Sunday, December 27, 2009

smart vacation

I told you we had to cancel our vacation abroad, kan? (cos' my mom isn't well) So we went Ritzy (at Starhill).We saved time on travelling.Tak payah Nik nak bising2, "Pls don't sleep.Papa ngantuk ni.Talk to me." (while driving).Lepas tu penat sakit2 badan for 6-7 hours drive out of KL.Kalau fly pulak, sibuk nak pack baju byk2, queue kat immigration, itu ini.Tidur 2-3 malam, the whole process starts again.Yang ini, pack a small bag, terus pi Jalan Bukit Bintang.Kalau ada barang tertinggal, boleh balik rumah kejap.Kalau ada emergency calls, 10 mins dah sampai.

Day 1 did facial with Z.Phuiii...tertidur2. Lepas tu lunched at Fisherman's Cove. Sedap woh the seafood.If you stay at Ritz, you get RM50 baucer.Tak lepas sorang makan pun but still, it's something.Dengar jazzy music at Shook (the last time we dined there was with mendiang Hilary Tham). Shopped at Pavilion.Walked to Sungei Wang (kenangan lama mengusik jiwa..dulu sini lah tempat paling hebat to shop.Now I can't even stand the place.Too crowded.).KL kalau Xmas..selalulah overdone.Tapi kita pun sibuk juga ambik2 gambar mcm tourists.

Day 2 the whole family went for Balinese massage at the Spa Village.Again terlena2.Lepas tu jumped into the blue pool (not their swimming pool..another pool at the spa village) Lepas tu masuk jacuzzi.Mcm berok! :))

Ritz Carlton isn't 6 star tapi bantal dia best.Kalau tidur atas dia, tenggelam woh.I have no prob sleeping.The breakfast also sedap.But service a bit slow and they don't employ too many locals.Ramai Indians from India, Indonesians and other nationals.

While melepak at Starhill, I noticed how we'd lost KL to the Arabs.Shishas were everywhere on Jalan Bukit Bintang.The music they played on the street pun Arabic.And for such a narrow road, BB tries to be like whatever avenue it is on Broadway...ramai buskers tapi meriah juga.I took a pic with one.Ada la rasa ala2 New York city kejap. :))

We left Bibik at home alone (I should not have done this.I forgot she could not read or write.If anything happened, she nak call polis pun tak tau)

And something did happen.She fell and according to her, fainted for 3 hours with blood all over.Haiyo...we had to take her to the nearest clinic to pastikan no broken bones or apa2 yang terok.We have decided to return her back to the agent.Bahaya keeping her (she fell cos' dia bertenggek atas seat toilet tu and the whole thing pecah and she fell on the floor! I never knew how she did it! Anyone with a maid, better check yours.Cara bertenggek atas toilet ini can kill.I'm told in an email of an Arab guy who did this and how toilet seat tu koyakkan his paha)

I have had berpuluh2 maids sementara nak besarkan Z but I think yang ini yang paling terok! And we didn't get her cheap you know.But I guess with the current difficulty in getting quality maids, agents ambik sapa2 depa dapat je.Yang tak tau baca, tak tau masak, yang pekak, yang benggong.May Allah protect all of us dan lindungi semua dari bencana.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shahrul's wedding pics

the nieces (of 4th sister who passed away 18 years
ago when these two gals were very, very young)

nephew (eldest child of 4th sister) and his family

nephew (3rd sister's son) and his family

touching moment (Pak Ngah, hugging the groom, his youngest son)

Zafirah, loving the limelight as usual
(reciting Maher's poem to Shahrul and Shamsinar)
* pengapit pengantin lelaki is the groom's brother.Dua beradik je depa ni (2nd sister's sons).
Aiman (my niece's eldest son)
reading Maher's poem

Abi (my bro in law)
doing the silat (atas permintaan pengantin lelaki)

wanita2 jelita...(my niece, a banker but
so good at kerastangan.Dia yang banyak 'mengubal' hantaran)
the clan (once you get in, you can't get out.Hahaha)

