How to continue the struggle?
Volume 8 Issue 9 News & Resources | September 2015
How to continue the struggle?
I do take my job seriously. In fact, it is no longer a job but a life in itself. As an academician, we are spearheading a struggle which need more than just brute strength but the ability to perceive life’s problems and find ways to solve it so that life in general will be more palatable. To be or not to be in this select vocation is one’s innate and very personal decision. One cannot be forced to become a true academician except to embrace the responsibility with clear conscience. A true academician will have no hesitation (and reluctance) in dealing and handling complicated issues. In fact, the process of searching for the best solution has never been bounded by time and preconceptions. A real academician has no problem in shedding shaky beliefs and unsupported views. The proofs and sound judgement will permeate the actions and decisions that he or she will take. The aim is not to pursue personal glory, but to ensure society in general progress to a much better plateau. An academician in the real sense is very hard to find what more to grow in abundance. Out of the many, certainly there will be some who will fit this criteria. Surely, the struggle is not lost.
An academician will deal with knowledge. The creation, cultivation, growth and sharing of knowledge in whatever field of learning (read: knowledge) will require determination and persistence from the army of academician everywhere. The challenges in creating new precepts and body of knowledge from the numerous life’s experiences, either natural or man-made, will come in abundance. Historical records have shown the difficulties and ridicules which many intellectuals and thinkers faced when they were dare enough to challenge the status quo, in relation to established body of knowledge of the day. The story of Galileo came to mind. Even when faced with solid evidence, the establishment of new concept of Earth and Sun relationship required the sacrifice of his life. Evidences when challenged with egoistic attitude will be useless. In the light of this unacademic, illogical and volatile situation, an academician must realise the act to remove the obstacles in upholding the truth will be very heavy. Yes, a true knowledge bearer will never be dishearthened. A life sacrified for the benefit of others has its own perpetual legacy. Nothing good comes cheap.
3. In University
The seekers of knowledge in the modern world typically reside in the myriad of Insitute of Higher Learnings (IHLs). Their daily activities have and will always revolve around the various discipline of knowledge. These institutionalised structures in creating and cultivating knowledge have been the results of post-industrial era where mechanistic control of the natural world have allowed Man to be real master of the world. The basic precepts of mechanistic relations between input resources and wealth generation have seen the exploitation of knowledge without properconsiderations to other more important matters such as the safeguard for the environment and strict control on poisonous waste disposal. Our world is crumbling physically and spiritually. We are contributing to this sorry state of affairs directly. The limitless possible uses of knowledge (read: technology) have broken barriers which has been limiting our previous economic ventures. The blatant disregard to other than profit-making has brought its toll to our situation today. The uncontrol clearance of forest, via burning, for cultivation has led to the acute haze problems in the South East Asia region. The generated haze problem has impacted many countries economically and make life difficult to the common people. The situation is so paradoxical since the initial reason for the mass forest burning was for profit-making. The hope to gain has culmintated in unimaginable losses. There is none to blame but our greed and short-sightedness.
4. In Society
The role to ensure all actions which affect the community, are based on solid decision-making, involves everyone in society, especially the upper echelon i.e. leaders who were elected via democratic processes. The synergistic decision-making process will ensure the best of actions are taken. Intellectuals and academicians in IHLs have a lot to play. The intellectual discourse on important topics should be encouraged in the public arena of decision-making. The leaders must ensure all decisions are justified and all the stakeholders in society are well aware of the reasonings. The champions for this effort must be the well-informed i.e. academicians in IHLs. These select groups should not be limiting themselves to the narrow scope of knowledge development during their study days. There must be a conscious and well-planned strategy to bring over the findings from the reclusive research labs into the general field of societal implementations. The society is not and should not be test bed for wild ideas and suggestions, but should be helped and assisted by sound research findings. The onus is on the researchers. We must make the first move.
5. In a nutshell
Academicians in IHLs have many roles and responsibilites. They are expected to teach the young minds. They are required to conduct research and generate novel solutions. They are supposed to be sound administrators (read: managers) in their university setting and outside the campus. Academicians are also instructed to find ways to generate income (read: profit) to the university. Last but not least, they are asked to be a role model to their communities and provide assistance when requested. The ability to juggle all these responsibilites is very pertinent. Failure to balance their focus and energy will result in frustations and sometime ridicules from certain quarters. How to continue this struggle to be the perfect academicians? A well rounded individual with seemingly unlimited energy and drives. Such a person may exist as an outlier. We must now find ways to convert the outlier into the mainstream in societal development and progress. As academicians continue toiling to ensure this becomes reality, we must make do with what we have now. It is not a case of total failure, but rather a continuous improvement and fine-tuning of strategies/actions. Let us continue to support our academicians. One day we will fulfill our dreams…
“Good things ain’t cheap; Cheap things ain’t Good” – anon.
Written by :
Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering