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.


Nor Fadzlina Nawi said...

Tahniah! Lepas ni next round pulak...

Anyway, I was reading Dr Farah Nini's thesis baru2 ni & discovered the problem in policymaking she identified is so much similar with my findings 10 years after she did her thesis. Imagine that - Malaysia, tanahair tercinta!

Eid mubarak to you all. Enjoy Syawal in Malaysia while you both can :-)

Arif and Iza said...

Thanx Ina. Nak baca jugak thesis tu, kat IIU ke?

Dah start jugak transcribing which is a head cracking exercise!

Eid Mubarak to you too