Category: Education

Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail

Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail

Dignified, articulate and professorial — these are just some of the traits that define Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail. Among her accolades, she is the first woman to be appointed twice as the vice-chancellor (VC) of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). Furthermore, she served as the first female director-general of the Higher Education Department and went on to become the first female president of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM). There, she champions policy reforms which will positively impact the science community while hoping to reshape attitudes towards “impactful research” – research that makes effective use of government and publicly funded grants, translating academic efforts into real-world solutions to real-world problems. 

With a career that speaks volumes of her passion, it is difficult not to imagine Dr. Asma was always focused on a career in science, but this was not the case. “I’ve actually always been interested in the arts. I always wanted to be a lawyer or an interior decorator, but I was good in science,” she shares with a knowing smile. “I think my father straightened me out when I was in form 4 or form 5. He said that ‘the future is science’, and in retrospect now, I find that science, technology and innovation drive the economy and the future of the country.” She is firm, however, on the symbiosis of the arts and science, saying “you need the combination of the arts and social science to actually give science the face of humanity.” 

An animal lover by nature, she describes her decision to pursue microbiology was made easier by the fact that she would not have to kill host subjects simply to observe virus progression. With bacteria, motivation was fast ignited. “I can grow it without any qualms, it grows quickly, and I can oversee the experiments during my lifetime and I can accomplish things during my lifetime,” she says. As part of her accomplishments, she became the first woman to identify the protein that would diagnose for S. Typhi, the positive agent for typhoid. Consequently, she was able to commercialise four rapid diagnostic kits for typhoid, better known as Typhidot, which is advocated by the World Health Organization and used globally today. With a total of 13 patents to her name, her success is no small feat left to chance but the result of unwavering drive. 

She acknowledges that the support of her family is critical in offering peace of mind, allowing her to dedicate long hours to research. She also describes her husband and fellow scientist Prof. Datuk Dr. Ahmad Zakaria as the wind beneath her wings. “You’re vulnerable to the one you love,” she comments, with hope for women to sit up and take note. “If they clip your wings, you can’t fly.” Filled with gratitude, she understands her position of privilege, “When you have that kind of support, failure is not an option, because not many of us get that kind of support and if you do have that opportunity, do the best that you can.” 

When asked about the performance of women in science in the nation, Dr. Asma is quick to cite a 2015 study by The Association of Academies and Societies in Asia which indicates that women make up more than half of the undergraduate students in science and technology. The same study details that women accounted for 63.6 per cent of all university enrolments in 2014, with a total of 22,456 (51.9 per cent) women in science and engineering, 64.8 per cent of women in science/computing majors and 44.5 per cent of women in engineering. The figures drop in graduate school, with 43 per cent of PhD students in science and technology made up of women. “There is a leaky pipeline,” she agrees while positing that the pressure women face to juggle a work-life balance is an astronomical factor in the decline of women ascending to become principal investigators and leaders within their fields. “When you’re taking care of the family, you’re torn from paying attention to what’s going on in the lab,” she explains, adding “in the end, something has got to give.”

She sees her students as her own children. 

“They call me mama,” she smiles broadly at the thought of her former students, numbering 32,000 in USM and 12,000 in USIM respectively. While she co-helmed the writing of the blueprint of higher education which is still used today, she confesses that “at the national level, I couldn’t change things very much – so that’s why I went back to become the VC of USM.” 

When you have that kind of support (from loved ones), failure is not an option, because not many of us get that kind of support and if you do have that opportunity, do the best that you can.

Prof. Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail

Among her efforts were building a global village by mixing locals with foreigners to promote networking between students across 73 nationalities at USM. Emphasising that data is the new oil, she hopes to push Malaysia towards a knowledge-based economy. “If you are a parent once, you do not discard the child. My job now is to ensure that the environment is there as president of ASM, to make sure that the environment is conducive for these future talents.” 

As ASM is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020, Dr. Asma hopes to continue to encourage a new model of conducting research in the nation by making use of the quadruple helix model, an innovation system that combines engagement between the government, academia, industry and civil society. It is crucial, she believes, for researchers to stay in touch with the masses and to engage public interest, to ensure grants contribute to impactful research, and academics have greater focus on converting “output into outcomes.” 

