Friday, February 10, 2012

On a roll

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
― Confucius

This quote makes me smile. In my teenage years, I sought to understand what it meant. I thought I had to do what other people wanted me to do. Or what other people thought suited them. So I modeled myself after other people. As years passed by I realized that learning about yourself is the key to knowing what you love. Seeing yourself in other people's eyes and admitting all the flaws as much as appreciating all the positives about yourself really helps you move closer to that direction. I choose to say direction not point because life is a journey.

Some people say I am lucky and born in the right stars. But how do you explain the hardships that I walked through in life. Something that no one could ever imagine. The choices that we make when the challenges come our way, make the BIG differences in our life. To walk in the path I took, it is not for the faint hearted. Sometimes you go through days, months or even years in darkness. But for those feeling that there is no hope. I would say.. have a vision.. a healthy more positive vision of where you can be and where you deserve to be because you are precious. Yup even with your flaws.. you are precious to this world we live in. For I believe everyone born into this world has a purpose to fulfill. The lost of one entity would affect millions around. The fulfillment of a destiny changes worlds and aeons..

I have been through a lot these pass decades.. and I just found out that the slug and hardwork I had put into my very first high impact peer reviewed indexed jounal had been cited 14 times.. I pat myself on the back. But to get that paper out, I had to read, write, edit, research for years.. hahahah I remember when I first started writing it. My supervisor Jonathan.. you can see him on the main page in his robes.. :) he is like a Father to me.. told me I should write a paper for him to go to a conference in Montreal. I could have gone with him if I did not bloody go to Thailand for an earlier conference.. DANG! hahaha but I wrote it anyway.. he took my presentation and paper.. and returned them to me for corrections. This was repeated for a zillion times until I could vomit. Still I did it. He finally said it was good enough for the conference.. I was soo bad at writing that I had to go through that.. :( Then I finished my Permanent Head Damage Journey.. hahahah and returned home to have a baby..

Guess what.. Jonathan emails me and says you need to do more editing.. Imagine my expression.. OH NO NOT AGAIN! was more like it.. and again it went to and fro from him to me for more editing.. this time I had to type it while breastfeeding my Kiddo, or while stealing time when my Kiddo slept, or not resting even when I was on my confinement period... hey.. the body is not exposed to the elements... just the mind is being worked up.. I WAS COMPLAINING.. I just wanted to say NO!.. I had enough.. but just when I thought I was ready to tell my really dear Supervisor.. He said it is ready.. a few months later in 2007 it was an article in press... PHEW!... did I want to write any more papers after that.. NOOOOOOOO.. traumatised.. yes.. feeling very low about myself? yes.. I was not very good because I had to do soooo much editing.. sigh!

I did not dare write a single paper after that.. hahahah really it scared the shits out of me.. the experience.. in 2007 the impact factor for Powder Tech was below 1.. dejected yes.. all that work for a low impact factor journal.. but in 2008 my paper was published and was cited 5 times in the first year it was out.. imagine my SURPRISE.. I almost fell out of my chair.. and to add to my surprise.. the impact factor was 1.5. WOW!... WOW!! and WOW!! again and again.. And then today.. four years later after it was published, I have 14 citations.. by people I don't even know.. imagine the reach of the information I had produced.. just imagine that for a while.. Thank you Jonathan for guiding me, pushing me and believing in me.. Thank you for telling me to stop doing for a while and to THINK!..

Now I am on a roll.. I have presented 3 conference papers last year.. I am polishing two papers from that three. I have about another 10 in my paper bank waiting to be written and about 3 or four from my thesis. I do not think I can repeat what I had achieved because I do not have Jonathan pushing me for further corrections and further corrections anymore.. but I will try and learn from that experience and try to be writing again... write good journal papers..

And this to my friend Margreet.. you once told me the type of job that suits me well with the attitude, personality and character I have was to be in academia.. Thank you.. it does suit me well.. I love knowledge.. I love writing... I love talking.. I love telling stories... I love studying things.. I love thinking.. it is all and everything that I love.. I have found my passion in life..

If you are interested to have a look at this paper it can be found via this link

erm p/s just to be obnoxious.. when I got the link above.. I saw this "Cited by in Scopus (17)"

hahahah elated?.. I am overwhelmed.. yesterday it was 14 and today add another 3.. I really need to write my subsequent papers from my thesis.. I have a responsibility to disseminate what knowledge I hold.. (do you see that person in the corner saying.. perasan.. hahaha yes I am soo very perasan).

Good nite everyone.. I wanted to write the paper but ended up writing this blog because I forgot my external hardrive in the office.. :) wish me luck for the future.. lotsa love Doc Rogue

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Ina and process engineering

I am a kampung girl, with paddy planters feet, I grew up in the kampung but learned a lot of process engineering from my Ina. Process engineering is one of the career options of a chemical engineering graduate. It deals with making raw materials reach it's customers in the product form that it is required. The raw materials can be fossil fuel, biomass, oleochemicals, minerals etc. The products can be in the form of chips, electrical gadgets, food, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, fuel etc. 

