Ride to Cameron Highlands…concurring the fear, building the confidence…

It was my son’s wish initially, and I thought it may not be a bad idea at all, furthermore the Mrs had also whispered to me the previous week, ‘feels like we could go for another ride…’. So I jokingly said we should go for Phuket (bike’s week, our good friend AH is going there), but that would be well beyond our own reach in view of time constraint and all that.

So I casually mentioned our intention in the whatsapp group, hoping that one of those adventerous riders like AKZ or NT will respond. On the day we set out for the RV at Karak BHP there were four of us, plus my Mrs as a pillion. So three Triumph riders and another KZ9 Kawa V600.

AKZ who led the convoy suggested we took the Karak-Sg Koyan route going and coming back via Simpang Pulai. We stopped at Bentong for a laidback breakfast at famous Toki Lemang. Toki is located just along our route to Cameron anyway.

As expected, the two young men sprinted away in no time charging along the twisty terrain of  Karak Highway with style, and subsequently a long series of bends along the inner road leading to Sg Koyan. I stayed behind a bit, and later decided to be the last, letting KZ9 who is a steady and experienced rider to be in front.

Recalling the near-fall experience from the Thailand ride I have since been a freak at corners. Added with the responsibility of keeping the pillion safe, I just employed a ‘safe mode’ whenever tackling corners, slow down as much, and merely do a ‘stage 1’ body positioning! which in a number of instances would not be sufficient without enough motorbike lean, but leaning had caused scare too, since I encountered a few peg-scrapping episodes.

Nonetheless, the Cameron ride turned out to be a thrilling ride experience that had rejuvenated my confidence in handling corners, thanks to the three guys (that, include my son then hehe)….due to the nature of a rather relaxing journey, no pressure to catch up with the big group, each one of us was able to enjoy at our own pace, and by that I meant it wasn’t slow of course, knowing those two enthusiastic young riders. There were ample time to ‘experiment’ with varying style of approaching or exiting corners and hence feel the bike’s reaction to it (I should rather be careful here coz road riding is in no way a time to experiment! what I mean was within the scope of applying a more or less ‘correct’ style, just the extent by which it was applied could differ a bit at different time point…).

The onward journey was a much more lively experience, since the road was clear most of the time and I admitted it was a well maintained road. This in contrast to return journey via Simpang Pulai, though the road was supposed to be better than that of Tapah’s, we were stuck in a long string of traffic congestion, ended up almost two and half hours of 100km ride out to Tapah R&R. That was a bit tiring, though once we were out of the congestion, we started to enjoy the twisty roads again, albeit it started raining a bit.

We had a short high tea session at Boh Tea outlet, and a late lunch/pre-dinner at Tapah R&R.

Once we exited the highway, I sprinted fast ahead of everyone and we arrived home just before 7pm. That’s a 11 hours of outing (we started 8am) thank God, everything went well and what a fabulous ride memory.

The Title…just a Test

Today’s note is a short one

Title and recognition is something we as human cherish. When you receive awards or titles from a person or authority, it is a form of recognition of your accomplishment, talent, ability, contribution to society or sacrifice.

However, you may not be the most contributory or accomplished person and yet receive the title, while others who could be more deserving, don’t. Well, this is the rule of this world, since you are a human and the one awarding the titles also human, who don’t see everything.

Therefore the worldly title is temporary and will perish. Another thing, a person who has been given awards or title by people, may not necessary be awarded by God, or a sign that God is pleased with him. On the other hand, this worldly title could be a test for that person, if he does not use it in the right way, it could actually be a curse for him.

Whatever we have in this world, titles, grades, degrees, wealth etc will perish, whatever with God will remain. It is only what we GIVE to God on in His Way that will last and be of value in the very long ‘future’.

Better late than never OR Never late is better?

At last I found someone who wrote about this illness, hey its called TARDINESS? and there is such term as CLIPS: Chronically Late Insane People, aw…that’s a shame. But let’s admit it. No, no, I am not always late. But sometimes, there is this urge that well, I could be a bit late, it should be alright. So, let’s kill it forever, well, it won’t be easy.

As a start, trash out that phrase ‘better late than never’, seriously, instead insist on ‘never late is better!’ of course in real life, you could hardly expect ‘always’ or ‘never’ perfectly.

