Panthers Of ISKL #48 - Azlina- The Malaysian Mom
This week we met up with parent Azlina K. who is mom to senior student Zachry and also the Malaysian liaison for the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)!
Having left Malaysia in the year 2000, she followed her Japanese husband to Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok, and New Delhi before returning to Malaysia in 2018.
Here is her story.
‘When I was growing up in Ipoh in the 1980s, I sometimes read about ISKL in the news and often wondered what it was like to attend the school. Never did I imagine that my own child would one day be studying there! And I am thankful that my son Zachry began 10th grade right when ISKL opened at its new Ampang Hilir campus!
'It was a natural progression to enroll him in ISKL as he was in a similar school at our previous home in New Delhi. I am always amazed to see how my third culture kid easily adapts to different lifestyles and environments. Bringing him back to his birth country then was the best thing that we did - and now he is a senior!
'I was relieved to be back in my own country after spending so many years abroad. In the beginning, all I wanted to do was to reconnect with my family members and extended relatives. I was honestly tired of packing and unpacking. Any involvement in school activities would have to take a back seat as I was quite exhausted from my previous engagements at my last school. However, I have pushed into the frontlines again and have spent crazy hours in 2018 and 2019 rallying Malaysian Parents in several school events. I couldn't run away even if I wanted to!
'Presently, I am the Malaysian liaison in the PTA. The Malaysian representative has things easy because they do not need to translate any school documents or letters for presenting to the community. However, reaching out to my countrymen to participate in PTA events can be a daunting task.
'I do want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the ISKL Malaysian Parents who have my back and would drop everything to help me organize things. Without these wonderful parents, we would have nothing to show and give back to the school.
'My advice for new parents or those joining ISKL would be to jump right in! If you are not a working mum, insert yourself into the community and meet the parents driving the PTA. This is the best way to make friends and learn about how school works. I cannot do what I do in school without the lovely people in our community. The parents, administration, faculty, and staff all make things so easy and inclusive.
'My best memories at ISKL are hands down when the Malaysian Mums danced twice on stage at the International Festival. The first was our Joget Kelantan in 2018, followed by the Endang dance in 2019. I remember missing a huge step on stage last year and feeling so awful about it!
'It's tough to "remember" school when you're not physically there, but what keeps me tied to ISKL is retrieving positive memories and being grateful for the past, present and future.
'The next six months will be a countdown towards my son's graduation. After June, I will no longer be associated with any school Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), no longer attend grade coffee mornings, or worry about parent-teacher conferences. It's a balled-up feeling of joy and sadness."
I was born and raised in Ipoh, Perak. My parents were both school teachers. I left this small, once rich tin mining town at 17 to pursue my tertiary studies in KL and read Economics at Kobe University, Japan. Contrary to what most people may think, I did not meet my Japanese husband while studying but met him in KL when I had already joined the local workforce.
I love music, singing, and dancing. By dance, I mean traditional Malay dances. I am passionate about learning, performing, and sharing knowledge about these traditional dances and various aspects of Malaysian culture. As for hobbies, I have my portable karaoke set though nowadays, anything is possible from the internet.
My mother inspires me. She has been a role model I look up to and has a fabulous sense of humor that has rubbed off on her children. I saw her making friends easily, socializing with everyone from all walks of life regardless of nationality. She loves her family and friends with all her heart.
What does Be All You Are mean to you?
"I think whether you have the biggest goals or even smaller goals, you can pursue them relentlessly, to realize your best potential. Whatever you set out to achieve, ISKL lets you do that and more.
I am hopeful and optimistic that many generations of children will continue to thrive in ISKL."
Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org!