Free meal and Free Market

It is the brain idea of one of my colleagues, and thus, this project was started since Semester 1 2016/17 (on 20 November 2016 to be exact).  At first, the project only offered free meal (100 pax) but later on, the project also includes offering stationery that students might need (this is known as Free Market).  

Alhamdulillah, even though there is ups and downs of this project since it started but the people who support the cause try their very best to make sure it runs on regular basis.  It is not easy to run this project on regular basis especially it needs financial supports and also volunteers to assist us in making sure that it will be run on weekly basis.  

For semester 2 2018/19, the last Free Meal and Free Market was conducted on 2 May 2019 (a week before Ramadan).  In sha Allah it will be continued on the next semester.  I have got some of my colleagues who passed me some stuff (stationery) that they bought.  Based on my observation, black pen, foolscap paper, rulers and yellow highlighter are among the most highly-sought after stationery.  

What a true academician and scholar….

I always admire this guy since I was young (I think when I started to read about an article that he wrote in the 1990s).  To envision myself as an academic like him, it is something that I have in mind.  It is not easy to choose this path but I will try my best to stay true to myself In sha Allah.  He was one of the co-authors of Rukun Negara (I googled about this).  I guess, every time I recite Rukun Negara, it will remind me of him.  

When I heard about his passing, I am sad.  As I browsed the news to read more about him, I came across his sayingThe child is the father of the man. Educate and groom the young person, and he will grow up to be the right kind of adult. If you wait until he becomes an adult, it is too late”

What a true academic until the end!  


Me? Baking?

It has been a while since the last time I baked something for Eid.  I think it was two years ago, when I made chocolate chips and almond london biscuit for Eid.  Last year, even though I bought some ingredients to bake chocolate chips, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to celebrate Eid at all.  The passing of my mom in September 2017 still has its effect on me.  But, I still remember when I lost my dad in 2009, my mom insisted us to keep the tradition alive i.e. the tradition of preparing cookies and whatsnot for Eid.  It was some of the things that she normally used to do without fail before Eid.  Being me, I would rather buy than bake unless I have to.  

I know that I baked a lot when I was doing my PhD as compared to now (post PhD period).  I guess at that time, I enjoyed baking and cooking because whatever I baked and cooked would be enjoyed by many people i.e. my housemates and #60 Steavenson Stresst PRs.  

But, today I baked brownie cookies (I get the recipe from Youtube).  Since I didn’t have the exact ingredients that they use, I improvised.  I didn’t know how it will turn out because I am fasting (at the moment of writing this post).  

Here are the pictures that I took: Before and after.  

P.S:  I know that the shapes and sizes are not standardised but I don’t care.  I just let it be that way.  After all, I am pretty sure that I will be the ONLY one who eat this and there is no way that I serve this to any guest who come to my house during Eid.

Prison break

The columns have existed more than 15 years.  There were many small kids growing up here or came for a visit.  But, none of them had ever done this before.  All of them would take the normal route, to get into the house.  Not in between the columns like this girl.  This girl is one year and two months old.  She has started to walk less than a month before.

What happened here?  She went out for a while and while trying to get back inside, she used this method.  Don’t get me wrong.  This picture was taken by her dad.  So, she was under close supervision by her dad.

Worst case scenario?  If she was stuck between the columns, we need to call the firefighter to get help and there goes the newly painted columns that I painstakingly painted during the CNY school break.  Alhamdulillah, she could get through the columns in one piece.  

Thank your for being there for me_Part 2

She took my Research Methodology class.  Then she took my personality psychology and human development classes as well.  She was a “darling” of any supervisor.  She is tenacious, diligent and hardworking.  Never give up easily.

A senior already “assigned” her to be her supervisee but she came to meet the programme coordinator to request of changing supervisor.  Yup.  She wanted me as her supervisor.  This was after the semester of “Minah t test tak tahu” incident.  Apparently, due to that incident, some students were persistent to have me as their supervisor (a reason only known to them until now and Allah.  I don’t ask them “why” they wanted me as their supervisor so, let’s have a good assumption about their intention).

She was well-prepared since the first day we met for supervision.  She remembered what I told her in my research methodology class that as a teacher, it is better if they do an action research to improve their teaching practice.  By conducting research on their teaching practice, they would improve their teaching practice and know how to improve their students’ learning experience as well.  

She was advanced in doing her RS1 and thus, I suggested her to start collecting data for RS2 while completing her RS1.  She did that.  But, on her final semester (the semester she had to complete her RS2 too), she received news about her mom.  Her mom got cancer (I didn’t know the type of cancer) stage 4.  She was crying when she called me to break the news.  I told her to calm down and meet me to discuss how to finish her RS2.  She has to go back to Kuching every weekend to accompany her mom (she is teaching in JB).  