This is the link to the BBC article:

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Drama Monday blues dengan kelipan warna MERAH, BIRU, KUNING DAN HIJAU

Awal pagi lagi saya mengenakan baju MERAH dan bersiap menghantar anak dengan motor BIRU ke sekolah. Anak yg berseragam BIRU kena datang tahfiz seawal 7 pagi, macam biasa kalau tak anak, bapak, ada aja sebab nak terlewat ke sekolah…di pagi Monday blues pulak tu.
Selesai menghantar anak terus meluncur ke MRR2 menuju tempat kerja. Perjalanan di pagi hari selalunya memang cukup hectic walaupun dengan motosikal tak begitu sukar untuk sampai on time. Mencelah barisan kereta, bas dan lori sambil pulas throttle sekali sekala, huh macam mat rempit pulak terasa.
Sampai di perkarangan tempat kerja, di roundabout, macam biasa stuck lama sebab kenderaan berlumba-lumba nak masuk lebih-lebih lagi bila dah lewat dinihari ni. Lalu sangkut di belakang Myvi KUNING yang malu-malu nak pusing roundabout…tak pasti mana arahnya…oh staf rupanya keluar roundabout menghala ke Kecemasan, mungkin beliau pemandu yang amat sopan berdisiplin. Alright, sampailah ke perkarangan pintu masuk parkir. Parkir motor masuk melalui lorong sempit kiri, di situ berdiri dua orang hamba Allah, pekerja kontrak gamaknya berbaju HIJAU, muncung alat grasscutter malambai keluar, menyempitkan laluan pulak. Tiba-tiba baru perasan ada sesuatu yang tak kena. Di depanku ada seorang biker sedang berdiri mengimbas kad untuk buka ‘barrier’. Rupanya di depan beliau ada kejadian luar biasa berlaku. Ternampak dua orang awek berseragam BIRU, seorang sedang menolak motor dan seorang lagi berdiri di sebelah nampak blurr. Tapi mereka berdua menyongsang arah! Laluan parkir ini sehala (one way), dan awek baju BIRU ni dah tersalah arah. Apa pun dapat ku rasa awek berdua ni sedang menghadapi krisis. Ok, hero datang. Sedang aku terhegeh-hegeh nak menongkat motor yang berat besi tu, berlari makhluk baju HIJAU tadi ke arah wanita tersebut. Palang dah terbuka dan biker didepanku dah bersedia nak bergerak, tapi beliau tidak boleh bergerak sebab ada halangan di laluan oleh dua orang wanita tersebut. Aku melangkah pantas cuba menghulur bantuan.
‘Nak keluar atau masuk nih?’ Tanyaku pantas. Dengan tersipu-sipu penunggang tersebut menjawab, ‘Eh, saya nak keluar…tapi tak biasa…salah laluan ni’. Oh baru kusedar apa berlaku. Si mamat baju HIJAU telah menjalankan tugasnya terus menyambar motor tersebut untuk ditolak keluar…oh motor ada clutch rupanya, kena ‘neutral’ kan gear dulu. Aku tolong menolak motor keluar, di hujung laluan – terhalang oleh motor biker yang bersedia nak masuk, dan beliau tak boleh berundur kerana di belakang beliau ada motor milikku yang di parkir…jagi kami melencong keluar, lalu ku angkat ekor motor untuk meluruskan dan dapat ditolak keluar. Kedua wanita baju BIRU kini siap untuk menunggang semula.

