(medical students from japan :)
before starting this program i asked myself will i ever be able to deliver what is needed to be done. i had no proper education with excellent english, no prior mentoring experience. in fact, the story of how i got recruited for this job was also a bit messed up : i was the last one to be recruited ( a day before the program started ). the trainers tried to call me many times but i was always busy doing something else. sorry Puan Khadijah. but as Puan khadijah said ' youre here, lets just move on forward! '
on the first day of the program i honestly still could not keep up with the names of the friends / buddies , and it took me the whole week to remember each and everyone of them. things was a bit confusing at first. we needed time to adjust on to the work environment and of course, focusing on you lovely japanese people :) few things that i noticed at that time. first was that most of the students were very shy, or maybe nervous. and without the students know, we also felt the same. some of us never spoke to any foreigners, some of us never actually see japanese people, face to face. As for me what i see is that they really want to speak but what they need at that time, is the necessary push to turn the switch on. and as the weeks follows, i can assure that nervous, and confidence was not an issue anymore. and we achieved so much more after this barrier has been eliminated.
after-class activities were the moments that are usually anticipated. its where we are free to do what we want, without the stresses of class and we are able to experience malaysia. so many places to visit, so many foods to try, and so many cheap items to buy i guess? what amazes me was the fact that some of them were able to go on their own to the places without us guiding. despite all the various of activities that were done, the best moments for me were simply the moments spent together, just talking. i like to get to know with people, and probably from their experiences and their habits, we could learn alot and reflect on ourselves on what we can do to improve ourselves in the future. here are some of the highlighted moments that i considered worth mentioning;
1. ever since i was little my mother keeps on reminding me to always help people in need, and that includes making other people's job easier. i remembered once ( i think many of them actually), my friend asked me after i finished a meal at McDonald; " why would you clean your tray of garbage after eating it? let the restaurant staff clean it. its their job " and i was left without an objectively right answer. i thought it was common courtesy. but i guess i was wrong. Until i meet these japanese people. everyday after breakfast or lunch i would see them take a turn to clean the tables they used for their meal. and by cleaning means that they also wipe each table with their own wet wipes. never have i seen a malaysian do that before. just the example needed to allow me to follow what my mother said. and hence another thing to add into my long lists of `things i dont need approval from local society '
2. after talking to them, some of them actually lives far from tokyo. making them having to stay in tokyo by themselves, and some of them even lives alone. its quite hard to imagine for us malaysian, right after finishing high school, to go and study far, and lives alone. to add to this fact, most of them are actually working part time to make sure they are able to pay for their living costs in tokyo. let it be at a restaurant, shops in the mall, or even a sushi rider ( keep it up ashun! :D ) they do it as part of their daily live and it is a norm to do this type of lifestyle over there. and for some of them, the money of the part time jobs are the financial source for them to come to Malaysia. and the rough estimation of the cost is more than 10k! i salute you all, hats off, and i hope that in the future i have the same determination to be functional at this level so that i can earn money to go to japan to see all of you :) on the reflection side, i should be able to find some strength to normalize myself in the future medical field
3. this one is dedicated to one of the students, Oikawa Natsuko ( as shown in the picture :) it was during week 4 of the program, and during the afternoon buddy session, we were needed to discuss on a topic called, ambition. so everyone needs to give a brief speech on what they want to talk with regards to ambition or dream generally. all of them would normally write the speech before giving the speech knowing that it is actually quite hard to speak without a proper script. plus, with the script, it allows us to correct any grammatical error for the sake of improvement. Some students would like to give a funny speech just to entertain us. some have a more serious thought that should make us ponder upon their words. A particular one written this one below,
(this is shuka's speech. i really like reading their speech, but this one is taken from syafiqah's instagram :)
this shows that some of them are actually taking this topic to a serious level and hopefully it is fulfilled in the nearest future. then comes this cute girl, natsuko, giving her speech. Initially i was about to just dismiss that speech. but as the speech progresses, i knew that this was not a normal speech. she started her speech by saying why she wants to learn english. Im very sorry natsuko, but i could not recall all of your speech, but this is what i remembered . sorry if it is wrong. few years back when the tsunami hit asia, her family was one of the victims of the disaster. when that happens, help came from many different countries. however none of them spoke japanese. and mostly were able to speak english. at that time none of them could speak english. the utter frustration of having such communication barrier is a whole lot to bear, especially during the hard times of desperate moments. and such pain is a great motivation to keep her focus on what she is doing now; which is learning english so that she can teach children from her hometown english so that they wont go through what she has gone through. she had difficulities in delivering that speech, but she was also holding back tears, for the sake of delivering the message. But she cried afterwards and at that point i understand her motivation. and its a strong one. im pretty sure a lot of other students have their own story, of which i was unfortunate to unable to listen to them all. sigh.