3rd sister doing the renjis

7th sister doing her turn

yang ini terlepas from the ward...hahaha (Mek, 5th sister)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Such is life

The long weekends saw a very colourful wedding of one of our favourite nephews (who's the life of the family cos' he's so funny and witty).Z played 3 songs on her violin (2 of the songs the live band tolong iringkan.Nasib baik cos' dah mula nak sumbang.She had not touched her violin for almost a year!) Then Aiman and she read the translated version of a wedding poem (which was a doa actually)Maher wrote and recited in Arabic (I brought home Maher from Yemen and Hassan from Mozambique, to give them the experience of a Malay wedding.They helped carry tembaga hantaran and helped merenjis2 kedua mempelai).

Tak sempat joined the family's postmortem (I heard them laughing so much as they did it.Cerita who was responsible for eating choc. hantaran from Australia and how ibu pengantin ~ our second sister ~ dok marahkankan everyone.Masa the majilis yassin and marhaban at my mom's, byk benda tak kena (don't know where she had placed all the senduk2!).Nasib not so many people for the morning session but the food was good.

Pak Ngah arrived just in time for the merenjis2.Quite touching to see him hugging his two boys (Pak Ngah was my former bro in law.Depa bercerai many years ago.His kids were raised by my mom especially the pengantin lelaki who continues to live with my mom when everyone has left home). Pak Ngah was a good bro in law.I remember how he bought me my first roller skates and who would have guessed that his marriage was already on the rocks on my wedding day (he was the family photographer).His family (mother, siblings) pun came to the wedding (hubungan keluarga kami masih erat.In fact I think my sis and him still love each other tapi apakan daya, masing2 dah kawin lain)

I left immediately after the wedding (bibik tinggal to kemas rumah).I slept early sebab sangat penat (tak buat apa pun except to collect the wedding cake and budak2 UIA tu).So when I woke up this morning to read Mek's sms about my mom's health status, I was really in a shock. She's getting worse and when Kak Ngah rang me up sobbing..I thought she had died.Then she told me what the doc told her in the last check up (before the wedding) and how she was made to keep it a secret.My mom pun tak tau.

I went to work feeling very stressful.Tiba2 tengok someone parked at my carpark pulak.Lagi tensi! Then tengok2 one of the ustaz (a friend quite close to me).I got into a battle of words with him! Then he sms-ed me.I text-ed back.But in the end kami saling maaf memaafkan.Kelakar betul! Tapi jgn main2 bila dah tensi. Kawan boleh jadi musuh. I'm glad Ustaz ni faham my situation (I told him.But at the same time told him lain kali jgn la ambik space orang.He said sekejap je sebab nak angkat barang conference.On normal days, I would have been much more patient.Silap hari daa but he's so kind that he said he'd do a special prayer at the mosque for my mom.Isn't that sweet?)

My sisters will bring my mom to KL.She is not fit to live alone (dah berbuih mulut kita cakap.My youngest kadang2 would just bundle her up and take her to her place in Pekan).I hope we can all look after her.

Sama-sama kita berdoa that she'll live a while longer.I'm cancelling all my vacation plans.Z is so disappointed but I explained to her the situation.When things have settled down, she can go (at least to Singapore)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the power of networking

simply beautiful!

one for the album (alums with rector and former rector of IIUM)

great food, great company, fantastic cruise

With Aadila Teoh of Spore Chapter
(at ISTAC)
I think it's one of the hotels in Putrajaya (the Pullman?)

