Archive for the ‘My Journey’ Category

KLIBF 2010

I lost again.


Despite my earlier vow that I would reduce reading non-academic books until I complete my PhD + reduce my expenses on books, the temptation was just too strong.


I spent three hours at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair last Friday, after attending a seminar at UIA.


It was the first day of the book fair + it was school holidays so the place was extremely packed.


I don’t even want to calculate how much I spent, but I know I bought 26 titles + a few more for the kids.


Should I just leave them on the shelf?


Beli tapi tak baca, boleh ke? Well, at least I can claim tax relief for this year.


Anyway, congratulations to my cousin Nabil, who recently got married – semoga kekal hingga ke syurga.


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I came across this paragraph last night:


Generally speaking, part-time students take nearly twice as long to complete their PhDs… I think the attrition rate of part-time students is higher… can be easily distracted from their PhDs due to the demands of their jobs or simply boredom… A PhD requires a lot of thought and reflection.


(on page 31 in PhD: The Pursuit of Excellence by Dr. Kamarul Zaman bin Ahmad, 2007)


Easily distracted?


Spot on.


Not only by the demands of my job, but my entire life.


I need time to focus and think. I wish I could just go off for a few weeks to really concentrate.


It is hard to motivate yourself especially when your daughters say, “Mak ni, tak habis-habis membaca. Bukan nak main dengan kami.”


1.5 hours every morning is definitely insufficient. You read a journal article and when something is just about to come out from your head, it is time to wake the kids up for school. Most of the time, I read and read and nothing comes out at all!


Ya Allah, help me persevere.

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I am struggling to finish this book. No doubt, the topic is very interesting + it relates to my research area + the author is the guru of organizational culture + my supervisor has reminded me to finish this by end of this month. And yes, I can read through the pages quite quickly. The problem is; I have another 164 pages to digest AND get something out of it for my PhD.

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I – The End 

Last Monday was my last official class at UIA. It was quite disastrous actually, having to present part of your proposal to your own supervisor. He wasn’t utterly happy with what I have done and believed that I should have done much more. And yes, maybe I have not done enough. But I wish he wasn’t so discouraging. His expectations from Day 1 have been very high, and he believes that doing it part-time should not be an excuse for one to lag in their research work.


As much as I am glad that I don’t have to travel weekly (and at night) to and from UIA, I am terrified of my days to come. The journey is definitely going to be more taxing, but I guess it is all part of the learning process. Surprisingly, that ‘discouraging’ effect I felt on Monday turned 360 degrees the next day. I even made a vow to read nothing else other than academic materials (but I am not too sure if I can cope though).


Anyway, I will see how it goes. My next appointment to see my supervisor is at the end of November, so I have a lot to do before that.


II – Totebags


Sometime back, while I was bloghopping, I came across three bloggers who sell homemade totebags.


And I fell in love with those bags that I decided to purchase them.


I ordered 1 from Ayu, another one from Tika, and two from As (she even gave me two free gifts.. thanks!).






III – Pak Ungku


Yesterday, we had YM Royal Professor Ungku Aziz giving the Merdeka Award Lecture (part of a series) on Real Poverty at the university.


I was there to witness one of the greatest academicians in Malaysia delivering his thought-provoking ideas on what actually is poverty.


He started off by saying we should always be precise with time (I guess it was also because we started quite late!). And he then quoted Confucius who said that we should call things by their proper name, otherwise, we would mislead people, i.e. we should call a spade a spade. Anyway, he advised us to read two important books – the Malay Dilemma and the Chinese Dilemma because they both deal with the issue of assets and wealth distribution amongst the two races in Malaysia.


With regards to poverty, he explains that the more commonly used term for ‘kemiskinan tegar’ is hardcore poverty but to him, hardcore means one is being obstinate. Degil and nak jadi miskin. The thing is, these people do not choose to be poor, but the circumstances have forced them to live in a state which is unacceptable now, considering the development that Malaysia has achieved. Thus, the term Real Poverty or Extreme Poverty is used (i.e. we should call a spade, a spade). This is, to him, another dilemma that we are facing in Malaysia.


He then elaborated that the Real Poverty Group of people are deprived of five important aspects in life, namely health, habitation, education, traveling and sports. And he suggested that these people suffer from real poverty because of low productivity, exploitation and neglect. He strongly believes that if we want to get rid of real poverty, we should change the system completely, especially on getting rid of corruption and cronyism  


There was one thing I disagreed with him, i.e. on the hijab restricting women to be more active and free. But that is something I don’t want to comment, considering his well-known secular background.


Regardless, it was an extremely enlightening session.


