17 June 2015

1 Ramadhan 1436H


To all readers, especially blogger friends and former/present students of AlManar.

We wish to inform that our dear Hj Hassan, or fondly known as Pokcik, is unwell.  He has been in Kuala Lumpur since May, in good company amongst family and loved ones, in the special care of medical experts.  Our humble request is for your prayers to guide him through this trying times. 
 
We would also like to wish Ramadhan Mubarak to all.
 
Thank you.
 
 
Makcik and Pokcik's children.
 
 

28 February 2015

A person to admire ( Part 1 ) - Dedication


Personal note ( to my visitors):
My last posting was dated 25th January which is one whole month ago. It is not for short of subjects to write. The increasing number of fellow bloggers disappearing from the scene prompts me to think whether I should call it a day as well. Some have stopped writing altogether and some have moved to the more fashionable fb, wtup etc, No, this one month, however, prompts Pakcik to stay on. There are still a few readers who care to call over and leave comments, for whom I am grateful. Above all I had my reasons for starting this blog  almost ten years ago. And those reasons are still equally valid today.

__________________________________


Approach road to Kampong Cerong Cina 

I will do a story about a simple family living in a small village community of about thirty houses situated on the wooded slope of a range of hills about 50 km from me.  The locality is known as Kampong Cerong Cina. Central to this family is Mak Yah, a lady of mid forty with four children.  Her father, regarded with high respect as a learned person in religion, is the oldest person around. He is a healthy 101- year old person.  The old man is not just a religious teacher and the Imam of their village surau but is actively involved  in other activities including slaughtering of cattle (during Hari Raya Haji). To many he is also a medicine man for physical and spiritual health. Mak Yah’s husband, Nan, is a man of about fifty, a general construction worker. He is skilled in handling poisonous pest control chemicals, a skill he acquired during his earlier employment with a pest control company. Nan himself has learnt a lot from his father-in-law. In the absence of the old man he takes over a number of religious duties.     
Raised in a religious family Mak Yah acquired the skill and interest in teaching Quran. After attending a religious college she accepted a job as a primary school religious teacher. It was on annual contract which she has been renewing for the last over twenty years. Her love is seeing little children enjoy learning Quran as she and her children used to as children. On contract basis she spends only a few hours a week at school, allowing her more hours with the village children numbering a about forty. In the recent years her eldest boy assisted her in teaching Quran after completing his study at a religious college. Like his mother he has signed to be a religious teacher as well.

To remain close to the ageing parents of Mak Yah, Nan had a wooden house built next to the old couple’s home. That was almost twenty years ago when Nan and Kak Yah had small children. It was not too burdensome to allow one part of their house dedicated for the Quran class. Over the years as the four children grew bigger the need to use the space for Quran class for their own need was more pressing. Nan and Mak Yah  began to dream of a separate hut for the Quran class, allowing the family to expand their living quarters. But the family had very little money to spare for that purpose. What could do was to begin collecting surplus material like cement, bricks, roofing sheets etc which might be found useful when needed later.

_______________________________

Those are the simple facts about Nan, his wife and family.  For nearly twenty years I knew Nan as a contract worker and had relied on his services, but, I realise today, I had never given him room to talk about his family life. I only came to know what I wrote above by chance during the course a casual conversation I had with a very close of his. Suddenly my perception of that small family changed overnight.

Having broken the barrier Nan and Pakcik began to discuss what could be done to assist his family to continue contributing to the village children in studying Quran. Seeing the help he could get by way of new materials for a small building, Nan set for himself a tough target to have the small hut ready by the birthday anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (SAWSLM) barely two months away. Quietly spent all his free time on the building. Yes he did it all by himself. It was a simple hut with roof, tiled floor and low concrete walls on three sides. On the fourth side he built a toilet and a small kitchen.


The new hut for Quran study - named 'Pondok Almanar'

"Pondok Almanar" nearing completion
 

The proud lady "Mak Yah" and her ;childrren'
 

__________________________________

 

It was a very proud moment for Mak Yah and Nan on the long-waited morning of the Maulud (birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAWSL). She organised her pupils to parade on the road leading to the new hut. On a signal from her the group started chanting, marching slowly to the new building. How surprised I was to see a welcome message displayed on the wall – Welcome to “Pondok Almanar” ( Almanar hut), a tribute to Pakcik’s Almanar.

