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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gathering the strength

This past couple of months, I have been focusing a lot on my thesis writing. As I am not a full time doctorate student, the challenge is indeed big. Most people who do their doctorates would do it full time. The idea is to minimise distraction from the study itself.

I chose not to be a full time student because I am not on any scholarship whatsoever. It was the same case when I did my master of science some years back. I decided to pursue my postgraduate studies because I wanted to and to prove myself that I can indeed do it. It's not for some monetary gains in the form of promotion or position. In fact, where I work, there is no clause to say that one will get a raise upon completion of studies at a higher level.

The greatest challenge for me is not really the research part nor the writing part. I am thankful for the years of exposure at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia that helped me a great deal on these aspects. My greatest challenge is to balance my time with the various chores that I have to do.

My day job requires me to focus on the work at Yayasan Ilmuwan which involves organisational management, research and academic writing. On top of this, I am also a part time lecturer at Universiti Malaya. I also sit on the research ethics committee of Universiti Teknologi MARA that vets the ethical aspect of research proposals undertaken at the university. Aside from this, I am also a budding science fiction writer who is trying hard to complete the second part of my Transgenesis, dare I say it, "saga". Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka who recently found out about my novels (which were published by other publishers) has asked me for a couple of short stories for their magazines. And of course, as a husband, father and son, I have my family obligations that I cannot neglect.

With all these, I try to find time on weeknights to write my thesis. I am quite pleased with the progress thus far. Considering the fact that I am not a full time student and I have just started my sixth semester, the progress I have made in terms of thesis-writing is quite significant. Truth be told, most of the times I wonder where I get the strength from. It is tiring and exhausting, especially mentally, but the drive to get things done is always there to keep me going.

I am actually putting myself to task to ensure that the thesis is completed in this semester itself. Tall order? I hope not.

I am praying hard that I be given the strength, health and perseverance to see this through.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A writer's pain - Part Deux

Above: Comparison of the swollen right index finger and the non-swollen left index finger

After 12 days, my right index finger is still swollen, although the swelling has decreased a bit and the pain has somewhat lessened. I went to another doctor last Thursday, and I was given another round of antibiotics and painkiller. So far, this round of medication seems to be working.

On Thursday, I was at the Grand Dorsett Hotel in Subang Jaya to present a paper at an international conference organised by the Malaysian Society for Transplantation (MST). The conference was basically attended by the medical fraternity. A couple of doctors I know who noticed my swelling advised me to get an X-ray done if this round of antibiotics does not work.

We'll see how it goes, as the last antibiotic is due tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A writer's pain

Last Thursday afternoon, my right index finger started to swell. At first, I dismissed it as something temporary. Later that evening, the swelling got bigger, and the pain got worse.

On Friday, the swelling seemed to stop but my right index finger, in comparison to my left index finger, was almost twice the size. My wife pestered me to go to the doctor, but I refused, again dismissing the swelling by saying that it would go away on its own.
[Important tip: The next time the wife gives an advice, just heed the advice].

By this time, I realised it was difficult for me to type (although I could still do so at a slower rate by replacing the index finger with the middle finger). It was even more difficult for me to operate the mouse.

On Saturday, I drove back to Kulim which is almost a five-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Fortunately, I was able to hold the steering without pain. And on Sunday, I drove back to Kuala Lumpur, again without much pain. But when I got back to Kuala Lumpur, the swelling got bigger and a lot more painful. By 6 o'clock, I finally gave in to my wife's insistance that I should see a doctor. I went, and the doctor gave me antibiotics and something for the swelling.

Today, I went to work with the swelling on my finger. The pain seems to be getting worse despite the medication I am taking. I found it hard to write using a pen. It was also difficult to eat using cutlery. In fact, anything that involves gripping is painful and difficult.

I will wait till tomorrow with the hope that things will improve. Otherwise, I'll go see the doctor again.

On a side note, this incident is "enlightening". It is a wonder that a finger, which we often take for granted, is really important in life. Only when we have difficulty in using it that we realise its importance.