Posted by: y4ku24 | March 16, 2010

A pair of new glasses

[My lovely younger sister who is currently studying medicine in Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) wrote this article for the Malaysian students over there. I would like to proudly share it with you guys. Kinda change my perspective about the Arabs too. Enjoy!]

Jordan University of Science and Technology, JUST (source:

~ A pair of new glasses ~ by A.J

Story of friendship, humor and about promoting Malaysia ^^

Stepping into *4th year was like changing new glasses for me. It made me view almost everything in a new perspective. Well, not exactly everything. But most of them, especially the way I view my fellow Arab colleagues. Needless to say, if I didn’t get the chance to know them as well as how I know them today, they would remain merely ‘just Arabs’ ! Yup, just ‘those Arabs’ (that’s how we used to call them). Everyone would seem to have the same pointy nose, same fair skin, same round eyes and same thick eyebrows. My friends and I used to have many negative impressions about them. Especially when it comes to attitude and respect towards others.

Well, that was how I felt back then, with my ‘old glasses’.

However, after 3 long years, I finally got the chance to change into my new glasses. SubhanAllah (praise be to Allah), to my surprise the so called ‘Arabs’ no longer look the same! Physically, they haven’t changed that much but what’s different now is that I can now really see what’s inside their hearts!

I would say it was kind of a miracle for me.

But to think of it, anyone would have been able to do so if they were in my shoes at that time.

Throughout my whole 4th year, whether I liked it or not, I had no choice but to face the same people every single day. From 8.00am to 3.00pm, I had to mingle with the same lot.

They were the ones I talked to each day. The ones I *rode buses back and forth with (while trying to bear with their out-of-track voices singing throughout the whole journey). The ones I borrowed *measuring tapes from whenever I forgot to bring them. The ones who made me laugh with their childish jokes despite how many times I admitted I couldn’t understand it. The ones who offered me their seats when I came in late. The ones who treated me a pack of chips during break.

Yes, anyone sane enough would agree that they were VERY GOOD FRIENDS. Honestly, I had never imagined of having friends as good as them. The whole group completed each other. I had the most wonderful time being with them. Yet again, I thank Allah infinitely for giving me that second chance to know them in a different way. I now proudly regard them as part of my life here in this foreign land called Jordan.

Back then, it was quite a scary feeling to imagine how the three of us Malay girls, destined by fate, would have to face a whole struggling year with 13 other strangers whom we never knew before. How will they accept us? Will they look down on us? Will they cooperate with us? Will we be able to blend in and understand what they say? Thankfully, all those questions ended with positive answers.

As a group, we shared all the ups and downs together. We made jokes when the environment seemed tense, we rejoined two people who were quarreling, we celebrated birthdays and bought presents, we invited each other to our homes, we cooked and exchanged dishes, and we did so many other things which friends do with each other. The most valuable thing we did together that broke the barrier between two cultures was – we taught each other our native languages!

I owe 70% of my Arabic that I have today to my friends in A8 (the name of our group). They were like mobile dictionaries. Anytime, anywhere, they were always ready to translate words for us. If we didn’t ask, they would be the ones who asked us whether or not we understood. It is kind of funny remembering how they were so concerned on how we were going to face our first *OSCE in Arabic. I actually emailed the head of our group (C.R) with a long list of medical terms for him to translate into Arabic. I did felt guilty of burdening him with that long list to be translated a few days before our big exam, but I couldn’t resist his offer in helping us with whatever he could. Thanks to you, dear C.R., I can still remember the words up until now.

To repay their deeds, I offered to teach them Malay language. Not in a formal class, but simply by teaching them the words that came across our minds back then. Most of the time they were adjectives, sometimes names of organs, food and places.

I would love to share with you one unforgettable incident: –

‘M’ was one of my group mates. He was actually the most committed ‘student’ when it came to learning Malay language. He used to ask about how we say certain Arabic words in our own language. He also wasn’t shy at all to try and pronounce them. Even if they sounded very funny to us, especially when it comes to saying words with ‘ing’ at the back.

One day, M came up to me after our lecture and handed me two pieces of paper. Written on them were 3 pages of English words in red ink.

‘” Can you please translate these in Malay language?”, he asked.

“Huh? All of these?” I turned the papers up and down to recheck.

I could find almost all the common adjectives, verbs, even some numbers and the names of days.

“Are you sure?”, I asked. Just to make sure he wasn’t joking like he always does.

“Yeah, of course. If you don’t mind, that is” he replied.

I was so overwhelmed on how interested he was in learning Malay. You don’t get to see such interest in many Arabs nowadays. So I agreed to return him the translated words the next day.

