Such a sport

The build up to the Wimbledon final for both the men’s and women’s was teeth gritting, nail biting. It got me staying up late despite being tired and knowingly needing some sleep time.

The finals, for both draws, well, did not reflect the amount of hard work and intensity that brought them to the finals.

Both Serena and Anderson weren’t able to pull off routine shots, with all finding the net or being overshot past the lines. Which comes to show that any day can be an off day. Even on days it matters most. It shows that giving it our all in the path towards victory still doesn’t mean we will get it all. It shows that everything that would normally work, wouldn’t always work. And it shows that at the end of the day, there is someone else who wants to achieve exactly what we want, and have worked just as hard or harder to get it.

The finals brought upon one lesson for me.

To reach success is to self reflect. I am responsible for my success and failure. And it’s not even about what I did wrong. It’s about what I can do better, to get a better result.



Timeless to me

Simona Halep’s recent Roland Garros victory reminded me of why I love sports so much. While tennis remains my all time favourite sport, I watch all sports, minus F1 and Golf. The likes of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games get me excited every time.

One of the many things I love about sports is how the athletes healthily compete to become the best. When someone succeeds, everyone applauds their success and looks at that success as motivation to be just as good.

In sports, no one or team attempts to bring another athlete or team down out of jealousy or hatred. Instead, they train harder to show that they too can be the best. They find new strategies and new ways to become the best.

Notice how at the end of matches, the winning player or team would shake hands and embrace the losing player or team, vice versa. They celebrate wins. They build up the ones who lose.

How I pray, and wish that the sporting culture can be brought into the working culture. Where everyone works hard to be the best. Where people celebrate another colleague’s success and strive to achieve success as well. I hope to create a working environment where one person’s achievement is another person’s motivation. Oh how ideal that would be.



Hanging by a moment

We’ve all heard the saying “Too much of something is not good.” On that note, there are some things that are just not good, even if a little.

I have been challenged in the last 9 months: surrounded by people who complain. So much so that a bubble of negativity has been created. The bubble is so thick that attempts to burst that bubble with positivity is absorbed into negativity.

The act of complaining itself is a negative act. 1 attempt to complain typically results in more complains. Complaining is easy. All that needs to be done is sit, and complain. And because it is easy, people who listen to the complain fall into the trap of complaining together. Complaining then becomes a norm that when someone comes in and doesn’t complain, they are rejected. Complaining is something that does no good, even a little.

And what saddens me the most is that I have come to experience complains coming from fresh graduates, the young generation of leaders. Nothing seems to sit right by them.

My only question to you is, what does complaining do? What does it do to you? What does it do to your society?

Now I know this is not easy, but try something new: Find a solution. Problems and issues will arise anywhere. Think of a way to solve it. If you can’t think of the solution, get help. When you get help, you may or may not be comfortable with the solution provided. But that’s just it about solutions. It brings us out of our comfort zone. It involves trying and potentially failing. It results in having to find alternative solutions. When finding a solution, our mind expands. It opens up possibilities, allowing us to see different sides of things. And when we can see things from different perspectives, it keeps us positive.

Look at the successful people around us. Tun M, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They have gone through tough times: economic crisis, imprisonment, rejection, rape, war, being hated, competition, I can continue listing their challenges. Did they become successful and respected by complaining? Or by finding a solution?



Give a little bit

I just read about graduates earning below RM4000 being allowed to pay PTPTN back at a later stage.


So many thoughts running through my mind. So many words rushing in.

This is a loan. So the little voice at the back of my head is telling me that it shouldn’t be allowed. Loans should be paid as soon as possible.

What I feel would be a better option is to reduce the monthly payment. It may take longer to pay. But 10,000 graduates paying RM100 monthly is already RM1,000,000 collected, in a month. Break it down, make it smaller instead of allowing later payment. Chances are, even when graduates start earning more than RM4000, they will find other excuses to not afford to pay.

And let’s be real, if graduates can spend RM100 over a weekend for a movie, lunch with friends somewhere fancy, Starbucks, pump petrol and pay the toll, they can surely spend RM100 monthly for the loan.

My first job paid me RM2000. After EPF and SOCSO deductions, my bring home pay was RM1800. I lived in Puchong and drove back and forth Jalan Tun Razak, handled electricity and Astro bills, car loan and still made it a point to serve my PTPTN loan, even if all I could afford was to pay RM50. I have been free of my PTPTN loan since 2013.

The decision has been made. The announcement is done. I just personally feel graduates should be asked to pay, just at a lower rate. Graduates must be taught to be accountable.



Black and white

A 7 year old was sent to me for allegedly throwing ice into the pond behind the school.

‘Why did you throw ice into the pond?’

“I didn’t.”

‘If you didn’t then why did the prefects send you to me?’

“I didn’t throw the ice in the pond. I throw in the lake.”

I laughed so hard inside. But I had to keep a straight, stern face. I made him promise he wouldn’t do it again, and off he went. I couldn’t get angry at him.



