Feb 27, 2009

Establishing Asia-Pacific Children Convention (APCC) Bridge Club Malaysia

In 1998, when I was studying for my degree course in Kyushu Univ 3rd year, I decided to participate as a volunteer in Asia-Pacific Children Convention in Fukuoka during the summer holidays. This huge event is organized since 1988 by an NGO in Fukuoka, now known as APCC to promote peace and international ties between Japan and participating countries.

Every year APCC invites children all over Asia-Pacific countries to Fukuoka. During their 2-week stay, they will experience homestay at typical Japanese homes, and participate in various activities arranged for them. Usually there will be 10 participants from each country, 8 selected school children, 1 PA (Peace Ambassador) and 1 chaperon. That makes up about 400 participants in total. As this international event requires a lot of communication in English/ various languages, anybody can join as a volunteer in documentation, and on field. That was where I came in. I participated in this event as a volunteer to help Malaysian delegates communicate, along with a junior student from Malaysia, Adie, who was assigned to help children from Tuvalu.

You can check the details of this event at http://www.apcc.gr.jp/e/

This was one of the most precious experiences I had in Fukuoka. I got to know people from various countries, esp from those we rarely hear about like Tuvalu and Bhutan. I got Matsuoka's (a top Japanese tennis player at the time) sign my yellow "We are the bridge" t-shirt which kept until last year (that was 10 years). The delegates, homestay families and volunteers were so cheerful and friendly which made saying goodbye to them was so painful to me.

And all those memories come back to life when one of the boys contacted me through facebook recently. Man, they still remember me? Unbelievable! They were 11 years old when I first met them, sekarang dah besar panjang! Syahmi, Zahirah, Sharifah were those I met at the meeting.

That brought me to the meeting between APCC representative from Fukuoka, former APCC participants with officers at Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia and later with Embassy of Japan. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss matters pertaining APCC like sponsorship etc, but most importantly about the establishment of Bridge Club Malaysia. Bridge Club is an alumni for those participated in APCC, and their job is to promote APCC by making activities and social work in their country. Sri Lanka,Indonesia and Thai BCs are already active but Malaysia has yet to start any.

Now it is time for these kids to make their first move, and I think it is my responsibility to help them in any way I can. The establishment of Malaysia's BC will help promote the ties between 2 countries thus realize the motto of APCC, "We are the Bridge".


Feb 26, 2009

Hey guys, I'm through!

On this day, last week, just after I finished the interview session at MDeC, I've got the awaited call from UKM.

And..I am through! Alhamdulillah. They are offering me a lecturer position at the Faculty of Economics & Business. It is actually a breakthrough because never have they selected someone from engineering background for this position.

The unofficial letter of offer from the faculty arrived last Saturday. Until this day, I am still holding from replying the letter. I am waiting the response from MDeC, which environment I have started to fall for from my observation during the last 2 interviews.

We'll see what happens.

Feb 9, 2009

Me returning to Japan soon ?

I don't want to talk about it, actually, but many on facebook who know me already knew so it is not a secret anymore.

I went to UKM (英名:National University of Malaysia) last week for a lecturer position interview. This position is at Faculty of Economics and Business and there were 5 applicants including me.

I was the third person into the interview room. The first two spent half an hour in the room but me...1 hour! Both of them were told to be prepared to be sent to the US for Phd.

The first thing the panels asked me was.."How to say 'good morning' in Japanese?"..
Then one of them asked me to speak some Japanese about myself.

Then the topic moved on to the economics situation in Japan and my personal opinion about it.
When I said that it is unlikely that Japan's economic will recover very soon because of the weakness in the leadership which resulted to lack of trust in politics, they kept on asking me more and more about it.

Then they say that if I am offered this position, I will be sent to Japan for a 3-year doctorate course.
Now, how fast can I go and to which university?
Man..that's a tough question...I just came back and my children are still trying to adjust themselves to the new environment.. but I am desperate to get this position.

Definitely they will not send me to Kyushu Univ. where I graduated my first and master degree. So I said," I don't mind any place but just don't send me to Hokkaido." :)

The first half of the interview gave the impression that they liked me and I am likely to get the position. However, the second part went sour because one of the panels questioned my credibility in teaching because I am from an engineering background. I tried my best to convince them that I have the hands-on experience and that I can share my expertise about Japanese business culture so I hope at least the dean believes in me.

In the end, they asked me to convert my undergrad results to CGPA because in Japan we are graded in A, B, C (A:80%~100%, B=70%~79%,C=60%~69%) and send to them to check if I am eligible for SLAB ( a postgrad scholarship scheme to upgrade bumiputra lecturers in gov. universities).

I left the interview room sceptical about the results I will receive in 2 weeks time.
If I get the position, I will have to return to Japan as soon as mid of this year.
Cepat betul!

So, till the week after next, I won't be having a peaceful sleep.