Nan, Mak Yah's husband leading children reciting praises to Prophet (SAW)
 

After a short speech by Mak Yah and prayers by Nan everyone started to enjoy the foods, mainly contributed by the villagers.
Mak Yah's young Quran readers

 

It was a memorable day indeed for the villagers and the children who now have a proper place to study Quran. 


Welcome to Pondok Almanar


 They owe it all to the dedication of Mak Yah and family. Behind the scene Pakcik shares the pride of a gutsy lady who shares out motto:

                 

Berkhidmat

Kerana Tuhan

Untuk Kemanusiaan

 

_______________________________________

25 January 2015

A Wild Thought


Something to puzzle

Note I have posted nothing here since 1.1.15 (not 1014 as kindly pointed out by UNKNOWN in the 'comments' below), twenty five days ago. Is blogging old-fashioned and one should move on? That thought is tempting. But today we have honoured guests, something for my thought to run wild.
_____________________________________
 

Honeymooners, be aware!
 Here is a home for the aged, home for the ones with just one dream.
 
 There is sky up above, hard ground beneath and air to breath.
There is the deep blue sea and the spray and the seagull and its prey.
The sand, holding the roots of the palm trees,
 The red dish rising over the horizon  to give warmth,
The silvery moon taking over to give light.
 
I see them all.
 
 I admire them.
 There lie my dreams.
Welcoming others to share.
 
Endlessly.
 
The puzzle and wonder.
 
Of the Ultimate Creator
 

_____________________

 
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

01 January 2015

Pakcik Reminisces ( Pt 38 ) - My 1962 New Year Resolution


 

My Resolution 52 years ago
 

In the final hours of 2014 ecided to look back to those years when making new year resolutions was a must to me. Generally it was made with a serious thought. Each year my diary would, without fail, start with resolutions for the year. Now it is all a history.  A quick glance brought me to my diary of 1961  I was then in my final year. In the middle of that year, armed with a degree, I started my working career, in Singapore for a start. ( I regret I am not right now able o put a picture of that book and the relevant page.)


 
 



Let us see how the first page of my ( Monday, January 1961) diary began. I wonder in what mood I was  when I was writing it down.  Was I being as serious as I was on other occasions ?  Here is what I wish my readers to see:

 “ a -No vice of any sort.

  b - By the time the last page of this diary is written there should be at least ‘three’ if not full house‘4’ ?”

 The first part (a) sounds as if I had lived a dirty and wild life those years I was a student away from home. Who knows -  that is a matter for anyone to judge. No one is perfect.

 Now we look at the second part (b). My first question when I read this, what was that 'three' and 'full house 4' mean? Since I now have three children I immediately thought of children.  No, it was not meant to be children. The 'last page' of that diary would  mean a period of less period than a whole twelve months, needing me to be married and to force a triplet  (or even a quad within a year!. That would not be human.
Then the  'full house 4' would only make me think of my right as a Muslim man! In short,Pakcik must be in a humorous mood on the first day of 1961, the year I would be liberated from text books and all, come snow and sunshine. How could that young Pakcik ever seriously think of 'full house '4' . Today,53 years down the line  the ‘house’only has one 'guest', and I have been more than contented. Alhamdulillah.

Those comments enable me today to comment and criticise how foolishly na├»ve I was those heroic years, at least so I thought.

 
 

____________________________ 

 

 

Just as well I am finishing this entry at almost within the last minutes of 2014. So, I have the opportunity to wish every one of my readers a successful and rewarding 2015.  I will have this posted within the first hours of 2015, but I must also have my  new year resolution as well - that is :    

 
Berkhidmat kerana
Tuhan
Untukkemanusiaan
 
 

  
                        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++  

27 December 2014

The SECOND wave - Rain and Snow


A quiet X'mas  Day

 
A X'mas Day to remember 



To my Christian visitors I wish a sadly belated Merry X’mas, with snow and all to add atmosphere to the joyous occasion. To us in Malaysia it has been sad news especially in the East Coast where I am.  

