looks on.

Prof Ho joined WOU on 5 February 2007 as Director of the Centre for Graduate Studies; was Dean of School of Science and Technology from September 2007- October 2009; Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support) from 1 November 2009 until his promotion to Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) on 1 December 2010; and Vice Chancellor from 1 October 2012.

Prof Ho, in his message, expressed his thankfulness to all and mentioned the need for strategic and financial planning, and maintaining the honour and integrity of WOU's vision while being open to innovative change. 

Prof Ho expresses his gratitude to management and staff.

Prof Ho expresses his gratitude to management and staff.

About 150 staff and guests attended WOU’s 10th year Anniversary and Appreciation Dinner held at G Hotel today.

Best dressed contest winners in the men's category (right) and women's category (left) with their prizes presented by Dr Koh (centre).

Best dressed contest winners in the men's category (right) and women's category (left) with their prizes presented by Dr Koh (centre).

Staff loyalty rewarded

A total of 32 staff were honoured for their long years of service - 14 for 10 years and 18 for 5 years - during WOU’s 10th year Anniversary and Appreciation Dinner today.

Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye (6th from left)  and other 10-year service award recipients pose with Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (centre).

Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye (6th from left)  and other 10-year service award recipients pose with Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (centre).

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, who joined WOU on 5 February 2007, led the list of 10-year service award recipients, along with his executive secretary, Julie Lim Cheng Cheok. On hand to present a certificate and gift was WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap.

On the academic front, the recipients were School of Business & Administration (SBA) Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam and School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS) Lecturer Rabikha Hasni Suparman, as well as Assistant Library Manager Farzanah Ali Hassan and Library Officer Choy Paik Lin from academic support.

Prof Ho pose with recipients (from right) K H Chong, Choy Paik Lin and Prof Santhiram.

Prof Ho pose with recipients (from right) K H Chong, Choy Paik Lin and Prof Santhiram.

Heading the pack for the 10-year service award in operations was Regional Operations & Marcom Director, K H Chong. Similarly honoured were his team members, Ipoh Regional Centre (IPRC) Director, Ching Huey Ling, Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) Director Teh Kim Kow and Assistant Marketing Manager Lim Wei Ling.

The other operations staff with 10 years of service were Assistant Manager Letchimy Thiyagarajah and Marketing & Admissions Officer Chung Mei Lin of PGRC; Human Resource Executive Trinnie Triveny Chandran; and Building Warden Shift Leader Md Noor Din from General Services & Administration (GSA).

Prof Ho with (from left) Prakash (10 years), Prof Phalachandra (5 years) and Teh Kim Kow (10 years).

Prof Ho with (from left) Prakash (10 years), Prof Phalachandra (5 years) and Teh Kim Kow (10 years).

Prof Ho took to the stage to present the 5-year service awards to 18 staff, comprising 7 academics and 11 from operations, including 6 from the Regional Centres (RC) and Regional Support Centres (RSC).  

Leading the academic charge were Dean, Prof Santhiram Raman, and Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi from the School of Education, Languages and Communications. Others were SBA Senior Lecturer Lalitha Ramasamy, SHSS lecturers Ooh Seow Ling and Irmadura Ramli, and School of Science & Technology (SST) lecturers Azrina Jamal Mydin and Tan Yee Chyan.

10-year recipients (from right) Mei Lin, Md Noor, Wei Ling and Julie Lim with Vicky Tan (left) who received his 5-year service award.

10-year recipients (from right) Mei Lin, Md Noor, Wei Ling and Julie Lim with Vicky Tan (left) who received his 5-year service award.

The five staff from operations were Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion, ITS Senior Application Developer Ooi Chin Hong, as well as Senior Chargeman cum AV supervisor Maganthiran Nagapan, Building Warden Shift Leader Mohd Faizal Ibrahim and Assistant Officer Vicky Tan Kok Ghee from GSA.

(From left) Rasidah (5 years) with Trinnie (10 years).

