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Humans of IMU : Appreciating the Heroes of IMU

30 Dec 2018

Every day, our moments in IMU are spent walking on the same paths tread by many others who stroll around busily with their own tasks and endeavours on their minds, most of whom we only glance at and think of in passing. However, have you ever wondered what fascinating, surprising or inspiring stories lay hidden behind the briefly-formed impressions you have of them? To bring these compelling stories to light, IMU Student Ambassadors (SA) collaborated with IMU Editorial Board to organise the 2018 edition of Humans of IMU (HOI) Week, an annual event which acts as a platform to highlight the diverse lives and perspectives of the people in IMU. The theme for this year’s event, held from 14 to 16 November, was “Kaleidoscope”, a nod to the distinctly unique and vibrant complexities as well as the markedly similar attributes found within the IMU community. Stories submitted by students for the writing competition were exhibited on display boards at the atrium. Also set up at the atrium was a polling booth for the Most Inspiring Story, allowing onlookers to vote for the story that moved them the most. Performances 1 The closing ceremony of Humans of IMU Week 2018, held on 16 November at the driveway, started off with a speech by the Project Leader, Chang Wei Hang. The ceremony was then launched with an address by Prof Ong Kok Hai who sang praises for the organising committee for their hard work in ensuring the event was a success in featuring stories that appeal to the minds and hearts of readers. This was followed by a rousing piano performance by Stefan Njoo. Next up on stage was Mr Saravanan Muthiah, Head of the Student Services Hub who underlined the significance of appreciating the people in IMU, saying that we can all take something away from their stories. After the speeches, it was time for the winners to be announced. Mathangi Devindran and Jane Lee Jia Jing received the 2nd runner up and 1st runner up prizes respectively while Aishah Amirah binti Shamsul Kamal took home the 1st prize.

After an electrifying hip hop dance performance by dance group BIJ, the VIPs, judges of the story writing competition and project leaders were invited on stage to receive tokens of appreciation for their presence and contributions. The ceremony concluded with a violin performance by Howard Foo.

To sum things up, Humans of IMU Week 2018 was a major accomplishment, adding to the successful string of HOI events from previous years since the inaugural project in 2015. The collective effort by the project advisors, IMU SA and IMU Editorial Board was instrumental in the organisation of the event.

It is anticipated that future Humans of IMU events will see similar levels of success and more extraordinary stories of the amazing people in IMU are unearthed for the IMU community to cherish. Winning Entries

Story: Muhammad Hafiz bin Zalman Written by: Aishah Amirah binti Shamsul Kamal (BM117) – Winner
A soft spoken gentleman with a natural gift of turning the most formidable character into one of a cheery demeanor, had an unearthed secret not known to many that the good humour he radiated was not talent, but rather the result of a heart carved by resilience in facing life obstacles and empathy towards those in need of joy. Hafiz Zalman always believed that like a kaleidoscope, happiness is found, when you look at life through all the fragments of experiences you have gone through, from a positive perspective as he found happiness in the smile of others be it friends or strangers.

Traversing each challenge in life with positivity and endurance, he describes his life as a positive challenge nurtured with unconditional love. Being the eldest son, he takes on the responsibility of taking care of his mother who is diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, showering her with immense love and unconditional support. Hafiz in fact, sees it as a chance to express his gratitude to his mother for undergoing tough labour to give birth to him and bringing him up into the person he is today. Incidents that took a toll on his life but replacing him with a stronger heart and new perspective towards life allowed him to evolve into a better person which is reflected his academic academic life – successfully securing a scholarship from JPA, passing foundation studies with flying colours. Hafiz is now a happy, enthusiastic and cheerful Second Year Medical student at the International Medical University experiencing the fruits of his hard work and patience.

