Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Postgrad step-by step: PhD application

Salam and good day!

After the first few postgrad step-by step for masters, it is time for the next step which is for PhD application.

If you are thinking of studying in the UK, the preparations that you needed to do like VISA and IELTS can be found through the link. If you did your masters in the UK, you don't need to worry much about these stuff because you've gone through it before.

Applying for a PhD is different than applying for masters degree.

1) Find the research field that you're interested in. If you are unsure about what to pursue, try to read publications on the field that you think you might be interested in to have a general idea about the research growth.


You don't want to waste 4 years doing something that you know nothing about or have no interest in. PhD is not like bachelors degree. You need passion to survive.


2) Search at which university offers those field of study. You can also try search engines like findaphd.com to search for advertised projects. They will show at which university is the project and whether it is funded or not. Remember that most funding bodies only goes for top universities.


3) Find the research team involved in the field of interest


4) Email the principal investigator or any supervising lecturers in the team. Be sure to read a bit about their research and publications before you email them.


You can either find them here,



or here.

Sometimes, they do not provide personal emails on the web, so try enquiring the postgraduate or research coordinator (usually listed as contact person-right hand side) to ask for anyone that can supervise you for your research.



5) If the potential supervisor have an available PhD position, they will get in touch to ask for further discussion. Don't worry so much about this. Usually they will ask about what type of research that you're interested in and why you wanted to study with them. Prior reading of their publications will highly benefit at this point.

The discussion usually will be better if face to face. But if you're abroad, just ask for a conference call or skype. If you're very lucky and they are very desperate, they will accept you without question.

6) Last but the most excruciating part is waiting for a reply whether they will accept you or not. Usually they will tell you immediately after the discussion.

Finding a sponsor should be simultaneously with the application process.

All the best in your pursue for knowledge!

Until next time...




Thursday, 12 February 2015

Susuk Tubuh Ini

Salam everyone.

This will be my first post in malay, as a tribute to the greatest man that I got a chance to know in person. To the late Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.


Susuk tubuh ini,

Sebelum ku kenal dirimu, aku juga termasuk golongan yang mencerca.
Dalam benakku, apa istimewanya kamu sehingga mereka memanggil mu Tok Guru. Mereka taksub, dan kamu tiada beza dengan ular-ular di sana.

Engkau memilih berada dalam kancah politik yang penuh bisa, sedangkan kau boleh sahaja hanya berbicara agama. Membuatkan ku terfikir untuk berjumpa dengan mu satu ketika.

Mungkin Allah juga mendengar bisikan hamba kerdil ini yang laparkan tarbiyyah.

Susuk tubuh ini,

Pertama kali aku menjejakkan kaki ke medan ilmu mu, terasa 'izzah seorang pejuang. Sebelum ini, aku hanya dengar2 cerita tentang kebaikan akhlak mu. Aku menjadi percaya setelah bersaksi dengan mataku.

Engkau berikan sepenuh kudratmu untuk perjuangkan agama, namun usahamu diperlekeh musuh-musuh mu. Malah tidak kurang mereka mengherdik dan mencerca mu. Tapi hanya diberikan respon, bahawa Rasulullah mendapat tentangan yang lebih hebat, dan dirimu hanya manusia kerdil.

Allah...semoga semakin ramai penggantimu kelak. Hidupmu untuk Islam bermula celiknya mata sehingga pejam semula. Berbahagialah engkau di sisi Pencipta. Semoga kami menuntuni jejak langkahmu ke sana jua.


Pertama kali saya berjumpa dengan arwah adalah semasa saya ke kelantan untuk ziarah sahabat yang juga merupakan anak buah beliau. Kami solat di surau di mana beliau memberi kuliah subuh, dan pada paginya kami ke kuliah mingguan yang dibuat di medan ilmu Kota Baru. 

Setelah mendapatkan tempat, kami tunggu kehadiran arwah. Dia tiba hanya diiringi seorang polis. Saya tak sedar masa tu yang tempat duduk saya merupakan laluan beliau. Beliau tiba2 berhenti depan saya dan berkata sesuatu kepada polis pengiring beliau. Polis tersebut kemudian tunduk di depan saya dan mengutip sehelai tali rafia yang biasa digunakan untuk mengikat air dan berkata 'mintak maaf, ada sampah kt sini.' Saya tersentap, setelah sekian masa saya duduk di situ dan tak sedar kehadiran tali tersebut dan dia lalu dan minta untuk dikutipkan sampah tersebut. Waktu ni, beliau dah sedia uzur, bertongkat. Saya makin mengagumi peribadi beliau.

Kali kedua saya berkesempatan ke rumah beliau di pulau melaka. Siapa yang pernah pergi tau bagaimana keadaan rumah beliau. Bukan da'if, tapi cukup untuk membuatkan kita terfikir, orang ni bukan kejar kuasa, pangkat dan kekayaan. Hidup seharian beliau sangat sederhana. Tutur kata beliau sangat sopan dan lembut. 