We discussed about new deadlines and tasks to be completed.  She requested me to monitor her progress.  I didn’t want her to push herself too much in this case.  She told me that she needed to finish her masters because it was a promise to her mom.  It was not an easy task to honour her request.  I told her to give our best shots.

She kept me updated with her writing progress and her mom’s condition regularly.  Often than not, she could not be as articulated as before because there were so many things on her mind.  I told her to keep on writing and don’t worry too much about grammar or sentence structure.  I would help her with that.

The period of supervising her was not easy.  It was one of the most challenging times because I was badly affected by the previous incident with “Minah t test tak tahu”.  I was “healing” and time was not on my side.  So, even though it was quite difficult for me to trust my students and to let them to trust me, I just pray that things would turn out well for both of us.

Alhamdulillah, she completed her masters degress with flying colors.  There were times when she wanted to give up but she persisted.  I told her that I would never let her to give up easily.  We were in this together.  

Since graduating, we still keep in touch with each other through Whatsapp.  But, every time I see this picture and the watch (that I still keep in my office), it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that remind me that whatever things that I do matter as a lecturer, teacher, supervisor or mentor.   

P.S: Felicia Sim, thank you for being there for me even though you always think that I help you a lot.  Nope.  I think it is the other way around.

Note: Felicia’s mom passed away couples of days before Teacher’s Day 2018.  When I wished her Happy Teacher’s Day, she broke the news and told me that she was still in Kuching.  She is not married yet but I do hope that she will find her life partner ASAP.

Program Ziarah Cakna [loosely translated as Endowment visit programme]

This is the initiative of the Ministry of Education for schools to conduct Program Ziarah Cakna [school will identify students who belong to B40 family (asnaf) and those who lost their father (yatim).  This has been an annual programme for my school which I witnessed it myself last year.  It is just that teachers did not go to the student’s house to give the goodie pack (basic essential like cooking oil, flour, sugar, bee hoon, soy sauce etc. and duit raya).   This year, it is different.  The teachers have to go to the students’ homes to give the goodie pack and some of the teachers sent the students back as well because coincidentally, they have to go back for eid celebration (school holiday)].  

All of the teachers are assigned to one student except those with administration post.  They are assigned with two students.  Unlike any other programme, this programme will include monitoring of the students’ academic performance as well.  So, the assigned teacher would be the student’s mentor as well. 

I know that it could be perceived as another additional task and responsibility to teachers but I think this would be a good move to create special bond between teacher and student.  After all, education is all about human relation and highly depended on human interaction regardless of whatever tools available to enhance students learning experience.  Nothing can replace a human being as a teacher no matter what!  You cannot learn empathy through AI or a robot.  It requires “human touch” to learn about being emphatic and how to be “human”.  

(Note: The first picture was taken by me and thus for obvious reason, I wasn’t in the picture.  I went to Felda Ulu Tebrau with Teacher Ita.  The second picture shows Nadzirun’s house in Yong Peng.  Ustaz Hazim (the one wearing batik shirt) was on the way to Malacca (his parents’ home) and he dropped by to send Nadzirun back as well as pay his family a visit. Kudos to all teachers of SABK Madrasah Alattas Johor)

Al fatihah to the late Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (Pahang)

It was my masters degree convocation day.  He gave out our diploma/scroll.  The year was 2004.  It has been 15 years since I met him in person.  Even though I never had any chance to know him better but I know he is a good guy.  His name was commemorated in IIUM Gombak Campus mosque (Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah mosque).  I heard about the news of his passing on the radio, on my way back home from UTM.  

May Allah Bless his soul.  


Jack of all trades, master of none

Which is which?  To be a generalist and well-rounded person with versatile and adaptable skills or to be an expert in one specific thing and is really good at it?  It is a conundrum, isn’t it?

But even though it is highly applauded to be versatile and adept at many things yet there are cases and instances when being an expert is better than being a versatile individual.  In what case?  Especially, in a case of dealing with human life.  For example, an expert in engineering cannot claim he/she is an expert in psychological disorders.  To know the differences between one psychological disorder are not easy because there might be similar symptoms of one psychological disorder with another.  For example, layman might use to the term “depression”.  Depression is a symptom of various mood disorders.  Meaning a person who is depressed could be diagnosed as a person with depressive disorders or bipolar disorders or obsessive compulsive disorders (just a few examples).   So, in each different mood disorders, there are many symptoms that might be similar to another psychological disorders such as anxiety disorders.

When a friend approached me to be her supervisor, I asked her about her research interest. When she told me that she wants to do something related to management disaster (which has nothing to do with school or education in specific), I told her that she better searches potential supervisors from School of Human Resource Development and Psychology, not School of Education even though both schools are under the same faculty, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.   She sounded worried because she is hoping that I could be her supervisor.  I told her, as much I wish that I could have her as my supervisee, but I firmly asserted that I am not an expert in management research or human resources.  A simple google of Journal of Management Studies would point out school/faculty of human resources and management or industrial and organisational psychology (I/O psychology).  I would never think that I would do any research and later on publish in such journal.  Never in my dream.  Even though education is still considered as humanities or some considered it as social science, yet it is different from I/O psychology.

