Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ammar is 5

On the 6th November, the day of the eid, we also celebrated Ammar's birthday which is actually on the 7 November, or better remembered as seven eleven. He will be in preparatory grade by the next year schooling terms. Since we came back from the home country last September, we didn't send him back to his kinder. We feel that he is not ready for the school. We also could not really deal with the class timing, which really affects our schedule.

He attended his orientation sessions three times in his coming school and to our surprise he seemed happy and eager to wait for the school to start.

He could write his own name, even though he could not really know alphabets, which he hates, I think.. But he is good at numbers. He could count up to 50 in English and could do simple summation. The teachers at the school assured us that that is good enough for him to start schooling. "The rest leave to us", the principal said.

Happy birthday, our dear Ammar.

Baby Ammar

Eidul Adha

Eidul Adha, Jack Roper Reserve
Broadmeadows, Victoria
6 November 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Second birthday

Our little Ainaa has reached 2 last August. We had a small celebration at her grandma's house together with her cousins, just the night before Eid. So this is an outdated post.. huh.

How fast time flies. Only a little baby before and now is a toddler - an insisting and persistent 2 years old. Just like her brothers at this age 2-4 year, you'll have to be very patient to wait the phase passed - they want people to follow her and not otherwise. 

She could walk before her first birthday. She could talk clearly at early second year of her life. Many would ask how old is she when listening to her talking.

With 2 brothers, she would choose cars and lorries for toys rather than a doll. She understands simple disciplne - like throwing rubbish in the bin and not anywhere. She could be depended on to put away her toys. But that depends on her mood too.

She, I notice, know how to make people adoring her. You will laugh just hearing her laughing. If the daddy ask, whose daughter is she, she would say, "anak bapak!" (daddy's daughter) with childish high tone, and change the answer if I asked the question. She said: "anak emak!" (mommy's daugther).  

Monday, October 24, 2011

The aim: Less meat

I know that there are regular readers of this blog, but I couldn't really catch up with time for this at present ..

Just one thing to jot down - I like to pen down the first-time-for-me things! Not extraordinary for some or many, but just new way of thing.

This just related to our diet. The aim for both of us is to lessen meat intake. We plan to have no meat for a day in a week - as a start. Maybe more days later - see how  it goes. So for beginning, we chose  Friday as our no-meat day.

We  have started last week - the menu was sweet corn rice and lentil curry. We've never taken lentil before. We found that it is good. The kids however do not really appreciate the taste.  But sweet corn rice is good enough. I need to find more recipes for this - which must be simple and easy for both of us to prepare.

The reason? One is for a good diet  - thanx Dr Lim Hin Fui for making us realize about how important it is to take care about our food. I feel that we take too much meat in our diet that may be harmful. Two, I feel that we should also  play a role to lessen demand from commercial poultry. It must be Mr Daddy's thing - being an advocate for animal welfare, I feel. When he showed me videos about factory farming, I do feel that we have to do something too.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The budget 2012 and children education

The only thing that I would like to highlight from the home country budget for this year, is education - for obvious reasons; first: we are parents, second: we do feel that more should be done for the education system in the country, and third: it is an undeniable fact that present generations are the future of the country.

The following is the excerpt from the budget:


Total allocation: RM50.2 billion- First time in history, all primary and secondaryschool fees to be abolished, beginning 2012 school term. Cost to government: RM150 million.

- RM1.9 billion for all schools, including mission and vernacular schools.

- RM1 billion for betterment of schools premises (RM500 million for SRK, RM100 million for SRJK (Chinese), RM100 mil SRJK (Tamil), RM10 million for mission schools, RM100 million for Sekolah Agama Bantuan, RM100 million to MRSM - Mara secondary schools)."

We hope from part of the 50 billions, more schools would be built. At present, many classes in schools consist more than 30 pupils and some could be up to more than 40. How could the teachers focus to improve the skills of the children with the numbers. It is not necessary for the school buildings to be too beautiful  - at present with the finite resources, we need quantity more than beauty.  

We also hope that the current ongoing process of reviewing the school curriculum will fit the need of the students. Too much subjects as we have at present may not achieve the objectives expected. Focus for basic, creativity and learning enthusiasm - it will lead to other knowledge enhancement.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Minimum wage soon

Minimum wage soon

This is a long awaited move which is in dire need in the country especially for those working at low level of the rung at remote areas.

I do not have any clue about how much are the salaries generally paid now.

