Sunday, December 16, 2012

Post graduate Preparatory Course (Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences) with IMAM MOSIT- Remembering to believe

With Dr Dalila, Dr Aneesa & Dr Yusuf 

Last month I received an S.O.S from one of my fellow trainee lecturer friends in IIUM, Dr Solah. He asked me if I could replace him as a guest speaker for a programme at CUCMS. They needed someone to talk about preclinical Masters & PhD as an option for medical doctors who are interested in pursuing postgraduate degrees. I agreed, albeit rather tentatively. My relationship with public speaking is a strange one. Though I love talking to people and enjoy the adrenaline rush of being able to hold the attention of a crowd, my pre-event jitters and nerves usually sky rocket to insanely high levels. 

As it was in this case, I was nervous the whole week prior to the event. Mostly because the Course would take place on unfamiliar territory, this was the first time I had officially been invited as a speaker and the sheer caliber of the other speakers. Some of them were Professors whom I had immense respect for, great men in their respective fields and dynamic speakers and motivators.

I set about preparing my slides in my own style. Simple, straight to the point and with the highest visual impact that my less than artistic talents could muster. I prefer not to cram words onto my slides. Instead, I use key words and phrases, present them in a visually stimulating (I hope) layout and elaborate on them. 

I started showing my slides to other lecturers and colleagues and their feedback helped me to fine tune the content. As fellow Basic Medical Science people, they too were invested in this effort to introduce our slice of life to young doctors out there. 

I arrived at CUCMS around lunch time, just in time to see the participants, HOs and MOs, swarm the panel of Clinical Master students of various fields after their slot. My IIUM juniour, Dr Naim had also given a talk regarding Membership exams and was inundated with questions from eager young doctors. 

Lt Col Dr Arshil

Dr Suriyakhtun

After lunch, I got to listen to talks from the other speakers including my IIUM senior Lt Col Dr Arshil who talked about the current MINDEF options, Aviation Medicine, Underwater Medicine and Military Medicine. His video clips and stories of all the missions conducted by military doctors was enthralling. Kudos to them for their contributions and efforts. Dr Suriyakhtun was also very compelling in her passionate explanation and defense of complimentary and alternative medicine. I must admit, I am one of the many skeptical doctors when in comes to this branch of the medical family tree. However, I applaud her for her passion and scientific efforts in making sure that more information is available to not just the public but to other doctors out there. I whole heartedly agree that we have no right to ignore or belittle anything about which we know nothing about.

Dr Latiff

The highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity to listen to Prof Latiff again. He is a cardiologist and the current Dean of Medicine at CUCMS. He is an amazing person, who as a medical student had an idea to set up a medical school that would be fun. He realized that dream in CUCMS, he said. Listening to his life journey and stories, he managed to evoke this sense of hope in all of us. Namely, that if we have a dream or vision and we work towards it, with faith in Allah, insyaAllah it can become reality. The last time I heard him speak was when I was in 5th year medical school, at that time, I felt the possibilities were endless. Life, has made me jaded and less optimistic perhaps, but sitting there, listening to him talk, once again I felt that untainted feeling of hope for the future.

Me (credit pic to Dr Mohd Khamizi)

Somewhere in between these speakers was my slot. Alhamdulillah, I think I did quite well. I managed to convey not only facts and information regarding pre-clinical Masters & PhD but hopefully allowed the audience to widen their horizons. In the end, it comes down to what we want to do as doctors and as Muslims, BMS (basic medical science) lecturers, not only get to still be doctors on their own schedule but are fortunate enough to be involved in the foundations of future doctors and help to increase the pool of knowledge. Although, there was no frenzy of participants excitedly mobbing me to ask about being a pre-clinical lecturer, several participants did approach me for further information after the programme, even as I was walking back to my car. 

I am perhaps most touched by the feeling of friendship and solidarity that the organizing committee exuded and somehow managed to rub off on me, a total stranger in their midst. They treated me like an old friend and made me feel very welcome. Especially Dr Dalila, Dr Aneesa & Dr Yusuf, although, I am sure that if given more time, I would have felt the same way about all of them. I would have to say, the last time I felt this way was back in my medical school days when I still believed that I could truly make a difference in this world. Perhaps, this chance meeting with people who still believe will refuel my passion. Thank you to IMAM MOSIT (Islamic medical association Malaysia, Medical officers and specialists in training) for inviting me. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

UKM 40th Convocation Ceremony || My Masters degree (finally)

Alhamdulillah, yesterday was the 40th Convocation Ceremony in UKM. I was there to receive my Masters degree in pharmacology. It was a very memorable day.

