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Thursday, March 8, 2018


The truth is, I'm not well.

Over 4 years ago, I pondered a lot about what I should do. Battling myself in finishing my masters had left me with severe emotional and mental scar, I had wished I never started that life. Why did I never really consider my choices in jobs, life options, why did I want to do masters anyway? Why did I want to live this life anyway? And now, battling myself in finishing my PhD, the same questions are playing in my head. Driving me to the edge. Why am I doing this?


Over 28 years in my life, I never really knew the meaning of failure. I'd always excelled in my studies, starting from my preschool. I had it easy. I was quick to understand a lesson, quick to remember things that I learnt, and always adept in problem solving. Must be the reason I loved maths too. From 7 to 15, I was always in the front rows in success. I was easily among the kids who rivaled to place the first, though I may not won as much as my friends. But to me, I was among the ones who succeed. Then after PMR, although I may not be among the top students, I was also not among the bottoms. I was considerably okay. To me, I was successful enough.

Comes the trials of finishing my masters, I particularly got to know the world of research. Though on that time, the study that I was doing was rather subliminal to the works of a PhD research, I started to know the harsh reality of it. Adding to my difficulty was the deadline that I was having, as I was tied to UTM as a staff, thus I have limited time to finish my works. 

On that time, I worked almost everyday. Some days I worked until 4 in the morning just to finish my labworks as much as I could. Most of the days I started my worked in the morning and went back at night. But the reality of conducting biological research, particularly molecular, sometimes the things that you invested your time and energy for over a few weeks could just go to the trash. The results may not work as well as you want. Sometimes when your mind was not in it, making a simple mistake could ruin the rest of your experiments, though you may have started them for hours or days even. But that was still okay. I guess. At least I still know what I wanted to do. 

Little did I know the real start to my problem would surface back here, in UTM.

On the outside, when meeting people, I was usually cheerful. I joked around, laughed a lot, smiled a lot, teased a lot. When I was by myself, I was often reminded of the dreadful feelings I constantly have, the thesis that I hadn't finished, the expectation people have on me etc. On that time, though my masters's thesis was not that long, it was not even 100 pages, it took me a year to finish it. It became the source of my misery. Every time I thought about it, I flinched inside. My mental was breaking. When I was sitting in front of my computer trying to do it, I felt like there was a force in my head wanting to run away from it. Battling yourself on doing things you don't want to do, was what finally weakened me. 

On that time, I felt like a failure. I was a failure. I thought if I didn't have the contract with UTM that would eventually affect the people who became my guarantors, I would want to quit it. During that time was also the time I came to understand the feeling of people who went for suicide. It was an option that crossed your mind of how to get out of that problematic situation. Though it crossed my mind many times, plenty of times, the faith that I held onto would not let me. On that time, as I took solace in making myself going for prayers in the masjid almost everyday, it was what keeping me sane. It was hard, but I had God with me. On that time, I didn't really talked about my situation to anyone. Only my friend back in UM really know how hard it was for me. And I remember her words as I called her after crying my heart out, telling her how I wish I could just quit, and she said, don't quit, just little bit more. Just a little bit more and it will be over. 

And now too, just a little bit more and it will be over.

Before that, you must be wondering, if I already knew that going through masters research was already that dreadful for me, why did I start this again by going for PhD? Right. I must be insane. 

After I managed to finish my masters thesis, though I was not very proud of it, I strongly felt that I never want to go through that again. The reason why I'm going through this again is none other than my job, and of course, the qadr of Allah. 

After the tutor contract hiatus, we were given an option of whether we quit and pay the over 100k fine for breaching the contract or we start our PhD in UTM immediately. I prayed a lot to Allah on that time that if it was good for me, let me be laid off by UTM. But He made the path towards PhD easier on that time. So I thought, this was what was better for me. Besides, I was not as depressed on that time and I truly thought that I could pull this through.

Now, I'm reaching the 4 years mark since I started my PhD, and I'm going through the same battle of writing my thesis. And this, is the time that the hardest part hits me again. Although this time it is several times more severe that what I felt back then. Why more severe?

