When I was studying my undergrad, instead of cuti panjang, I decided to take special semester to finish off a few credit hours of subjects. My father was agaisnt it, so I took a job at the demolished Jaya Supermarket’s branch of Dave’s Deli.
I had to walk 2 hours pergi balik, and I work the evening shift most of the times. Good food, some survival money. My father at first didn’t give a hoot, then I think he gave me RM50. On one of the walk homes, I lalu this dataran, near the student centre, and there was a row of notice board. Somehow, out of curiosity I decided to check it out. That’s when I discovered something interesting.
It was a poster, calling for submission (video, power point and speech) untuk the 3rd Asia Pacific English Presentation Contest. The topic was interesting ( to me at least). It was about humanity and how to shape Asia’s future. I felt excited, more so, bila nampak the prize money …in USD ..If I recalled, around a few thousands. Nah, itu die jawapan untuk kepokaian aku, so urged myself to give it a try. To get more info, there was a notice for me to contact the student affair’s department. I did, and there were to be a varsity level competition to pick the best to send the submission to Japan.
Event ni dinaung oleh The Tsuzuki Intergrated Educational Instiute. Terbuka kepada semua peserta untuk 2 kategori (sekolah menengah dan universiti) pelajar dari seluruh Asia Pasifik.
Kali ini, final akan berlangsung di Fukuoka, di Daiichi School of Economics.
Temanya lebih kurang tertera dibawah (tp yg ni saya copy dari yg 2003, 6th APEP). Rasanya tema utk 3rd APEP, Bridging Mother to Asia …lebih kurang kowt ..
UNIVERSITY SECTION 1. Be a solution to a problem faced within the Asia Pacific Region. 2. Be opinion's based upon one's own observation and/or experience. 3. Put forward a specific proposal for dealing with the problem. 4. Have been hitherto unpublished or otherwise made public.
I won the varsity round and was selected among the top 3. So, the university helped to record the presentation and submitted it to Japan. Tunggu punya tunggu…I just get on with my life. Sekali, semester khas pun ended. Kelas biasa starts back. Tup tup, admin office hostel kata my father was trying to contact me. When I called back ( I was a bit bitter dgn perangai dia pasal special sem aritue) he sounded perplexed mostly confused ” Ada orang Jepun telefon katanya Amin dapat ke peringkat seterusnya ..baba tak faham”. Unmistakenly, he didn’t know what it’s all about campur lagi, I think he was like, whoa ..this is something.
At that time, my father sangatlah give up on me almost 95% on my studies. The thing is, after tak dapat fly ke Amerika sebab program twinning sebuah kolej komuniti di disbanded kerana krisis ekonomi, kemudian flunking out of a private university ( 2 kali fail circuit analysis 2), he asked me what I wanted to do- I told him since he suggested a small private college, i discovered ad some coursed I liked – along the lines of International studies or affairs ..something like that..he said he’ll look into it. Sebab yg twinning tue, my father yg berkeras surh apply spy dapat loan dgn sebuah institusi kerajaan, then fate happened. Tapi tup tup, my father kata, he submitted my name for a biomedical engineering course ..since he remembered long time ago I mentioned to my uncle I like bio (uncle – traitor :p ,kih3) tp I said to myself, not engineering..bio i liked, I like to learn about living things, something I can relate to give meaning ..dah fail circuit analysis ..bukan kah itu tanda dah?
Though me failing the subjects are something I can’t delete from my memory, I must remember that masa after the economic crisis, my father kena tangkap ISA. I was trying to be really strong for my family, I never shed a tear cos as the eldest I wanted to show strength (nobody asked me how I was doing). My father even dari Kamunting, dia kata he wants me to be excellent in my studies and show them all. I don’t agree tp I diam je.
I was then I realised, I have to think of a way out, a way to save myself. That’s when I read a lot pasal finding work that you love, jangan jadi hamba duit, how peopel of failing it in the job market and their life. It became a vocation. My father, a former academician, tried to stress me out and saying that whatever it is, just get As. You see, because he himself dapat Phd around 27 from Edinburgh, katenya during his time it was young to get one at that age. So he tried to dictate this and that, plus kalau i offered any opinion, he’ll say “Aku ni professor, ko siapa”. Kah3 ..
So, when he finally understood yg i got the place to the finals, kat Jepun lagi …quite spectacular tp dia cuba downplay it, because to him just academic is supremo, this is nonsense gittew ..
I thought then, my stepmother pun terkejut kerana anak tiri yang menyusah dan merisaukan keluarga plus loser sbb tak reti nak score dalam exam, dapat this opportunity. I love my stepmom, she took care of me masa kecil but the most painful heartbreak I had to realise was, no matter what she’ll not be my mom, and that’s a given.
