And then there's the Deputy Vice-Chancellors. If they say "jump", you don't ask "how high". Just reach for the sky. Sorry, lighten up.
Case in point. When the DVC for Research and Innovation called up about 30 experts for a workshop on Eco-systems, Landscape and Heritage over the weekend at the Batu Ferringhi Beach (28th -30th Nov), they not only showed up but stayed until the end, working until past 1 am and 3 am. Yes, you are reading that right. What more if the DVC said that "no one is going home" until she gets the plan for action. So Mashhor equated the DVC with the Iron Lady of England. Of course Asma was sporting about it. We actually had a lot of fun, the way academics know how to have fun - Listening to lectures! But these experts were so full of passion and love for their area of expertise you couldn't help being infected. And we learnt a lot.
The workshop in progress. If you notice the plastic bottles of water on the table, I have already "scolded" (nicely) the organisers. They promised that if they ever invite me to their workshop again, they will make sure that there will be no plastic bottles of water. I wanted to tell them "hey, you are still not getting it", but patience, they will eventually come around.
What's this thing about the Eco-Busters? Well, the DVC was having a hard time making decisions on projects related to eco and landscape and heritage buildings and didn't know who to call. You see a ghost, you call the ghost-busters, right? You have problem with termites and fungus and water monitors or pigeons and snakes, who do you call? The Eco-busters of course.
Out of this workshop, some ten projects have been suggested including documentation using state-of-the-art software, an Eco House near the Durian Valley, restoring a couple of heritage buildings, research and management of fungus in buildings, infestation and diseases on trees, and an Eco Trail with information on medicinal value of trees, ants moulds (yes, they give you an itch for a week but are vital to the eco-system), coffee table books and others.
Here's breaking news. USM will be rehabilitating the two lakes (Tasek Aman and Harapan) and the river (Sg Gambier) over the next nine months as part of the celebrations for our 40th Anniversary. One of our problems is how to deal with the huge water monitors (biawak). They are thriving because of the Tilapia fish in the ponds. And the Tilapia is thriving because no other fish can survive in the oxygen-deprived water in the lake. Got any bright ideas - on how to deal with the biawak or lake?