Mar 22, 2013

Join us in Japan Autumn Trip 2013! Registration is now open!

This is your chance to visit the Country of the Raising Sun!
Affordable, with necessities taken care of.

Ground package RM3000 + flight ticket (current fare)
Because we still have time, payment for ground package can be done in installments :)

Please contact us at 019-3583258/013-2550335 or email for inquiries. 

Feb 7, 2013

Fancy a trip to Japan? Halal for Muslims, Fun for Everyone :D

Ok guys, you may have read my previous postings about Japan.
Having lived in this beautiful country for a span of nearly 7 years, there is always an urge for me to come "home" at least once a year.
Last year alone, I "returned home" 3 times and the last one, I brought 30 people to Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe to enjoy breathtaking autumn there. They were students, teachers and parents of an Islamic school in Melaka (my alma mater. hehe)

The response was awesome. They loved the trip. They made new friends. They enjoyed the visits to school, university, factory, mosques, castle, museums, park, shopping malls etc. Most importantly, they can pay their daily obligations (solat) and consume halal foods while enjoying their trip.

That has motivated me to organize more trips this year. I wanted more Malaysians to see with their own eyes the secrets of Japan while not having to worry about their needs as a Muslim.

Initially I planned a trip to Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto in November (again) but then I remembered how enjoyable it was to be part of the Hakata Dontaku Parade in Fukuoka, Kyushu early May each year. Yes, you don't just watch the parade, you participate in it!

One of the many teams in the parade

2 million people from all over the country come to Fukuoka to witness the Hakata Dontaku Festival

Malaysia team, supported by Tourism Malaysia
Our Japanese friends also joined us in the parade. It was fun!

After the parade, there is a sale!

My students with participating samurais

These dancers were brought in by Tourism Malaysia to perform during the 3 days festival. They danced in front of us

With the beautiful ladies of Hakata :)

More pics here >>

Oh there are so much to tell. So, this year I am thinking of participating in Hakata Dontaku Parade again and would like to invite you guys to join me too! Not only Dontaku, we will also visit other places in Kyushu, like Nagasaki (the Atomic bomb museum), Huis Ten Bosch (beautiful tulips!) and Kumamoto (the Japanese Castle)

Nagasaki Peace Memorial (Atomic Bomb Museum)

Huis Ten Bosch

Lovely tulips and flowers at Huis Ten Bosch

Kumamoto Castle

The dates are 2-7 May, 2013
Flight is by Thai Air
The full package* is arranged and catered for Muslims also.

*Full package includes
Flight tickets
Domestic transportation (Kyushu rail pass)
Accommodation (based on twin sharing)
Halal breakfast and lunch
Translator and guide
Visa application arrangement

If you are interested in joining me and friends or just want to ask for further details, please email me at, or drop your message here.

Jom jalan!

Aug 25, 2012

A Journey to be Missed

When I was younger, I was relatively an anti-social. As a kid, I did mix around with my peers (especially boys) but I always find reasons not to attend weddings, and visit relatives. I was not really into engineering, but when I was offered a scholarship to study engineering in Japan, I took it up because I thought I would not end up working with people (but machines instead).

But gradually, that bad attitude changed when I was in Japan. My Japanese friends treated me well and thought me the importance of trust in a whatever relationship. When I returned home to work as an engineer, I came to realize that machines are only tools to get the job done, but it is human interaction that enriches the work experience. It is also the Japanese who taught me to use senses; see, hear, touch, taste, feel, when we are at "genba" (site). When you "feel" what you are doing, you will have deeper understanding and that will make things work easier.

So when I changed my career to become an educator, in a business faculty, there is no more room for me to deny the value of networking. And I believe that it is my responsibility to nurture the students with this value. To understand them, I must "feel" them. When I can "feel" them, troubleshooting should come easy. I can see how my parents (both teachers) and my teachers did that to theirs. May Allah bless them.

And throughout this short 3 years, I have learnt that to feel and understand them, it takes a lot of time and energy. I make myself available off and online so that we can get in touch whenever they need me (or sometimes vice-versa, LOL). I invite them for tea or meal to talk about other things than textbook or lecture slides, I attend their functions whenever possible, I brought them to my Mom's to have some decent meal (thanks Mak :)), I took them out for activities like picking rambutan and collecting durians or shopping, watching movies, and even to the zoo! haha. I brought them to Japan to see what I saw as a student. I visited their houses during several occasions (so far 5 homes) to get to know their families. Or just as simple as sending a hi message. I know I cannot treat everybody the same, but I just do what I can.

