Saturday, 7 September 2013

MAHAL DAN NIKMATNYA ILMU

[Beautiful scenery at the back and a book on my lap, 
how could I ask for more? Alhamdullillah. photo credit: Lynn the wife]


I would say, aku dpt ilmu in a hard way, I would not say the hardest as I believe ramai lg yg lagi susah dr aku but it was definitely hard. Tp jgn salah faham, belajar PhD nya senang, hidup semasa nak belajar tu yg susah. So, bukan aku sorg je susah, my wife and my kids too. Ceritanya macam ni....

Waktu aku dpt tawaran dari Prof David Nethercot utk buat PhD di Imperial College London (seriusly dia yg ajak aku buat PhD bawah dia after dia baca research proposal aku yg aku asalnya just nk mintak dia review aje), ramai senior di fakulti nasihat jgn pegi sbb London tu mahal sgt, tambah waktu tu currencynya 1GBP lebih kurang RM6.80, dan tambah lagi wife aku, lynn baru mengandungkn Nuha (anak aku yg ketiga).

Tapi the thing was, waktu tu aku dah obsessed gila dgn Beautiful Mind, I already obsessed with the idea that kalau nak buat PhD, paling cool kalo dpt pegi ke best school mcm Princeton ke, MIT ke kalau di US dan kalau di UK, Cambridge ke, Oxford ke or of course, Imperial College (IC). In fact, IC was and still the best engineering school in Europe hence UK and always at the mid of top 10 engineering school in the world.

Selain tu, paling cool kalau dapat buat PhD dgn famous professor dan as far as structural engineering is concerned, David Nethercot is a giant. At the time, he was the President of Institution of Structural Engineer (IStructE), UK. Dah la waktu buat Masters dulu, buku2 dia yg aku banyak baca, bila dia offer buat PhD dgn dia, terus angau la aku.

Tapi sebenarnya takde la aku terus terima offer Prof Nethercot tu, aku asalnya hesitated jugak sbb mmg aku tau london tu mahal sgt dan dgn allowance study yg cuma 850 GBP aje aku tau mmg x cukup utk aku dan lynn dan anak2 yg nak masuk 3 tu. Tp time ni lah aku appreciate sgt pepatah

"BEHIND A GREAT MAN, THERE IS ALWAYS A GREAT WOMAN".

Lynn yg tau sgt suami dia kemaruk "Beautiful Mind", kemaruk sgt kononnya nak jadi orang pandai, suruh juga aku accept offer Prof Nethercot tu. Dia kata dia sanggup susah dan dia akan jaga anak2. (Time aku tulis ayat ni, bergenang jugak air mata aku...hehe girl girl la ko! )

Dan memang betul, spjang almost 3 tahun setengah kitorg di UK (2004-2007), lynn tak pernah ngeluh susah, family dia uruskan semua, dua tahun terakhir, dia sanggup tinggal sorang2 di Loughborough dan Nottingham yg jaraknya dlm 200km dr london (aku balik weekend je selalunya), handle anak2 semua.

Dia x boleh drive (x de lesen) so bila pegi ke kedai beli barang, dia akan jalan kaki sambil tolak nuha dlm stroller dan dukung binish (pakai beg dukung) while haziq dan hasya jalan kaki. barang2 kedai dia akan sangkut pada stroller tu jugak. dan ini la sebabnya tulang belakangnya rosak (pasal tu dia operation haritu dan sekarang ni pakai tongkat). She was a very strong woman and still is and for that I admire her, love so her much and she has my greatest respect. I owed her my PhD, indeed I owed her everything.

If you guys wonder why aku belajar di London tp Lynn dan anak2 duduk di Midlands sebabnya adalah london tu mahal sgt.

Waktu first year study aku, kitorg mmg duduk di London dan menyewa di Hackney. Dan flat yg disewa tu bukan rumah pun tapi basement flat (bilik bawah tanah yg diubahsuai jadi flat). Flat tu kecik, satu bilik dan ada la ruang tamu sikit sambung dgn dapur dan bilik airnya bawah tangga tuan rumah di atas. tapi kecik2 pun, korang tau berapa sewanya? haha 700GBP sebulan sedangkan allowance study aku cuma 850GBP sebulan (duit gaji utm mmg dah takde sbb bayar rumah kt mutiara rini, bagi mak ayah, bagi adik ipar aku yg tgh belajar dan bayar personal loan, mmg habis).

