Sunday, May 16, 2010

Selamat Hari Guru

Its the 16th of May, the official Teacher's Day. I was in two minds about making this post but finally I decided that I have to do it, about 30 minutes before the day is over.

Why did I hesitated in making the post? Because I do not want to be seen as appreciating my teachers only on Teacher's Day. Just like why I did not celebrate Mother's Day because I feel mothers (like my wife, since I do not my mother anymore, though I have a replacement in my Makcik who has been a gem to me my siblings and all our children) deserves more than just a day of appreciation.

The only problem with "official" days is that by not celebrating them we are deemed to be not appreciative of the people concerned. To prevent this "misconception" I decided to make this post.

I can talk (or write for that matter) forever about teachers. However, in this post I am only going to write about my primary school teachers.

Standard One 1965 - Mr. M. Palany. He slapped me once for climbing the hill going up from the field instead of taking the stairs. I was also the class monitor and had the honor of carrying the exercise books of the class to his home not far from the school on my way home to catch the bus.

Standard 2 1966 - Miss Saraswathy (I think). Did not remember too much but I hate it when we were asked to remember our tables and recite them one by one in class failing which we have to stand on our chairs. Despite this I was still bad with my tables.

Just found out that actually my class teacher in standard 2 was Miss Wong. Ms. Saraswathy was a subject teacher (maybe).

Standard 3 1967 - Cikgu Jamaluddin. Again as a class monitor I was given to do some chores for the teacher. In this case I was asked to mark the work of the class. The teacher will give me his red ink pen and I will do the marking. He will just sign at the end. On one occasion I put a remark "Good" on the exercise done by a girl whom I thought I had a crush on. I was given a scolding by the cikgu and after that he did not ask me to do the marking again.

Standard 4 1968 - Mr. Chow Weng Wah. Had very little memory about the year. I was caught fighting one day with a new student who just transferred from Singapore after his father retired from the police. I thought he did not show enough respect for us kampong boys and gave him a few punches. Mr Chow was upset and scolded both of us. He then said if we want to fight, come to the front of the class. I thought I heard him said he want me to go to the front of the class. When I reach the front, he said in a loud voice: You still want to fight?. No wonder my friends looked puzzled when I walked past them towards the front of the class

Standard 5 1969 - Miss Devi. The year of our Assessment Exams, the first major exam in my life. Back then very few students scored all As (five subjects). I was earmarked to get 5 As. Miss Devi knew that my weakest subject was English but my other subjects are okay. So whenever we have extra classes, while the other students were studying all the exam subjects I will only be studying English. Despite all her efforts, I did not get A for English and there no one who scored all As for the school that year.

Standard 6 1970 - Mr. Victor Chinniah. Hockey master and a few other clubs including Scouts if I'm not mistaken. He was a good teacher but I was not happy with him when I left school. I was always competing with another boy, Thomas, to get the first position in our exams since our early years and we have alternatively grabbed the first place on many occasions. In the first term exam in Std 6, I beat Thomas. In the final exam (the last exam of our primary education), we scored exactly the same marks, so it was tie. To break the tie, Mr Chinniah said whoever got the higher English mark will be first. So Thomas got first and I got second. I thought that was not fair. Why should it be English and not Malay (which I was better at)? It should have been a neutral subject like Mathematics (which I would have won) or Science (which I think Thomas would have won).

The other teachers:

Mr. Tan Beng Hooi - Headmaster, Very dedicated teacher with a fatherly figure type of attitude. He taught Civics which helped us be better citizens. I remembered that Civics was not a boring subject then.

Cikgu Ali Bulat. Big sized teacher who taught us Bahasa Melayu.

Ustaz Abu Bakar - Taught us Ugama Islam. Very strict (but only with the boys, if I remember well). His exams are very tough and in Jawi. On many occasions, my agama marks pull my average down depriving me of first position in class. He later furthered his studies to university. Later he taught at mosques and suraus where he then became a teacher to my late father. I still bumped into him during Hari Raya prayers.

To all the above teachers who are still alive, Thank you very much and may your life be Blessed. To those who have left us, May Allah give His Blessings to your souls.


Note: Class photos courtesy of Saleha Hassan (via Facebook), a classmate in primary school. Now a teacher at St Francis Institution, Melaka.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Family Friends

All of us have friends, all kinds of friends. Some of our friends are for the short term while both of us have "excuses" to remain friendly such as friends at school, at work, or any other similar circumstances. On some occasions these short term friends may develop into long term relationships.

I am blessed to have a few such friends where we started became friends in primary school, continue to secondary school and kept in touch during college and cement the friendship when we started working until now, more than 40 years after our first meeting. I also have friends that I first met during college or during my working days and keep being friends still.

But I do not have family friends. What do I mean by family friends? These are friends but they are more like family. Normally when we have friends, they only know us or at the most our spouses. However, family friends are not related to us but they know us just like family, even more so at times. They are not only friendly to us but they know our children, our parents and siblings too. Similarly, we and our family know about their family as well.

