So, it is official that I already had my virgin experience (pun intended!) participating an academic discourse – the 12th Biennial Convention of the Pacific & Asian Communication Association (PACA) 2018. I flew with the delayed-for-nearly-3 hours Air Asia on Tuesday night dated 3rd July 2018 as the registration and the first day of PACA was slated to be on the morning of 4th July 2018. For all of these, I have applied the Cuti Kursus Sambilan which is slated for government civilians who do part-time studying.
My tag as the presenter! And my supervisor, Prof Dr. Abdul Muati @ Zamri who also happened to be the president for Pacific & Asian Communication Association (PACA). Well, he surely didn’t tell me about this. Haha!
I managed to listen to the keynote speakers namely, Prof. Dr. Seon Gi-Baek from Korea and Prof. Datuk Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican from USM on the first day at 4th July. Both presented interesting perspective – Prof Seon presented a study on the Hallyue (Korean Waves) phenomenon whereas Prof Merican fathomed the genealogical dimension of decolonizing communication paradigms! I have to say that although at certain parts, the session became dry and soporific – the contents were really interesting and as both pop-cultured enthusiast (but I am not a K-pop fan. though!) and historical fanatic; both keynote speeches were very stimulating to my interest, I say.
Prof Seon Gi-Baek elaborated on the Korean Wave phenomenon (Hallyue). I am always interested with pop culture although I am not a K-Pop fan. I wonder if Malaysian communication academicians too, embrace this niche of academic study?
Prof Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican delivering his keynote speech on decolonizing the communication paradigm. I enjoyed his speech as it revolved on history and I am a historical aficionado. But of course, his ideas were somewhat quite ironic with communication academicians and practitioners but like Dr. Siti Zobidah said – “it’s all about celebrating the beauty of academic differences.”
We had the Welcoming Dinner at The Klagan Regency which was merely a stone-throw away from my Tune Hotel lodging (hahaha!) and it was nice to have a layback session with my fellow lecturers. Thanks to the UMS Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Heritage for giving us extraordinary insight on the cultural performances by the students. I was enthralled to witness the “Daling-Daling” dance which is apparently a Mindanaoan dance and fascinated to know that the background song was sung in an audible Malay Language – an apparent testimony that the Malay diaspora is legit; not merely confined within the Peninsular and East Malaysia but also to the Southern Thailand region (as per my previous Phuket blog at https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/thee-islamics-side-of-promiscuous-patong-a-monsoon-beach-life-discovering-the-malay-diaspora-phuket-thailand/) and also Southern Philippines – probably a remnant of the Sulu Sultanate glorious days!
With my Supervisor. He is such a cool person and exudes charisma. He never use any sort of “belittling approach” but he let me explore the world of rhetoric. He is cool.
With Dr. Akmar and Dr. Moniza. I appreciated their mentoring throughout this PACA 2018. It was nice getting insights from these two humble lecturers. I guess they understood the plights of a student as they were once students, as well. As a teacher myself, I understand that there has to be a barrier between student and teacher but when a teacher shows empathy and or an effortless, nonchalant but earnest mentoring to a student who is still crawling in the dark basking for a beacon in the tunnel – a student would always remember that and respect the teacher and see the teacher through a very special lens from the heart. Thanks to both of you!
My session was on the 2nd day dated 5th July 2018 at 2-3.30 p.m. Haha, there was a funny story behind this virgin paper presentation. Initially I had this naive thought that by sending papers to the conference of particularly this PACA Convention, I would already secured a guaranteed place for paper publication which happens to be one of the UPM PhD graduation requirements! So, being a naive, late-bloomer and klutzy PhD candidate, I nonchalantly sent THREE abstracts to PACA 2018, namely :-
- A Rhetorical Criticism of Angelina Jolie’s Selected Speeches on the Rights of Refugees;
- A Rhetorical Perspective on Islamic Speeches Among the Abrahamic Religions in Malaysia; and
- Understanding the Meaning of Goodwill in Mahathir Mohamad’s Malay Rights Speeches during and after his premiership.
Oopsie! Hahahaha! Technical glitches, folks!