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Belum cukup berpuas hati, aku menoleh ke arah mereka…hmmm nampak macam tak biasa bawak motor nih…dahla motor clutch…tapi apakan daya aku terpaksa meluncur turun dengan motor sebab di belakang dah ada drama barisan motor-motor yang menunggu dengan resah disebabkan kelewatan sebab krisis awek baju BIRU tersebut.
Cepat-cepat aku parking motor di ruang parkir kereta yang diperuntukkan khas buatku. Ini ruang individu, dan kami terpaksa bayar setiap bulan, mulai tahun lepas RM100 pada hospital. Ada yang kata sedekah, ada yang kata ini cara kita menyumbang balik kepada universiti…apa2 pun harapnya wang bayaran itu sampai untuk tujuan-tujuan baiklah.
Aku berjalan keluar, sengaja melalui lorong pejalan kaki menuju keluar. Tepat seperti dugaanku, wanita berbaju BIRU tersebut masih tercegat di depan gate macam tak tahu apa nak buat. Mesti masalah tak tahu bawa motor clutch nih…kelihatan seorang Pak Guard datang menghampiri beliau dan mengajar macamana nak ‘neutral’ kan gear dengan clutch dan hidupkan enjin motor semula. Huh, rupanya setiap kali aku terlepas peluang membantu…sempat sampai dan senyum pada Pak Guard…’dah okay kan’….dengan kelihatan gayat penunggang wanita baju BIRU mula bergerak cuba mengimbang motor meninggalkan perkarangan hospital. Aku melambai memberi isyarat pada kerata yang datang dari arah bertentangan untuk perlahankan kenderaan, beri laluan pada motorsikal tersebut. Awek berdua hilang dari pandangan, mudah-mudahan dipermudahkan urusan mereka, Amiin.

Pengajarannya, kita semua tak kira MERAH, BIRU, HIJAU, KUNING hidup sebagai anggota masyarakat, ayuh saling bekerjasama.

Bawa motor ber clutch perlukan pengalaman dan kemahiran asas, kalau dah biasa menunggang motor dan bersedia ‘adjust’ stail menunggang dengan mengendali clutch, tak susah sangat, first time pon boleh jalan dah. Tapi kalau first time lebih sesuai untuk cuba-cuba atau setakat bersantai. Kalau ada keperluan mendesak janganlah menyusahkan diri cuba sesuatu yang baru, dibimbangi jadi masalah pulak sebab tak biasa mengawal motor ber clutch seperti kes ini.

Peluang membantu atau mengubah keadaan mungkin datang sekali saja, kalau kita teragak-agak ambil tindakan mungkin akan melepas peluang…perlu berfikir pantas dan analisa suasana…tak salah sentiasa bertanya

Jangan marah kalau ada orang buat silap, mungkin memang tak sengaja, tak tahu jahil ke…beri maaf lebih utama, kalau dapat bantu lagi baik, mungkin mereka memang ada urusan yang kritikal kita pun tak tahu…dah tengah kalut begitu memang tiada masa nak bertanya

Sekian coretan Monday blues hari ini…

A gentle cornering lesson at Klawang and savoury brunch with satay tulang

It’s been a long time since I last joined this bunch of lovely people from the Triumph Ratpack group. Mostly due to time constraint and other issues. This morning I had a bit of free time and decided to be in their company to enjoy the twisty roads of Klawang.

I posted a late message to the group last night “I hope to join. But not sure if I will take the Bonnie or Street (Triple)…since two of the members joining are Street riders😊….hmmm but the Street could be met with higher expectation though…what a dilemma. Whatever it is see you guys in the morning”

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This is a dilemma I face whenever both bikes are available for the ride… Yeah usually the son follows me for the ride and he will take the Street and I am left with the Bonnie. Knowing most of the Ratpack who join the morning ride will be on their classic bikes, I should have taken my Bonnie. However it so happened the Street was just out of the garage after warded for three months….so its about time to give it a good test. Furthermore I found my skill of handling the naked bike has deteriorated these days since I have not been riding it much, it almost become the boy’s transport till the accident happened.

I fitted the tailbag (alas I still have my fron tank bag but could not use it as one of the locking harness was lost during the incident or repair). The tailbag is useful to keep some light stuff and if I decide to bring home goodies for the family. I do not need the rain jacket as I was wearing the full suit leather, which is waterproof.

During the night I was awake a few times and heard the sound of heavy rain….means there may be a possibility the ride may be cancelled. I had experience riding to Klawang with some other young guys before who were obsessed with weather, they will abort the Klawang mission when it start to drizzle or even when heavy cloud sighted on the horizon.

But Yus the leader of the gang this morning was very determined. He posted at 7am that he will keep his intention of meeting us at the rendezvous (RV) point despite the uncertain weather. As I got out of the house I could sense the road a bit wet and the weather did look a bit gloomy. Not deterred by the outlook I began the ride. It took me around 15minutes to arrive at the RV point, Hulu Langat Shell station. I was welcomed by Yus and the rest of the gang.