Thank you to my parents and brother for supporting me and my beautiful kids for being my inspiration. Also all my friends and extended family who made sure that the journey, though tough at times, was never lonely. It was not about the piece of paper, in the end it's about those who help you believe that anything is possible.

With Ezura and Dahlia, thank you for keeping me company (congrats to Asrul for his Clinical Masters)

With my roomie Mali, so glad that we got to convo together

Yousof, Aishah & Hamzah with so many gifts

With Mali & Nizar #teampharmaco (congrats Nizar for his PhD)

UKM Wondergirls #teampharmaco with Mali & Shar (thank you Shar for the teddy bear bouquet & for making all those years at UKM memorable)

Congrats DB :) Sorry we didn't get to take a pic together

To my fellow trainees at IIUM, thank you guys too, am so lucky to have such wonderful colleagues and friends.
PS: Photo shoot tomorrow ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This is Yousof and I love him for it - Happy Birthday

He wakes up every day at 6 am, brushes his teeth and makes wudhu'
He prays Subuh with me every morning
He takes a shower and puts on his uniform by himself
He takes a bowl, a spoon, a carton of milk and eats his morning cereal or oatmeal as I tend to his siblings,
He puts on his kopiah, glasses, socks and shoes and watches out for the school bus,
He salams my hand and I kiss him on the forehead and send him to the bus,
He comes home from school and immediately showers, packs a little snack for himself as we head back to my office in the afternoon,
He is tired from a long day at school so he falls asleep on the 10 minute trip to my office,
He quietly plays on the computer as I finish up my work and we go to pick up his siblings at Educare,
He reminds everybody to pray jama'ah and recite the Quran,
He helps me set the table for dinner,
He compliments my cooking regardless of whatever simple dish he is served and thanks me for making it,
He does his homework even though his younger siblings are running around and having fun,
He understands why I don't let them watch tv on a school night,
He helps me pack his books for school,
He brushes his teeth and gets ready for bed while I try to wrangle the other 2 to do the same,
He is so sleepy each night but he waits for me to salam and kiss him goodnight

He took sahur during Ramadhan with me and had iftar with me so that I was not alone,
He notices when I am tired or when I have not yet eaten,
He holds my hand when we walk together
He loves me unconditionally

For all these reasons and many more .. I love him

May Allah reward you for being such a good boy and may you grow up to be the best that you can be 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bossypants by Tina Fey (Audiobook)

I haven't actually picked up a book in over 2 months. For me, that is a very long time. It has been really hectic lately, and trying to squeeze in some recreational reading has been impossible. After prompting from both a close friend and my boss, I decided that I would finally give in and try listening to an audiobook.

I'm not exactly sure what I have against audiobooks but I guess it's mostly because growing up, I had always thought audiobooks were for children, really old people, the blind or illiterate. I realize now that this was a misconception. Audiobooks were in fact invented for people like me, people who love to read but simply do not have the luxury of "switching off" the rest of the world and doing so.

Deciding what my first audiobook would be was fairly easy. My friend recommended Bossypants and I thought it would probably be as good a choice as any. First of all, there are a few things I have to state. I do not watch 30 Rock. I know it's a breakout comedy that has a truckload of Emmys, and I have seen a few episodes. I find the humour too coarse and myself unsuited to watch it. Secondly, although I know who Tina Fey is I have not seen the Sarah Palin SNL sketch or watched her movie with that guy from The Office. So although, I knew who the author was vaguely, there really was no reason for me to listen to this book other than there was no other book in particular that I wanted to listen to instead.

I listened to this book early in the morning during my quietest but busiest time (5 am- 6 am) while I hung the laundry out to dry, ironed clothes and folded laundry. After 6am my house becomes a chaotic tornado of trying to get three kids ready before school. 

The experience was quite enjoyable. It was multi-tasking without feeling like an octopus. It was also nice that my quiet time was less quiet. 

The book itself was good. It was a biography of an interesting woman who was also funny. Of course, I did not agree with many of her opinions or views but her comic way of telling her own story was very enjoyable. Perhaps her greatest asset was her ability to make fun of herself. 

In the end I am glad that I tried this out despite my reservations. The only probable downside is, now the tiny voice in my head sounds exactly like Tina Fey!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hutan Lipur Gunung Ledang- A gem in jeopardy

How did you spend your Malaysia Day weekend? We went on a semi-impromptu trip to Johor for one of Abah's ex-student's wedding. Since the wedding was on Monday, we went a day early just to relax. 