Lunch onboard a cruise: Shamsul (lawyer at AG's)
and Dr Musa (of China Chapter)

our alums onboard 'Kelah'.Ezam is sitting next to Dr Wan

Alhamdulillah, we had a fabulous time during the IIUM Networking Lunch Cruise despite some delay on the part of the cruise management people (but the delay gave us time to catch up with one another)

A small crowd (about 40 people) but a comfortable number.Each alum spoke on their role in the society.Very impressive indeed.Some pics. (from my cheap phone)
We got to touch base with many others (even though they were not able to join us) Aadila brought home two other alums to my place (one is from Inner Mongolia, the other a revert from Johor and we did solat jumaah masa Maghrib at my place.What a nice feeling this IIUM brotherhood and sisterhood thingy! I felt the ukhwah! A great feeling indeed.Fadhlul shared with us how difficult it is to do biz in Msia tanpa ada orang2 tertentu minta "commission" sana sini.Harga RM50 million, this 'authority" suruh letak RM150 million.He gave up.He's going big on his own now.He's very particular about punca rezeki yang halal.We are happy to be connected.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Poetry reading at ISTAC

Thanks to Rohani Yusoff, I was invited to read my poems at ISTAC today but what a rushed life.Tak sempat nak kendong buku2 I nak jual. Opportunity lost. :) Anyway it was fun.Dgn izin Allah the audience was very diverse.We had scholars from Muhammadiyah Uni, Yogyakarta (Rectornya pun present, babe) and ISTAC scholars termasuk Dr. Omar (American revert tu).I had nice questions and they showed their kind appreciation of my jottings (which I call poems).

I wish I brought my Malay ones but in a world like ours (where the medium of instruction of an Islamic institution is ironically English) I am always doubtful of the usage of Malay in such a setting (can't be sure if the audience would be Malay speaking or not).Isn't this terok?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweet memories, Asiapac2009

Bernard moderating Kirpal

Ben and Prof Muhd Haji Salleh at NZ High Comm dinner

Dennis at the NZ HC dinner

His Excellency David Kersey talking to James and Otto

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Aidul Adha

Selamat Hari Raya Aidul Adha.

We drove back to Raub after Isyak the eve of Aidul Adha, thinking the traffic jam would have eased up a little but 1 million people thought the same! We ended up spending 5 hours on the road (vs 2 hours).It was hard getting someone to open the door at 2 am! And I was all ready to surprise everyone with my Erra Fazira look (new wig).Everyone dah tidur mati.Luckily my mom was still awake (doing her solat at 2 am).I showed her my new hair-do and she went, "huh? why you look so different? what have you done to your hair?"

That was a good laugh at 2 am! :))

The following day ~ more responses.I just love doing stunts like this.My sis thought it was real.Others thought I look like Erra in Cinta Kolestrol (the fat version.Chis!!!!).Yang kelakar we had no maids this Raya (mine was with Zafirah) so I ended up cooking lunch.A sister who arrived late asked who's this long haired woman, cooking.Someone said Faridah's new maid and she saw me and imagine the uproar! (I used to wear ape mask to scare people!)

Anyway, back in KL I was pretty upset no one fed my daughter...
Luckily I had prepared some Brahim's meals for her.But Z has orang putih taste and rang me to ask if she could order O'Briens sandwiches...itu pun satu hal. Nasib we were away for a day only.

Sabar jelah!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's over!

Dewangga Sakti, playing traditional music at Islamic Arts Museum

The kids catching eels in the mud pool

the eels caught

agnes, posing at the paddy field

didgeridoo by local boys

Haji Burhanuddin on Upin and Ipin.In the panel were Amir Zekrgoo (Iran) and Zunar

Isabella (Manila), Carlotta (Arizona) and Tanja as their moderator

David (Kobe), Kit (Australian, living in Macau)
and Agnes (Hong Kong)

Carlotta, Isabella and Mark (Canadian, living in Hong Kong)
left: dennis (Perth), ben (New York), someone from aussie high comm

left: quayum, sudesh (Fijian, living in Melbourne), david (american, living in Kobe)

left: bruce (Sydney), kirpal (Singapore), lily (Manila)
and trish (bruce's wife)
ben in sabak bernam talking to some wak

batik painting with brad pitt.. er..mark

oh wow..what can I say except alhamdulillah that the symposium went well and it's over now?
Every day was a new adventure, new experience filled with thrills and uncertainties but the team's such a great team (from colleagues to students)

And our speakers and participants..looks like my prayer was answered.Ben said it was a great 4-day experience for him (he came with us to Sabak Bernam..bangun pagi and we didn't get back till almost midnite and he's got bad knees, bad ankles..such a lovely soul)

Carlotta who shared a room with me would not stop laughing at every new discovery we encountered and analysed...such a joy to have her as a roommate.She wrote a poem for me at the High Commisioner's dinner (so sweet).

