Hi I'm Sakiinah from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), a Masters student in Political Science. Initially I joined this program to fill my time while waiting for my viva since I just submitted my thesis a few weeks before that. My interest has always been on history so the summer school helped me to learn more about my heritage and the community I live in.
The class started with an intensive understanding on memory making and its relation to the way we interact and relate to our heritage. To some, history might be boring, but to me its a way to discover about our own roots and heritage.
I particularly like the quote that one of the group presented which is:
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.- Marcus Garvey
The quote summarized what the whole programme is about, which to me is to learn about our past history, origin and culture that we may have slowly lose touch of. Little did I know that what started as something I do for fun, which is making my own lil Penang tour in Georgetown would enable me to relate with the lectures that was taught in class and our group assignment. Both the lectures and my personal experience kind of compliment with each other, so it was a good opportunity to apply what I experience with what I learn in class.
Although I was born in Penang, I was not really raised here so I did not know much about Penang until I studied in USM. The programme helped me to reconnect with my past and helped me learn about Penang. Apart from that I learnt a lot from other students' culture and experience. I was surprised to discover that at least 3 of the German students, Lara, Eva, and Sandra can speak Malay although in Indonesian but it was still a lovely surprise. Sometimes, I even forget that they are Germans because of how fluent they are speaking in Malay. So there wasn't much difference at all even though we have different culture, nationality and language.
Our group, myself, Fabian, Oanh and Makrus is probably one of the best group I have ever collaborated with. At first, I was quite afraid of Fabian and his tall, non-smiling German-ness, and I'm pretty sure other Asian student in our group was a little scared as well. But once we started working on our assignment, things worked out pretty well especially after treating ourselves with ice cream by the end of our fieldwork. It was great to see how much Makrus & Oanh improved in their presentation after our practice, everyone pretty much contributed their own part in the assignment so it's just a matter of how you use your potential in the task given. Below are a photo of our group
For those interested to join the summer school program, I really recommend you to join this program. Its a good exposure and an opportunity to get to know people outside your own comfort zone. English shouldn't be much of a problem, some of us didn't speak fluently but it was a good opportunity for them to practice their english. Also, we get to pick up a few Vietnam, German, Indonesian word as well.
In fact, we had a good time making our own movie night watching 'Sepet' , a malaysian film by the late Yasmin Ahmad. We also had a good discussion on a documentary of the Dutch and Indo Dutch who returned to Netherland after the Second World War in Indonesia ended (Contractpensions - Djangan Loepah).
In between the class and after the class ends, we hung out for lunch or dinner so it's not just about going to class only. Most of the foreign students are already so good taking a bus to Georgetown on their own to find souvenirs to bring back home.
Anyway, thank you to all the lecturers, namely Professor Vincent Houben, Dr Lye Tuck Po, and Dr Soon for organizing this program also for the lecture and experience shared. Also to our coordinator, Aleah for her hard work in ensuring the success of the program, good luck on your PhD!
Lastly to all my classmates, thank you for the memories! :)