Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thinking Aloud

I'm halfway of my research project. By halfway, I mean I have to revise my research questions, research objectives, research hypothesis, research framework, cut down my questionnaire items, get at least 300 respondents (I've obtained around 220, 80 more to go), analyse my data, and then re-write Chapter 4 & 5.

Seriously, just thinking about it gives me breakouts. My face is literally full of pimples from the stress of writing a thesis. How I loathe this whole journey!

Anyway, no point in moaning about it because it still needs to be done anyway. I just need to reduce the damage and trim my research work here and there. Before I'm consumed by sheer panic and overwhelmed from all this chaos (moving, going back to work NEXT WEEK!, and finishing my report), let's analyze all the things I have to do:

Chapter 1
Re-write my research questions and research objectives. 
Previously I want to find out which concept influences people to be loyal to cloth diaper, perceived value (CV) or environmental concern (EC)? Now I realize that that Holbrook typology has included altruistic value which is indirectly linked to EC anyway, so why do I have to study EC? If people decide to be loyal to the product because it offers the feel-good value due to protecting the environment, it's just redundant to inspect whether they are environmentally concerned or not (obviously people who rate altruistic value as low has low EC).

So now, with EC out of the proposed framework, I'll just focus on the CV. Which value has the strongest effect on loyalty? Do I need to have attitude as mediating factor, or try to establish that CV has a direct effect on loyalty? I have to go back to my literature review.

Chapter 2
1. Identify 5 journal articles for each variable 
- articles that define each CV and loyalty intentions. Because I need to justify my questionnaire item. Why I use Zeithaml, Parasuraman et al item to measure loyalty intentions.

2. Identify 5 journal articles that establish the relationship between CV and loyalty. 
Previous studies always examine satisfaction as antecedent of loyalty, but luckily I managed to find one article (or is it two?) that states attitude are a better predictor than satisfaction.

3. Study on CD = identify which values are stated as the 'stay factor' and justify why I pick those values in my study (because this has been identified by users of cloth diaper in academic study). 
Possibly, I can exclude Social Value if the outcome does not state this value as being significant. Plus, the initial analysis that I run showed that this value is not significantly related to loyalty intention in my study. So one variable out, less work to do.

Chapter 3
1. Revise my research framework.
Eliminate EC / Social Value from framework. Do I need to include attitude? On the plus, it's easier to justify because I'm just adapting TPB framework, and it includes attitude. On the negative side, more analysis needs to be done.

2. Reduce my questionnaire item.
In my naivety, I've included 59 items in my questionnaire - times by 5, that means I have to have at least 345 reusable data! I really did not think about the consequences and the worst it could do to my data is people start to get impatient and simply tick the answer without really reading it through! The only good thing about this is I have overdone, which means I have more than data than I need. Since I'm targeting only 250 respondents to analyze, I have to cut down to maximum 50 items.

3. Revise my hypotheses.
This pretty much depends on my research framework.

Well, that's some of the things I have to re-do, before I can move on to Chapter 4 & 5. I have to think whether to use SEM or non-parametric test for data analysis, and if SEM is much easier, I have to tweak my data slightly to make it more or less normal (currently it's skewed to the right).

Deep breath.

I can do this. Dear God please help me.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Recognizing when it's time to start looking at contingency plan

This is a heart-pouring post.

I'm on the brink of failure. It's frustrating, heart-wrenching, and utterly devastating.

I had hoped to work on the topic that I'm passionate about. Combining two of the things that I love - motherhood and the environment. I thought (in all my naiveness) that this topic would be interesting, and since nobody ever did this before I would surely contribute to the knowledge building.

That's me. 80% idealist, only 20% realist. Between me & my sister, she's the practical and sensible one while I mostly tread in the shadow of fantasy and only crash hard to reality when things didn't go as hoped. 

It's been more than 8 weeks since I started data collection but the response has been lukewarm (closer to icy cold). Friends shared that on average they only spent 3-4 weeks to collect their data from more than 300 respondents but in 8 weeks, I only managed to collect 121 feedback, and probably even less once I've eliminated the outliers.

