Mohd Firdaus Abdullah, an IMU pharmacy student, was awarded the Aflame Student Award at IMU’s University Day celebrations on 9 March 2018 at the University’s campus in Bukit Jalil. As the 2018 winner of the Aflame Student Award, Mohd Firdaus was given the opportunity to nominate a beneficiary, Majudiri Y, Foundation for the Deaf to receive a donation. Explaining on his choice of beneficiary, Mohd Firdaus said, “I have been involved in many charity works with the deaf community and they are already becoming part of my life. Deaf culture has always been rather misunderstood by the public and deaf people in Malaysia are often discriminated in the workplace and also in education systems. Majudiri Y is an established foundation that helps in helping and guiding the deaf people in terms of education, training youth work and scientific research that enable them to participate fully in society and in nation building. The Foundation also provides opportunities for deaf people to develop their potential and achieve their aspirations”.
Mohd Firdaus tells us more here.
Mahatma Gandhi once said and I quote “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Some people volunteer to make new friends. And others give back because of the peers. Beyond many reasons of volunteering, as for me, it just makes me feel good. Early on in my volunteering works, I have been involved in many charity events and activities mostly organised by IMU Cares. From navigating a blind person in the street of Kuala Lumpur to teaching a deaf student Bahasa Malaysia for PT3 examination, the experiences had notably taught me to value life and people. I have always been passionate to help people with disability. I would still remember my visit to Pusat Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Taman Megah, whereby the children had welcomed us with huge smiles and the most important thing on that day is, we had a lot of fun!
Volunteering at Society of the Blind truly opened my eyes towards life with disability. I was being assigned to take a blind man to UTC building for his passport renewal. Funny yet embarrassing thing that happened was, I took him to a different direction and we were lost for about 15 minutes. Fortunately, with his good memory and orientation skills, he instructed me to the right direction and we managed to arrive early to the destination. Along the way, the blind man was grateful to have me as company and forgot the fact that he was misdirected because we had too much fun sharing stories and laughter. In month of December 2017, I have completed three courses of sign language and am continuing to a diploma programme very soon. At the same time, I was being installed as one of the Signing Angels Fraternity of RC Deaf Malaysia, a project for the sign language programme graduates to be more involved in the deaf community. It is a platform as future deaf interpreters to contribute to the life of deaf people in Malaysia such as in deaf school projects, teaching tuition, medical camps and visiting the sick who are deaf. Some people might be uncomfortable when confronted with people with disability. One of the possible reasons is that some people feel sorry for them and assuming they are bitter about their disabilities. This is untrue in many cases. Many people with disabilities feel enriched by their experiences with disability, and even if given the chance to erase their disability, they would choose not to. And many people are also afraid that the will “say the wrong thing”. However, that’s not a big deal to most people with disabilities. What’s important is that you respect the person and see them beyond their disability.
The world needs compassion and we need a lot of it. It is up to our generation to raise the bars on how we treat people with disability. We have to look pass the social stigma placed on those who have disabilities. Do not see the disability that they are living with but look at the amazing people they are.
How did you feel when you know you will be receiving the Aflame Award? To be considered as the finalist for this award was already a huge honor and a privilege. And to be able to receive the Aflame Award 2018, I am pleased, honored and humbled. I dedicate all of my hard work to the people who had impacted my life along the way. I am hoping that my story would be an inspiration to others to do good in spreading kindness. How long have you been involved in working with the community? I started getting involved in working with the community since I was in secondary school. I often spare my time at several soup kitchen projects in providing foods and medical supplies to the homeless in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. My passion in community service continued as IMU gives me a platform to join many activities mainly via IMU Cares. Along the way, I equipped myself with sign language skills, which helps me to serve the deaf community. How did you start getting involved in community work? It mainly started with a group of my friends who were very passionate in volunteering and in helping the homeless. We often prepared food and bought some basic medical needs to give out to homeless people in Kuala Lumpur. I found myself intrigued in the community services hence the passion continues. Were you involved in any of IMU’s community projects while studying for your degree? Yes. And I truly miss every moment of it. I have visited many orphanages and charity homes throughout my studies in IMU and along the way, I have strengthened my sense of compassion and caring towards people who are in need. I would like to encourage my juniors to participate in IMU’s community projects not because of people’s acknowledgement or it will look good in the resume but for your own experiences and to develop a sense of caring and hospitality which is vital as a healthcare professional. Remember, opportunity does not knock; it presents itself when you beat down the door. Describe your experiences doing community work My experiences in doing community work have been valuable to me and I actually discovered myself. I had never thought I could meet and interact with deaf and blind people. Interacting with these disabled people had taught me to value and appreciate life even more. I hope that I could continue helping people regardless of their health status, age, gender or race for the rest of my life. What are you doing now? I have recently finished my undergraduate studies in Pharmacy at IMU and am scouting for job opportunities as a pharmacist. I am still involved with the Signing Angels Fraternity programme in helping the deaf people in Malaysia who are in need mainly in education and medical perspectives. What community projects are you currently involved in? Currently, I am involved in Signing Angels Fraternity programme and we have planned out a great line up of activities and events to help the deaf community in 2018. Every second or third week of the month, we will be having medical camps to provide basic check-ups for deaf people and every week, I provide tuition for deaf students preparing for PT3 and SPM examinations. Could you describe any future plans that you have? I am really hoping to own a charity or social project organisation in providing basic life skills or education system to deaf people all across Malaysia. And helping the society to realise the importance of having these special people in our community will definitely be a great help in building our nation!
|Judges for Aflame Award:|
|Prof Peter Pook Chuen Keat (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic)|
|Dr Albert Ling (Recipient of Meritorious Service Medal by His Royal Highness DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus and the IMU Aflame Student Award 2014)|
|Dr Sharminithevi Paramalingam (Recipient of Young Alumnus Award – Contributions to the Community 2017)|
|Aflame Award Finalists|
|Mohd Firdaus Abdullah|
|Ernest Ng Chang Ern aka NC Ernest|
|Ruevan Jude Ratnesh|
|Sng Kim Sia|
|Bushra Farooq Khan|
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