plain_english

It was  Wednesday (19/06/2013). To begin with the day, I attended a short course on How to Write in Plain English. It was held in Trent Building, the University Park within three hours starting from 09.30 am. However, I came to the campus earlier, I visited Hallward library in the morning. I love this place very much. It was very quite place in this summer break, in which in the term-time, especially during examination weeks, this place would be extremely crowded. I used PC in the silent study zone in the second level.

The Plain English

I was surprised that this course was attended by some local British people. I bet, it was intended for International student only. But, apparently I was wrong. I met a women, in the same table, Jona. She is working in University student unions. So what is plain English?In essence, plain English is contrary with academic writing. It was how to write in English as simple as possible aiming at everyone from different background and education level could understand the message. The material can be downloaded here.

Memorable Cafe

So far, I have just once bought food in the University. It was when I first came in the university during welcome week and I was still living in Derby Hall for free. Afterward, I always prepare and cook my own food. After the course, I accidentally wanted to go the place where I bought the food for the first time. It was at 3rd level Portland Building, in the University Park campus. I ordered exactly the same food i.e. fried rice with chicken, banana, curry sauce. and a glass of tap water. Apparently, the price was still the same. It was £3.5 (Rp. 52.000) for a small portion. For me, it was very-very expensive. That’s the reason I never bought the food again after the first time. Since it was summer break, it was very quite. I took a seat in the middle of cafe, I was a lone with a wounded heart. Only my twitter friends accompany me enjoying the special  lunch.

The PhD Stuffs

After making Duhur Prayer in the Prayer Room in the Portland building, I went back to my work base, in the Lab. Again, I got four unread email from my Spv. As always, I got bad, bitter and pedantic and straight forward comments.  I got very bad comment on my wording in the Mista Paper as well as the bibliography. As I am not a perfectionist, I did not double check the references that lead to troublesome references. Some references were missing the Journal name, miss spelling etc. He came to my office and taught me directly how to manage the Bibtex file as well as how to work effectively using SVN. although he always gave me bad and pedantic comments, I felt very grateful to have him as my Spv. He is extremely  brilliant, very detail, and helpful. It contrast with my character, who was stupid, careless, and ignorant. And I know, he is shaping my character during this PhD long journey.

bibtex

I was leaving the lab and ending the day at 09.15 PM. Thanks God for the day.

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paper_AM_AR

It was Sunday (05/05/2013). Nice and very sunny morning.

After Subuh prayer jamaah at Portland Building, University Park, I continued my extended abstract writing with Arif. Apparently, the most difficult part is the mathematical model part. It was very easy to explain the problems in daily conversation words. However, it was very not trivial thing to formulate the problems in mathematical model, indeed. Even, for Arif who are majoring in Mathematics, it was not trivial thing.

In the middle of  working on the paper, we cooked together again. In this time, we cooked ” Telur Balado” (Balado Eggs), and roasted chicken wings . Unbelievable, they were almost perfect. Even though,  I am not good in cooking, even I do not like cooking at all.

telor_balado

We posted the pictures of our food on Facebook group chat room and successfully grabbed many attention from our friends. Really, the pictures were much more beautiful than the real ones. However, to be honest, it really tasted extremely good.

chicken_wings

It might be because the camera effect that make the pictures so beautiful and convincing.

Apparently, there is a common silver bullet between writing and cooking. Both are not easy things, not something that can be mastered directly after reading a guideline book. Both require a long time practical experience. So, the only best way to be mastering in cooking and writing is by carrying out cooking and writing iteratively till you find the rule of thumbs by your self.

Although it was only a sudden idea to collaborate in writing the paper in only a day before the submission deadline. Finally, we successfully finished the paper writing at night.  We submitted the paper to the easy-chair soon afterwards. We do hope that it will be accepted and encourage us to write further in the near future. At least, this writing project had trained us to squeeze our mind to solve real-world daily problems with our expertise area. Indeed, as what Enstein had told, education is not simply learning the fact, but real education is the training of mind to think.

After that, we had never ending casual chat about everything at the rest of the day. We always have something to discuss that make us forgetful with the time that went so swiftly and make me stay overnight again at Arif house. Sometime, I think it was too much . But it happened out of my control indeed. Hopefully, it will always become positive things.

Thank you ya Allah for today, my great pleasure and thankfulness over each single of your blessing.

kompasiana

today is Monday. I plan to bet at the lab at 09.00, but my eyes are still so heavy to open. Finally, I go to campus at 9.30. Oh my od, it is said to be Spring, but it is very terrible weather. It has been snowing since last night. It also very strongly windy with drop temperature -4 but feel like -14 C. The worst weather I have felt in this country.