Either CD-using moms are too busy to go online (because those CDs don't clean themselves!) or most of them are occasional users, not devoted users. So they are not compelled to participate.

Whatever is the reason, the reality is I can't afford to wait for the 100 more people to participate. I'll be back to work by next month, and I have only 6 weeks+ to complete my thesis. I'm passionate, but time is not on my side. I am probably required to abandon this project for my MBA.

That is why I'm broken-hearted.

I will survive this. A successful person don't succumb to dead-ends, rather they find ways to make it to success.

And my best friend Kak Za once gave me a damn good advice.

Agak-agak menyusahkan, tinggalkan je la...

I think it's time to heed that advice.

Wipe my tears and move on.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The first time she told me about her day

Khayla & Khadeeja went to a daycare today because I had some work to do. It's a new daycare and I like the cheerful & bright look, as well as its hygiene. Plus, they have plenty of toys which the girls immediately reached for when I dropped them off.

When we fetched them in the evening, both girls were excited to see us especially Khadeeja who was fretful and kept crying when she was left alone (I got a lot of updates on her from the daycare but they seemed to be able to handle her anxiety). So I'm impressed that they didn't panicked and called me up to take her just because Khadeeja couldn't stop crying, unlike a daycare in Setapak where we sent them when we both had classes one Saturday. In the end I had to bring her to class as well.

Oh did I mention that they are okay with handling cloth diaper? :) I had no complain from the staff except a few questions on how to handle the diaper when Khadeeja poo in it (which I replied just roll the diaper up, poo & all, and toss it in the diaper bag).

Oh yeah. Where was I? Back to the title. Khayla was initially upset having to wake up and shower earlier than normal but other than that, she adjusted very well. The staff told me that she played, ate her meal and took her nap like any good girl. 

Tonight when we were settling down for bedtime, she spoke up:

Khayla: Khayla sudah go to school today.
Me:  did you like school?
Khayla: uhuh *nodded head*
Me: How many friends you met today?
Khayla: *began counting* ten friends, mak!
Me: wow, that's a lot of friends!
Khayla: orange. Khayla drink orange also. Many orange.
Me: I see. Did you eat rice?
Khayla: Yes. And play toys. Many many toys.
Me: that's good. Do you like the teachers?
Khayla: uhuh *nodded head*

This is actually the first time she ever narrated her day to me. She just turned 3 last month and could already recalled her day. My firstborn is fast becoming a big girl already!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why I Choose Modern Cloth Diaper as my Thesis Subject

Been a while since I last wrote about anything other than my darling, precious babies. LOL! I'm also nearing the end of my MBA studies, and fervently hoping that I could graduate by next semester! Initially the plan is to graduate by this semester, but turned out there's too much work for my thesis that I did not anticipate so I have no choice but to revise the plan and do my thesis in two semesters instead.

Since discovering the world of cloth diapering (or CD-ing, among the cloth diapers supporters), I've been hooked to CD that even my thesis is about modern CD. For a product that is time-consuming, high maintenance and not as straightforward as disposable diaper (termed DD by the same supporters), still many people choose to use CD and shun the disposable one.

Khayla wearing CD

It gets me wonder and reflect upon my own decision. For me, I chose CD because I like to think that I am concern of the environment (for the sake of my children), it is value-for-money (think of the long-term savings when we don't have to buy diapers every month), and to certain extent, the diva side of me is attracted to the various cute designs available on the market (although I only bought one such diaper and the rest are plain but brightly coloured design).

In other words, CD appeals to various dimensions of consumer value which gives people favourable impression (attitude) towards it and because of that, combined with the fact that people love sharing about everything on the Internet nowadays, they get the words around and try to get other people to love this product as well.

Maybe some moms love CD because they can make more friends who are also using CD, so that they can swap reviews about different brands - known as social value.

Maybe another mom who loves the fact that it is economical and to certain extent, performs as good as DD and wants to share this knowledge with other people - efficient and excellence value.