Shot through the heart

Alive. Alive was how I felt.

Amidst the craze at school, putting things in order, running up and down ensuring documents are handled, finding the right people, sorting out matters, meeting teachers, and handing over, I received a call, a request for a 3 hour training on gaining confidence to speak English, and some lessons on customer service. I said YES in a heartbeat.

When I put the phone down, I thought to myself…. what did I just do?!? I’m barely able to catch my breathe and I accepted another work offer?!?!?!

I couldn’t resist. I can’t say no to teaching and training. And I’m so glad I said yes. I had a refreshing 3 hours with a group of managers and administrative staff of my sister school.

The biggest achievement of the session was getting them to be comfortable to use English within an hour and a half. I asked them how did they possibly find that comfort in just an hour and half and not in the last 20 odd years of being alive.

One of them answered: because we know you and we know it’s okay to speak in front of you, even if it’s wrong.

That’s just it. You just need 1 positive thought. Just 1 feeling of positivity and it can change things around. 1 positive statement can make you look at something differently, in a better way. 1 sense of positivity can alter a lifetime belief.

Just that one.




The first half of this blessed Friday, my FB timeline had a trail of shared articles, news and updates on ‘the power of the people.’ Many wrote of how ‘powerful the people are’ and not to ‘underestimate the power of the people’.

But dear friends and family, let’s not get carried away. Let’s firstly remember what power did to the previous governing party. Let’s remember that power tore them apart. The thirst for more power resulted in them losing all power. If we keep thinking of how powerful we are as the rakyat (people), one fine day, we will find ourselves in an ultimately powerless situation.

There is never such a thing as ‘without us, you are nothing.’ We are always in need of each other to make something out of the nothingness. Without the people, there is not government. Without the government, do I even need to spell it out? At the end of the day, we are in need of each other.

It’s not about power. Let’s not get carried away with the notion that it was the people’s power that created the change the world witnessed here in Malaysia on the 10th of May 2018.

Instead, we made a choice to use the power we know we have, in unison to bring a change. Our power did not give birth to this historical shift in governance. It was the decision to UNITE that did.



Take my hand

Being a leader is no easy feat. The job involves getting work done, managing emotions, managing expectations, managing changes, managing the tide, managing stakeholders, managing people. As THE leader, he/she sets the expectations and expects it to be delivered and met by the team employed. As a leader in the organisation, it gets tricky.

A leader who is also a subordinate has more on their plate. Managing expectation of two or more different groups of people. Managing people of two different ends. Managing stakeholders opinions, comments and even complaints. It’s a bigger task, resulting into many decisions that are made that cannot make everyone happy.

As the 14th General Election results trickled in till the wee hours of the morning, one of many things became clear to me:

To lead is to have a vision. A vision that is accepted by all, and believed by all.

A leader will have to make decisions in order to meet the vision. It’s the vision, the bigger picture, the 10 year down the road repercussion, that drives the decisions. If everyone has embraced the vision, that makes the process or making and accepting the decision slightly on the easier side.

However, because of the many different expectations and emotions of the human being, decisions made by a leader is often times responded to with retaliation.

When the people embrace the vision, decisions are more easily accepted. Agree or disagree with the decision is a different story altogether because the vision drives the acceptance and then action take place. But when the people do not embrace the vision, decisions made are taken personally instead of objectively. Personal preference trumps organisational benefits. Personal motives cloud the end of the day vision.

This is where the biggest challenge lies in a leader. To meet everyone’s expectation is illogical. Then the tough decisions have to be made, and some relationships sever.

Being a leader is no easy feat. It takes courage, patience, determination, will, strength, focus and above all, passion.

A leader is not a misunderstood figure. Their decisions are often times misunderstood by the people who don’t look at the bigger picture.



Love letter

As another event came to a close, I left the parents and students with this note:

“Assalamualaikum and a very good morning dearly beloved parents, committed students, dedicated teachers and staff of Abedeen.

What a day it has been huh? From the students running the cross country to the teachers and volunteers manning the checkpoints, to the parents anxiously waiting for their children to complete the run. It has been a tiring yet fulfilling day.

To the winners, congratulations.

To those who completed the cross country, great work.

To those who needed more time, you have one year to practice!

Thank you for making No Excuses and for giving it your all in this cross country. Excuses are a hindrance. Excuses closes doors of possibilities. Excuses results to complacency. Excuses stalls creativity. Excuses make for another excuse. Would you agree if I went to the extent of saying that excuses is the death of change?

I’d like to share 2 stories of 2 people who gave no excuses in their life. I believe many of you know of their story. So I hope that today’s sharing will help all of us see another side of change.

Nick Vujicic is an Australian, born with no arms and legs. With undying support and encouragement from his parents, Nick began taking up swimming and fishing. ‘It’s not what you have, but what you do with it’, he says. He shared that his father told him,’ You are a gift, just differently packaged.’ With further support from other family members, at 19, he started giving motivational talks and today, he has travelled 58 countries having spoken to millions sharing his struggles, challenges and successes, simply by not giving up, not giving excuses.

