Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Semester, New Faces...

The new semester has just begun last Monday. I saw a lot of new faces since then. Of course I only had a handful of students during that day (it was a day before Christmas..what did you expect, kan?).

Today seemed a bit better. Both my morning classes were almost full. It was kind of nice to have been able to teach after such a long rest. Tee commented that I looked much better my normal self. And he said that perhaps my motivation at work came largely from my students. Surprisingly, I think he was right. Being able to share my knowledge with my students and being able to touch their lives no matter how little somehow makes me feel alive. I take pride with what some of them have achieved so far and I don't even mind if they have no recollection of me whatsoever in the future. Sounds funny, isn’t it?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Congratulations Keanice !!!

Glitter Photos

Just heard the of my best friends has just delivered a baby boy. Congratulations Keanice. We are so proud of you...

I have known Keanice for almost 12 years now. She has been a great friend since then. She is always there when I need her. Together with Kedda and Kasuma...we always find time to go shopping together, have coffee, etc. although all of us are normally busy up to the maximum especially Keddalah. Outstation memanjang.

This is Keanice's first child..and I am so excited for her. And I know the baby will be in good hands...kan Keanice kan? A future Valentino Rossi I heard.. Hehe. Take care...and love you....

Happy Us...

Glitter Photos

A dedication to my husband actually....and all my love for him. And of course..a wish to myself. Hehe.

The Beauty of Failing...

Hi there people! This is my first appearance after quite a long time. Some of my friends asked me why I didn't update my blog. Told them..I wish..but time seems to envy me. There are so many things to complete towards the end of 2007. But, of course some of the deadlines are mine. I was the one who insist on finishing some of my workload by December. In the end I was the one who are stressed over them. Hahaha. Serve me right!

On top of that, this week, there's a poster competition in UPM. It's where you put your research in a poster form and be judged. I did not win because the judge said my poster lacked statistical information. (I didn't put the analysis in the first place to save space. Guess my decision backfired. Syyy…) Once he said that, I know that my other poster would not win as well because it was based on qualitative data. Sah-sah takde statistical analysis. Never mind then..there is always next year, and the year after that, and the year after, etc...You need to think positive about failures..because if you play your cards well, your failures will lead to more successes. Give it a try if you don't believe me.

And next week our faculty will be having a seminar in Lumut. It's a chance to educate myself and also have fun with my friends. I hope the scenery will be breathtaking and the environment relaxing. My mind needs its rest...I need a rest. But, I am quite disappointed because my husband is not able to take a long leave to follow me to Damai Laut. There goes my chance to bring along my kids. They would have liked spending time in the pool. Tapi we're going away for a vacation right after that. I have a very packed schedule starting from next week until 12 December. Hmm..our birthdays (me and my husband) are slotted in between those days. Another year without celebration. Another year went by. Well...anyway..I wish myself and my husband a very happy birthday. Age is just a number..(a wink and a smile !)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Regarding My Family...

"My four perasan hensem cousins..."

Raya is almost over! I had fun spending Raya with my family...we laughed, we took pictures, we did crazy things and the best part was when we looked at loads of albums with pictures from the past. Masa kecik-kecik dulu...hehehe. I did not dare to put the pictures here..censored! Now, life has been back to normal. Normal means tons of work!!! Plus the final exams are just behind the corner. On top of that my father was admitted to hospital last Monday. At first we thought it was a heart problem. But, after the tests had been run, it was a problem with the muscle instead. We were so relieved. I felt so sad watching him on the hospital bed everyday. I remembered myself wishing, 'let it be me instead.' I had the same wish whenever my children are sick. Daughter instinct? Mother instinct? I bet most of you have experienced similar feelings, right?

Well, I hope you have a nice Raya celebration too.. After this, it will be Deepavali and then Raya Haji and then Christmas..and then Chinese New Year. Wah, we are so lucky to be Malaysians.

"Kamalia with her Auntie Fatin..main jual-jual during Raya"

Monday, October 8, 2007

Regarding Hari Raya Wish...

Personally, I wish Ramadhan will not end because that's when I really feel the happiness of celebrating Raya. By the time Raya arrives, the excitement will be gone. Of course when I was a child, Raya was everything..cause I got to eat all the kuih that I wanted, and I got to collect duit raya some more. But now, as I aged, I am the one who gives the duit raya, and prepare all the kuih and dishes...and on top of that I have to work. is so tiring! People's expectations on me sometimes take all the fun away. Still, I hope for some happiness somewhere. I am going to celebrate Raya in my husband's hometown this year. They have a very big family. With almost 50 grandchildren and around 26 adults in one house during the first day of can just say that survival is for the fittest. Hahaha. Well, I'll be taking my leave starting this Wednesday. Therefore, I just want to wish family members, my relatives, my friends, my colleagues, my students...a very happy Raya and maaf zahir batin. Take care.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Regarding Being Optimistic...