Berbekal lebihan 150GBP tu la kitorg survive utk duit dapur, pampers dan susu anak, bayar telefon rumah (hp ada tp pakai bila emergency aje) dll. Sebb x cukup la, Lynn akan bekalkan aku makanan hari2 dan sbb x cukup la aku terpaksa travel gi school naik bas yg took 1jam suku belah pagi dan 1jam setengah bila balik belah petang. kitorang survive this way until Nuha lahir.

Pengalaman Lynn lahirkan Nuha di London lagilah horrified. Lynn pecah air tetuban pukul 3 pagi tp kitorang x de kereta so terpaksa call arwahnya, ustaz jaiz dn isteri (yg kitorang di london panggil mami) mintak tolong hantarkan ke hospital. kitorang sampai hospital pukul 4 pagi. ustaz dn mami nak tunggu tapi aku x nak susahkan diorang so aku cadangkn diorang balik dulu. bila masuk utk check, nurse hospital tu kata lynn lambat lagi nak bersalin so dia suruh balik dulu sbb mmg prosedur di sana kalau nak bersalin sgt baru boleh masuk ward; bukaknya tak cukup lagi. Nak balik macamana, bas bukan ada pagi2 tu. nak call ustaz aku dah segan. so kitorang tunggu la kt luar hospital sejuk2 pukul 5 pg tu sambil lynn tahan sakit. nuha lahir 21 Jun (anak aku no 3) so it was winter already, mmg sejuk sgt waktu tu. pukul 8 baru hospital bukak so baru la kitorang masuk dalam dn lega sikit sbb ada heater. dan lynn bersalin pukul 10 pagi tu. seminggu lepas tu lynn pun keluar tp aku bawak dia balik naik bas sbb aku x nak susahkn sapa2.

Bila dah ada 3 anak, flat tu mmg dh tak bole duduk so kitorang, Lynn especially, had to make a very difficult decision, kitorang kena hidup terpisah, Lynn dan kids akan pindah ke Midlands (Loughborough dan kemudiannya Nottingham) dan aku akan jadi weekend husband so that anak2 kitorang could have a proper home.

Midlands jauh murah dari London. Dengan sewa dlm 400GBP kitorang dapat la a complete house. So ok la sikit utk anak2. Tapi walaupun ada save 300GBP kalau comparekan dgn sewa diLondon, tp itu cuma cukup utk compensate travel mingguan aku dari Midlands ke London, makan harian aku dan extra perbelanjaan sebb haziq dah masuk reception/sekolah. So basically, takde lebihan cuma bezanya, dengan being apart macam ni, aku dgn lynn boleh provide a better home for our kids.

Dan aku pulak, bila time di London, since tak mampu nak sewa bilik, selalunya aku akan tidur di surau IC dan paling worst bila time winter sbb heater surau tu akan ditutup. Dan selalunya juga aku menyelinap masuk dalam Mara House. nasib baik ramai kawan2 kat situ yg faham situasi aku yg sudi bantu aku "masuk haram" belah malam. Cuma masalahnya, nak masuk kena tunggu En hafiz dan pak Said (manager2 mara house ni balik dulu) so kdg2 pernah sampai 1 pg aku tunggu kat luar mara house tgh snowing sbb diorang ni tak balik lagi. pergghh...mcm citer oshin kan? hahaha

Dan since duit mmg limited sgt, di london basically aku cuma mampu makan sekali sehari aje. Ye la sekali makan 5-6GBP so kalau 20hari itu aja dh lebih 100GBP. so apa yg aku buat, bila lapar aku akan potong dgn minum kopi dan hisap rokok. nasib baik la kat IC tu ada coffee machine yg murah, latte ke cappucino ke americano ke, cuma 40pence je secawan. Aku sehari adalah 4,5 cawan. So kalau student2 aku yg wonder knp aku ketagih coffee dgn rokok, haa ini la sebabnya.

tapi Allah tu adil. hardship aku dan family digantinya dgn kesenangan aku buat PhD. Pada aku PhD tu senang sgt dan belajar tu seronok sgt. Alhamdullillah, ngam 3 thn 3 bulan, aku submitted thesis aku. Dan being the student of David Nethercot mmg tak ternilai pengalamannya. Walaupun dia sibuk (aku selalunya dpt jumpa dia sebula sekali aje) tapi senior2 aku (student2 dia) mmg best brains dan cukup baik hati utk ajar aku mcm2 walaupun ada yg mulut bisa gila. Mcm aku pernah citer sebelum ni, sebab semuanya tak tau, sebab asyik tanya je, pernah senior aku cakap “Airil, you know what, Malays are not only ugly but stupid” haha...aku x kesah, asalkan diorang snggup ajar aku sudah.