The list of riders were
1) Yusseri
2) Raja
3) Alvin
4) NormD
5) Ikwan
6) Alphy
7)Cheng
8. Hj Megat Street Triple R
9. Eddy
10. Mustafa
And myself of course

Yus confirmed that they were proceeding regardless of weather. So we began rubbing tyres on the rather wet road…at one point we ran over a puddle…yet no sign of giving up by these guys. I was a bit hesitated and tried to keep at low speed, keeping just within the group led by Raja on his Thruxton R. Raja stopped at the junction of Klawang road just to gather everyone again.

Short video link (use high quality view) here

I had done this Klawang ride 3 times before but usually I would not ride fast. The first and second time with the MyIkram Bikers, and on the first ride I had an overshoot, they guys were quick to notice and ensured that I was ok. Since then I knew what Klawang is made of, and despite the high enthusiasm, I usually choose to ride at a slower pace. On the second and third rides I took the Bonneville, it felt easier to handle and gave me more confidence, though I still did not go at high speed.

I noticed from the start the group tended to split to two…the faster riders 4-5 of them and the rest. After the short stop it took me a while before rolling the tyres then I noticed the faster group have disappeared from view. I kept my pace a bit faster but not too much on view of the not so crispy dry road. Then there were a large group of Ducati riders who went at speed, I was overtaken by them one after another…aah let them. At some point I tried to stay behind them, copying their moves and body lean but it proved too stressful. That’s it I have to admit I am not a sportsbike rider haha…so I should forgive myself for riding at a shameful pace…be it as long as I enjoy the ride and be safe.

Luckily somewhere halfway the faster riders had stopped on the roadside awaiting. So I stopped my bike awaiting the rest. Yus arrived and said we were about 30km to the destination, restoran Satay Tulang Durich Jelebu

We continued the journey again the same ride pattern with seemingly more of the riders in the faster group so I followed suit. Hmmm comparing to the Bonnie (I rode it last time on my Klawang ride) the Street Triple is fun with its smooth 3 inline though a bit stressful as I have to give it more bodily push at corners….unlike the Bonnie in which it felt more natural and less leaning, while its higher torque makes it quicker to.come out of corner…maybe I am too old to make full use of the Street features I supposed.

But the Street is great with its humming sound and strong pace on the straight, leaning and turning it feels like one so solid….unlike the Bonnie that occasionally stutter badly when pushed hard. So in short I enjoyed the ‘gentle’ cornering lesson on my Street what more in the company of these awesome crowd.

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We arrived at the Satay Tulang Durich Jelebu around 9.30am. The owner, Rizuan welcome us and said he was ready to serve the brunch. Yus ordered satay – tulang, kambing, ayam & daging. He also served us nasi lemak. Rizuan said he opened the restaurant specifically at Yus request…wow…and his own version of satay tulang has gained popularity that he regularly received many orders for delivery. He usually opens in the evening and serves nasi ayam and satay, though he can also prepare other variety of dishes including rendang, lemang, lontong etc. The satay was delicious and I ordered to take away.

I must admit that I do not know most of these guys yet they were easygoing. I knew Mustafa of course he came to my house 2 years ago, and Ikhwan whom I bought the Zard from. Yus shared his experience riding the Tiger Xc which I was interested in, and a brief discussion took place of the ‘low’ version Tiger XC which they think FB does stock them, while Eddy recalled his hiccup with the Ducati, now he has his passion on the Thruxton and he looked cool riding without wearing jacket, just like a real gentleman!…Cheng is a quiet yet capable guy who handled his Bonnie competently, at the end of the stint we were riding close to each other till exited the Lekas highway, and shortly after he disappeared in the thick of traffic – he said he was heading for KLCC. Raja I knew from a conversation at the FB showroom a while ago, a guy who owns five bikes if I could recall correctly, and has gathered the dust from many countries with his bikes. Haji Megat is an amazingly humble Street Triple R rider, perhaps the only rider who did not overtake me at any moment, hmm at least I learn that you do not have to be riding the naked machine very aggressively sometimes…Alphy is a humble and composed rider, he rides the Tiger XRX, knows the road well and seems to handle his machine very confidently, just by the look of him I guess he has ridden many long destinations. Norman is the rider who sat beside me at the restaurant, he was trying to persuade me to prescribe him a tranquilizer.