"An optimist is someone who sees opportunity in every disaster. A pessimist is someone who sees disaster in every opportunity." (Sir Winston Churchill, 1954).

I have another version of viewing the two personalities. An optimist is a person who stops at nothing to succeed, a pessimist is a person who gives reasons for every failures. An interesting article in The Star recently stated that there are four level of optimism:
Level 1: Has a positive outlook. Expects favorable results from self and others.
Level 2: Is optimistic about the future. Demonstrates confidence and a sense of control over events.
Level 3: Is resilient. Has the ability to recover from setbacks.
Level 4: Learns from disappointments. Analyses setbacks to learn from them.

According to the article, successful leaders operate at the third level and above.

I always find this topic to be important because having to deal with students all the time, I realized that being pessimists can actually be the root to their problems. Many of them fail to sail through their academic years smoothly because they are pessimist individuals, not because they don't have the capabilities to do so. Whenever they didn't do well in any exams or project papers, they thought that it was the end of the world already. They don't understand that for many lecturers, their improvements in class are at times more important than their results. Anybody can score if they work hard enough, but not many can stand up again after a fall. To be an optimist, you have to first be proud of, and believe in yourself. I told my students they need to walk straight because that itself will reflect their confidence levels, right? I sometimes talk about my experiences to help boost up their morale...I also reward them for their achievements whenever possible. I told them that I will always view them highly in the beginning. It will be up to them to shape my opinions of them afterwards.

Logically, optimists will also carry themselves well in organizations. Therefore, in my opinion, it is very important for universities to generate competitive graduates who are not only excellent in their academic achievements, but who can also wade through obstacles and challenges successfully. What say you?

Regarding Mizzou Reunion...

Last Saturday was quite a night! It started with Shahis suggesting a Ramadhan reunion for Mizzou graduates, surprisingly (even to me) at my house. In the beginning I thought it would be just a small group, but more and more people decided to come. In the end, almost all of us were there although one of our most active members was not able to come since she is currently doing her PhD in Birm. Nana, hope you will be in Malaysia next year. Sher, Juhe, Zeti, Widerk, Cek Nur, Mat Kie, Hazo, Sham, Faezah...mana you all? I haven't met some of you for a long time, and it was nice. Very, very nice. Food, tak payah nak cakaplah...banyak giler!!!! I had to make sure that I didn't forget to pack the food for you to tapau.

Although I didn't have the time to really enjoy myself during the reunion (cause there were so many things to do..), just having all of you around was good enough. After about 3 ½ years celebrating Ramadhan in Reading, it was so refreshing to be around familiar faces. Some of you came to the kitchen and asked me to rest and have fun. Not that I didn't want to, but it was impossiblelah. Hahaha. Anyway, I would like to thank all the girls (girls because they still look young to me..unlike the guys..emm..emm) who have been helping me kat dapur - Farha, Faiz, Zarin, Azua (imam Batak's wife), Pae, Mommeh, Kern..., and also some of the men who were also quite 'ringan tulang' (for cutting the watermelon and for giving us, the girls, some moral support) - Joe, Johnney..As for our imams..Wahab, Jaa, Batak, Jibam...mananye kata nak buat doa selamat? For those names that I didn't mention, thanks jugak for bringing all the food and drinks and for making this event possible.

I just can't imagine that almost 12 years have gone by since our paths crossed. Remember all the dinners that we organized (buying dresses and putting the price tags inside so that we can returned those dresses the next day), all the Raya celebrations (kuah kacang, nasi impit, sate - all home made, amazing!), the International Day where we danced (..and were scolded by some of the seniors on the same day) and prepared karipap to be distributed to the foreign students (cuma yang banyak makannye were us), the 'rollerblading', the 'lepak' in front of the library's Mc Donalds with a cup of hot choc, the hockey games. Oh..and not forgetting the time that me, Cek Nur, Widerk and Zeti spent at the President's house, sometimes with the White House occupants, to watch cerita P.Ramlee until late night (we were also subjected to a lecture on one of those nights..hmm..). We think the President's house occupants did that with all the juniors. Jual minyak. Those were the fun days. Even when the four of us had to cook for the Green house, the White house, and of course the President's house. I remembered one time during hujung bulan, we told the Green house members that we did not have enough food to cook for them (hoping that we could get away just that one time) and they told us never mind, they will bring us all the chicken, etc..all we had to do was cook for them. Hah! We finally agreed, kesian lak tengok, but we made them promised not to buy ayam katok. Hahaha. I really miss those times. I miss the Column, the Mall, even the small town of Columbia. I wish the next reunion kita buat kat Columbia..boleh tak? Sape boleh sponsor? Hehe.

