20 July 2006

A Wonderful Gift of Books from the Dr Goh Cheng Teik Collection to the THOL at Sunway

Dr Goh Cheng Teik, a long-standing member of the Sunway University College (Sunway) Board, a recognised academician, scholar and a former Deputy Minister in the Tun Hussein and Tun Mahathir administrations made a noble gesture to the Tun Hussien Onn Library (THOL) at Sunway University College just recently.

A total of 2,441 books including some rare books from the time of pre-independent Malaya, from Dr Goh Cheng Teik’s personal collection were presented to the THOL. They are valued at over RM200,000 with titles related to History, Politics, Government, Ethnic Relations, Religion and Economic and Social Development.

This collection of books written by prominent and influential writers, built up in more than four decades and gathered from all corners of the world will make an impressive addition to the existing THOL collection of 130,470 items.

Dr Goh Cheng Teik said “Since I have collected far more books than I am able to read, I should share them with those who have time to do so, particularly students and lecturers. I can still refer to them at this library when necessary”

The hard collection of books, print journals and newspapers is complemented by thousands of electronic and audiovisual materials which include more than 24,000 online e-books, 15,000 electronic journals and 18 online e-databases. The ISO-9001 certified library (since April 2003) serves the students and staff of both Sunway University College and Monash University, Malaysia. The library is well supported by Monash University which provides over 700 e-databases, 100,000 e-books and other e-resources to the Monash Malaysia community.

The total library materials budget over the past eight years amounted to RM22.7 million. The budget for this year is RM4.57 million which is shared in the portions of RM2.059 million for Sunway and RM2.511 million for Monash University, Malaysia.

YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Founder and Chairman of the Sunway Group received the books in a presentation ceremony from Dr Goh Cheng Teik. The ceremony was witnessed by the Guest-of-Honour, YB Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the Minister of Education, Malaysia.

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah said “It is increasingly recognised, that an educated person will be someone who has learned how to learn and throughout his or her lifetime, continues to learn. Dr Goh’s special book collection will therefore contribute substantially to this continuous learning process”

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said “I am quite sure that the books received today would definitely increase Sunway University College’s reputation as an excellent academic institution, with one of the finest private university libraries in this region”

Datuk Seri added “In education institutions, a library plays a vital role in cultivating reading habits among students. Hence having a good variety of books in every field to cater to every student’s need and interest is essential to bolster the Government’s efforts to make Malaysians a reading community. With that, I encourage all of you to read at least one book a month as books are life-long resources for the human race.”

14 July 2006

Palm Diesel – Red Is The New Black

Cries of despair rang throughout the nation last February when the 30 sen increase of petrol price was announced. The inevitable skyrocketing cost of the crude oil makes its moniker ‘black gold’ sadly apt.

Consequently, prices of other products and services have and will continue to increase. It is critical, therefore, to seek other fuel alternatives before the average citizen gets overburdened with the cost of daily living.

The saviour in this crisis could be none other than palm diesel. As Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Augustine Ong pointed out during his talk on “Making Biofuel From Palm Oil” recently, palm oil production in Malaysia has increased to over 15 million tonnes a year. Not only is our country rich in this renewable resource, palm diesel is much kinder to the environment compared to ‘normal’ diesel.

With more than 45 years of R&D experience and 14 patents in the technology of palm oil under his belt, Professor Augustine is the foremost expert in this area. He drew the 330 strong audience into the subject matter, sharing his knowledge with obvious passion that transmitted to the listeners. The motley crowd of plantation owners, finance professionals, business consultants, researchers, engineers, undergraduates, retirees and many more filled the auditorium at Sunway University College (SyUC).

Various methods of converting crude palm oil (CPO) into palm diesel were discussed and the issues, challenges and opportunities surrounding it were well elaborated during the talk. The conversion process produces not just palm diesel, but can also co-produce glycerin and a range of phytonutrients, the former is an industrial chemical and the latter are food supplements.

The reason behind slow crystallization of palm oil has yet to be deciphered. “If we can accelerate that part of the conversion process, we can increase the production rate of palm diesel,” Professor Augustine said. This would also address the problem of producing sufficient amounts to substitute diesel.

A banker from the audience queried why more plantation groups are not investing in the R&D of biofuel production despite its promising possibility. “I would not know the answer to that, but they do,” Tan Sri Augustine replied, gesturing to the audience where plantation group owners, directors and managers formed the majority. If they had not previously considered investing in biofuel research, they certainly would after the evening with Tan Sri Augustine. Malaysia could very well be one of the leading producers of ‘red gold’ in the future.

When asked what other achievements he would like to see in the palm oil industry, Tan Sri Augustine revealed his wish to unravel the ‘mystery’ surrounding saturated fats. Previous researches have discovered that saturated fats are ‘bad’, but recent findings prove the opposite. He questioned how these valid researches could produce two totally contradicting results. “Studies in the past was made on animal fats, but saturated fats in palm oil is different,” he stressed.

The talk was part of the Sunway University College Distinguished Speakers’ Series and is a feature in the SyUC Bachelor of Business Management programme. The University regularly invites the public to attend these talks free of charge.

7 July 2006

Sifting Through Our Schools for an Outstanding Literary Talent

Sunway University College (SyUC) in collaboration with the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia once again hosted the annual Oxbridge Essay Writing competition held recently. Fifty-seven (57) 4th and 5th form students from 22 schools around the peninsular from the Klang Valley, Seremban, Melaka and Ipoh took part in the competition.

Ms Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director of Sunway University College, Cambridge graduate and President of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia said “We are proud and honoured to work hand-in-hand with the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia in a quest to raise the standard on the usage and mastery of the English language in Malaysia”

Competitors were given an hour to compose an essay of a thousand words on a topic selected from a list of 5 questions on current issues. The winner was Varsha a/p Sivalingam from SMK Puteri, Seremban. Her essay responded to the question “In our determination to be ahead of the others we have abandoned humanity, ethics and decency. How far do you think this is evident in our society”

The Oxbridge judges were clearly impressed by the standard of the competition. The panel was made up of Dr Chua Hui Yen, Mr John Nicholson, Ms Sharon Saw and Ms Sue Wong from the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia.

The winning school bagged RM300, a trophy each for both the individual winner and the school and a certificate of commendation from the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia for the winner.

The competition was also made into an Oxbridge English Language Event that included workshops conducted by a panel of distinguished speakers who are graduates and members of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia. The workshops were: - “Effective Writing Skills” by Mr. Mark Disney and Dato’ Dr M. Shanmughalingan and “Effective Oral Communication Skills” by Mr. Walter Jones and Prof Dr Noraini Tamin.

“Time and again it has been said that the strength and advancement of a nation depends on its people. Indeed this is why; we are pleased to be part of this public service endeavour at Sunway” added Elizabeth Lee.