Run For Cleft 2016

Hello, for this year Run For Cleft , i would like to share one more story about my journey as a cleft, last year i wrote I am a cleft palate and this is my story . This year things have changed pretty differently, I have graduated my Master. And yes, that is one big smile after all the hard work I put into (also from other people who has been supporting me in their own way).

This smile is what you get to see after the Cleft children gets the surgery they need, its not just about repairing the gap between their palate or their mouth. But its also to help these kids, eat better, talk clearly and be more confident in their daily life.

Self confidence is a journey that any teenager have to go through, there can be many factors but self image contributes a lot. To other cleft palate patients, i hope that you will learn to love yourself and the flaws you have. Even normal kids go through their self esteem period so don’t let your condition makes you feel inferior.

I am fortunate that my parents did not treat me differently, instead I felt like a normal girl despite my condition. And its only when I go to school or basically out of my home that people start to point out my cleft palate.

But there are those who doesn’t treat me differently, so i believe that when people are used to see people with cleft, the more they know about the cleft palate , the more they are aware of our existence and that its normal.

What is not normal is, how you treat yourself and see yourself as. You are who you want to see in your life, so if you believe that you deserve more than what you already are , go out there and grab it, find your own path or create one. Don’t let your condition dim your light, be your own light and light up other peoples life by being who you are.

So to all those generous and kind people out there, contribute as much as you can and help these young aspiring doctors-to-be to make a difference in these cleft kids life. Help them to put a smile on their face, may God bless you and your family with good health, people who love you and all the happiness in the world!Thank you! 🙂

 

 

 

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Being Malay

 

I asked Abdullah Waggie, a Cape Malay, what does it mean to be a  Malay and why he is seeking the Malays. He replied that he was once asked the same question when he was in Indonesia, and he answered that when you find a true malay, you will find a true Islam. To him, being a Malay means that you are a muslim and therefore it is intertwine with each other. After all,  it is unlikely for a Malay not to be recognize as a muslim and this is the same when Malay Kings back then embrace Islam, all of his subjects becomes a muslim too. The Malay King then adopted the term ‘Sultan’ to remove himself from any association with Allah swt.  At the time, the Malay Kings uses titles like ‘Dewa’  or ‘Maha’ that refers to God like association. Therefore, ‘Sultan ‘ was use to replace these names for it is in the teachings of Islam not to associate with other than Allah swt what more calls himself God like ‘Dewa’ and ‘Maha’.  In Arabic language, ‘Sultan’ refers to ‘Strength’, ‘Authority’ and ‘Rulership’ and since the influence of Islam was said to come from Arab merchants that is likely to come during the Ottoman period, it is natural for the King to adopt the name ‘Sultan’ to replace its former name.

Abdullah Waggie answer on the Malays  strike me to question about myself, born as a Malay and in a muslim family , what does it mean by being Malay? Is it how I wear my Malay dress? Is it by speaking Malay? Is it by the food? I didn’t have an answer. But one thing I was sure of, is that being a Malay means that I need to be able to know who I am first and recognize my own heritage.  It seems like very few people wants to be a Malay and tries to separate themselves from being a Malay and a Muslim as two different thing.

When in reality, being a Malay is not separable from being a Muslim. For when Islam came and the Malay King embrace Islam, so does the Sultan integrated Islam in all aspects of their life. Sultan Muhammad Shah (1424-1444) who later applies Islam teaching in his administration by integrating it into the Malay custom, royal protocols, commerce and even the Laws such as ‘Undang-undang Laut Melaka’   use during 1400-1511 which I myself have had the opportunity to read the translated version Liaw Yock Fang when I wrote a paper on the usage of gold as currency during Malacca Sultanate period  . This law gave birth to other Malay Sultanate Law such as Undang-Undang Johor, and Undang-Undang Pahang whom the Malacca Sultanate descendants were sent to become the Sultan in the respective land.

Mosques were set up, religious scholar were brought in to teach the Malay Sultan family and also his subjects, other laws such as Hukum Kanun Melaka also had a very strong influence of Islamic Law applied to the Malacca legal system. Hence, the Malay tradition also was modified to ensure that it does not go out of Islamic teaching. So much so that at one point, people associated becoming a muslim means becoming a Malay which is almost true.  Assimilation to the local custom is nothing new and still happens until today, for example the Baba & Nyonya of the Malacca and Penang Peranakan also adopted some of the Malay custom without embracing Islam into their way of cooking, their dress and language but still maintains some of their Chinese custom and culture.

In modern day, many Malays have also adopted western culture and some Arab culture into their life. So much so that even the Sultan of Johor spoke of the tendency of Malays to adopt Arab culture. Not to forget the Korean wave that strongly influence some of the Korean fans in Malaysia which invited criticism by non-Korean fan towards these K-poppers.

So who are the Malays? And what does Being Malay is about? By definition, in Malaysia Law Article 160, Malays means those who:

  1. A Muslim
  2. Speaks Malays
  3. Practices Malay custom

So if you are at least two of these three, you are 2/3 Malay already, and if you are a muslim, you are by definition considered a Malay. But the very fact that one has to be a Muslim gives the Malays an identity that one cannot run away from, a Muslim.

So to be a Malay, one has to first know who they are born as, a Muslim and the teaching of Islam has already been a practice in Malay custom. So to be Malay, not only means, we need to know what being a muslim is, but what are the teachings in Islam. And to be a muslim, one has to learn about Islam, to learn Islam means, one had to know who is the One who created us.

