29 August 2010

What’s in a name -Part 2

Concluding Part 2

The campus of the second centre of learning on my drive home, UMT (Universiti Malaysia Terengganu), approaches soon after we pass the University mosque (my Kusza mosque). UMT is across the road on the right. So if I were to salute the two universities I would have my left hand up for UniSZA and my right for UMT until I part with them both at a mini roundabout. Now let us see how this second great university developed itself since 1994.


When I began to drive along this road in 1994, UMT was then the Terengganu campus of Universiti Pertanian (UPMT). However, in 1997 the PERTANIAN matured to become Universiti Putra (still UPMT).

In 1999 UMPT took a new name, KUT (Kolej Universiti Terengganu). Then in 2001, KUT transformed itself into KUSTEM (Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi). I can only presume that Terengganu would not want to be seen lacking in the in-thing, science and technology.

That was not the end of it. In 2007 KUSTEM had to undergo further development. That K for Kolej had to make way for a proper U (sudah jadi universiti lah). After all, its neighbour across the road had shed off the college image. KUSTEM now became University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT).


IPGM Kampus Dato’ Razali Ismail

Pakcik must not be seen to sideline another establishment known as Kolej Perguruan Batu Rakit, just about 3 kilometers away from my home. Because changes in a name was becoming quite common, I hardly realised that this very important centre of learning for teachers was upgraded from a college image to Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia (IPGM)- Batu Rakit.
Then last year this IPGM was declared assuming a new name Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia Kampus Dato’ Razali Ismail (IPGM Dato’ Razali Ismail).


Not Bothered To Change
Seeing what I have seen, I wonder whether I want to feel sorry for those who refuse to change with time. Since I have picked three centres of learning close to me, a matter of six kilometer radius away, let me, likewise, take three centres which are far away, three that do not seem to have advanced with time. They have been there for more than 100 years, a whole CENTURY without a change. The following centres of excellence have remained an institute, a school and a college respectively.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
. Founded in 1861.

2. London School of Economics (LSE).
Founded in 1895

3. Imperial College London (IC London).
Founded 1907


While we continue making changes to reflect advancement and achievement, I am reminded of Ayat 26-27 of Surah 55 translated by Muhammad Asad as “ All that lives on earth or in the heavens is bound to pass away: but forever will abide thy Sustainer’s Self, full of majesty and glory.” -
Nothing, absolutely nothing is permanent


Special note for dear ex-Almanar pupils.
Do not be surprised next time you call on us you will see a more glamorous (canggeh lah) name than Nuri and Al-Manar. But I will still be Pakcik to you, and a Datuk to ten individuals who shortened it to a simple ‘Ki’ to reflect endearment and respect to a real datuk. You, too, may consider changing as you move through life, but be mindful that you and I can never dream of making anything permanent - like the above Quranic verse itself, immortal.

Berkhidmat Kerana Tuhan Untuk Kemanusiaan

28 August 2010

What’s in a name -Part 1

This is part 1 of 2

Is a name not important?
But of course it is. Take such terms as ‘orang-orang ternama’, ‘jenama’, ‘nama baik’ and so on. They all give the sense of importance, top quality and all which should be accorded admiration and respect.



To illustrate this point let us look at how two important centres of higher learning in Terengganu got their names changed since 1994, in a period of 17 years. There is nothing magical about the choice of 1994 other than that being the year I was drawn back with Makcik to Terengganu a state I had been away from for about 40 years – since before Merdeka of 1957. So in 1994 we moved into our retirement home which we had it named ‘Nuri’ giving that sense of aristocracy, especially if the owner does not belong to one.


A short digression!

Giving the house a name gave that significance, didn’t it? That return to ‘negeri tumpah darah’ (I wonder what the English translation is – ‘land where blood is shed’ sounds like a second world war story!) coincided with my plan to establish a small tuition centre. Again it was given a name, ‘Al-Manar’ – signifying something, surely.


It should be noted here that the name Terengganu is also known by its Arabic honorific Darul Iman (abode of faith). As a child in my primary school I was given to understand that the state I was born in drew its origin, rightly or wrongly, from Taring Anu (fang of something). From that it became Trengganu which subsequently progressed to acquire an E to become TErengganu.

Now I hope the readers are beginning to see the significance of a NAME.