But in 2001, the clerks working for a law firm in a small town in the east Peninsula were only paid not more than RM500.00. One who at that time had worked for more than 3 years only received RM300. When I worked while waiting for my SPM result in 1997, I met with a single woman with 8 children working in a sawmill was only paid RM8.00 per day. I wonder how could she gave her children enough food whereas a meal for lunch needs about RM3.50 for a person. I myself was paid RM300. I have also experience being paid for RM200 and RM300 respectively for one month work at different factories of 8 hours per day including Saturday respectively in 1994 and 1999. I started my career as a litigation lawyer with only RM1700 in the city center of Kuala Lumpur in 2002.

This might be outdated at present, but it seems things do not really change for the people at present.

With the prices in almost all basic as well as luxury items are on the steep rise, the passing of the law which addresses the interests of everyone is highly necessary.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Greater protection for animals

Just to share the thought and the cause:

Greater protection for animals

Wednesday September 28, 2011

THE announcement by Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin of the new Animal Welfare Act will mark the next phase of the law relating to animals in Malaysia.

Now is the right time to replace the old Animals Act 1953 that animal welfare groups regard as having no bite to curb animal abuse. The new Act hopefully will accord greater protection to animals in Malaysia.

There is a need for stronger laws to assure the well-being of animals and reduce their suffering.

The obligation of humans and owners in ensuring the welfare of animals is not merely providing food and water. It needs to be extended to providing adequate shelter, protection from – and treatment of – injury and disease, and proper handling.

In the coming Act, I would suggest the Department of Veterinary Services consider three important keys with regard to animal welfare issues: obligation of people towards animals, codes of welfare to establish the minimum standard, and regulations to monitor the use of animals in many aspects of life like food, entertainment and research.

I would also suggest the department consider a moderate model in preparing the provisions for the new Animal Welfare Act.

The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, Universal Declaration on Animal Rights, the UK Animal Welfare Act 2006 and New Zealand Animal Welfare Act 1999 can be possible references.

The most important consideration is for the new Act to have the best interest of animals at heart, and at the same time suit the local circumstances.

There should be no further delay in tabling this new Act in Parliament.

Delays will affect access to justice, and justice delayed is justice delayed. Animals also have the right to be treated and respected accordingly in the Malaysian legal system.

Melbourne, Australia.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back to Melbourne

We were back in Melbourne in the past few days. We were grateful that my mom was very helpful in assisting us to clean the house that we left. Thank you to all the families accompanying us to the airport. Our parents came all the way from Kedah. It is indeed a show of support for us and prayer from them for us to complete this mission.

Busy with packing and unpacking businesses these weeks whilst struggling with the jet-lags and change of time, minds somehow were always grumbling with the unfinished business - our research! We took longer than expected in our timeline, but taking the positive side - another step has finished. We attempted to finish our transcribing works before departing, but still they were half way done at present. 

A respected Professor in the National University Malaysia, the last interviewee that we both met just a few days before our departure - gave us an inspiring words that are worth sharing: "Enjoy writing and finish your theses. They are not going to be the last words you are going to say, but the most important thing is to complete your theses first." 

The kids are coping very well. Only me caught cold since in the flight and now, Alhamdulillah, got rid of it.

The house is very good - except the bushes in the backyard blossom. Some 'things' inside the house grow especially the kitchen utensils left by those in transit in the house before going back to the home country for good. Any newcomers in need of these things may come in contact with me.

Spring is in the beginning. Flowers come into bloom. Lavender in front of the house is in full blossom. We find a white tulip or a kind of it in the backyard among the bushes that we have never seen before. The weather is fine. The sky is blue. Spring is the most beautiful time of the year.

This afternoon, we had the opportunity to join Eid gathering in Jack Roper Reserve for Malaysian students around the northern part of the city and those from Bundoora too. We also had an Eid visit to Idah's house. Catching up with friends once in a while, what more in a celebration like this, is a refreshing and recharging occasion.

The next important things to do are to do report for the earlier phase, to finish transcribing, and to write.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Beautiful 'Eid

We celebrated Eid ul Fitri on 30 August 2011. Eid ul Fitri is a festival for all Muslims celebrated on the 1st Syawal ie which marks the end of Ramadhan - the month in which all Muslims are required to fast. This is also regarded as the day of victory for the ability to fulfill the obligation of fasting, the health and strength  to face challenges and other good deeds recommended to be done during the holy month of Ramadhan. In short it is a big day for all Muslims. It has been a tradition to gather with families and to visit relatives and friends during the day and for the whole month too.   

