Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lifelong Learning

This is a special request from Oha. I am sharing this learning experience couple of years back...... Jap...

Lifelong Learning

“What are you doing now?” That is the commonest question that I got nowadays. And my simple answer is always “I am studying for my PhD.” Then came responses like …”But you are already old,..what late fortys…”, “…Why do you need to study? Are you aiming for a promotion?”, “…...hmmmmmmm”. These are typical responses that I got from friends, colleagues and family members. Since I am the type that often gets swayed, it makes me think twice as to why I am troubling myself with this program. If I’m So Smart, Why Am I Not There yet? -- Success as a Balancing Act. Improvement means different things to different people. You may want to scale the heights and capture the ability to address thousands in a convention hall. Or you may need to simply get better when delivering a chalk talk to half a dozen co-workers. As for me, I need to satisfy myself by getting a PhD before I retires.

For your information, I received a JSPS-Ronpaku fellowship. The aim of JSPS's RONPAKU (Dissertation PhD) Program is to provide tutorial and financial support to promising young researchers in Asia who wish to obtain their PhD degrees from Japanese universities through the submission of a dissertation without going through a doctoral course.

Why do I trouble myself by staying few months in Japan alone, leaving my family, especially my school-going daughters? Why do I bother to continue studying in a foreign country, in which I do not speak the language? Besides communication barrier, there are problems like halal foods, how do I get help from fellow student researchers in the lab that most often speak very little English.

Once I arrived in Japan, all my pre-conceived thoughts about this program were proven wrong. In the lab, I felt at ease because I am not the oldest student. There are two PhD students who are in the late 50’s and the sight of them working for their doctorate degree put new perspective in my life. Motivated…rewarding…I even went to the extent of having my eyes, i.e. my lenses replaced, so that I can have “young” eyes to enable me to look at the tiny capillaries of 100-20 µm i.d. Without the eyes, it would be rather difficult to do the research, if you can’t see what you are doing. The research is moving to the nanotechnology, and we being the older generations, have to keep up with the pace.

I am amazed by the Japanese discipline and honesty. Eventhough they look aloof but they are extremely helpful if assistance was sought. The crime rate in Japan is very low because the Japanese respect the law. You can walk at 1.00 am alone and it is quite safe. People would leave their laptop and personal items on a table in the lab or a conference room, and the items would still be there when they return. Would this scenario be possible in Malaysia? Hem…maybe one day in the future………..

Lifelong learning is the concept that "It's never too soon or too late for learning", a philosophy that has taken root in a whole host of different organizations. Lifelong learning is attitudinal; that one can and should be open to new ideas, decisions, skills or behaviors. Lifelong learning throws the axiom "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" out the door. A lifelong learning framework encompasses learning throughout the life cycle, from birth to grave and in different learning environments, formal, non-formal and informal.

I have achieved what I aimed for, and as a reward for my achievement, I got myself the affordable dream car.......

~to be continued~


  1. Interesting article from Dr Jafariah. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. Will be looking forward for the continuation. By the way, is the family your supervisor?

  2. Respect!
    cant wait to read more..

  3. Yes, a nice one, kak Jap!

    Some people always restricted that learning only for young people or for career purposes.. but when they have family, working and all.. they stop educating themselves.

    This is not true. Islam pun suruh belajar hingga ke liang lahad. So.. hope that with the modern technology, it will not stops us from learning. Ilmu sekarang semudah di hujung jari. Cuma nak cari atau tidak je..

  4. Dr Jafariah, thanks for your story that comes truly from your heart. Please tell us more!

  5. Have to wait for the continuation. June is a month for me to study my safety and health textbooks. Learning again......I have to sit for the Safety and Health Officer exams (end of June).

  6. OOps.Has kena jemput Kak Jap.

    Asyik sign in under bilikaktiviti...........

  7. Okeh.. kak Jap ada email gmail? Nnt saya add.

    Ohoho.. exam again? Ganbarre!