dan setiap pagi aku masuk school, bila lalu depan bilik prof nethercot (dia head of dept waktu tu) aku akan at least tengok papan tanda nama yang tulis "PROFESSOR DAVID A NETHERCOT" dan always reminded myself "Airil, believe it or not, youre his student", a motivation that survived me another day. Dan selalu juga bila rasa susah, aku try to pujuk hati dgn kata at least dapat juga la aku rasakan sedikit, ulang yer, SEDIKIT pengembaraan dan adventure yg dilalui oleh scholar dulu2 mcm Imam Al Ghazali yg mengembara dan bersuluk selama 10 tahun. Aku tak kata banyak aaa, sikit je...ok sipi sipi.

Dan Alhamdullillah, akhirnya, with all the hardship yg aku, lynn dan anak2 lalui, I got a word DR in front of my name and the knowledge that comes with it (initial knowledge though, because as i said before, PhD is just a training, your knowledge adventure begins after that). For this aku syukur sgt pada Allah yg bestowed upon me His blessing and I owed so much so many, mak, ayah, lynn, adik2 (Je siap jual laptop nak bagi aku duit), anak2, sepupu2, saudara mara, kawan2 di UK, majikan aku UTM dan of course, KERAJAAN MALAYSIA. Terimakasih tak terhingga.

Dan sebabkan hardship ini juga, lepas aku hantar thesis, walaupun prof nethercot suh aku stay buat post doc dgn dia dan offer luxurious allowance, I told him "I can’t, my country needs me". Sebab bila dah taunya susah nk dapat ilmu, baru la aku tau knp negara kita agak kurang maju; sebb ilmu tu susah nak dapat. Jadi bila dah ada sorang rakyat malaysia yg akhirnya berjaya dapatkan "ilmu" tu, perlulah dia balik cepat2 supaya dia boleh sebarkan "ilmu" tu pulak kat negara dia, kat anak bangsa dia. banyak sgt dah orang berkorban utk aku, so its time for me to berkorban balik utk orang lain.

*tujuan aku tulis adalah utk bacaan semua mereka yg masih belajar, tak kisah la, undergrad ke, post grad ke. aku harap it can be:

1. a motivation supaya diorang pun terus kuat dlm menempuh hardship semasa belajar. hati kena besar, cita2 kena tinggi. if you want to survive, niat knp nak belajar tu mesti dibesarkan. kita akan lagi kuat kalau kita work for a greater cause. Kita akan lebih kuat dlm belajar kalau niat kita nak bangunkan agama, ummah, dan negara berbanding belajar hanya utk diri sendiri saja. beza motovasinya kalau belajar sebab nak jadi mcm Einstein berbanding nak jadi engineer biasa kat kuala kangsar.

2. like a panduan, jika dah berkahwin, kejayaan hanya akan datang jika pasangan kita benar2 faham akan perangai dan niat kita dan sanggup berkorban utk kita. dan if they do that, always2 hargai segala pengorbanan mereka.

3. a hint on what to expect, and most of all as a benchmark on how to put a price on knowledge. for me and my family, we have paid dearly menyebabkan pada kitorg knowledge itu mahal tapi priceless.

4. an explaination kpd knp perangai aku mcm ni yg agak "tak serupa orang” dan "keras sangat".cthnya, aku selalu ckp pada students post grad aku, "aku appreciate korang punya kesusahan tapi aku tak boleh nak kasihan, sebab that what it takes".

5. dan pengalaman aku juga, bila lihat society dinegara maju, mengajar aku tentang how kemakmuran sesebuah negara dan masyarakat itu bukan sahaja bergantung kpd kerajaan ttp rakyat juga perlu memainkan peranan yg sama banyak. dan pada pandangan aku, banyak sgt lagi yg kita perlu lakukan sebagai sebuah masyarakat.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is THE MOST INSPIRING article ever! Can I copy and put this to my facebook page?

ireally hope i can see you one day, insha Allah. This article is really make to be a better student (i am doing m.a right now, insha Allah.)

Airilsametok said...

Please share, I hope it can benefit many. I wish all the best for your study. Ameen. :)

Anonymous said...


This article like.. wow. like.. WOW!