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Islamization of Knowledge

We had an interesting discussion in class last Saturday.


The topic was generally on the concept of marketing from the Islamic perspective, which is very new to me. We discussed about ethics in conducting international marketing, what Islam thinks about marketing, what is ‘halal’ technology and a few other really interesting topics. For example, the concept of ikrah which essentially means that in marketing, there should not be any coercion or force, thus making consent very important.


Sometime back, we learnt about leadership and compared the conventional from the Islamic perspective and taking examples of our dear Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Allah has said that each and everyone of us is a ‘shepherd’ of a flock and thus occupies a position in leadership, and we are all leaders in our own ways. Leadership is an amanah, and we should have patience (sabr), eloquence (fasah), creativity (iqdam), leniency (lin) and justice (adil) in performing our duties.


For every conventional management principle, there is always an Islamic perspective to it.


Truth is, this is what I have been looking for all my life. Everything that I have studied before during my undergraduate and postgraduate years evolved around general principles that have been developed according to the Western perspective. At UIA, it is all about Islamization of knowledge – well, at least at my Kulliyah – such that it excites everyone to think that way. In fact, just recently, the Kulliyah invited a speaker to talk about the Islamization of Knowledge, which I had to miss since I had to work. (That reminds me… I should get a copy of his presentation slides).


I pray that all that I have learnt will bring me closer to my Creator, Amin.


Afterall, everything IS in His hands anyway…

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The bus ride from Ipoh to KL on Saturday morning was much quicker than I had expected.


Only 1 hour and 52 minutes from Simpang Pulai toll to KL Sentral. There were no stops. And as usual, I would have to perform my Subuh prayers on the bus. I do that also when I travel on the train which leaves Ipoh at 4.35 in the morning. Once in a while, I do wonder why buses don’t stop for Subuh prayers (train tu lain lah cerita), even if you ask them to. The drivers will provide you with so many reasons: tak sempat, nak kejar traffic jam… Nasib baik I have never come across a driver who says, “Oh, I jamak aje bila sampai KL nanti”. Memang nak kena belasah!


It is quite funny when you think about it. Non-Muslims are more tolerant compared to the Muslims with regards to religious practices. I used to travel a lot while studying in Australia, and the bus driver would stop if you tell them that you need to pray.


There was this incident that I still remember while traveling first time from Melbourne to Brisbane. It was time for Maghrib prayers, so my friends and I prepared ourselves to perform solat jamak on the bus. We did not realize that there was another Muslim brother on the bus. This brother went up to the driver and told him to stop for 10 minutes so that he can perform his solat. The bus driver did. So the brother went down the bus, spread a piece of cloth by the roadside, and performed his Maghrib – Isya jama’ while the rest of the passengers, including us, watched. I think my friend and I were too amazed at the sight of the brother performing his prayers that we forgot that we could have also done the same! We ended up praying on the bus!


Anyway, thanks to the very efficient bus driver that drove us from Ipoh to KL. I reached UIA at 8.30 in the morning, one hour before my class.


Meanwhile, Perak is on holiday today for Nuzul Quran. So, I am staying home, trying to spend some time doing more reading and completing my assignments.


May we always be reminded of this ayat, and may we always bring ourselves closer to Him.



We (Allah) send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a Mercy to those who believe: to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss. (Al Isra: 82)

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The journey to nowhere

Someone asked me this morning, “How is your PhD getting on?”


Aduh lah… That is a very difficult question to answer my dear friend. I said to her, “Well, very extremely slowly.”


I am already completing my third semester. In fact, I have only 5 more sessions to attend… because fourteen weeks is not very long. I have to write five analytical papers for the current subject. Sounds horrific, but I am trying to tailor most of it to my research topic. I hope I can use most or at least some of it for my research topic later, insya Allah.


But then, as much as I try to concentrate on this subject that I am doing (it is called Seminar in Contemporary Issues in Management by the way), I still worry about my thesis. That thesis, the final hardbound book will actually determine whether or not I deserve the degree that I long for so much.


And I am still trying to search for the road that leads to the end of the tunnel.


Yes, I have been doing a lot reading for the past 1.5 years (that is what everyone tells me to do… read, read and read). Although I wake up very early in the morning just to read one or two articles, that time is still very limited. The conceptual framework for my research is maybe 20% ready… I still have a long way to go, seriously. Nak jumpa supervisor pun takut, takut if I don’t meet his expectations!


I need to really sit down for a few days or even weeks and maybe months, uninterrupted, to get things in perspective, which seems impossible at the moment.

Aduh lah… jauh lagi perjalanan ini! It is like a journey… to nowhere!

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