Because, you can never see a Malay without seeing Islam in them and whenever one act of a Malay goes viral, automatically people will associate it with his or her identity not to reflect what Islam is. Similarly when we go abroad, Muslims regardless where they come from ,  are associated with Islam wherever they go. Therefore one bad act of a Muslim, those who is ignorant about Islamic teaching will associate such act with Islam. So, being a Malay is not something that we should be ashamed of or feel superior about but an identity that should be celebrated and proud of our heritage that goes a long way back historically. How Malay Kingdom like Aceh, Malacca, Pattani, Riau Lingga expanded their empire to the rest of Nusantara or Malay Archipelagos and even the Malay’s in Capetown whom in 1645 was exiled by the Dutch company to curb Islam rising and then able to spread Islam in Capetown instead by building their own Malay community.

Therefore, being a Malay is a heritage that each of us should find out our roots and origins instead of trying to remove ourselves from who we are because wherever we go, we take ourselves with us, else, there won’t be proverbs like “Bagaikan kacang lupakan kulitnya”

The skin is what protects our body from the sunlight, to ‘whiten’ our skin so that we look ‘whiter’ and fairer’ , our heritage and culture is what makes us Malay. So celebrate our heritage, a beautiful ‘Sawo Matang’  or ‘Hitam Manis’ (brown skin or sweet dark skin coloured), petit , mostly black hair who would generously go out of their way to help people and feed them, who is never afraid of obstacles and brave to explore the world,  who wherever you throw to or life throw at us we survive , because “Benih yang baik bila dicampak / jatuh ke laut, menjadi pulau” (Good seed when they are thrown anywhere, will become an island ), who despite climbing the mountain and reaching the top, would never look down on people and like the proverb “Bawa resmi padi, semakin berisi semakin tunduk” or paddy rice the heavier they grow, the lower they bow and become more humble  and giving to the community around them instead, who is soft spoken and yet knows when to stand on their ground, who protects their family and people around them when one is threatened by harm, who cooks for the people and welcome the guest with their hospitality, im sure that at least one of these traits has been passed down from one family to their children throughout their childhood until now. Think of how our parents taught us and you will find a lot of Malay culture are in fact has a lot of Islam influence on how Islam taught us to behave and treat those around us in a way that pleases Allah swt.

* In return, Abdullah Waggie asked me what does the word ‘Melayu’ means and its origin,well, thats going to take one separate article

Change

Change is never easy but sometimes its necessary.

I was working for about a month, it seems like a great place to start with although I may not like the environment. We were down from 3 to only two, and then down to only me as the only staff. It seems rather crazy how i managed to juggle between being all 3 of that into one person in charge of the whole office. Its a small office though but the stakeholders involves were wide enough I literally have no life, what more time for myself. I can even count the times I actually had time for myself for nothing but sleep. And i didn’t like it at all.

I do not want to be one of those people who dreads monday, so even if i hated going to work, i did not want to hate being able to go to work and have a job. When i received my first pay, I didn’t felt happy, I just see it like a number on my bank account. I don’t even know what to do with it other than save most of it to pay my student loan and pay off some of the advanced money my dad gave me for renting the house nearby.

Having money did not make me happy, even the job did not make me happy, I was nothing but empty. It was obvious, the signs, that I was not growing , except my management skills and networking skills , I was stagnant. Everything became an unpredictable routine. I live by the week, week by week, and suddenly one month contract are over.

And suddenly that very sign made me quit, how they did not respect the fact I am just a human being, and not a robot. Even machine breaks down when you keep on working on it too much. I was exhausted.

That was it, the signs even though I later on find myself lost when i didn’t have a job afterwards. But that day when I no longer have to work for them, i had the best , longest sleep I’ve ever had in a month. Though at times I still find myself waking up only to feel like going to work and be reminded that I quit  lol!

Still, I have plans, just that those plans takes time to plan it out. It was hard at first trying not to worry much on the sudden don’t-have-a-job phase but at least my parents supported my decision and understand that it is better to not stay where I am not happy.

So now, whatever happens, I hope will lead me to the path I am supposed to go. But in the mean time, I will just focus on what is in front of me rather than dwell on the past. The future is now.

International Conference on Local Knowledge (ICLK) 2016

ICLK 2016.jpg

 

The organisers of the Regional Conference on Local Knowledge (RCLK) have embarked on a new initiative by expanding the scholarly discourse on Local Knowledge through its Regional Conferences since 2011 onto the international stage in 2015.
This initiative is known as the International Conference on Local Knowledge (ICLK). ICLK would therefore like to invite experts, scholars and practitioners to the conference which will be held from 27h – 28th July 2016 in St Giles Wembley, Penang, Malaysia.
Local knowledge refers to knowledge and expertise which originate from local and indigenous cultures that have developed over time. Its practices have been absorbed naturally and effortlessly into the local communities. The study on Local Knowledge is aimed at enabling social transformation through a paradigm shift that forefronts local epistemology.
Abstract submission

15 April 2016

Abstract acceptance
29th April 2016
Full paper submission
30th June 2016
Final registration and payment of fees
30th June 2016
Conference
27th – 28th July 2016
CONTACT:
International Conference on Local Knowledge 2016
Conference Secretariat
Sekretariat Kearifan Tempatan
Level 3, Toray-USM Building C26,
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Gelugor,
Penang, MALAYSIA.
Tel : +604 – 6536777 / +604 – 6536779
Tel : +604 – 6536781
Email : iclkusm@gmail.com