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Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

Month

July 2015

Life Changing Experience

Life-changing is an adjective which means having such a strong effects that it changes one’s life while life-changing experience is the experience that changes one’s life. People everywhere go through various experiences in their lives. Every experience affects a person in some ways. The effects can be good, bad or combination of good and bad. For me, I have experienced a lot of things. Some affect me badly and some effects are good. However the experience that affects me intensely that I will never forget is my experience in the institute I studied at.

I was in Standard five back then when I participated in many competitions such as public speaking, choral speaking, debate and story-telling. The teachers simply choose me because I was the only student who is talented at that time. The teachers did not have to ask other students whether they want to participate or not for they were not interested at all. I was the only one who is eager with all these kind of things. I have many objectives for doing this but my main objective was to be outstanding and popular among the students and the teachers. At that time, I feel so comfortable that studying in primary school is not competitive at all.

Registering in lower secondary school, I rejected the offer to go to the boarding school. The reason was because I was not ready to be away from home, my family. Therefore, I just studied at a daily secondary school near my house. Same goes to my primary school, my lower secondary school also has been easy and nice to me. I was still the cleverest and most talented student in my batch. There was still no competition. I still participated in many competitions such as Young Scientist Competition, Competition of Memorizing the Qor’an, choral speaking and what not. Even though I did not really take any places in some competitions, the others might be even worse if they participate. This thought of mine made me even more comfortable. I did not feel like improving myself. Why do I need to improve myself when I am already at the top?

During my form four, I got an offer to study at MRSM Taiping. It was a hard decision to make. I went to meet the counselor to help me whether to stay or to accept the offer. He asked me to compare all the pros and cons between the two choices. At the end, I decide to accept the offer from MRSM Taiping. At that time, I was still not sure if my decision was correct. When I first stepped into the entrance gate of MRSM Taiping, I determined to be as outstanding and popular as I was in my primary school and lower secondary school. After a few weeks, I noticed a difference between my current school and my previous school. At my previous school, every event was conducted by the teachers and helped by the students while in MRSM Taiping, most events is planned and conducted by the student bodies, but with the teachers’ help. This was new to me. Back then when I was in lower secondary school, I was a school prefect and we had never been asked to conduct any event. So I was a bit shock with the system they are using since we were still in secondary school.

In MRSM Taiping, they have Student Representative Council (SRC) in which this body discuss, give ideas, make paper works and conduct events for the students. I tried my luck to be one of them, unfortunately I was rejected before the election. It was too competitive. The students there are different from my previous school, they are brilliant and they have high confidence level. Even so, I still not realize the mistake I have done during my lower secondary school. One day, the teachers organized a language week. Throughout the week, there were many competitions were held to choose a winner for each competition to represent our school to compete with other MRSMs. I tried my luck in forum and drama but I was not chosen for both. Only then, I realized that I was no more at the top. I realized that I need to improve. Wherever I am and whenever it is, whether among the best or among the worst, I must improve to be a better version of me. There is a saying goes “What comes around goes around”, which means when you are at the top, you will not always stay at the top, there will be times where you will be at the lowest point of your life. I must not stay in comfort for life is an unexpected journey. Therefore, I must get ready for the worst scenario that is going to happen.

The moral value from my experience is that being proud is okay but do not ever think that the world is yours. You need to get out from your comfort zone as saying goes “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is built for”. I relate this quote with myself by thinking that I am not putting so much effort for my SPM just to study locally when I can receive the offer to go abroad. I have a proof that my experience during school has changed my life and the way I see something. After my SPM result being announced, I applied for many scholarships and universities. At the end, I got two offers, one from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and one from Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) to study at INTEC Education College. UKM offered me to take ASASI PINTAR while JPA offered me to take American Degree Foundation Programme (ADFP) in Science in which I will fly to the United States during my first year degree. At first, I did not want to fly to the US as I will be away from my family and even my country. In addition, to study in the US, I need to have a strong mental state. I became scared and nervous and I felt like to just accept the offer from UKM. I tried to overcome my feeling and tried to think that in the US I can get many experiences and knowledge. I can improve myself because I am not in the comfort zone which is studying at UKM because it is near to my home. Therefore, for not making any more mistakes like before, I chose to accept the offer from JPA. I did not want to stay in my comfort zone anymore where I do things leisurely. I want to compete fairly with my friends while improving myself and succeed together.

