~ Fuelling life with knowledge, adventure and women empowerment ~



Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur Mohd. Nur and lovingly, Noorul to her nearest and dearest, is a decorated personality within the Malaysian civil service and for her contributions in international organizations. Noorul served in the role of Secretary General for three Malaysian Ministries; Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.   

In her international assignments, she served as President of Science Commission, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and as the Malaysian representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, amongst others.  Beyond that, Noorul is revered for her enthusiasm for life and as an ambassador for women’s rights.   

Lockdown ~ The upside

Noorul has been on a non-stop journey of refuelling and sharing her knowledge, nationally and internationally since her retirement in May 2018. In her blog SoJourner Noorul and the post, titled ‘A Pitstop At My Life’, Noorul says “I am the category of person who loves knowledge and I won’t want to lag behind with regard to my grey matter.” During lockdown, Noorul expanded her quest to virtual platforms; learning new technology and zooming from one conference and sharing session to the next.

An avid reader, a habit inspired by her late father, Noorul breezed through several books during lockdown; which included novels by Paulo Coelho, ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins and ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens. Noorul, a Senior Fellow (Professor), Jeffrey Sachs Centre of Sustainable Development, Sunway University also took the opportunity to revisit some of Jeffrey Sachs books; namely ‘The End of Poverty’, ‘The Ages of Globalization’ and ‘The Age of Sustainable Development’.

The flipside ~ Lockdown

Generally upbeat with a good social disposition, the lack of physical contact with her family and grand-children in California affected Noorul on a mental and physical level. Whilst her thirst for knowledge grew higher; instead of meetings and conferences; boredom filled her calendar.

Positive mindset and positive vibes restored balance and play

“It’s all about positivity”, Noorul says. She acknowledges being human; and the feelings of exhaustion, frustration and disappointment that come along when one is pushed to the limits. Noorul refers to the phrase ‘go smell the roses’ as positivity pauses. She explains, “this is a pause we need to rejuvenate and refresh ourselves. Step back, inhale and refocus. Ask yourself : am I going in the right direction? Am I getting results that I am supposed to achieve? Are my physical and mental abilities geared towards the objective?” She says that by taking these breaks regularly, she guides herself back to her sunny personality and restores balance in her ecosystem of family and friends. Noorul continues her legacy of championing knowledge in the Malaysian educational institutions; serving as Chairman of University College of Yayasan Pahang and Fellowship at International Engineering and Technology Institute.

What’s the best self-talk you have had or are having with yourself?

“Embrace positivity and clear your mind of the negative energy. You have to push yourself that your positive energy finally wins over the negative one. It is about loving and living to the utmost.” 

What would you say to the earlier you?

“I was adamant that resilience and perseverance will ensure your sanity and refreshing state of mind.” 

What would you say to the new you?

“I did it. I have it in me to overcome the dark challenges and have emerged as a person with a rejuvenated life.”

How would you summarise your growth during lockdown?

“Viewing life in a positive manner.”


Photographs captured by : Hari Jr Harichandran, #thestreetshutter


~ Growing in Lockdown: Real Stories by Real Women is an inspirational account of women around the globe who grew in strength, skill, self-belief and spirit; both sensationally and soulfully during the Covid 19 Pandemic lockdown. The messages of these women serve as stimulus for our soul as we step into and beyond the new normal. ~


Category: Growing in Lockdown: Real Stories by Real Women