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Monday, 22 September 2008

SIghts of UNMC

Doctor Tom Cross, the Director of Studies for the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said "if you ever come across a clocktower building behind a lake, check and see if it's a campus of the University of Nottingham."

Yes, all campuses of the University of Nottingham, in the UK, China, or Malaysia, have their administrative buildings sit directly beside a lake, and also a clocktower which chimes at the strike every single hour.

Located in the middle of nowhere (AKA Semenyih town), a hundred-acre-wood was cleared away for the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC or UNiM). Before you think of Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, the wood was actually an oil palm estate.

No! This is not an oil palm.

The University of Nottingham in Malaysia opened its doors in the year 2000. In 2003, the university had less than a thousand students.

The bridge that links to the university. No! This is not the famous Nottingham lake.

But the school board of directors decided to take a risk by building a campus here in Malaysia.

The amphitheatre, in front of the administration building. Imagine a Malaysian girl performing in the middle of the hot sun. Only a true Westerner would do that.

In January 2004, the plot of land allocated for the Malaysia Campus was bare, empty, and dusty. But the campus started operating for the Autumn Semester in 2005.

That's barely 20 months. So much built within so little time.

Classic English telephone booth found here too.

Being the first and only UK university to set up a campus in the Malay Territory, I'm sure it is also the only to have an "Islamic Centre" too.

The Islamic Centre in UNMC.

The school toilets are so clean that it reminds people of the washrooms of hotels. For me, the lack of water on the floor and the smell of urine just disqualifies them to be called "toilets".

Can you believe that this is the men's room? Well you have to, because I didn't have the guts to enter the ladies'.

On-campus accommodation are also built. Three halls of residence are available, each named after the famous islands of Malaysia, Redang, Tioman, and Langkawi.

Tioman, Redang, and Langkawi Halls.

Upon seeing the real thing, however, I was reminded more of Prison Break rather than Baywatch.

Tell me this doesn't look like Fox River State Penitentiary!

Just a stone throw away from the halls (well, literally, depends on how far you can throw) lies the Sports Complex. It's a complicated (hence 'complex') structure which comprises of the swimming pool, two gymnasiums, several basketball courts (I could see at least 4 at one glance), two badminton courts, two squash courts, and two tennis courts.

Basketball courts. Full of energy!

Although UNMC only houses a total of 3300 students, the sport facilities are packed to the brim in the evenings.

A squash court. TARC had two of these too.

Looks like UNMC is not filled with nerds after all. I mean, TARC's KL campus has over 20 000 students, some 6 times the amount of student UNMC has, and yet I don't remember seeing 6 times the sport activity there.

Two indoor badminton courts, the only facility UNMC is losing to TARC.

In fact, the only facilities that are packed to their limits at TARC in the evenings are the swimming pool and the gym. In UNMC, it's rather different - the gym and the pool are rather empty. Maybe because students in UMNC are better at socialising and prefer team sports instead.

The canteen (or cafeteria) is the only thing I have against UNMC so far. Variety is limited, and prices isn't nearly as good as TARC's. In the latter, I could easily get a good meal at RM1.90 (mixed rice with three dishes, I can sense Singaporeans staring at the price with their mouths wide open). In UNMC, mixed rice with three dishes cost RM5, and I don't really fancy Indian mixed rice too.

The cafeteria. Big contrast to TARC's two big canteens.

This is a stark contrast with TARC's two canteens, a cafeteria, and a restaurant, plus two more canteens at hostel. Actually there is a restaurant at UNMC, but then I can't afford to spend RM10 for every meal.

The computer rooms are fantastic, though. Just last week they got rid of all their old computers (Pentium 4, 512MB RAM, Windows XP Pro, 17" LCD monitor) and got new ones. These new babes run on Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, with sparkling new 19" LCD monitors and controlled by the new, expensive and controversial Windows Vista Enterprise Edition.

And, best of all, the computer rooms are open 24 hours daily! Woo hoo!

UNMC has hundreds of computers several times more powerful than mine! The tech geeks of UNMC are pampered to death.

Walking around, I spotted this.

A raised platform, with ladder at its side.

I figured I would be able to get a better view of the clock tower up there. But then I wasn't sure if students are allowed up there.

The ladder.

I looked at the ladder. There was a lid, blocking it halfway, but it wasn't locked. I took a deep breath, and started to climb. While climbing, I quickly formulated several lame arguments in case I was caught. If somebody tells me off by saying that they fear I would fall, I would retaliate with "I'm a university student, I know how to climb a ladder!"

The view from up the platform.

I quickly snapped a few photos and climbed back down. Thank goodness I didn't have to argue.

Oh here comes the Nottingham lake.

Ah... studying by the lakeside under the shady tree, with ducks quacking away, enjoying various activities such as swimming in the pond, fishing, water-skiing, canoeing, diving, surfing...

OK, before I wander too far...

Aw. Fishing and swimming not allowed. I can surely swim at the swimming pool, but then where am I gonna fish? Nevermind, I can still do some canoeing I guess, although I think it better to be tried after I have my degree safely in hand.

I wasn't kidding about the ducks though.

Over the hills and far away...

There ARE ducks in the pond. This got V. M. Saw so excited - she "hearts" the adorable ducks.

There's also a bridge across the lake, leading straight to the admin office.

The bridge. Across troubled water.

Beside hanging out with friends, the lake is also a favourite spot for a jog. Aha! A jogging track, something TARC doesn't have. But then the tracks are occasionaly covered with bird droppings though. You can guess which sort of bird. Well, at least they don't fly.

Well if you're not into any sort of sports UNMC offers, there's always an alternative. Just three minutes' walk away from the campus bridge...



  1. cool, way better than unsw!


    enjoy your uni life dude!

    i'll be staying over at ur hostel for one night probably just to get the feel of it if possible haha.

  2. aiya... you've been to UNMC before you surely know how it looks and feels like. photos can be fake haha


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