 

I learned that most of these guys do own more than one bike. What I really enjoy about the classic community, they are a mixed kind of riders, many are mature people with varying degrees of experience in riding, but they do have passions with their classic bikes – they are casual, fun seeking and sociable. Most of them take their classic bikes for short rides (some exception like Raja and Mustafa who do take their classics for long journey alternating with the adventure touring bikes that they also own) and not many that I know sue their classics for commuting to work (like what I do).

Thank God everyone made it home safely. During our brunch Yusseri informed us there was one of the bikers belonged to other group earlier on who overshot and ended up on the bushes. That sounded scary, so we were right to be more cautious.

What a lovely morning to spend in the company of these awesome Ratpack riders

Setiap kamu adalah pemimpin…

Pengajaran dari peristiwa hari ini mengenai kepimpinan masyarakat
1. Sebagai Muslim, asas memimmpin bermula dalam solat. Seorang Muslim akan sentiasa berusaha untuk solat jamaah, baik di rumah, di masjid, di musolla shopping dsb, Istiqamah seseroang dalam solat berjemaah itu akan jadi nilai pandangan umum. ‘Kebolehan’ untuk memimpin atau mengajak orang lain (termasuk orang yang tak dikenali) untuk bersolat jamaah adalah ukuran minima seseorang Muslim itu boleh memimpin masyarakat.
hmmm teringat beberapa insiden terjumpa hamba Allah yang tak nak diajak solat jamaah, jom solat sekali – geleng kepala. Eh takpe, saudara jadi Imam, saya ikut – geleng kepala…takpelah katanya. Kejadian spt ini jarang-jarang, paling kurang kita dah cuba, inilah usaha ‘dakwah’ dan taaruf paling minima.
2. Orang melihat dan menilai peribadi kita, betul sebagaimana pesanan Mufti Menk. Buat seorang Muslim, dengan menunjukkan akhlak yang baik (dalam setiap urusan, ibadah, muamalah dengan orang, percakapan dll) ini adalah langkah pertama untuk menarik kepercayaan orang. Tetapi ia satu yang fitrah bukan dibuat-buat, dan orang dapat menilai hanya dengan melihat, mereka mungkin juga menilai ahli keluarga, isteri, anak2 sebab fitrahnya tentulah individu ini memberi pengaruh pada keluarga, kalau diri nampak baik, keluarga tunggang langgang, mungkin ada yang tak kena di situ…
3. Anda mungkin mahu merubah kepimpinan atas, masyarakat pun sudah mahu dan sedia berubah. Tetapi kepimpinan atas tak bersedia melepaskan jawatan….malah manipulasi proses pemilihan kepimpinan….dalam hal ini sifat tawaduk dan menunggu takdir saja tak cukup. Strategi untuk merealisasikan agenda perubahan perlu melibatkan berbagai peringkat, pada masa yang sama usaha mendidik dan berdakwah perlu berterusan, jangan setakat tunggu pemimpin berubah, sedangkan masyarakat pula masih tak bersedia…
4. Sejauh manakah penyokong-penyokong anda bersedia menyokong malah berdepan risiko demi merealisasikan perubahan? Di belakang mungkin boleh berkata begitu begini, tetapi bersediakah mereka menyatakan sokongan di depan khalayak ramai, berdebat mempertahankan calon mereka….ini semua bergantung sejauh mana anda menyediakan/memimpin penyokong-penyokong tersebut, jangan buat anggapan mereka akan sedia mempertahankan anda tanpa membuat sebarang persediaan, situasi yang tak dijangka…

A woman leads the way in education…who is behind her?

One of the cliches that had been circulating around is the following sentence, in which the reader is required to put appropriate punctuations
A WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING
Many man would have put a coma after the woman, but a clever woman has put the most appropriate punctuation and it became like this
A WOMAN, WITHOUT HER, MAN IS NOTHING!

