The Perception of Reality...


The Perception of Reality...

Volume 5 Issue 6 News & Resources | June 2012


On face value, the reality is stark and gloomy. The all-new research niche formulated has started to crumble right from day one. Even with all the good intentions and well-structured methodology in forcing innovation or breakthrough, the all elusive winner is yet to emerge convincingly. Things get worse the more interactions we have with the end-users. It is like being hit on the head with a solid brass hammer. Sordid indeed, but this is the pseudo-reality that one needs to overcome and handle well before success even dares to knock on one’s door. Reality is the real world out there where the valued currency is not the number of papers or the long title in front of one’s name, but what real significant impact can one brings to society at large. What is your real value? What is your reality? Just stop and ponder on these questions. At least by then we will get a feel of the world we live in.

By right when one’s actions are not affecting the daily realities, one should try harder to change one’s behaviour or actions with the hope that things get better. And, the process continues until things do finally get better. Yes, this is the tried and tested path. But wait, there is another viable option. Sometimes people opt to change their perception of realities, and hence the once undesirable situation automatically becomes desirable or tolerable, the least. This is certainly a weird way of solving one’s problem in ensuring that daily reality is addressed, but one of least difficulty. When the perception changes, all problems ceases to exist, and one can bath in the transient feeling of success and triumph. Why not opting for this path? It would not hurt one’s ego and would even be a positive kind of feedback loop. The only problem is that the perceptions would not last when the end-users start to claim their stakes. The pseudo-reality will certainly fail the integrity test. How can it pass when it was actually a failure right from the start?

The so-called niche research theme, most often than not, is misleading. Niche R&D themes may be feasible in very rare cases, or when they are limited to certain geographical or economical zones. For example, the research into underwater sensors or technology where the applications are global in nature, the uniqueness may only exist when the applications targeted are strictly suited to certain geographical constraints. Hence, the limited R&D resources in countries such as Malaysia or Indonesia are no match to the human resources or infrastructure of WHOI (USA) or NOC (UK), IREMER (France) or JAMSTEC (Japan). We are minnows in competition with giants. An unfair race right from the beginning, but the only valid justification is in terms of economic considerations. Meaning, because the commercial underwater sensors and technologies are expensive off-the-shelf, the only viable and practical solutions for developed or least-developed nations is to come-out with their own relevant and appropriate technologies. At last, it boils down only to economic consideration. What else is there? Money and monetary issue have always been somewhat the only motivations.

R&D efforts and their impacts will need real enabling factors such as capable human capital, solid infrastructure, accommodating government policies, and clear end-user engagement, without forgetting the commercial considerations. Perception is important as long as they are helping to solve the problems at hand, and not transform into an intractable problem itself. Perception must be aligned with the realities glaring in one’s face. Of course we need to be positive and well-aware of the optimum impact of the R&D efforts. The power of perception must not be underestimated. The ability of changing perception and also challenging the status quo is a clear mark of an innovative mind. A lateral thinker is in fact solely depends on the ability to change perception consciously. So, as researchers, we have no option but to embrace the realities and really work for the agreed niche R&D themes. The ball is in our court. We must act to address the real issues and be bold in pioneering new paths whilst admitting the constraints in our hands. Let this be our new reality.

As much as we want to stay in our comfort zones, we have no option but to go forward. Going forward means getting away from all the comfort of certainties and mediocre results. We would be able to look forward for new opportunities when we are willing to interact with the real world and her real needs. No more hiding into our self-created reality shield. The more we venture outside and be ready to adapt and adopt, we will not be on the losing sides and successes are just a matter of time, and no longer a matter of luck or chance. Yes, it will always be about our perceptions.

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!
(Bob Marley)

Written by : 
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad 
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering 
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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