Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Petani for a Weekend



During exam period, I received an email about competition on improving the design of a rice seeder. As uni was coming to an end, I knew that this was the last time that I could play around while working on a project. So I got my friends to join in with me because it'll be years, if ever, we'd get to work on something together again. Obviously, everyone had different reasons for joining. Hannah wanted the money, Zaf wanted to reconnect to his roots and Amir just wanted to join whilst I wanted to work on something with them for the last time. 


We woke up early on Saturday morning, headed to the diamond and waited hours for the laptop to install solidworks. We had a brainstorming session followed by finalising the design. Because the concept was a bit difficult to grasp, I questioned the design. Zafran then proceeded to say "Come on Asma, it's not rocket science." Which caused quite a stir because, clearly, I KNOW THAT IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE BUT IT ISN'T THAT STRAIGHT FORWARD EITHER. 


After a lot of laughters, arguments, banter and some good quality bonding, we didn't win. However, I personally enjoyed it because we weren't pressured to win or get good grades so we just had a whole load of fun. It was a good way to end my university chapter, through a small project with the people who were always around working on projects/labs together with me throughout my university life. 

Eid 2018


Ramadhan wasn't as much as a challenge because I had my bad days and good days. The bad days were the worst and the good days felt like I wasn't even fasting. By the end of Ramadhan, I was just surprised with how fast it went by. Unlike previous years, this year, I decided to not force myself to do ibadah. Therefore, every sunnah I followed, I did it wholeheartedly. I felt like that's a good way to lead Ramadhan.

I also had exams during Ramadhan which got a bit difficult sometimes especially because I had to have breakfast at 2AM and dinner at 9PM. My schedule got all messed up which meant that I had a really bad day during my first exam. The rest went okay, however, so I hope that all is well. Dad and Mum sent some kuih raya and as soon as exams were over, I started getting bored so I made kuih raya! This year, I made brownie cookies, pineapple tarts, cornflakes meringue and just yesterday, helped Hannah with her honey cornflakes. 


A few days before Eid, we had a little meeting about what we were planning on doing for Eid. We then did our Eid shopping at London Road and had a fun family day out shopping for groceries. That afternoon, I facetimed mum and had her, my grandma and my auntie walk me through how to prepare eid food. A day before Eid, Hannah, Nadhi and I were in the kitchen the whole day making food for Eid. We made lodeh, ayam masak kicap and nasi impit whilst the guys made rendang, kuah kacang and nasi tomato.  I have so much appreciation for my mum now because everytime we would celebrate Eid in Kuala Selangor, she'd wake up early to make all of that by herself. I'd pass out if I were her.

Eid Day 1 - Friday


This year, I celebrated Eid with Aisyah, Hakim and my homies. In the morning of Eid, I was forced to wake up at 6 to solat raya when I didn't even want to. I avoided it in Malaysia but I had to here. Also my baju kurung was tight! This may have been why I was cranky the whole day. So I wasn't very comfortable throughout the day. After praying, we brought all the food that we cooked to House No 2 and heated everything up. We had breakfast together and then headed off to Weston Park where we had a photoshoot. 


After the photoshoot, we headed to Azri's open house where I had really good kek batik. Mick; Azri and the mech kids; and Atiqah then came over and we caught up with each other like how you would during Eid. Zaf and Hannah then acted out and menganiaya-ed me in front of people that don't know how we usually banter. After that, we just hung out until we felt like going back home.

Eid Day 2 - Saturday

We woke up in the morning and decided to cook up the rest of the food we had prepped for Eid but didn't use up. Fried up the tofu and tempe which we nicked and had with sambal kicap. Made sambal - masak merah-ish kind of thing for the nasi tomato then headed back to House No. 2. We went to Atiqah's open house and had really good pulut! On the way back, we facetimed Abang Lan, Kak Ida and Emma because we couldn't be in London.


Once we got back, we played card games and halal poker. We spent the rest of the evening just eating and watching movies. By the time night came, I've already finished off all the Eid food and stayed in the kitchen to clean up. I obviously did this because I was told that everyone prepared the food because I wanted to celebrate Eid that way. So I felt guilty. 

We 'salam raya', something I'm not fond off because I sin a lot and would usually end up crying. This time around, I'm assuming that I didn't sin enough because I didn't cry. I sometimes just wish that there isn't such thing as ikhtilad because it would sometimes just cut the mood. That aside, we went home pretty late but wasn't done with what we had to talk about so we had a one hour long phone call with the same people.