( Ms Hancock's class in Plascrugs school)
so lets start here, as i once said, i never had a proper background of learning english with the right way. and as far as i can remember i was really dumb and disliked english ever since i was in kindergarten. to a point i always copied my english homework(ONLY ENGLISH. other homeworks i did it with passion and interest. haha) in kindergarten because i could not understand it at all. until i was 6 years old and we had to go to UK because my father was studying there. in the effort of making me learning english, my mother bought me a story book and she would force me to read it everytime before going to sleep. so i was frustrated with that because i had to read something i dont understand, and also i could not really pronounce the words,it lasted for about a month before we move to aberystwith, wales,. and over there, i went to a school where obviously everyone is either speaking english, or welsh. and i remembered that the 1st day was a day where i cried all day long because i cant speak to anyone and i cannot even go to the toilet because of that. it took me 2 days to learn the 1st word in english, and that was *yes*. my mother said that if anyone asks you anything just say that word. and i still couldnt go to the toilet. until i actually memorise the phrase on how the words actually sounds like, instead of learning what the word really was. funny times. haha
and to top up to that problem, the class was full so i had to sit at the table where all the smartypants were sitting. so they were usually given more homeworks and exercises to do. plus if we are doing diary session, we needed to do longer essays in comparison to other. i did not like the situation that i was put in. but as time goes by, i just go with the flow, and manage to cope with the problems. and of course, a must to mention, thanks to my mother for forcing me to learn, and also the teachers and friends who sat down and was there throughout my stupidity period. i guess the endurance to sit and be patience is something i needed to highlight and make it a part of me.
From these 2 experiences of me learning 2 languages, i realize that the key to understanding another language is the environment. by environment, i meant by the people around you who are actually using the same language to communicate, as well as many supports as possible to encourage you, to push you. Im not a noble man of wealth, nor am i a man with the prowess to do great thing. but i am a firm believer of one thing that my mother always reminds me of :
" do good, and be good. always help people where ever you can. and see how kindness and good deeds will give you more satisfaction than money will ever give. Or atleast you'll feel better seeing people wont have to go through what you've been through "
seeing all the japanese students struggle, i could not help but to try my best to attend to all of their difficulties to learn english. and ofcourse listening and speaking was the hardest part. i could say that all the buddies were sooooo attentive in allowing them to take their time to try and speak in english. its not about the amount of the english words spoken. but we actually just want to turn on the switch for them to become more confident in the knowledge that they already have. from day 1 i could actually see that they can , they just need that necessary amount of push to keep rolling on to speak english. sometimes that necessary push comes from outside of the class session. maybe making them feel comfortable staying here in Malaysia would ease up the process of their learning. and at the end of the day, im just a human being with the same limitation. I feel really bad as i was unable to entertain the needs of all of them. some of them that are even dear to me. and I truly am, sorry. gomennasai :(
and during the times where i was stressed up with all the problems that came up during the program, i would try to remind myself of all the motivations i needed to keep on doing what i do. that includes my mother's word, and most of them, are the efforts shown by the students. japanese people are hardworking people i could say. i would always say to myself, if they can be that hardworking, maybe i should too. again, we are all humans with the same capabilities and not handicapped right? and of course, i find pleasure knowing that they are happy. to seek for pleasure is a man's goal right? :)
And suddenly i remembered what my mother once said to me out of the blue:
' in life we dont just make money, we create memories '
5 weeks spent of what i thought was for the payment that we will get. but along the way i noticed that was not possible. instead, along the way we created something more valuable. we were more than just buddies, but brothers instead. and these valuable moments that makes you realize, it was all worth it, and im willing to do it again. thankyou everyone. i love you all, and i will miss you all.
Here is a little parting video from me. enjoy :)