Among of all three abstracts, I would say I was mostly prepared for the Angelina Jolie’s paper due to the fact that it used to be my thesis project (before the decision to shift the artifact from Jolie to Che’ Det!) but not the other two. It didn’t occur to my mind that having three papers to be presented in an academic convention (a virgin experience, no less!) was quite far-fetched – until I saw the list of programme tentative sent by the PACA Secretariat via email and the titles of my three papers were aligned consecutively back-to-back within one session! And so happened that then, I bumped into Dr. Akmar at the faculty and asked her opinion on that and she suggested that if I wasn’t ready to present all three papers, I could call the PACA Secretariat to assuage the situation. So to cut the story short, I called the Secretariat and decided that I would present only one paper which happened to be the Jolie’s paper.
Both speakers were already established academicians! Eeeek! But it was a great experience.
Courtesy of one of the Philippines delegates. Thanks to Miss Lola Quindoza for this picture. Hehehe.
I have to say that it was wise to present only one paper as it was after all, my virgin experience attending and presenting in an academic discourse and prior to that, I had the least idea of what to expect or to do in such programme. Anyway, my session was held at the Magunatip Studio and was led by Associate Prof Dr. Hamisah Hasan and there were only three presenters in my session (including myself):-
- Dr. Bahtiar Mohamed from Universiti Utara Malaysia on “Determinants of Community Involvement : An Empirical Explanation”;
- Associate Professor Dr. John Hayrold Coronel Malonzo from Polytechnic University of the Philippines on “The Historical Delineation of the Socio-Political Violation and Its Influences to the Fictional Communicative Discourses.”
Honestly, I was feeling a bit intimidated as the other presenters were already established academicians whereas I was just a PhD candidate. But then again that is all about the learning curve, no? And all academicians would have to start from a humble beginning, no? So as I was presenting my Angelina Jolie paper nonchalantly, suddenly Prof Seon Gi-Baek who happened to be one of the keynote speakers entered the room! Darn! Haha!
With Prof Seon Gi-Baek from Korea. Thanks for the feedback, Prof. I am taking notes on them.
I elaborated my analysis based on The Classical Theory of Rhetoric on the Canon of Invention where I touched on:-
- Topoi (topics) selection based on McCroskey’s The Aristotelian Topoi of Good and Evil;
- The three rhetorical devices – Logos, Pathos and Ethos
;- and on the Canon of Organization where I analyzed Jolie’s speeches arrangement based on:-
- Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
I have to say that my slides were quite a lot – well, you know being a virgin presenter, you had the tendency to squeeze EVERYTHING in the presentation! Anyway, I thought that my presentation was dry (and soporific! Haha!) and I saw Prof Seon was closing his eyes – perhaps he was sleepy after listening to my virgin presentation. Haha! But I was quite astonished when he posed questions on my presentation – which clearly showed that he did pay attention. Well, he is a Professor, isn’t he? Prof Seon asked :-
“Why did I chose the Neo-Aristotelian which is the classical approach for rhetorical criticism? Why not the newer contemporary approach as the former is considered to be outdated?”
Perhaps it was because of my first experience participating in an academic discourse involving international academicians that I’ve forgotten the necessity to “tailor the words”; so being an earnest novice, I replied that it was because that this classical approach is the most popular approach and according to Sonja Foss, Neo-Aristotelian is used by many aspiring rhetoricians as it is easy to be understood and able to yield comprehensive evaluation. Furthermore as a PhD candidate, I would have abundant of academic resources as references since there are a lot of rhetorical criticisms using Neo-Aristotelian approach.
With the Philippines’ delegates and Dr. Akmar at the front of faculty.
Prof Seon suggested that I should perhaps want to consider adopting the newer contemporary approach; I replied that I would consider other approaches such as Burke’s Identification or Fantasy Theme approach which is based on Symbolic Convergence Theory. In the vein of that, Dr. Hamisah quipped that as a PhD student, I should not reply that the reason of choosing Neo-Aristotelian was just because it was “easy” – I would want to exude the idea that as a PhD student, I have exhausted all methods that are possibly suitable for my research and NOT BECAUSE it is EASY. I took note of that constructive comment and that should be a learning process for me on how to respond in an academic discourse. Anyway right after the session, I asked Prof Seon a few questions and we reached consensus on few points. Thanks, Prof Seon!
