My Campus Life at the International Islamic University Malaysia
By: Mohd Khairul Anwar
If you’re gonna enroll at this International Islamic University, WELL DONE! If you intend to pursue your studies here, PLEASE DO! If you wanna find out more about UIA or IIUM, do visit http://www.iium.edu.my/ anytime you like. From the bottom of my heart, WELCOME TO THE GARDEN OF KNOWLEDGE AND VIRTUE!
The main campus in Kuala Lumpur
ONE’S WISHFUL THINKING
Getting admission at a higher educational institution like university and becoming one of the luckiest varsity students I’m convinced is everybody’s wishful thinking. At least, it’s MINE! Alhamdulillah. Thank you Allah, I got to feel and experience it all myself while some people out there didn’t.
LIFE CAMPUS WAS FUN!
To tell you the truth, my life campus was sure a whole lot of FUN! All I can do is to share a quarter of the entire description, however experiencing all this on your own will be even MORE indescribable. So, hope you know what you’re gonna do right after reading this entry up. Read on.
Living on campus made me feel like a flying bird, so full of FREEDOM. No 24-hour parents’ supervision! Nor wardens around like you had at school hostel! – nobody except your very UNPREDICTABLE fellas and foreigners (More politely, international students). Seemed as if another world I was living in, strangely, I was still on THIS planet! L
Speaking of my campus, Gombak Campus in Kuala Lumpur, the facilities were pretty awesome and I must say! Whatever I wanted, I could get them ALL on campus without having to go outing.
The facilities such as 4-floor hostels, kiosks, 18-hour cafes, ATM machines, stationery shop, bookstore, mosque, male and female sport complexes, musallas, stadium, volleyball and badminton courts, football and rugby fields, Olympic-sized swimming pool, gymnasium, post office, banks, library, cyber cafes, labs, photocopy centers, resource rooms, 24-hour free Internet wireless, public transports like buses and taxis etc. are all available on campus! The Gombak Light Rail Train (LRT) terminal is reachable in LESS than 5 MINS by vehicle. Tell me what else you think insufficient?
The post office available on campus
No need to worry about my mobile credit which I could top up at the kiosk the latest by three A.M. and for international students, they could keep in touch with their folks a little more often by enjoying certain cards – also AVAILABLE on campus. More choose to use YM with the camera on at CC. It happened ONCE in my lifetime, I thought he WAS talking to me, after all he WAS actually talking to somebody online. What a shame!
Azman Hashim Complex housing all the bank branches & ATMs
There’re a few branches of banks available like Islamic Bank, CIMB and Muamalat Bank, not to mention lots of ATM machines. Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah mosque within the campus was where a Muslim like me performed Jummat prayers congregationally on Fridays. Both khutbahs are delivered in either English or Arabic, sometimes in Bahasa and once in Japanese I guess. Was I starving around 2 to 3 a.m., TAKE IT EASY! The café at Mahallah Faruq is opened till three A.M.
Don’t question about the food service, they do have all, from local food to international food. Asian, Indian, Mediterranean and Western food – you name it, all are AVAILABLE on campus. Every hostel (called ‘mahallah’) is equipped with one café but most of them are just located real close to each other. If I disliked the menu at this café, I just stepped out to the next café nearby. No problem! Each of the cafes serves different menus. Decision is YOURS! J
Every time I was in need of a BETTER service of the Internet wireless (They named it ‘iium community’), I would spend the whole morning in the cafeteria. To kill two birds with one stone, besides going online and downloading Youtube videos I adored most, I could as well take my breakfast having fried noodle, half-cooked eggs or roti canai with a cup of hot teh tarik. What a perfect breakfast! Most of the time, facebooking. HEH HEH. The kiosk is just next to the café, so when I felt like drinking a carbonated drink, fresh milk, yogurt blah…blah…blah… I just stopped by, anytime as long as it wasn’t yet closed.
Around the male hostel area, there’re badminton and basketball courts too. SELDOM did I utilize the facilities just because I wasn’t kind of a sporty man. I played badminton ONCE at the court with my blockmate, by the way. Most typically, I grabbed the ground floor room since I was too LAZY to go up and go down. That’s why I loved registering my room ON TIME before somebody else had them occupied.
THE UNEXPECTED VISITORS
During the fasting month, I would rather go online after performing Fajr prayer. By seven-forty A.M., I got accustomed to receiving a guest but the thing is it’s NOT a human being. In fact, it’s a CUTE dog! These dogs I figured took turn on every other day to show up in front of my block. Wanna know what most regularly I did whenever the dogs turned up? I kicked them out! Shoo! Shoo! You silly dog! LOL.