(From left) Rasidah (5 years) with Trinnie (10 years).

Finally from the RCs/RSCs were Bandar Utama RSC Head Ryan Yong Seat Pao, Klang RSC Marketing & Admissions Executive Lim Kok Chan, the Marketing & Admission Officers Phang Sow Ling (IPRC), Nadia Rohiyanis Abdul Rahman (Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre) and Justin Anak Martin (Kuching Regional Centre), and receptionist Rosnidah Ramli (KLRC).

The 5-year service award recipients with Prof Ho.

The 5-year service award recipients with Prof Ho.

The event held at the G Hotel culminated with the main lucky draw prizes – out of a total 52 prizes – picked by WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. The first prize, a 40-inch LED television, went to HR Manager Sharizal Inche Mohamed, the second prize, a mobile phone, to Tham Mei Eian (Finance), the third, a mini bar, to Bernadict Benter Anak Tinjim (KCRC), and fourth, a Samsung Galaxy Tab A, to Thanaraj Thongamaney (JBRC).

Dr Koh gives the thumbs up to first prize lucky draw winner Sharizal.

Dr Koh gives the thumbs up to first prize lucky draw winner Sharizal.

Beware of the cancer of corruption, says Honorary Graduate

Internationally acclaimed economist and activist Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram was humbled by the recognition of an Honorary Degree from Wawasan Open University – his first locally - during its 8th convocation ceremony recently.

In his acceptance speech, Jomo declared, “As a former university teacher who continues to inhabit the world of ideas, this is the first time I have received such recognition in our own country, I am deeply humbled by this honour, and proud to join your community.”

“I view this as an award not only for the quantity of my output, but more importantly, for its quality. Not only because some of it has been novel, by any standards, even if I say so myself. More importantly, it has been part of my search for truth, to speak truth to power, internationally as well as in our beloved homeland.”

Jomo hits out at corruption.

Jomo hits out at corruption.

He continued, “The ‘masters of the universe’ have recently proclaimed that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, most closely associated with artificial intelligence, is upon us. This reminds us that the world will continue to change rapidly, and soon, some jobs will disappear, even as the world’s population continues to grow, life expectancy continues to rise, and more people face challenges providing for their silver years.”

Jomo added, “In the process, let us hope that we will all avoid the third C, namely the cancer of corruption. In Korea, President Park has been replaced by President Moon after millions marched against her corruption. And we all know about how Amazing Grace Gucci Mugabe brought about the downfall of husband Robert, the once heroic father of Zimbabwe. Let us hope this will send a chill through the hearts, if they have any, of others who share her graceless penchant for expensive handbags and jewellery.”

Top graduating student from ODL postgraduate programmes, Grace Yeo Tang Peng, with Jomo.

Top graduating student from ODL postgraduate programmes, Grace Yeo Tang Peng, with Jomo.

He advocated embracing education as a lifelong endeavour, involving formal, non-formal and informal education. “The name of this university implies both vision and openness. Half a century ago, one of my teachers, Albert Hirschman suggested that much resentment and conflict in society is due to ‘tunnel vision’, as we are mainly pre-occupied with how much progress those around us in a tunnel are making in relation to us.”

He stressed, “WOU’s commitment to an open vision is therefore crucial for us to rise above the pettiness and rivalries of the moment in order to see the big picture.”

Jomo currently holds the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur. He is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at Khazanah Research Institute, Visiting Fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue in Columbia University, and an Adjunct Professor at the International Islamic University in Malaysia.

Jomo with spouse, Dr Felice Noelle Rodriguez, and the academics from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Jomo with spouse, Dr Felice Noelle Rodriguez, and the academics from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He served as the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, from 2005 to 2012. He was Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome from 2012 to 2015.

Born of mixed Indian-Chinese parentage in Penang, Jomo was named after two African anti-imperialist freedom fighters, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. He studied in Yale and Harvard on full scholarships, getting his PhD at Harvard at age 25.