Eid Day 3 - Sunday


Had a day out with the sibs. Went to Malin Bridge for a walk by the river but then turned around and headed to the Victoria Quays - Hakim said we've been but idk??? We headed to Ikea and then to Meadowhall before heading back home. I'm just not into shopping so I wasn't all about the Meadowhall stuff. But had a lot of fun at Ikea making random puns.

Eid Day 4 - Monday



Went to Bakewell to initially, go on the Monsal Trail that leads to the tunnel. However, due to time constraints, we instead took a right once we got to the Monsal Trail and walked passed the hassop station cafe and then back into Bakewell. There were so many cows out so it was nice meeting some of my siblings' best friends. Kak Aisyah bought some books from a second hand book shop. We then had fish and chips by the river where a duck tried to attack us (total exaggeration). Bought some fudge and slept on the bus on the way back home. Kak Aisyah then had to leave for Oxford and that was the end of Eid. 

Eid Day 5 - Tuesday

We spent the 5th day of Eid at home. Because Hannah was bored, I helped her make honey cornflakes which was really good and finished immediately. We played scrabble before heading to House No. 2 because we wanted to have a dance off. This was cut short because someone rang the door bell. We then proceeded to watch one super crappy raya telemovie that had no story to it. As I was about to clean up, I opened the door to see something appear right in front of me so I screamed. Which made Hannah scream, and Syed (who was that something) scream. We had a laugh out of that. After that, we had an 'usrah' session about preachers and then left to go home and sleep. 

And this is a summary of my raya this year, away from home. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

University Journey - Appreciation Post I

 

College and university life were the toughest I have gone through, I tear up realising that it's all coming to an end. Once I enter this next, longer stage of life, I will obviously miss it even though I wanted to jump off a building or in front of a car half the time.  

However, I couldn't deny that I only got through this because of the people who were there with me throughout my journey. I lost some and I gained some along the way but things happen for a reason and I'm thankful for every single person who means or meant something to me during this journey. So this is an appreciation post - like how I did one for when I left high school, here's one for university. 


I lived my life in Sheffield with two houses, one where I pay rent and actually have a room and the other, where I 'bunk' and stay in the living room. I spent a lot of my first and second year hanging out in the other house mainly because there's a telly and I usually felt lonely. My 'housemates' treated me like a brother so we were able to do a lot of things comfortably together. We cooked, went on holiday, had movie nights, played games, went on outings, worked on SKY and took the mick out of each other a lot. I appreciate that they took in a lost child (me).

Therefore, my appreciation goes out to Syed who never fails to make me laugh but I'm mudah terhibur so that would explain things. Thank you for listening to me when I force you to listen and thank you for lightening up the mood when it gets dull. Then there's Kimin who I have never treated nicely, but, thanks for being nice when I'm never nice to you. Thank you to Kema as well, it was quiet without you around during our final year here because these kids cave up without you. If it wasn't for Kema during my first and second year here, I would have probably died of boredom because Kema would always ajak us to go out and play. Also, shout out to the kids at home - Sazlee, Hazim and Aidil for not kicking me out of the house.


Hannah was my roommate since college who then turned into my flatmate the rest of the time. She was there through everything - my breakdowns; my heartbreaks; when I couldn't find the will to get out of bed; when I wanted to kill people; when I wanted to kill me; my horrible cooking; my loud shouting, singing and talking to myself; and recently, through the nights at uni (amazingly enough). There were times, I'm sure, when she wanted to kill me and there were times when I wanted to shred her into pieces but neither of us moved out.

Hannah wasn't just a friend, to say that she's one of my best friends doesn't describe her well. She's a category of her own. She has the vibes of a mum, step mum, MIL, supervisor, mentor, senior, boss, discipline teacher, chef and a maid but in it all, she was the best temporary partner, companion, comrade and 'significant other'. If I had to write everything about our journey through university together, then I would have to write an entire book. 


Then there's Zafran. Since college up until now, we would always end up having to work together. If we spent the same amount of time but instead, on a business, we would be Hewlett and Packard, Ben and Jerry, or Proctar and Gamble. But we didn't so that's that.  

Zaf is a dad, a brother, a sister, a gay best friend (he's straight) and a colleague to me - all in one. He takes care of me, gives me the attention I need but he's not the perfect best friend. He doesn't answer my calls or texts, he abuses me, ditches me and believes that sleep is more important than me. But because he's around, my Dad (actual Dad) can have a peace of mind.



