Monday, February 5, 2018

Jejak Naruto di Jepun: Day 1

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Assalamualaikum



After checked-in at Picnic Hostel, bathed and changed into new clothes, we took the Sennichimae Line subway heading to our dinner. We chose Honolu Ramen located at 2-5-27, Motomachi, Naniwa-ku as our 1st dinner in Japan. From our research, lots of Muslim travelers are recommending this place. Not only it halal, but its also delicious.



The ordering process here is different because we need to order our food using a vending machine. We have to choose our ramen from the vending machine, pay to the machine, take out the ticket and show it to the waiter. Then the waiter will serve your ramen.  


I ate Ramen chicken flavour and my friend chose spicy special. They are sooo delicious. Though it looks like normal maggie/instant noodle but it also rich in chicken flavor. When I tasted the broth, it was thick and frest. It really suits my taste. 

After our tummies were full, we then walked about 20 minutes to Namba area.  This area is the center of Osaka's night life. They have Glico-man and Namba bridge. I'm not sure why Glico-man is so special but I knew that Namba bridge is believed to be a place where you might find your true love. I heard it from my boss and she asked us to go there. 


One photo at Namba bridge for our boss, as a prove that we followed her advice.


After taking our pictures, watching people from around the world trying to find the best angle in front of Glico-man, breathing Osaka's night life, we then walked back to our hotel. It took us about 20 minutes to reach our hotel. One of many best things about Japan is the safety. Even though we were walking during the late night but we felt at ease, totally different from any other countries I've been.


I'm gonna continue with the 2nd Day in Japan in the next entry.




Monday, January 29, 2018

Postgraduate financial assistance in UTP

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Assalamualaikum,

This entry is the continuation of my post entitled Master study, how to survive? which I wrote back in 2011 when I was a student. In that post I shared about the financial assistances for Msc and PhD students in Malaysia, some of it already outdated. So in this post I want to add another interesting option for the financial assistance in Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS.

In UTP, we have this financial assistance called Graduate Assistant (GA). Every lecturer is given a certain numbers of GA for them to offer to their potential students to perform MSc study under him/her. In simple term, even though the lecturer does not have a grant, she/he can still supervise a MSc student. A very good initiative by university to enhance research activities.

Under GA program, student's tuition fees, including semester fee and research methodology are covered by university and the best thing is the student will be paid monthly. This program is for the full-time research student only. Students will be assigned 5 hours of academic activities per week in the form of tutorials or laboratory demonstration or any other related academic activities and 22 research days per month.

Monthly subsistence allowance are:

MSc Student: RM1,300.00
PhD Student: RM1,600.00

If you are interested to be an MSc or PhDstudent in my department, Chemical Engineering, you may find the list of lecturers' research area and their contact info at https://ceutppgvacancies.blogspot.my/

Saturday, January 27, 2018

1 month 1 book challenge 2017

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My time has been extremely packed with academic content. Not that I'm complaining, I love them all. One should not stop learning and always strives to gain more knowledge continuously. However, starting last year I decided to squeeze in fiction novels into my reading routine. It has been many years since I read a fiction novel. My last novel was Sundowners by Lesley Lokko, dated back in 2014. 

I enjoyed reading novels very much but with my study & job I forgot about my hobby. So in 2017, I created a challenge using Goodreads. The challenge called #1month1bookchallenge2017 and it's sole purpose was to makesure I read 1 fiction novel each month from January to December, 12 novels in total.

I would like to share the list of the novels that I've read for my challenge:

1) January


Please forgive me. This is not a fiction novel but a real story of a real person. I pick this book as the 1st book to start my challenge so that I understand her story and be inspired by it. To tell you the truth, I'm more amazed by her father's spirit. 

2) February


From my first book, I had a great interest in what's happening in Middle East. Then I heard about Mr Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner. But I couldn't find it in MPH Ipoh so I settled with his other book. And the Mountains Echoed did not fail to keep me engaged since this is actually my first fiction novel. It was about the relationship between siblings who got separated because of their unfortunate family situation. 