After safely reaching Segamat, trying to find a hotel that had a pool proved to be impossible. Why the pool? Well, when it comes to hotels, my kids don't care about the size of the room, the variety of the breakfast buffet or whether or not there is free wi-fi, all they look forward to is to splash around in a pool. So we headed off to Gunung Ledang Resort which was just 45 minutes away from Segamat.

We reached there around 4pm and there were so many people trudging up from the visitors car park up to the hiking and waterfall area. Entry was pretty cheap, just RM 2 per car, RM 1 per adult and RM 0.50 per child. No wonder people were flocking in. 

We managed to secure 2 standard chalets despite making no reservations on a long public holiday weekend, Alhamdulillah. By the time we had rested and settled in it was almost 5.30 pm so we decided to just let the kids enjoy the pool and visit the natural sights the next morning. The kids of course enjoyed themselves immensely.

The accommodations were decent, food was pretty good and basically it was a pleasant place to stay the night (around 3 start quality). 

The next morning after breakfast, we made our way up the trail to the waterfall. We didn't hike far because of the kids but just looked out for a spot that would be suitable to have a little fun in the water. The kids had a lot of fun wading in the cool, beautiful, pristine water. They loved the natural pool and the little fish swimming with them. They even pretended that all the small rapids were leaks and tried to plug them, not very successfully of course. It was truly a wonderful morning spent relaxing and enjoying nature.

I would love to say that the place was beautiful because it truly was but the biggest drawback was still the human factor. More precisely, littering. I shuddered to see how inconsiderate and irresponsible people can be. Mostly, they just left all their rubbish here and there despite the ample number of rubbish bins provided. I do not know how people can leave everything from polystyrene bowls, food wrappers, plastic bags to used diapers just lying around and some even make their way into the stream. Come on! With the heavy traffic of people visiting the place (there must have been thousands over the few hours we were there), imagine what will happen if everyone does this. I would not want any foreign tourist to visit because honestly, it was an embarrassment. 

I seriously think that people who litter there should be fined heavily. When are we going to learn to stop littering? Just because they paid a paltry entrance fee, they automatically think that it gives them the right to make a huge mess? 

I did not take any pictures of the heaps of rubbish because that is not how I want to remember our visit there but I sincerely hope that some action can be taken soon. If not, the beautiful waterfall, stream, and trails will just be another rubbish dump. It would be a real shame, because we really had a great time there except for those eyesores.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our little Iftar

Yesterday was the first time for this Ramadhan that we had people over to the house for Iftar. For understandable reasons, I can't invite people more often (read: overwhelmed). So I was very happy to have my close friends Huda and DB (and their kids) over because as working mothers themselves, I knew they would understand and not expect too much. Since all of our kids would be there, we decided the theme for food would be "what our kids would eat" (note: there was even a loaf of bread and a jar of Nutella on standby). To make things easier we did a pot luck, so all I had to prepare was some spaghetti. 

However, as always, Murphy's law also came to dine. While I was frantically cooking the sauces, there was a little pfft.. and my gas stove went out. Thankfully, I had the Petronas number on hand to call. My guests did arrive before the delivery guy though but since we still had plenty of time, things worked out well in the end.

Jejaka Melayu terakhir- Huzaifah
As we waited for Maghrib, the kids had a great time playing with each other, since most of them are "classmates". There was of course Yousof, Aishah and Hamzah (mine), Huzaifah and Habib (Huda's) and Farhana and Shahmi (DB's), also recently dubbed as The Tarawikh Gang. Huzaifah was quickly the centre of attention as both the girls were intent on getting his attention haha.

Imagine my house after 7 kids- thanks for cleaning up kids!
Abang Yousof- the only kid waiting for Maghrib
Our Iftar fare was very simple: spaghetti, nasi goreng, nugget, bubur cha char, doughnuts. I didn't take any pics of the food, mostly because I decided to implement a personal "no food pics during Ramadhan" rule. I'm not against other people doing it but sometimes, it does cross my mind that some people may not have the opportunity to eat at fancy restaurants or have splendid home-cooked meals or like me, will probably eat our normal daily food for the whole of Ramadhan, and looking at the flood of gorgeous mouth-watering food pics flooding FB and IG might make people uneasy. But hey, that's just me.