Seorang permata, yang sangat saya kagumi. Semoga arwah ditempatkan bersama para mujahideen. Al-fatihah. Bagaimana pula pengakhiran kita?







Sunday, 8 February 2015

Travelling 101

Salam and good day!

Because a few of the people that I've came across had trouble in this area, I felt compelled to share some of what I know. This is a guide for travelling in general and in the UK specifically. May it benefit you as it has benefit me.

1) Finding the right flight

This doesn't necessary means the cheapest one. Can also mean a comfy one. Depends on your definition on value for money. All flights have promotions every year. You just have to look for it.


2) Finding accommodation

Before travelling to a place, be sure you find a place to stay. For this part, if you are a strickler like me, it needs to be both cheap and comfy, especially the toilets. So browse around the net or ask someone that has been there if you know any. There are many blogs that share their travelogs. Learn from others. Be sure the place is nearby a public transport. Such as this



3) Packing your bags

I find using a medium sized luggage is much better than using a large luggage. This is because with a medium luggage, you can fit all you want until the bag is fully bloated and still won't exceed the weight limit. Plus this way, you can have two items checked in instead of one especially if you're a shopaholic type and will still be below the limit. 


With a large luggage, you'll intend to put more, thus having a chance of exceeding the weight limit. Even if you have a luggage scale. Another thing, have a luggage scale to weigh your bags.

When departing, be sure to pack less to leave some space for souvenirs and other stuff that you might want to buy.


4) Travelling (in London)

Buy an Oyster card at the tube station when you arrived. All rates are cheaper with oyster either on tube or London busses plus the bus now don't accept cash anymore. You can also add travelcards (day or week or month) on your oyster so you can travel around London (via bus or tube) all you want without worrying about your oyster balance.



Plus the oyster can be redeemed at the tube station before you return to wherever and you can get your £5 back. This will only be credited to your bank card. No cash.

Be sure to take one of the tube maps available at any stations. The tube can get pretty confusing if you're not used to it. I find using google map is just as useful as using any apps. 


They can tell which line/bus to take, which available or not and the ETA. 

5) VAT claims

For those travelling to UK, all items will include VAT. However, some items, you can claim your VAT at the airport. Be sure to arrive at the airport more than 3 hours before your flight. The queue can be time consuming. Items such as food and items bought online can't be reclaimed.


How to claim VAT:

  • When purchasing at a store, ask for a VAT receipt at the register when you pay. Certain store have policies that you need to purchase a certain amount to be eligible for VAT claim. Certain VAT claim requires you to fill in a form. Ask for more information from the store. 
  •  Bring along the VAT receipt/forms to the VAT refunds counter (follow the signage). 
  • The claims can either be in cash or credited to your bank card. Cash sometimes can take longer. 

6) Securing you luggage

Although nowadays most luggages already have locks, extra precaution can never hurt. Wrap your bags (after ensuring the weight) at the stores available in the departure halls. At KLIA, it costs RM10/item and £10.50/item at London Heathrow. Be sure to ask for a sticker to write you particulars and stick 'em on you luggage.


Last but not least, have fun! Enjoy your trip.

Or if you're on a budget, buy a cling film from a pound store and wrap it yourself. Be sure to wrap tightly and securely.

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ
"Oleh itu, bukankah ada baiknya mereka mengembara di atas muka bumi, supaya dengan melihat kesan-kesan yang tersebut mereka menjadi orang-orang yang ada hati yang dengannya mereka dapat memahami, atau ada telinga yang dengannya mereka dapat mendengar? Kerana keadaan yang sebenarnya bukanlah mata mereka yang buta, tetapi yang buta itu ialah mata hati yang ada di dalam dada." (QS Al-Hajj : 46)

Don't make your travelling be in vein (just for fun). Make them worthwhile and meaningful.

Until next time..

Disclaimer: Pictures from google. I can barely open my eyes when writing this, so apologies for any mistakes or shortcomings.

Friday, 6 February 2015

It finally snowed in London

Salam and good day!

A few days ago, while I was taking the trash out early in the morning, I saw this white stuff on top of the cars that were parked in front of my house.


It's snowing!!! I could just cry. I've been waiting for this miracle to happen for more than a year. Well, it hasn't been snowing in London since 3 or four years ago. So you can imagine my excitement.

It's not just seeing the white blanket, but to see the flakes dropping down from heaven. Speechless.

video

You do know that there is no similar snowflake. No snowflake is the same as the next. So you can imagine billions of snowflake, that are just unique, different and individual like you and me. Miraculous! And getting to see that first hand is just amazing. I am so grateful, Alhamdulillah.


I went for a walk a bit, just with a jumper on my back because I was not at all prepared and found a walkway. This could only happen on roads that has no vehicles driving on it. It's fairly difficult to find one in London I assure you. I call this photo, a walk to remember. =D


My neighbour's house, just because it's pretty. huhu...


and voila! My sweet home. It didn't last long though. After a few hours the snow melted. *sigh*

At least I got a chance to see them. I am grateful enough.

Until next time...