Indeed it was beautiful eid for us. There are so many reasons for this. First, we went back to our hometown to celebrate the eid with our family of my side after two eid without the company of them. We will be going back to visit our family in Kedah a week after which is also to attend the wedding of my sister-in-law. 

Second, all of my siblings gathered in my mom's house during the eid which I think the first time that we were able to get together after many years. The great children of my parents now reach the number of 10 making the small house was just like a shipwreck..

And last which is the landmark for the memory of this year's eid is the gathering of all members of a big family of our great great grandfather, Hj Mat Said Hj Dollah - the first time occasion in the history of our family. The move towards the organisation of the gathering started with a conversation in a page in the Facebook which led then to this joyful event. We were blessed with the crowd that turned out in the house of Ecik Atan and Makcik Kama, a relative, in Kampung Luit, from the oldest that live at present, Tokki Mat Arif to the youngest great great grandchildren. Almost all members in family were present except  a few in this wonderful occasion. Many hope that this gathering could be held again in future and become bi- or annual event for the family.

Eid Mubarak to all. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

End of Ramadhan

It has been almost at the end in the line for Ramadhan  - if it could be imagined as a horizontal line in our life. Time flies fast, Ramadhan is due to meet Syawal within days. The start of Ramadhan was also actually the end of the timeline that we planned initially to finish our fieldwork so that we may concentrate on library visits for the continuing literature review. But by the start of the month, for my case, there were about 7 peoples left out in the categories that I classified as harder to reach. Nevertheless we both finally have managed to complete the work by today, which is virtually the last working day for Ramadhan by covering all of the categories in the target.

As to the prospect to win cooperation of people in different categories involved in the research, I could safely say at this point that the assumption that people in the country are not really helpful with research, may be rebutted. I started with the snowball strategy in contacting the prospective participants, beginning with an acquaintance and my former lecturer. They led to other contacts. It also led to another.

But in most situations, mainly due to diverse range of categories of people that the research involved,  snowball strategy only could not help. The reason is people normally would lead contact of others in the same category. Therefore, we also made efforts to contact people with contact information that we found in various media. Out of four communications sent out either through e-mail or snail mail, I could say that one would respond either agreeing to meet or lead to another contact. They were many we found were really helpful to others who they do not even know or ever meet. This always works with the categories of people that I feel the hardest to reach.

In case of public officials, approval of the gatekeepers is a crucial step to go through. There were some sectors which are welcoming with research effort of this kind. But there were many others who were not responsive despite several follow up calls.  

It was indeed not all in the upper position of the ball. There were people who agreed to meet but then kept silent when contacted for appointment. There was one who had also expressed his agreement but then fell ill that he could not fulfill the appointment fixed. There was also a person who was unable to meet at the specified time and date - the fact that I knew only after hours of driving from home.

Some were suspicious about who we really are, or whether we may have hidden agenda. In the course of the work, we also stepped into places deemed for some to be unacceptable to be. We were also affected with an inter-religious issue which even by mere presence in the place itself carries risk of prosecution.

But this, I believe, are matters that are unavoidable in research life especially during the fieldwork involving the kind of issues such as ours. 

Ainaa, lately, also fell ill almost every alternate week, she was always down with fever and cold. At present, she is recovering from mumps - rare to be found now, but she was inflicted with this viral infection. It is unavoidable to think that the stress of our research must be part of the contributing factors. Being in the child care center is also a factor apart from the hazy and dusty environment of the industrial area. She must be hyper sensitive to the allergy triggers. 

The phase indeed opens up a new horizon, not only to our research, but to our life and view about the world. For both of us, brought up within the same circle of people throughout our life, this work is a real eye opener - or a turn to choose in a junction ahead - about the reality on the ground, about our relation with others, about how we are perceived by others, about so many things that we either refuse or fail to aware - that really challenged our earlier perceptions, convictions and belief about life.

Ramadhan wal Eid ul Mubarak.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The work

Last week we went to Sg Tua, Selayang. It was a long journey of 70 km taking almost 3 hours drive due to traffic jam. It was raining in the morning. The temperature meter in Jalan Istana junction showed that it was 23 degree Celsius at 9.30 am - a once in a while occasion for Kuala Lumpur city. The news in the radio said that a bad traffic accident  was the cause of the obstruction. But when we drove through Jalan Istana, there was nothing seen. Perhaps the vehicle involved was already removed.