After accepting the papers with such joy and gratefulness, M promised me that he would go back home and memorize all of them. Well, I didn’t expect him to actually do so but I was amazed on how he appreciated the knowledge.

The next day, while waiting for the Doctor to come, he came to me with a meaningful smile.

“Hey, guess what? I memorized some of the Malay words you wrote for me yesterday!” he declared with excitement.

“Really? I’m impressed, M! You really are a bright student! Can you tell me what you managed to memorize?” I tried to test him.

“Hmm, okay let’s see”, he turned around to look for something. He called upon our C.R.

“K, come here!” K came with an innocent face, not knowing what was going on.

Bear in mind that K is actually quite big in size and M is very skinny. The real opposite of each other. They both just love teasing each other with all sorts of crazy ideas. They would even end up chasing each other like small children with K wishing that he could crush M like how he crumples a piece of paper. On the other hand, M would always find a way to beat K with his non-stop annoying words.

“Now, I will try to describe the both of us”, M began, holding on to K’s arm .

“Saya (I am)…….kurus (thin)……,” trying his best to pronounce it right.

“Okay, you got that one right”, I replied to let him know he was doing alright.

“K…….hmm, what’s that word…hold on”, he paused for a few seconds and then continued.

“Hmm, K………is…….tebal (thick)!!!”, he said with such confidence.

Ya Allah! At that time, only Allah knew how I tried my best not to laugh. I could just barely hold my breath. The best that I could do was to let go a really big smile. He looked confused with how I reacted. He wanted to know if he mentioned anything wrong, which he obviously did.

After a few minutes, when I was able to get a grip of myself, I finally told him the mistake he did and I corrected him. When he knew about it, he laughed along too.


Until now, I can still remember that incident. I sometimes even regard K as ‘Si Tebal’ (The Thick One) whenever I talk about him to my housemates who knew about this incident.

Such memories tied us together as a group until now. Even though we have all separated into different groups this year, I can assure you that my glasses have not been changed. And I don’t wish to change them anymore. I like the glasses I have now, because I always see my friends from the inside.

– in memory of A8, 08/09 –


-4d1k y4ku24-


*4th year = the first year of clinical lessons (meeting real patients in wards and clinics)

*rode buses to go to other hospitals outside the university

*measuring tapes are required to measure a child’s head circumference / a swelling leg etc

*OSCE = objective structured clinical examination, where the student is presented with a real/stimulated patient and he has to gather relevant information from the patient (the examiner will be at the patient’s side to observe and give marks)



  1. wah2 ade pak arab syok kat adik ko rupenye

  2. Sebelum ni selalu je dengar org dok sebut arab yang kasar, suka gaduh..dll.

  3. i thought M meant thick= bengap, stupid.

  4. I am so pleased to see this article. I have a very close friend who lives in Malaysia and his grandson goes to school in Jordan, so I am very pleased to read about the change in views of these people. My wife and I are living in Denver, Colorado (she is Singaporean and I am native born American-both Muslims). I would love to read comments from more Malaysian about experience in Jordan.

  5. haha.. tebal.. agak agak aa..

    actually in my Univ too.. where arabs quite majority there.. yes, some of them are sooo lazy becoz they are sooo rich! and they know even if they graduate with CGPA 2.00 they will inherit all their fathers money.. and i have to admit most of arabs i knew are hardworking as they come from poor family.. yea, actually the situation same as in Malaysia.. tepuk dada tanya selera!

  6. begitulah, seorang abang membaca entry si adik, tanpa menyedari sebenarnya, dia bakal mendapat adik ipar berbangsa arab..

    haa, hang pun kena tune hang punya glasses..

  7. @Mr huhu & zacharias: No problem with me. 🙂

    @nusk: tu mmg stereotype diorg, tp of coz tak semua sama.

    @zacharias: if he knows Malay to that extent, than he really IS mastering our language!

    @ahsan Raza: Assalaamualaikum brother! thank you for visiting my humble blog. i am currently studying in japan, but i am sure my sister and her friends would love to share it with you. if you want i can give you her email too.

    @ainen: it’s the same everywhere. some lazy, some hardworking.