Amir and I started arguing in MFI. We're of the same kind so it's hard for us to get along. But in it all, we survived university without killing each other, we led SKY 2016/2017 together and joined CIPTA as a team. For two people who don't get along, we work pretty darn well together. He was to me, what he was to everyone, a personal advisor, a close friend that listens attentively and a person who is always there when you need him. It is a rare occasion that Amir and I could meet up and not argue but he takes care of me so well. Because I don't see him much these days, I have grown to miss him.

This little gang we have going on here made university and life in Sheffield fun and liveable. While I'm away from home, I found home in them. Thank you guys, I love you and I'll miss all of you once you guys are back in Malaysia, getting rich and raising your kids.  I have more people to thank but this is getting too long so I'll make another post!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Selfish Decisions


I recently made one of my biggest and most selfish decision ever. Do I regret it? Not yet. Will I? Probably not. When I went to the career fair, I questioned myself a lot. I kept on thinking how every single decision I make is for my own personal interest. I applied for certain jobs because I knew that I would get more from those opportunities. I also straight out said no to people asking me to contribute back to the society (through teaching) because I knew that it would not give me any direct benefits.

So then I wondered what is the reason of me being sent here? (I'm not self sponsored) I'm getting tonnes of money spent on me every year since college. And where is all that money going to? To the development of someone who in the end, prioritises herself and not the development of the country.

And so I asked around. I wanted to know what other people felt about this. I asked them questions like do they feel as if they've contributed enough, do they feel that they're worth the investment, do they feel like they've met the objectives of them being sent here. Out of the many people that I asked, only two said no.

Initially, I got upset, I wasn't happy about how they also make decisions based on their own selfish reasons but at the same time, they can believe that they're still worth the investment. Because I wasn't able to. Whilst I don't feel as if the money has been wasted on me, I felt like someone else, who has so much love for the nation would've been more suitable to get this kind of opportunity.

But then I've realised that we are all just humans. We try to grab every single opportunity that we can, whether it's for own benefits or for the benefits of something else. We don't know where that opportunity will take us. In the end, we're all just going through doors that would open, to places we don't know where it leads to.

And so, I don't feel bad anymore for feeling selfish. The 'selfish' decisions I make now might just benefit more people in the future. It might not. I'm not God so lets just enjoy life and see what's to come our way.

I'd like to thank everyone who answered my questions, who tried to make me understand things in their perspectives and for allowing me to see the bigger picture.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My Malaysian Career Fair Experience


The Malaysian Career Fair started a week earlier from my university’s Easter break. This meant that I had to skip classes, miss out on work and rearrange my meeting with my supervisor. It was worth it. I went not expecting anything but I left learning so much from the whole experience and from talking to talent acquisition specialists, recruiters and employees.

I won’t give you employability tips, tell you how your CV should be or teach you how to network but I’ll tell you what I’ve learnt. I have had a few companies that approached me before the career fair itself to screen me and invite me for interviews.

With one of them, I had a phone interview, video interview and a psychometric test that I had to do before the final face-to-face interview where I was offered a position. Throughout the whole process, I felt so welcomed to the company and I wasn’t even in it yet! It was for a position that is not within my field but I was considering it because it has always been something I wanted to do. Which was why I decided to go through with it from the start.

This company tried their best to ensure that both my phone and video interviews were set to be at a time that was reasonable for me. Which I personally felt was such a nice touch just because I have told them that I wouldn’t mind waking up early. When I met the team in London, the person interviewing me talked to me as if she really wanted to get to know me. She wasn’t even in HR! I enjoyed the experience so much because it really felt like a two-way communication. After that, she sent me in to talk to someone from HR who told me what it would be like to work for the company. And as if that wasn’t enough, they invited all of us for a cocktail session to get to know more about the company and the programme.

In it all, they went through that extra effort to show all of us how much they want us to join the team that it just made me feel very appreciated. One of the things that I’ve learnt is that make sure that the company treats you like they want you as much as you want them. It’s not a one-way process. When you do your research, don’t just research on how to get that job but also research on whether the company is the right one for you. In the end, though we should not feel as if we’re entitled to be treated that way, it is really important to understand that you, the one who’s applying for the job, will be bringing money to the company once you join. They say beggars can’t be choosers but have value, work for a company that you actually want to work for.