It is also interesting to hear the presentation from Philippines as Dr. John Hayrold discussed about literary criticism – which somehow more or less comes from the same root as per rhetorical criticism. The difference between both is that literary criticism is all about understanding WHAT ARE THE TEXTS WRITTEN whereas rhetorical criticism is about HOW THE TEXTS ARE WRITTEN although the commonality point for both is that both study texts per se. It was great and refreshing insight. On the other hand, Dr. Bahtiar presented a quantitative approach and it was interesting that he brought up the matter of epistemological differences between quantitative and qualitative in the discussion session. Of course like any other positivist researchers, Dr Bahtiar admitted that he found it hard to digest the qualitative studies of which both Dr. Hayrold and I presented and was asking about the validity, significance and contribution of our studies to the world. I didn’t respond to that as I felt that this was my virgin session so might as well just observe the heavyweights antics – Dr. Hayrold, of course presented his defense.
Beautiful UMS Mosque. Had the opportunity to perform my Friday prayer here.
One thing I have learned from attending PACA 2018 is that as a researcher and academician, you must not let emotional or sensitivity “feeling” to dominate you. Feedback and critical responses are essential to improve our studies and not to belittling us on personal level. Of course our studies are our babies – we nurture and we paid attention to them and we got a little bit ‘taken aback’ when a stranger comes and say – “Hey, your baby is fugly!” (Hahaha!). But then, this is academic world – you can defend your baby by justifying the strength of your baby to refute the accusation BUT it’s all in the name of to enrich the body of knowledge. I think I will be writing more on the epistemological differences in my blog, if I have time. Haha! And like what Dr. Siti Zobidah said when I asked her why is it that scholars always pit against each other’s epistemological perspectives (positivist Vs post-positivist) – “That is the beauty of academic world. We accept different opinions for the enrichment of the knowledge”.
With the entourage of my lecturers, Dr. Moniza’s fiance and mother. It was a great, casual occasion. Prof Salleh and his wife also were very humble. And I like Dr. Siti Zobidah’s style as well – nonchalant, low-profile but very sharp. I didn’t have the opportunity to take her class during my Master’s Degree. Apparently she originally hails from Batang Kali!
Anyway, done with PACA 2018. On Friday afternoon, I took GRAB car (Haha!) to Dr. Moniza’s house at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama for her Aidilfitri Open House. It was nice hanging out and getting to know the lecturers on the personal basis. They were really genuine and humble people and I loved hearing their advises and stories on the reality of Malaysian academic world. Plus, Dr. Moniza’s mom was so cool! She used to be a teacher and quite a gungho lady (Hahaha!). She was just a straight-talking kinda person and loved to crack jokes. Along with Dr. Moniza’s aunts, it was entertaining to hear the stories until Maghrib! Hahahaha! Apart from Dr. Moniza, I am also grateful and touched by Dr. Akmar’s mentoring throughout PACA 2018. I appreciated her patience and humility as a lecturer to spend time answering my trivial questions and shenanigan. You know, that kind of extra-touch is the one that students would always remember and treasure, especially for students who are still crawling in the dark waiting for beacons to light up the tunnel. Thank you so much Dr. Akmar – may ALLAH SWT bless you.
This Durian-cheese (tart? custard?) cake was the BEST!!!!!! Gosh, writing about this is making my mouth water – simply by reminiscing the delicious authentic Durian flavour melt under my tongue. Precious! Thanks to Dr. Moniza’s gutsy-and-friendly mother! Haha!
With Dr. Moniza’s mother and aunties! They were fun lot. Sabahan elder ladies were full of stories! Love them! Haha!