It is nice when once in a while they drop by just to say hi, or sending messages telling their whereabouts. Sometimes they would resort to me to ease their anxiousness in some issues, or just to get somebody to listen to their thoughts and feelings. In some cases, I had to punish them for what they did, so that they won't do the same to other people.

Why I did all this? Because I believe that each and everyone of them has their own potential and that they have someone to refer to if they cannot stay focused. And that life is not all about textbooks. They should nurture their potential through the network they have built at least with me or through me.

So I will be missing all these soon. I hope they will be strong and have all the willingness to improve themselves to a greater height. My prayers will always be with them.

Jul 31, 2011

Alumni. What does it mean to you?

Not knowing what to do tonight, I flipped through papers and letters on the coffee table. Suddenly I saw this...

"Oh, a letter from Kyudai!"

Feeling so excited, I opened it harshly..
2 pamphlets on Kyudai News.

They still remember me! 
and they took all the hassle to send me the news (even when they can just send it by email?)
That's why I always say to my students- half of my heart is left there.

Alumni is a crucial platform for ex-students to give back to their school. But just giving back is not enough. The school MUST remember the ex-students as well, otherwise, they will forget their way "home".
It should be a GIVE and TAKE, and WIN-WIN relationship.

Come August, the September. Convocation is approaching and I can't help wondering what UKM Alumni does for its members.. 

Feb 1, 2011

When was the last time your teacher touched your heart?

This entry is gonna be long. It is a combination of experiences I had over the weekend that really touches my heart. "Touches" not "touched". It touches me every time I recall.

29/1 I went to SMAPK to attend our alumni meeting. After the meeting, we chit-chatted with the Principal.
She told us this.
"Kalau setakat mengajar dalam kelas, itu bukanlah dipanggil "guru", tapi pekerja dalam bidang pendidikan. Pelajar tak ingat pun apa yang dia belajar dalam kelas. Tapi dia ingat ketika gurunya membelikan sebungkus nasi lemak kepadanya . Apa sahaja yang menyentuh perasaannya. Orang yang boleh menyentuh perasaan pelajar dengan berbuat sesuatu demi kebaikan mereka, dialah yang layak dipanggil "guru"."

Her words struck me.
All the way home, these words kept on repeating in my head.
Reason being, today (29th), I was supposed to go to my ex-class teacher's house, to attend his son's wedding. I was very close to this teacher, because he was responsible of developing the foundations of  me, and I haven't met him since graduating from primary school; which is 23 years ago.

A brief description about this teacher:
  • He drove a red Volkswagen -- JG245
  • Sangat macho, kategori handsome yang berjanggut kambing.
  • He was my class teacher, taught us Maths and never failed to amaze us with his stories. 
  • He built that sprinter in me -- tiap-tiap pagi sampai sekolah je kena lari keliling sekolah a few rounds, berlatih sprint sampai penat -- but at the end there was always hot milo and biskut kering (syoknyaaa)
  • He was also one of our netball trainers -- like any other sports; football, badminton, etc.
  • He would listen to us. Fulfill our request to bring our "teater tepi padang" to the stage -- and still remember who played what role (aku pun dah lupa)
  • He wiped my tears and drive away fear of hurting myself during my first days training gymnastics.
  • He was the only teacher who had ever caned me (and everybody else in the class!) 

His name is Cikgu Rashid Mohd Salleh.

My mother, who attended the wedding, told me that Cikgu Rashid was really looking forward to see me.
Aku telah menjadi sangat tak sampai hati......
sebabnya...when I was at matriculation, I had a chemistry lecturer yang garang but so passionate.
After graduating from my first degree, I heard the news that he was suffering from cancer. Somebody told me that he wanted to see me, but I kept on procrastinating the visit.
Until one day, I received a shocking news that he had passed away....and I regretted for not fulfilling his wish until now....

So back to the story, after finishing the house chores, we drove home to Melaka. Soon as I arrived, I asked my mother the invitation card and saw Cikgu Rashid's hp number.