Back then, I was still young. I started my masters with zealousness in my mind. My battle spirit was high. I started my PhD with a battle with myself instead. A battle to keep my spirits high and my mind sane. I started my PhD despite my low spirit to go into it, thus battling myself to burn the will in me. To convince myself to keep doing what I need to do. Though battling the challenging biological works was hard enough, I also battle with the mentally draining UTM tutor contract every single year. Yes, we were pressed from the beginning, with the threat of no extension after 3 years, of the pressure to finish fast, but despite that, keep working hard and do our best in what we do. And every year, every meeting, it made me feel a failure even more. Allahu musta3an. Three years into PhD, I can't say that I have fought my best battle, but I think I have done the best I could. At least that was what I thought. At least by early last year I could still focus on the things I needed to do. I managed to generate results. Although not as much compared to the ones published in other researches, I was feeling content. I had something. Alhamdulillah.

The following year, I could feel myself breaking pieces by pieces. I don't know how it started, or when it exactly started. Probably the continued meetings about the tutor contact? Or the time I had to stop supporting my sister and my mom because I stop getting paid? When? Was it the time when I lost hope in marriage? I think many things happened last year that made me struggle so much. The time I start to have my confidence crumble, the time I struggled with my eman, the time I had to start writing my thesis, financial, family etc. I don't find joy in the things I do anymore. When the time that the struggle was hard, I crumbled. I slept too much, I ate too much. I couldn't focus. I cried. Sometimes I was okay. I was positive, I went out and see people, do things I like. But some weeks of the month, I was fighting hard. 

The  end of this month is the end of my contract. I have no job after this. Maybe. Though there is a chance for me to be re-hired, I still have to finish this thesis first. And that, is my biggest hurdle yet. My mind keep telling me I'm a failure. At 32, with no job, no family, no home. How funny what a job title does to me. Though for almost a year I've been holding to that title without pay, though I hated it, I was not feeling like a failure. I guess it was like an anchor. I had something that I can say I belong to. Now that it's gone, I'm lost. It opened another feeling of failure in me. I used to feel a failure just as a student, now I feel a failure as a student, a daughter, and a sister. I can't help my family anymore. I'm useless. 

At the same time, the other side of me is fighting off this feeling. It just happen that now, I'm at my weakest point. 

Listening to my friends talking about our friend/labmate who's going through mental depression and anxiety because of her PhD, and that she is quitting, I couldn't comment anything. I could feel her. 

My heart goes to you JT. I know how you feel and how hard it is. I wish you the best, and God protects you from further dread of this road.

Now I'm just tired. I wanna go back home.

This continued battle is breaking me. 

Allah Al-Jabbar, fix me.
Friday, October 7, 2016

Marriage, are you ready?


Usually this topic is rather a taboo to me. Well, I think to anyone who is single after 25, it is a rather sensitive issue to talk about. No objection to that.

I remember in my younger days (although I'm still young now at 30 ;p), I used to want to get married before 25. After 23, I made du'a to Allah that I would get married the next year. And a year passed and I prayed again for the year after that. At 27, there were times I would get very depressed at the thought of marriage. I thought to myself that maybe I was not worthy for any good man and that was why Allah has not answered my du'a yet. I cried so much when my best friend got married back in 2012, on the thought that I was losing a best friend, the thought that I wouldn't be with her as much anymore and to the thought that I'm not even close to marriage when she was already there. And it really worsen as I was facing depression due to my master's thesis. The only solace on that time was to the belief that whatever Allah has decreed upon me is the best for me. So to fill the void in my heart on that time I told myself that I would never get married, so stop thinking about it and be miserable at the thought, but be happy that I was single and I could do anything that I want. At that time I had stopped making du'a about marriage to get my mind off it all together and frankly, it felt so liberating. Free from the sad and desperate thought that always played at the back of my mind "When will I also get married?". That sad thought.