My late father has a true family friend. I do not know how they became friends (I regret not asking my father about this). Both of them were policemen in Singapore before independence. All of us know each other so well. Their children are more like brothers and sisters to us. My late father and mother would go to them whenever they have problems before going to their siblings.

When my late father was in KL Hospital undergoing his chemotherapy, I knew one of his friend's daughter visited him more often that I did, bringing home cooked meals for him and makcik who was looking after him. She is definitely more family than our real family.

My late father-in-law also has a family friend of similar stature, although I'm not in a position to know too much details. But this guy used to work for my father-in-law when he was the Director of Hospital University. Even after his retirement, their friendship remain in tact, in fact it was further strengthen maybe because my father is law was no longer his boss. Until now, without fail, he and his whole family will at my father-in-law's in times of sorrow or happiness. In fact when my father in law was hospitalised for quite an extended period and we had to take turns to sleep at the hospital, his name was also in the list of volunteers.

So far, I have not been able to establish any strong family friends despite the fact that I have quite a number of close friends but both our families have not been able to get into the act.

I know it is indeed a privilege to have family friends and I should I should work at achieving this.


Perhimpunan Perdana Palestine

Seperti biasa hujung minggu saya lebih sibuk dari hari bekerja. Saya sebenarnya telah merancang untuk melawat anak saya yang di MRSM Kepala Batas minggu ini, tetapi hari Khamis lalu beliau sms isteri saya menyatakan yang beliau akan menghadiri satu perkhemahan hujung minggu ini. Jadinya rancangan untuk ke utara dibatalkan.

Awal pagi anak bongsu saya telah kesekolah untuk perjumpaan pandu puteri. Apabila beliau balik pada tengahari, kami terus makan tengahari di Restoran Jaring berhampiran Sunway Pyramid.

Seterusnya kami ke IKEA, Bandar Utama kerana saya ingin melihat perabot untuk pejabat. Kami menghabiskan masa sekitar dua jam di IKEA. Sekembali kerumah saya telah keletihan. Sempat berehat sebentar sebelum isteri mengajak saya menghadiri Perhimpunan Perdana Palestine. Hampir setiap masjid di Selangor mewar-warkan perhimpunan ini.

Program ini sebenarnya bermula sejak pagi dimana telah diadakan konvoi kereta dari masjid2 seluruh negeri menuju Masjid Negeri, Shah Alam. Saya tidak pasti berapa ramai yang mengambil bahagian, tetapi masjid saya tidak menghantar sebarang wakil.

Kami tiba kira-kira 5:30 petang. Program kemuncak saya jangka berlangsung pada sebelah malam tetapi saya terpaksa menghadiri majlis tahlil untuk arwah abang ipar yang baru pulang ke rahmatullah pada hari Khamis lepas.

Bila kami tiba masih belum ramai di dalam Stadium Malawati. Mungkin lebih ramai peserta dan penganjur dari pelawat.Acara dimulakan dengan nyanyian nasyid yang bernada patriotik, Ditengah gelanggang terdapat ramai muda-mudi yang membawa sepanduk dan kain rentang yang pelbagai. Mereka nampak sungguh bersemangat dan melompat-lompat ketika nasyid didendangkan. Lagu-lagu nasyid diselang seli dengan laungan "takbir" dan "jihad".

Saya dan isteri beredar dari tempat tersebut sekitar jam 6:45 petang. Saya tidak tahu apa perasaan sebenar saya tentang program yang saya saksikan.

Saya cukup yakin pihak penganjur telah menghabiskan banyak masa, tenaga dan kewangan untuk menganjurkan program ini, Penglibatan remaja juga cukup baik. Tetapi apakah kesan positif yang dapat dirasa oleh penduduk Palestine dalam jangka masa pendek? Saya rasa cukup terhad. Apakah kesan terhadap kesedaran remaja kita tentang sejarah Palestine? Juga terhad, saya rasa. Mana mungkin remaja yang terkinja-kinja ketika mendengar lagu nasyid (tidak jauh bezanya seperti remaja yang menonton konsert Akademi Fantasia) dapat menghayati penderitaan yang dialami oleh penduduk Islam di Palestine.

Memang mudah untuk saya menjadi pengkritik tanpa melihat gambaran yang lebih luas. Tetapi saya mempunyai hak terhadap pendapat saya walaupun ia hanya persepsi yang salah. Sebenarnya saya berharap persepsi saya salah dan segala usaha pihak penganjur membuahkan hasil terbaik buat rakyat Palestine dan remaja yang mengambil bahagian.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday on Jalan TAR

Zai wanted to buy some things to prepare for her niece's wedding in July. So, after breakfast we headed to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur. I do not mind going to KL on a Sunday as it will be deserted.

While the ladies are busy going through things before finally buying a small amount of some items, I spent the time looking at the crowd, taking photos and would you believe, it reading while standing.

Here are some of the snaps that I took.