I smsed him.
"Assalamualaikum Cikgu, Shazlinda ni. Maaf tak dapat datang tadi, ada meeting. Kalau tak keberatan, boleh saya datang rumah Cikgu esok?"
And instantaneously..
"Waalaikumsalam. Jemput datang ke rumah. Saya mmg nak jumpa sangat. Esok datang pukul berapa?"
And so there I was in front of his house the next day at 12 noon.

It was so nice to see him in good shape after 23 years.

We exchanged stories about each other, reminiscing the past memories.

Cerita 1: Drama
"Pada Cikgu, zaman korang la yang paling Cikgu enjoy sekali. Geng Cikgu ; Cikgu Ramli, Cikgu Bahari, Abah awak masih ada. Budak-budak pun tak menunggu disuap. Sekali ajar dah reti buat sendiri. Saya ingat lagi kamu dan Linda datang minta izin nak buat drama. Nazlah, anak Cikgu Muharam, haa..dialah yang jadi permaisuri dalam Ulik Mayang kamu tu. Kamu ingat lagi? ....Patutnya si Lin anak Cikgu Zabidi yang pendiam tu kamu pilih jadi permaisuri..hahahaha"

Cerita 2 : Pontianak
"Kamu pernah nampak pontianak tak?"
"Err~tak pernah Cikgu. Kat mana,kat sekolah ke?"
"Ha'ah, masa tu kami buat perkhemahan kat sekolah"
"Cikgu sendiri nampak?"
"Yee~saya nampak dia melompat dari pokok ke pokok. Tapi bukan pontianak la, penanggal.."
"Haa! Penanggal? So Cikgu nampak la tali perut dia?"
"Nampak~ berjurai2 bermanik2"...Alhamdulillah, dia tak masuk kawasan khemah kita, dah "dipagar" siap2"

Cerita 3 : Cerita
"Balik2 pada cerita Lin anak Cikgu Zabidi. Bapak dia SK Tedung, mak dia sekolah ...(aku xingat)..
Mak dia dok fikir kat mana nak sekolahkan..akhirnya dia dia masukkan SRKM2.
Si Lin ni diam je, saya pun tak tahu dia ni ok ke tidak ke...Mak dia pujuk dia, kata lepas seminggu kalau dia tak rasa tak selesa, Mak dia akan tukarkan dia"
Tapi, biasala, saya rasa saya tahu ubat dia."
"Apa dia Cikgu?"
"Cerita! Kamu taulah Cikgu kan suka bercerita. Si Lin yang diam, tunduk je tu, bila time cerita, bukan main lagi mendengar. Dan lepas seminggu bila Mak dia tanya balik, dia kata; tak payahlah tukar sekolah--sebab nak dengar cerita Cikgu!"
--Hah korang, dah Darjah 6 pun ternganga dengar cerita cikgu!--
"Mmmphh, jangan kata Darjah 6, Cikgu,  dah naik U pun, kalau time cerita--ternganga juga!"

Cerita 4 : Rotan
"Saya ingat lagi, cikgulah satu-satunya guru yang pernah rotan saya :). Tapi sebenarnya saya taklah takut sangat pada Cikgu. Saya lagi takut kat Cikgu Ramli"
"Hahaha~Cikgu Ramli tu garang sampai habis. Kalau saya, garang tu garang juga, tapi lepas pukul tu saya pujuk balik.  Awak dan kawan2 awak pun saya dah anggap macam anak-anak saya sendiri.. Alhamdulillah, anak2 murid saya semua jadi orang."
"Sham, kat mana awak jumpa si Lin ni?"

"Abang nak bawak balik tak kucing ni?"

Family + Cikgu

"Takpe ke Cikgu pakai camni aje?"
"Lepas ni ajak kawan-kawan semua buat perjumpaan kat rumah saya"
I was so happy to see him happy. And he even said that he is gonna find my house in Nilai the next time he travels to his relative's house in Bukit Mahkota.
(Tapi Cikgu kena bagitau awal-awal ya sebab kadang-kadang saya kena pergi bengkel---padahal dalam hati nak selamatkan rumah yang macam tongkang pecah sebelum Cikgu tiba!)

Jan 30, 2011

What I did on my 35th birthday

2.30 am : Woke up to check FB posts and open birthday presents from my students :)
Thank you Iffah!!
Thank you Shafika & Wanie!!