(Had this in my drafts for awhile but didn't get around to posting it until today)

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Wrap up


2017 felt like it was 4 years combined into one: pre-sky, post-sky, summer break and the new semester. It was just so long! 

RECAP

Poland


Poland, even though super stressful is still the best trip during uni within europe I’ve been on. I went snowboarding on real snow - and I left with a whole new perspective on men and how I’d rather not live with one. But it also made me realise how I’d love to be one, just because travelling with them felt more adventurous (we went hiking!) and they’re always up for anything - even though you’d really need to force them sometimes.

SKY


SKY and my SKY team will forever have a space in my heart. It made me grow and it also allowed me to witness my friends developing themselves. I met amazing people from different backgrounds and had different perspectives of life but in the end, they all lived a life where they did things that were meaningful to them. I saw how people were under appreciated just because they don’t speak up. I also saw people who took credits for things they didn’t do just because they know where to find the opportunity to. 


But what really matters is that we all contributed, my SKY fam contributed, our guests contributed and everyone involved contributed. And we all gave and got something from that.

Post SKY

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When SKY was over, I was lost and was not at my best - mentally. But I managed to distract myself through CIPTA so I was actually thankful that it all happened. Because, without which, I probably wouldn’t even have had the drive to join it. Went to London for a week (skipping classes because what’s new) to learn more about start ups which lead to a productive (kind of) summer break with my two buddies. While studying for my finals, I was still not mentally ok which reflected on my results but we have to move on in life. 

Summer Break


I had an amazing summer break! It started with Paris with Michelle - which was so much fun. It reminded me so much of Slovenia (minus the partying) just because we did a lot of hanging out. Just sitting, enjoying the view, people watching, sitting by the river, things like that.


Then I went to Malaysia on Qatar Airways a few days after Saudi decided to boycott them. I always end up flying via exciting countries. It was Turkey a few days after the coup in 2016. In Malaysia, I celebrated Eid at my grandparents’. Only felt how different it was without my grandpa but everyone managed to figure out how to fill the gap that he left when it comes to preparing for Eid. I casually invited people I knew to come over for Eid and I enjoyed catching up with people from high school. Also had our annual barbecue night with the baes (just without the bbq this time). 


I caught up with my jellybabies after 2 years of not seeing them, we went on day trips and overnight trips. Planned to go abroad but ended up at Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands which was still extremely fun nonetheless. We also had a staycation at an condominium in KL. Hung out at Susu's apartment with Susu, Ana and Iman with a lepak sesh at the mamak and McDonalds - cos perlu. Did the typical "I'm going out with Iman but now it's getting late so I'm sleeping over". And for the first time, I wasn't around to help Susu pack for America. I’ve missed them and seeing them over the holidays kind of made it up to it - a bit. 


Also went to Cameron Highlands with Mak, Kak Nour and Kak Aisyah. I like the cold, as you can tell. Had lunch with the fambam a few times and also had grandma staying over with us! I enjoyed her staying over because I've always felt like I wasn't ever doing enough as a granddaughter so on one of the days, I forced my brother along to take her plant shopping.


I went on a trip to Japan with my brother and later on, my parents joined us. A lot of banter, arguments and dealing with the grandpa (my brother) for 2 weeks and then had to tone it down for the 10 days that my parents were there with us. Japan was a whole new experience on it's own. Every day was a challenge especially when going to the market. I wish I had learnt to read Japanese because it would have made everything so much easier. To say that I enjoyed it, I had my bad days and good days. But my favourite days of the trip basically made it all extremely worth it. 


It was also our first family 'travelling' trip abroad so that was also a bit of a challenge. Our trips since we moved back to Malaysia would usually be very laid back, going to resorts, just chilling out and enjoying each other's company. So this one was different because we were going to a city and I feel like as a family, we're very used to going out to see nature so it was different. I do hope to go on another trip like this, but maybe not to a city. Somewhere like New Zealand might be nice, or Hawaii... Poland maybe. Somewhere all of us would wholly enjoy.  


I opened up a lot to my brother and he, to me this summer break. It seemed like we kept so many things to ourselves and never really expressed it. I’ve always thought that I was having it bad but it made me realise that both of us went through things, felt things that were not the same, but didn’t make the other’s problems any less difficult. Happy to say that we managed to talk about things more than we ever had since we moved back. Also felt as if I got my best friend back - this might be thanks to the fact that I stopped talking to a lot of people. 

