Aiman Azlan

Motivator

Vlogger

Author

Freelancer

I'm Aiman Azlan,
Motivator, Vlogger, and Author
from Perlis, Malaysia.

I have rich experience in youth engagement, both online and offline. I am passionate about social issues involving the local youth community. In 2015, I founded Aiman Azlan Academy to empower the youth with sustainable self-confidence through effective communication skill.

What I Do
Motivational Speaking

Engaging the youth, locally and internationally, through motivational speaking programs of various format, such as talks, forums, and seminars.

Training

Teaching communication skills, like vlogging, English speaking, and public speaking, through one-to-one or small group workshops.

Vlogging

Sharing thoughts and answering questions in video form on Youtube and Facebook, touching upon relevant youth topics of today.

Writing

Writing motivational and self-help books about various youth topics, such as self-confidence, identity, love, education, career, and community.

Social Media Advertising

Producing advertisements for products or services through social media copywriting and videomaking. Managed by Gushcloud.

Proofreading

Reading and making grammar corrections for final year project papers, theses, resumes, CVs, and other student-related writings.

Noob Husband (Year 2) - Daddy!



This year will be my 2nd year of being married to the woman I love.

The photo on the right was taken in Jakarta, on 13 December 2015, which was our 2-year anniversary as husband and wife. Within those 2 years, Allah blesses us with a trust: our son, Rayyan. Perhaps it is cliche to say this, but time does fly by.

I guess that is the danger of time: it tends to go by unnoticed. You sleep, eat, and work on autopilot mode. In effect, you lose track of time. What is worse, you lose sight of the things that matter most around you.

Even when I am babysitting my son, I am still surprised by how much he has grown. He is in front of my eyes all the time and yet, there are things that go unnoticed.

The currency of any human relationship is attention. Your children become nourished by the attention you give them. Being present when they are with you is a challenge, especially when there are so many distractions around like TVs and smartphones.

When children don't get the attention they need and want from you, they will get it from somewhere (or someone) else. It is like food when you are hungry; you will do whatever it takes to satiate yourself.

I notice that with my son; he often times would look at me and keep on looking, as if to wait for my reciprocation. When I look at him and smile, he would often smile back as if to show satisfaction. They crave for attention, in their own unique little ways. If they don't get it from you, you have to wonder where will they get it from.

It is interesting that the English language equates attention with money. They say, you *pay* attention. Naturally, we don't want to depart with money because it is precious.

However, we will choose to depart with money when there is something more precious than it. That is why we are willing to buy stuff with money, because we see the stuff as more precious. Otherwise, we will hold on to our money.

What is more precious than family? If we are willing to pay attention to our stuff, surely we should be more willing to pay attention to our family.

It is easier said than done, because it is tiring. It is tiring to pay attention. But it helps when you see it not as paying, rather as investing. An investment suggests a return in the end.

When you invest your attention towards your children, the return is love. You don't know how long this investment will go on and when the return will come. But you are certain that it will come.

All parents want their children to love them. Give them love, and they will love you back insha Allah.

What you give, you'll get back.

Eventually.


Previous post: Noob Husband (Year 1) - Getting Used to Things
Next post: Noob Husband (Year 3) - When Two Becomes One

I Don't Know If I Want To Marry My Fiancee

Assalamualaikum Aiman,

I am engaged to this person, but I have doubts. I found out that we have different goals in life. I am more focused on pleasing Allah with this relationship and I want to better my relationship with Him. My fiancee on the other hand, is more focused on material wealth. I am not saying that I am not interested in material wealth. To a certain degree, it is a need in life. However, I prefer not to make material wealth the purpose of my life. From my observation, my fiancee seems to be preoccupied with material wealth.

I am conflicted. Should I marry my fiancee, if I know that we both have different goals in life?

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Waalaikumussalam,

Thank you for asking the question.

Generally speaking, an engagement is not a binding contract. Meaning, you are not obligated to marry the person you are engaged with. During the period of engagement, the relationship between you and the person you plan on marrying are similar to the relationship between any unrelated male and female (non-mahrams).

So the rules regarding ikhtilat (intermingling between sexes) still apply, even if you are engaged. My point is, the only special relationship you have with the person is that you plan on marrying him. That is it. Anything extra is cultural and/or unnecessary.

Therefore, an engagement can still be cancelled and it is not the same as a divorce. There is a reason why engagement isn't supposed to be made public, because it is not a guarantee that you will marry that person. In the case that an engagement is cancelled, the emotional discomfort that might ensue can be minimized if the engagement isn't made public in the first place.

I am not saying that you should be in doubt in an engagement that you are in. Surely, you should pursue the relationship until marriage and have good thoughts that it will work out in the end. Shaytan (the devil) doesn't want you to get married, so he will do whatever it takes to prevent the relationship from happening. He wants zina (fornication), and he despises nikah (marriage).

So there is a balance that needs to be in place. Be optimistic that the marriage will take place, but at the same time don't go into the marriage blindly. Meaning, you should still use your good judgment to see if the person you are marrying is the right fit for you or not.