However that state didn't last very long. It did well for me for a few months I think, then a friend told me that I still should at least make du'a as to show my effort. So I made du'a to Allah, but not with that dark tinge of desperation anymore. However, the sad thoughts do visit frequently. And when I started to become desperate again, my mind came to light with this thought:

Everything that Allah has bestowed upon us is a form of ni'mah/blessing. Who are we to say that we are entitled to that ni'mah? Marriage, kids, money etc. Instead, we have so much in us that Allah has blessed us with, our good sights, good job, the fact that at the end of each month we can take our atm card and dispense cash because of it, yet have we, I, thank Allah fully for everything that I have owned? So, live for the moment and learn to be thankful for everything that Allah has given us before we desperately want another ni'mah from Allah. If He gives, it's because He wants to, not because we deserve to. Life is a test, in every aspect of it. The ni'mah in this dunya is much too little compared to what Allah has reserved for us in the aakhirah. It is okay if we are not blessed with every ni'mah in this dunya, but it is NOT okay if we miss to be among the crowds that Allah will place in His gardens, free from any hardship, misery and bestowed eternal happiness in His Jannah. That happy ending. Be thankful all the time and pray that we'll be among that crowd. Amin.

This conviction has always become a mantra that I hold whenever that lonely thought came to mind. That this life is too short to waste on thinking on what we don't have. Instead, focus on what we do have. Anyway, however perfect that notion is, I did have moments when I was overcome by loneliness that I crave for a companion. But not all the time. You know, being a female and have these hormones influencing you every month. Well, most of the time, I am sane :p.

These days, sometimes I came across statements made by my younger friends who were going through my mid-20s inner struggle. I really wanted to tell them to not be stressed about it, but it won't be easy. I think if I were to tell the young 20's me to not be stressed about it and focus on what I have instead, the notion wouldn't sink in very easily since my emotion would be too strong for my rational thinking. So those friends, they will come to see one day. I hope so. It's a cycle :)

Let's get to a more serious note on marriage.

We will always want what other people have, because we are humans. The normal thing that other people have and do, we want to have and do that too. We want to have someone whom we can call when have a good or a bad news to share without concerning if our call might disturb him or her at that particular hour. Someone whom we can confide our littlest secrets and silliest thoughts. Someone who will come running when our car broke down. A company to that eating place that we crave to eat. Someone who will pay for our dinner :p. 

The reality is, imaginations of marriage always come in the form of colors. We only fantasize the good images of it. The love, the friendship etc and never one really fantasize the dark side of it. 

At the age of 30, the idea of marriage has become an intimidating fantasy to me. I do realize now the silver lining to why Allah has delayed it for me. Being surrounded by a number of married couples around me, I came to learn on the dark sides of marriage. Trust me, marriage is not just about fairy tales. It takes effort to make a marriage work. There will be trials that come in the form of your partner, the in laws, the friends, or just jealous stranger. 

You never really know your spouse until you live with him/her. Sure, before you get married everything is laid out properly, convinced that you would be happy. But after you got married, when trials fall, then you'd see the true colors of your partner. 

Some people are tested with her partner being too controlling that she has to give up her social life for him. You can't befriend this person, you have to do this, do that. All because he holds too strongly to the notion that he is the leader of the house, the wife has to obey him no matter what or she'd be a disobedient wife. Or vice versa.

Some are tested with abusive husband, physically or emotionally. Some husbands expect that his wife serves him everything, become his personal maid. Some don't even care of what happens in his household as long as he can spend more time with his friends. And don't forget the trials that come with the presence of a third person in the marriage, be it the parents, in laws, friends, or even old girlfriend/boyfriend (s). 

The reality is, marriage is not a place where you seek fairy tales and continuous romance only. To go through marriage, one has to prepare to respect each other, to give up your ego, to be willing to give and take, to accept each other's weaknesses, to be forgiving, to be patient, to tolerate each other and to love each other to end. Undoubtedly, doing these won't be easy. That's why I came to learn that marriage is not easy. For those who survive marriage at this age, that truly is an achievement, don't you agree? 

That's why, before you jump to the million dollar question of 'when are you getting married?', you should think of whether or not you're ready to get married. And to my married friends or relatives who often see us the singles as the miserables who don't have a husband yet at our age, hey, life if not just about marriage and kids. We are not miserable, don't worry. Allah is setting our lives at our best conditions that we are capable of dealing for the mean time. 

