Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Transformation sculpture given spa treatment

See? Its spick and span. This is Kampus Sejahtera at work. One USM staff asked me if we could do something about our landmark. She said that it looks dirty : "Can we give it a new coat of paint?". I said "no way, that's a granite sculpture" but said we could get it cleaned up instead. At lunch, I passed by the sculpture and stepped into the roundabout to take a closer look. Indeed it was coated with dirt and looked kinda sad. I hadn't even thought about how dirty it was even though I passed by it almost everyday on the way to lunch.

When I got back from lunch, I sent an email to the administrative officer at Kampus Sejahtera to ask the Pejabat Pembangunan (Development Office) to give the sculpture a special spa treatment. I said we must make sure they do not paint it and that they should only use a soft brush and water or some mild soap to gently brush the dirt off. So the officer contacted his friends (we are all friends) at Pembangunan and must have been very persuasive. What do you know, this morning when I came in to work the sculpture was really, really clean. It was all done in less than 2 weeks. I wonder how many people have noticed that?

Why do I say this is Kampus Sejahtera at work? Well, Kampus Sejahtera is not about me. It is about the whole campus community pitching in, proactively if you like, making our campus a place we are proud of. Great job to all the nameless people, especially the cleaners from Pembangunan.

So what's this transformation all about? If you look at the pick above, you will see in the centre a circular protusion which is about 3/4 rough representing the brain. It faces the road coming in from the Minden gate, which used to be the main gate and symbolises that whoever comes in (especially the students) are unpolished diamonds; or at least partially polished diamonds in terms of intellect and other affectives skills and emotions.

As they spend time in campus, we will together polish and refine each. When they leave, they are much more polish, though still not yet fully polished. Knowledge, skills, affections cannot all be acquired in 4 years of study. Even staff and lecturers must relate their personal, intellectual and professional development to the idea behind the transformation sculpture. If you think lifelong learning, this fits in nicely. Each time you come back to campus, there is whole new world waiting for you.

The sculpture was created by a fine arts lecturer from USM in the 1970s. It is a treasured landmark.

For the rest of you out there with some burning issue on how to make USM better, get in touch with us.

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