In addition, earlier on when she asked me if I can help with the analysis of her project, I was thinking that she has the data already.  When I asked further, apparently she is planning to collect the data and thinking about the instrument/tool to collect the data.  Well, data analysis is still a long way to go because there is no data yet at this point.   Man, this thing could take years to complete.  Indeed.  It is not easy but it is worth the trouble.

While writing this post, I received a message from her (she was in a meeting with the Dean of Faculty of Science, Prof Dr Abdul Rahim about management disaster).  Around 12pm, the meeting ended and I sent her back.  I asked what were the things they discussed if it is not confidential.  Well, because it is confidential, she only said that they were discussing about technical stuff on disaster management.  Some of the things discussed are over her head.  Jokingly I replied “It would be disastrous if I am your supervisor because I am not an expert in disaster management.  Instead of helping you to understand how people management disaster, you will become the disaster yourself“.  LOL 😀

I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny – Dr Seuss

We have known each other more than 20 years.  As our life start to unfold into different spectrum and colors, we keep in touch once in a blue moon while respecting each other space.  Little that I know our meeting would be a little bit different this time around.  She called to say that she was in JB.  To be specific, she was staying at Pulai Spring.  I was in a middle of a meeting.  I told her to give me another half an hour.  She called me again as I was about to leave the meeting.  I rushed to my room to pick up my purse and as it was inside my Ikea red foldable shopping bag, I just grabbed it.  I met her who was waiting in front of Canseleri Building.  Above all places that she can park her black Mercedes, she chose that special place!

She sounded chirpy than usual.  Or is it my imagination that when we met few years ago she sounded more serious?  I greet her with a hug.  Did we hug last time when we met?  I just could not help from thinking that she was a bit different this time around.

It was lunch time and I asked if she had her lunch.  She told me that she had her lunch at the hotel where she was staying.  She told me that she just want to have a chat with me.  To catch up with an old friend.  Yup.  We met at IIUM Matriculation centre in 1996.  We had many classes together since we both majored in psychology.

We decided to have light munchies and hot drinks at McD.  After we took our seat while waiting for our order, she had a quick look at me.  I was wearing a black jubah and shawl with flowery design.  Of course, she noticed my Ikea red plastic bag.  “Dij, you are still you.  You can afford to buy more expensive bag than that!  But, hey we are the same!  We don’t care about the brand as long as it is practical“.  She laughed after saying this.  Looking at myself, I laughed at own self too.  “I don’t have that typical image of a lecturer, huh?”  I asked her.  She said “No.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad that you are still like this.  You don’t change much, don’t you?”  I just laughed.  I have changed a lot, but there are some parts of me that still the same.  I told her that at this age, there are so many things have changed.  I told her that I start to have grey hair and I also have nearsightedness.  I am old. Age is catching up.  Both of us laughed again.  We have a good time to tease each other this time around.  I feel somehow our friendship has matured to different level.

We asked each other about the latest development in our life and suddenly she told me this “Dij, I am on medical leave because I have depression.”  I was shocked.  I was in the similar situation and I know it is not easy without intervention and professional help.  I asked her “Do you have to take any medication?”  She told me that a psychiatrist gives her some medication to take.  I didn’t know how to react.  She is a dear friend.  I know her family and siblings. I have met her mom and dad.  Her mom still remembers me.  Gosh, it is not easy to share this news.  Looking at how quiet I was, she assured me that she is ok.  She is in a better situation than before.  Then, she laughed.  “Dij, I am really ok.  I am glad that you still want to meet me even though I know that you are busy.  You know, there are some of our friends who don’t want to meet me when I ask them out to hang out”.   She updated me about her family and both of her parents are retired.  Alhamdulillah, both of them are well.  

Then she suggested that we should take a picture.  “I want to meet Dee on my way back to KL tonight and I want to show her our picture“, she told me.  “Tonight?  When are you planning to meet her?” I asked her.  “Around 7 or 8pm?”  she replied.   Dee is our friend.  A Mary Kay advocate.  She converts most of our friends to become MK users.   She is a business-minded type.  

Did Dee approach you to use MK product?”  I asked.  “You?”  she asked me back.  We looked at each other and laughed.  That’s the answer!  We don’t have to say anything to know the answer.  Old friends can read each other’s mind quite well.  Indeed.

The lunch time was almost finished and she wanted to meet another friend before she went back to KL.  We had to say Goodbye now.  She sent me back to UTM at 2pm just in time for me to go for another meeting.  I told her that I didn’t have the opportunity yet to show her my office and faculty.  She told me “I guess we have to think about another meeting.  Perhaps you will show me around more“.  In sha Allah.



DD, thanks for your time!  I never thought that McD hot choc is quite delicious.