In short, the event that changes my life is my experience studying in different kind of schools. Studying in primary school is different from secondary school and studying in non-boarding school is different from boarding school. Each of those schools leaves distinct effects on us which can be good or bad. As for me, my primary school and my lower secondary school affected me badly in term of making improvement while my upper secondary school which is a boarding school is an advantage for me to improve myself.

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ISLAMOPHOBIA

Islamophobia are formed from the word Islam and phobia. Islamophobia or anti-Muslim sentiment is a term of prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam or Muslims. This term entered into common English usage in 1997 and is used widely now. The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some scholars have defined it as a type of racism. Some commentators have stated an increase in Islamophobia resulting from September 11 attacks while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States, the United Union, and the secular nations.

From my view, Islamophobia should not have existed. This is because people in this world have their own rights to choose their belief. Even though some said Islamophobia is just a type of racism, this is not fair to the religion itself and also to Muslims because Islamophobia is only referring to Islam. This is different to racism, racism is general. As a Muslim, I feel insecure to meet some Non-Muslim. I am glad I live in a Malaysia which Islam is the main religion. For example, in Malaysia, being a Muslim woman who wears hijab is not a problem at all. Most of us wear hijab. As for me, even in other country, there should not be any problem. Wearing a hijab is your choice despite the obligation. We have to respect others and so do them.

Islamophobia is a serious matter in some countries only. Islamophobia is said to be a cancer due to its seriousness. There are some cases that can prove this, for example, the Chapel Hill shooting in North Carolina, the United States in February 2015. The deaths of dental-student Deah Barakat,Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha have their lives cut short, in a crime that seemingly had a bias component in it. There is another incident in Fort McMurray, Canada, where a well-respected Muslim community member was shot dead while answering his door. Besides, there are also incidents that have taken place in recent days. For example, on February 12, an Arab-American family was assaulted while shopping at a local Kroger, multiple families have the tires slashed on their vehicles on February 13, and on February 14, the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized with the red spray-painted hate messages. All these examples prove that Islamophobia should be looked into a serious discussion where the rights of all religions will be taken care of.

Due to Islamophobia, Muslims life have been affected especially those who live in a country with majority of its people are non-Muslims. Ever since the events of September 11, the intolerance of Muslims and hatred towards them has escalated. Islamophobia has stoked fears in the Muslim community across the U.S especially, which has the highest statistic of anti-Muslim sentiment. The current climate has contributed to the sense that Muslims in America will have to deal with the consequences of broader international issues beyond the scope of their own communities. There has been a big rise in physical attacks on Muslims and on their places of worship. This includes men, women and children being harassed in the streets, schools and at the work place. Muslims now are afraid to do their daily shopping, to go to work, to go to school and they are even afraid to go to the places of worship. Furthermore, there are also some cases where Muslim passengers were asked to leave the plane even after boarding because some of the Non-Muslim passengers were afraid of them. This whole scenario has caused the Muslim community to feel vulnerable. Moreover, there is a story I heard from someone in the internet where he said a friend of him was forced to drop out of an undergraduate course because of his Non-Muslims colleagues’ attitude towards him just because he is a Muslim. In short, Islamophobia does leave effects on Muslims.