When a woman complains and a man listens…

I think I want to quit….she whispered.
May be not yet….my simple reply. I sat closer and put my arm around her shoulder, fingers gently stroking her hair…
That must be her tenth or eleventh time of ‘tempting’ me to say yes. But even the last time when I did, she still carried on. One day she came back really look exhausted, eyes swollen with tears. I can’t cope anymore….too many complaints…everything I did was wrong….she murmured. After a long conversation (well, most of the time I just listened, my only strength being a patient listener) she cooled down. We spoke and spoke about it again. I did not want to interfere in the school affair. She is the Headmistress, she practically runs every bit of the school, inevitably there are always problems, and any unpleasant things happened at school will bother her. Often time, after the school board meeting she will share certain issues (I kept it to myself, its confidential afterall), have I registered everything she said, I would have become sleepless and exhausted as much or even more….woman, you know is good in telling you everything, while man is generally more reluctant. When stressed, women talk, but men under stress will withdraw into their inner ‘caves’ and keep quiet.

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Long ago, a man met a woman, history began
She has been a resounding success.
What began more than 20 years ago, had materialised into a colourful history. And I always would like to claim the credit, even if I don’t deserve it. It was her quality.
One day, 21 years ago, during a meeting at an Islamic school in Dublin Ireland there were voices of desperation, as there were shortage of women activitsts to help build the school in the community. I told one of the committee members, that there is going to be a very good muslimah from Malaysia coming to Ireland, she will actively participate and possibly take a leading role…and that news really pleased them. It was a promise came true. Only later they knew the ‘woman’ I meant was my future wife, who joined me to live in Dublin following our marriage.
She began in a small way, involved in the study circle among the young Muslim girls, organising their camps and other indoor and outdoor activities. Then she gradually got involved in the community school, many people liked her and she quickly gained their trust, more so because the husband is someone they knew for long. She started to get involved in the teaching and later recruited as a board member of the school. Meanwhile she continued her activism in the community, making herself known as a representative of the Malaysian Muslim community there.
With such a unique background, when we finally returned home to Malaysia for good, it wasn’t long before she was offered a post as a teacher in the preschool of Adni Islamic School. Yes it was not a very prestigious position. But I was happy enough, knowing that such a position will help her to continue her interest in education, while giving her ample time to manage the children, as we just began new life back home.
It wasn’t long before she climbed in rank to be one of the assistants to the Principal, maintaining the same commitment in the preschool education and later the primary school teaching. But she was never satisfied remaining in the same position all the time, she wanted to move further. Finally she quit Adni and told me she just wanted a rest so she could follow me everytime I go abroad! That’s not a problem with me of course a pleasure to have her company, but at the same time I wanted her to progress further. There was not a long gap, when, in 2011 Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia WP initiated the community education project, which aimed at building more Musleh schools at each state. This was the start of the Sekolah Islam Al-Amin WP Wangsa Maju, when they invited her to be part of the project committee. As the committee began planning seriously, they needed someone with a sound background in teaching plus experience in the preschool to add uniqueness to their brand new school. And Wan fit their requirement perfectly.