Mark yang hensem macam Brad Pitt (the gals went goo goo gaa gaa) caught 15 ikan keli in the mud pool.I asked how come you are so good...he said he was so used to catching sweet.His beautiful wife from Hong Kong gave him a surprise visit, not knowing he would spend all day/nite at Sabak Bernam.

The homestay at Dorani was such a treat (the landscape was so relaxing..a real holiday for all.Agnes said she never had a real break like that for so long.I felt the same!) During the kuda kepang performance, 3 performers kena rasuk (in trance).It was quite a scary experience. We also had a hand at batik painting.My piece cantik.Ahem.

We were told later that kuda kepang, like Mak Yong and Wayang Kulit, is banned in Msia.Mana kami tau! Agnes and I masuk berlumpur (she fell in the lumpur..very funny) I taught some how to bersalam. It was so hilarious! Agnes was hopeless! But got it right in the end (and would not stop bersalam with everyone she met.Hahaha)

The performances (Zul was simply fantastic doing the poetic movement on the 2004 Tak Bai massacre), poetry readings at the Islamic Arts Museum, NZ High Comm dinner, CAC and lunch hosted by Malaysia-Australia Institute were all great.Amir Zekrgoo was so Rumi.

Prof Ibrahim Zein and Ben got into a heated discussion...the audience were amazed at the sharpness both had and their civility and restraint despite the seemingly brutal clash of civilisations.
Oh..the opening and intro by Prof Kamal Hassan was excellently delivered.We all had fun despite our multimedia presentation ada sikit minor error (Uni of Philippines became Uni of Manila but poor Fatehah and her friend had worked so hard..people loved the little video they prepared for the launching)

Day 4 yang paling best for me: sebab Marion and Zunar telah menunjukkan keberanian mereka sampai I felt my heart would drop every time they spoke! The real joy was when we could overcome fear (the imagined fear/the real fear).Zunar shared the session with Haji Burhanuddin towkay Upin and Ipin (who first started his career in O&G as Petronas engineer.It's amazing how he became so rich within a short span of time thru Upin and Ipin.He said no magic..if your product is good, people will buy.Also one must know one's market.Haiyo..I rasa product I no good sebab buku puisi I ada lagi 300 copies out of 1000.In 2 years.Promotion takda langsung.Must do more readings in public gamaknya)

Oh well...

Segala pujian yang kami terima kami pulangkan kepada Allah cos' without His izin, the symposium would not be so well received.Takbir!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Arrival

Bruce with Shahrul after his talk at DELL

Yes, it has started to get busier than usual as our delegates from abroad start to arrive.Last night, Bruce arrived (spoke to him this morning to arrange for his talk at IIUM.Quayum had to collect him cos' I had to go to the airport to collect Ben)

And it poured cats and dogs.Ben's flight was delayed (which made me nervous.I was afraid he missed the flight ke hapa ke..checked with MAS counter...the lady said he was onboard)

Rupa2nya delay in Bangkok (one old lady went missing..semua org dah masuk but she went missing while waiting for her wheel chair).Then at KLIA, Ben pulak didn't get his wheel chair (he's recovering from a broken leg).

David from Tokyo went missing cos' Shahrul arrived late (jam and hujan).Hadoi...the event BELUM lagi bermula...but David was nice.Dia tak mengamuk and apologised for not waiting.

Kemudian, sekitar 12 malam I got a missed call (I was praying masa tu).A lady was saying she's at the airport.We were not expecting any more arrivals.Pening kepala I fikir.Tanya Shahrul (who was on his way back from picking up Dennis at the airport) dia kata tak tau. Then I rang Mei, Mei said So Hee Lee from Seoul rang her.Ayo....I baru emailed dia for her arrival time.