Now we go back to those two centres of learning I was about to describe. Coincidentally they form two important landmarks for visitors who intend to drive to our home (that Nuri) from Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu (upgraded from a simple ‘Bandar Kuala Terengganu’).


Second digression!

What used to be MPKT (Majlis Perbandaran) is now MBKT (Majlis Bandaraya) – giving Pakcik and Makcik the uplifting feeling that we are now living in a city, not just a town when we first returned here in 1994. We returned to a place somewhat rural and now a city dweller – thanks to the NAME.


The first landmark, about six kilometers to our house, is a beautiful mosque which has been popularly and passionately known as Masjid Kusza. Sited close to the main road it is the prominent symbol of this old religious college known as KUSZA (Kolej Agama Sultan Zainal Abidin) which opened its door in 1983.

The college was beginning to gain prominence when in 2007 it was restructured to signify its maturity to become a university, a full blown university named University Darul Iman (UDM). Pakcik can distinctly recall the event when it was declared that this university would be modeled after the renown Cambridge University which was described as being made up of different colleges. What was rather odd to me was when the spokesman clarified that the constituent colleges of this university would be established in various towns of Terengganu. The logic seemed to suggest that if Cambridge University has colleges throughout Cambridge , this university of Darul Iman would have colleges through out Darul Iman. Professors in Cambridge cycle round from one college to another whilst those of Darul Iman being chauffer-driven from one town to another! That sounds logical enough as a model.


Third digression !

When I mentioned ‘modeled after the renown Cambridge’ I was reminded to say something. One should appreciate that Terengganu is unique in her ability to reproduce models of world famous structures such as the famous mosques of the world. World travelers can visit the beautiful miniaturised buildings all on one island.


That change from KUSZA to UDM took place just under three years ago. I was greatly puzzled a couple of months ago, when driving home from bandaraya I saw workmen busy hacking away at the UDM sign board at the main entrance of the university. But I left it at that. Surprise, surprise, a few days later the sign board read Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA). Quite used to name changes I have not bothered to enquire the reasons for the change – presumably it is stilled modeled after Cambridge.

So when I went for my tarawih at my favourite KUSZA mosque a few evenings ago I could not miss seeing the new name ‘Masjid Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin’ on the mosque. But I do not imagine that I would bother to learn to call this mosque by another name. Let me risk being branded non-progressive. I am not about to fool around with the name of one of HIS houses, as much as Masjidul Haram, Masjidul Nabawi and Masjidul Aqsa. After all, who knows it would not assume another name some time in distance future? Nothing is permanent.

Berkhidmat Kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

(To be concluded tomorrow, insya Allah)

11 August 2010

Welcoming Ramadhan

Muslims in Malaysia will start fasting tomorrow. Allow Pakcik to take a slightly different route to welcome this very special month with two short poems. One is written by the blogger Ninotaziz www.poemsbyninotaziz.blogspot.com Having read her work, The Hand , Pakcik was inspired to leave a poem in Malay as my comment to her posting. Ninotaziz later had my untitled attempt translated into English for the benefit of her overseas visitors.

The hand - (by Ninotaziz)

They say

The hand that rocks the cradle
Rules the world...

I say

The hand that tills the land
Feeds the world

The hand that guides the chalk
Teaches the young

The hand that shapes the heart
Calms the soul

The hand that carves the art
Broadens the mind

The hand that reaches out
Creates the strongest of bonds


The hand of the scribe
Yours and mine...


Against the above entry in Ninotaziz’s aforesaid blog, www.poemsbyninotaziz.blogspot.com I ended my comment with the following short poem:

Menitisnya air
Awan hitam

Menitisnya air
Jarijari kecil

Kerdilnya aku
Dikaki Mu

And here is Ninotaziz’s translation of Pakcik’s poetry attempt:

The gentle drizzle
falls upon the paddy fields
Clouds grey and heavy
Wrung tightly

The gentle tear falls
Upon the cheek
Overcame by pity
For the young and the weak

How insignificant - me
Lying at your feet


Since Ninotaziz chose The hand as the title for her poem I would use ‘Menadah Tangan’ for mine. I shall have to request her to help in translating that.

It is hoped that whatever message one understands from the above two poems would mean something befitting with the holy month of Ramadhan.

Selamat menyambut Ramadhan diucapkan kepada pelawat-pelawat yang berugama Islam.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan