Friday, October 31, 2014

ASA talk

We celebrated teacher's day (supposedly to be on Oct 5) today with a talk..well..a Prof Aslam and Prof Idrus (of Uni Tun Hussein Onn).A lot of things were raised.

A question which disturbed us most was whether academics are civil servants or uni workers.Byk bezanya di situ.MAAC is trying hard to push for a pay raise.Muhyddin dok say I support I support (sejak berzaman but ntg happens). I told Idrus..MAAC got the wrong tree...MoE or even JPA cannot decide cos' the Ministry that holds the purse is MoF (kebetulan I had just spoken to someone at MoF with regard to teaching rate per hour.IIUM kata dia follow gomen rate but even if we follow gomen rate, tne rate is still below the gomen rate...depa ni baca ke tidak circular gomen nih?By right, we should follow the circular for's RM400 per hour.Inilah antara sbb I was so keciwa cos' cerdas wants to pay more than RM200 per hour to staff teaching outside the uni.Kull kata kena ikut rate uni.Now semua yg terlibat dah malas nak buat kerja luar.Penat, OK? Family time pun ilek.

Bukan kita kerja utk colleagues tak minta pun but as a Head who facilitates outside progs, I want to recognise their sacrifice and motivate them.Itupun tak boleh.Where is space for creativity and innovation.Semlm I said the same thing to my Dean.But Dean I ni baik.A good listener.He supported wht I raised but penat wei..everytime we want to do more, kena gaduh2, bising2 mcm ni.Makcik dah tua, nak.Makcik nak duduk bersimpuh la pulak instead of kung fu all the time.Makcik ni sebenarnya lemah lembut, nak.Ahaks. Anyway,Nik is back from his 5-day management course in Spore.Mahal, nak, course depa ni.If it were done over the weekend boleh le I nompang sekaki nyopping in Spore. I'll work again all day besok.But it should be interesting.

Watch this space for reports.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hari penyu menangis

....metaphorically speaking but today is a day in which I feel so heart broken.But let's listen to this poetic piece by JM Aziz on weeping turtles -  turned into a beautiful song by Sudirman.

Byk sebab why I am so heart broken. Satu, my finding that my graduating students are still making basic grammar mistakes (forget about good sentence structures). My colleagues and I were busy whatsapping on this.They need to be saved.I have decided to do extra work with them.Where will I find the time only Allah knows but I think the kids are willing to meet me halfway.Kita doakan sukses.

The news of Kull wanting to spend CERDAS money sesuka hati pun buat hati I tawar.I told my Dean I'm putting in my notice of resignation.I penat.Being exposed to the public, we are not allowed to make mistakes.Siap kena keji.It's a thankless job which I tak kisah but have some respect for hard-earned income...ini pantang nmpk duit terlonggok (bkn byk sgt pun) but mentality ada duit, must spend ni yg buat I sgt keciwa.I want to hit half a million or a million so we can employ more people to grow bigger and stronger.Tapi kalu dok dikelilingi org yg budaya nak menyepeng je, susahlah.That was wht happened to the money raised with my team at Alumni.Came in the next next person, habis pi buat PR work (which was not even a value dah tau IIUM tu bagus..tak pyh le pi Bosnialah, Africalah nak interbiu successful alums.That you can do over skype.Ahaks.I ni ada iras2 Khalid Ibrahim...buat duit, jgn spend.Nak tergelak pun ada but Khalid over la pulak.Jlnraya mcm swimming pool dalamnya, dia buat tak pada).

One of the people in the film industry rang me up on our IWFF model.And he told me about the passing of Martias of the first few from the film industry who came forward to assist me on early work of IWFF (before I invited ZI as a partner).His jasa bukan sedikit and I hope Allah tempatkan rohnya di syurga firdaus.He died of cancer in March this year at a very young age.

I'm tired, folks.I told my Dean I wanted to go on my sabbatical.I need to be surrounded by a new environment, learn new things, write and just take life a step at a time.Entah ngapa tahun ni busy giler towards the end.Looking at the schedule for next year, I don't think it's going to be any better.May Allah help me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Post sidang kemuncak

Most of us were put on the last flight to KL.Nak masuk 10 pm..delayed cos' of heavy rain and lightning segala.Turbulence terok juga for a part of the journey.I had made another interesting friend so sitting next to her kept me occupied from fear of dilambung2.

My paper went well alhamdulillah..sharing it with Azhar from Spore (we often meet at conferences aje.He said next time he'd invite me over to give a talk in Spore pulak).Dia pun provocative so session kita menjadi agak tegang on the mafia and crony culture in the book industry.Dato Kemala said dia pun mangsa (you could hear a pin drop if you were there!). Sebelum tu another older writer took issue with factor jgn sombong which was quoted from my interview with Dipika..dah habis pulak editor kena seret dan dicabar.Pas tu another older writer picked on who's job to promote their work yada yada.All were valid enquiries and comments and I'm glad things were brought out in the open.The GM of ITBM who moderated the session said it was a lovely session and he enjoyed it.Prof. Muhd Haji Salleh pun told me the same thing.The ladies continued to talk about it as we waited for our plane home.Tengok2 tengah menceritakan hal, terperasan org yg kita tengah ceritakan itu ada di hadapan kami.Kantoi! :))

I was mesmerised by performances by Khaled Salleh, Agi, Lim Swee Tin, Dato Zurinah Hassan last night at the baca puisi.Power giler betul dia org ni.

I took a cab with Hafizah to Pekan Rabu to buy stuffs.Masa balik kita pulak tunjuk jln to the taxi driver pakai my waze cos' he didn't know the way to the golf resort.Nak tergelak betul org Kedah ni.

At the airport, had dinner with Tim's brother - Prof Zaki Abu Bakar and with my new gf writers.Dia ni kelakar mcm Tim juga and kita dok bincang pasai cerita Luncai in Zurinah's poetry.Zaki said he knew why isteri Luncai killed him but bila disuruh cerita, he said tak ingat la pulak.Kah kah.Swee Tin said he and Zurinah had a book together on cerita2 rakyat.I nak carilah buku tu.Zaki's book pun I nak cari.Sci-fi.Gamaknya beria la dia mengarut cerita. :D

I love being with all these writers...they are so, so inspiring and so, so talented!
On the train I bumped into two young ladies.I tanya balik dari mana? They said balik dari panjat Mt Kinabalu..naik sampai ke puncak (all 8 gals).Depa kerja clerk.Wow! Impressip! They showed me views semasa their climb up.I feel so beruntung menikmati kecantikan Mt Kinabalu without climbing it! Cantik sungguh okid2 hutan tu semua.

Zainal Abbas (Abg Chik of Abg Chik and Kak Yong, radio RTM)
He has a poetry book on Hang Tuah (which he gave me a copy)

Abdul Ghaffar Ibrahim (AGI) yang tak makan dek usia
(his performance pimpinlah kami sungguh clever...pimpinlah 
kami oh pemimpin ke arah kesenangan..)

Ladin Nuawi, another poet/artist
Assoc Prof Dr Lim Swee Tin
Dato' Dr Zurinah Hassan on si Luncai piece
Ku Seman Ku Hussein
Bakal sasterawanita pertama?
Pekan Rabu
Khalayak at our session
Tan Sri Zul pun ada
Session by the national laureates
Anak muda bermain api

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sidang kemuncak Jitra

It's such a joy to be amidst 250 writers from all over Malaysia.I met old and made new friends as well.Prof Kamal was the keynote speaker.We were in the same flight from Subang to Jitra and missed the people who were supposed to pick us up so when he got the cab,I pun nompang sekaki.:)) Imagine the horror look on Melissa when she saw Prof Kamal turun taxi burok ni (the driver tak perasan who Prof Kamal was and when they spoke on aruah Ismail Hussein's passing,pakcik driver tu said yang cacat tu kaa?).Prof Kamal said dia tak cacat..yg dia tahu cermin matanya tebal sedikit.I kat belakang tu puas nak tahan ketawa besar saya.Haram sepatah saya tak menyampuk mereka berbual.

I must share another joke told by the UUM gal who sat next to me.We were talking about air turbulence.The gal said pernah dia naik Air Asia kena hit dgn air turbulence caused by heavy rain dah haru biru then made worse by this lady screaming at the back sebab air menitik dari luggage compartment...semua panik takut plane bocor.Air stewardess tu dgn gagah berani buka compartment kat atas tu....rupa2nya air dari botol mineral terbocor.Gal and I had a good laugh over the story.

