Monthly Archives: June 2012

Exams in USM

Here’s another new experience at USM: examinations! At my home university, usually I just need to check for the exam dates and venue, attend the exam, write my name, and do the exam. It’s quite the same process at USM, only it’s a bit trickier than that 😐

First, about the exam schedules. There could be three exam schedules. The first draft usually goes out at 8th week of the lecture. There might be some changes to the draft if, for some reason, a student’s exams are on the same time. The second timetable usually the timetable they use for the exams, and it goes out at 12th week of the lecture. If there’s any other changes whatsoever, the third timetable goes out, but it rarely happens I guess.

Second, the examination slips. Before entering the venue, the students have to print their exam slip. It’s available online, so they can just print it by themselves. The exam slip is the identity card, and with no exam slips, they have to convince the invigilators of their identity. Bringing other ID cards such as the student card or your passport (for the international students) is a way to convince them that you belong to that exam.

This exam slip is tricky, but it’s necessary to prevent any kinds of cheating, such as sitting in your friend’s exam (I know it sounds stupid, but one of my friend actually did it before). There’s a photo of the student in the exam slip, so they can just cross-check it.

Third, attending the exam. USM got this system where they only do two exams in a day but it’s spread throughout the campus. The first exam’s in the morning (at 9 AM) and the afternoon exam is at 2 PM. That’s why the exam took longer, about three weeks. If you’re unlucky – like me – your first exam might be in the beginning, and ends on the last day of the exam. *sigh*

Fourth, writing the names. In USM, students are not required to write their names. Instead, they write their index number in words and figures (for example, One Zero Zero Zero One [10001]) on the attendance sheet and the cover of the answer booklet. This index number can be found outside the exam halls or on the exam slip.

Finally, doing the exam. I’m not sure why social sciences students need an answer booklet to answer the questions. Most of the lecturer asked for straightforward answers, yet there are about 10 pages of paper in the answer booklet. What about the excess papers? I’m still wondering 😐

About the difficulty of the exam, I think it’s quite relative. Lucky me, I guess, I’m used to getting hard questions from my home university. If you know what I mean 😉

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Some Reasons to Love USM

Well it’s been about 4 months since I started my exchange study at USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) in Penang. So far, I love this campus. No wonder it’s the number one university in Malaysia, making it harder to get into. I don’t know the tuition for this incredible campus. All I know is, it’s definitely not cheap 😀

Here are some of the reasons why I think you should pick USM:

1. It’s totally a great environment to study. I’m currently staying at Saujana, and the surroundings are quiet. It’s a safe environment too, since there are some security in each USM gate.

2. For sports junkies, USM is like a Disneyland. USM got a lot of sports facilities, such as Tennis courts, Basketball courts, Badminton courts, pool, football courts, hockey courts, volleyball courts, Squash courts, mini outdoor gym, and indoor gym.

(one of many) Tennis Court in USM

Don’t get me started on other kinds of sport that you can do here. Some of them involves fencing, table tennis, dancing, and many more, although not all of them are open for non-member for the campus activities. If you’re an outsider, you can also book some of the courts for really affordable price. An hour in a tennis court only costs 1 RM, while booking the badminton court only cost you 0,5 RM/hour! No reason to not do any sports here 🙂

3. It’s a great environment to get healthy. Campus areas are really clean, and the air is fresh, since there are a lot of trees grown in the areas. Even though it’s not a non-smoking environment, you will rarely see some students smoking in hallways or crowded areas. But of course, it’s still not allowed to smoke in indoor areas 🙂

green view from Saujana

4. It’s easy to get around. You can experience the cuisines around Bukit Gambir (especially Plaza Ivory) or Sungai Dua (around Bali Bali). The food is really affordable (if you don’t want to call it cheap :p), and there are a lot of food to try too. USM is practically close to some of the places to visit in Penang. You just have to hop on a Rapid Penang to reach your destination 🙂

Those are the major reasons to enjoy studying in USM. I won’t say anything about the “study” part, cause I think every campus always strives to produce better students every year anyway. Coursework or exams won’t be a burden if you know how to manage your time. However, USM definitely provides the facilities you need to study or have some fun to relieve your stress from all the coursework 🙂

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USM Bus Route

For those who have been to USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) or will go to USM as en exchange student soon, knowing about the bus route inside USM is necessary. This might be an unimportant post for some of you. I mean, who would post about bus routes? Especially, bus that only covers specific areas?