3) March

While searching for my next novel, my colleague offered me this novel and it's a match made by heaven because I love thriller and crime genre. After all the tragedy from previous novel, I found this novel was really relaxing at the same soothing my emotion. I was in my zone.

4) April


Hello Mr Grisham, meet your new fan. This book kept me engaged throughout the story & if its gonna be adapted for a big screen, I hope Mr Denzel Washington will be the main character. Suits him really well. This story is somehow similar with a Korean drama, Innocent Defendant. Both MCs are lawyers, had unfair trials, blamed for the crime they didn't commit, made breaking out of jail look like very simple & got the best revenge. 

After reading this book, I bought another 5 John Grisham's novels. hehe.

5) May
Very Jdorama-ish. The beginning was so melancholic and depressing to a point where it affected my own mood. Luckily Murakami Sensei's writing style is strangely beautiful that prevented me from stop reading it. The ending was not what I expected, it's actually even better that I've imagined. Great book after 2 continuous crime novels. There are two main reasons why I picked this out-of-my-genre novel; 1) I will go to Japan in end of May, perhaps can give me insight of Japanese manners and 2) I was told by my student that he used to think about ending his own life, somewhat similar with Tsukuru. A book to learn and understand about depression, and how you can get out from it. 


6) June
I'm back with Mr Grisham's novel this month. I sort of needing to get back to my genre after being emotionally wounded by the previous novel. This book supposed to finish in June but with all events & travelling, it extended to second day of July. A Time to Kill is about a father (black man) taking law into his hand by killing 2 white men who had raped & tortured his 10-yr old daughter. The story tells how his lawyer defending him against all pressure, racism, threats from radical groups etc. I enjoyed all 738 pages of the story however, I still feel the ending is kinda rush. They have a movie adaptation from  this book but I didn't see it yet. 


7) July

This book is weird, in a good way. It involves supernatural thing and you really need to focus understand the story. It also gives details story about relationship between human and elephant and somewhere along the line, it makes you think that human and female elephant have more similarity than we can imagine. That's the feeling I got from this book. 

8) August
I chose this book because it won Pulitzer award and Bookdepository gave interesting discount. Since it's not belong under my favorite genre i struggled to finish the book. This book tells about 2 different lights from the point of views of 2 children who lived during Worldwar II. The orphan boy lived in Germany was obsessed with invisible light in electromagnetic spectrum ie. Radio & radar to know about what is happening outside of his shelter home. While the blind girl from France desires just visible light more than anything. This book is heavy with geography, history and physics which has forced me to dig into world map, wikipedia and trigonometry. Great book with excellent character development though I don't like the ending.

9) September
Amidst all special programs happening in busy Sept., I stubbornly chose an autobioraphy to keep my #1month1bookchallenge2017 going. This book however, despite its heavy & disturbing content (banned in some schools & libraries), was saved by its laid-back style of writing. And to be able to tell about your trauma, life & people around you in that easygoing manner, one has to be as good as late Mrs Marguerite. By telling her stories, she spoke directly to your emotions. I was laughing when she made a joke about the Reverend and cried when she was hurt by someone she knows. I have nothing but respect to a book that saves many abused victims' souls while telling them "it's not your fault and do not give up".

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." Maya Angelou.


10) October

I wish I didn't pick this book. I even had to take a breather in the middle of reading it (that page where Amir turned his back on Hasan). This book makes me thing that life can be so unfair to certain people and it is terribly upsetting when bad things only happens to good people. Lots of things happening at the other side of the globe. A good book to learn two or more about them. 


11) November

This book tells about Mr Chick who was on his way to kill himself and decided to check his deceased mother's house for the last time. Then he got into an accident which changed everything he believed in. A book that'll increase your respect & love for your parents especially Mak. Initially I thought this book was a non-fiction novel because the author shared his mother's picture at the last page. 