In Sg Tua we attended a national inquiry session held by Suhakam. It was a part of the research work that we are undertaking currently. The inquiry was held to investigate the problem relating to land right issues among the indigenous peoples of the country. It was a good experience seeing people from various sections in the society who are directly involved in the issue. Seeing people who are active and committed in promoting for their cause that they believe in and striving for was really inspiring. We really hope to see in our lifetime the fruits to their efforts.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Thanx James for the tips - a real reminder for us:
  1. Don’t wait for the one big research idea. Try something out. The best ideas evolve out of failed ones.
  2. Eat well, get enough sleep.
  3. The internet doesn’t count as a break. Get away from the desk.
  4. You have a life outside the lab or library. Decide what’s important to you and make time for it.
  5. Decide what you’re going to work on before you turn on the computer.
  6. Be interested in other people’s work
  7. Get to know the people who can make things happen.
  8. You’ll probably get most of your results near the end, because you’ll be better at what you do than you used to be.
  9. Hours at the desk don’t count as work. Set targets, achieve them, go home.
  10. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. You just need to be good at what you’re doing.
  11. Downloading papers, printing them, then leaving them on your desk doesn’t count as reviewing the literature.
  12. When you just can’t get going, turn everything off, and think about what needs to be done.
  13. Simplify it all to a to-do list of just one thing
  14. It’s much easier to write a chapter once you know how it ends.
  15. If it’s not working, do it differently.
  16. Don’t use perfection as an excuse. A competently finished thesis beats an imaginary perfect one.
  17. Writing your thesis is not the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suria KLCC Park

Another photo page in a series of photo posting today... a lazy day after two days of long journey to Kuantan and Muadzam Syah in the past two days for meeting with the research respondents. 

Last Sunday we went to KLCC wading pool. It was fun especially for the kids. The two brothers were really enjoying the day whilst Ainaa seemed to be fear for her safety in the kids water park. Throughout the afternoon,  she remained in our cuddle, refused to go into the water.


Happy birthday our dear Atuk

Happy fathers' day

To all fathers with love

Happy birthday Mak

Makteh is engaged

Congratulation our dear Makteh.
Will be someone else's significant other soon.
Wish you the best in life.

Istana Kehakiman

Istana Kehakiman aka Palace of Justice

Happy birthday Fahim

Happy birthday to Fahim.
From your cousins, Farhan, Ammar and Ainaa.

Mini Maha 2011

Mini MAHA 2011, held at Indera Mahkota, Kuantan Pahang.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Testing the service of inter-library loan?

To save time and cost of journey to different libraries, the service of inter-library loan (ILL) would be indispensable. ILL is the service to get books borrowed by a library which we have borrowing capacity from other libraries in the country especially university and public libraries including the National Library.

But the experience that we had so far is sadly frustrating. Coming back from a country which I could rate the ILL service as tip-top, it is still long way for the libraries in this country to improve. It was not that I had never tried to use the service before starting my current undertaking, which the performance could be considered overall as low, but just hoping that things had improved over the year.

Out of 12 requests that I made since last months, only 2 requests were successful so far, which reached to the base library only after about 4 weeks. There were 6 requests made to the library of an institution that I attached with. The 2 successful requests were from this library. The other 6 were made from u-pustaka, which none was successful. 

On top of that, despite the so many online services exist in the university, the request for ILL could only be made through a paper form to be signed and sent to the base library.

So, shall I just forget the service?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special gifts

We are still in the home country for the fieldwork. In the course of this up-and-down process, we also came across with more than what we expected. In Kuantan, we met with an old friend from the university that we studied before. He had just finished his PhD and already published his first book. Congratulation our dear friend. We hope to follow suit.

In FRIM, we met with Dr Lim Hin Fui, a senior researcher in the forest research institute. He gave us a special gift - he said a gift for life. It is indeed. It is about healthy food which is a good guide for everyday food to avoid diseases. It is ironic that we are always worried about so many things and risks against life and healthbut in fact it is the food that we take every day that could be the real cause for concern.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Clearing the airway

Because of sound of wheezing heard from her chest, and she looked stressful breathing, we brought her to a clinic to get her chest cleared. This was the first time she used it. The doctor suspected the prolonged haze was the main contributor. For Ainaa, she was calm whilst having it administered for about 15 minutes. But Mr Daddy would have to sing for her all along. 

The dying dinos in a sad playground

We went to a playground bringing the children to play at a playground in Nilai 3. It is only about 5 minutes drive from our house. The sight of replicated dinosaurs and a big playground from far when driving through the famous shopping destination one day, brought us there that afternoon. It was just for the kids to have fun.