Anyway, it does not mean I don't want to get married. I still do, with all my heart. I always pray that Allah gives me a husband that will grow with me together, to be my supporter, that he'll be my qurratu-'ain and I'll be his. And I leave that matter totally to Him. If he bless me with one, then I'm grateful. Until then, I'm still grateful to be single. :)

Again, as mentioned by Sheikh Abdul Bary Yahya:

"Being married and unmarried are both tests in patience". 

May we all excel.

1.04 pm 
Oct 7, 2016

p/s: suara yang mencuri hati :p :p :p

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ramadhan at 29

Assalamualaikum :-)

Today marks the night of 14th Ramadhan 1436 already. The time is flying too fast. It feels like only last week I started fasting then, what? Two weeks of ramadhan has passed!

Though I said in the title that my age is 29, the real one is already 30! My birthday in Hijri calendar was 29th Syawwal 1406H. So another 10 ramadhans I'll be forty and I can recite the du'a taught in the quran for the people who reach 40 :-)

Time flew. Really.

Tonight I was feeling resentful. Over so many things. Little thing could tick me off. Astaghfirullah. When I was praying starting Isya' to tarawikh, I just couldn't concentrate. I was distracted even merely with people in front of me not standing straight in line and a lady talking loudly to her child when other people was praying silently. Usually it bugs me but it didn't tick me off. I hate this unnecessary worked up feeling. I didn't want it but I failed to suppress it. In the end I was just tired fighting with it. Females and their hormones. How blessed are the men to not have their minds clouded with emotion? Okay lets just calm down.

Tonight I was reminiscising the ramadhans that I've spent. Every new Ramadhan I would pray that that Ramadhan is better than the previous ones. Habits developed gradually through the years alhamdulillah.

In my adolescent years, I started praying tarawikh in the local surau in my kampung. On that time, the one thing that we cared about was how happy we were when the tarawikh finished early. Tsk. Sadly in that mentality still existed to the extreme in some part of the world, that makes them feeling proud to finish 23 rakaah prayer in 7 minutes. Google the video :-)

I'd say the strength to do tarawikh is when you really realize its benefits. So since then I can't recall a single night that I didnt do tarawikh in Ramadhan. Either i prayed on my own or in jamaah at the masjid or with friends. Alhamdulillah. Thus it makes me really sad when I hear people don't strive for tarawikh in Ramadhan, especially when the person is a family. I really pray that Allah gives a better tarbiyah to my sister, whom I put so much hope on that she'll see the values to strive in chasing good deeds.

Back in RIT, I held the opinion that the best number of tarawikh that one should do at the masjid was 8. So I always prayed 8 and left when the imam continued  to complete 20. It was only in 2011, my second ramadhan in UM, that I started completing 20. The main reason was that was the year that I really tried to understand what the imam was reciting, so I could enjoy and take heed of the quran recitation. What I did was, I would track the page where the imam was reciting, recite the meaning before the start of prayer and then tried to match the meaning of the recitation to the translation that I read. It was eye opening mashaAllah. Besides, the imam at Masjid Ar-Rahman there recited really reaaally beautifully, and I felt such a loss to stop at only 8. Then from there I always tried to finish 20. Alhamdulillah. That year also Fariza, Ain and I did masjid hopping for tarawikh. We enjoyed driving to either magnificient Magnificient Masjid Biru in Shah Alam or to Masjid Besi in Putrajaya. I really enjoyed both masjids. Masjid biru was huge, and has numerous attendees that makes you felt like in Makkah (though I never had the chance to step there yet). Meanwhile, I also like the quiet setting of Masjid Besi, its vast open space for prayer room and beautiful landscape mashaAllah. I remembered hanging out with Ain after prayer at the sort of bridge connecting the masjid to the government building, just sit there and gaze at the quiet night scenery of Putrajaya. So serene, alhamdulillah. Far fom the hiruk pikuk of KL.