Well, enough said. I hope we can keep having these reunions. In a few years to come, maybe we can do another one at my 'dream' house. I said 'dream' because the house does not even exist yet..only in my mind. Okay guys...thanks for coming, yah. Hope you had a good time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Regarding Ramadhan...

Well, well..pejam celik, pejam celik, this Thursday might be the beginning of Ramadhan already. It is soooo refreshing to be able to celebrate Ramadhan in Malaysia (although I do miss the fact that I can buka puasa at 3:30pm in Reading...), to be around my people.. my families, and friends during tarawikh, to enjoy different kinds of food for berbuka puasa (air sirap and selasih, air cincau), and to shop while fasting. My Romanian friend used to tell me last time that she was amazed of how much energy the Muslims have… why? Because we can shop without eating and drinking. I told her, sometimes I feel amazed myself. Hahaha! But, I guess fasting is normal for Muslims. The thing that makes Ramadhan different is not fasting (for me lah) is actually the combination of many..tarawikh, the continuous recitation of Quran, shopping, the fact that Hari Raya celebration is getting nearer, the sound of meriam buluh...don't you think so?

Seriously, for me, you have to be away to appreciate what you have here. Of course I admit that when I was doing my degree in Missouri, I thought, ' here is so much fun!' Rasa tak nak balik. But then, as I get older...I begin to understand that there's no place like homelah. I feel content living in Malaysia and I think you should too. I hope this Ramadhan would bring keberkatan to me and my family. I am sure it will be very meaningful to me and I want to take this opportunity to wish 'Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan' to all of you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Regarding Freaking Out !!!

I went to a workshop today which was meant to assist us in writing our research and publishing them in top journals, etc. I had presented my draft and the moment the feedbacks came pouring in, I completely freaked out!! I guess it never occurred to me that publishing my work would be that difficult. The worst (for me lah) is to compress a 3½-year work into a 30-page (or less) journal. Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God...Of course this will not stop me from trying my best, it is a challenge instead, but somehow the uncertainty level has risen a bit. Sob! Sob! The question that has been ringing inside my head is this..'Am I gud enuf?'

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Regarding Interview...

I had an interview this morning for the post of a lecturer because I had gone to further my study under a tutor scheme. Since they said it was just for formality, 4 of the tutors from my faculty were interviewed simultaneously. We had a good discussion and I just want to share some of the things mentioned. We were told that as academicians in a research university, one of our responsibilities is of course to teach. But lecturers' main task is only to facilitate learning, not spoon-feed the students. I know students will be frustrated to hear this, but it is actually necessary to prepare them for the outside world. Students need to learn to be independent. Believe me, it is for your own good.

The second thing is we have to participate actively in research activities by publishing our work (the more the better..), not just presenting in conferences. We need to start climbing the hill immediately so that we would be able to reach the top (being awarded full professors) as soon as possible. Publications would enhance our credibility in the research world.

Finally we have to provide services like consultancies, etc if required.

The interviewer stressed on the importance of working passionately. With passion comes determination, and with determination, comes success. He said we should enjoy doing what we chose to do (unless we don't intend to be academicians in the first place).

Coming out of the Bilik Sidang (the room where we had our interview), I began to judge myself. Do I have the passion? Do I have the determination? Do I have the time? For me, time is my biggest obstaclelah...but I know I have the required passion and determination. The only thing that I am not sure is whether my passion and determination are enough. Hmm..I guess I just have to strive hard to meet the expectations. So, pray for me people and wish me luck...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Regarding UPM 31st Convocation Ceremony...

Yesterday at 2pm, some of the junior staffs of the Faculty of Economics and Management were invited (emm...I think forced is a better choice of word..hehehe) to attend the 31st Convocation Ceremony of UPM including me. Actually, I was quite excited when I got the invitation. You see, I was not able to attend my PhD graduation in Reading last time because I just couldn't stand to prolong my stay there. It was so depressing. And of course there was the money factor (the airline fuel charge has increased dramatically since 2003, and accommodation in Reading is very, very expensive especially after the football team has managed to compete in the Premiership league). Why use up so much money just for a day of graduation? I figured it wouldn't be memorable anyway without my husband and my kids. Sadly, I was also not able to go for my Masters graduation in Malaysia because it took place just a month after my departure to Reading (again...plane ticket was soooo expensive!). So, my only memory of graduation was just for my Bachelor Degree in Missouri-Columbia, USA. But, it was also my best (cause that's where I met my Columbia...hehehe).