But coming close, this is the real look of the kids destination. And this is the fate of the dinos ..
The slide has broken. The rubber mat on the ground has deteriorated. There was also a long rope tying from a pillar and lying down on the ground. It is dangerous for the children who may stumble upon the rope. There was also irresponsible burning of rubbish near the playground with wind heading to its direction.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Animal lovers

As part of our research project, we went to Kuantan a couple of weeks ago. Once I finished my work in an office, I followed the father to meet with Dr Lian, a vet, and Julia, an animal rescuer. They are also active in an animal care society in the town. 

As to me, having been involved in an area full of dispute - when the world is felt like filled in by people struggling for none but self-interests - I was personally touched and amazed seeing such wonderful people. They are really passionate with the work, taking responsibility and care of stray cats and dogs, educating people to have some sense of care for the animals with the hope to reduce violence against the innocent creatures.

Now, I see stray cats and dogs with different views. I was not really care about the creatures before, but the people such as Julia and Dr Lian really made me change the perspective. 

I am also quite shocked to realise that many Muslims believe that dog itself is haram (prohibited) and touching dog is haram but in fact it isn't. It is only considered as dirty and we are required to cleanse ourselves in a certain way. Because of the mistaken belief, many justify the act of violence against dog. Even at times dogs were made accountable of their act when they harmed people in spite of lack of responsibility. So, are we human rationale enough?


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No ironing

The electricity tariff is raised again. In the country, the rate is regulated by the authority rather than the service provider. As usual, the trend is the media would be busy giving advice to the consumer on how to reduce electricity usage. It's good in the sense that the consumer should be aware of the cost that electricity would take against the environment. Everyone should do his or her part somehow.

Apart from the role of consumer as individual, we think, a lot more could be done by the authorities who are decision makers in many sectors which have far bigger impact to the society and the use of the resources.

One of the things that I really hope to be done is the change of school uniform for the children especially in the primary school. The school uniform in use currently is in white and use material that need to be ironed every time.  

If school uniform could be changed to t-shirt and track suit in dark colours, a lot of electricity usage could be saved, a lot of energy and time could be spared for other things. Mothers - many think that ironing is the most dreadful chore to do - could have more rest. Money could be spent for other needs which prices are on the rise too. 

T-shirt I think is better to suit the lifestyle of the children. They would be free to run around without the need to take care of the 'whiteness' of their clothes. It is better for the hot climate in the country. It is cheaper in cost, lasts longer and easier to wash as it could be washed together with other clothes. The most important thing is it is practical.

The gorgeous

Just like these photos very much .. 
specially designed by Maksu for her princess nieces... 

Thanx maksu.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Missing the blue sky

Since yesterday, the days look gloomy with haze. The air index has reached up to the unhealthy point in some places. Nilai was rated the third highest but still within medium phase.

When we went out of the house yesterday morning, we saw a neighbor burning some rubbish in the compound of his house. With this type of air quality, could he be more considerate? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Comparing prices

In the news yesterday, it was reported that about 52% of the population in the country have income less than RM3,000. I am not sure how many are in the majority portion.

When we came back since last month, we really feel that the price of many consumer basic items especially foods have increased dramatically. They include rice, sugar, flour, fishes and meat, milk and baby items - those every day consumptions. Even small fishes like kembong and selar kuning could be more than RM10.00 per kg. In looking for a rented house, we could also feel that the house rental is also on the rise. We also brought Ammar for dental check and to our surprise it costs us RM200.00 for checking, cleaning and filling. That is the amount covered a year by our employer for a staff.    

For us, this trend is worrying. With the price such as that even RM3,000 would not be sufficient to cover basic expenses. That is the amount of salary generally for fresh graduates in the country, depending on the sector. 

Comparing apple to apple, we feel that grocery items are cheaper in Melbourne than the home country. Let say, we have AUD$3000 in Melbourne, the amount would be sufficient to cover comfortable lifestyle. We could get good rice as cheap as $1.60 per kg, fresh milk at $1.00 per litre, sugar and flour at $1.00 per bread at $1.09 (the supermarket brand only), Ainaa's formula milk $22.00 per tin of 1 kg, diaper $15.00 for about 60 pieces (supermarket brand). 

Comparing the price to Malaysia: RM2.60 for medium quality of rice, RM5.00 per litre of a supermarket brand of fresh milk, sugar RM2.00, flour RM2.00 per kg, RM20.00 of 1 kg formula milk, RM26.00 for diaper (supermarket brand). 