The following year, I was back in UTM. Though I really like Masjid UTM for tarawikh, the masjid hopping activity came to halt. I didn't find another masjid that I can enjoy better than masjid UTM. 2013, I started the experience of sleeping in the masjid during the last 10 nights of ramadhan. Alhamdulillah, thrilled. The next year, I was blessed with having friends who often sleep over in the masjid throughout the ramadhan. It was a very fun experience. Some of the friends even cooked for sahur and we had lots of food for sahur. Rice, sandwich, fruits, porridge etc. Too much food :-)

Okay going back to tarawikh experience, that year my understanding of the quran becomes better alhamdulillah, that I could understand most of quran recited even without the pre-read activity I used to do. I also started to finish up to witr prayer, after watching Muhammad al-Shareef's tarawikh truffles that he talks on the issue of doing 8 or 20. So he said just pray until the imam finishes. One who does that gets the reward of praying the whole night. So imagine you persevere with praying 20 rakaah of tarawikh but not following the 3 rakaah of witr, given in to the thought that you still want to do tahajjud, what a loss you're in! Right? So I realized I was missing so much for not knowing that. Besides, tahajud can still be made even after we prayed witr.

Last year's ramadhan, Zida, Kak su and myself did i'tikaf/sleeping in the masjid every night in Ramadhan. Better than the last year. However, it's probably because my spiritual state was not as sakinah as the previous year, I felt that the 2013's one was much better although I persistently stayed over in the masjid everyday.

This year, with no Zida around, that activity also came to halt. Kak su is experiencing a little health problem that hinders her comfort to sleep over at the masjid. However, I'm not really regretting that. I felt that last year, I was pushing myself too much to the point that I didn't enjoy that i'tikaf anymore. This year, I'm pushing myself while acknowledging my limit so I'd enjoy my ibadah more. InshaAllah :-)

One of my biggest ramadhan regrets is, I never finished the whole quran. InshaAllah this year will be the starting one. Pray for me :-)

12.15 am
14th Ramadhan 1436

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

First Stage Exam!

Assalamualaikum :)

In about three hours, I'll be presenting my research proposal to my examiners, Dr Zanariah and Prof Fahrul. Because I wanted to incorporate the growth curve in my presentation, I had to do it on Sunday, thus sacrificing my sleep for the night. So yesterday, being sleep deprived, I couldnt do anything else after completing the 25 hours sampling and went straight back to catch my sleep. It didnt really help though, I was drowsy until the evening.

I thought since I slept a lot in the afternoon, I'd really use my night time to study properly. Never knew that I would be afflicted with diarrhea at night, Allahu musta3an. Couldn't study at all.

So yeah now it's already morning, 3 hours away, my head feels blank, and body feels weak haha. Not sure how I'll do but I'm really putting my trust to Allah. Hopefully the things that I have already studied a month back will crawl back in and help me answering the examiners' queries.

Was it the sausage?

- Nauseated me-
7.54 am
June 2, 2015
Friday, September 26, 2014

I want to return

I look out my windows
I see the vast of Allah's creations
Trees so high stretching to the sky
The greens so calm soothing to my eyes
Birds flying as if proclaiming their magnificence of flight
One of the Lord's signs
Everything is submitting to Him, The Rabb, The One

I look at myself
Though I thought I'm not perfect, 
Allah has created me the best
With faculties so healthy I can sprint
Hearing and sight so great they need no aid
Head not afflicted with migraine or ache
I have so much blessings that I can't count
Why does it feel so hard to be grateful to my Lord
To make my life solely to worship Him
To make my actions to only seek His Pleasure
To suppress my desires that contradicts His order
When He is
The Malik who owns me
The Rabb who rules me
The Razzaq who feeds me
The Muhaimin who protects me

I always thought
The world of an adult drowns me
The continuous battle battered me
Drains my energy
Demotivates me..

