Saturday, December 10, 2016

MoAs and MoUs

Sometimes I have to sit in for my Dean.Sometimes caught off guard to brief visiting delegates from anywhere: OIC, Indonesia, Libya, Tunisia. Then, you'll hear me like an old record, playing the same song.Tapi on good days, I would add new things like recently with the group from Tunisia.They didn't speak any English, I didn't speak any Arabic.Or French.Yang datang semua men (but nice and respectful of what I said). Their uni was older than Al Azhar. But the first uni in Morocco was built by a woman who originally came from Tunisia.And Ibnu Khaldun was Tunisian. So yes, they must be bright people with really good genes. They will return with projects with my Kulliyyah.Prof Mesawi (who acted as their guide and interpreter) will be responsible for this.I love the energy!

Not too long before this, a group of academics from Libya came to visit too.One had worked in the US for a long time, served the previous Libyan government as a Minister and now a consultant to the current government.He spoke English but his friend knew Arabic and French. I told them sebelum ni group Libya pun datang (when I was at Cerdas)but nothing came out of the meeting.Rupa2nya itu group sebelum revolution.I ni mmg blur when it comes to warring countries.Tak terkejar.Kejap perang, kejap tak perang.But we are happy to work with anyone except two days ago in a meeting at MITI, we were told soon the Strategic Trade Act would get to us at the unis.Certain progs (basically science and technology- based) and countries (like North Korea) will be on the authorities' watchlist - adalah pantang larangnya nanti.I asked where were we taking research culture in this country with this kind of control and restraints? Berapa byk laws lagi kita perlu? What has trade to do with education? When research products become trade products, ikut le existing trade law.Apparently the fear of certain knowledge being passed on to terrorists was the real concern.Eik, how do we know our student is a terrorist/not? And I'm sure there's enough surveillance and laws without another law?

I'm just a messenger.My top bosses will handle the matter.Both Ministries should talk to one another actually.Minister to Minister.Then just instruct.But I appreciate them approaching the communities dulu.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

End of year

So many good people died this year. Nik's stepbrother Azman died in Perlis at such a young age.Dr Aldila passed away yesterday and I just heard one of my fb friends also died in a car accident (hit and run). Muka ketiga-tiganya sangat bersih dan sentiasa tersenyum. From fb, ucapan takziah mencurah2. How you live is how you die.Semoga bila tiba masanya, people have only good things to say of me walaupun mulut saya tiada insurance.

Macam semalam.I had to speak up when decisions made by my Dean were questioned by big bosses and not so big bosses. Benda2 remeh patut ckp belakang pintu ofis je le.Tak payah nak bising2 in public meeting and I had to stop it by requesting that we focus on REAL issues.Issuesnya publication and research kita bad.Address that.How tu kena muafakat.Penat la kalau pi kerja org asyik nak tunjuk upmanship ni (tak kira le lelaki or wanita).Like do we choose to be here at all? I told my Boss..go to sleep believing that we had given our best.Mmg la we are not totally innocent (for that Boss I dah minta maaf) but hey, life is short - just move on.

Nazir Idris' bday last night. Bukan dia kisah orang kasi hadiah ke hapa.He just wants to play on the ipad.But still adorable. His dad told us a funny story.Pakcik yang jaga rumah anak yatim tu asked him if he could teach English at the orphanage. Khairil asked kenapa pakcik ingat saya boleh ajar English? Pakcik tu cakap: sebab mu nampok international sikit. We laughed mcm nak runtuh rumah. Khairil is half Chinese but sekali pandang mmg mcm orang putih.Khairil said okaaayyy...when do we start? (melawak je tu)

And now earthquake in Acheh.I hope my friends there selamat semuanya.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Belated news

This came a while ago.Tak sempat nak flaunt.Hard work to reclaim our 5*

Hantu di Hotel Vistana, Penang

I woke up with mata merah menyala in the morning. My gusi semua merah.I thought maybe the effect of the homeopathy medicine I took on Saturday but 24 hours effect? Scary.

But the night before I woke up when surah albaqarah ended (around 2 am and again around 4 am).Langsung tak leh tidur.I pasang balik albaqarah and my back against my phone where the verses flowed.My whole body rasa meremang then I felt suffocated.I baca sekuat2nya a'zubillahiminassyaitonnirrojeem.Takda suara keluar except owrg argh macam kena cekik dan tindih. I baca juga dlm kepala dan hati.Albaqarah terus berkumandang.Akhirnya I slept.When I woke up and washed my face in the morning...tengok cermin mata merah.I thought dah kena sakit mata ke.Cuci byk kali with air sejuk.The redness went away.

I told the USM driver what happened to me when he picked me for the viva.He said ada dengaq juga org kena kacau kat situ.My room was really berhadapan dgn bukit berhutan.The energy could be too strong.Mungkin laluan jin pun (hiway mrk).