In addition, Islamophobia does not just affect Muslims but Non-Muslims as well. It hurts those who are perceived to be Muslims or friendly to Muslims. For example, on August 11, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, six Sikh Americans, five men and one woman, victims of a terrorist attack were laid to rest. They were killed in their house of worship, the Gurdwara, where they had gathered for prayers and celebrations. This is maybe because of their outfit that makes the terrorists mistaken them as Muslims. A male Sikh must cover his hair with a turban while a male Muslim covers his head with a skull cap which looked almost the same. However, this is irrelevant. On the other hand, Islamophobic also affects economic relationships. For instance, in Australia, a South Australian company is set to lose its contract with an airline giant. Their food and drink manufacturers have been targeted by Facebook pages like Halal Choices and Boycott Halal in Australia for their decision to pursue the certification. This means when a company decides to drop the halal certification, the other company which maybe is their client who wants the halal certificate would end their contract. As a result, either one or both of them will face a loss.

In my opinion, Islamophobia is relevant in some cases but in other cases, it will become irrelevant. Islamophobia is relevant because there are some incidents that occur in which the incidents leads to an increase in Islamophobia. For example, since the September 11 attacks, Islamophobia increases especially in the United States. The September 11 attacks were a serious of four coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States on the morning of September 11, 2001. The news said that the attacks were done by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda while some said that they were a conspiracy. Therefore, when people acknowledge the attacks were made by Muslims, of course they became afraid and terrified of the Muslim community. This is why I said Islamophobia is relevant. Meanwhile, in some cases I don’t think Islamophobia is relevant. People are just being closed-minded. For example, there are cases where Muslim women who wear hijab are being attacked by Non-Muslims. There was once in London, the United Kingdom, where a Muslim woman was attacked for wearing hijab. When she was walking to collect her two children, she was approached by a number of women and they started to shouting abuse at her, they pull her hijab off and beat her. This kind of Islamophobia is irrelevant because different religion has different beliefs which everybody has to respect.

Since I am a Muslim and will be flying to the United States next year, I already have some thoughts in mind on how to tackle situations relating to Islamophobia. I searched the internet and do some readings on Muslims’ experiences in this matter. First and foremost, I will show them the good side of Islam. For instance, Islam teach its people to treat people nicely, respect aged people and love the kids, to always smile to each other, to greet people nicely and all the good things. I will do that kind of things to tackle the Islamophobic. Besides, I will have to have a great faith in Islam to avoid myself from being beaten by the Islamophobic like even when they throw filthy words at me and beat me for wearing hijab, I will not change my mind yet I will remain wearing hijab.

In conclusion, Islamophobia is not just a form of racism, it is more than that where people become afraid of the Muslim community and try to avoid them. However, nowadays the level of Islamophobia has said to be decreasing due to some surveys that are being conducted. This is a good news because there will be no more wars, no more attacks and no more deaths. The world will stay in peace.

References:

Lora Moftah, L. (2015, February 11). Chapel Hill Shootings: Muslim Community Fears Consequences Of Rising Islamophobia. International Business Times. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/chapel-hill-shootings-muslim-community-fears-consequences-rising-islamophobia-1813244

History.com Staff, (2010). 9/11 Attacks. History.com. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks

Garibaldi, G. (2012, August 11). The Sikh Temple Carnage, White Supremacy and Islamophobia. Loonwatchcom. Retrieved from http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/08/the-sikh-temple-carnage-white-supremacy-and-islamophobia/

Mooneye, M. (2014, November 15). Islamophobia Doesn’t Only Harm Muslims. Loonwatchcom. Retrieved from http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/11/islamophobia-doesnt-only-harm-muslims/

Olivia Harris, O. (2015, June 7). Muslim woman attacked in London ‘for wearing hijab’. RT English. Retrieved from http://www.rt.com/uk/265549-london-hijab-attack-racist/

Social Education Experience

I am now officially an American Degree Foundation Programme students at INTEC. Well, technically I have been here for about ten days. So, I think I may have known INTEC and the college students life quite well. Since I am now a college students, I will reflect on my social education experiance during my primary school, secondary school and also in INTEC. There are way more differences than similarities but yes I will try to balance it. So, my primary school is SK Sungai Megat Aris. It is located in a rural area, near my house. Yes, i live in a rural area surrounded by paddy fields. It is very calming you know. You may call me “village girl” if you want to. The same case goes to my secondary school which is SMK Raja Lope Nor Rashid. Later, I moved to MRSM Taiping during form 4 which is located near Bukit Larut, a forest i might say. After SPM, I enrolled to INTEC Education College in Shah Alam.