Anyway, going back to the original was quite nice actually to be able to walk into the Dewan Besar with my PhD graduation gown. For the first time since I graduated, I feel proud of myself. But with pride, comes sadness. I would be lying to you if I say all the sacrifices mean nothing to me. Still, deep in my heart I do believe that everything would not be in vain.

As I looked at the graduates walking down the aisle, I prayed for them to never stop believing in themselves. Remember, you set your own limitations. It will be you who ought to remove them. So, for all the graduates, I wish you the very best of luck in your future. ‘Ingat, berjalan mesti ke hadapan...' Congratulations!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Regarding PhD...

My 'PhD' daughter; Kamalia....

I have a student coming to see me last time who was overly impressed of my achievements. And what I told her was simple.. ‘you need not be a genius to do a PhD, what you need is just determination.’ And I think confidence.

Frankly speaking..I never thought about furthering my study this far. Even when I was in TKC, I never know for sure what I wanna be. I was never the ambitious one there. I was busy with my handball, netball, etc. Looking back at my grades there..ouchh..that’s a very sensitive issue...definitely very bad as compared to all my friendslah especially Elma (she was TKC's best student for both SRP and SPM for our batch). I am sure none of my teachers back then remember me. Hmm..and my mom refused to believe that me and Elma were quite close just because our results differed..big time! Years back, my main aim was to get thru SPM, get my degree and work. But, after graduation, after I started working, little by little, my perceptions changed. I wanted to work..true..but I wanted the time to be flexible. I wanted to learn and at the same time be given opportunities to move up the ladder without any restrictions. I wanted freedom in completing my work. So, I applied to work as a lecturer and was lucky to be accepted as well. The rest is historylah..

To me, there's nothing fancy about getting my PhD (although I did manage to get another daughter throughout the process…hehe). I am still me. Yes, it's an achievement especially when I have to tolerate struggling to end it alone without my husband and my kids for 3 ½ years, when I have to lead a life that was full of ups and downs (one phone call a day to Malaysia and a few pages of Quran reading kept me sane). But the moment I passed my viva...I just didn't feel a thing. Until now pun, I still feel kind of numb. When they sent me my certificate, I kept wondering..‘all those hardships and tears just for this piece of paper?’ Funny, isn't it?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Regarding OGA Dinner...

Last Saturday was quite memorable for me. It was the Annual Dinner for MGC/TKC OGA members. I have been a member for quite some time, but I never had the chance to participate in any of the events because I was away, studying for my PhD. Now that I am back, I thought.. hmm..dinner..why not. Although I did not know most of the people attending the dinner, the bond was clearly there...we were all ex-TKCians after all (except for the husbands and the royal guests of course..) and we know it. We've been to the same school and subjected to the same experience. Most of us talked about the past rather than the present. Somehow the past seemed to be more significant for the occasion. Some of us haven't had the chance to meet for the last 16 years. The grand ballroom was so noisy of the members’ chit chatting that even the famous Mahathir Lokman had trouble in organizing the event. And it was fun to see the prominent members of the school talked about similar experiences during the multimedia presentation. Some common topics include the 'nasi kawah,' 'nasi daging' and 'ikan jeket.' There were also talks about house keeping that every one of us were required to do every weekend. About having to wake up very early in the morning to serve for breakfast, the fight for nice breads for the seniors, the rule of one finger when arranging the coffee cup. About being lectured by seniors. About all our pet sisters, 'cobweb,' 'toeng,' 'friends..' About the teachers..the things we did during April Fool...hahaha. Well, hope the friendships long as the students keep singing the song...

"Kolej Tunku Kurshiah,
Kolej ulung di negara Malaysia,
Kami pelajar bersumpah,
Akan teguh patuh memeliharanya..

Kolej Tunku Kurshiah,
Kolej mulia berjasa,
Moga-moga Tuhan memberi rahmatnya,
Sentosa Kolej Tunku Kurshiah!"


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Regarding Introduction...

This is me writing on my second blog actually. My first one was created solely for the purpose of releasing the tensions that I felt while dragging myself to finish my PhD. This second attempt is hoped to provide a platform for discussions..on..well..on anything and everything. For those who have supported me throughout the journey cited in my last blog, thank you very much. For those who have just joined me for my upcoming's a pleasure...