Through programmes like I-Connect and the ArtScience Initiative, she hopes to further develop the Malaysian Open Science Platform. “The future is about the sharing of data,” she says while adding, “for artificial intelligence to now be able to connect and collate all the data around the world, you can do really good science because what you think is novel may no longer be novel. I look forward to that future, hopefully it happens during my lifetime.” 

Prof. Tan Sri Dr. Sharifah Hapsah

Prof. Emerita Dr. Sharifah Hapsah

As can be inferred by the many titles Prof. Emerita Tan Sri Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin has to her name, she is one who has achieved much professionally. And these don’t include her postgraduate qualifications, including a master’s and doctorate. Yet Prof. Emerita Dr. Sharifah Hapsah is surprisingly dismissive when talking about her accomplishments. The younger generation will never know what it is like to be a pioneer, I say, referring to her appointment as the first female vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

“They can achieve other things,” she tells me matter-of-factly.

Prof. Emerita Dr. Sharifah Hapsah assumed the position of VC at UKM in 2006, a year that saw two women ascend to the position of VC for the first time. The other was Tan Sri Rafiah Salim who became the VC of Universiti Malaya (UM).

Prior to that, she held the office of chairperson and CEO of the State Accreditation Agency (LAN), overseeing the charter of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). In addition, she was the President of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) from 2014-2016.

And yet, it apparently wasn’t ambition that was the driving force behind her achieving these positions. Instead, she attributes it to the deceptively simplistic attribute of striving for the best in whatever that you do. “Not position,” she says when I asked what motivated her in her early years, “but I wanted to be the best.”

That coupled with the fact that she was single-minded in her decisions is what she attributes to her many credentials.“ Once you have made the decision to do something, you must go forward with focus and determination along that path,” she says in a forthright manner.

You cannot make a decision, then become unsure. Then you have to turn back and then you can’t go very far.

Prof. Emerita Dr. Sharifah Hapsah

Professor got her first test early on when she was still a student. Prior to going to university, the prospect of studying law proved to be quite appealing. But being placed in the science stream meant that medicine became the natural choice.

“When you meet certain grades, things are more or less decided for you and for me it was medicine,” she explains. “When you enter medical school, you must make the choice that you must graduate well and do your best.”

“It was a big thing in those days,” she says. “It was a class of very competitive people. You have to work hard and discipline yourself to really be in the top 10 percent of the class.”

Disciplined she was. As a student, her evenings were not spent watching TV but in the library organising her notes. There was also an element of competitiveness that was expressed playfully.

“My friends and I used to have these games where we would try to outdo each other over afternoon tea,” she says with a laugh. “We would ask each other very detailed questions like ‘name the layers of the retina’, but it means you have to study to know.” For the academic, knowledge is key and it is something that she continued to amass as life progressed.

Once Professor embarked on her medical career, she was soon faced with making another decision that would alter her path. Practising medicine didn’t seem to be all that engaging for her. Added to that was the fact that her newly born son needed her at the time. As a result, Prof. Dr. Sharifah Hapsah decided to move to academia and pursue a non-clinical course instead, despite having already enrolled to do the MRCP.

“I became a lecturer in Physiology but again when you do that you still have to do your best, you cannot do it half-heartedly,” she says. “When I started teaching, I began to wonder what was the best way to do it. That is when I got interested in medical education.”

Once the decision had been made, Dr. Sharifah Hapsah delved into the subject matter obtaining her Master’s degree in Medical Education before pursuing her PhD.

“To go far in anything you must have mastery of knowledge,” she stresses. “Once you have gone in one direction, you must continue to add value to what you are doing. In medical education, I became interested in quality.”

Quality education, she says, is very important because it focuses on the idea of teachers doing their best for students. In medicine, she adds, this is essential.

Dr. Sharifah Hapsah then went on to study quality assurance systems from various countries – Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Knowledge of those systems was then used to develop the MQA and from there, came the appointment as VC of UKM.