He has taught at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Malaya in Malaysia, as well as at Harvard, Yale and Cornell universities.

Jomo gets Honorary Degree and 688 new graduates at WOU Convocation

Leading economist Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram was conferred the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree at WOU’s 8th convocation ceremony today.

Jomo receives his Honorary Degree from Chancellor, Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah.

Jomo receives his Honorary Degree from Chancellor, Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah.

Jomo, 65, was recognised for his contributions to the academic community and to social development within and outside Malaysia. Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, remarked, “Jomo is driven by a passion for the downtrodden and the socio-economically disadvantaged groups in society. He must be applauded for giving voice to the plight of the poor and bringing many pressing issues into the spotlight.”  

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye stated that Jomo has made a significant impact on the world stage. “With the weight of his influence, he has been able to bring many important socio-economic issues to the mainstream for the attention, discussion and action of society, groups, citizens and nations. His lifelong work has been to strengthen the socio-economic health of individual nations and citizens.”

Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) in conversation with Jomo as Prof Ho (2nd from right) and Tun Dzaiddin look on.

Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) in conversation with Jomo as Prof Ho (2nd from right) and Tun Dzaiddin look on.

Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon mentioned knowing Jomo, an alumnus of two Ivy League universities, Yale and Harvard, since over 46 years ago.  “We were involved in the Malaysian student movement in North America before we both returned to teach in local universities.”

The three-day convocation ceremony also witnessed the graduation of 688 students, comprising 202 from the postgraduate and 486 from the undergraduate programmes, including 40 full-time graduates.

Tun Dzaiddin, in his message to the graduates, highlighted, “Universities should become the bedrock of legitimate debate, freedom of speech and freedom of expression in matters of public concern so as to preserve the well-being of the nation and its citizens. Educated arguments and rich discussions must be encouraged.”

Tun Dzaiddin calls for freedom of the citizens to speak out against abuses, corruption and injustices.

Tun Dzaiddin calls for freedom of the citizens to speak out against abuses, corruption and injustices.

He said, “Citizens must be free to point out abuses, corruption, injustices, and any unhealthy happenings and to hold leaders accountable. However, we must not tolerate those who spew hateful speech and violent protests in the name of race and religion. Freedom of expression comes with responsibility for the peace and harmony of the nation.”

Tun Dzaiddin stressed “Speaking out for the good of the people and nation is always the right thing to do. This action carries more weight if those in authority, especially leaders and rulers, speak out and help transform society for the better.

“To progress as a nation, there must be space for dialogue and legitimate opposing views, both online and offline, without the use of dubious laws to clamp down on them. Freedom of expression must be exercised in a spirit of responsibility, without hurting the convictions of another.

Tun Dzaiddin presents the award to top ODL postgraduate student, Grace Yeo Tang Peng.

Tun Dzaiddin presents the award to top ODL postgraduate student, Grace Yeo Tang Peng.

The convocation saw the award of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best graduate from the open distance learning (ODL) postgraduate programmes to Grace Yeo Tang Peng from Johor Bahru, who graduated in Master of Education. She was a practising lawyer for 14 years, but is now the owner of an online business.

The Chancellor’s Gold Medal for top ODL graduate from the undergraduate programmes went to Cheong Swee Kim, the QA and Compliance Director in a medical device manufacturing MNC in Ipoh. He received his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Psychology.

Dr Koh (right) gets acquainted with top ODL undergraduate student Cheong and his daughters Jia Min, 18, (left) and Jia Yi, 17.

Dr Koh (right) gets acquainted with top ODL undergraduate student Cheong and his daughters Jia Min, 18, (left) and Jia Yi, 17.

The Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for best full-time, on-campus learning graduate was won by Melody Lim Chii Wen, a financial analyst at an MNC in Bayan Lepas, who graduated in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management.