3.30 am : Solat Hajat sempena birthday
4.30 am : Drafting final QM exam questions while sipping a cup of hot coffee
6.30 am : Solat Subuh + took a nap
8:00 am : Woke up and prepare kids for taekwondo
9:00 am : Breakfast @ mamak and went to the wet market
9:50 am : Played badminton with husband
10:15 am : Fetch the kids from taekwondo
11:00 am : Left for SMAPK Alumni Meeting @ SMAPK
                 Nominated as Vice President 2
2.30pm  : Left SMAPK for home +Zohor
5:00pm  : Watched Spongebob with kids while having kuetiaw goreng yg dimasak oleh Ustaz Wan Akashah.      (Sedap giler!!) + Asar

8:00pm : Maghrib + left for ALPS Electric (M) Sdn Bhd
9:00pm : Left for Melaka
10:15pm : Arrived in Melaka
10:30pm : late dinner + borak2 dengan Mak + online till now

Tomorrow I will be meeting Cikgu Rashid, cikgu kesayangan aku dulu yg dah tak jumpa for about 23 years.  

Kesimpulannya, my 35th birthday was just an ordinary day of which I would run around doing things. Tapi aku bersyukur sebab Allah masih membenarkan aku hidup to read bedtime stories to my children and hug them whenever they need it. I know that I am created for few good causes, if not many. 
And to my husband who is always understanding (although keep forgetting my birthdays hehe, but not this year), I am glad that I have you.
Lastly, this is a song I love to listen during birthdays. From my  favourite star, Koji Tamaki --HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Enjoy :) 

Dec 1, 2010

Japanese grads are Second Class?

I had a hectic schedule last week. 22/12, immersed in marking and grading, 23/12 attended meeting with JICA consultants-Pusat Inovasi Kolaboratif-UKMTech in the morning and then off to Look East Policy Symposium at PWTC. 24/12 submitted grades, 25-26/12 participated in Malaysia-Indonesia International Conference on Economics, Management and Accounting. The schedule was so hard I had to send my kids to their grandmother's.

Oh, back to the title. This was a part of a speech by a minister who officiated the Look East Policy Symposium. He mentioned that there is this perception that students who are sent to Japan are second class students, but actually it is not. Whomever gets a scholarship to study abroad are equally excellent; regardless of where they go. 

But in reality, I think it is true. I am not saying that Japanese grads are of second class, but the perception does. Why do people think so? The reasons might be
  1. UK and US are always the first choice. The rich and famous send their kids there to study, so if you are selected to go there, you must be the luckiest person on earth.
  2. UK and US have the top (or should I say toppest? :p) universities in global ranking, but Tokyo University, the toughest univ in Japan never topped the chart.
  3. UK and US grads are the nation's decision makers. Japanese grads? Do tell me if you know anyone.
Based on my experience, I applaud those who have successfully graduated from Japanese universities. Can you imagine, with zero knowledge of Japanese language, you have to master it in less than 2 years before entering a university that teaches everything (including English) in their language? Not only that, your actual purpose is to master the knowledge but how can you master the knowledge before mastering the language? At the end of the 2nd year of matriculation we had to sit for the  highest level in Japanese language proficiency test (JLPT1) before sitting for another 2-3 exams before qualifying ourselves to enter a university. It was quite painful, but what I learnt from this experience was that we should never underestimate the ability of our brain. All we need is patience and persistence.

On the other hand, those who are sent to English speaking countries are just so lucky. You have learnt English like your entire life and then just learn new things, new technology there. Your probability of passing with flying colors are higher than ours! But this is just a minor concern.

The real issue for me is the third one. Although the program to Japan started in 1983, only 27 years ago, Japanese grads have yet to appeal their presence to the society. We have yet to become the nation's key decision makers. Not many of us are entrepreneurs; what more technopreneurs (the nearest field besides being a technical person at the shopfloor). That is why people think we are of second class.

That is also why I would try my best not to turn down important invitations by the alumni (I belong to JMC/JAD* Alumni). I remembered the first one was to give a motivational talk to JAD first year students who were camping at Gombak (near Perkampungan Orang Asli) and the second one was to attend the symposium as participant cum interpreter. I believe a strong alumni will further enhance the capability of the graduates.

My dream is to see the Japanese grads stand tall, as tall as other overseas graduates and of course local grads, and together contribute to the country. We should be everywhere, just anywhere; private or government, manufacturing or service, having a boss or being the boss, and from there, little by little we should climb that ladder to the top.

None of us are second class unless we tell ourselves that we are. Full-stop.