12) December
I decided to end my 2017 challenge with my favorite author's novel and of course it is belonged to my favorite genre. There's movie adaptation for this novel and on of the characters is played by Mr Denzel Washington. Just like I imagined. However the main character for this story is a girl who managed to unravel the mystery of the whole judge assassinations and that girl is only a law student. She made a report named "Pelican Brief" that shakes the whole country.

All in all, I'm so happy with my dedication and discipline to read this much. I thought I will stop in the middle of it but I pulled it off. Alhamdulillah. Now I'm continuing my reading challenge again for 2018. The goal is the same, 12 books in 12 months. Gambatte!



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Jejak Naruto di Jepun: Day 0

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Assalamualaikum

I wanna share about my recent visit to Japan. It was a great visit, obviously because I got to watch Naruto Musical Live Action right in his hometown. That's one of my bucket list.

Day 0 - Experience all types of transportation while you can

We started our journey from Seri Iskandar to KL Sentral via ETS. Since both of us are not used to train system, we decided to commute to KLIA2 from KL Sentral via the expensive KLIA train express. We boarded on AirAsia flight at 3pm and arrived at Haneda Airport at 12pm. The best thing about Haneda Airport is they provide a prayer room for Muslim. After performing our solat and rest outside of the prayer room, we took a bus transit to Narita Airport. We decided to board on Jetstar flight from Narita Aiport to KIX Airport because it costs lesser.

There are 2 halal restaurants in Narita Airport. We had Japanese chicken curry for our lunch in La Toque. They were delicious! Different from curry we have in Malaysia.

From KIX Airport to Namba OCAT Station we took the airport bus Limousin. Namba OCAT Station in the center for all transportation in Osaka. You can find taxi, train, subway, bus in this station.


I'm very impress with their punctuality and manners. All buses and trains are very punctual and have a very systematic operation. While taking the limousin bus, I can see many baseball fields, just like Diamond no Ace anime. From Namba Ocat, we took a subway to our hotel, Picnic Hotel. I love this hotel. It's very close to Sakuragawa subway station. It also near the Namba Bridge and Glico-man. The owner is friendly and the place is clean. We stayed 2 nights in this hotel.

So that's all about our journey to arrive at Osaka. 

I will continue about our visit in Osaka in the next entry!
[DAY 1]

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Scleritis

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Assalamualaikum,

3 months ago, I have a serious eye problem. Actually, this was my 3rd time having eye problem but previously, they were still treatable when I applied eye drops. After 3-4 days of MC, my left eye still in pain and I was referred to Ophthalmologist in Manjung. After our 1st meeting, the Ophthalmologist gave me different kind of eye drops and told me to wait to see how it goes. That night I can’t sleep and having short breath. I really thought I was a goner. Turned out the eye drops contained steroid and my body was rejecting it. That morning I asked my friend to drive me the Ophthalmologist again. He then gave me different type of eye drops and medicine with a week of MC. I decided to stay at my sister’s house in case something happened and it was closer to the hospital as I need to do CT scan in 3 days. Again, this eye drops didn't work. Its getting worse when I can't get up at all and  vomited for 2 days. I'm truly indebted to my sister, brother in law and my cute nieces & nephew for taking care of me when I was in that horrible state. 

Scleritis
After the CT scan X-ray and blood test came out, the Ophthalmologist now sure that I have Scleritis.
“Scleritis is a painful inflammation (swelling) of the white part of the eye, which is also known as the sclera. In almost half of all cases, scleritis is associated with an underlying autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).” - Kierstan Boyd, 2015 (retrieve from American Academy of Ophthalmology’s website)

In layman term (which I understood it just recently with the help of my Ophthalmologist), Scleritis occurs when your immune system attacks any swelling in your internal organs. The occurrence affects my eye. This is also the early symptom of RA.  This is also the reason why left eye was not treatable with just applying eye drops. To treat scleritis I was prescribed with steroid named Prednisolone. A steroid to suppress my immune system.

Alhamdulillah. This steroid suits me and subsides my pain after nearly 3 weeks of suffering. Since this involves internal swelling and immune system I must take Prednisolone for 3 months. It started with 13 tablets per day in the 1st week, reduced to 11 tablets per day the following week until 2 tablets per day to be consumed in the last month.

