Disk 53

The Berita Akitek is always touching on serious issues, trying to take a stand on issues relating to our profession. PAM has also exalted its members to all that which is right and correct within the practice of architecture. However, for all that is said and done there are still many within the Institute, who still fall by the wayside. That is life! Regrettably those that fall by the wayside have to be picked up or sometimes cast aside.

The Institute is a large body of men and now, an increasing number of women. This is good. Like in architecture, we have different building types, architects too, can be classified into some sort of typological classifications. Having spent many years in the Institute, rubbing shoulders with the “elite” group, sharing many hours in smoke filled, badly ventilated meeting rooms; one would have had the opportunity to observe and therefore able to share some of the lighter side of architects. We are, afterall, human. Being human, it also means that we are best able to solve some of the pressing human issues at hand.

When architects gather at PAM during committee meetings, we see each other as serious minded professional discussing and deciding on issues affecting the Institute or the Profession. The occasional lighter moments during members’ night or President’s night had seen the other side of some members with their hair down and having fun. We have among us talents, the likes of Fred Astaire and ‘imitation’ Elvis Presley. There are of course other members’ whose masks never come down. It is this colourful mix which has made the profession strangely strong, interesting and colourful.

This issue of Berita Akitek attempts to take a light-hearted but penetrating glimpse behind the ‘mask’ of architects, to draw up an architect’s typology. If the typological description somehow bears resemblance to any living corporate member of PAM its purely coincidental; no offence is meant or intended, as Ken Yeang says, “If the hat fits, wear it”.
So here goes: –

The ‘Young Turk’
Is full of vision and enthusiasm. He is on a mission, thinks that the
whole world rightly or wrongly needs changing, especially the Institute. He and his friends are ‘angry’ at PAM and how it is run. He thinks the clique of ‘Mafia’ has had control for too long. So they try a ‘take-over’ to ‘change and improve’ things; this phenomenon happens once every seven (7) years;

The “Innocent”
Is bright and wide-eyed, yet he knows nothing about anything. Simply
happen and contented that he is now an architect, Everything is great. Wants to make lots of money – “$50.00 more? Sure, I’ll work for you lah!”

The “PAM” is not doing enough for its members” critic
Is always asking and expounding the above statement. Why isn’t the Institute standing up for its members? Believes in the Institute having to do everything for them.
“What? Me giving my time for PAM? Sorry-lah, very busy. Next year lah, maybe! Anyway, you are doing a good job! Please continue.”

The “PAM is now weak” critic
Claims that PAM is not taking a stand on major issues and that it has become voiceless and toothless. The Institute now has no moral fibre to speak up. Someone ought to say something on behalf of the profession.
“God help you if you do speak up or grab too much limelight! I have a nose to sniff you out, and when I do, I’ll nail you on any issues.”

The “Bible thumping – Billy Graham” type
Is very self-righteous click here and pompous. He is so holy that you need sunglasses or turn your eyes away at meetings as he has a permanent radiant glow emitting from his countenance. His vision is straight and cannot be deviated as one would in a tunnel.
“I’ll throw the book at you if your hair is not properly greased and in place; and your elbows and fingers squeakly clean”.

The “Bloated gentleman” type
Is very well-read, bred and proper; pontificating views and opinions based on wrong premises. Very aloof and therefor visions and analytical views from great heights become obscure and confused. Has a tendency to conceptually misread signals transmitted and ‘back the wrong horse’ or shooting himself in the foot’.

The “Senile Old One”
Had seen better days. Needs urgent repatriation to pastures. Unfortunately PAM had never prepared for such eventualities – we have always been a ‘young Institute’. He fights and argues with all and sundry on the slightest instigation and has embarrassed some prominent past president.

The “Free-Loader”
Wants everything free.
“Why charge for exams?” “Why must pay for extra copies of the M.A.?” ”Why increase annual fees?” “Why must we buy the slides of our projects featured in M.A.?” If that’s how they view and treat PAM, their own Institute, how than do you think they may treat suppliers and contractors?

The “Excruciatingly indecisive and insecure”
Is terribly slow at coming out with decisions. Once started would proceed on a tangent due to inattentiveness during discussions resulting in producing a product, which embraces and includes everybody else’s work area of responsibility.

The “Verbal Wonder” type
Have brilliant ideas and concepts. He is able to project an impression that everything is possible and achievable. He will also be able to than explain why everything was not done and how it was impossible to achieve it in view of all the surrounding unforeseeable constraints.

The “Theoretician and Thinker”
Knows all the theories and philosophies of great architectural gurus. He has his own set of theories too and is consistently expounding them. Only thing is that the end product is nowhere near the theories he expounded.

The “Dilettante”
Wants to be good in everything, wants to be an expert in this and that. Therefore, a finger in every pie, leaving only the thumb free. And a thumbs-up is what we get all the time.

The “Politician”
Sees PAM as the testing ground for his political ambitions and theories. Equates PAM Council as the Cabinet. Sees themselves as “king-makers”, whilst subscribing to the belief that – “like this can do, like that also can”.

The “Mr. Nice-guy”
The ever-friendly, smiling, ever-willing to oblige, and baby-kissing. Always going for the ‘win-win’ situation. Anything less than that will be considered ‘taboo’. Butter will not melt in his mouth; and ‘we must never let the real truth out as it may hurt some people”.

Well, there you are folks! It is by no means an exhaustive list but this is only a
Suggested typological classification. Should any typological classification be omitted, kindly accept our apologies. As explained earlier, any resemblance to any living corporate member of PAM is coincidental.

It has always been said that in order to improve ourselves, we must be able to take criticism and learn from our mistakes. Similar, we should be able to laugh at ourselves, so that through the lighter side of life we may see the humorous side of ourselves and that we might correct and improve ourselves for the betterment of our profession.