Prof Ho presents the medal to top full-time undergraduate student, Melody Lim.

Prof Ho presents the medal to top full-time undergraduate student, Melody Lim.

Parents must keep an eye on children's online activities

Easy connectivity has caused targets of cyber bullying to come under pressure 24 hours a day, with most victims afraid to speak out and seek help for fear of appearing weak.

These were highlighted by the four panellists during the public forum on ‘Cyber Bullying: Stand Up! Stand Tall!’ organised by WOU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) at the main campus today.

WOU Lecturer Irmadura Ramli (left) introduces the four panellists.

WOU Lecturer Irmadura Ramli (left) introduces the four panellists.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) consultant developmental psychologist Dr Abdul Rahman Ahmad Badayai described the psychological profile of a cyber bully as “persistent, permanent and hard to notice”.  He said besides the continuous online pressure, the victims may also become objects of ridicule in the real world.

He warned that information and photos uploaded online are permanent and public, exposing users to cyber harassment. He advised parents to teach kids about online risks and to monitor their online activities, such as the social networking sites visited,, browsing history, and the latest social media or mobile applications downloaded.

Dr Abdul Rahman offers the psychological profile of a cyber bully.

Dr Abdul Rahman offers the psychological profile of a cyber bully.

Senior Communications Officer Saidatul Ashikin Abu Hassan of International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat (IMPACT), Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC), quoted a 2014 nationwide study showing 64% of children do not realise that posting inappropriate photos, sending improper messages, or pretending to be someone else is cyber bullying.  The survey also revealed that 26% of schoolchildren reported being bullied online, with kids between 13 and 15 years bullied the most, and that over 70% of children have experienced some form of online harassment.

The MCMC received 38 reports of cyber bullying from January to November this year, especially on Facebook, she added, highlighting that the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 does not apply to children.

The crowd fascinated by the statistics provided by Saidatul from MCMC.

The crowd fascinated by the statistics provided by Saidatul from MCMC.

Supt Chelvam Ramiah Pillai, Deputy Director of the Penang Commercial Crime Investigation Department, shared that it is difficult to identify the suspects in cyber bullying. He said that the Police can take action against cyber bullies through CMA 1998, the Computer Crimes Act 1997 and the Penal Code.

He stressed the important role of parents, urging them to be alert to changes in their kids’ behaviour, like not accessing the Internet as often, becoming quiet, and refusing to go to school. He encouraged parents to communicate with their child to gauge if cyber bulllying is a problem, and to document the incidents for Police investigation, instead of intervening directly and risk flaring up the issue.

Parents play an important role, Supt Chelvam points out.

Parents play an important role, Supt Chelvam points out.

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Outreach Project Office Nur Hasanah Ahmad Ahmad Akhir mentioned the general attitude in the Asian culture that equated “asking for help to being weak”, thus discouraging victims from seeking help. She also felt that victims do not receive the correct response or their woes are dismissed as growing pains in life. She stated that most bullies come from a family of bullies, and the problem can only be effectively resolved if the reasons behind the bullying are identified. She reminded of the many avenues available for seeking help in cyber bullying.

Nur Hasanah mentions the various forms of support available for victims.

Nur Hasanah mentions the various forms of support available for victims.

 During the Q&A, Saidatul advised complainants to present proof and told that the MCMC cannot act against cyber bullies from overseas. Supt Chelvam responded that only the victims can press charges although reporting can be done by anyone.

About 50 people attended the forum moderated by SHSS Lecturer Irmadura Ramli, including WOU’s full-time students.

Celebrating Deepavali in a spirit of fun and togethernerss

Staff and students of WOU enjoyed a series of exhilarating Indian dance performances during the Deepavali gathering organised by the full-time on-campus learning (OCL) students at the main campus today.

The evening kicked off with the breaking of coconut, a customary traditional practice for any auspicious occasion. This was executed perfectly by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye on the road at the edge of the foyer behind the CSU office. 