First Semester of Final Year


Final year got very difficult and still is getting difficult by the day. Also tried to blog frequently again but assignments kept on getting in the way. Finally getting paid to do things I enjoy doing - which is fun but because money is involved, I would always question whether I'm doing enough. 

Just got back from a trip to Germany with my best friend, Syaza - without Jared and Q which was sad but I enjoyed the company nonetheless. This is worth a blog post on its own.


Conclusion


I faced a lot of ‘reality’ which I was previously too naive to accept. I think that broadened my mind but also made me want to step out of this ideal concept that I made for myself. It also made me question a lot on why I'm doing what I'm doing. Why I should continue doing what I'm doing even though it's not reflecting my thoughts and feelings. It's making me question my faith, my principles and more than anything, it's making me question my heart. 

I've lost a lot of the confidence that I used to have and I'm now extremely introverted. I don't talk to people as much as I used to, I'm really keeping to myself a lot these days. And I feel like everyone would go through this phase in life. But through it all, I'm still getting through the days with some happiness. I've lost friends this year and I've lost trust in people that I used to trust. I've realised that sincerity is important in every relationship you have so I started drawing the line between acquaintances and friends.

For the past few years, since I left high school, my travelling game went up a few notches. Mainly because my parents and MARA decided to give me money to see the world. This will soon stop because 2018 will be my transition year to the actual adult life that I have, for the longest time, been delusional about living. Truth is, being an adult won’t get you money every month without working for it. 

I am unable to foresee 2018 being easier than 2017 as there seem to be a lot of challenges ahead but I do know that I'll learn a lot and I look forward to that... kind of. In the end, for every assignment you get, you'll end up submitting it in anyway. So it's the same with life, you'll get through the challenges in the end anyway. Stay strong everyone and happy new year. 

There were so many people involved in my 2017 and I did not get to record all of it but this is some that I managed to. Thank you for being involved my year whether you're in the photos or not.
It wouldn't have been a meaningful year without all of you. 





Sunday, November 12, 2017

Scared of Meeting People

The thought of having to meet someone new or someone I'm not close to scares me. I normally wouldn't just go up to someone (who aren't my friends) and talk to them but when I do have to, so many things will go around in my head. I would plan out the conversation, the way I approach them, how I would say hi, what I would do with my hands, whether I would stand or sit, how casual or formal I should be. It scares me. It usually takes me ages to just gather up the courage to talk to them.

It's the same through email too. I take so long to write emails because I just need it to be perfect. I would write, rewrite, get people to check it for me, get people to improve it for me, get people to proofread it for me and all just to confirm a meeting. But bit by bit, I'm improving. Since I started working, I've had to write quite a few emails and I don't take as long as I used to. I still use my mentor cum best friend when I'm unsure but I get less nervous before sending out emails these days.

This leads to a story of last week when I decided to email an academic staff without thinking through.  I wrote the email, read it through once and on the spur of the moment, sent it. I freaked out. Not only did I email her without thinking twice, I also initiated to meet up. But you know what, it wasn't so bad. I met up with her, we discussed about the entrepreneurial culture in the university, she referred me to someone and immediately after that, I emailed my manager/supervisor to set up another meeting.

I'm guessing that things get exaggerated in your head when you're nervous and think too long about it. So, if you have an unsent email in your inbox that you're too scared to send to someone because you're asking them a question or asking them for help, read it through once and just press the send button. If they don't answer your email, then it's not like you haven't tried. 

However, when it comes to meeting people... I still take ages to convince myself to just go and talk. But try convincing yourself nothing bad is going to happen. The other day, I approached someone in the co-working space (took me days, though) because I see her all the time. I didn't die and I gained a new acquaintance that I now say Hi to every time I go in for work. 

Life



Because it's the weekend and I'm tired of the Diamond, I told myself that I have to go to the park while the sun is still out and before it starts getting cold. So I did. I spread my mat out at the Botanical Garden and sat on it - the coolness from the grass went through but because the sun was out, it wasn't too bad. I managed to finish another chapter of a book I just bought from Amazon - Secrets of the Tomb: Skull & Bones, the Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power. Unfortunately, an hour later, the clouds started gathering up in front of the sun so I had to leave. However, I felt so much better after getting some fresh air. I felt more alive, I felt revived. I hope there won't be a day when I can't go out to the park or the woods when I need it.