It always make me feel energetic to face all the obstacle in my studies.

I always have this dream to study at Oxford Islamic Studies as i believe it is one of the the most respectable place for you to be with scholar of islam. of course, you have al azhar as such, but deep deep down in my heart, i always have this dream to go to study there. Probably, it will be only a dream, but who knows, insha Allah? you managed to study at imperial college doing phd, so, it gives good motivation for me to at least set a target to study there, insha Allah.

just, who knows, right? :)

i encouraged you put this article in your school. it might inspired many. :)

Airilsametok said...

wow! you must chase your dream. go to oxford, work for it. i will be here praying for you. Ameen.

Anonymous said...

artikel yg sgt berkesan kerana boleh memberikan inspirasi bagi mereka yg mengambil mudah tentang ilmu dan tidak memanfaatkannya..patot lah dr airil selalu minum nescafe....hihi baru tahu lepas baca post ni..Doakan saya supaya dapat melanjutkan pelajaran yg lebih tinggi mcm dr airil supaya dapat membantu negara as you said "my country needs me"..nice post! looking forward for your next posts!

weef said...

Thank you Dr, for this inspiring article. Saya pun tengah buat PhD in Manchester (first year going to second hopefully in 2 weeks time) and I just could not believe how much I have asked myself why am I doing this and considering to quit (I was working in a private company so academic environment is totally new for me). To be honest my living condition is much,much,much better than yours (and I don't have a family yet), and I asked myself with all this rezeki that Allah provides, why am I taking it for granted?
Sometimes I really feel that I constantly disappoint my supervisor with my mediocre progress, I feel stupid and does not deserve to be in this PhD programme.
You must have had such a strong will and dedication to pull yourself together and keep yourself motivated back then. I'm taking your example as my inspiration and hopefully to pass my first year review soon! Thank you!

wanhamiza said...

menitik air mata...
rasa aku dah take for granted byk sgt..buat phd kat oz ni..memang la mahal giler jugak..bawak anak 3..hubby tak kerja...just jaga anak sebab mahal nak htr daycare...tapi rasanya cerita aku taklah seusah cerita dr airil

aku insaf...Subhanallah..Alhamdulillah..Allahuakbar..

terimakasih dr airil..tapi insyaAllah setakat ni belajar agak sennag jugak..itu rezeki Allah bagi..sebab dapat 2 professor yg sgt helpful..baru year 1 tapi dah berjaya publish 1 paper..alhamdulillah..alhamdulillah..TQ dr Airil..you are such an inspiration

Unknown said...

Maaf, Tuan Dr. Airil sbb baru nak minta kebenaran sbb dah tercopy di FB your article. Mohon dihalalkan ye. Saya copy utk bagi semangat dan perangsang buat kawan2 yg tgh berjuang untuk habiskan PhD mereka... Thanks ya....

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaykum...

Terima kasih atas nasihat serta panduan berguna ini.

Saya sekarang nie tahu 2 Phd di Australia. In Sha Allah, cuba mengambil iktibar dan pengajaran drp tulisan sdra.

terima kasih..

Anonymous said...

Dr sy sgt inspired ble bc post ni.....ape yg Dr ckp mmg sume kene batang hidung sy.... bole x nk mintk izin share post ni di FB sy?

Airilsametok said...

SILAKAN SHARE :)

offline69 said...

Your article is great but the photo kills it.hunger for knowledge deserves 2 thumbs up & a salute in my book.

Fiqwood said...

I am just a second year Undergrad student, but I am in awe with you, Dr, with the way you perceive knowledge as something so priceless, worthy of such struggle and hardship. This serves as both a motivation and a reminder to me. All along, I have always believed that knowledge is a privilege and a blessing, and is not acquired with ease, and even as a Biology student, I shall not look down on other knowledge premises such as finance for example, for I may not even make it for a week if I were in their shoes (finance students). Again, thank you for giving me a new spirit to embrace education and knowledge. May Allah grants His blessings for you and your family.

Fiqwood said...

I am just a second year Undergrad student, but I am in awe with you, Dr, with the way you perceive knowledge as something so priceless, worthy of such struggle and hardship. This serves as both a motivation and a reminder to me. All along, I have always believed that knowledge is a privilege and a blessing, and is not acquired with ease, and even as a Biology student, I shall not look down on other knowledge premises such as finance for example, for I may not even make it for a week if I were in their shoes (finance students). Again, thank you for giving me a new spirit to embrace education and knowledge. May Allah grants His blessings for you and your family.