On Saturday, I hanged out with Efy (Efesius Abu Constantine), my USM amigo and one-third of Doncha Club (Hahaha!). Now that he is teaching at SK Stella Maris, Kota Kinabalu after 6 years in the rural Tongod – I guess he is adjusting with his new life as an urban teacher although he is a city boy from KK! Efy is always a great host (unlike me! Haha!) and we spontaneously decided to have a peekaboo on the islands circa Kota Kinabalu. We went to Jesselton Point and decided to go to Manukan Island which cost RM30 per person per ride. The journey took us circa 20 minutes as it went to Sapi Island and then proceeded to Manukan Island. The sea was blue and people were swimming joyfully. Had lunch at a Malay stall on the island and like usual, we just savoured the surrounding chit-chatting and taking pictures. It was a spontaneous, low-key trip.
The historical Jesselton Point. Jesselton was Kota Kinabalu’s old, colonial name.
Feigning as a tourist. Coconut, anyone? Tropical ambiance. Haha!
To Manukan Island! Quite a bumpy ride, though.
Nice turquoise-kinda sea. Malaysia has beautiful islands, indeed. This makes me wants to explore other islands in Malaysia! #Wishlists are Perhentian Island & Mabul Island!
Beautiful luxurious chalet. I wish one day to return and spend night here in Manukan Island. Hehe. (,”)
There was even a marine education center at Manukan Island! Kudos to the Sabahan government for this. Educating the tourists. Unfortunately it was closed when I was there.
Sunday on 8th July 2018. My last day at Kota Kinabalu after spending approximately 6 days at the beautiful capital of Sabah. I checked out from Tune Hotel and waited for Efy. We had lunch at Koki Bandung Nasi Ayam Penyet – which happened to be the place I went on my first visit to Sabah in 2016 (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/mmy-spontttaneous-virgin-borneo-adventure-sabah-the-land-of-beautiful-nature-beautiful-people/). And then we went to Kota Kinabalu City Mosque (I have that affinity towards mosque. It’s the #ShahrillsJejakMasjid! Haha!) and then just hang around Servay Hypermart Likas as Efy wanted to scout some working attires (and I grabbed two! Hahaha! Kachings!) and then had teh tarik at a Mamak Restaurant (Amin Maju, I think?!) before heading towards Kota Kinabalu Airport.
Koki Bandung Nasi Ayam Penyet at Kota Kinabalu. Where else but Alamesra? Haha!
My second time visiting The Kota Kinabalu Mosque, Likas. I love the spacious and airy architecture.
Although the boarding time is 9.00 p.m. but I thought of arriving early to settle all the baggage red tapes, etc. Apparently I have to pay RM70 as my baggage exceeded the 15 kg weight (1 kg was charged for RM35)!! Arghhh! Should have picked 20 kg instead! Anyway, while waiting for the departure time, I had opportunity to have coffee with a friend Judah Iskandariah who happened to be in Kota Kinabalu as he studies part time there while working in Lawas. It was a brief tete-a-tete but a relaxing conversation. Boarded the plane at 9.55 p.m. and arrived at KLIA2 circa 12.30 a.m. I missed the ERL due to baggage claim so I had to call Kakak who borrowed my car – to come to KLIA2. We arrived at Precint 14, Putrajaya at 2.30 a.m. and I met Mak who is here to take care of my nephews – and then drove all the way to Batang Kali and arrived at 4.00 a.m. I have to say that I WAS FEELING VERY SLEEPY AND DIZZY as I then had to wake up at 6.00 a.m. to go to school – to WORK!
#OOTD mood at Servay Hypermart, Likas. Well, not that bad. I love the colours. I bought the peach and the black. There went another kachings! Haha!
Had a brief kupi-kupi session with Judah Iskandariah here in WHSmith at the Kota Kinabalu Airport. Everything was in hurry but was touched that he came all the way to the airport for this.
On whole, it was a great moment for me to relax and gained knowledge as well as bonding with friends. Unfortunately I had to use my own money for this. If only I were under scholarship and all my academic discourse expenses were sponsored, no? Then again, it is just my unlucky moment that I am pursuing study in the era where Malaysian economy was not as fruitful as the 90s where scholarships were given to those who aspired to further studies. Well, I guess by using my own money would make me more alert that I MUST STUDY HARD because the money siphoned are all hard-earned, no? Haha.
Shots via Efy’s Vivo 9. Well, well, well. It’s all about the Bokeh function. For once, I feel like Siti Nurhaliza. Hahahaha!