Architectural Students Workshop – Dualisma 2013

We are coming to the last 30 days before the Architectural Students Workshop and I would like to share some thoughts which I shared earlier on Monday during the school’s presentation on the workshop.

When I asked the students present: ‘Why we are doing this workshop?’, a student answered that they are doing it for PAM or for some other people, I had to remind everyone present that we are doing this workshop for us and to tell people who we are and what we are about. The workshop does matter because we want people to know us, the students and staff. People who make UM School of Architecture. We are bringing people in to look at our students, our school and our programs to tell people what we are about.

I reminded of the topic “Dualisma” ( the Malay version of ‘dualism’) and how we amalgamated three proposals by Hazim (Time / Dot), Huda (Wabak) and Ihsan (Sub-altern) into one which is ‘Dualisma’. There was a history regarding the topic and we need to deal with this topic and not make a different theme. Much thoughts and effort has gone to arrive with this topic and we thank those who conceptualise this topic. Hence, we need to continue with our understanding of Dualisma to enhance our knowledge and make this workshop a success.

‘Dualism’ is about how we see around us in our world and our life, complements and contradictions embodied in every subject and object where there seems to be two states existing. Where ‘green’ issues are concerned, dualism is being more specifically dealt with in ‘moral dualism’. Moral dualism affects the architect, where he/she has to deal with a ‘complementary’ solution or a ‘conflicting’ solution for the earth’s sustainability. We see the UM-Epic Homes Shelter for Orang Asli competition and community service as a complementary solution to alleviate the problems of poverty in society, for example. We see an empathy to the problems of society to deal with the state existing in our morality and ethics.

Another way to view ‘dualism’ is to do with ‘human perception in understanding the world’ and that is the role of the architect, where he/she help to build this perception for society. In different philosophies, we have for example, the understanding of ‘ying and yang’, ‘subject and object’ and ‘conscious and unconscious’. These are world views of people and civilization on how to perceive the world.

The Dualisma facilitators in particular have a big role to play in explaining to our guests and participants about ‘Dualisma’ and its meaning. An introduction should be made before every program starts and the creative and program teams could make this felt with poetry, quotes and sayings on dualism or moral dualism.

Our students are constantly learning and this workshop affords a very high learning curve for those who has never done or organise something like this before. Leadership skills will be gotten and built into our current students who will need to be leaders and not followers. They will have to think on their feet and solve problems immediately by themselves, even a first year student, who needs to act upon quickly when no one is around. The essential skill is the critical thinking skills, where we don’t just mimic what was being said or passed to us but actually digest the message and instruction and interpret it as best we can.


Figure 1 shows a coordination meeting about to start.

(Photo by author)

001 013Figures above show two events: a meeting with PAM educational committee and;

the opening of our students best works at the UM Art Gallery

(photos by Nur Mazidah Che Ghani)

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