Wahida Yaakub said...

Salam Dr. I just bumped into this entry, probably at the most perfect time. I'm quite financially tight at the moment, but after reading this, I can't be more grateful to learn that I am actually still far than what you had once been through! I like the way you used the word "suluk" - perfectly reminding me how one shall endure hardships to earn what one desires. Thank you for this! All the best to you.

wan amira said...

Salam Dr. Airil,

This is so inspiring article ever...!
syukur pd Allah krn sy berkesempatan untuk klik link blog Dr. Airil and baca article ni. for ur info, i'm UTMSPACE student, undergrad...and planning to continue in Masters prog, insyaAllah... somehow bila baca article ni, makes me realize that segala hardship sy sepnjg study ni cume seciputtt aje, if nk compare kn dgn Dr. Rasa malu yg teramat pd diri sendiri. Mmg dr kecik sy berangan2 nk ke luar negara belajar kt sana sbb sy suka budaya mereka yg pntgkan ilmu..tp angan2 tu lenyap seketika, sehinggalah sy smbg degree d utmspace. Angan2 nk study ke luar negara dah jd cita2 skrg ni..and semakin tinggi lepas baca article Dr.Airil..sy salute ur wife!!! and Alhamdulillah, suami sy pn amat2 memahami sy sbg student.. saya doakan kejayaan Dr.Airil dlm mdidik student2 Dr jd insan yg lbh mhargai ilmu...(tmasuklah utk diri sy jgk)...anyway, sy hrp 1 hari sy dpt jumpa Dr.Airil..mayb as my supervisor, insyaAllah...

Anonymous said...

Salam Dr...

Thanks for the beautiful post.. Really made my day..moga saya dan suami diberi kesempatan untuk merasa sendiri pahit dan manis menimba ilmu di UK this year, InsyaAllah...
Mohon share ya...

Anonymous said...

Salam Dr,

Thank you for such an inspiring post.Bergenang airmata bila membaca.Semoga keluarga saya diberi kekuatan mcm Dr juga, utk ke UK tahun ni InshaaAllah..thank you again.

masanita said...

Tahniah Dr dan terimakasih bkongsi pgalaman yg tak tnilai kpd masyarakat malaysia...
laluan hidup yg amat bmakna buat Dr skeluarga.. wanita yg hebat sbgi isteri d belakang suami.. amat2 tharu pgorbanan ksusahan n derita yg tlh beliau lalui.. great woman...
ASSALAMUALAIKUM buat isteri Dr.. moga syurga jua balasan utk beliau.. AMIN.
Buat Dr.. sebarkan ilmu Allah sebyk yg tmampu slagi nyawa masih ada.

all the best to Dt sekeluarga...

Airilsametok said...

Dipersilakan share Masanita dan semua :)

Anonymous said...

assalamualaikum..
walaupun saya tak kenal DR,tp ianya cukup membuatkan saya rasa perit dan jerihnya DR.nak dapatkan PHD..saya baru nak tamatkan Degree..rasa macam dah patah semngat nk buat Master...sebab saya kerja dan belajar di hujung minggu...tp bila baca blog DR...rs mcm bersemangat balik nak meneruskan perjuangan ini..
so inspiring me :)

Anonymous said...

Salam Dr.

Thank you for such an inspiring post. Sebak rasa. Bila baca entry Dr. ni, jadi pembakar semangat untuk saya dan suami terus kuat untuk sambung PhD di University of London.

Dr., saya minta permission untuk share your entry di fb yea :)

Thank you in advance ;)

Smnazir Rabun said...

Allahuakbar, you have a noble heart as the article is very igniting n soothes everyone's soul. It keeps as the motivation to work harder and be determined in every we do. Hope Allah bless and facilitate your works. I'm so moved by your writing as it always inspirational until Allah drive me to write this comment DR. There's no an easy way out Dr as we have to work hard and be very2 determined in our life. InshaAllah, May excellence continues. Thanks for your shared thoughts Dr. Jazakallah Khairan Kathira.

Mohamad Akhmal Bahari said...

Respect ! u and your family.

suffianharunsyarifahbonita said...

nangis....:(

AIn Adelin said...

Saya baca semua words yg ditulis...tak mis walau satu perkataan pun..
..air mata mengalir deras, tak boleh berhenti...
sangat menyentuh dan membakar semangat...
t.kasih tuan pensyarah.. uhuk!

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