Now that I think about it
I see it as plain excuses
It only drowns me because I left my heart hollow
It only battered me because I didn't gear myself best
It only drains my energy because I didn't strongly believe
Like Abu Bakr and 'Umar did
And it only demotivates me because I lack one thing
The strong love to my Lord, Allah

I constantly feed my soul with things that weaken it
I ignore my heart nagging me to stop it
I desire for it to be entertained 
I poisoned it with the love to this dunya 
So much that I complain of not getting the sweetness of emaan
Did I really thought I could handle the blaze of the Jahannam?
Did I have confidence for the life exam waiting in my grave?
Or can I even handle the terrifying face of Izrail?
What makes me brushed the fear away
As if I don't have to face it one day
That one scary day

I hope my Lord would forgive me
Guide me back to His path
Send me His tremendous mercy
Returns the longing I used to have in my heart for Him
Fills my heart with His love
So much that it would explode
The love that would make me race towards His way
The love that give me strength to go through another day
The love that would stop making me sway 
The love that would make me fear the day I might not see Him
If I die wretched not in the state of the best Muslim
O Allah protect me

O Allah please don't let me push me away
I want to return and treat this sick heart
From all taints I got of loving this dunya
And abandoning Your sweet remembrance
I felt like lost myself today
Help me O Allah
For I am not strong on my own

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Age doesn't matter, does it?


It has been ages since I popped a word here :p.

A lot has happened since a year ago, though it felt like it has only been a month. See how fast time flies. Dear Police officer, please give a ticket to Time, it's been speeding. :|

So since the past year, I have drowned myself in many negative aspects of life. We had dramas with our Tutor contract, which was solved by all of us are required to do our PhD in UTM and graduate within 3 years. Oh well, though I was feeling hesitant to do PhD, since this is the path Allah is paving for me, so just take it. I also have delved in the inner guilt of personal sins so much that I felt it was hard to get back up again. In other words, I felt worthless in the sight of Allah. Indeed, syaitan entices us to sin and scare us with guilt that we don't deserve Allah's mercy. Allah's mercy is greater than our greatest sins, so inshaAllah, repent before it's too late.

I am now in the middle of nurturing myself towards being more positive and motivated. I lost most of my motivation especially during my masters' thesis writing, and not knowing what to do after that with work (since we Tutors dont really have real job). So all the negative feelings aside, it's motivation time. Let's take life's challenges head on.

There are many things that I need to tackle in life. But the main hurdle to tackle is myself. I sort of have this mental block of feeling LAZY to want anything. Back in my mind, I know that I want to excel in my study, but I was lazy to even want to study. I do want to excel in my faith, but I was lazy to even want to do ibadah. I want to be physically fit, I was lazy to even want to exercise. Laziness is indeed a disease.

Am I old? Oh God I don't want to be an old lady at 28. Hey, 28 only, still young ;) *Though sometimes I felt old since I'm mostly surrounded by younger labmates, usrahmates, students*. Sigh.

What was I like when I was young? Correction. Younger.

Rummaging through my old things, I found that I used to love seeking knowledge, and felt obliged to practice them. I used to travel much to attend seminars. Back then, I made it my duty to attend MSA weekly meeting listening to Imam Idrees spiritual talk, going to alMaghrib seminars, MISG programs etc. Now I just found myself having abundant of excuses and I just couldn't be bothered to do anything.

That's and old people trait isn't it?  o_o

I used to be someone who loves to try new things, life was more adventurous back then. I took archery, learnt racquetball, learnt ice-skating, etc and now I don't have much of new things going on. As I said in previous post, life has been mundane.

Another thing that often bothered my mind is the fact that I'm still single at 28. Though I tried to console myself with the fact that Allah gives what is best for you, sometimes I just have that sad thought. Ok, don't think of this as pathetic, it's not. Like I said, Allah gives what is best. It's just that hollow feeling everytime you hear a friend is getting married, you're like, I'm happy for you, but deep inside you'd also wish you have the same. Hahaha I don't know how to make this to not sound pathetic. It's not, really. Seriously. :p

 I realized that being single means I don't have to be responsible to additional people in my life. Allah is giving me chances to enjoy a single life. I dont have to ask permission to go out, I dont have to wake up at night to feed a baby ;p, and I don't have to burden my feeling missing a husband or child. Missing my nephews and nieces is already enough for now inshaAllah. Love is a complicated feeling. You love the feeling but at the same time you hate the misery it brings you ;p

Like Sh Abdul Bary said: Being married and un-married are both test in patience. :)

So what should I do to bring myself up?