But, in contrast to us in Malaysia, medical and other services like car repairing and child care are expensive in Melbourne, but some subsidies are given to citizens.

Cooked foods, depending on status of the provider, might be more expensive in Melbourne compared to Kuala Lumpur. But pizza is cheaper in Melbourne - $8.00 for family size with abundant toppings compared to the popular pizza in Malaysia - RM23.00 for family size with not as much toppings. In Malaysia cooked foods are easily found sold by small hawkers and in night market. There is no such outlet in Melbourne.   

We also found a fact which makes us wonder: The items that are imported from Malaysia selling in Melbourne would cost us the same price as in Malaysia, but the items imported from outside, let say Australia, selling in Malaysia would cost us the same value

We give an instance: the price for kipas udang ketchup in Malaysia is RM4.50 last year (but now RM5.50). In Melbourne the price is AUD$4.50. When we arrived back in Melbourne next couple of month I believe it would be AUD$5.50. But the price for spaghetti in Melbourne, a good quality is about RM2.50 per packet of 500gm but supermarket brand is only $1.00. We also could get the instant sauce for $3.00 per bottle. But in Malaysia the price of spagetthi is RM4.50 the same brand, and the instant sauce is almost RM10.00.

Clothings I think are of same price between the two locations, but since the second hand good quality clothings are abundant in Melbourne, we could get more.  
Whilst Melbourne record the most expensive housing rental in the world, we in Malaysia have the most expensive car in the world. Melburnians afford to pay cash for their first car as luxurious as Camry, but it is unlikely for us who may only afford to buy a small car 850 cc with the same amount of money.     

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The fieldwork

This is a note about my fieldwork, which is a part of the research project that I am undertaking. 

My supervisor said, everyone will feel anxious about this, but once it has started everything will fall into place. He said this when I said to him that I was really anxious about the fieldwork - about whether people would want to speak to me on the matter, whether people would want to cooperate with the research, whether people that I meet would really want to answer the questions.  

For the start, at this point of time, I have completed 10% of the target but 10 lesser in number will do actually. The same number has also been achieved by Mr Daddy, who is also on the field.. It's a race heh!

I started off with 3 people in the same footage with me, having research on the same issue but different specializations. Another is I met with one from a category that represents the group itself. Researching an issue, which only recently I realized (that the naive me) as a complicated social science issue as it affects the law and its implementation and development, I think requiring certain level of brevity and ability to interact that I feel I need to develop.  

This far, I found that I met with helpful and cooperative people. They are really inspiring, motivating and cooperative. One said, the research, the issue and its life itself make us a better person. It really will transform us, the way we sees things, the way we deals with others. Thing which is worth doing,  a former lecturer in IIUM said. Another said, he hopes to see me bringing back the report that will give some contribution in the field. That statements are real drive factor for us to move.

Still it's a long way to go. But both of us hope it has already fallen into place.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Search for a place

We found that it is not easy to find a good child care for Ainaa. After 8 days sending Ainaa to a child care center near our house here, we decided that that center does not suit Ainaa. Or put it another way Ainaa is simply resistant to that place. Every morning she refused to go there. She cried and clinged to me when she realised that we were about to send her. She looked stressful too. At night she didn't sleep well. She suffered from colic even. We thought things would get better, she would adjust herself and will like the place eventually. 

But on the 8th day, I listened to my instinct. After an appointment in UPM, about 60 km from home, we went straight to the center and picked her up. That day we went to another center recommended by a friend. 

When we arrived at 12.45pm, all kids were asleep. It is the nap afternoon time after lunch, informed by the principal. She agreed for us to give Ainaa a trial for several days to see whether she will like the place. The principal said it is normal for babies and toddler to cry in the beginning. Some of them even show resistance up to three weeks, she said. That statement actually make us more worried. How could we concentrate with our work then. But the monthly fees is quite cheap - RM160.00.    

So the day after, we went to the center. We arrived at 8.44 am. It was quiet. There were two rooms for the kids. The kids of 3 and above were in a room watching tv. Another group, the toddlers of Ainaa's age, were asleep in another room. When I saw through a window, there were two carers. About 10 toddlers were sleeping. But some of them just lied on their back but not asleep - their eyes opened.  One carer I noticed in an angry manner, I thought, asked a boy to sleep. Then she patted the boy at his back. She didn't notice my presence. The two carers each were then patting two kids to sleep by both hands. I brought Ainaa into the room seeing if she liked the place.