Istikharah is not the only step you should take. In fact, istikharah is the third step in a 3-step decision making process. The first two steps are about the effort you put in. So, your effort does count and Allah asks that you try your best before putting your trust (tawakal) in Him. That is the process. To know more about this 3-step process, I recommend you watching this video: Istikharah: How To & Why? - Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda.

In brief, you have the right to choose whom to marry. Logically, you should marry someone who shares the same goals as you do. Otherwise, both of you might be walking towards a different direction.

Yes, you will disagree with each other on many things and that is a part of marriage. But your ultimate goal should be the same. That ultimate goal should be the foundation of your marriage, and both of you should stand on the same foundation, right?

I hope that helps. I pray that Allah give you what is best for you.

Allah knows best.

National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015: Do You Feel Secured?

Recently the Malaysian government had passed the NSC Bill 2015. It is essentially an anti-terrorism effort, one which we clearly need. However, even with the word "security" in its name, the content of the bill doesn't leave you with much sense of security.

To be fair, the basic intention of the bill is praiseworthy. Terrorism is indeed a problem and we need solutions. This blog post isn't written to go against that basic intention, but rather to question the manner in which that basic intention is being carried out in action. Moreover, we already have anti-terrorism laws in place.

As a concern citizen of Malaysia, I can't help but to force myself to read up on the bill and it is uncomfortable for me to dive into any legal document since it is not my cup of tea, the language is very dry, the terminologies can be a bit and the text is usually long. Ask yourself if you've ever read the terms and conditions of an agreement before clicking on the "I agree" button. See? My point exactly.

However, this bill is slightly different than not reading the Apple's T&C whenever you are updating your iPhone software. This bill has to do with giving our leaders enormous amount of power over our basic rights as people of the nation. It is direct effects on us, so whether we like it or not, we should take heed.

The full text of the bill can be accessed here: NSC Bill 2015, the gist of which can be seen illustrated in the diagram below:

Source: MalaysiaKini

I read the bill not as someone who has a lot of knowledge in the Malaysian legislative system, but as an average citizen of Malaysia. I am using the press release by The Malaysian Bar as my interpretation guide.

As an average citizen, I have at least 3 main concerns that I wish will be properly addressed by the government.

Concern #1: It Took Only 2 Days to Pass the Bill

The bill was tabled on Dec. 1st and by Dec. 3rd, it passed.

It is a bit disturbing that a law designed to restrict our freedom and liberty (even if it is for the purpose of security) took lesser time to consider than the time I took to consider marrying my wife. One has to wonder how thorough and fair did the people involved go over all the details of the bill.

I completely understand the seriousness of the matter at hand i.e. national security, and I understand the need for an immediate action to be taken place. At the same time, we have to balance it out with the short-term and long-term consequences of such a bill.

The power that would be given to the council is huge and the limitations imposed on the people are great. Considering that the council will have the upper hand over the people, how much of the people's voices are heard within those two days?

I would imagine such a controversial bill would arouse a much needed debate. The debate would go over every bit of detail of the bill and the counterarguments given against it. Surely, such a debate wouldn't last only two days.

Concern #2: Vague Terminologies are Used in the Bill

Language is malleable. You can say one thing but people can understand it in many different ways. There are times when it is okay to have a room for interpretation, but when it comes to a law as powerful as the one proposed in the bill, we would expect that room to be constricted as much as possible.

Clear definitions must be set in place so that we know where the lines are, and so that we know not to cross those lines. But when vague terminologies are used, those lines are blurred or worse, determined by the people who are reading them.

For example, as pointed out by the Malaysian Bar, the term "national security" is not clearly defined in the bill. That doesn't make sense to me, since national security is the foundation upon which that bill is standing on. Heck, it is in the name! How can something so fundamental to the bill be unclear?

If there is not clear definition of national security set in the bill, then who has the power to determine what constitutes a threat to national security? Is peaceful protest considered a threat to national security? Is being critical of the government considered a threat to national security? Is disagreement with the prime minister considered a threat to national security?

If you say to me that you will punch me in the face if I act stupidly and I have no say in the matter, then I am interested to know what actions qualify under that term "stupid". If no clear definition is outlined, then anything I do can be interpreted as stupid, therefore you can always justify punching me in the face.

With the presence of vague texts and the absence of a sound methodology of interpretation, one can pretty much justify anything with this bill. Ironically, that is the kind of modus operandi used by terrorists to interpret religious texts to suit their agendas.

Concern #3: Apparent Lack of Accountability Outlined in the Bill

This is the most worrying of them all.

With great power, comes great responsibility. Why? Because of the possible damage such a power is able to inflict. When a person is put in a position of power without supervision, that creates a fertile ground for abuse of power.

We should not underestimate the power of the situation. The situation can alter our behaviours, and even our attitudes about something. The famous Stanford Prison Experiment illustrated the power of the situation perfectly, where ordinary people could inflict unthinkable harm to others because they were in a situation of having unsupervised power.

