Thursday, November 27, 2008

Interesting thought

The conference organised by my Dept went smoothly(handled by colleagues in the Linguistics wing.The Lit wing will hold ours next Nov, InsyaAllah) given the fact that we are in hard times (difficult to get sponsorships etc).There were papers which I had time for which I enjoyed (I was going in and out in between other commitments of the other office...was at Tan Sri Zeti's HSBC Amanah's launch..then rushed to listen to Tun Mahathir's keynote...what he said had inspired a few including our guest Prof from the USA who spoke along the same line the following day: just because you speak another language, it doesn't mean you are a different person)

I didn't want to pick a fight with Tun.He probably heard them all, anyway, on this language issue esp. on using English for Maths and Sci (which I don't agree with). But I will raise the issue on "we are still the same person" thingy with Prof Y (who will be at the Dept for another month).The whole discussion took me back to a lecture I once heard from Prof Naguib Alatas who said whatever changes one has (even other creations of Allah) would make one a different person.I asked his 'disciple', Prof Wan, what theoretical f/work is this.Prof Wan text-ed me back:

His framework rests on God's continuos creation of similar but not the same creation. Every instant new creation is being created, annihilated and recreated, it is not the same but similar object.

The question is: are we the same people when we know of another tongue (which sometimes is spoken more often than our own mother tongue).Tun and our Prof said we are.I argue we are not.Even the Quran says "Adakah sama orang yang berilmu dan tidak?" Language is ilmu (and this is Tun's argument but he seems to think ilmu comes ONLY in English which is the point of contention for most nationalists and intellectuals). For most post-colonial critics, we are concerned with the argument raised by Philipson who had for so long argued in his book Linguistic Imperialism on how English is packaged as a language of modernity, language of knowledge especially language of science and technology, etc.Most third world countries bite this bait and English teaching/learning becomes an industry.I'm not saying stop learning and teaching English (it's also my periuk nasi).What I don't like is we are marginalising or limiting our opportunities learning new languages (which include Mandarin, German, French, Turkish and ESPECIALLY Arabic).It's our loss if we are so besotted with just one global language.

If, according to Prof Wan, argument is made based on cultural-pragmatic lines and done in a narrow econ-political sense and that it's all made on a platform of power...huff and puff..intellectuals of this country still have a long way to go.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time management

Soon I'll need a personal assistant 24/7 to manage my life! (without upsetting relatives) I think some cousin just slammed the phone on me today.Reason could be because I sounded so unwelcoming on the phone.They wanted to visit but Nik and I had been running around like zombies the last few weeks.We got home at 1 am last nite.Wedding then after the wedding ended at 10.30 pm, we rushed to Subang Jaya to attend a kenduri of Nik's close friend nak pi haji.I thought by 11 pm..the family would be tidur dah but no..people were still pouring in.Late comers like us!I told Nik's friend's wife: gimme pillow and sleeping bag..I'll sleep first cos' tak tau pukul berapa depa will masuk tidur..she laughed but understood the bond her husband had with the rest of the gang too.One wife decided not to attend cos' tau tak tau pukul berapa they would go home bila dah berkumpul gitu.As long as they are not gays..I tak kisah. :)) But Nik was thoughtful.We went home at 12.30 am (sampai rumah 1 am).Kawan2 dia yang lain mungkin lepak sampai Subuh! Hahaha.

The wedding was good too.Kak Siti (Datin Siti..I haven't gotten used to this) would never forget to put us on her invite list despite jarang berjumpa.When Dr. (Datuk) Yusoff Nook gave his speech on marriage/parenting/life in general (siap dgn poem from the movie Splendor in the Grass), it was quite touching, actually.If Z got married, I don't think I can say anything..dok sibuk nangis belakang pintu! (Nik pun sama, I think).Sungguh mengerikan.

This morning, Z who had started to be bored by idleness cos' it's sch hols..pressured me to teman her pi tengok High Sch Musical (Disney movie) Adoiii....I had planned to attend PENA's AGM...but knew that time with family pun impt juga...dah le semalam meeting NGO sampai pukul 5 pm.

On Friday my Liverpudlian 'groupie' worked on having a tea party just after Xmas.The meeting went very well too.We got ourselves organised.Finally!

