Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let Us be Proud of Who We Are

Last few weeks I had encountered a few disturbing insights from a number of people:

1. At the talk by Tun Mahathir on 29 November 2010 - ‘Revisiting Vision 2020.’ One of the issues highlighted was our lack of trust on our people's expertise. As Tun was saying, in order for us to move forward, we need to actually upgrade our own expertise and develop our products and services so that our brands will be at par with all those international brands.

"In between the sarcasm and wry humour, Dr Mahathir also dispensed some brilliant thoughts on how to achieve Vision 2020 like re-focusing on Domestic Direct Investments, changing mindsets for the better, increasing productivity and quality of goods and services, and mastering the English language as it would enable one to have more access to information and knowledge, and be able to operate internationally with relative ease.”We still have 10 good years left to achieving Vision 2020," he said." Quoted from Bernama,, 29 November 2010.

2. At the Graduate School of Management Seminar 2010 on 1 December 2010- a talk by YM Dr Raja Nerina on our Halal industry and SME. Her findings discovered that a lot of our small and medium entrepreneurs lacked the capability and motivation to penetrate the international markets although the platform was provided through the cooperation of the Malaysian government with the foreign hypermarkets such as Tesco, Carrefour and Giant. Some of the reasons given by the entrepreneurs: the international regulations were too complicated; and to succeed it required hard work on their part, which they were not willing to give.

3. Also at the Graduate School of Management Seminar 2010 on 2 December 2010 - a conversation with a veteran in the industry. The question raised was simple. Why is it that most Malaysians who work for multinational organizations regard themselves as better off than Malaysians who are working in non-multinational organizations? The former seems to have higher self esteem and self efficacy than the latter.

Phrases like ‘ saya tak pandai..’ or ‘ saya rasa saya tak layaklah..’ or even ‘malu lah saya nak join..’ were common these days. Just take the situation in the university for an example. Companies have lots of opportunities to offer students in terms of competitions, practical trainings, etc. However, there were only few interested players. The rest prefer to just stay in the background. When given the opportunities, they often opt not to participate. However, when others actually grab the opportunities, they fret and complain and criticize for not being given the chance. The worst would be them finding excuses for not taking part or for not being chosen. I remembered once in our effort to encourage students to participate in students’ activities, we actually provided a.k.a bribed them with free lunches (nasi ayam to be specific). Still, not many came. It was very frustrating as many of the nasi ayam were then distributed to the faculty members. It beat the whole purpose of offering the nasi ayam in the first place.

Is this our ‘malu’ values in action? Do Malaysians prefer being appointed to do something as opposed to being openly invited for the same purpose? Are we becoming more and more complacent? Are we losing our sense of competitiveness? Looking back towards the previous generation, I see different values and attitudes at play. Perhaps because they had it hard in the beginning, their thirsts for knowledge and success are never ending. Perhaps the younger generation is being spoon fed too much that they become lazy to even put in efforts. Or are we overprotecting them in a way that they are not resilient anymore in facing the challenges of the world? If this attitude continues, what kind of society are we going to have in the future? What kind of lives will the next generation lead? With today’s technology, we should be able to embrace challenges and learning opportunities better. Knowledge should be shared and enhanced when possible. Criticisms should be done constructively and not be infected by negative emotions such as jealousy, malignancy, hatred and so force. All these years, generations after generations, we have been brought up with a well known proverb – segan bertanya, sesat jalan. By all means, ask and you will never be lost. Personally, I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t know about something. But I am very ashamed if I don’t take any actions in trying to learn the things that I don’t know. I strongly believe that anybody can be gemilang (outstanding). It’s a question of whether we want it or not. Think about it.

“I knew at that moment I had to make a choice. I could submit to everything that was happening and live a life of excuses... or I could push myself. I could push myself and make my life good.” Liz Murray – Homeless to Harvard, 2003.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Youngest, the Joker.

Thaqif - 2 yrs old.

Thaqif - almost 1 yr old.

Thaqif - a baby.

Again and again, we keep coming to the same phrase - time sure flies. I felt that it was just recently that I gave birth to my youngest. But pejam celik, pejam celik, he is now 2 years old. Very active. And at the moment trying very hard to imitate people and improving his vocabularies. Once I was on my way to my mother’s and he was sitting at the back in his new car seat (we had to buy a new one because the old one cannot hold him anymore – he managed to get out of it), and I heard him singing ‘boya, boya, boya, boya’ like the advertisement on TV. Boya here means bola or ball. Hmm...

And there was this one time when he wanted his book and it was on top of the TV. He had said ‘mak, buku! ’, but I kind of thought I would be able to ignore his request. I just finished tidying up and didn’t want him to make a mess anymore. So, I pretended not to hear. Then he looked at me and he seemed to be thinking for a while when suddenly he uttered the word ‘atas.’ Seeing his determination, I finally relented and he got his book.

The latest incident was at Ani Sop Utara in Bangi. My husband and I decided to bring him out for dinner. And he was so happy in his baby seat waiting for the food. The moment the young server came to deliver our food, he kept repeating the word ‘makacih ye..’ everytime the boy put down the food on the table. The boy seemed a little bit hesitant. Ye lah kan, how actually to respond to this small boy who thanked him continuously and excitedly.

Well…I am sure to enjoy all these while I can. Because going back to the phrase, time is flying and before I know it, he’ll be going to school, and he won’t be so attached to me anymore. He will have his friends, his teachers, etc. etc. etc. He will even have his secrets. Sob! Sob!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am a Teacher.

