JOHOR BAHRU, 24 Oct – Taking up the call of the Government for Research Universities to actively collaborate more with non-research universities, a joint student development workshop was developed in conjunction with UiTM Pasir Gudang’s Language Week.

The workshop, led by the UTM Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities’ Assistant Dean (External and Global Engagement), Dr Abdullah Mohd Nawi, is a signature literature workshop that is designed specifically to enable non-literature students to develop an appreciation for literature, especially a genre of literature that would seem alien to many of them – poetry in English.

The 2-hour workshop took the students on a journey of discovery of self, through sights and sounds of the gallantry and horrors of war,  under the tutelage of Dr Abdullah’s masterful storytelling and readings of war poetry from the Great War.

At the end of the workshop, these non-literature students, most of them from Engineering programmes, produced their own original poems. Below is the poem voted best of the workshop:


Looking around,
Soldiers boarding the plane,
My loved one has left me,
Will he ever come back again?

This burden in my chest,
Baby in my belly,
My loved one has left me,
Dear God can you protect him?

Looking around,
Soldiers leaving the plane,
My loved one has left me,
To save our country.

This heart-wrenching poem was made entirely as a collaborative effort by a group of students, and voted the best of the day, with no other input than that which they had obtained during the workshop. The positive response to the workshop was overwhelming, with the students indicating that they had gained a deeper appreciation for literature and poetry, and found that they could access their creativity with less inhibition.

Participants creating their poems

UTM, through its Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, especially with the specialised schools pertaining to language education – the Language Academy and the School of Education – strives to work hand in hand with any organisation or institution that is interested in building human capital for tomorrow, who are equally skilled in hard and soft skills, in order for them to become better leaders for tomorrow.

Dr Abdullah, Mr Ali Moslehifar, Dr Normah Ismail (front right) and the participants of the workshop.

The event was made possible through the collaboration between Dr Normah Ismail of UiTM, and Dr Abdullah Mohd Nawi of UTM.

If you are interested in bringing this workshop to your school or institution, please contact Dr Abdullah at