Meanwhile, Dr. Jee prescribed me new drugs.Ouch!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Brother Mikaeel Jackson

Am no fan although as a teenager, me and friends used to dance to his music (Beat It! Beat It!) Zaman sesat. :))

But Michael's conversion to Islam has long been speculated.If the latest news is true, maka bertakbirlah kita. Sometimes when you read about other people's pain, you can't help but pray that they'd find peace through religion.If through Islam, lagi bagus. And strangely enough, those talented lot are the ones who suffer most. I like Leonard Cohen (Prince Charles pun suka dia) but he's one screwed up artist I ever know.Yahudi ni pandai buat lirik lagu, very poetic.Music dia pun selamba (suara malas: antara nak nyanyi and tak nak..itulah kelebihan dia) but sayang..hidupnya terumbang ambing.I hope he will find peace one day.And better music?
This is my fav.

My fav of Michael is this:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seremban retreat

Kelakarnya.I packed my bag for 3 days but we came back today.Was too busy to even know how many days I was going!

It was a nice retreat.We learned more about our organisation in the last 2 days.I loved my room, my bathtub, my shower.The welcoming basket of fruits and chocolate cookies were cool.I ingat I tersilap bilik...(tak biasa...terlalu lama jadi kuli batak)...I thought gal at counter tersilap bagi I Rector's room kaa apa kaa.Teringat nak rush downstairs pulangkan balik kunci bilik.Hahaha.Real kalut.

But yes, we had real good discussions going.I hope we can work our way around some of the concerns raised.Dato' Zaleha is one funny lady.We were talking about Prof Mawi calling me pseudo-IIUM alumnus. :))) Kelakar, but his work on disability (with Prof Asiah I guess) should boost up IIUM's intention to be all inclusive (part of the diversity culture I'd like to see happen at IIUM).

Yang kelakar Dato Z's account on terrestial vs territorial mindset. I nak tergelak besar betul on this.It's like ET vs Bush!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday lunch

Swabry text-ed me tanya khabar just before I left for Seoul. I told him I was so busy to catch up with the boyz after last balik raya trip but promised that soonest I could, we'd arrange for lunch at my place or something.

Yesterday Nik and I decided today would be a good day to get together so I sms-ed the 4 boyz and asked boleh datang ke tak.Except for Adnan who could only come after 2 pm, the rest said 1 pm was fine for lunch.

I googled for recipes last nite.Decided to cook Kenyan rice, Central African Republic's chicken stew, Palestinian's salad and Bosnian's dessert with ice cream. I didn't even know how some of these items looked like but I was willing to go on an adventure.My mom thought I was really 'rajin' to do all this. The truth is also Shahrir told me he couldn't cater for me this Saturday.Sat. ni dia cuti, Sunday OK.

When the 4 boys came, I asked if they recognised any of the dishes.Swabry knew right away (I was very happy with this..maknanya menjadilah tu).Yang lain tu blur2 sikit...Ali took some time before saying yes! African stew! Mahmoud pointed to the salad cos' he saw the olives (it was a wild guess...tomato pun silap potong.Mahmoud said it should be chopped smaller BUKAN potong seketul besar macam tu). Adnan buat2 lupa when he saw my Bosnian dessert.He said he knew looked right but he could not remember its name (mana tak..I gulung macam kuih ketayap!)

But you know what? Everyone loved their lunch! Sampai nak bungkus bawak balik (tapi dah habis).Berbaloi! (I love cooking but in a year, boleh bilang berapa kali setahun dapat masak untuk family and guests.No timelah).

Will post some pics soonest Z uploads them (me too malas to do this.Z dah start cuti)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kesian Obama!

his celebrity image

rupa mcm baik

Dia tak buat apa2 lagi, baru lantik si Emanuel tu (Rahim Iman Nur El).My american friend pun protested.He didn't vote for Obama, he said.Tengok je cara dia layan 2 orang Muslim women yang berdiri belakang dia tu dulu, he reminded (my fren ni bukan Muslim tapi semangat kuat!).

Kita tak faham cita2 Obama.His desire to be the first black American Prez is stronger than anything else.Kita rasa penaja dia puak2 tu le...dealnya..Rahim Iman Nur El.I told my American friends yang agak ragu2 dgn perlantikan Chief of Staff mereka ni, "I am not afraid cos' I know you guys will take care of America.Or the world will." The world will tu bukanlah berniat nak gertak.The world just will.Kita ramai, apa.Obama tu sorang.Habeh2 berdua dgn si Iman Nur El.