What guarantee do we have that the members of the council, and the security forces within a security area would not abuse this power?

This bill doesn't sufficiently outline an accountability system to ensure any possible abuse of power is eliminated, or at the very least, minimized. Instead, the bill leaves a dangerous room for abuse of power to take place.

When you are suggesting that you are going to have the power to restrict people's basic rights to freedom and liberty, then you owe to the people a guarantee that you will be responsible in doing so - if you have a valid reason to have such power in the first place.

Part of being responsible is being accountable. When there is a specific clause in the bill outlining that the members of the council and members of the security forces within a security area are protected against lawsuits and legal proceedings, that should raise an eyebrow or two.

Isn't such a clause remove accountability from the equation?

You are telling me that you have the power to "legally" break into my home, seize my properties, frisk me, arrest me, and use physical force, but I don't even have the power to take you to court when my rights are violated?

Look, I am all for national security. I love this country - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The things I write aren't motivated by any political agenda nor is it motivated by any type of hate towards an individual or a group. Rather, they are motivated by sincere concern as an average citizen.

It is rather odd that a bill intended to provide national security, doesn't leave you feeling that secured even if you are not doing anything wrong.

The Purpose of a Student

As a student, I think we individually know what is our main purpose being in university: to study. But, what kind of study would be considered fitting for a university student? Surely we should expect more coming from someone who has upgraded himself or herself from secondary school.

Is it enough to simply memorize facts and “vomit” them out during exam time? Then, forget almost everything? That is more similar to a copier than a student, let alone a university student. Knowledge is not to be copied and pasted, rather it should be analyzed and applied. But I guess we are more concerned about our grades than anything else.

What if grades don’t haunt us as much as they do? Imagine two scenarios:

A university student achieved a 4.0 CGPA, but is unable to fully explain what he has learned in class to other people. He memorized a lot of facts, but he didn’t understand them.
A university student achieved a 2.5 CGPA, but is able to effectively explain and extract lessons from what he has learned, and apply those lessons to better his life and the lives of the people around him.

The scenarios above are simplistic, but adequate to raise a simple question: between grades and understanding of the subject matter, which one should be the priority? Many can answer that question correctly, but few are brave enough to implement it.

There is at least one reason why it is so hard to implement correct priority in university is because of the apparent importance grades have on the immediate future of a student. Grades are tangible things that we can see, and we prefer tangible things because they are easier to measure.

Measure what exactly? Well, if we consider the original purpose of an exam or a test, it is to measure how much a student understands. However, do we stay true to its original purpose or have we gone astray from it?

To examine that, we can simply look at how many students view their grades. Rather than viewing them as measurements of understanding, which should be a positive constructive feedback for them to improve, they view these grades as the projection of their future. A good grade would mean a good future, and a bad grade would mean a bad future.

There are students who take this a step further by viewing these grades in comparison to their self-worth as a person. A student might get seriously depressed with a bad grade and feels like it is reflective of his quality as a human being. That is simply not true, but time and time again we see signs that many students do think that way.

Why do many students committed suicide over a bad grade? This could be one of the possible reasons.

In an ideal world, of course we would prefer to have good grades and good understanding of the subject matter. But in the real world, those two things don’t necessarily go hand in hand, for various reasons. When we find ourselves in a situation where achieving both is less likely, which one would we choose?

A real student is one who can look far ahead and see that the world needs a problem solver, not a fact memorizer. Though memorization is a part of learning, it is not the point of learning. The point of learning is to better understand the self, the other, and the world in which we all live. Stemming from that understanding, we seek to better the quality of the life we are all living together on this tiny planet.

Would simple rote memorization enable us to become problem solvers? That is a question worthy of investigation.

The thing is, new problems will come and they will keep on coming. Simply memorizing answers that fit the narrow answer scheme on an exam won’t cut it because you can’t fit all the answers to the world’s problems in an answer scheme. Our excellent grades have no use if we cannot add value to the society.

What is the difference between a memorizer and a problem solver? Well, consider these two hypothetical scenarios: Student A and Student B, both are taught in class that 2 + 2 = 4. Student A memorizes that answer, while Student B tries to understand why does 2 + 2 = 4. Student A gets the facts down, while Student B understands where the facts are coming from.

In an exam, surely we can safely assume that both students are able to answer if the question 2 + 2 was asked. But what if a different question was asked, like 10 + 3? Student A doesn’t know the answer because that is not what he memorized, or as he might put it, “That’s not what my teacher taught me.”

Student B, on the other hand, is able to answer that question, even though the question is different from what his teacher taught in class. Why? Because he understands the concept behind the question, hence he is able to answer any variations of the same question that fall within the same concept.

Such is the purpose of a student; to become independent of the answer scheme and to be able to find the answer himself. Because the teacher can’t be there all the time to provide answers that he can memorize.

Spoonfeeding time is over. It is time to learn how to find food on our own and feed ourselves.

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Contact Me

Location

Arau, Perlis MY

Phone number

+6 013 416 4652

Website

www.aimanazlan.com