Sidang dirasmikan oleh YB Menteri Besar Kedah.Seemingly gracious young man.They had a Mek Mulung art which is 400 years.In the past main jin.Now, nmpk mcm neutralised.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deepavali 2014

We visited more open houses this year.Our usual one with Dato M was a quick one since I had to do some baju fittings before going to two other open houses.

Nik was so at home at the first open house.Sorang, sorang guest came to greet and tease him.I said like big brother and small brother ya ane? Yup, this group is always fun and relaxed.Tosay juga sedap. This year ada kacang kuda rebus with spices.Double take woh.

The second stop was also very welcoming.A grad of Harvard who had just finished a 6-year stint in Delhi after 4 years in California. Young couple with two beautiful kids.We had a nice chat with the graceful host and hostess.Their guests pun jenis hi, hi-ing semua orang.How un-Malaysian (kita kan sombong? We will only say hi to those we know). Very often I had to look behind me to check if someone unknown was saying hi to me or the person behind me.Very da tenat!

Third home dah terlalu full but we had bryani and mutton anyway (Muslim maid with halal certification.:)) ) Sedap betul maid dia masak (resipi Chef Wan). We had this muruku yg lembut cos' now trending muruku letak butter.

Bila lagi ada perayaan yg makan2 mcm ni? ;)

Dr. Iman

Di keheningan malam di celah dentuman bunga api Deepavali (mcm raya Cina rasanya), I reflect on my chance meeting with Dr. Iman (not her real name) today.I had never seen her before but she had been here since the 90s.She took 2 years off on medical grounds.The busy body me asked sakit apa.I wish I had not asked.

She told me she was in coma and hospitalised over a long period.I asked again, you terjatuh ke? She said her former husband abused her.Over 19 years.That year, his blows were so horrible, she bled inside her brain.Went into a coma.When she finally woke up, her docs told her she would not have much time to live if she refused brain surgery to address the blood clot in her brain.She refused the surgery.Read the Quran daily (with meanings) and solat tahajud at 3 am every day.Her kids got abused too by the former husband when they were with him so she had court order to get her kids back.She filed for divorce ( her doc had advised her she could not stay with the manic man since his violence had extended to the children). The court made it easy for her to divorce.She completed her PhD while she was in the arm in sling.After a few months, the docs wanted to scan her head again to check on her blood clot.It's gone.Docs semua tak percaya.Others would have been dead, they told her. It was her submission to the will of Allah, her tahajuds and her Quran readings.

No one would have guessed she was a victim of domestic violence.There was no sign on her except nur Islam on her face.I had an urge to hug her out of humility...that I met her and got Allah's message..go do your tahajud and read your Quran.MasyaAllah.Mercy!

So we left saying pls keep in touch with one another.She had remarried (to a very loving and supportive husband). She said if you kept your prayers, your zikir, Allah would place everything in order for you.

I believe.I believe her.

Monday, October 20, 2014

When you over-commit..

..inilah padahnya.Pukul 2 pagi baru boleh tidur!

But alhamdulillah, berjaya juga menyiapkan paper yang diharapkan penutup tirai 2014.Macam marathon wei bulan October ini.Well, 2014 actually. But as the slogan goes: to have an employment is better than not having any.Bersyukurlah Malaysia masih aman. :D


It's an international conference on creativity and innovation.90% came from Middle East.English papersnya sedikit maka English-speaking audience lagi lah sikit.Buat penat I tidur pukul 2 am je.Cheh.My audience ada tiga orang je: two fellow presenters and one moderator.Macam main makcik2 je but we decided to have conversations with each other after our 15 mins presentation.Time I nak stop, my audience said pls continue cos' I was on an interesting topic...ahaks! My fellow speakers and moderator were seasoned academics..Dr. Norzalifa spoke on her green mosque project (the first in Msia, second in Southeast Asia) located in Ara Damansara.Nanti I nak pi solat situ rasa masjid tanpa air-con and airnya naturally recycled from air hujan.Barang2 semua environment friendly.Dr Norzalifa promises to work on saving our campus river.Rasa boleh jadi bff dgn dia nih. :))

The other academic is from Syria.Dia ambik video I on Tony's on youtube anyway.Tony has this nice English voice.Suka dengarnya.