The only exception I will make to this rule is to say that the only non-simple item on our menu last night were nested pavlovas baked by Huda. They were delicious and light and just delightful. So if you guys are in Kuantan and are craving for a pavlova fix, she's definitely your gal. Me? I saved a piece in my fridge and can't wait to eat it today hehe.

Amazing Amazing Amazing - I can still taste it! (credit to Huda for the pic)

PS: Let's do this again!

Hamzah and his bag from Tok Wan (credit to Huda for the pic)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ramadhan Kareem!

Three days into this blessed month and all is well Alhamdulillah. My parents spent the first two days of Ramadhan with us. Yousof has been stellar and managed to fast both days despite temptations from his younger siblings. 

We are looking forward to a wonderful, peaceful and enriching month. May we emerge as better people insyaAllah.

Getting ready for tarawih

From Turkey with love. Thank you Tok Wan & Tok Ki

A very important issue. YouTube it NOW.

Well done!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons

The basic plot

Harry Silver is a lucky man, the problem is, he doesn't know it. Or appreciate it. One foolish night and his perfect life is down the drain. Only then does he begin to realize what is truly important in life.

What I liked about the book

The story in itself was predictable but the writing made the story come to life. A friend told me that I would be able to see things from a guy's perspective by reading this book and in some ways I did. There were some really touching moments in the book and Harry's relationship with the other characters were very well explored especially his bond with his father.

What I disliked about this book

I think many people who read this book will be moved by it but as good a read as it was, in the end I was not swayed. I found it very hard to feel sympathy or empathy for Harry, especially since his story is so common. There are numerous husbands (and wives) out there who take their life, their marriage and their kids for granted. They wake up every day to the same routine and instead of counting their blessings, see only monotony. They forget to notice the small (and big things) that other people do each day just so their lives can be exactly what it is. They do not realize that it takes teamwork and when one person feels none of the stress or pressure of keeping everything as it should be, it usually means that the other person is straining under the sheer weight by themselves. Most of all, they cannot imagine how lucky they are to have a beautiful family until it is taken away.

Reading the book, I could not get past the fact how easy it is for people to make excuses. How much the writer (and other writers/screenplays out there) wanted us to believe that it is acceptable for someone like Harry to not appreciate his life as long as he learned his lesson. I for one, do not agree. It is not enough to just chalk up a failed marriage in "One of life's lessons" column and move on. It should never be that simple.

A quote I liked in this book

You can't compete with blood.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Basic plot

A romantic picnic turns into a great tragedy within the blink of an eye and that was just the beginning. Little did Joe know that a chance encounter with a random event could trigger something deeper, darker and beyond his understanding. When things start spinning out of control, nobody believes him because he barely believes it himself.

What I like about this book

This book was lent to me by my Head of Department. The initiating event in the chapter was indeed shocking in it's sheer randomness. Without giving too much away, what followed was also quite strange. The book covers the topic of obsession quite well, especially from the perspective of the victim and the impact it has on his life. 

What I disliked about this book

The build up was not as intense as I would have liked, mainly because I felt that although the stalker-victim relationship was described in great length with both the psychological and emotional aspect addressed, not enough actual events took part to solidify the feeling of impending threat. Perhaps Daniel Craig brought more life to it in the movie.

A quote I liked from this book

Perhaps it was self-pity after all: a maniac was trying to kill me and all the law could suggest was Prozac.

Rating: 3.5

Saturday, July 7, 2012

IIUM Educare Sports (hot) day: Tears, Sweat & Wardrobe Malfunctions

After days of hearing how fast everyone can run, pick up balls and basically smoke the competition, Sports Day finally arrived. This year, instead of being held in the Indoor Sports Complex, the venue was the under the scorching sun at the Stadium.

Hamzah and Aishah were excited and rushed immediately to their respective teachers to wait under the shade of the big tent. Yousof and I sat on the seats and waited for the events to start. Of course, some of the little kids (2 year olds and 3 year olds) were bawling their eyes out. It is amazing how any child will  almost immediately start crying when separated within visual distance from their parents. They are usually nonchalant when left at Educare each morning but when told to sit less than 100m away, immediate abandonment issues. I am so thankful that my kids never have this prob....wait, is that Hamzah crying? Yes, it was. And he did not stop crying or being clingy even up until we were on the race-track. When the whistle blew, we were the parent-sobbing child couple left at the starting line that I had always felt sorry for previously. 