As a kid I used to read a lot and there is three words that I came across which reverberated through my life. It was, "making rocket fuel". Thirty years ago, I used to be cared for by my grandmother who I lovingly know as "Ina". Part of the fun activities were feeding the farm animals, making "nonsoom" (fermented food) of either fruits, fish or meat, as well as my favorite, making rocket fuel. Back then I did not know that I was helping my grandmother turn biomass into rocket fuel. I thought, I was just helping out in doing house chores. 

My Ina was very organized with her rocket fuel making procedure, firstly the glutinous rice was cooked and laid out to cool on an open flat area. Care must be taken not to contaminate the biomass hence no running around for me. I was happy doing it cos I got to eat the yummy leftovers of glutinous rice with sugar. Next the cooled biomass is mixed with the innoculum, an ingredient locally called "sasad". Following that, the inoculated biomass was fed into a reactor, which usually was a "tajau" and further care was taken to keep any air pockets from being trapped in the biomass to keep contamination to a minimum. Then she would put a piece of charcoal and a parang on top of the reactor. Which I later on realized kept the air around the mouth of the reactor clean. After two weeks, she would open it up and check if it was suitable for either direct consumption as a nutritious drink or to be made into rocket fuel. If it was good enough to be harvested then careful solid liquid separation was conducted using a net or a homemade sieve and proper sterile drink packaging in recycled glass bottles were conducted.

If the biomass was more suitable for rocket fuel, further processing was to be conducted. This process was distillation, which is actually cooking the biomass and with a cooling pan placed at the top of the tall thin cooker to catch the condensate. The cooker is covered by a large wok filled with cool water. It was my job to keep replacing the water if it got too hot and making sure the firewood kept burning at the right rate. My Ina would be upset when I got the fire too big. It caused the biomass to be burned and reduce product quality. Both these products were sold to the neighbors and community. This was one of her many life long income generating activities as she lost her husband when my mother was only ten. It helped her raise seven kids on her own in he mid 1900s.     

Being an avid reader, it made me dream of a better life for myself. I imagined myself traveling the world and observing cultures other than my own. Yet this was not possible as I was from very humble origins. The money to support this dream had to come from somewhere. So with the skills I unconsciously acquired from my Ina, I began planning my future. I drew up a route to success which included getting a scholarship to study. To be eligible for that I needed to be very intelligent and very active in school activities as well as show leadership. I worked hard at all three. Yet I knew that was not enough to get a scholarship, I knew I needed to pick an area of which the government of Malaysia would need for nation building. 

Hence I chose electrical engineering, because that was the toughest engineering field of study that I knew then. However my mind changed after talking to a good friend. She told me I should read more about the field and maybe look up chemical engineering. As soon as she said that I was in the Penampang library looking up the field in every encyclopedia. It would be easier nowadays with Google. What I realized then changed my life forever. I was trained as a kid to make products, I was used to making processes work best to increase product quality. Then I knew this was the field of engineering for me.  

My path to getting a chemical engineering honors degree was challenging but rewarding. There was one point in which I almost did not make it. But perseverance , supportive classmates and prayers helped me through. I got my degree in 1999. I returned in high hopes of working in a highflying job and earning a lot of money. But in those days, jobs for chemical engineers were only abundant in Peninsula Malaysia and Sarawak. I got a job as a salesperson instead. I was not disheartened, my application to be a tutor in UMS was approved and I jumped at the offer of becoming a tutor which would mean that, I would be sent off to do a Masters. I was very grateful for the opportunity to do a Masters, for I loved knowledge. Who knew then that, I would go on to do a PhD and return to Sabah with a lot more than I planned for. 

In reflection of the pass and present, I am at the peak of my career, I am doing what I love most hence I do not feel like I am working most of the time and plus I earn enough to be level with my peers. Can it get any better? Yes, I have a lot of ideas and proper planning in developing these ideas into products are in progress. I believe I am helping people in improving their lives and giving alternative energy choices to the community. I am also helping in my little way in building a great 1Malaysia. My Ina, the original process engineer, you inspired me and you taught me so many lessons which I still use up to today. Sadly she left us on the 2nd October, 2011, this was written as a tribute to her.  
The End.

This article is the longer version of an article I submitted to My Engineering Story Competition held by IEM Sabah. I posted this up in hopes of inspiring young minds to think big... Happy New Year 2012.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

change is constant

I like the title of my blog. It just wraps up life so well. Everything constantly changes. Everyone grows. It is amazing.. The wonderful thing that I have realized is that when you feel down, it means one day you will be happy. If you are happy.. no one knows it will turn bad or worst or better. But that is life. It changes. Hence you have to change with it. Otherwise you get blocked or frozen..