Has anyone heard of 99 speedmart? Did you know that the founder, Mr Lee Thiam Wah was diagnosed with polio at 8 months old. Due to his family’s poor financial situation, he stopped school at the age of 12. His disability did not become an excuse for him. He stated selling snacks by the roadside. Overtime, he saved enough money to open his own sundry shop. In 1992, he sold his little business for RM38,000 and opened his very first 99 speedmart in Klang. The rest, is history. He has more than 600 outlets to date.

No excuses. I am so happy to see that students made no excuses and completed the cross country race to their best ability. Even those with health matters made no excuse, and are present to gain first aid knowledge. Parents, you have made your children’s day by staying to cheer them on.

Abedeen students are getting the best of both worlds. They are exposed to a modern learning environment, and are given opportunities to be actively involved in activities that will strengthen their leadership and soft skills. Everyday, they are taught and trained to become world leaders bearing no excuses.

Before we call it a day, I would like to thank parents who have extended your assistance through your manpower and sponsorship. We are forever grateful for the support and trust you extend to the school. We are strong because the school and parents work together tirelessly for the benefit of the children. We make no excuses. We are one in developing world leaders.

Have a great day. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Students, rest up, see you on Monday.

Thank you

Assalamualaikum WRT”

My Note

“Thank you very much for your feedback, praises and sharing. Each one has been noted, and we will do the necessary.

Alhamdulillah, we are almost done. But before we call it a morning, allow me to share a few thoughts. I joined Abedeen as a teacher. The English teacher for the Secondary students. Not only did I fall deeper in love with teaching, I found a home for me to educate and train the next generation of whom will become our leaders as we step into our golden years. That was never the dream as a young girl. It was a passion I stumbled upon 5 years ago, and have been privileged to pursue.

I am fully aware, that at the top of our heads, academic success is something we want our children to achieve. Who wants to see their children receiving bad results, and being depressed and embarrassed right? None of us. Not as a parent, not as a teacher. While I must say that all students enrolled at Abedeen are smart, in fact smarter than they make themselves to be, there is a bigger matter that has come to my attention. And for this, I seek the assistance from you dear parents of Abedeen to make come true.

We grew from 40 to 110 students in a blink of an eye. In the first week, frankly speaking, the school turned into a mamak stall. Yup, that market. This is by far, the saddest thing for me. It got me thinking, and thinking real hard. Why are our mamak stalls dirty? Have you ever gone to a mamak stall having to look for a part with clean flooring? Why? Why? Why? This question kept popping up. Why do we have to go to that extent? People in our community eat there. Our neighbours eat there. Our friends eat there. So why is it dirty? Our houses are certainly not in that state. No siree. Then it dawned on me. Ethics and mannerism. Our ethics and mannerism when we dine out. Our children’s ethics and mannerism when they dine out. Based on real time observation, it is lacking. So, dear parents, at Abedeen, we have started teaching students to clean their tables after eating and studying. They must send their plates and cups to the basin. They pick food and wrappings they discard on the floor. Yes, I know none of us teach our children to throw things on the floor, but it is happening. They are to pick up after themselves and so I ask you, to do the same at home. Let them pick up after their mess. Let them take responsibility. Let them own their responsibility and bear consequences for not being responsible. So, that the next time they dine out, they are aware of the importance of keeping clean. And I truly truly believe, we can have clean mamak stalls.

And this obviously goes beyong the mamak stalls. The trait of ‘someone will pick up after me’ is brought into the classroom. Students leave their items lying everywhere. They have a drink and leave the cups on the table. Shirts and sweaters lying on the floor, benches, tables and chairs. They kick their shoes off, and leave slippers lying around. They are leaving books opened, lying on the table. The Quran, is left on the table, just like that. Out of habit, they leave it thinking ‘someone will pick up after me’. I will admit that when I catch them in these acts, they will be required to clean up before the next activity. And I always check up before lunch time. So, if it’s a mess, I hold lunch. If they start lunch later than 1pm, they still must be at the musolla for prayer by 1:40pm. No excuses. Let us train and teach them that luxury, and a comfortable life, comes with being responsible. And it is my personal yet firm believe, that when they respect rules, their surroundings, people, their elders, respect their education, respect their religion, respect themselves and their responsibilities, everything else in their life, including academic success, will follow.

Being clean is half of deen. So, it is a requirement. It is asked of us as Muslims. The Prophet was loved and adored and idolized practicing cleanliness. And in following the footsteps of the Prophet, we lead by example. We do it with them. Not for them. But with them.

So, let them do it. And mums, this will be a big help, no? It may cause some chaos in the beginning. But we are developing world leaders, aren’t we? Wouldn’t some chaos be worth it?

Before I end, thank you for your trust. Thank you for your support. Thank you for the children that you have brought into Abedeen. Diamonds in the rough they are. Let’s work together to make then shine.”


Iman Fairuza Rozhan

Acting Principal

Abedeen Academy