1. Quran, quran, quran inshaAllah.

2. Explore new things. This makes me feel young. Last weekend we hike up the Hutan Lipur Soga, Batu Pahat. Though it was really just stairs climbing hike, unlike the challenging Gunung Belumut, Kluang that we went to last year, it was fun enough. Next, I want to hike on Gunung Ledang inshaAllah! And inshaAllah next year, Gunung Kinabalu!!!

3. Force myself to move my body. Need to plan my day to walk around or jog in the campus. Yosh. And free myself to play badminton with the GEMA peeps on Sunday nights. InshaAllah. Yosh.

4. Travel. Yeay! InshaAllah I'll be visiting Bandung next month for our lab trip. My next to visit is Tioman, and joining Dr Shahir's team exploring caves in Malaysia inshaAllah. Thrilled.

5. Learn new things. In my to do list: horse-riding and swimming!

InshaAllah though I can't achieve this in a blink, at least achieve something right?

Ok no more malas-malas inshaAllah. Let's start a new life. Should I say life starts at 28? ;p

Camping at SM Hidayah. Mukhayyam 2014.

- Age doesn't matter, as long as you don't feel and look like it :)

10 September 2014
Friday, June 14, 2013

Kenangan Terindah: PPCS Biotech May-June 2013

“Since getting back from Permata Pintar’s Summer Camp in UKM, I’ve been so in blues. I miss my students especially Afiq, and I miss my new but really close and fun friends, Dayah, Akmal, Nurul and Ustazah Wani. It has been a really fun two weeks in my life. I learnt a lot of new things and met many great people. I thank Allah for that.”

A week before the camp, I received a phone call from Dr Nor Sakinah, the Deputy Site Manager of Permata Pintar inviting me to be an instructor for a Biotech course during the school break. I hesitated at first because I actually applied for a teaching assistant (TA) post instead of an instructor, but she has managed to coax me that I would do fine with the help of a TA, none other than Dayah, Dr Azman’s student. Alhamdulillah that I was paired with Dayah J

So on the Thursday, 29th of May we drove over to UKM and registered as a TA and an Instructor for Biotech. Permata Pintar School is located in UKM but it’s a bit far inside that it took about 15-20 minutes from the main gate. We have to cross over the whole campus and pass through the lonely street in the middle of jungle to get to the school. But I think it was worth it. The school was surrounded by trees, and the air felt so fresh, and on clear night, we could even see a lot of stars. It really has a good environment for students to live and study.

So we got to the school, got our room keys and bedsheets, and head to our dorm. Yes, we were given a room in a dorm. At first, I thought like it was no way we could live in that place because it was rather unkept, the floor has no carpet nor ‘tikar’, just plain cement floor and it was hell dusty. Although sleepy and tired from the journey, we cleaned up the place first, swept the floor and mopped it, and settled down. After that it didn’t feel that bad at all. In fact, it was quite nice.

Across our room was Akmal and Nurul’s and next to them was Ustazah Wani’s. Rather immediately we have become so friendly with each other although we have just met. Maybe that’s what they said, sometimes when we can get close to someone rather fast although we’ve never met that person before, maybe we have been friends during the world of ‘ruh’. I think it’s true. J And Dr Arif (PPCS Site Manager) used to tell us, one day at Permata Pintar is like 10 years.

Last night. Bbq night. Akmal, Dayah, Me, Ustazah Wani and Nurul. Snapped by Afiq :)

Prior to the start of class on Monday, we have to prepare for the class. With the help of a Key Instructor, Kak Zana, we got the ideas of what topics we have to teach and things we need for teaching. So starting from the second day, we have been so busy. Since Friday, we have talks with the Director of the program, with the ice-breaking and guidelines on what to do during the camps etc. Only on Saturday we got to see our key instructor, Kak Zana and get the module for Biotech course. Kak Zana taught the previous year’s course, but the module was for a 3-week program. So we have to squeeze many things to fit them into two weeks. Then we have to prepare the new module, get the Biotech things out from the store, get prepared for the first class.