Checked punya checked, rupa2nya her email about her arrival sent a few days ago was read by one of the comm members and somehow the transport comm missed the info.I too missed it.Luckily So Hee Lee had booked her room already so by the time I rang to apologise, she was laughing away and so forgiving.She was enjoying her tea. :))

Syukurlah but if it goes on like this the next couple of days, bukan je my jantung gugur but bak kata Mei, usus, hempedu, ginjal semua gugur.Besok lagi ramai.Ada yang sampai pukul 1 pagi!

Z started her SPM.Kesian dia.I should be holding her hand tapi apa kan daya...masa rancang symposium ni 2 years ago, tak ingat pun Z akan ambik SPM...may Allah forgive me for not being a good Mom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meeting of friends

Well folks, my Nov. event is coming up (about a week to go).I should not be so nervous.After all it is a meeting of friends.Kita pun tak panggil VVIPs, only Deputy Rector (Rector's away).It should be fun.Less pressure cos' less protocol.

I think over the months especially as it gets closer, macam2 speakers have to withdraw.Ada yang sakit, ada yang spouse dia sakit, ada yang exam (fee dah bayar, flight dah booked), yang meninggal tu yang paling sedih (aruah Yasmin Ahmad).Thank God, we have very little difficulty replacing the best with another.Ini rahmat Allah.An excellent conference relies much on quality speakers.We try to observe that.

But as with many other events, we are also mentally prepared for hiccups, shortcomings.What is important is that there will be SOMETHING for participants to learn from/be inspired if not getting new friends.

To the team: best wishes!

Monday, November 09, 2009

In search of Mak Jah

Please congratulate me for driving back and forth Bagan Lalang for my office's IEEP (Kaossar read the map for me). Nik's outstation and could not drive me over on this long trip.

Theme kali ni health and fitness (in addition to monitoring our BSC and KPIs).Dr Anuar Suun and his team were loads of fun.We did aerobics, talks on healthcare etc.Wei, all staff should be educated on this.We did a session on CPR.The correct ways are:

1.identify dulu any hazard/harm before you touch mangsa.
2.Tepok2 bahu mangsa yang tengah pengsan
3.Panggil ambulance 999 and say where, who and how many need immediate medical attention.
4. Then start doing the rescuing bit (

We also did some team building activities and one of them was a treasure hunt.We walked some 5 km looking for clues and answers which included cooking and selling burgers by the Bagan Lalang beach.Ada juga cubaan nak menipu along the way. :))

My team lost (sebab puzzle kita susah) but we lost gracefully (akhirnya).Yang kelakar one clue that said "Mak Jah sedang menunggu anda." Woit, susah.Like zombies we went from one stall to another looking for Mak Jah.One chap said she's at so and so place (I was the first to be given the clue) so melompat2 pi lari mcm Asia Race kejar stall Mak Jah...only to be told she was not Mak Jah.Dr Wan was told this (at another stall), "Mak Jah dah 2 tahun meninggal...." and this (yet at another stall), "Mak Jah yang hitam atau Mak Jah yang putih?"

But we finally found her (her kedai was on the other side of the road).
Dr Anuar was so kelakar.We'll have him and team again to speak on managing back pain some time soon.

Seafood at Bagan Lalang sedap.Had sambal lala, ikan siakap and sotong bakar and drinks.Less than RM50 for 4 people! Mari bercuti ke Bagan Lalang!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cuci the Musical

We took our MASTERA friends out to Skybridge at KLCC (my first, too) and Aquaria.Then I rushed to talk to my PhD students and returned their essays.Then rushed back to Seri Pac to witness the signing of some docos by the 3 Country Heads.I was not in my working clothes.Malu...everyone was in their baju kerja.The guys were all in their suits.What to do, no time to change.Lodged a complaint against a staff of Triways who issued Ben's tic very2 late.Walhal I gave Eda the particulars MONTHS ago.I hate last min sloppy job like this.

