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?'