Baby Celebration

baby celebration

I can’t help but laugh at this picture. I’m the fairest of all.

October 15, 2005
Henry Jr’s baby baptism. Henry Sr and Mary are close friends of mine from the Bible study that I attend. They came to help me move to my new apartment even though it was really close to the baby’s due date then.
And on the day the baby was born, I had to borrow Henry’s car to go pick up the mattress set that I bought from Sleepys Direct.
Who would have thought? I came all the way to the US from Malaysia and I end up being immersed constantly in African culture.

Office space

office space

This is my office space in the CPRP. I share a cubicle with two other students. Noticed the boxes on and under the desk. Those are the boxes my survey supplies come in. Boxes of envelopes and printed surveys. I keep those boxes around because they are my organizing tools when I’m preparing my survey packets. Stuffed envelopes in this box, envelopes with address labels in that box, returned surveys in this box and so on.

Grad School application

Last Sunday night, I invited my fellow coursemate, Yuan, who’s also my neighbor, over for dinner. I made Bak-Kut-Teh and soft tofu with oyster sauce. Yuan from China, provided me some insights regarding the process of applying to graduate school from a mainland chinese point of view. Here are some fascinating facts :

1. An average chinese student will apply to about 30 grad schools (I only applied to five).

I didn’t apply to more because each application will cost me around US$50. And besides the application fees, to send additional TOEFL or GRE scores also cost money as ETS will only send the scores to 5 schools for free. I think, on average, an American student will apply to about 6 schools. “How can a chinese student afford to pay all the application fees?” Thirty schools, $50 each, that will come up to $1500 (RM5500)!! Yuan informed me that many times the students don’t pay the application fee, they just send it the application. They may pay the application fees for some application but not all. And the ironic thing is some of the students are admitted even when they don’t pay the application fee. I’ve always assumed that the application will not be reviewed if the fee is not paid.

2. In some Chinese universities, almost all the graduating seniors will apply for graduate studies in the US(Among my UPM Biomed class, only 2 students applied for graduate studies overseas and I’m one of them).

I have several hypotheses as to why Malaysian students do not apply for graduate studies in the US.
a) Life is comfortable in Malaysia.
b) Lack of information regarding graduate schools in the US. Most PhD students, even foreign students, are supported by the university through research grants etc.
c) Lack of support. There are so many Chinese students in the US and they have websites etc to help students who are in the application process, and they offer assistance to incoming Chinese students.

3. Most professors in China graduated from a university in China. Few Chinese who graduated with a doctorate degree from the US will return to teach in China.

Many professors in Malaysia do have doctorate degrees from overseas but I think lately there are more and more lecturers with Malaysian degrees.
My roommate, Jeong, who’s from South Korea, said that the situation is opposite in South Korea. In order to have a chance at being a professor in South Korea, you’ll need a foreign doctorate degree and they highly value a doctorate degree from the US.

Anyway, Babyville is also a small Chinatown. In my building, out of 10 apartments, 7 of them are inhabited by mainland Chinese students.

Next time, I’ll invite my Indian coursemate over for dinner and gather fascinating facts about graduate school application from an Indian student’s point of view.

Bystander Effect

Next Monday I’ll be the presenter in my doctoral seminar class. This semester the doc sem is on classic studies in psychology and education. The students, 9 of us, were given a list of topics to choose from and I chose Bystander Effect.

I came across this issue back in Malaysia when I borrowed this book titled “40 studies that changed psychology” from the UM library. I have yet to prepare for the presentation but here’s the gist of it:

Many years ago in NY, a woman by the name of Kitty Genovese was murdered on the street somewhere near her own apartment. The man took over 30 minutes to assault, rape and finally kill Kitty. This would not have been an exceptional crime in NY except that there were 38 witnesses to the crime and none of them did anything to help Kitty.

I chose this topic because I find it intriquing. I think since the time I read about this I’ve always reminded myself that I shouldn’t be a bystander and in any emergency I should be the first to take action. But things are not as simple as that. Well when I’ve finally read all the assigned articles and finished my powerpoint slides, I’ll do a summary here.