A new beginning…the making of a diamond
I took a deep breath, it was great, great news. It also meant she is holding a very important and busy position in the community, and as I am becoming busier in my practice, it only meant our life will ever become more hectic. But I did not see that as a hindrance, we had to keep going in our ‘dakwah’ life. And this one time opportunity should not be wasted. At first she herself was a bit reluctant, but once she started off, everything went off smoothly. It wasn’t long before her school began making name in the community, many of the achievements were partly attributed to her innovative approaches in many things. She told me, she wanted to be unique and do things beyond ‘ordinary’, some of the traits that she inherited from that long years of experience in Ireland. Just think of ordinary events at school – sports day, award presentation, teachers day – all were organised and tuned into something thrilling and memorable. Even the school teachers were not spared a rest, and having their creativity drilled into the deepest, they have come up with this excellent musical band and a ‘nashid’ group teamed up with another celeberity, producing a commercial album.
The school that began in a humble corner lot buiding grew up from mere 2 classrooms of 87 children to a current state of over 400 children and 40 staff. They introduced the preschool and daycare school which was a great attraction to parents – so they can leave their toddlers for all day while they are at work, while their school going children will stay at the daycare when the formal school hours ended while awaiting collection.
Then they introduced the tahfiz (Quran memorisation) which is a highly popular program in Islamic School. Interestingly the children are able to join the tahfiz program without having to miss a year or two of their regular school, this calls for special adjusted syllabus or modules. This excellent Quranic program have produced many excellent Quranic readers and chlldren who memorise up to 4 juzu’(chapter) of the Quran beginning from Year 4. Later they intoduced intensive tahfiz that began in Year 1 aimed at training the children to memorise as many as 15 juzu’ (half of the Quran) by the end of their primary school.
The revised curriculum which was slightly different from the mainstream Al Amin school is a powerful tool that some other schools including external ones developed interest and request permission to adapt it for their own curriculum.
Even at its infancy the children have had the greatest exposure and it is not too much to claim that the school began its international outreach, when a delegation from Korea paid a visit to the school to study their unique curriculum and teaching method. The children have had the opportunity to learn other cultures in South East Asian when the school organised educational (and charity) trip to Acheh last year, and Pnom Penh this year.
As a recognition of her achievement, Wan was nominated most potential Headmistress among the new Al Amin School of Malaysia. The school received recognition from the Ministry of Education (Co-Curriculum) and won financial awards from several authorities including the JAWI and Selangor government.

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Managing crisis?
Managing a school is a very demanding job. Dealing with children from a variety of background, parents with divergent views, teaching staff and the school board, and not to forget the authorities. And the food often bothered her. Frequent complaints from children and parents alike, and staff who testified to quality of the food services had her ‘stretched’ her authority a bit further by enforcing rules to improve the food provision by the school caterer. This led to the state Ikram excos drawn into the ‘conflict’ which caused uneasiness among some people. Then there were issues with the Parents-Teachers body, with their unnerving views on the school. Though I was one of the state Ikram excos then, I restrained from interfering, any issues about the school that were raised in the meeting, usually came from the dedicated education committee. If there were arguments or disagreement, I stayed in the neutral.
But, at home I gave her full moral support. Everyday there is always a new thing she updated me on the school. Often she asked for advice or help such as writing draft of her speech. Since I left Ireland, I had completely left behind interest in education and young children. Mounting responsibilites at work prohibited me from committing seriously in any community affair, I admitted this as my weakness. Therefore, having the previliged to support my wife and occasionally give hand in things like medical opinion or services when required, or even donating money and promoting the school to friends and other people were among the little things I could do to help.

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As time goes by, she became busier, two days in a week she will have meetings – one for school, another for the Ikram activities, and another night each of us have our own group usrah. Means, in a week sometimes only a day or two when both of us are free and available at home, this certainly somehow compromise quality time for our children as well as both of us as a couple. Sometimes, I will come over to her during lunchtime, evening or even morning when she is free for a cup of coffee or meal. Yes, I do it, now you know as time goes by, who is the busier one between us! Nevertheless, I thank God for this, and both of us tried to use that little free time together as a family.
She is good in involving everyone into her working career, and at the same time this create opportunities or even new jobs. There were friends and relatives looking for jobs, with appropriate qualifications she recruited them to various temporary and later permanent position as teachers or administrators. Even our children and their school friends were involved, helping as part time teaching staff during holidays, or helping the school children performances. One day she told me the school aimed to create usrah group for all teachers, and there were vacancy of ‘naqib’ or group leader for one of the usrah, I happily agreed to lead.
At some point there was uneasiness among the staff when the issues of appointment of one’s own relatives were brought up. That may have involved our own children, cousin or even her own sister (and brother in law). That was quite a challenge that must be handled delicately. I suggested to her that all decisions on appointments of her own relatives should be handled by the selection committee and agreed, independent of her, well documented and minutes recorded in the board meeting. Everything should be documented, and the appointees should not at any time take advantage of them being a relative to the Headmistress to gain special previliges like prolonged leave etc.