Not only the dogs, my afternoon turned out to be pretty much lovelier with a number of wild monkeys hanging around up on the roof. These monkeys were freaking naughty! They stole and picked a pack of crackers out of my block and then ate them in front of me! I was so freaking pissed! Even worse, it’s a mother monkey and wasn’t even sharing some to her baby. You meanie! I wished I could teach her that stealing is haram in Islam, that was she able to understand a human’s language.
MY PRIORITY: THE LIBRARY OR SHOPPING MALLS?
In case you’re wondering about my priority between the library and shopping malls… my response went to the second one – shopping malls! OMG.
On the weekends, the 4-floor Darul Hikmah library is only open till four P.M. Since I was such a bum, the library was never my favorite destination which was supposed to be mine. I sure knew that because I’d rather go shopping or hook up somewhere at shopping malls, having Japanese food at Alpha Angle Jaya Jusco in Wangsa Maju, catching a movie at KLCC or going bowling at Wangsa Walk Mall and Mid Valley – all made my day. You can tell, I was a pretty wild student – but nevertheless, all that wasn’t my daily routine. Oh come on guys! Just once a month to see the world outside. Hello ladies! HEH HEH…
At least, I didn’t seem as pathetic as my buddies who rarely entered the library. Was I in the mood, I stopped by at the library for some time. There’s where I frequently read papers and watched the BBC news on the large screen. By doing all this, it kept myself updated with all current issues. I wasn’t as nerdy as those who make the library their second home. I used to study at the library once in 2008 for the subject ‘Grammatical Analysis’ – and I tell you what, the effort was paid eventually when I passed with flying colors with grade A for that subject. I realize I’m pretty smart since then. HEH HEH.
My lecturer teaching this killer subject that time was Dr Adrian Ernest Hare, a Londoner who comes from England far in the United Kingdom. I’m not kind of snobbish, but it’s a reality I was the only one who got grade A for the subject. I’m not pulling your leg and am actually being honest. J HUHU.
THE BOOKWORM WANNABE
I AM into short stories so no big deal if I tell you I ever borrowed a short story book from the library. I did borrow other subject-based books as well, but most of the time, they ended up being my hopeless collections that I kept in mind to always extend once each was about to get due. Who wants to have their butt kicked, right? I had learnt enough from my past mistake because of the overdue case and sure enough, I had had it! Once bitten twice shy, isn’t it?
ONE OF MY BAD HABITS
After lectures on weekdays, the Information Technology Division Lab was where I mostly headed to. As I walked past the lab on my way back to hostel on the daily basis, stopping by there would be great! There, I went online for a couple hours, never for 5-6 hours straight. I AM a Muslim so I didn’t forget Allah and my obligation to perform solah when the time came. Oh yeah, the mosque is just next to the lab. No wonder hanging out in the lab got me more istiqamah (consistent) to keep praying congregationally with the Imam and makmums at the mosque, which was such a good thing!
Sultan Ahmad Shah four-floor mosque
Seeing that IIUM is the first Malaysian international university, so you can state 90% of the lab users were non-Malays. I mean foreigners – Arabs, Africans, Europeans etc. Can’t believe more or less 4 years at Uni, they thought I was a Thai and could be an Indonesian. Whatever! Sawadikap!
DURING THE PEAK HOUR
Luncheon is the weekdays’ peak hour for both students and staff. All the cafes in the centre complex turn completely crowded. I grinned if my lecture got dismissed 20 mins earlier before one P.M. so I was able to enjoy my lunch in prosperity. No need to grab a chair to sit on and a table to put my plate down. The point is I didn’t hafta listen to females’ hot gossips and all oooh-aaah noise they made all the time.
Was I damn starving during the peak hour, that meant I gotta go to the Mamamia Mediterranean café for lunch. Imagine the situation in which all customers are foreigners and you must speak English to make an order. Anyway, the meals were sometimes not all that bad either, to be honest. At least, my tummy was fully tucked in. For dessert, a piece of Black Forest cake was surely perfect. Yummy! Want some? NO WAY!