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye, poised to break the coconut.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye, poised to break the coconut.

Next was the lighting of the oil lamps with candles undertaken by Prof Ho, Chief Operating Officer Mr Yeong Sik Kheong, Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof Dr Zoraini Wati Abas and Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, followed by a procession of several University staff and students.

(From left) Prof Zoraini, Prof Ho and Mr Yeong light the oil lamps.

(From left) Prof Zoraini, Prof Ho and Mr Yeong light the oil lamps.

The lighted oil lamps and the peacock ‘kolam’, a floor drawing created with broken rice/rice flour, lent an air of festivity to the gathering. Peacock, the national bird of India, is commonly used in kolams as symbols of beauty, glory and refinement.

Student Priya performing an Indian classical dance.

Student Priya performing an Indian classical dance.

The emcee, Yeap Mun Keat, Vice President of the OCL Student Council, introduced the first act, a solo Indian classical dance presentation.  Next was the kolattam or ‘sticks dance’, with the dancers holding sticks in each hand and beating them to create rhythmic sounds.

'Kolattam' performance by the full-time students.

'Kolattam' performance by the full-time students.

The function witnessed a few fast tempo group performances, with the ladies clad in sarees and the guys in their jippa and vesti outfits. The dancers even adorned sunglasses in a few dance sequences to give it that extra authenticity.

The students don sunglasses for the upbeat tempo dance.

The students don sunglasses for the upbeat tempo dance.

Students and staff feasted on generous helpings of fried meehoon, chappati, dhall gravy and snacks like vadai and murukku.

Among those in attendance were Regional Operations & Marcom Director Mr K H Chong, Acting School of Business & Administration (SBA) Dean Prakash V Arumugam, and School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

Collaborate and Co-elevate, Vice Chancellor advises

The staff at the main campus of WOU celebrated Deepavali together today with a lunch feast and several activities organised by their Hindu colleagues.

Guests being welcomed with colourful bangles and 'pottu' (for the forehead).

Guests being welcomed with colourful bangles and 'pottu' (for the forehead).

In his welcoming remarks, Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, explained that the breaking of coconut signifies the breaking of one’s ego while the Festival of Lights symbolises the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

All focused on breaking the coconuts well.

All focused on breaking the coconuts well.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Chief Operating Officer Mr Yeong Sik Kheong, Registrar Dr Andy Liew, School of Education, Languages & Communications Dean Prof Santhiram Raman, and Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Assistant Manager Khoo Chiew Keen then performed the breaking of coconuts outside the Homestead.

This was followed by the lighting of oil lamps by Group Finance Director Chua Saw Nee, ETP Director Grace Lau, and Assoc Prof Dr Intan Osman and Senior Lecturer Lalitha Ramasamy from the School of Business & Administration.

Lighting of the oil lamps by (from right) Grace Lau, Chua, Dr Intan and Lalitha.

Lighting of the oil lamps by (from right) Grace Lau, Chua, Dr Intan and Lalitha.

Prof Santhiram gifted Prof Ho with a golden shawl and a flower garland, a common Indian tradition of showing honour, in appreciation of his long service as Vice Chancellor. “It looks like you’re in a hurry to see me leave!” Prof Ho remarked in jest to the laughter of guests before delivering his speech.

Prof Ho said that feasting together reminded him of a book he had read titled ‘Never Eat Alone’ by Keith Ferrazzi published in 2005, in which the author used the platform of building relationships to highlight networking.

Prof Santhiram bestows a garland on Prof Ho.

Prof Santhiram bestows a garland on Prof Ho.

He told staff that in this day and age, people can no longer work in silos but must network and collaborate to accomplish complex tasks.  While doing so, they should help each other to master new knowledge and skills to enhance work proficiency, he added, through the process of “co-elevation” (a term coined by Ferrazzi in his latest book).

