Sunday, 14 June 2009


Here is a true story or indeed, a true series of emails between my 'father' and I. By the way, I chose the above title as an analog to Galileo's A Dialogue of Two New Sciences which featured the conversation between the young, the present and the old Galileos. Happy reading.

The 'father' sent an email to the 'son', which goes:

I just wonder whether at the Imperial College, they are in the habitof blocking others' cars. Or maybe London is so crowded that thosewho used to study there cannot overcome the joy of parking ...

The son replied;

What the hell are you talking about? You're the one who have wrongly parked at my parking space. You should have noticed that it was designated for STC's fellow which I happened to be one. And this only makes me wonder whether where ever you come from, they are in the habit of not reading parking signage. Come on Bro, get your fact right!!!!

The 'father' replied back;

Since when UTM designate special parking spaces for dumbies like you. This whole business of designating parking spaces to certain personels is a disgarace to the academic community. I have been at UTM for 28 years, remaining here all this time with the belief that every all academics respect one another. There is no one above the other. My office is also there at C10. I have students to attend to. Since I came in and see that the space is not occupied, I claim my right to park my car there. I wll keep doing this because your deed just strengthens ,my resolve. I challenge you to take up this matter to the highest authority.

The 'son' replied further;

Dear Sir,
This would be my last email to you as things only turned out to be just another typical Malaysian scenario where the old ones have no respect and love towards the young ones but demand the vice versa. So, I just don’t have time for this.
And I am tired of hearing the old ones saying “we are here first, we have been here long enough” and things like that, but denying the facts that the young ones are the true ‘sons’ of UTM for we were ‘born’ here. As ‘sons’ of UTM, at least we should have the same right as our ‘fathers’, if not more. This is not only about the parking space, but also about our right in giving opinions, making decisions and even objections. But our ‘fathers’ have done nothing but shutting us down for so long.
And I am also tired of being treated by my ‘father’ as if I am an alien from another planet trying to destroy UTM. For reasons which I do not know, my going to Imperial College has been seen by my ‘fathers’ as a great sin. All I wanted is the best knowledge so that I can develop the ‘ummah’ by being the best teacher and scientist, but no, my ‘fathers’ see me as a threat and my going to Imperial College as an act to make them look bad.
Since your response and mentality are no different therefore it comes to me as no surprise; you are just a miniature of your generation.
But, having said all these, I like to tell you that you can park at my parking space and all the parking space in the world, for that matter. I can’t be bothered anymore.

The 'father' wrote in response;

Dear 'Son'
Yes, I may be old.But I consider myself young.I do not boast of my 28 years' presence at UTM just assert authority over you.No, no ...Indeed I shun authority lesser men would eagerly fight for .I shun administrative post for that can corrupt the mind-With all the perks that come with - such as dedicated parking ...I sincerely want to remain mere academic.I would have preferred to cycle to campus ...But realism grows out of cynism.I tried to send a message that those 28 years have been only tolerable because of -Respect for one another.Alas, that is rapidly diminishing.The parking episode is just one such tragedy.I have been young just as you are, before.I know what anger means.I have grown old -Not suddenly, but gradually.I have never demanded respect because of my age.Respect comes as being mutual.I never would I want a special parking space allocated to me.Never have I blocked others' vehicles just because they might seem to infringe on my right to park.I have nothing against your personal self, dear son. I teach many a young mind.You boast that you have taught 3 subjects, most of them computational in nature.I have taught more than 30 different subjects, all computational by my account.I taught FEM and loved it, well before you knew what the three letters meant.I have seen your AGF blocking others' before you did to mine.It hurt me -No matter whether those vehicles belong to my age group.I never wish you to go to Hell. But that was what your first sentence wished me in response.Your twisted logic in arguing does not reflect a sound mind, mind you.You do not need to hit at all Malaysians in order to hit me.Stop being apologetic about being Malaysians.It is also not a matter of who is here first.It is a matter of first come first serve when comes to parking.Short and simple.Unless odf course the ground bears your very name.When did I ever question your going to Imperial?Seeing this in the void means you are in urgent need to see a psychiatrist-For your own good.I have many frieds at Imperial College.And they never blocked my calrs ...But I am sick of your self-conceit, boasting of and leaning on -Reputable institutions and individuals.Yet fail to shine personally.People like bring disgrace to Imperial College -and Prof whowasit ...I wish you well, young man.Learn to grow old - gradually.One day you will learn what I am saying now.I also hope this will be my last message to you.

The 'son' wrote back;

Dear “Father”,

Today is Sunday and in the past, weekends have always been the free-reading days for me; free as in free for me to read anything from history, philosophy to Sufism (and those not related so much to computational mechanics), but like no other, this weekend has been a depressing one. What happened between you and me for the past couple of days has become a paradox occupying my thoughts; simple at first yet entangled by logic, promptly trivial but bifurcates it still.

Dear “Father”,

Let me make it up to you. I am sorry for the thing that I have said, but believe me, there will be no place but heaven I wish for you. Never, never I said “Go to hell..” but it was “What the hell…” instead. But understand you must as it was uttered as a response to a supposedly anonymous email, one which not even begins with Assalammualaikum. You may not remember it, but you did not even give salam to me in your first email or did you?. And, at 32 years of age, what option do I have but to burst with anger. I will grow old “father”, but as you said, gradually. Still, once knowing it was you “father”, there is no excuse for my behavior, so please, forgive me.

But “Father”,

After I gave it a very deep thought, I just could not do it, I can not sacrifice my principle; I just got to defend my rights. In his hadith, Rasullullah SAW said, a man who defends not his house, women and land is Ad-Dayus, Ad-Dayus, Ad-Dayus. Also, it is the most antique teaching of my mother who always said (and still saying it when she talked about politics, mind her) that, there would be no point of her giving birth to me if I am not man enough to stead-fast in defending my rights. Although the parking space may not sound so big of a right, but as a man of mathematic, you should know how important for a principle to hold, no matter how minuscule or colossal it is, as without it there will be no reasons left. It is not my fault that the parking spaces are designated to STC’s fellows, it was the decision of the Pengarah Kerja thus they are the ones you should confront, not me. As for me, as long as the ground bares the name of STC’s fellows, I will keep parking and keep blocking any cars which do not belong to the fellows of STC. It is a right that I must keep; else I would have betrayed my “mother” and for this, I am really sorry, “Father”. And one more thing....

Whatever I have written about myself, it is not for you or any other professor to read, it was written for my students who in need of a young intelectual, heroic but playful figure to spice up their lame and boring academic life. It is all rhetoric ok and I did purposedly exagerate some things. You may not agree with it but believe me, it works (you should come to my lecture sometimes). But the truth is, it is very hard for me to be proud of myself because I am a true learner, the more I know, the less I knew and for this, there is no way I can be truely proud. SEGALA PUJI HANYA UNTUK ALLAH, Alhamdullillah.