Or the fashion-conscious one likes the various patterns and colours available on the market and buy more and spread the news about where to find the cutest design - aesthetics value.

Or maybe only those who loves the environment are the ones likely to say good things about this product - altruistic value.

Or… maybe some just can't say why they like it, they just do. When they use cloth diapers, it gets them excited, happy, and gives them so much positive emotion that they just want to tell other people about it - play value.

I also notice that of all the various green products available on the market, CD is the only one that garners support groups. You don't see a Facebook page dedicated to say, energy-efficient fridge. Or woven bags. Or recycled products.

But cloth diapers? Google 'cloth diapers' and you will find plenty of support / fan groups all over the world. The discussions can range from which brand is of the best quality, which inserts could hold more urine, which type is the best for newborn, where to buy the cheapest CDs, how to wash CDs correctly, and so on and so forth. All the hype just over cloth diapers.

Then I looked up studies on modern cloth diapers but there are only a handful found (in fact I only found one study in the UK), and none in my own country. Some of my lecturers have never even heard of modern cloth diapers.

So I want to do justice to this wonderful invention. This product that have the potential to save our Mother Earth, and gives us so much joy at the same time. No doubt, it will be a challenging task getting people to participate in the study (filling up forms can remind us of the good ol' exam days, no?), but I'm going to try nonetheless. If I can increase awareness on this product at the academic level, it would be a wonderful step towards making this product recognised at higher learning institution level.

Please click this link to go to my online survey.

If you fulfil the criteria, maybe you can also help me out. I'll be extremely grateful.

Please help my mom graduate! ~ Khadeeja

Monday, November 25, 2013

Letter to My Girls: Khayla (35 months) & Khadeeja (11 months)

Dear precious daughters,

This month you both turned a month older - Khayla, 35 months and Khadeeja, 11 months old. I know this sounds cliche but wow, time sure flies fast, right?

My angels,

This year our lives took a little detour from its usual routine. I stay home to take care both of you and at the same time, finishing my studies. 

Sure money isn't as free-flow as it used to be when I was earning my own income. I could not afford to buy new clothes and toys at branded outlets. We don't stay at fancy hotels for Mommy's working trips this year.

But that's ok. The time we spent going swimming, shopping, and those trips to the playground made up big times though. We could all nap in the afternoon and go for walks in the evening more than we used to, right Khayla? Most importantly, I am around all the time for you both which you love so.

Ice cream moment!

Who needs new toys when we could make our own play dough, and construct  a make-shift playhouse from the sofa cushions? Who needs branded clothes when we could buy similar but not so original version from wholesale outlet, right?

My sweet babies,

Although I do admit that sometimes I feel sad that I can't afford one of those expensive toys for either of you when I see friends posted toys they bought for their kids. But that's only one side of life. They also complain about leaving the office after dark due to workload only to find their kids already asleep when they reach home, and for that I wonder whether the toys are really worth the time spent at work? When you grow up, you will learn this concept. It's called 'opportunity cost'.

Enough rambling for now. I want to address this to each of my darling daughters, may you be reminded of how much I love you girls.

Khadeeja my dark-eyed adorable angel,

You probably don't know this but a year back, just slightly over a month before I delivered you, I woke up in the early dawn to the dull pain which later grew stronger and stronger till it alarmed your father he immediately rushed me to the hospital. I was alarmed too - for all the wrong reasons. Who is going to finish my job if I delivered 6 weeks early? 

Thankfully you didn't come out that day and still refused to come out a month later that the doctor had to drag you out from inside me, screaming at the top of your lungs. 

So much time has passed right, baby? Now you are almost a year, perfecting your walking skill and growing more teeth (you have eight now). The other day, Makyeng sent a video clip of you playing peekaboo by yourself, giggling as you drape a towel over your head and then pulling it off your face.