Malamnya the group went to see Hans Isaac's Cuci the Musical.Initialy I didn't want to go (too tired too angry too pissed off with what took place at IIUM.I just wished people take their job seriously and IKHLAS!) Anyway Zaidah said tic had been bought for dgn baju pagi tadi, I went.Malu betul but no time to change.Pulak mlm ni the kerabat Perlis and other VVIPs dtg tengok so the crowd was huge juga.

It's fun, folks.I missed the movie but the play menghiburkan.AC Mizal, Adlin Shauki, Hans and Awie semua kelakar.Awie yang paling cute.AC over macam biasa but still funny.The songs are great too but lama sangat.Keluar after 4 hours.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nusantara news

I'm at Seri Pacific to attend a long stretch of meetings on sastera Asia Tenggara.The Brunei team arrived today.Besok team dari Jakarta akan tiba.Sidang kali ini dijangka akan panas memandangkan keadaan yang agak tegang antara Jakarta-KL (atas isu2 budaya).

A teman from Brunei who just got back from Jakarta said he saw a banner that said," Ganyang Malaysia tetapi selamatkan Siti Nurhaliza."

Hahahaha, lucu banget tu!
Pasukan Majlis Sastera Asia Tenggara (of which I'm a council member) akan cuba memulihkan jambatan goyah ini melalui prog2 budaya nusantara.But harap2 gomen faham how sastera berperanan besar.Bak kata Dr Lim Swee Tin: jatuhnya Thaksin kerana kelompok sasterawan.Di Jakarta juga, sasterawan berpengaruh yang digunakan utk sentimen anti-Malaysia ini.

Harus respect sama sasterawan, dong! Mereka ini war makers atau peacebuilders.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Late flight home

Was away in Penang the last 2 days.Penang is always green and fresh.Stayed at Vistana where internet is 24 hours and free (printing service is also free) This is better than hotels in KL.I think they have a wide experience with people on the go (tourists, biz men/women). In Japan, it's like that too.It's a service NOT so much business per se.I like that.

Dr Jelani and his colleague collected me at the airport.Rang Zairi.He didn't pick up the ph so I figured he's in Geneva again.Text-ed "was in Penang but as always, you were away."(I figured by the time he got back from somewhere I'd be gone. That's the reason why I wrote "was in Penang"). Tengok2 pakcik tu ada kat Penang and he wrote besoknya "sorry you were in Penang." Hahaha.Then we found out we were both in the present and in Penang! But no time to go nasi padang.Pi tengok USM's Alumni House.Simply fantastic.1 million katanya.All alumni money.Whoa! Then of cos' Zairi had to tell me and Puan Sharifah abt ular senduk on campus. I just found out cobras love to live in hill slopes.

Anyway, the workshop I conducted for Dr. J's students went well, alhamdulillah.It was fun interacting with the students.They asked loads of questions.Met Dato Salleh Yaapar briefly too.Tak sempat nak borak panjang.Met other friends (gals) and we spoke on Michael Jackson.Hahaha.It started with Hajar mentioning she saw me on TV, speaking on MJ and we all agreed, MJ's death took a piece of our adolescent lives.

Flight back to KL was slightly delayed.I am sooooooooooooooo exhausted, folks.Saturday: the beginning of another long stretch of meetings (which will end on Wedn).May Allah grant me good health.Kesibukan dunia adalah juga satu ujian Allah.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Other pics (Casablanca)

A Moroccan friend took us around during our 6 hrs transit in Casablanca.Lunch at a traditional Morrocan restaurant

The mosque on the sea

A traditional bazaar in Casablanca

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Goodbye Conakry, farewell Africa

Guinea launch at Novotel Hotel, Conakry

Dato Seri with the PM in Guinea

Prof Sano, Dato Seri and Msian Ambassador in Guinea at a Tunisian Restaurant

polis pengiring kita yang tak makan disaman

At the museum

From my hotel room in Conakry before I got stuck in the lift

I settled in nicely.Here in African dress with my bodyguard and driver (they look after me and Kaossar)

Selamat tiba di KL from Dubai (with transit in Casablanca again from Conakry.Flight from Conakry was at 3 am.But the Kedutaan chap and our alumni buat semua check-ins so I managed to catch 2 hours of sleep after the banquet at Saudi Ambassador's home.Beautiful home by the beach but malam so tak nampak sgt the beauty).Our stay in Conakry was a rushed one cos' of the one day delay in Dakar, Senegal.But media coverage was good sampai mana2 kita pi shopping (no shopping mall here cuma kedai2 yang mcm slums) semua org tau sapa kita : Malasie!Malasie! depa jerit.Nasib bukan Manohara! Manohara!