  8. salam..huhu..

    mr huhu & zacharias : ha, tula, jgn pndg rendah 😉

    nusk : since dorg mmg dh tbiasa gaduh, dorg jarang amik hati n x cpt terasa. gaduh mcm nk ‘rak’ tp 10min lps tu,dok minum kopi sm2 gelak2..huhu, the positive side myb ??

    ahsan raza : greetings, brother..glad to’ll find plenty more in my firends’ entries..i’ll gladly link u to them..if u want, u can try look them up in facebook..regards to ur wife too

    ainen : glgn cmtu biasanya mmg anak tokeh2 loaded..klu asli jordan, x rmi sgt cmtu..dorg sm ada malas tp jnis y high self confidence, x pn mmg jnis y minum air rebus buku^^ – hafal baris demi baris,n kuat igtn plak tu..

    y4ku24 : hehe, sori boss.wat mcm rumah sniri pula ^^ Y

  9. Salam, hehe..kelakanye..memang kelaka kalo dengar diorang sebut perkataan yang ade sebutan macam ca,nga, fa..sebab dalam bahasa arab tak ade huruf ni.. beberapa hari lepas ada sahabat arab ni minta tolong saye semak ayat n sebutan die untuk presentation kelas bm, saye pun dengarla, lepas tu ade satu ayat ni tertinggal perkataan, saye pun betulkan lah..tulis perkataan ‘pengajian’, sahabat ni macam terkial-kial nak sebut, saye pun dengan confidentnye tuliskan la dalam tulisan jawi..nak bagi die senang faham..sekali die kate..’no, in arabic not like this’ kuang3… ‘alamak lupe la pule..’
    p/s: hehe.. minta ruang besaq sikit ye kat sini

  10. jazakallah…thanks for sharing….cant wait to see u back in malaysia in june insyaallah, ill be telling u what i got in UK insyaallah…

  11. n besides, who says u cant write???
    this is perfect,
    go for it girl,
    make ur own blog…
    it does not have to be updated daily, as long as u have something to share, or whatever it might be, u write…kapish??

  12. qamarun : huhu, sian kwn tu…msti bbelit lidah…dorg xde huruf ‘pa, va, cha..’ lg pning dia nk nyebut ~

    ibrohim : thanx bro…but surely i cant beat tuan umah y sorg ni..

    ~uhuk2 tuan umah jgn marah, sy tlg layan tetamu…jd pkeja sambilan kt warung kjap ye~

  13. hu~ sedar xpe adiknya^^ oi..

    but i totally agree with ibrohim..i like ur writings..hehe..

    em..wondering who mr M

  14. salam
    hahaha nak tergelak baca…like brother like sister…both of u guys r good in writing

    anyway pak arab ni klu kat sini(ireland) lebih kurang la
    ada yg malas sampai kitorg doa byk2 klu boleh x mahu satu kumpulan dgn diorg (hahahaha)

    ada yg power aka genius sampai kitorg respek habis

    tp yg satu ni mmg x leh nafi….diorg tahap ganas n cepat marah …hah yg ni penyebab utama kitorg x nak main sports dgn diorg….lunyai kitorg nanti
    dahla melayu yg body build comel2

    owh lagi satu kitaorg suka gi mkn dgn diorg sbb diorg x lokek membelanjakan kitorg lolz hahahaha yela dah super duper kaya (elaun diorg either 2 kali ganda atau 3x atau 4x pun ada)

    sori tulis panjang hehhehehe

  15. My experience with the arabs are good. Well, I tend to forget the bad ones..

    But of course, there have been funny ones that I cannot forget…

    The best one, when George Bush tried to make peace, he said “Ariel Sharon is a man of peace”. How can the Arabs accept it, when all they can say is “Ariel Sharon is a man of beace (beast)”

  16. thanx maryam for all of this :)) we will remember u for ever 😛

  17. You r more than welcome Dr.Maryam 🙂 i’m very glad u had good and the “right” impression about Jordan and jordanians 🙂 happier much more to consider it as ur 2nd home….keep on touch our friend 🙂

  18. thank you doctor maryam … it was a great days with u in A8 🙂
    and u r a great doctor too …:D

  19. Thank you for your nice words about Arabs.

  20. M : how does it feel reading about urself? 😛 the pleasure is mine..thank you, and next time,try to remember the words correctly, ok…? 😉

    khataybeh : wherever i go, i always bring along this saying – what u look for is what u will find..if i go to a place to look for weakness, i’ll certainly find it…but i came to Jordan, in search of what’s best about it, and thankfully,u guys managed to help me find it 🙂

    amr : great days are made by great people with great hearts..thanks amr, wont forget u guys, enshaAllah

    Jordanian Medical Student : the words are all sincere enough…what i experienced over there is nothing to fake about 🙂 (i wonder who u r….)

  21. hey maryam ,, wallahi im still enjoying reading the article 😛
    i do laugh every time when i do remember about the story hhhhhhhhhhh

    • M!! Its been a very2 long time.
      I just suddenly felt like reading back this article…and it touched my heart real deeply :,)
      How are u guys doing? Do u guys still remember me after all this while?Trying to imagine everyone’s faces,especially now that we have grown up. I bet most of u are at the tip of ur careers now. All the best to all!

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