Sweet baby in the red cap

Even though you and your sister are born on the same date, you guys share very few similarities - where your sister is very manja and likes to cuddle, you are more independent and always on the go type. Yet you adore your sister very much. You follow her everywhere, and even though you sometimes scream when she pushes you back or yells no at you, but you still want to be around her and do whatever she does. Sometimes it saddens me that you are kinda in a hurry to grow up when I still need a baby to smother with kisses and cuddles. But at times I'm relieved as well - if you had been more dependent on me, I don't think this whole long-distance parenting will work.

On the day you sent me to the airport

That doesn't mean that you don't need me too. Whenever I'm around, you love checking on me. Losing me from your sight upsets you big time that even when I'm in the bathroom you would stand outside the door banging and crying. But when I came out, hey, there's not a single tear! At 11 months, you could fake a cry!

You take so much after me that I worry that you will grow up a worry-wart like me too. You laugh less often than your sister at this age, it takes quite a complicated trick to make you giggle in a carefree way. You tend to frown when you concentrate on something (like throwing out all the toys from the toy bin). Which I don't get it - because when I was pregnant with you I was almost stress-free where else when I was preggy with your sister, I was constantly worrying about a lot of things!

Giving that appraising look of yours that is just me

You know the best moments that I had when I was back for semester break last couple of weeks? The time when you fall asleep in my arms. Your hand draped across my chest so possessively (yes, you are jealous too when your sister gets near me), your head on my arm. I just love staring at your long, long eyelashes (something that both of you have, but yours are longer and thicker). And, watching you dance (swinging your body side to side or rocking back and forth as I clap and sing for you) is also a precious moment indeed. You are cute in that way, so adorable I just want to gobble you up and then give birth to you again, back to that little baby who scream so much about being born.

Always so inquisitive and curious 

Now to my eldest daughter, Khayla,

People say - good things come in small packages. That is apt enough to describe you. The joy of everyone's life, always singing and saying the darndest thing ever! You love exclaiming, 'Lailahailallah!' to everything wherever possible. It's good that you can mengucap already but I am pretty sure you don't know what it means!

Whenever you come up with new phrases, I get totally blown away. Like that week when Makyeng sent an audio clip where you were singing 'Ana Muslim' (as usual) and then suddenly you stopped and asked Makyeng in an injured tone, 'Why you like this? So how leh?' I'm not sure what Makyeng did to make you feel so hurt but your helpless yet indignant tone is just too cute!

Watching boats pass by

The other day, Makyeng texted me about your new game. You have started to play imaginary roles, first asking in a normal voice, 'Do you want to eat Koko Krunch?' and then answering your own question in softer tone as if you are a second person, 'Yes please…' Every day you surprise us with something new - a new song, a new act, a new phrase. With you, every day is a new discovery which everyone is anticipating to find out.

Let's talk about food, sweetie. When it comes to food, I'm still fighting a losing battle with you. If you can sustain by just breathing air, I'm pretty sure you would be one very happy toddler. Well, occasionally you do show a slight interest in food - but always the same food. Corn for example. Or fries. Or chocolate. Or candies. Vegetable? Fish? Chicken? What's that?

Enjoying your lollipop

As time passes by, I think you have begun to accept your role as a big sister even though you and Khadeeja still fight pretty much of the time. Sometimes you can be really concerned with her, giving her toys to play, asking her to finish her milk and even asking her whereabouts when things get quiet. I think it's lovely the way you are turning into this big girl, but at the same time you still want me to treat you like a baby.

Playing the big sister
It gives me a warm feeling inside when you sometimes still want to nurse with me, because we still share this unbreakable bond - nothing ever really matters in the world when I hold you close to my heart, my baby. 

Khayla & Khadeeja, you two will always be my inspiration.

Love you always,

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Khayla's fun fact #3

This one is not so fun but what the heck.

Khayla hates showers. She will do anything to skip this routine. She runs away, cries, dodges, hides and puts up a fight when she's forced to. But once she's in the tub, she's most reluctant to get out because she has too much fun playing with water!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Khayla fact #2

Khayla likes to exclaim, 'So how leh?'

Occasionally she breaks into incomprehensible Chinese language like, 'zai zhi le!'

True facts :p