The first differences I can tell is the education system, how the marks are counted. Primary and secondary school are exam oriented studies. This is where I have to sit for the UPSR after six years having a great “play time”, PMR after three years of normal education and SPM after two years struggling the life of a teenager. Meanwhile, ADFP programme is not an exam oriented studies. Everything I do in class such as assignments, presentations, quizzes and what not will be given marks and they will be counted in my cgpa. It is a continuous effort.

During school, I rely on my teachers. For instance, the notes and exercises are all came from the teachers effort apart a small effort from the students. The teachers photocopied the notes for us, give them to us for free, teach us every single things and what not. INTEC is almost totally different from our primary and secondary school. We have to be independent here. The lecturer will not come to us asking what our problems really are and help. The lecturers as well have their own problems, responsibilities and stuffs to be done. If you have problems, you yourself have to make an effort to see the lecturer for consultation. You don’t want to fail, right? So, be independent.

On the other hand, we were obligated to follow the rules and regulations during our primary and secondary school. We must wear school uniform, socks and what not. We have to come early to school, no phones are allowed and no laptops. It was too strict right but well I will not agree if the government decide to allow the students to bring their phones to school, it is not necessary. INTEC or college life has nothing that is too strict like that. We are free to do anything, wears anything as long as they are not against the rules of INTEC. There are still rules, but it is not too strict. We can wear jeans, blouse, sneakers or anything, just bear in mind that we are in Malaysia. Furthermore, we can bring as many phones as we wish but don’t ever forget the lecturers’ rules and regulations too.

Prodeecing with the similarities,we have to make new friends whereever we go including at the primary school, secondary school and also in INTEC. Friends are important in our life. We give something to them and they will give it back to us in a different form. Do not just focus on the worthy. Friends are all human being too. They do make mistakes. We  have to accept their flaws.

Besides, any institutions we go to we will sit for examinations. We just cannot run from examinations whether we are in the primary school, secondary school as well as INTEC eventhough INTEC use the carry marks system. Most of us do not like this fact, but just bear with it, the world is not yours.

Furthermore, the class layout is almost the same during my primary school, secondary school and in INTEC. Eventhough INTEC is a college, the students do not have their lecture in the theater hall, but in a class with desks and chair just like primary and secondary school. The difference is in primary school, they use wood chair instead of plastic chair.

In my primary school, I don’t think there is racism because there were only two to three indians. In my secondary school, I guess there may be racism. The malays only talk among them and also the chinese. The malays make their groups and the chinese too have thier clique. Yet we still respect each other well. In INTEC, I guess the students respect each other despite their different races.

Next, I do have problems with the social economic status. I came from a middle class family. I do not came from a contented family. I cannot just ask anything I want from my parents. Seeing most of my friends in INTEC wear or used branded items, i kind of feel so humble and shy. During my primary school and lower secondary school, this kind of feeling has never existed. This feeling came to me during my upper secondary school at MRSM Taiping. But I am glad because they never laugh at me.

In all three schools i went to and INTEC, academics and non-academics are both important that we can improve our leadership skills. I have to keep it balanced but i don’t. I was so into academics that i cannot resist homeworks and revisions especially science and mathematics subject. It did not mean that I do not participate at all, well co-curricular is a must for school students. I was once a librarian, vice president of mathematics club and i do participate in competitions.

In conclusian, the life as student during primary school, secondary school and in INTEC differ from one another despite the similarities.

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