Meanwhile my Rector shared a story told to her by this Harvard Prof at INTAN baru2 ni on the need to change to survive.Another eagle story but I like this better than the one with the ducks.

This Harvard Prof said kita mesti jadi mcm eagle which can live up to 70 years old but by 40, it will die if it does not change cos' its beak would have gone crooked (so it can't eat properly) and other parts pun mula melendut.What it does is it will knock its beak against a rock and break it.A new beak will grow.Once grown, it will pluck all its old feathers to make way to new ones and then mcm diberi nafas baru, it can soar high and start a new life.

Wah...I need to break my beak! I'm past 40. haha.

Byk lagilah cerita innovation and creativity yang lain but cerita hanjing juga baguz.I had a conversation in whatsapp with one of my ustaz friends.I said I find it odd ada org beria2 nak ajar pasal Islam through I wanna touch dogs campaign.Kot kempen for cats ada juga faedahnya since Rasulullah suka cats and also byk cats mati kena siksa (depa letak dlm botol idup2 lah..bakar idup2 la etc).I said esok if my cucu nak hanjing as pet, who do I blame? Sensational campaign aku cinta hanjing? He said ajar le anak cucu Islamic Education..jgn ikut kejahilan ibubapa (I ke tu? Ahaks). Another ustaz friend mencelah Islamic Education Not dog education.:)) Sapa la pulak kata tak boleh sentuh hanjing (kering).Yang kita bantah featuring Muslim bertudung pegang hanjing..cari le juga yang berpakaian yenki dan tak bertudung.Nak mendidik ke nak apa ni? Nak tunjuk Islam tu terbuka? Byk cara lain.But tak pyh la nak nunjuk2 sebenarnya.If it's good habit, org akan tau juga.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anak-anak Pakcik Isa

Although caught in a two - hour jam, I sempat juga menjengah anak-anak Pakcik Isa di UM.Jumpa Isham and Aslam.UM sekarang baguz....VC dia kasi forum on ISA on - with two former ISA detainees : Senator Syed Husin Ali and Kua Kia Soong.They signed my books.:)

There were other former ISA detainees in the audience...ada yg dapat 15 years.Kua said there would always be a quota for every race..Melayu mesti ada, Cina dan India kasi balance.This was confirmed by Syed Husin.After two years detained under ISA, he was asked to name an Indian chap sebab masa tu takda tahanan bangsa India.Syed said no way he would name anyone..he would not know what this Indian friend of his was doing after 2 years' gap.He said kalau polis nak tangkap, tangkap je lah without asking him to name anyone.Tangkap kena ada charge, kan? Kelakar juga cerita mrk ni.Can't wait to read their books.

Someone asked tidakkah mereka sesal? Berbaloikah? Msia berubahkah? I like their answers (pejuang tidak pernah menyesal..ini bezanya kita dan mereka).Kata Syed Husin jika tidak kerana pejuang2 sebelum ini, Msia tidak akan ada a strong opposition like now (well...PR is a new party..takkan nak terus jadi stable mcm parti2 tua yg lain, kan? Yang tua tu pun dah nak tersungkur).You guys should read AI punya kupasan budget 2014.

Gambar-gambar di sini:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Anak yang berkat

I was on duty at the 4th session of IIUM's 30th convo.It's been ages since I joined the convo procession but it's quite fun meeting other colleagues looking good in their academic robes.

We were so touched by the speech given by a student rep (from my Dept)..not only was she so articulate in her language and thought, she could also speak Arabic fluently and so humble.Her mom died when she was small and nampak on the big screen her dad and grandma menyapu air mata as she mentioned her mom.I pun dah bercucuran airmata on stage dah.Selalu la tak bawak tissue.Cheh.

Her father nampak mcm orang biasa-biasa aja..jenis mcm educated PAS supporter..cultured and yet warak.I thought patutlah berkat hidup dia..ada anak yang cerdik, alim, bersopan santun...cantik.I wish them well.But the lesson to take home is always this: our children are who we are. Kalau nak hidup mereka diberkati, ibubapa sendiri mesti mendapat berkat Allah Taala.