News that she would be assuming the position was greeted with much enthusiasm, seen as a significant step towards gender equality. Dr. Sharifah Hapsah, however, is pretty nonchalant about it. In fact, her immediate reaction at the time was to ask for a postponement as the MQA bill was about to be presented in Parliament.

As VC, gender was never an issue, coming into play only to ensure that the 30 percent gender target for management should be met.

“I went beyond that,” she says. “It is not based on gender as such but on merit. And I discovered that based on merit, I can go beyond 30 percent. I had two female deputy VCs, that is 50 percent.”

As VC, Dr. Sharifah Hapsah is credited with taking UKM to an international level, developing a transformation programme for the university, introducing the commercialisation of research and initiating innovative programmes for human capital development. During her tenure there was also a strengthening of community engagements.

“My job was to bring everyone together and push them in one direction. That is the goal we wanted for UKM,” she says. “If we agreed on that goal, then my job was to prepare the governance and the facilities and infrastructure that would support it. We must be known internationally. That is the highest in academia.”

Symbolism was used to communicate this idea. The seagull was used to depict the university soaring upwards.

“It is not a bird of prey and flies far–fly high and fly far. We used a lot of metaphors to make people understand what we are doing.”

Dr. Sharifah Hapsah also shifted her attention towards child development, working to develop the Permata programme.

Aside from that, there is also the NCWO, in which Professor has played a significant part. The organisation is now in the midst of organising things at a state level to ensure that there is a solid umbrella body to communicate and receive feedback as well as to understand what women are thinking at the ground level.

“There are a lot of good policies and projects that women on the ground don’t even know about.”

To the younger women of today, Dr. Sharifah Hapsah reminds that it is important to remember that previous generations of women paved the way for them.

“Sometimes they forget older women fought for them, but you have to continue that struggle. The struggle is not over, especially when there are groups that try to pull women back,” she says. “If we are not careful, you can be pulled backwards by these kinds of forces. The first victims will always be women and children.”

Felicia Yoon | Nur Nabihah Hashim

Felicia Yoon Nur Nabihah Prestige Malaysia IWD 2021

Actively redefining the role of a woman through education, much has been said about the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) programme run by Arus Academy over the years. Founded as an initiative by students for students back in 2015 at SMK Taman Sejahtera, Bukit Mertajam, the programme allowed girls to redefine what the tech culture should look like with them being an active contributor. 

The girls-only programme aspires to increase the confidence, awareness, interest and grit of its students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and consequently create more female role models. 

Since its inception, GEMS has empowered 51 female students from 10 schools in the Bukit Mertajam area. 

We speak to the two dedicated women, Felicia Yoon – who is also the co-founder of Arus Academy – and Nur Nabihah Hashim, who are currently leading the GEMS programme to greater heights. 

Felicia and Nabihah, how did both of you come to lead GEMS?
I graduated back in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from London School of Economics. I joined Teach for Malaysia as a fellow and taught for two years in Penang. During that time, I witnessed first-hand the education gaps for our students. I then stayed in education as I saw how much is needed to bridge the equity gaps in education. I co-founded Arus Academy with Alina Amir, David Chak and Daniel Mohanraj who were all from the same Teach for Malaysia cohort as me, because we saw the need to help make learning relevant and applicable for students. We realised during our time teaching at school that students were not motivated to learn because they could not see the relevance and application of education in their daily lives. We wanted to use technology to change their perspective. 

I started working with GEMS at the beginning of 2015 when it was just an initiative by four young girls. I remember back in 2015, after our first semester with our students, many of their peers in school were very interested in what they were learning at Arus and wanted to join. However, they also realised that the peers that were interested in joining Arus were mostly guys and they didn’t understand why it was so. So the girls conducted a focus group with a few groups of girls in their school and did a few free programming sessions to build interest in their community of girls. This became a project they pitched and won seed funding for. We saw the impact the girls had on the female students in their school and decided to continue their efforts and made GEMS a permanent and important programme at Arus.
Nabihah I studied molecular bioscience and biotechnology at Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. My journey started in 2012 when I did an internship with Education Malaysia at the Embassy of Malaysia, Washington D.C. Even though I grew up in a family of educators, I did not intend to join the field. 

However, I saw the gap when underprivileged students did not have quality access to education and decided to teach in a secondary school in Kedah under the Teach for Malaysia programme. For two years from 2016 to 2018, I provided robotics classes in more than 30 schools in the Klang Valley. 

At the age of 28, I joined Arus and I am now based in Penang. I strongly believe that education is evergreen. No one wakes up one day and says we don’t need education anymore. In 2019, I was part of US-ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and was also selected for the Global Girls’ Education Fellowship. I started to lead GEMS in early 2019 and conducted classes in two schools. I travel to the schools to teach, provide materials such as compatible robots and I am also looking for funders to support this programme. We have explored robotics, design thinking and leadership skills. 

Out of the three subjects, engineering, mathematics, science, which one do you think falls under the subject of least interest among young girls, and how is GEMS helping them embrace that? 

Felicia In GEMS we do not look at STEM or even now referred to as STEA(rts)M by the individual subjects, but rather incorporate them all to enable students to use these skills and knowledge to solve problems around them and their community. GEMS runs in the style of project-based learning where students are given real-life problems to solve using STEM skills and knowledge. Oftentimes, they don’t feel like they are learning science, engineering, mathematics but rather learning skills to solve problems. 

Demand for workers with tech skills will grow by as much as 90% over the next 15 years, and business leaders are projecting a shortfall within the next two years. Therefore, there is a need for initiatives focusing on empowering girls to be equipped with tech skills to stay competitive for the future job market. 

How does the GEMS programme aim to empower our women community in the long run?
Felicia & Nabihah
In Malaysia, fewer women are graduating from STEM fields due to gender stereotyping and “modern” career paths not being promoted to them. GEMS is more than just a programme to inspire girls to pursue STEM. It is primarily a programme to empower girls through technology. In GEMS, girls explore how they can have a positive impact and contribute to solving world problems by equipping them with STEM skills and knowledge. GEMS also provides a platform for girls to bravely share their inventions. 

There are more Malaysian women in STEM they can emulate. A lot of evidence from a diversity of contexts and across generations shows the enormous benefits that girls’ education has not only for the girls themselves, but also for their children, families, communities and country. Education is empowering, so does teaching leadership skills to girls. So we can’t afford to not educate girls. 

Do you think women still face discrimination at the workplace, especially when it comes to so-called “male- dominated” industries like science and engineering? How does GEMS aim to contribute towards the change of this mindset? 

Felicia & Nabihah Girls need to see women in science. Over time, there are many female role models in STEM that many do not know of. In GEMS, we expose the girls to Malaysian women leaders such Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Dr Hartini Zainuddin, Surina Shukri and Dr Amani Salim. Scientists such as Dr Siti Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah who bagged the top prize in the FameLab International 2018 competition in the UK is one of the many inspirations to female students. We address gender norms and attitudes in education through awareness in school to ensure equal access to productive jobs. We believe that societal attitudes towards career women do change over time, which education and media can help develop. 

With GEMS’s inspiring dedication in educating the women of our future, are there more girls-only programmes in the pipeline?

Felicia & Nabihah This year, we have a new club under GEMS called Girls’ Maker Club (GMC). GMC, specifically for girls aged 10 to 13 years old, includes comprehensive project-based lessons on computational thinking, problem solving, coding, presentation and design thinking skills using open-source software and compatible hardware such as Micro:bit. We are currently recruiting for our GMC March intake that begins on March 6 at our Bukit Mertajam centre. If anyone is interested in joining GMC now or in the future, you can contact us via our website. We also provide scholarships to girls from B40 families to join GMC, therefore, we also welcome anyone that is interested in sponsoring a scholarship for girls in GMC. 

Melissa Tanya Gomes

Melissa Tanya Gomes was a management consultant at a global firm who harboured an ambition to contribute to marginalised communities ever since her university days. Buried away due to societal views of social work at the time, Melissa never acted upon her impulses until years later when she heard an advertisement beseeching young Malaysians to solve education inequity aired on the radio. 

Posted to a high-need national school, her passion for education grew stronger, knowing the full benefits education can bring. “The biggest challenge for girls from the B40 communities is the lack of role modelling of how powerful women can be,” Melissa opens up on her first-hand account of the perils confronting the less privileged. 

“Many times, girls from these communities look for love and think that marriage is the ultimate aim in life. I have had many students who stopped schooling before completing SPM to get married and getting impregnated at the age of 14 years old.” 

Over time Melissa developed a special bond with her students and their families, so much so that she made a pledge “to fight for this group of the community through education using the knowledge and experience she gained as a consultant.” The seeds of Edvolution Enterprise, a not-for-profit social enterprise she co-founded with her bestie, Janice Chong, who also taught at the same school, were sown. 

Recognising an absence of empowerment given to educators to drive change in the classroom and a lack of a coherent support system between state, districts and schools to support teachers and school leaders – many of whom are women – Melissa set out to fundamentally transform the way the system functions. 

Since its inception in 2017, Edvolution has achieved impressive results with its flagship programme, Teacher Empowerment for School Transformation (TEST), significantly reducing teacher absenteeism and reinforcing students’ emotional learning. TEST was ranked among the top 150 innovations in education by HundrEd Global, a global not-for-profit organisation seeking inspiring education innovations. 

Melissa shares her vision for Edvolution is to cultivate exceptional leaders in every level of the education ecosystem regardless of gender or socio-economic backgrounds, by adopting a non-bias framework to develop leadership. In reality, however, women comprise about 80% of the participants in their programmes. It means they have to fine tune on-ground strategies commensurate with the needs of their beneficiaries. And because these women perpetually juggle various commitments, between work and family, flexibility thus constitutes a key feature of their programmes in order to drive participation. 

“These include having short and effective sessions right after school, creating various platforms for them to access learning and a ‘hotline’ group via Telegram for them to reach out to the team any time of the day,” says Melissa. 

Clothe yourself with strength and dignity for that is the greatest commodity you have to succeed.

Melissa Tanya Gomes

Being a mother, wife, former teacher and Teach for Malaysia alumna, Melissa has experienced the same hurdles faced by today’s working women as well as women educators. “I definitely empathise with women who struggle to manage family and work,” she says, revealing that she partakes in support groups for mothers to assist full-time working mothers in their kids’ learning. 

“In my personal reflection when I was a new mother and a new teacher at the same time, my greatest challenge was breastfeeding due to the lack of a proper breastfeeding facility in school,” she continues. 

While women make great teachers, as Melissa lists qualities such as intuition and high emotional strength, greater patience and empathy when dealing with difficult students, she feels the perception of female teachers being more meticulous, hardworking and reliable than their male counterparts results in unfair treatment. Already coping with a strenuous workload, female teachers have to put up with extra responsibilities deemed suitable to their gender identity. 

Female students aren’t spared stereotyping either. Girls are frequently pressured into prioritising their physical appearances without realising the true meaning of beauty. “This is true for female students from all socio-economic backgrounds who tend to succumb themselves to the ideals of looking good but not knowing that beauty outweighs physical appearances,” Melissa says, pointing out that she has had female students suffering from bulimia – an eating disorder – and spend excessively in the name of vanity. 

While the Prestige Malaysia 40 Under 40 alumna acknowledges that education is key to unlocking a woman’s potential, she doesn’t think that alone is enough. She says educating the general public about the role of women and setting up strong governance in policies to allow participation of women leaders in key decision-making positions are equally as important. 

A firm believer in inner beauty and wisdom, her message to all women for this International Women’s Day is “clothe yourself with strength and dignity for that is the greatest commodity you have to succeed.” 

To all young girls, Melissa urges them not to be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery or beautiful clothes. “You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,” she asserts. 

Tan Sri Dr. Asiah Abu Samah

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Asiah Abu Samah

“Ours was a different time,” says Tan Sri Dr. Asiah Abu Samah, former director-general (DG) of the Ministry of Education. “Those days when you are a student in the university in the 1950s, education was the only field open to us girls. But I enjoyed what I was doing and we worked hard.” 

Ambition, she adds, was not the culture at the time. As a young student at a Methodist school, the educationist says she spent her childhood time reading the classics. These days, she laughs, students even struggle with simplified versions. 

Well, for someone who says that she had no ambition, Asiah has certainly achieved much, establishing her place in history when she was appointed director-general, the first woman to occupy that position. 

“Fortunately or unfortunately,” she says, in jest, when I remind her of the pioneering appointment. “At one point, it was touch and go,” she says. She was the most qualified in terms of seniority, already holding the position of deputy director-general at the time. “But anybody can find a good reason,” and there were those who had their own agenda. 

It was also easy for her detractors to asset their influence. “Men can easily do it over golf, over nasi kandar.” 

“But I was lucky,” she attests. “I had superiors who fought for me.” 

And as a result of their endorsement, Asiah was appointed to the position by the Education Minister at the time, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. It was the support of those superiors, among them Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir, Tan Sri Murad Mohd. Noor and Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Arshad, that she largely attributes her success to. 

As a young lecturer at the Language Institute, she recalls being summoned to the Ministry by Hamdan, who informed her that she would be sent to the famed Tengku Kurshiah College (TKC) as principal. 

“I had the shock of my life,” she exclaims. “I was so young. I never had any dreams of becoming a principal. There were others who were suitable but they were married. I was free and available.” 

Uncertain, she sought advice from others, including from the renowned writer Adibah Amin, who encouraged her to take the position. 

“She was a wise person and she said, why don’t you go?” 

And so she went. The girls were apparently quite excited at the prospect of having a young principal. But despite her being, “barely older” than the girls, Asiah quickly asserted her authority and established herself as a strict principal. It was while there that she started to witness the change that was starting to impact women. 

“From my days as principal of TKC, I saw that the employment world was opening up for ladies. They were going for medicine, engineering, accounting, law. But during my time, there were very few doing medicine. The law faculty also only opened in my third year, so they were interesting and exciting times.” 

After a few enjoyable years at TKC she returned to “civilisation” as she puts it, where she assumed the position of deputy director of the Teacher Training Division. 

As a young graduate in the field of Education, post-independence, Asiah witnessed the emergence of the Malaysian education. In 1956, the Razak Report was released which advocated for the teaching of national language in schools. It was a challenge, even for her, when she had to teach Malay at the Westlands School, Penang. 

“I had only studied Malay until Primary Four,” she says. “The boys had done it until Form Three, so in a way they were better than me.” 

Later, there was the installing of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, which was recommended by the Rahman Talib report. Then there was also the issue of getting qualified teachers. When she was at TKC, she says, even getting an Economics graduate to teach the subject proved to be a challenge. Later, Asiah was involved in a total revamp of the system, following the implementation of the KBSR and KBSM system, which revolutionised the way teaching was done in Malaysia. Till then, she says, there was no wholistic plan. Everything that had been implemented involved a lit bit of “chopping and changing” of the existing system.

It was former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam, who was Education Minister at the time, who suggested the need for an in-depth study to assess just how many students were able to read and write. 

“It was one of the first times that the ministry was doing a big-scale study,” she explains. “We found that many children, more than what we thought we would find, didn’t reach the level required. That became the focus of the ministry, that children knew their 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic).” 

Later, as DG, Asiah was instrumental in implementing the system for secondary schools. At the time, Anwar who had become Minister pushed for the idea of integrating values into education, which posed another challenge for the administrators. 

One of the areas that the DG felt particularly strongly about was that Music Education be introduced as part of the curriculum. This involved the teaching of national songs in all schools, including Chinese language schools. That resulted in a big “hue and cry” from politicians who claimed that it would change Chinese schools. At the same time, she also recalls, the Muslim religious leaders, objected to the use of string instruments. 

“We had a tough time trying to reason with them but we managed to push it through. I am very proud of that.” 

As the first woman to occupy the position of director-general, Asiah adopted a “gentler” approach. 

“I didn’t like open feuds, so I had my own way of reacting to them,” she says. “I worked harder so you can’t find fault with what I did.” 

She had left her more “authoritarian” side at TKC. At the Ministry, she abided by her belief in the 3Fs – to be firm, fair and friendly.