Becos' Prof Sano (our former colleague at IIUM) is now Minister of Religious Affairs and well trusted by both Prez and the PM (who we met and he's equally ikhlas..being a former banker at IDB ke world bank and called back to serve the nation), maka kami semua dilayan taraf menteri (I felt like Rosmah Mansor.Kita ada military personal body guard and ada driver.Pi mana2 ada org nak carry our bags and bukakan pintu.Heh heh)

We met many ministries and many unis.We are serious abt south-south ties.People have high regard for IIUM and jam 1 am on the day we were supposed to leave, I had to entertain a parent (org kaya) who wanted to send two of his boys to IIUM to study Business.In Gambia, one student cannot masuk (cos' we were not aware they had changed their uni entrance qualification.No more A Level.Kita dok pakai A Level lagi)so the mom came to appeal.Her sister buat bio-tech/pharmacy at IIUM so the sis mestilah cerdik juga kan?

At the Guinea launch each alumna came up to speak on how IIUM and Malaysia helped them with their personal and career growth.It was an eye opening for us (some of our colleagues want integration and islamisation of knowledge revised) Meeting and listening to our successful alumni in Africa made us realise that we had the right formula.We may have to improve to be better but not to discard the original formula.African alumni are self made,innovative lot.Millionaires and some in the making (yang tak tunggu nak kerja dgn org but they created jobs not only for themselves but others.Ini yang kita very2 proud and mereka tak leave the country for a better life mcm setengah org Msia yang gomen hantar buat Master's or PhDs then tak mau balik.African IIUM alumni said IIUM taught them love for the country and they wanted to return to serve and build their nations and help eradicate poverty)

Travel advice: Satu perkara yang perlu ambik perhatian if you are in Conakry, Guinea, jangan masuk lift sorang2 or with a man cos' electricity supply depa not reliable.Depa pakai generator and that often breaks down.I was stuck in the hotel lift a day before nak balik KL.My God..mcm cerita thriller! (I remember scenes from movies and acted accordingly.Mula2 frantically pressed all buttons.When that didn't work, kick and hit the lift door screaming help me!help me! Then think of the phone.Frantically dial any number.When you hear a voice, speak in English and say you are trapped.Of cos' English is no good in Francophone countries.Ni yang gomen dok sibuk kata English is a global language.It can kill you! So when I heard a voice, the man said receptio..receptio and hung up on me.Mana I ingat apa number reception.I called again.Dia ingat I bergurau so I thot how do I communicate to him I was a damsel in distress.I wailed! I betul2 nangis! By now I could not breathe well dah..fresh air takda.I thot nak buat mcm spy stories..climb up the lift but nak panjat pun tak da lobang.Then death images came to me and thots like "tak sangka mati kat Afrika dalam lift".Then I baca apa2 ayat doa yang I ingat..doa nabi yunus, doa nabi musa..and then lift jalan and terbuka macam laut merah)

I dok terfikir if I were trapped with a man..mampos aku kena raped! So syukur alhamdullilah ntg happened but an episode to remember Conakry.Just remember this: don't go into a lift with a man.It can happen anywhere (kat UIA pun ramai org got trapped in the HS Building lift.But at least we speak English/Malay)

I'm glad to be home, folks.Out of Africa, with much to remember and lots to learn from.I miss people we met there (I love our alumni and it was sad to leave them) but Malaysia IS my home.I can't imagine living anywhere else.Bersyukurlah kita.Bersatulah kita. :))