I remembered my father cashing in some cash untuk makan and things. At the very least, I felt at peace, a good thing to bring to Fukuoka. You can’t be angry and decide to persuade your audience and juries. Did I set to win, I wanted to..really, but not at this point. It was much later, masa I was on the stage, waiting for the announcement of the Grand Winner, sebab winners utk kategori2 lain dah di announce, I didn’t manage to win anything, I rase ade sorang tue siap menang 2 kali, it was in that few seconds, I prayed and I prayed..real hard, shouting ..quite forcefully …requesting to God that I really really want to win, let me WIN..PLEASEEE!…then they announced my name …Nik Nabil Amino san ..the Nobel laureatte was waiting to give me the big crystal Asia Pacific Cup…
I remembered, asking my mom rasenya, utk bagi RM300 sebab nak beli baju ..or what is from my dad. You know what …if it was my dad, sheepish now …marah2 pun my dad, kalau ade sebab yg kukuh, dia bagi juga duit ..I think it was him..So, I went to Masjid India, …or …was it the Hal Ehwal Pelajar yg bagi duit tue … I think so too lah (memory is berkarats nampaknya). Maybe so lah, I think it was for allowance, so boleh apply awal sebab nak ke Jepun so rate dia mahal sikit…yeah la, I think I used that money …I just know that I needed something to wow the crowd ..it’s just the science of performance ..walaupun ini bukan show..just a public speaking event..tp for me back then, this was a shiow ..so enthrall I must. So, i tertarik gi tengok kain2 sari …somehow I got a beautiful white jacquered sari di tenun benang emas dengan …wait for it..wait for it..yeah, filled with paisley patterns. I also bought a thai cloth for sampin. Because it’s very the shiny, I terasa self conscious pulak (baru?) so i wore a simple cottonlong jaket sampai buku lali ( beli dari charity sale – katenya baju2 set filem cerita zaman lama2 ..lupe dah nama . . .)
Antara highlight pertandingan ni, adalah juri2 yg bukan calang2 orang.
Sy memang tak ada rezeki belajar tinggi2 di tempat2 berprestij sperti Harvard atau Cambridge, tapi saya dihakimi oleh wakil2 mereka, sy rasa bersyukur.
JUDGES: Dr. Leo Esaki (Nobel Laureate in Physics) Prof. Noboru Oji (Director of Asia Pacific Economic Research Institute, DUE) Mr. Christopher Pratt (Cambridge University) Dr. Vincent Gillespi (Oxford University) Mr. Jon D. Mills (Harvard University) Semasa presentation saya, masa berlalu pantas sehingga saya habis awal, kemudian i jsut spout back the text yg i deleted sbb ingatkan x cukup masa> I was on time. I say the judge from California mengesat mata, she was moved, I think I saw tears. My slides, I filled dengan puluhan or maybe ratusan gamabr kanak2 dari seluruh asia beserta caption - seperti plea kepada adults to pay heed to their needs and potential. Ada satu tu gamabr baby tengah dikendong mothernya yg sedang bekerja memecah batu bata ...ada satu tue gamabar an indian boy so proud to show his works atas papan batu kecil dari kelasnya. Thanks to cd stock gambar National Geographics, I think I bought that from an IT store ground floor Jaya Supermarket.I was the 3rd contestant for the varsity section, the after lunch session. 2nd contestant was Sidra Iqbal from Pakistan, she was humming a familiar tune, so I tegur dia "Dil to Pagail Hai?' dia jawab ye! hehe ..music! After the event, I got to know yg Sidra ni bukan calang2 contestant, just the previous year, dia dinobatkan sebagai The Best International Public Speaker, dia dianugerahkan di Istana Windsor oleh King Philip ..kelassss...kalau tahu masa sebelum naik pentas...mesti ketaq lutut ..give up kowt! Last time I checked, Sidra dah jadi anchorwomen dah, kemudian jadi VP untuk sebuah firma public relations terkenal dunia, berpusat di Karachi. Nak dipendekkan cerita, I dapat akhirnya masuk ke firma yg sama yg bercawangan di KL, sebagai pengurus tetapi rezeki di tempat lain jadi tak lama di sana, but she inspired me. So young tp dah VP, she made me want to try harder tp tuelah tak da rezeki. Sidra ni cantik, pandai, multilingual lagi.
What I remembered about Fukuoka – Kedai 100 yen. Kantin di hostel universiti swasta sediakan kari ikan untuk muslim contestant ..I thought sedapppnyaer..hash brownies masa beakfast, rangupnya …rasenya, sbelum ni i mcm x pernah makan, kalau pernah pun x serangup ni. Hostel garden ada small garden, style jepun …kelasss. Boleh tengok mount Fuji dari kejauhan