I love life.. I love the way it changes.. because something nice just happened and I feel sooo very happy..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The epitome of perfect love

Tulip (Author unknown, by me at least)

If I was a Tulip
And you were wind’s-wings,
I would not count
My broken dreams,
But bless the coming spring.

I would let you see me
In colors-
Pink, yellow and red.
You’d find me blooming
By the riverbed

Or, down in the valley
By the little creek,
To make proud
The water falls,
To make you feel meek.

But strong winds
Of late May
Again could make me weak.
My petals scattered
On the ground
And gone in a week.

But I will come again
To let you see…
Life is but a circle,
I will bloom
Again next spring:
Isn’t it a miracle?

I would be happy
To know that you would
Touch my face
When the sun sets in.
I would feel you in full force,
Gently from within.

You would come to me
Each day-
Again to disappear,
But when the sun’s-rays
Touch at noon-
Again I would feel you near.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A new day, a new plan, a new destiny

Two years ago, I was in depression. Life could not be worst. Was I so evil that my marriage was my hell? Today that is all over. Thank You God. The perpetrator to my hell experience finally said sorry. I did not need to hear it from him because I was already at peace. Yet it was very good to hear it even if he did not mean it. I knew he would be sorry. It was just a matter of time. Life is a great Teacher that is what I would say.

Today, I am a successful career woman with financial problems and worries about raising my kids as a single mother. :) The way I see it, it is just sweet life. Nothing could be better than this. I can smile freely each day and receive the hardships and beauty that comes my way. Nice...

Next stage, planning for the future. I am not sure if I can achieve it but the actions of today determines the fruits of tomorrow. Think, communicate and do. That is the Motto of this year.

From my work of yesterday, I have a large reserve of papers and proposals. It was hard to get here but worth it. The next stage is to completely polish each to sterling silver brightness. Following that publish publish publish, talk talk talk and then do do do. The cycle will go on for me for the next 3-5 years but I am not scared or worried. That is how this life goes.

Meanwhile my kids will be okay, I will ensure that I will be home to read them books and continue working to sleep by the 11th hour each night. And in the weekends a choice of music classes, swimming lessons, karate sessions etc.

It is funny how just a month ago, I was upside down worrying about my finances when in fact. I have already ticked off each item on the checklist that should be done to be secure. Hmmmm I am an over achiever hence no wonder I over stress. I may not be in the lap of luxury and I will need to downgrade my expenditures and be more economical to survive, but all in all I am just alright.

So my destiny is in my own hands for I am the architect of my future, the navigator of my ship and the engineer to progress. I love life...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Walking on the wild side with God

I read a blog with the above title. I love it. :) made me smile and made me peaceful. I know it is really embarrassing to be caught being Catholic, God-fearing plus having a lot of faults and sins. It is really embarrassing to looked at because you said Grace before a meal. I am shy to be caught praying.

I have to admit that I love my God. I love the way I pray. I love the way He had watched over me all these years. I have walked far away from Him and I have walked closer to Him. I found that when I walked far away from Him.. I "thought" I was ok. I thought I was at peace and I was happy. I thought I was doing good and then when the shit hit the fan for me several times I cry and scientifically do the mental housecleaning. However I never went through a spiritual house cleaning. Why? Because I believed I was ok.

Next would be a contradiction to the above. Now that I am closer (not very very close okay)just closer than before. I feel soo many evil things are happening around me, to me and to my family. I can see it and I have visions which scares me. I feel sooooooo overwhelmed. Why is this happening to me? Why am I seeing destruction and war? (this is figuratively speaking, I know there is a war and I know the papers have articles on destruction). But why with the closer I get the scarier things get. I do not know, what I know is that I beg all to pray for me. I myself will keep praying for myself and my family. This life is borrowed. We are only here for a moment. I plan to make that moment lovely and full with good things.

I also pray for a good friend's soul to be resting in Peace and blessing us from heaven.

I am like a bird - Eagle.. woo hoo..

Your Power Bird is an Eagle
You are spiritual and able to soar to great heights.
You are a true inspiration, and many people look to you for guidance.
And you are quite demanding in relationships... but you're worth it.
People know that you will become even greater than you imagine.

The Keys to Your Life - Shite! truth reverberates.

The Keys to Your Life
Anything good in your life comes from you having the strength to make good decisions.

You know how to assess a situation before you leap into action.

Anything bad in your life comes from fooling yourself or clinging to illusions.

Be strong enough to see the world clearly. Learn from your mistakes.

My Shoe Type - Oh I am common... :)

You Are Sneakers
You are creative, funky, and forward thinking.
You are cool, but you are still approachable.

You are stylish and edgy, but you aren't a slave to fashion.
You tend to put your own spin on trends.

You tend to have a fast paced, busy lifestyle.
Not a lot of people can keep up with you!

You should live: Near nature

You should work: In a job that keeps you on the go

The Sesame Street Personality Quiz - Who would have guessed

You Are Bert
Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you lovable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you live your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others