Side Effect

Long Absent - When I was on MC, regrettably I have to cancel all my lectures. I hate it when I have to cancel even 1 lecture. So when my left-eye was no longer in pain I started my lecture even though I was still on MC.
Hungrier - Taking steroid made me feel like I'm not living in my own body. I was constantly hungry. I need to eat most of the time and I became heavier in a very short time. Previously, I avoid taking heavy meal during the night times but now I cannot sleep without eating a hearty meal. Sandwich or salad were no longer enough.

Moody - Another thing is my emotions were all over the place. I became very sensitive, too sensitive and its not good because I'm dealing with other people  too. At one point I feel like there were too much in my plate. At one point I feel like giving up. At one point I feel like I'm not good enough. 

Steroid acne - Even when I was a teenager, I’ve never had a bad skin. Not that I had a flawless and smooth skin, I do have acne sometimes but I have never had a skin breakout. But, now I have steroid acne and it hideous. One day, I feel like hiding inside my office and do not want to have face-to-face communication with people. When people talk to me I feel like they are looking at acne and being a lecturer where you have to stand in front of your student confidently makes thing really hard for me. 

Vulnerable - This steroid is also called immune suppressor. When other people are taking supplement to boost your immune system, I have to do the opposite. Meaning, I am vulnerable to external infectious diseases. And I must say it's very difficult to avoid this as I'm dealing with people everyday.


Good Effect

Alhamdulillah. Today is the 3rd day I’m free from steroid. I hope everything is fine now. No more scleritis no more steroid. There a lots of things I've learnt from scleritis and I'm grateful to Allah for everything. In 2017, other than visiting Japan, I've never had a rest. When I was given MCs tha was the only time I can rest. Like REAL rest. My sister and her family were so nice and they provided me with everything when I was having my treatment.  Alhamdulillah. I also learn that my co-workers are the nicest human beings and I'm so blessed be with them. 

Now I can understand and have empathy towards people with the skin problems. It's hurtful when people are staring at your face full of acne.

And due to this also I'm becoming more closer to my Maker. More stress, more time spent with Allah. I realize that's the only way to control my mood. Indeed, this is Allah's way to remind His servant to remember Him more.

Alhamdulillah.


Happy new year!
Be happy and healthy everyone!
I hope from now on I can spend my time to write in here. This helps me reflect on what I've been through and be grateful in my everyday life.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Motivation renewed

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Assalamualaikum.

It’s been awhile since I wrote something in here. Since ayah’s entry.
Ayah’s passing surely had affected my whole life and it makes me re-evaluate my own goal. Recently, I went to a workshop about supervision and the speaker asked us: 

“What is your motivation?”
A seemingly simple question that was too hard for me to answer.

It used to be,
“I want to work hard to make my parents happy & healthy, take them to Mekah and enjoy their lives to the fullest” But, ayah is not here anymore.


The speaker asked us think about it again and kept repeating the same question:

“What is your motivation?”

Then I remembered something. As a new lecturer, I was swamped with a lot of responsibilities, challenged to teach new subjects, new style to adapt and met with different kinds of people. My time was filled with university’s stuff and I enjoyed it very much, never knew I will. I voluntarily went to the office during weekends to prepare the teaching materials and stayed in the office even after working hours. It is surely a hectic career but when I look at my students' accomplishments, it was totally worth it. 

I learn a lot about my life and the life of others too. Now I realized my new motivation.

“I want to work hard to fulfill and go beyond my responsibilities so Allah will be pleased with me"

I decided to stop putting my goal on human being. Human can perish but human’s Creator will always be here. By putting my responsibilities, I have covered a lot of things. Responsibility as my parents’ daughter, my students’ lecturer and you name it, insyaAllah I will stretch my limit to achieve it.

Actually the speaker did not want to hear our motivations, he just wants us to think about it deeply and realize it by ourselves.

Well now I realized mine. What's yours?




 

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