But deep in my heart I felt difficult to agree with that. The day before when we arrived at 12.45 pm, the toddlers were sleeping. Early in the morning that day, it was also sleeping time for them. Surely it is a big no for Ainaa. So we canceled our intention. Since I had an appointment at IIUM, Gombak, off we went there with Ainaa. I was 30 minutes late for the meeting.  The intention to go to the IIUM library after that had to be cancelled.

What should be done was to look for her care center again. The question we added that needs to be asked now is how many are the sleeping times for the kids.  

We went to two centers around our house that afternoon. One looked good with three middle age carers. The fee is RM280. We went to another. There were two carers - looked very young either early 20th or 18-19 years old. The principal was in maternity confinement, they told us. The fee is RM260.

We chose the one with the middle aged carers. It has been 4 days we sent Ainaa to the center. Allah's willing, she seems to like the place. Hopefully, it is a good place for her that she will be happy to spend her day.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Escape from winter

We arrived at our lovely home country last 2 weeks for our next phase of the research project. It was a very long journey of 8 hours day flight without the kids sleeping even a second. It must be a mistake choosing a day flight with the kids.  

When we arrived at 3pm, it felt so hot. We felt like the home country is hotter than before. The kids were the ones suffered more especially the baby who suffered from cold and diarrhea for days. I think, it must be because of the different climate. They are now adjusting well. Luckily, the house that we live in has air-conditioner to keep us cool. 

We started with silaturrahim visits to Kedah and Pahang in the weekend. We also had an occasion  to see our friends in the faculty for our paper presentations in a discourse held by the faculty last week. Seeing the families and friends make things feel better.

We also bumped into some students from the classes that we taught before. Many of them are in the final year now having final examination. All the best for the examination. One is about to get married right after the examination. Congratulation. One student, Aqeeda, said she read this blog and finds inspiration in it. Hopefully it does leave a trail of inspiration to us too.  

The kids also had started their school in a kindergarten near the house that we rent for these few months. They seem to enjoy the school which has various activities including swimming and sport. The only thing they lamented almost every day is they have to take short nap for 30 minutes every day after coming back from school in the afternoon care. 

The baby is still adjusting too. She is still crying in the morning when we send her to her carer. She dislikes strangers very much. In the grandparents homes, she clings to us so much that cause me back pain for having to carry her a lot.   

As to the house that we live in currently, it is so lovely. It has a fish pond in front and a playground at the back. The kids take the task of taking care of the fishes. They feed the fishes every morning and afternoon. They also do not forget to say hello and goodbye to the fishes every time they go to and come back from school. "Hello little fishes" ... "Good bye little fishes", say Ammar every time. 

Nilai has also changed. It has now its own landmark called Dataran Nilai with a park and a big commemorative clock. It also has a giant supermarket called Tesco apart from Giant that was there before. But the outlook of Giant has also changed with new shops surrounding the area. We also feel that the small town before has been livelier.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The cold

It's 4.28am. 4.4 degree Celsius. God's willing, at last the writing commitment that I undertook to complete before has finished. In fact in struggle actually - struggle with tissues and sneezing all the time. I am struck with a very bad cold since last two days. I think it must be because of the change in temperature. And almost felt like regret that I did take the writing commitment at this time - at the preparation for a long travel for our data collection. 

Always I found, my immunity is low when I have many works. The body forced me to rest whilst the brain could not stop. So I must be under pressure now. Luckily the kids and dad are fine. Since last few weeks, partly due to the uncertain weather, and the temperature is getting lower every day, and partly for the preparation of the long travel, we started to prepare the kids with extra supplement to avoid them from cold or flu. But in the end, it's the mommy who have it, and might infect the rest. And there are still a lot to pack! But the computer must be disinfected first.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Are really busy these days to update this page, but really feel like to pen down that we're so sad with the distressing and heartrending news which occupy the central pages of our newspapers in the home country these days. What does in fact it mean? What was the factor? What will be the future? What is the real danger hinted by the tip of the iceberg?

Friday, March 18, 2011


People say the episode of life that we would miss so much is the life in the university. As for me, its true - am still and always miss the friends and events in the long left campus. The memory really held with it I think all happiness except the stress facing the examination period that I don't think I can go through it again. Seeing someone, best friends from the past really make a day. Moreover, for me, getting together with friends is a rare luxury.

Last Tuesday, Ina and I had a short get-together with Laily. Laily and Ina are good friends from my university at undergraduate level. Ina is also studying here. Laily came to Melbourne for a visit. But for now, since not really have time to write much on this - I borrow the post from ina. Thanx Ina.