I am escaping from snow when entering the Computer Science Building. Oh damn, the door sensor is broken. So, I must find another door. Entering the room, I feel so weird. Many doors are still closed and it is so dark. Apparently, when I sit on the chair infront of my PC I just realised that the electricity is off. We have blackout today. The first blackout, I have experienced during my stay in this University. The heater is also off. I have been waiting for about an hour, but the electricity still off. And it is said that it will be still blackout until in the evening.

I escape to Graduate Center, at Amenities building. Luckily there is no electricity problem there. When I open my gmail email, i get very-very good news, someone in tweeter mentioned me that the articel I posted in Kompasiana become a trending article. It is  really surprising me. Since it is my first time, I write my posting on Kompasiana and I feel my article is neither interesting nor well-written. When I check on the website out, apparently it has been read by more than 1000 visitors. Many other kompasianers also have left comment on my article. Since then, I have so many new friends from Kompasiana.

When I check my university email, Another good news comes up.  I get email from Aula Magazine editor, asking me for permition to publish two of my articles on Kompasiana, to be printed in Aula Magazine, the upcoming April 2013 edition. OMG, unbelievable. it was just two last days, I just felt very envious with one of my seniors. She has written some article in Magazine that is out of her research interest.  I thought that, she was too perfect compared to myself.

aula

It will be my first time, my non-scientific article will be published in printed Magazine. Aula is very famaous Magazine published by the biggest islamic mass organisation in Indonesia, even in the world i.e. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). Surely,  I am very happy to give the copy right of my articles to the Magazine. To be honest, I have very strong bonding with NU,  culturally and ideologically. Moreover, historically, this organisation was driven by Abdurrahman ‘Gus Dur’ wahid, my super Idol.

Thank so much for kompasiana, you are really my best recharging battery that energise me to Write. to make one of my dreams in the future: to be a good writer come true. It really encourage me to learn and learn again in good writing skill.

In the rest of the day, In the evening (07-09.00 PM), I attend a school seminar by Richard Stallman, delivering an interesting talks: Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks. I lost of my mood of research today because of blackout. But, I find my new energy to be a good Writer.

Thanks God for today!

nullReading and Writing are supposed to be complement for each other. A good reader is supposed to be a good writer then. I am happy, I am good reader [at least based in my own mind :p ] . But, I am still unhappy to know that I am not a good writer , and a part away to be named a professional writer. Someday, in my future time Insya Allah.

One of my ambitions in this life is to be a professional writer. but, this ambition is yet to be realized until now. I do not know how to start it. Many things I think resist me to realize this ambitions. Many times, my desire come with willingness to write article in newspaper and to write book as well. But, as the time gone the desire is faded out away.

I think many negative thinking  insist in my mind that resist me to realize this ambition.  Sometime I feel I should to be a very expert first, getting a Ph. D degree first, even to be professor first, before being a professional writer. But, finally I realize what the fact reveal that not all professors are good writers and its vice versa not all professional or good writers are Master degree, Ph.D,  or Professor holder.  It means to be good and professional writer no need to wait till I get those degree.

So, what should to do right now?

I have read many books regarding writing tips and tricks, some of the books give detail tips and tricks but some of them give a simple tips. I more agree on the later book. I think the effective way to be writer is to be a good reader first. No one in this world can generate a new knowledge genuinely from his/her self.  Someone get the knowledge from others first, then conclude and improve those knowledge. One effective way to elicit knowledge is by reading. Not only reading book, newspaper, blog, or any information from  internet but also reading situation and condition of the environment surround us.  If you have been a good reader. It is not too difficult to be good writer. That’s what some tips and tricks said. The next step is Just write it up now. Never aware how is the quality of what you have written is. The final steps are revision, revision, revision,………………. till you feel happy with what you have written.

It sounds easy to be a writer. But, I am sure it is not so easy to do. As an academic staff, I am urged to write scientific books. Although, I feel more joyful to write a fiction book such as a Novel. In a Novel I am not only can express and write what in my brain is, but I also can express and write what in my soul, my heart are .  What I heard and I saw too in my own way, breaking any rules such as what in scientific book should obey.

So, the problem is how start it? or in other words, how to make it getting started.  Sometime, it is much more difficult to manage ourselves than manage others. To push ourselves is not an easy thing. I remember how I can write 6 papers during my Master studies. It is great for me, when my paper is accepted in some  international conferences or journals. How I can do it? The answer is,  it is just because I was pushed by my supervisor.

When there is no one push us? Who should we expect to push Us? Oh God, guide my hand and brain to write up.  Give me a great willingness and energize me to write book in order to give more contributions for others.  I manage to write scientific book for nurturing science and knowledge in Indonesia academic atmosphere. Amin…