Tell me more about yourself.
Ok… I am not used to talking about myself. I am Nuurun Naqiah and I’m 25 this year. Can you prompt me with some questions? -laughs-
Hahaha! Alright… What inspired you to start baking and cooking classes?
Ok, I will let you know some background. I’ve always been exposed to baking and cooking since I was young. My nenek used to do jualan since kampung days and up till they shifted to a flat. As a child, I helped them with wrapping the epok-epok and stuff. Later on, since about ten years old, I learned baking and cooking from my mom. I really enjoyed baking. In the last few years, I started gaining confidence to take orders from people. Occasionally, I sold cupcakes and other desserts.
In 2010, I underwent quite a major brain surgery, following up with treatments. In 2011, I took another semester off school to rest. It was tiring since they took out a part of my skull bone, before another reconstructive surgery. At that time, I fulfilled quite a number of orders to help with some fundraising activities and such.
Subhanallah…. How did you find it in yourself to do all that despite your surgeries?
I just wanted to make use of my time at home. And my surgeries… I had tremendous family support. I went back to school in Aug 2010, three months after the first surgery. But in early 2011 I couldn’t take it when I tried going to school, so I had kind of like a seven-month break. That’s when I started selling some of my baked goods and continue to do so occasionally till now.
You’re such a fighter, dear Nuurun. How are you now?
Alhamdulillah, I am well now. I just go for check-ups once yearly at Tan Tock Seng and SGH separately.
I was in a lot of trauma after the first surgery but I could not imagine being sick. You know, all the cancer stories… and having to go for treatment and what not. So I prayed hard for God to cure me and give me strength. It was a turning point for me, spiritually as well. Alhamdulillah.
I still went through the treatments. I tried all sorts of alternative medication such as homeopathy and Islamic medicine. I was very watchful of my diet. I can remember I was so scared when they needed to put a needle through to create the IV for my MRI after surgery. Then it just normalised. I went for MRI scans, four chemotherapy sessions, and another four, once a month, amidst school.
That sounds tough… I’m honoured that you shared your story with me. Why did you start baking and cooking classes?
It was a hobby… People enjoyed it. Since I graduated last year, I found it difficult to find a job. Went for some interviews but they didn’t work out. Only 2 months ago, I went for another interview. And when I didn’t get the job… I just thought, okay working is not for me. Due to my medical background I get headaches, especially once I go out or get too stressed or study too hard. So I just stopped searching and rejected other interview offers. It just wasn’t worth it to exert myself.
Recently, I chanced upon XX’s (not the real name of the company) package to organize classes but I never got round to doing it. They needed a fee of $699 for me to join! I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. That’s when I thought of teaching at home instead. Not to primarily earn money per se but just to make use of the time and resources at home… Since I bake every week, I might as well invite people to learn at the same time. And I thought, classes outside are so expensive! So I want to teach and can make it more affordable instead.
I hope to benefit from passing on the knowledge so that in shaa Allah, I will also gain when you all cook for your families and teach your daughters. Whatever extra I get from the class is just for my efforts and ultimately the rezeki comes from Allah. Just for my own spending anyway.
You will realise after marriage just how much women do at home. -giggles-
How about cooking Chinese food?
Oh yes and Chinese cooking… My friends have always wanted to learn from me for quite some time already. So I thought that I might as well teach too! Chinese food is like a delicacy to Malays somehow. I want to reach out to people so they will cook for themselves instead of eating those MSG-laden ones outside. It’s a niche area for me I guess. My dad is Chinese and we cook quite a bit of Chinese style at home.
Who would you like to thank?
My mum, really. She taught me how to bake and cook since young. It was really through her that I knew how to do all these. For letting me use her kitchen all this while! For all the mess I’ve created. -laughs- And all the friends she has entertained when they come over.
My family – nenek, aunts, uncles, for giving me the encouragement and supporting my orders now and then.
And I’d like to thank Leila, a Russian lady I randomly met on the train and invited over for Hari Raya 3 years ago. She taught us how to make bread!
What words of encouragement do you have for those just starting to cook and bake out there?
Just try and go for it! You have to fail to succeed. I’ve thrown away some cakes and bread just to get it right later. -grins-
Any last words?
Alhamdulillah, I believe that Allah has indeed planned everything so beautifully… There is really nothing to be sad about, even when I think back of all my rejected job applications. Our rezeki is all different and we can never compare with what others have. Nothing happens without His will and I hope He makes it easy for me to pursue this hobby and business! -smiles-
There are no photos of Nuurun upon her request. True to her humble self, Nuurun doesn’t believe in fancy equipment like bread machines. Baking with her was truly a joy! She will give you the confidence to trust in your Allah-given abilities to create sumptuous food. Sms or Whatsapp her @ 96267073 to find out more about her classes. All ladies are welcome!