Heuristic Research Trajectory:
To record and share the things that I explore and experience progressively as a novice academician cum researcher, and to underscore and exemplify some of the precious values of life that I contemplate and learn in academia.
I know the subject of the post sounds contradicting, it is nevertheless true. When you know the help is for good cause, are willing to help and are capable of helping, thus offering it voluntarily without expecting any form of reward in return, you will still end up paying the price for "helping others". You may lose the race as a result when you stop and pick up the one on the ground, you may put your career development in jeopardy when you choose to help defend your needy colleagues who are in trouble, you may sacrifice your time and concentration to do and achieve more when you reach out to the ones who are in uncertainty and misery. Many judge what you should do and what you should not. Many also comment in hindsight what you should have done and what you should have not. Maybe they are right, maybe they are not. My personal view is when helping others for good causes, despite outward gesture, is an inward motivation with genuineness and sincerity, it is not only something given for free, but also something that can bear the price and risk that may come along. Of course, when I am unable to help, I will definitely say I can't; there is no pretense. I have my priority and I have my limitation, and I am very clear on that. But when I can be of help, I will try to help, and I will make sure the recipients learn something in the process. How much help? That's another matter and it depends on the situation. Help may be free but it should not be blind. Cost is inevitable, but the satisfaction within and self-learning in the process are more rewarding.
I am grateful to Prof Kim Fam and Prof Ernest for giving me the chance to collaborate, and most importantly to learn so many things in the process. The award is a testament to the paper and presentation, and a recognition of our effort. In IBBC2012 Tawau we presented two papers. And thus far, I have presented two papers at PCSSM2012 Unimas and ICS2012 Taylor respectively, and published one journal paper at AJBR with Prof Ernest. We have submitted one paper to ISI-indexed journal and another to Scopus-indexed journal. I am drafting an abstract for the upcoming GBSR conference in KL in June this year (2013), and writing another two papers, one intended for ISI-indexed journal, and another for Scopus-indexed journal again. With the guidance from my supervisor, I can see few more potential papers, be it for conference proceeding or journal article, from my database. Compared to many, I am still a slow-moving researcher. However this 'research path' and things about doing a PhD has become clearer and clearer. Publishing as a result of reading, analyzing, writing and redoing the whole process time and again is fun and rewarding (in various forms). I do not know what my future lies in academia but for the time being I will just savour the moment.
It is a no-brainer - a statement everyone can understand. However many don't seem to get it, and some continue to live in self-denial. Even though each's situation is different, and it is impractical and even unwise to compare one's predicament from another, there are still enough avenues to other possibilities. Dead end only occurs when one refuses to think differently and consider alternatives. In most cases, it is a downfall of his own making. I think this applies to my PhD journey. Be positive, there is always an open door when it seems all doors are shut on you. Don't expect everything to be rosy but never get disheartened whenever difficult times befall on you. On another note, as a Christian, I believe this statement to the uttermost. Romans 8:28 says "...for all things work together for good to those who love God..." Life is full of opportunities. In a real sense, trials and afflictions are to help us grow and know Him more in a practical and subjective way. We are not just hoping that everything will be alright or become better, rather we believe there is a reason for everything. We should not linger on the things of the past. Instead we should move forward, take on the 'uncharted territory', and see (with a positive attitude) what God has in store for us.
Just attended the Postgraduate Conference of Social Sciences and Humanities 2012 held and fully sponsored by Unimas at the campus. Apart from the colloquiums and workshops, this is the first academic conference that I have ever participated in. There is one obvious similarity between these events, and that is the 'makan' culture... but I will leave that aside for the moment. I did not know what to expect but at the end of the day there is nothing surprising. I presented my work, but am not really pleased with my performance. For some reason I was tongue tied. Perhaps I was too cautious not to over-speak and make mistakes... There weren't many comments or 'criticism' after the presentation, and maybe that was due to the fact that my supervisor was the chairperson of that particular session, and he knows what I am doing (fortunately but to a certain extent, 'sadly'). Overall it is a good experience for me to present my work again, share my knowledge with others, learn from others and get to know some new friends or researchers. There is one thing for sure: if I want to make progress in academia, I have to share, and sharing includes receiving helps, be it advice or constructive criticism, from others. I am looking forward to joining the next conference at Taylor's University in September.
Just received the notification of the day and time of my presentation in a postgraduate colloquium in July. Here comes another chance to do a self-check: how much have I understood and learnt thus far. I had a good time with my supervisor today, and I think he is right about one thing: I read and keep reading but I do not know where or how to stop. I feel like a part of me is urging me to keep reading because there is something more I need to explore and understand, and another part is telling me to stop because I would never be able to exhaust the knowledge; I have to stop somewhere so that my research can progress. In retrospect, I think I need to do what my supervisor has always told us to do, and that is to write and show it to him. Taking nothing away from reading, I seriously need to write papers even though I do keep record of the things that I read and do. I do not have the luxury to spend all my time and sometimes even the time I planned on writing (due to various commitments), but I know there is still enough time for it.
Spent a disproportionate amount of money (for workshop, air tickets, taxi, accommodation, meals and etc) to attend a 2-day SEM workshop using PLS in Batu Pahat last weekend. Being the only one from Sarawak and the only Chinese, I presume, it made me wonder for some reason why I was spending so much to be there in the first place. When the instructor said that we needed to 'invest' in our research (which he had said before during a talk at Unimas some months ago), then I realized that I was actually making an 'investment'. I tried my best to listen and learn in the workshop. Even though there were a number of things which I did not understand, I still gained a lot. What matters now is to keep reading and learning, using the software again and again. If such an investment is a risk, it is certainly a risk worth taking. Hopefully soon I will begin to reap the return.
Finally the first paper was sent last week. It is always the hope of a postgraduate student or a novice researcher to get his or her first paper sent and published. How long does it take to get it published? Would it be published? I don't know. But there was a little sense of contentment... there is no doubt about it. I know there are goals set by researchers as to how many papers should get published every year. I am not there yet so I do not know what should be my goal. However that does not imply I am passive or indifferent in this matter. I have learnt so many new things over the past two years and I am continuing to explore new things every now and then. I believe there are times for me to learn so many things in academia. Rather than setting a goal (for getting papers published) which I may like but do not really understand, I just need to work hard. If I don't know and don't really know, I am happy to admit it. When I know, I know, and I want to know it with assurance and conviction.