Prof Ho stated that the first book talks about five mindsets for building relationships. “One, is in order to go far one must work together with others to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. It is all about team-building. Second, you need to plant a seed of relationship and as the seedling matures, the relationship will blossom into love and respect.”

Dr Nagarajan (foreground, seated at right) and other staff listen to Prof Ho.

Dr Nagarajan (foreground, seated at right) and other staff listen to Prof Ho.

He continued, “Third is asking questions. If you don’t ask the rights questions, you’ll not find the right solutions. Fourth, the strength of your relationship is an exponential function of the number of people you form relationships with. Lastly, you have to give in order to get,” he stressed.

He then shared a 4-minute video showing Ferrazzi talking about his new book and explaining the term ‘Co-Elevation’.  According to Ferrazzi, collaboration alone is not enough today. Collaboration must lead to co-elevation of all parties involved in any collaborative project, for instance in a course development project.

Prof Ho looks handsome in his 'new' attire.

Prof Ho looks handsome in his 'new' attire.

Over 100 staff attended, including WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Programmes and EdTech) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and special guest Ms Kristin Bleyder, coordinator for international online degree programmes, from Luebeck University of Applied Sciences (LUAS), Germany, who visited WOU on that day for a meeting.

Kristin gets henna painting for her hand.

Kristin gets henna painting for her hand.

University-Industry collaboration vital for nation's talent development

A four-member delegation from WOU attended the half-day ‘University-Industry Dialogue with the Honourable Minister of Higher Education’ held at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.

The Minister (centre) listening to the representatives from industry and academia.

The Minister (centre) listening to the representatives from industry and academia.

The delegation led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye comprised Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & EdTech) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi and Regional Operations & Marcom Director Mr K H Chong. The event was organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in partnership with the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST) Centre, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

The dialogue with Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh was intended to explore opportunities and challenges related to the development of Academia-Industry Collaboration in driving the nation’s productivity, and to address the issue of talent and skills mismatch so as to meet the talent needs of industry.

Over 150 participants from various institutions of higher learning, industry, government agencies and other stakeholders attended the dialogue. Also present were USM Vice Chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Asma Ismail, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry and Community Network) Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed, and CEO of Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), Mr Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin.

Dato' Seri Idris (partly hidden) visits the exhibition booths.

Dato' Seri Idris (partly hidden) visits the exhibition booths.

Dato’ Seri Idris stressed to the participants that industry and the academia are one, and hence the need for closer collaboration between both the sectors is imperative.

The Ministry of Higher Education has recently introduced initiatives to nurture the required talents for industry. They are: Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) for entry into university; Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (ICGPA) that assesses knowledge along with practical skills and ethics of students; the CEO Faculty Programme to produce industry-relevant graduates; and 2u2i for undergraduates to study 2 years in campus and intern another two years  in industries.

Following the dialogue, the Minister witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between USM and PSDC for the latter’s Master of Science in Microelectronic Engineering programme developed in collaboration with USM, and visited the exhibition booths that showcased various innovations and chatted with the delegation from WOU.

Prof Ho (4th from left) stands next to the Minister, along with (4th and 3rd from right) Prof Zoraini and Dr Liew. At left is Dr Tan Choo Jun.

Prof Ho (4th from left) stands next to the Minister, along with (4th and 3rd from right) Prof Zoraini and Dr Liew. At left is Dr Tan Choo Jun.

WOU Senior Lecturer from the School of Science & Technology, Dr Tan Choo Jun, who was part of a CREST research project titled ‘A novel approach for prioritisation of product reliability improvement in a complex manufacturing environment’, participated in the exhibition.

The RM250,000 grant project is led by USM Deputy Dean (Student Affairs & Networking) Prof Low Heng Chin and involves the collaboration of WOU and USM with industry partners, Motorola Solutions and Sanmina Sci-Systems. The main aim of the project is to improve product reliability. It is a 3-year project which commenced in Feb 2016 and is expected to be completed in December 2018.