When the class started (Monday – Friday, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm)

It has all started. The first time I met the students, I was rather nervous because it was the first time I was going to teach school students, but at the same time, I felt excited! We started with Ice-Breaking, playing “Two truths and one lie” and then proceeded with pre-test. From the test, we concluded that a few in the class have a bit of basics about Biology and there are many who didn’t. It was quite a challenge but Alhamdulillah a fun challenge. Also, we mentioned to them that they could just call us Kak Dilin and Kak Dayah, but they called us Teacher or Cikgu instead. I guess they are not used to calling a teacher as a 'Kak'. Being called as "Teacher" made me felt honored. That name is  an honored name. And I love it! haha. Although I'm not really a teacher, and sometimes I felt like I don't deserve that name, but it made me feel happy, and cool Only towards the end of the camp, as they got comfortable with us, sometimes especially outside class they called us Kak Dayah and Kak Dilin. 

Back from left: Adam, Hewa, Alif, Afiq, Lincoln, Yin Hong and Izzat
Front from left: Moh, Mashitah, Dayah, Me, Nisa, Ain, Amirah and Ririn

In our class, many of the students were rather shy and quiet on the first day. Well, that was expected since they didn’t really know each other yet. But Alhamdulillah I have a few students who were responsive since the first day, Lincoln, Hewa and Afiq. So they made the class not-so-boring. We started learning about cells in the morning, and made them built models of plant and animal cells. In the afternoon, after lunch many were becoming sleepy-head but it was during the time I taught them about cell division, mitosis and meiosis. And during that time, Mr Ragu (The academic dean) came over to the class for teacher’s evaluation. God, on the first day? I thought he was just visiting lol. Ah, I don’t wanna care. But really it didn’t do good since the class looked boring *only on that time Mr Ragu!*. The rest of the days they were rather energetic. Anyhow, I gave my whole energy for that first day, walking around, make sure the students understood what I taught, making myself look energetic so the students would also be active etc. By the time class ended, I was flattened out. I was lethargic! But it was worth it. Although my legs felt wobbly on that evening, I was happy. I have become a teacher! J

I have always wanted to be a teacher. My secret ambition when I was little was to be a teacher, but then I thought a teacher don’t make that much, so I changed it to a lecturer. But obviously I was wrong lol. Never mind that. So I’ve always have this desire to be a substitute teacher whatsoever, just to have an experience in teaching, but I never got that chance. I have been imagining how I would teach if I were a teacher, how to explain things to make it easier to understand, and how to make students participative. And I’ve got to apply that at the PPCS! Awesome!

The rest of the days, we learnt more about cells and organelles, going deeper to the genes and DNA, exposed to them about genetic engineering and microbiology. It was a fun 2-week. To make the class fun, we’ve always started the class with a quiz, to review them about the topics they have studied. Well, since many students are competitive, making them compete with each other in quizzes was really fun. In the beginning the stars during quizzes are Afiq, Lincoln and Hewa. They have to raise up their hands before answering any question and the fastest in doing that gets to answer. Usually, when it comes to speed, Afiq was always the fastest one. He has a good reflex. And that made many of them like, Afiq again? Lol I didn’t always pick Afiq, gave chances for everyone to answer *wink*. During the classes, what was even more fun was watching the reserved students developing. Maybe on the first day, many would hesitate to raise their hand to ask question or answer a quiz, but after a few days, almost everyone was competing with Afiq. Some like Moh would be jumping up and down at the back, some like Mashitah would stand on her chair, and even most quiet Ririn and Ain also rose up their hands to answer. Cool right? And I made sure that they got a reward if their group won the quiz J Yeah, I have full stock of candies and snacks for rewards J Hurm kids love reward don’t they? Halal bribe lol. I also gave out candies when they were sleepy. So now I know their favorite reward is Crispy (chocolate), Mamee and Cloudnine candy. I should have snapped some pictures of them answering quizzes. Tsk.

 To Be Continued