Story: Bushra Farooq Khan Written by: Jane Lee Jia Jing (BP116) – 1st Runner up
The journey to figure out who you are and discover what you love doing can be a lifelong search. For Bushra Farooq Khan, the quest of her journey began at the age of 16. Traversing her high school years feeling disconnected with her peers, Bushra was blessed with a thought one day while she visited a Special Education Centre witnessing a special need child play the piano despite the challenges faced. At the time, the term ‘volunteering’ was unknown to her, for all she intended to do was to ‘help out’. Her desire to volunteer for the centre soon came true as she saw it as her secret haven and since then, it sparked her desire to help the people in her community. Travelling from Oman to Malaysia all on her own to pursue her degree in Psychology, she began to venture into the realm of volunteering. Through her umpteen high and low experiences, Bushra says, “If I were the tree, the roots and branches were the people who helped me to grow”. Although she was first upset seeing those people who volunteer for the sake of their own fame, Bushra later realised that the ultimate goal of volunteering was for the population to receive the help needed and the manner in which people tailored their reasons to achieve that goal carried little weight. This episode had changed her perspective on judging the people who help out regardless what their motives are as every effort put in albeit it being a personal gain, how every action of us in this current era gets to the awareness of the society which in turn keep us all connected and cherished through myriad mediums was the bigger picture. Bushra believes that for all of her work, recognition is not what she seeks, but the sense of achievement knowing that she has done something every day. Volunteering makes her happy and she feels that one’s genuine effort and time towards a cause can make a difference no matter what scale it might be as you are someone’s reason to be grateful and smile. Apart from recognising that awards or certificates are indeed good forms of motivation and validation, she also hopes to leave a legacy by bridging both youth and adults to create a better world by imparting their knowledge through their values and morals to shape individuals into becoming their better selves. Bushra described IMU as a blessing for her because of both the good and the less positive things that happened which led her to learn the different aspects of herself. Tracing back her key to her quest from the day she stepped into the Special Education Centre and it continues to integrate along with her experiences and learning things on her own in a foreign country. Just like a kaleidoscope, all these little pieces come together perfectly to shape who she is today and who she wants to be tomorrow.
Story: Dr Ranjit de Alwis Written by: Mathangi Devindran (ME218) – 2nd Runner Up
Deemed as a strict lecturer with a tad bit of humor, he is frequently mistaken for Dr JP when he speaks in his native Sri Lankan accent. Dr Ranjit’s personal story of being a grandad who is eight hours away from his family who is still enthusiastically advancing in his academics at the age of 71 is an unearthed fact to many. Growing up in a country with a typical Asian understanding of the only two possible career options, which is either Medicine or Engineering, he chose Medicine feeling that he was brought up to care for others. Dr Ranjit stood by his word and strongly believes that working with patients delivers a unique satisfaction that crowns money. The journey of luck that led Dr Ranjit to IMU began as he experienced a bad day at his office which made him consider the vacancy for a lecturer as he flipped through the British Medical Journal applying on a whim to IMU. Much to his astonishment, he was called for an interview within a short frame of time. Upon his arrival, his perception of life of just lecturing a bunch of students changed dramatically as he was not only involved in the overall advancement of the students but also the university which in turn contributed to his own personal evolution. Facing much challenges while adapting to the new environment and culture, Dr Ranjit managed to swim through it all with his audacity and curiosity to explore into a new realm and is now proudly living in Malaysia for 18 years. He spends his Sunday mornings at a free clinic in Sentul, and caring for his health at the Commonwealth Park, where he proudly states that he can walk a whole round in 13 minutes. He is also very specific about his favourite Malaysian dish succinctly saying: “Tilapia. Steamed. Asam.” A take away word from Dr Ranjit would be to up keep the professionalism of your career with regard to abiding by time. “I understand that young people are young people. But maintaining discipline is important because doctors nowadays show unprofessional behaviour; they aren’t there on time.” Dr Ranjit affirms that a line has to be drawn somewhere, because as future doctors, patients look up to them with immense faith and hence it is their duty to them to keep up to the purity of the profession in all dimensions.

Related article: A Vibrant Kaleidoscope of the Diverse Lives at IMU

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