Thursday, August 28, 2008

Temuduga... Dugaan Betul

Interview (temuduga) session with top officials of X with regard to Y's application for study leave.

Mr. Y: Assalamu'alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh!
Chairman: Wa'alaykumussalam. You want to do your PhD at university Z, correct? Tell me why do you want to go and study there.
Mr. Y: I want to go there because there is nothing there. No entertainment, no detraction. Basically an ideal place for study.
Chairman: You are going to work on this oil price and U.S. presidential cycle. Seems more like oil price and change of prime ministership in Malaysia. Interesting. Now tell me about this paper.
Mr. Y: This is just a tentative title for my paper, since in university Z, all PhD candidates are required to do coursework for the first two years, and only after passing the comprehensive exams they are allowed to start writing. In this study, I plan to look whether there is a significant correlation between oil price and U.S. presidential cycle. This is based on a previous study done by Professors Santa Clara and Valkanov on stock market performance and U.S. presidential cycle. They found that there is a significant relationship between presidential winners and stock price. The stock market performs better when a Democrat candidate won the presidential election, up to 9% higher returns to investors compared to when a Republican took office.
Top Official 1: That is not true. It should have been the other way around. Republicans are more business friendly compared to Democrats. So that paper is wrong, stock market performs better under Republicans!
Mr. Y: ...? Ok sir, I don't think we need to argue on this. Firstly, the study was not conducted by me. It was done by two professors, and they have published their findings in journals. I'm just using their technique to guide my research.
Top Official 1: This is the problem with journals nowadays. I believe their paper must have been published in unreputable journals. Journals cannot be trusted! Rubbish works!
Mr. Y: (Journal of Political Economy cannot be trusted?!) Ok sir, if you still want to argue, I have provided references and arguments to support their techniques and findings in my research proposal. And here you are just merely saying that this paper is rubbish, that journal is unreputable, bla... bla... bla.. without even citing anything to support your arguments. Unless if you give me constructive facts and references, I will stand firm on my analysis.
Chairman: You should not challenge our authority!
Mr. Y: Why can't I? I'm a young man, and I consider all of you in this meeting to be older and wiser than me. You always teach us the young generations to always provide evidence to support our claims and theories. I'm just practicing those principles that you yourself taught us!
Top Official 1: I have all the papers to support my claim, and I will send them to you! Leave your e-mail with the committee.
Mr. Y: Are you sure that those papers that you read are not rubbish, and they have been published in reputable journals, sir?
Chairman: This is an interview. An interviewee should answer questions only, and don't aski provocative questions!!
Mr. Y: Who are you? (Top Official 1 - asking so many questions...)
Chairman: You will know later. Now you may go. Such a rude manner!
Mr. Y: Thank you and assalamu'alaykum.
Chairman: So rude!!!

Hmm... I guess I'm always bad for interviews. Another top official advised me to apologize to these people. My collegaues? All of them supported me, since one month earlier one of them went to the interview and the same person slashed her. Ok, I think although I'm right in defending my views, but I may have crossed the line while doing it. I think it's normal for younsters to overreact, and the elders to overfeeling. So a letter of apology was sent. My friend who was slashed last month did not, and she stand firms by her opinion that top official 1 was wrong. Then the Chairman told me: "We don't want you to be an arrogant professor one day later on with your sutdents." Yea, right. I had seen one clearly during that interview session. By the way, I never received the e-mail as promised. University Z? I don't really care anymore. To be a man of principles is more important.

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