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Wednesday, 30 May 2012


MGTF USM team was kindly invited by Tan Sri Dato' Prof. Dzulkifli Abdul Razak to visit and tour the newly opened Albukhary International University (AIU) in Alor Setar, Kedah recently.

Tan Sri is now the Vice-Chancelor of this first-of-its-kind university dedicated solely for the 'bottom biliion' (poor), a 'humaniversity' as its taglined implied. 
A visionary with a blank much bright possibilities

We were warmly greeted by the Registrar of AIU, Puan Norfisah and given a day tour by her. We were then treated with a lovely dinner by Tan Sri and Puan Sri herself, followed by a special 'nite tour' of the beautifully-lit campus by Tan Sri himself. The campus looked like a 'movie set' with its mesmerizing architecture, glowing at night. The moon and clear sky with stars made it looked like we were experiencing an 'Arabian' night. The owner of AIU, Syed Bukhary, is not holding himself in providing a first-class infrastructure for the poor to learn and gain their tertiary education. I'm not sure how the middle-eastern flavor may fit with local climate (literally and metaphorically), but the ambiance was mesmerizing though.

We were even shown the lavish Senate floor and room, not to mention Tan Sri's office, filled with his vast collections of objects collected during his extensive visits to many countries all over the world. 
The campus physical appearance is a site to behold. It is clearly inspired and based on Islamic architecture, with all the main buildings were designed based on several iconic buildings such as the Dome of the Rock. At several locations, we felt like we were in Cardoba, bathed in the aura of Andalusia. Andalusia, as we know (or don't know) used to be the hub or center of learning during the peak of Islamic civilization. We also noticed that there were no cars or vehicles around the campus (except ours). We were told that the campus was designed with an underground parking space. 

As we toured the campus, Tan Sri shared his vision and passion, and the challenges ahead in pioneering the first ever 'wakaf' university, meant for the poor around the world. It is also rooted in the concept of sustainability and holistic gardening of the spirit, mind and body, of living and learning together in the spirit of unity in diversity. Partly, it may also be taken as a model to 'de-colonise' a university from the de-humanizing elements of the so-called 'university education'.

Tan Sri has been my sifu and mentor when it comes to leadership and transformative vision. His writings have always provided me with inspiring vision, but not without a sober 'reality check'. I am also blessed to be able to ask him personally other pertinent issues, with him always willing to share his experience. I always found myself sharing similar enthusiasm when it comes to 'gardening' the spirit, mind and body. In fact, MGTF USM for the past seven years has been my 'garden' so-to-speak, testing, rejuvenating, planting, nurturing and growing a beautiful garden (to experience knowledge, both the arts and sciences) for all to enjoy.

During the tour, we stopped by at several locations, including chatting with several students and letting them share their living experience in Malaysia. Tan Sri implicitly used the tour as a way of checking AIU on a 'ground level'. Knowing him and having been working with him during his tenure as the Vice-Chancelor of USM, it was no surprise to witness how he even notice small and tiny 'defect' around the campus.

AIU has an 80% population of international students coming from poor family around the world, while the remaining 20% come from Malaysia (coming from a family with less than RM1000 monthly income). Some of the students are so poor, they even slept of the floor because they are not used to having a 'bed' to sleep, probably not to mention, a clean water. Most had to endure their first trip outside their village (not to mention, country). Puan Norfisah nrrated that few students even took out their shoes during a pouring rain to 'save' the shoes. AIU will be an axcellent model of a wakaf univeristy for other countries to emulate and follow.

We stayed at 'Singgahan', AIU's guest apartment building that looks like a hotel. The next day, MGTF USM had an uplifting meeting with Tan Sri and his team at AIU, looking into possibilities of how we can provide some advise, consultation and assistance in regards to exhibition design and program, exhibition technology, curatorial strategies, outreach activities and audience development, to compliment AIU's vision and mission.

This is certainly an honor, and a silent testimony of what MGTF USM has achieved for the past few years. Thank you Tan Sri for the honor and trust. More than that, it is a testament of friendship, of brotherhood, of quantum connection and love beyond any label or form, especially when it comes to things that are bigger and meaningful than our little and tiny petty KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) and interests.
Please pray for us at MGTF USM, pray that we can successfully deliver and spread our garden of love to AIU (and all over the world), as what we have been doing for the past few years.


1 comment:

  1. TS Dzul ... what happen to ur transformation pgrm? Why r u running away from AiU when you fail to deliver your promise? U hd failed in USM after spending billion of dollar duit rakyat? Now after spending million of RM decorating your office, you cabut lari and sell off AiU ... what type of person r u? when did u obtained your PhD?