A reminder for myself.

 antara species yang hampir pupus di university...

 very few male graduands

 proud moment for parents and graduands
(over 1000 graduands at this 4th session)

 from where I was sitting

 English undergraduate (haha)
Prof Moten

Laksa Johor after the convo

October minggu ini

As the earth spins quicker than its usual rate 50 years or so ago, so does time.Byk sgt benda mengarut lately.Paling mengarut budget 2014. Not only that, segala benda nak kasi org putih pegang.I hv ntg against org putih but when it comes to national security, national integrity, this is where I draw the line between embracing globalisation and broad daylight imperialism/modern day colonisation.Walaupun byk benda I tak setuju with Tun Mahathir, his effort to bring us out of our colonised minds is stg I treasure and respect.Penat je dia menghabiskan duit kita buat twin towers, airport yg besar, itu ini...agar we take pride in ourselves..we can rule, we can manage our own affairs..aleh2 pemimpin2 silver spoons ni (termasuk la KJ tu) senang2 je nak serah itu ini to org luar.Org kita ada, buat mcm kucing kurap (dah Spore dah ambik) etc etc.

Anyway, while lots are being sold off, life continues till they get us...
My students at the prison are picking up well their writing class. Terang hati betul mereka ni. But Hanif Kureishi thinks teaching creative writing is a waste of can teach the craft but not everyone can write a story.I'd say give everyone a fair share of learning.We'll judge later.What is a great story anyway.Methinks writers need great editors and great marketeers.

I organised a surprise bday party for Nik at 10 pm semlm with my in laws. Nadra and Nazeer could not come cos' Nadra meragam but the rest came.Kak Mutik and hubby and Kak Yah pun dtg.Nik betul2 terkejut..balik penat on a Budget Day (on standby nak jwb reporters with his ceo)... balik he was given mee tok wan aje for dinner (tulang daging korban) then we brought him his cake.Sebelum tu suami Kak Mutik masuk2 je dah ckp happy bday.I had to mouth him no don't say anything.Haha.Almost rosak.

Topic of the day was Kak Yah (who has been living with the family for the last 37 years or so.Kak Yah is my father in law's niece but she has stunted growth and came to live with the uncle to help out with the household since she was 17). She took care of not only Faisal and Lina but their kids, mine (when we were in between maids) and Rose's kids (on and off).So she's really close to everyone.And she sees Mama's home as her home too.Baru2 ni she fell down.Pi chk takda apa but she mcm kemamar.She went bck to Kelantan for raya haji and got worsened.Tak ingat adik beradik sendiri.So her younger sister,Mutik said they would look after her now and tak pyh balik KL lagi.

But semlm Kak Mutik sent her back cos' Kak Yah homesick (dia dah tak boleh sesuaikan diri di Kelantan.Her home is here).Nik and siblings ckp we'll take care of her..chipping in to pay for her hospital bills etc.We owe her that much.Semoga Allah berkati Kak Yah dan ingatannya pulih semula.The funny thing is she tak ingat her siblings but bila tanya ni siapa of Nik, she quickly answered Nikky Dee (Nik's fun name at home).Ros jadi Nikky Ros (now...that is new).Kesian Kak Yah.

The story of one of my neighbours continues.Another kes kesian.Bibik suspects she's the second wife yg telah diceraikan without proper sadlah.How can any man jadi begini irresponsible? I think her sanity is slowly slipping away but she won't talk to anyone (except my maid cos' my maid ni nosy sikit..suka tanya itu ini).She said she's related to all the sultans in Johor,Melaka, Maluku, Borneo.And yet the house owner said she had not paid her rent for 3 months.My point of sharing the story with you is this: how can we assist? Whenever we could, we'd give the kids whatever food we can..lebih2 pun takut kena sergah...maklum kerabat, kan? We don't know how to handle this really.Dulu I thought kalu nak sombong (Bibik said she said she didn't want to mingle with org biasa cos dia dari keturunan bangsawan) two can do it...but after hearing stories frm Bibik,I think she needs all the support she can.If I can't be nice,I must not be mean to her.Masa Bibik agih2kan daging korban terlebih dulu, she was so grateful kata Bibik.She said her kids kata sedap
daging tu...ada lagi ke.Kesiannya...I wish there is a centre to assist women in her position.

Hai folks, dugaan saya sgt besar...silap langkah..besar durhakanya kpd Allah dan sesama manusia.
Let's see happier moments: today Nik and I lunching at Westin (Z's bday gift for her dad...booked online all the way from Sheffield.How sweet, kan? Alhamdulillahlah)