I may update later if possible.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


A word from James when I opened email this morning, commenting on the disaster at Japan:

"No matter how stressful research can get, there are always people out there with bigger problems. When we feel stressed it's important to keep things in perspective and contribute where we can."

Thank you.

Our condolence and prayer to the people affected. Am really shocked too with what happened. May things get better for the people.

May things get better for us too.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Between trash and treasure

"Trash and Treasure" market aka T&T at Coburg. One of favorite places to find second hand items. It has become the practice for many of us to try to find things required in this market before going to anywhere else. Almost anything could be found - toys and clothings are abundant. Others are bag, cookware, sporting thingy, home decoration, beddings and even furniture.   

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Subjective vs objective

Farhan is practising times table since last week. The teacher gave him a set of goals to accomplish and sent note to parent informing the goal for the kids that particular week. They encourage the cooperation of parents to help the kid to achieve the goal. During meals even he asks us to question his times table. Last week, his goal was 2 times table. And once the previous was achieved, this week's goal was 3 times table. For a grade 1, I think, he was quite fast in understanding how the tables actually work. He said, the first thing in the morning he is to do at school is to work on achieving his goal. 

It is interesting that kid of grade 1 talks about achieving 'my goal'. Every kid has his/her own distinctive goal. They can move forward according to his own capability. The kids learn by setting goal and move towards achieving it. 

We view this as a sheer difference compared to the education system in the home country. Here, we see, students are assessed subjectively rather than objectively. I mean in our system, the ability and achievement of students is assigned by number and comparison against the other members of the class. But here, the report cards given to parents at the end of each term contain no such numbers. Rather it contains what the students have learnt and what they have achieved. For example, he has been able to read certain level of books but he needs to improve on aspects of pronunciation (eg), he knows to count up to 100 and backward, he is able to understand basic math plus and minus, he is able to write his own story, interact well with other members of the class etc.

There is no written examination at this stage. The focus is the basic communication, language, numeracy and every day skills. It also stresses to instil confidence with one's own capability.

There is no homework except reading a story book of his level of reading capability supplied by the teacher every day.

On the other hand, the way our education system is presented, insofar that we see, students are expected to follow the system rather than the system  checking the need of students and adjust accordingly. With the bulk of subjects to be undertaken in the early years and big number of pupils in one class, some may be left out in the fast felt moving of the system. I have heard a teacher lamented about one whole class of pupils in year 6 of his school are not able to read properly.   

Prior to coming here, Farhan has been seated for written examinations for his 4 and 5 year old kinders. They were for Malay and English as well as Math. Despite the fact that he was unable to read and count at that time, he took the examination. Once he got  number 2 in the class, another number 9. I forgot the numbers for the other earlier occasions. Almost all members of the class got almost 100. So the difference was a matter of a very few points. I found later what happened was that the examination questions given were practiced before and the kids, who undoubtedly have marvelous memory,  simply put the answer in their memory without understanding the things. I also found that the kids were confused with the alphabets. Both languages, English and Malay, use same alphabets but different sounds. But the kinder use phonetic system for English and  the traditional approach for Malay. At the end of the day for the two years, Farhan even couldn't tell how  actually A sounds.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Till we meet again

Kak Nab's family was to depart from K Intan and Ust Khairul's house. So we met there to bid farewell. Indeed we will miss them. Farhan and Ammar will miss their good friends. We will miss persons who were very helpful. When we arrived here, on one occassion, Ust Khairul described that abg Rasul as a person who helped so many people. Indeed he was. To many and to us too. 

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

Getting together

21st February was Farhan's birthday. But there were so many other reasons to get together too.  One of it was appreciating Kak Nab, Abg Rasul and family who was to go back to the home country. It was also an intention long overdue that we wanted to invite friends especially those residing nearby to come to our house, partly to appreciate friends who helped us in so many ways.  

Farhan had turned 7. This is a significant year indeed. He had to start learning to pray regularly, to fast and to learn basic obligations as Muslims. We pray that our children will grow to become obedient good Muslims. The celebration was also for Ammar that we did not have time to do it for him on last November. Since the talk about the birthday came up, almost every day he drew a birthday cake with both his name and his brother's on paper. Thus both names were there on the cake. That was the second cake that I decorated, and the third was for K Nab. Not so pretty, but it went well to the tummies ;-P

We also got special cup cakes from Aunty Idah.