I have no idea what happened, whether it was the heat, or the crowd or just some imaginary switch that was inexplicably flipped that turned my usually upbeat and independent toddler into a small ball of tears superglued to my side. To add insult to injury, the sole of Hamzah's favorite sports shoes decided that this was the perfect time to suddenly rip apart from its body. With no contingency plan (Yousof's shoes were too big for him), he had to be persuaded to borrow Aishah's distinctively girly red/pink shoes for the race. Come to think of it, no wonder he did not want to run. Just goes to show, we can never take anything for granted. Kids will always be kids. Unpredictable. Sometimes when they haven't talked about anything else the whole week except for running in a race, when the time comes, nothing can make them move even a single step. Smile, laugh it off and just hug it out.

Aishah had a great day though. She won her egg sorting race and managed to bag a gold trophy. Hamzah came away with a consolation trophy ("everyone is a winner") and we survived the day. Thanks to Faizah for helping out and Za (a.k.a Mok Nik) for showing up to cheer the kids. Congrats to Habib and Huzaifah, Shahmi and Maryam for winning their races in style (good job to Huda and Solah, DB and Kak Sidah). 

We'll do better next year Hamzah... next year...InsyaAllah. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exams and results

It really is different to be on the other side. Yesterday was the first time I had to invigilate an exam. I must admit, it seemed very surreal to watch all the students filing into the exam hall, nervous and anxious as I once was. 

I looked through the questions. They were eerily similar to my end of block exams when I was their age. Though a few things are different (like the wire baskets hanging at the side of each desk and under it), everything was pretty much as I remembered it. 

Snacks for the invigilators (note the kiddy drinks!)

I also got to see some students scrambling to write the answers even after "Stop writing", something I have also done a few times hehe.

Speaking of exams, today I went to Irsyad for their Report Card Day. Alhamdulillah for his first semester exams, Yousof finished 4th out of 32 pupils and obtained 11As and 3Bs (A > 85%). I am very proud of him and very relieved. Although I had viewed his results online, I wasn't sure how he ranked compared to his classmates (especially now when everybody's kid seems so smart). 

I think, I am not as stressed about him doing well as some other parents might be, but I do want him to do his best and achieve his full potential. I'm not quite sure how my parents made me enjoy school work but it truly is a challenge to keep a 6 year old focused on anything for more than four minutes, especially when his younger siblings are running around the house.  So I just do the best I can to make sure that I am there to supervise his homework, keep his lessons interesting and reward him for his efforts. Hopefully, he will continue to do well and succeed. Ameen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Basic plot

Amy Redwing rescues dogs and she is never conventional in her methods. In her passion to help 'man's best friend' she often finds herself in precarious situations. Along for the ride is her boyfriend, more for moral support than a sidekick. While rescuing these dogs they realize that both of them are also running from a dark past, from which they can only rescue each other.

What I liked about this book

The storyline was quite fast-paced and interesting to read. The author cleverly made sure that the lives of the main characters intertwined. He balanced the fine line between surprising the reader but at the same time, allowing them to appreciate the way the story unfolds by scattering subtle clues for them to notice.

What I disliked about this book

Some of the chapters were a bit too focused on a certain event or scene, though he probably intended it as such to convey the obsession involved. For some reason, the author's excursions into the supernatural in this book did not seem to fit as well as it has in previous books.

A quote I liked in this book

"How much nicer the world would be," she says, "if everyone in it were dead."

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh no! We're too short

Last weekend we headed off to KL since my brother and his family was coming all the way from Sarawak for the school holidays. Since they were scheduled to arrive on Sunday, we had to decide what we were going to do with ourselves on Saturday. 

After a nice breakfast at my favourite roti canai place, Abah decided to take us to Genting. So off we went, through those winding roads. Climbing higher and higher, the kids were so excited to find themselves up in the clouds.

When we arrived, it was quite an ordeal to find parking space, so we settled on a pseudo-parking space instead. Finding the Outdoor Theme Park was no picnic either, I think we probably went the longest and roundabout way possible. But we finally arrived!

We did not have a plan of any kind but basically ran from one ride to another. Of course, with the kids measuring 92cm-118cm, we could not go on ANY of the thrill rides. Thankfully, there were plenty of Kid and Family rides to keep us occupied. It was a fun day for the kids, and the feeling was infectious. Of course, I would have loved to ride the thrill rides too but hopefully when they're tall enough I will not be an ancient old woman yet. The only downside was the waiting time for some of the Family rides but I guess that is normal for any theme park.

The kids had a great time, and I was happy. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails