Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[The Star Online] Students caught in the middle – between exams and protests

Malaysian Embassy's officer Faisal Addul Karim (centre) meeting with Malaysian's students at the Association of Malaysia Medical student club house in Cairo.

Malaysian fourth-year medical students at Cairo University are in a fix.
They have one more examination paper to sit for the year, but this keeps getting postponed because of pro and anti-Morsi protests.
“At first, the exam for forensic and toxico­logy was supposed to be on July 8. Then because of the protests, they pushed it to July 11, and now they’ve postponed it to July 13.
“We are still not sure if the exam will proceed on July 13 because the university told us to check with them on Friday (July 12),” said Ahmad Kamil Ahmad Fahmi, who is in his fourth year and the president of the Malaysian medical students association in Cairo.
He said many of the Egyptian students at Cairo University were involved in the street demonstrations and had been urging the university to postpone the exam until after Hari Raya, adding that some of the Malaysian students had already lost money on flight tickets they had bought because of the postponement.
One of the key areas where the pro-Morsi supporters gather is near Cairo University and the streets outside the university have been the target of deadly attacks.
Burnt cars still line the streets, a testimony of the violence of a week ago.
Kamil said the Malaysian students, even those studying at Cairo University, were staying in safe areas not that close to the university so there was nothing for families back home to fear, adding that the students were taking precautions.
Abdul Rahim Samad, who is in his fifth year and the president of the Malaysian students in Egypt, said they meet regularly with the Malaysian embassy officials. Besides guidelines for the students, there is an evacuation plan if things turned ugly.
He said students had been told to have cash in hand and to stock up a week of food supplies in case there was an emergency and they could not go out.
Students have also been encouraged to stay away from the “hot” and protest areas besides being told not exaggerate about what was happening on their Facebook and Twitter postings.
“We also tell them not to post their political opinions on Facebook because our students have a lot of Egyptian FB friends and we don’t want our students to be targeted for their views.
“Some Egyptians have already labelled Malaysians as pro-Morsi, which can cause problems with the other side and we want to avoid this,” said Rahim, who is lucky enough to have finished his last exam paper for the year.
Nor Sabiha Zakaria, who is in her fourth year and waiting to sit for her last paper, said the students restricted their movement and did not go out as much as before.
Third-year medical student Anis Zakaria, who has finished her exams, has opted to stay a bit longer in Cairo because she loves fasting and the Ramadan mood in Egypt.
“The Arabs are very good hosts and very polite and hospitable to foreigners. Our landlord calls us from time to time to check to see if we are okay,” she said, adding that she was constantly on her guard in case the situation deteriorates.

Published on: Wednesday July 10, 2013

Do things with passion or not at all.

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