WHEN I WAS BROKE
Speaking of food, I loved lasagna and it had been my routine every Friday to have it right after the afternoon congregational prayer. At hostel café, my favorite Western food was Chicken Chop and, Fish and Chips. To save my budget when I was broke, I had only roti telur every night instead. Rice was only at lunch in that it probably cost me more than RM5 at times! In conclusion, Western food is a much better choice to be thrifty. Will my face be like ‘bread’ and ‘egg’ for eating so many roti telur? You think? HA HA…
The nearest ATM machine to male hostels is at the Kulliyyah (Faculty) of Economics and Management Science. Whenever I knew I was running out of my cash, that’s where I headed to before 12 midnight. FYI, it turns out of service after twelve. Maybe Cinderella shuts the service down! OH REALLY? And, that’s when I cursed to the stupid machine just because I was allegedly 1-second late. SHOOT!
ARE YOU QUEUING OR SKIPPING, DUDE?
Mahallah Faruq’s Cyber Café (or CC) was where I most regularly printed my assignments out just because I didn’t like to own a printer. Possessing a printer of my own was a mess! Plus, there’re many CCs on campus. What else is the CC for if it’s not for me to go print out? I didn’t really surf the Net there ‘cause like I said, we got free wireless on campus. Why should I waste my money, then? Penny wise pound foolish! I pretty much loathed when somebody skipped my queue for printing. Guess who skipped my queue most of the time? The international student. Sigh. Is this also called ‘the diversity of cultures’? HWAAAARRGHH…
Maybe I wasn’t chubby enough so they didn’t notice I was there or maybe the administration had better provide queuing numbers so nobody would ever skip somebody else’s turn, especially my turn! Fair and square. Things are getting worse when all that didn’t happen at all! L
Sayyidina Hamzah stadium is real huge! It looks like the many stadiums on TV as people constantly play soccer on the field. When I saw there’s no Malay around but me, I took off shortly. Don’t get misunderstood. I’m not a racist. I left the stadium when I was getting fed up. Got it?
Sayyidina Hamzah stadium
THEY LABELLED ME ‘NERD’?
What type of student was I like? Hmm…I’m called to answer this question. My classmates used to label me ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ even though I’ve never approved that, ever! Maybe, they thought so as I had been a class rep many times or what people call ‘Anak lecturer’. Doing revision was out of my pastime list, I was pretty informative nonetheless.
THE LAZY CLASS REP
Appointed to be a class rep didn’t really put me in the comfort zone and please take note! Every time my intention to skip lectures was to be called off right after getting a phone call from my lecturer. What got me so speechless when the lecturer pretty much cared about his student and unluckily I was the VICTIM. They bothered inquiring this, “It’s about eight-thirty now and you’ve yet to show up. Urm…are you still in bed, sweetie?”
Oh dear! How the hell does s/he find it out?! Deep in my heart, “Hang on, are you spying on me?” I knew I must be pretending cool since I never wanted my lecturer to find out my bad habit. Don’t forget they’re the ones who gave me extra marks for good conduct. I got this super idea to reply, “I’m on my way, Sir!” HEH HEH. What a trick! Don’t you ever give your lecturer a shot!
“I’m deeply sorry, Prof. I OVERSLEPT.” To be honest with you, this is the most popular excuse for not attending lectures that so many undergraduate students adore. I just knew I was way BETTER than they since then. At least, I didn’t make such a lame excuse! Well…this is like a student-student secret and don’t start filling your lecturers in all about this or else you’re gonna be in a big trouble, man!
THE UIVERSITY DRESS CODE?
I can still recall, because I didn’t obey the university dress code that much, I ever wore a pair of Japanese slippers (The Malays call ‘selipar Jepun’) to lectures that my lecturer, Dr. Z finally noticed me having a screw loose! “Hey, what the hell are you putting on, dork?!” (This wasn’t the way he in fact asked. “Uh-ho… I’m really getting into hot water!” Never did I put shoes on to lectures, FYI. I love informality and dressed in casual clothes all the time although formal attire is highly recommended.
This no-no controversial stuff I was talking about
INDEED, TIME FLIES
Four years possibly sounds a very long time for a freshman. Ironically, four years studying at Uni is pretty short for me primarily when I was already in the final year of study and my current status turned ‘senior’. I was too depressed to say ‘goodbye’ to the world-class university. Just then, I started whining, “4 years is a really short term and I want more!” or “How come time flies this fast?!”Were I to be offered to extend another 1 semester, for sure I would firmly object! Look who’s talking!
AFTER GRADUATION, this Garden of Knowledge and Virtue is one of the places I want to visit again and again.