So kita tengok percaturan berikutnya.Relax, bro/sis.Yang penting you have two hensem men in White House now.Tak lama jatuh la tuh. Yang hudoh pun jatuh. :))

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Al fatihah

I must record this of a mentor, also a friend who passed away last week. We met online through Sang Kancil Forum way back in the mid 90s. Our political discussions were always fun and a learning session for me (cos' he had served 3 PMs and had a lot to share) and although we did not subscribe to the same political persuasion, we shared similar concerns about arah tuju bangsa Melayu.

One day, bored with writing my PhD thesis (I was finishing the last couple of chapters from home), I asked Dato' B if he had any part time job for me.I needed the distraction to keep me sane.He was then the President of an NGO.They were looking for someone to head a project and he asked if I were keen on joining.It was of cos' voluntary work.No money involved.I didn't mind.I just wanted something new other than writing a big fat thesis. Naturally, I said yes!

So began a r/ship with a community.When I left the organisation (I had to return to REAL work upon finishing my PhD), I would still occasionally write to Dato' (who also left the NGO the following term due to health prob) either for poltical comments or ucap selamat hari raya. The last time I wrote to him was last year when I asked if he had any friend/relative in the US who would be able to advise me about living in the USA as I prepared myself for my Fulbright stint at Cornell. Dato' B introduced me to Haji Zaidon, his close friend (who was with him during their PTD stint but had migrated to the US). It was Haji Zaidon who told me of Dato' B's demise last week.The funny thing is, even the NGO he once headed didn't know that he had passed away.But Haji Zaidon told me there were a lot of people who visited.He was well-liked by everyone, across age.Memang aruah tak byk cakap dan tak suka mengata orang.Kalau menegur, tak sampai orang berasa hati (I know cos' kita selalu bercanggah pendapat! He would be so diplomatic when he put forth his opinions.Ini cara orang lama.A true gentleman.I would always remember his gentle ways in dealing with people, his humility).

Dato' B (or 'Enda' as he preferred to be called), you will be sadly missed.Al fatihah.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Global HR Forum 2008

Electrifying! Jack Welch was superb in his teleconferencing with us! This man is amazing! And so humble and so sharp too (for his age!) He was so sure Obama would win and shared with us his latest article on Obama on how he won (results belum keluar, pakcik ni dah confident!).Obama has the 4 Es, he, energising others, edge and execute.He said Obama pandai cari new markets during his campaigns.While Clinton went to big cities (maybe thinking the rich middle class would make great supporters), Obama went to small places..Montana, etc.Itulah kelebihan dia...and he knows how to woo the media.McCain benggung tu buat kejutan and something media tak suka is kejutan (by choosing Palin).Kelakar gila orang tua ni.But it was a joy listening to him.He's so witty and funny.Someone asked who was his greatest influence.He said his mom cos' when he was young, he had speech impairment (gagap gamaknya but I thot suara dia macam kartun..I thot cos' of his age) but his mom would always say, takpa Jack, it's just your brain is too fast for your tongue.And for that he gained a strong sense of self confidence and he was comfortable with older people (sebab he's a single child to a mom who gave birth at 40..manja habislah and of cos' he'd grow up with old people!) Becos' of that he was always in his teachers', bosses' good books.

I was reminded how to treat young minds like this...mesti boost their self esteem, etc.

The session on East Asian (Korean, China and Japan) changing working culture was good too.And another on the need for organisations to have career development and talent management progs for their staff (which are lacking in the Asian setting even in countries like Japan and South Korea).Nanti kita tau nak advise budak2 bila cari kerja tu, carilah yang ada sound prog on career dev and talent management (so far SHELL je yang beria-iya).

Then the discussion on the millenia generation's attitude towards work.Depa ni no longer prioritise monetary gains but internal rewards lagi penting (engagement with work, work must be fun and challenging, etc).I thot eleh..dalam keadaan ekonomi sekarang, teori mcm ni tak leh pakai punya.If the economy is stable, maybe boleh tarik harga.

What I liked about today's findings is the fact that the world will need more social scientists and people from Humanities to bring us out of our rut (creative talents who have humane values are needed as human relations becomes more impt than money that pours in.One speaker said do not mistake someone who can bring in a lot of money as someone who has good leadership).