But this is quite important for me, because as an exchange student, bus is a necessary vehicle (besides walking on foot) to go around USM. So, without further ado, here are the bus routes:

PALAPES – Indah Kembara (hostel) – bus stop in front of Jabatan Keselamatan (Security Department) – DK S,T,U,V,W – Bakti Permai (hostel) – USM Hospital – SK I,II,III,IV/DK A,B,C – School of Languages, Literacy & Translation (SoLLat) – School of House Building & Planning (HBP) – School of Management (SOM) – Eureka – Fajar Harapan (hostel) – Indah Kembara- PALAPES

PALAPES – Indah Kembara (hostel) – bus stop in front of Jabatan Keselamatan (Security Department) – DK S,T,U,V,W – Bakti Permai (hostel) – USM Hospital – SK I,II,III,IV/DK A,B,C – Dewan Budaya/School of Arts – Eureka – Fajar Harapan (hostel) – Aman Damai I (hostel) – Aman Damai II (hostel) – Indah Kembara – PALAPES

PALAPES – bus stop in front of Jabatatan Keselamatan (Security Department) – DK S,T,U,V,W – Aman Damai I (hostel) – Aman Damai II (hostel) – Indah Kembara – PALAPES

Aman Damai II (hostel) – DK S,T,U,V,W – Bakti Permai (hostel)- USM Hospital- SK I,II,III,IV/DK A,B,C – School of Languages, Literacy & Translation (SoLLat) – School of House Building & Planning (HBP) – School of Management – Eureka – Fajar Harapan (hostel) – Aman Damai I (hostel) – Aman Damai II (hostel)

Note: the color of the bus is the color of the card in front of the bus, NOT the color of the whole bus.

Also, if you’re staying or will stay at either Desasiswa Restu, Saujana, or Tekun, there’s also a bus that goes around this mini hill so that you don’t have to walk up the hill on active school days. The route started at a bus stop after you cross the bridge from PALAPES to RST. The route goes like this:

Bus Stop (USM RST) – Tekun – Saujana – Restu – Bus Stop (USM RST)

There are only one kind of bus that goes through this route, so they’re all the same.

Because the earliest class is at 8 in the morning, the bus should be available around 7.30. If there are no bus, then you should definitely enjoy the morning and walk to your class instead :v As for the last bus, it’s around 10 PM, so you should finish your errands before that.

Happy learning at USM!

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Another Indonesia-Malaysia Dispute: Tortor Dance

I disappear a lot do I?

Oh well.

It’s month 4 at the neighbor country. Less than a month left before going back to my homeland, and I can’t wait! Been dreaming a lot about going to the airport, but always wake up before I board the plane. It’s not important. Other than the fact that my subconscious can’t wait to go back.

But never mind.

Anyway, seems like Indonesia and Malaysia got another culture to fight about. This time, it’s Tortor dance. It’s clearly an Indonesian culture from North Sumatra. Tapanuli, to be exact. I heard something about Malaysia wanted to claim it as its own. However, some news stated that it’s just a misunderstanding. Malaysia acknowledged the culture, but not exactly want to claim it.

Which one is the right one?

I don’t know, you can’t really trust the media these days. They tend to twist the stories and make it sounds like one side is right, and the other is wrong, even if the truth said the otherwise.

Aside from the fact that the truth is unclear, both Indonesian and Malaysian people started their fight (again) through social media. I just found out few hours ago that one Malaysian Twitter account got hacked by an Indonesian hacker because the owner said some really awful things about Indonesian people.


It’s another thing to say that one culture is yours, but it’s really uncalled for to mock them. Seriously, both sides act like kids. But as an Indonesian, I know how it feels when you know that it’s an Indonesian culture, yet Malaysian people says it’s theirs.

One thing I remember most is when I was on my Orientation Week at USM, and the Student Buddies were presenting about Malaysian cultures and local clothes. One of the Buddies wore Kebaya, and said that it’s an original Malaysian clothes.

And I’m like, “Say what?”

I’m a pure Javanese, and I KNOW that it’s been an Indonesian culture for centuries. If anything, it should be a Melayu culture, not Malaysian. Since, you know, Malaysia was originally part of Indonesia.

Shocked? Well here’s the simple explanation.

Before the European colonization began, there was a kingdom called Majapahit. In its prime time, the kingdom was so big, it encompassed most of the modern-day Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, and Southern Thailand. You can read more here.

Now you get why Indonesian and Malaysian people fight a lot, right? We’re practically siblings! As young countries who love their nation a lot, it’s only normal that we love it more than we love ourselves.

All I’m saying is that both need to stop this. Indonesia have to stop acting like they care about your vast cultures, when most of the people don’t really know their own cultural clothes, songs, etc.

And Malaysian need to stop with this “culture-claim” thing they’ve been doing. It’s getting old. Make your own. Oh, and the word “indon”? It’s not nice. Stop it.

One more thing. I still think that Indonesia is the TRUEST ASIA. You better change your tourism slogan, Malaysia.

Sue me.


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