Nasib satu malam sahaja.Next time I will avoid that rooom.309.Bad feng shui.
Bumped into Harry Aveling while I was going in to the viva room.He had a talk somewhere but he asked if we could catch up after my viva.So after an interesting session at the viva, I pi attended his talk on translation.Interesting juga then he nak tompang I pi airport.His flight was later. Dia tunggu le kat lobby tu sambil I berkemas2 kat bilik hantu tu.

We had time to catch up with news of mutual friends - Nancy is still teaching at West Virginia.I nak email add dia balik. One friend you will not forget.The whole family seronok berkawan dgn Nancy.
Dr Haslinda took us all to lunch at Bumblebees'.Jumpa a new friend who's married to a Spaniard and will be going to Chile to live there for good.Dia tak miss pun Msian food.Haha.Nice people at USM.

Nadia and I pi ronda2 at Georgetown.Ingat nak catch up with the literary festival.Semua dah habis.Ended up lunching at Black Kettle.Mlm tu I dined sorang and managed to chat with Sharifah's mom. Dr Aldila pun nmpk better (visited her at the hospital).Rezeki I jumpa dia dlm keadaan dia sihat.Semoga Allah mudahkan urusan penyembuhan dia.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hujung minggu bersama para Professor

I'm here in Langkawi menggantikan Dato Wira for IIUM's Council of Professors. The meeting is held at a beautiful place by the beach (I'm practically on the water and it's such a joy to be surrounded by water)

Semalam media wanted to know pendapat para ilmuan ni tentang demo Bersih kuning dan merah ni. Big Boss mengajak semua wakil menyatakan pendirian menolak demo tu.Alamak..I was not warned that this would be done so I refused to join the group (I cannot speak on behalf of all Profs at IIUM..tak dapat mandat pun). Sometimes antara sebab why many Profs distance themselves from Majlis Professor Negara is this - bercakap mcm kita ahli politik.

However, there are really fantastic works done and I hope these will continue.Met some really awesome Profs (but looks like the good ones always get cold storaged or transferred or contracts not renewed). But benih baik campak ke laut jadi pulau, campak ke darat jadi gunung. Begitulah.And I'm glad I bump into them at this meeting.Truly inspiring.

Dato Hamdan (former FOMCA guy) is one funny guy.He was telling us about comments made by one of his friends asking if he takut isteri.He said tunggu..nanti kau jumpa isteri aku kau tau.And the friend saw her catching a huge biawak with her bare hands and according to the proud husband, she tangkap ular macam tu juga.Ular tedung tu she spray dgn Ridsect je sebelum she cut off its head dengan parang. Wough...I want to meet her! Prof Azni and I gelak macam nak rak but we were full of admiration of Datin. He must have loved her so much sebab dia cerita pasal dia in her absence with such pride.

Then there's Prof of Aqua-Culture.I like him sebab dia buat kerja nampak hasil sekelip mata.Impak tinggi not only to the uni he serves but the state he's in.Terasa jauh api dari panggang.I must share the stories with my IIUM friends.

We got our MyRA 5* alhamdulillah. And we got our 4 TRGS. Syukur alhamdulillah, everyone had worked hard. But I'm leaving RMC soonest my tenure ends.It's a stressful job.I need some breathing space from admin work.Research menimbun nak buat ni.

Literary event at Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

This was last week - tak sempat nak update but I want to document the visit to the second oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple near Chinatown. Berpusing juga mencarinya but from Central Market, dekat je.

The event was organised by Goethe Institute on Literature and Spirituality.The temple was donated by Yap Ah Loy and the Board of Trustees is applying to get it listed as part of UNESCO World Heritage and one of the members said maybe I could help.I pun kasi nama Prof Ghulam who had the experience of getting Mak Yong listed as World Heritage.Temple tu memang cantik seni pembinaannya.Orang-orang dia pun baik.I was introduced to the Chairman (also Chair of Tung Shin Hospital).

The readings itself takda la spectacular sangat but I enjoyed listening to Guat's take on what spirituality meant for her.I think her journey is guided and she is a good listener to her inner voice.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nasi toncet

I hear the girls laughing and giggling in the pantry over nasi toncet which I bought at the Arabic Dept's food festival ke hapa.

It's green and rasa macam nasi lemak.The word toncet reminds you of hantu toncet. Whatever. :D
I rode with my neighbour to work today and we spoke of dead cats in the neighbourhood (7 died over the period of 10 days). I suspect someone poisoned them. Too many around the neighbourhood with bad toilet habits (my pasu dah dua pecah that I had to buy plastic ones over the weekend but I didn't poison them, OK?)

So we theorised over who did and damages done to our cars (scratches, pasu pecah...busuk kencing berak etc). For pet lovers:keep your pets but tolong jaga hati jiran OK? Cleanliness is iman. My Chinese friend pakaikan diapers kat anjing dia.Boleh tak?Ketidak, tak payah berkucing-kucing, beranjing-anjing.

