Saturday, April 28, 2012

The joy of teaching

Maybe I have been too long in this profession. But today's workshop on supervision and thesis writing had brought back the joy of teaching and imparting knowledge (not that my daily/weekly classes are no fun) but having a highly motivated group of students would take you up on a different level of joy.

And all those years of experience supervising and being supervised came back with lots of laugh.Hey, I can do this for another 100 years. :))

The guy from a (foreign?) TV station rang to remind me of tomorrow's interview (the time's changed). Malam ni kena rehearse la sikit jawaban-jawabannya.Maklum nak tayang kat Europe. :))

I'm ready to move forward with other new projects, folks. Watch this space.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bruce Bennett In Memoriam

Prof.Quayum sent me an sms around noon today asking if it were true Bruce had passed away.I told him I had not heard and asked for his source.Kirp.It must have been true and googled for the news.

True enough.Bruce Bennett is dead.

I may not know him as long as Quayum did but since Manila 2007 (or it could have been 2 years earlier in Singapore cos' I remember him joining the night safari ), I met Bruce every two years at our Asiapac conference which meets every two years in different cities.When I offered to help host the conference in KL after Manila, Bruce was one of those who was the most encouraging (even after dicucuk2 oleh someone not to give it to me.Mark,Harry,Lily and Agnes were equally supportive when I got very upset by this back-stabbing episode by another fellow academician from another uni).Bruce (and also Dennis) stood by me and said they'd be in KL to support me all the way.And true enough, both Bruce and Dennis came despite being confronted by illness (Bruce was sick himself, Dennis' wife was also very ill).

Bruce would always remain in my mind as a gentleman, sincere, committed, kind-hearted and very, very graceful scholar.He had moved the world in his own quiet ways, putting Asiapac literatures as equally important as mainstream ones.He (and Dennis) were constantly speaking of passing the torch to younger academics like Q, Kit, me, Lily, Isabela, Agnes and so on.It will be a tough act to follow, Bruce.

I'm glad I was able to meet him in Perth last December and had the opportunity to pay tribute to what he had done to literature and art in the region at our 2009 Asiapac conference in KL.

RIP, Bruce. You will be sadly missed.

 Bruce was the first to arrive for the conference.Here, with a student (Shahrul)

Bruce with NZ High Commissioner's wife, Gillian at a dinner reception at the HC's home

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Zaiton Othman

She was one of the fastest women in Asia.A Malaysian who grew up poor,had to walk to school and had poor nutrition.

Today, she's one of the best motivators in town.And in a conversation with a friend who attended her talk today,what struck me most was her courage,determination and focus as well as finding the balance in life.

My friend was telling me how Zaiton enjoyed being chased by an angry dog cos' it gave her the opportunity to run quicker than the mad dog.

I guess THAT was how she trained to be one of the fastest women on Asian track in the 80s.

We had many great athletes in the past....very colourful personalities too.

Your blog worth

I had a bit of a laugh recently after finding my blog worth and its rank in the USA.Who would have thought! I mean I write to capture certain moments in my life.Much to do with my family and friends.This blog is worth almost USD1K. :)).Well, at least some value.Thank you for your support (for those who are regular here).

It's been a hectic two days in which I had meetings spreading to the evenings.I think I have over committed but a promise is a promise.Will just need to execute whatever promised well.I had meetings with my caring society's group in my neighbourhood then another evening with other neighbourhoods in PJ.Jeff is so good with community building.It is such a joy working with him.Found a new friend,Minoo.We clicked! :)

And last night's meeting with my filmmaker friends went well into 11 pm.Nagat's suggestion of having a few workshops was good.Azrain would give me the figures.Wan and I would look for moneh and participants.Prof Abushouk agreed to give us promo panel in his Oct conference and we had at least 4 exciting personalities to invite.And Wan will work on producing a short film for the fest..our very own.I hope things will work out accordingly.

Fulbright Public Talk: Prof Alan Lew had agreed in principle to talk on tourism but probably would have to do it just after his conference towards end of June.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

seizing the day, carpe diem

I have written a lot on my experience as the Director of CERDAS.Of my 24 years of working, I have to say that this is the most challenging and exciting post I have ever held.

I learn to swim when the office is sinking (the meeting on Monday is now postponed to another Monday in 3 weeks).But the best of all is learning how to be an enterpreneur (against my will but possibly this is by the will of Allah.Everything happens for a reason). I learned how to do clean business (without riba).Always mindful of NOT devising too much profit which will be oppressing our clients.What matters is our targetted groups learn something new and become better Muslims/people after their encounter with our progs.Social enterpreneurship, gitu.

Dr Haslina and I were laughing away at my reminder after editing a PhD thesis (from Uni. of Hong Kong) on Islamic Finance and Maritime Trade.There was a section on riba.I also heard on IKIM types of riba.So in our biz at CERDAS, we try to observe this.It's a feel good feeling lah after a task completed.Part of riba is hidden cost.It's a no-no.We were perplexed when Dr Azman (himself an Islamic Finance Consultant with one of the banks) revealed all our costs to our smart partners.Dr H asked me why would he want to tell all.Now we understand better. No hidden cost -- everything must be transparent (so Air Asia, read this!)

Also you cannot have a biz which is misleading (this I heard from IKIM radio) eg. selling a brand which sounds or looks like the original - Abibas vs Adidas, Coach vs Croach, etc is HARAM cos there is an element of deceit/misleading people.

We are (also) doing our best to act on complaints by students (much to do with admin. shortcomings).CERDAS does not make all the decisions and hence, solutions can be quite slow.For that, I have been called many names (by one or two students). Hey, it's part of the job and I accept this, humbly (I had accepted the post relunctantly when nominated, knowing how difficult it would be with only 2 staff at hand but my Dean said it was only for short term).

But as my term comes to an end, my conscience is clear.I HAD GIVEN MY BEST.No regrets.And I treasure the friendships I made with my fellow colleagues.Dr Haslina especially (who's like my shadow, day in, day out); Dr Riza who often comes rushing to assist despite her busy schedule taking care of her parents and her health, Prof Istiaq who will sacrifice his family time to help out when I holler, Prof Azman who often comes out with brilliant ideas on Islamic courses.Last but not least, Hasnah who has kept files in order and can just pluck one on demand.Simply amazing.
And our new Manager, Zul who would have late lunches cos' work comes first.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Can life be so jinxed?

I'm beginning to wonder now!

But it could be just something in your head.You become what you think.Negativity invites negative vibes but de Bono highlights on negative energy as a force to solve your problem, creatively.We are trying our best to paddle, OK? :)

Zul and Dr. Haslina found out some happy news with the auditors' report/s (Monday will be an interesting day when I am called to menghadap Tan Sri Aziz). The figures keep changing.I hope we are right this time.Working from evidence.

Tupin Aishah is a glamorous name.I want to write about her in my next short story.She's my great grandmother, said to be a princess from Sumatra in the 17th century before Dutch invasion.There were kingdoms and we owned one.Muahaha.Anak raja gondang. :))

I just found new second cousins. Was bonding with my mom over this and she wanted to know if I had met any of them in person.How I met them etc (what curious mind, this Rawa Queen).

Facebooks and blogs have their plus points.This is all I have to say.