We also confirmed our observation of Korean civil society: orang2 dia memang baik (jenis stop and tanya apa masalah kita if we look lost with map in the hand.Unbelievable).Also tadi this organiser bawak kita masuk seat bagus w/hal we were not invited to the special keynote addresses (full house, some 800 people from all over the world) He susah payah cari kita 2 seats kosong.Baik hati sungguh!

Anyway, a Korean journalist came and bagi salam.She spoke Arabic (although not a Muslim).Like China, Korea is picking up Arabic more than us in Msia! (cos' of the trade demand with the Middle East).I am determined to go back to my Arabic lessons now (dulu berhenti sekerat jalan sebab tutor tu dok ngajar bilang satu sampai sepuluh for almost 2 months.I bosan!Tak kan I was so benggap??)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Greetings from Seoul

at Itaewon, mcm pinang dibelah dua
(I bought the hat from the Korean lady)

Seoul Philharmonic Orchaestra

Pink Restaurant for Ewha students (Ewha is the
largest woman's uni
in the world.It is 122 years old)

Autumn, on our way to Seoul Arts Centre

optical changes colour depending
on where you stand

It's the same painting as above.Magic!

Mackcik dengar lagu budak2 ni main...beg mengkuang tu buatan Msia.
I gave it away as a gift to my Korean friend (Soonja)

Sapa pulak buat khianat ni? I wanna update, everything is in Arabic! Me no read or speak Arabic...yet.

Anyway, alhamdullilah the jinxed South Korean trip seems to be fine as Aldila and I arrived safely yesterday.This was what happened:

1.It started with Dr. June.This was supposed to be her trip.Her conference since she's in Career Services. She wanted me to accompany her.I was a bit too lazy to travel again so soon.So Dr A got nominated.Halfway, J pulled out due to some circumstances(by then I had agreed to join after learning about Sachs and Jack Welch coming etc.Nak juga belajar dari big corporates ni.After all, all 3 of us will be dealing dgn issues concerning grad. employability, industrial links etc).Then we got busy with the raya and iftar progs and the chapter launch in China.A day before we flew to Seoul (as I was busy teaching my last class and discussions with my PhD students, terlintas di kepala pasal registration).

2.Found out that no one had registered us for the conference! The deadline's over for about a week now.After class, I quickly emailed the organiser.Koreans being Koreans, so efficient and civil,I managed to convince the organiser to send the registration forms and emailed them back after office hours.There was no confirmation of acceptance yet.The organiser kata nak check dgn boss dia dulu.We took the risk and flew anyway (luckily I had arranged to meet the Director of Global Affairs of a women's uni and another research meeting with my Korean friends prior to the conference.I thought if I missed the conference, at least I had two equally important meetings.But I was determined to fight my way through the conference upon arrival.I told the organiser I'd go to their office and pay up the special lecture fee upon arrival).

3.The other jinx was: Aldila rang me on day of departure to say that she may not be able to join me on the trip sebab she sprained her ankle and her toe got really swollen! I just went whaaat?? I'm not going alone on this trip.I was not even in the pic. in the first place. I was trying to make the trip worth more than it is..with the two meetings I arranged.Haiya...Anyway I told her pi check with the doc and ask the fitness to travel.If you need to be on a wheel chair, be on it but I want you with me (polite tone). Thank God, she sms-ed me after her visit with her doc that it's OK to travel and that a wheel chair was not needed. Smile.

So here we are...plodding along with our plans.We met the conference secretariat yesterday (the conference venue is just across our hotel..initially we were told our hotel was some 10 km away.Itupun satu jinx!) and they were impressed with our determination! Hahaha.Syukur alhamdulillah we'll get to attend our sessions and I pray that we'll come back, inspired.

We were in Itaewon looking for halal restaurant/s last nite.Took the subway across the river.Itaewon is on the other side of Seoul.Very happening place.Very lively and so global.So many Africans too.I'm curious why they are in Seoul.What business? Got to eat bryani at a Pakistani restaurant near the mosque.The Africans have their African restaurant too.Music was good.Almost like in the Carribean.Will find out from Soh Hee (who I will meeting today to discuss my woman's research cluster project) about the African link.