The sem is coming to an end. I badly need a break.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rawa dan Tupin Aishah

I took three days off to conduct my Rawa research in Raub. Our RA drove and I mcm mem besar ke sana sini with my notebook, going from kampong to kampong, house to house talking to Rawas.Any Rawa who might help me find Tupin Aishah.

The best award went to sch principal Hassanudin Isa who kindly gave me everything I needed to know about Rawas in Raub and nearby kampongs.It was his hardwork with his team.Just like that - take this and this is now your amanah, he said. Sebak dada ku sebak! He said he was also entrusted to hold the salasilah and was told to hand it over to someone bijaksana.I said who? He said you. MashaAllah what a scholar! May Allah bless him and his team who worked hard on tracing roots. It's not for vainglory.We knew that.

So Fatin and I went from one tipoff to another on day 1...sampai ke Ulu Sungai in which it's believed the first Rawa landed from Perak melalui sungai (or from Slim River). We found Rawas who looked like my uncles..god, it was like coming home! Between Batu Talam and Ulu Sungai, I found roots of my grandma and her sister Gik.Both were daughters of Menteri Hassan who married Tupin Aishah so Tupin was my grandma's mom via Tengku Muda Tanjung Alai.Gik married Keria via Tok Perak's route.Tok Perak was Tengku Ali who left Sumatra cos' he didn't want to fight over the throne cos' his youngest brother wanted to be king.Well, that's a version.I heard the other versions too...lari from Belanda for defending Islam against adat.We'll double check sources as we dig deeper.

I finally spoke to childhood neighbours yg tak pernah bercakap cos' we were all shy-shy.Spoke with Rosli Jalil and Azam Hussein.Our parents are long gone but now we connect and speak of roots. Lawak juga Rawa2 ni semua. And kind - Azam brought me to meet his old relative who had memories of Tupin her old age.But I need to double chk that it was really her and not Tupin Zainab cos' there were many Tupins.Teh Salim said he was school friends with one of my uncles - Pak Teh Jamil.The routine was go to school, makan at Tupin's stall depan sekolah..pi mandi sungai, solat then ngaji in the afternoon.What was she like, I asked.Kind, he said.Was she beautiful? Cantiklah agaknya masa muda, Teh Salim said, laughing. Then I knew she was in her zaman senja.But still independent cos' she had a business.This before WW2, okay? I'm proud of my moyang.She knew how to find her own happiness.Her story will be central to the novel I hope to write.Haha...berangan lagi.

Early findings, Rawa Raub were ulemas/imams and penghulus.Rawas love to lead. I met two families whose roots were panglima : Panglima Daud and Panglima Umar.Tok Perak brought with him hulubalang..some said 30 people..others said 300. They first settled in Bidor Perak and won the Perak's ruler's heart after Tok Perak offered to get rid of the pirates.The name Tok Perak was bestowed on him by the grateful Sultan.Nama benor dia Tengku Ali.Nanti kita double chk source ni.

I will have to go back to Raub to speak to a few key people.And from there to Temerloh and Kuantan to check on Rawas in those places.They went as far as Kelantan.As deep into the jungle, running from themselves!

That explains the silence.Barat mau erase sejarah Rawa sbb mrk melawan.Rawa mau erase sejarah mrk kerana takut.Takut apa? Musuh mereka di kiri kanan but musuh within is worse than anything else.More later.

P/S as i was interviewing someone, anak dia cakap are you the blogger? I said I-Glass? He said yes.I asked how do you knw about the blog? He googled Rawa, he said :)) Nice to know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Budget 2017

I got interviewed in TRM (my 5 mins fame) tetapi no one dares ask mengapa PERMATA which is not an NGO nor a University nor a Ministry getting such a big chunk of a budget.Is anyone monitoring its outputs? (Audit Negara?) Bak nak tengok.If really good and benefitting rakyat marhaen..I'd support it fully and will fight for more budget for it.

Someone said bangga betul dapat PM yang bagi budget utk rakyat bawak taxi (Uber)..dulu Mahathir bagi budget suruh rakyat bercita2 jadi scientists/angkasawan. PM kita suruh kita jadi Uber drivers.

Maka hari ini bila keluar berita hospital terbakar, doctor mati, health caretakers terbakar, pesakit meninggal (alfatihah buat semuanya) dan escalator roboh di salah sebuah pusat membeli belah, kita tanya: masihkah negara ini dirahmati Allah? Berita empangan kering walaupun hujan tiap2 petang. Masihkah kita mahu melakukan kerja-kerja keji?

My aruah nenek in her desperation would say this: takda mana dah nak lari...Mugabe di seberang sungai bertepuk tangan.