Time flies, classes completed, semesters ended. I have always enjoyed my task as a teacher. Considering the fact that I never wanted to be a teacher when I was small because both my parents were teachers, this comes as a surprise to me too. It is refreshing to be able to share knowledge with my students and hopefully one day, they too would share their knowledge with somebody else. My joys of teaching normally came from the interactions I had with my students, the knowledge gained from them. I always believe that what make a good teacher are always the students. I enjoyed it when students challenged me with questions, when students participated in the discussion. And I treasured the input I got from my students. I always have. I took pride when they learned something in my class and I took pride in their successes (even though my role in their successes probably is very, very small). I appreciated the positive verbal and nonverbal reactions shared during class time. They didn’t necessarily have to get an A to gain my respect. Because for me MBA is not about scoring, MBA is about learning. When students graduated from MBA, they should be able to carry the MBA qualities with them. Knowledge is power. And with great power comes great responsibility.

With teaching, I cannot run away from awarding grades. It’s part of the parcel. But it saddened me when students, upon receiving their grades put the blame solely on the teachers for not guiding them well. And yet they were the ones playing with Facebook while I was teaching, they were the ones talking while I was straining my voice so that the others could hear, and they were the ones remaining passive for the whole 14 weeks (some didn’t even bother to come to class). Sigh. For me grades should be earned and not given. Good grades will have to be paired with serious efforts and determinations.

Still, I apologize if in the course of my teachings, I fail to carry my tasks as expected. As a human, perfection is out of the question. But I can always pray for a near perfection one day. Insyaallah. Thank you for those who have been supportive in my classes all these while. Thank you for giving me a chance. A wise man once said that we will learn something every day if we pay attention. Be observant.

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Love You Mom!

Nowadays I don’t get to write in my blog as much as I wanted to. Most of the time my heart yearns to write. But things keep coming onto my lap with invisible messages such as ‘Urgent,’ ‘Deadline – Yesterday,’ etc. Most of the time, I am caught between my responsibilities to my employer, my students, and my family. And I forgot about my responsibilities to myself.

Come to think of it, it’s quite hard to juggle both (work and life) especially when we live in a society that is prejudiced over the role of husbands and wives. A wife is expected to multi task. Even though a wife also contributes to the family’s income, that part more often than not is left out. All the society sees is whether the wife keeps the children neat, cleans the pots and pans, prepares the home cooked meals, etc. etc. etc. On the contrary, a husband is expected to be the breadwinner. Expected. Therefore, when you have one that stays at home and takes care of the children..boom! All sorts of negative perceptions pop out - queen controlled, submissive. And you know what hurts the most? It doesn’t matter whether staying at home is a choice of the husband or not. It doesn’t’ matter that the wife works or not. The fault still lies on the wife, for not allowing the husband the freedom he so deserve.

As for the wife? What then? She works, she contributes, she delivers children, she does the household chores (as much as she is able to since she’s working), she takes care of the children when they are sick, she even takes care of the husband when he is sick, and the list goes on and on and on. Infinity and beyond. Doesn’t she also deserve the freedom once in a while? Still, when she spends time with friends, they say she’s a bad mother, a terrible wife.

The funny thing is that, we often talk of moving forward. We talk about change. Seriously, what change is possible if our minds are still governed by traditional thinking? I think it’s about time that we open our mind. A little bit of justice is most welcome. A little bit of appreciation for the sacrifices that wives all over the world had endured all these years. A simple thank you should be enough. After all, it takes two to tango in a marriage. And it takes the whole society to march towards victory.

“We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors.” Jerry Maguire, 1996.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If Only My Heart Could Speak...It Will be My Journey of a Lifetime.

The weather is still gloomy and it affects me big time. These past few days I’ve been in a very difficult mood. I feel entrap in my life. It’s like I am so deep in the water and I am now desperately fighting for air. The cause of the problem? Beats me. But I know that I have always been a dreamer. A person with the imagination. I dream whenever I can. For all that I have become today, I owe part of it to my dreams. For a person like me, dreams are necessities. I need to dream to survive. When I dream, I am able to take myself to greater heights. I am able to be many different characters at the same time. And with each of the character, I am allowed the opportunity to feel for them, to be them. As long as my heart beats, my life is going to be a journey of a lifetime. I know it and I feel it. Of course, now and then I was hindered by my inability to step back into reality. That is always the hidden danger. That you fly yourself too far from your nest and get lost on your way home. Normally, I can always shake myself off the dreams within a day or two if the dreams tend not to be too intense. But this time, I have been delayed. The dream that was sparked a few days ago has been a combination of all the impossibilities that I wish to have in my life. Humans are always intrigued by something that they couldn’t have. When the reality denies that need, that’s when I dream. Of course in my case, untangling is an issue. I am trying..still. It took me almost 3 days to fly half way back. I don’t know how long it will take me before I am home.

"I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


At around 9.30pm tonight, my phone beeped signifying an incoming message – ‘Prof Shaik Noor Alam passed away earlier today.’ For a moment I was left with no emotion at all. And suddenly it dawned on me that this person that I often see (for our offices are located on the same floor) is now gone. He is really, really gone. My heart feels empty. Hollow. There will be no more short talks with him, no more smiles, no more exchanged of Salams... All that’s left is just his legacy and what I can remember of him. In time, those memories may also fade away as memories often do. Oh, I am not that close with Prof Shaik. Not like some of my colleagues who have the chance to be taken under his wing. He may not even remember my name, only the familiarity of my face. But I’ve had my share. And even for those short moments, I am glad to have crossed my path with him. His death made me realize how short life can be, and how abrupt it can be taken away from you. Inna lillah wa inna 'ilayhi raji'un. Just a few days ago I heard of him coming to the faculty. I was not able to meet him but they said he looked well. I had my hopes up high then for him. But now this news. He is gone. He is really, really gone. ‘Prof, you will be missed. Semoga rohmu dicucuri rahmat.’ Al-Fatihah.