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Quitting for a better position?
Five years of success in building the school. No doubt it is heading in the right direction. Despite lack of funding and inadequate resources, frequently changing staff and teachers, slow approval from the authorities, the school is making great progress and received several local and national recognition awards.
Now she wants to quit, she thought she has done enough and want to rest or perhaps do something else? Yeah this one woman is not happy doing one thing for too long and I have to think of what is her next line…
As the Al Amin primary school is soon producing its graduate (year six students, including my daugher), they now have to plan where therse children should go the following year. This was the impetus for yet another project, building the secondary school. At the same time they are still looking for alternative new school buidling complex that could possibly accommodate both the primary and secondary schools.
They had an offer from one of the closed factory building, not very far from the current school, big enough to accommodate the need for the above. However, in the final moment the bid fail due to some administrative issue and they had to look for other options.
While the process was going on, now there is a new opportunity coming up, the post as Secondary School Principal. I told her to go for it. She was not very keen. ‘I just want to quit’. She said it firmly. She wanted to concentrate on the children. She wanted to care for the little boy Hazim, and our younger daughter who is entering secondary school. She thought her job had been busy enough that she yearned to be back as a fulltime housewife.
She always joked, arguing that the reason I don’t want her to quit because I would not like her to be a full time housemaker, as this will give her a lot more time to ‘bother’ me. But my point, looking at her accomplishment, she is capable of achieving more, give more to the society – this is something I myself could not do. So let me make money and support the family, while she goes out to the community, that was my point.
The ‘brothers’ out there were good at persuasion. They firmly said she is currently the best candidate to lead this new school based on a unique acclaim of ‘usahawan’ (enterprenaurship), in the end she agreed.
At any stage of her social involvement, it was never about money. When she started at Adni, she was paid a meager salary, she used to tell friends that she received her monthly from the husband, much more thant what the school gave her (involving in teaching was more from her passion than money). Even now, when she is earning quite a handsome amount monthly, she never worried about not having money if she stopped working. At the management level, she had fought hard to ensure the teachers and staff were renumerated appropriately, given their yearly allowance etc at par or even better than other schools. But she never fought for her own self! Now as she was offered this new position, she quietly told me, she may be paid less due to some ‘mistakes’ by the administration. She had given them words, that unless this matter is rectified, she will not take the offer. I think it is a fair demand, it’s not about the amount, but it was about how people acknowledge and recognise your achievement. I am sure the issue will be resolved, and will soon see a smiling face on the headline, a new school with a unique brand of enterpreneurship (Sekolah Menengah Usahawan).

Anecdote
They always say, behind a successful man, there is a woman. And behind a successful woman, there is certainly a man, at least in our case. One day, I stood beside a friend, whose wife is also a teacher holding the post of assistant Principal. He said ‘hard life for them, harder for us having to listen tot their moaning daily…’ Then we both smile and proudly said, we have made ‘great’ contribution to the community, by giving our women to them, and this is our sacrifice as men…

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Some background of the Sekolah Menengah Usahawan Al Amin Ulu Klang (SMUAAUK)
Rapidly expanding world technology, global culture and communication poses new challenges in imparting education to the young people. Developing resilient Muslim personalities that possess integrity and intelligence to adapt to changes is essential elementl in modern education. The Akademi Al-Amin Sdn Bhd had come up with this idea of opening an Enterpreneurship school adopting the idea of developing credible personalities that will be able to face future such as the ability to self-manufacture employment and adapting to more diverse culture of the outside world.
Among the co-curricular activities planned are clubs and societies, sports and games, ‘wafdul Amin’, Co-Curriculum Carnival, Robotic. ‘Tarbiyyah’ or Islamic education such as Usrah/study circle, Daurah/iftar/itikaf and mukhayyam dagili (personal development camp). They emphasised on discipline and personality development, leadership, cleanliness and happiness, counseling, charity, safety and merit and demerit system. Subjects covered (for a start Form 1 and 2) include Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Inggeris, Matematik, Bahasa Arab Komunikasi, Science, Sejarah, Geografi, Kemahiran Hidup and Pendidikan Islam along with ‘Diniyyah’ Al-Amin curriculum’such as Tasawwur Islami, AlQuran and ICT.
Registration (Form 1 and 2) are open now at http://www.al-amin.edu.my/

Views expressed in this writing is entirely of my own, not related to any organisation or other individuals. I am a senior member of Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia and hold the post of Chairman of Ikramhealth.