Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with LIFE: THE MALAYSIAN STYLE! writer Peggy Tan

I reproduce here the interview with Peggy Tan Pek Tao taken from Berita Kampus' latest issue (pg 15, Volume 40. No 6) due for distribution on Monday 25 October 2010. Reason: there is a slim chance it would be published on Berita Kampus Online.

Peggy Tan Pek Tao, 54 lectures at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Languages, Literacy’s and Translation. Her book Life: The Malaysian Style won first prize in the non-fiction category of the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Award 2010 which was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on 6 September during the ongoing BookFest@Malaysia 2010. Follow the exclusive interview by Berita Kampus' journalist, Amanina Nazari and Winarti Talib.

Q: Can you tell us an overview about your background?
A: I have been teaching for 30 years and 25 years in USM. I have three grown up children and have a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English literature and I love teaching. I have written grammar books and published articles on strategies in teaching English language using drama, and have published books on english literature and grammar. I have acted in plays with the Penang Players. I am a mountain climber and scuba diver. I have written on nature conservation, feminism articles in newspapers and magazines.

Q: When do you begin writing? What encouraged you to give it a try?
A: I have always desired to write but I have found it is kind of difficult having three children so I began when they grew up. I write because there are few Malaysian writers and it

Q: Is Life: The Malaysian Style your first writing?
A: I have published academic articles and journals in America and local universities and I have lectured on english literature, language teaching, learning and feminist studies. Is Life: The Malaysian Style is my second publications, my first book is entitled Tales of the heart. In Is Life: The Malaysian Style I write about the cultural aspects and the fascinating Malaysian lifestyle. Malaysian life is unique and being multi-racial, many foreigners admire our life here. This book gives an insight to the light and sparkling side of local experiences.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration/strength?
A: I am inspired by the colourful life and by friends and students.

Q: Why do you think your books are such a success?
A: Malaysians enjoy reading local books written by Malaysians. Generally we wish to encourage our own local writers to get published. My book is humorous and reflects real life and they are true stories and they reflect how people cope with their problems and seek fulfilment. That's why it is the best seller in Malaysia.

Q: Can you tell readers about your next project after the book Life: The Malaysian Style?
A: My next book is entitled Gifts from the Hearts will be published by Pelanduk Publishers, Kuala Lumpur. This book is more literally and half of the book is literature based. Life: The Malaysian Style 2 will be published next year. This book will be similar to my book which won the award.

Q: October is reading month, what is your advice to encourage reading habits among students?
A: Lecturers and schools at USM have to play significant roles and take effort to encouraged students to read books. For examples, lecturers should ask students read more books and write summary of the books. For science subject, lecturers should encourage them to borrow more books from the library. USM also can take actions such as all the schools at USM have to organize English Week for example a few times in a semester. All the students must talk in English in class or around the campus for whole week or month maybe.

*Life: The Malaysian Style is a collection of true anecdotes that shows the sparkling side of Malaysian experiences in love, work and life.

TheStar news: English lecturer’s book bags first prize in non-fiction

Peggy's blog : Sunny Life by Peggy Tan

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

USM's Student Parliament on the go

The student “parliament” in USM materialised with its first trial run at the Dewan Persidangan Utama, USM main campus on 25 September 2010 after receiving approval from the University's governing body, the LPU (Lembaga Pengarah Universiti).

The student “parliament” is called Dewan Perundingan Pelajar or Student Consultative Council and is governed by the university under the USM's constitution (section 64).

Deputy Vice Chancellor (BHEPP), Prof Datuk Omar Osman (pic below), while officiating the "parliament" wants students to take this opportunity to prove that 'we' are a role model for student leaders in this country and that we still lead, as the moto of the university says.

A total of 58 board members of "Yang Berhormat" had a chance to voice out their opinions and concerns of students in this first trial "Parliament". Out of the 58 members, 39 were chosen from the existing Student Representative Council (Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar, USM) while another 19 were selected from the 177 such societies, bodies and clubs in USM.

Prof Omar Osman said the "Parliament" will be given full liberty to operate on its own without the university's official participation.

Omar also stressed that all members of the Student Consultative Council has an equal status as a member of the board and that every member can debate without having to affiliate themselves with any party, body or society, whether government or NGOs.

This also means that there are no supporting nor opposition party in the "Parliament". Each and every member can debate in support or oppose one another based on the motion or issues proposed. More detailed news on the student "Parliament" can be found in the latest publication of Berita Kampus, 11 October 2010.

USM was the first university in the country to come out with a proposal to form a student “parliament” since a few years back.

Early this year in January, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said he expected universities in the country to start their own “students’ parliament and to come out with their own models as the ultimate aim is to encourage intellectual discussions amongst students.

Saifuddin said the proposal came from his “teh tarik” meetings with university students two weeks earlier which was organised through his own Facebook page. He added that the formation of the “parliament” will mark a new milestone in increasing the participation of undergraduates in discussions concerning government policies.

Initially, the idea was initiated by USM's Vice Chancellor, Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak back in 2004, calling for the formation of such a body with the “constituencies” comprising all the country’s universities.