One headline reads “Terengganu virtually cut off..”
Another says that this is 'the worst in history'



With incessant  rain over the last five days we bgan to  expect the worst.  Excessive water would naturally break river banks to flood the surrounding low areas which generally are in bad need of suitably planned monsoon drains.

It was late afternoon of X'mas Day when, from my house, I could see the sea through the gaps in the row of tall casuarina trees ( my Terengganu’s X’mas trees’ look-alike), which I had them planted to help breaking the force of sea breeze carrying salt sprays to our home during Monsoon weather. What I was looking at from my house did  not look at all good, ominous as a matter of fact.

 

 


On  a sudden impulse I reached my camera and walked down to the beach to see any real life drama on the beach, perhaps a rare experience to many but not to us here  
 
 





      Not a very inviting look


It was a weird feeling to see the stormy sea and grey sky stretching all the way to the Western horizon. On the Eastern side runs a a  row of casuarina trees, in a way hiding the predence of our home. ; and stretching north and south runs the seemingly endless stretch of sandy beach to as far as the eyes can see.

 The minous cloud threatening from the western horizon

 

That was X’mas eve for me, yesterday. The atmosphere could be romantic with a slight breeze, accompanied by the  soft sound of waves spreading their foams on the frothy shore;  and there a couple standing hand-in-hand watching the far horizon, or sitting on the soft sand watching baby vrabs running around! 

 A fascinating  sight of foamy waves
spreading froth over the expanse of the sabdy beach

 That was prt of my quiet X'ms Day, standing mersmerised by the the Almighty's works of wonder and admiration. Then I traced back my footsteps in the sandm, happy that I decided to do the least romantic act of the Day but spiritually satisfying. Alhamdulillah.
 
 
     _____________________________


Berkhidmat
Kerana Tuhan
Untuk Kemanusiaan



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

09 December 2014

Selamat Tinggal


NOQTAH hitam o 9.12.2014

At lunch time today the wife of my very old friend of sixty years passed away at a hospital in Subang Jaya. This is indeed a dark spot in our life. She, named Hasmah Sulaiman, and  Salmah Sulaiman, my good wife (watch their names) were  like  twins.  
 
Suddenly gone are the days and evenings we had meals out, and occasions we shared meals at home accompanied with gay time and laughter.

Waktu sembahyang dan tanah perkuburan sebelum waktu zohor esok akan menandakan detik perceraian kami di bumi ini.Yang ada pada kami cuma titisan air mata disertai doa semoga rohnya berada diantara yang dikasihiNYA. Lfatihah.

Prayers and AlFatihah will always be our way of remembering this very dear  old lady, a dear sister more than a friend.

________________________ 
 
 
Berkhidmat
Kerana Tuhan
Untuk
Kemanusiaan
 
=========================================
 
 
 

09 November 2014

Hatinya baik (Good heart) - ( Part 5 ) - The novelist


 
My dear Cikgu Ali

Here was one person I consider myself very fortunate to have come to know for twenty years with high degree of respect. He was a gentleman , very sincere and one who spoke his mind. Above all he was a very loving and caring father.   Sadly, he passed away on 3rd November leaving behind his wife and 15 well-raised children. He was Cikgu Ali Jusoh, a retired headmaster and an extraordinary novelist. (AlFatihah for him)


 
Mother and 14 children
(15th not in the picture)   

 Arwah Cikgu Ali wrote more than twenty Malay novels. Of all the many awards he received for his works, Alor Miang topped the list, for which he was honoured  with the coveted Sako 3, a prestigious national literary award named after Ishak Haji Muhammad, or better known by his pen name Pak Sako.
 

 
Hadiah Sako

However, personally, I know how he felt about his latest over-540-page Orang Orang Perang, published just weeks before his demise. The pleasure of having completed the book was tremendous.


 
Orang Orang Perang (last piublished)
 
It was a couple of weeks ago Pakcik, on his request, drove him on a sentimental journey along the upstream section of Terengganu River, where a number of historical events took place. Among others we visited Cheng Ho Memorial, an old building constructed in honour of the legendry Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho, a Muslim. The theme of his last book was based on the life of this historical figure.

And it seems like yesterday when, while driving in town, his voice came through the phone with excitement.  A few copies of his latest book had reached him. I was to drop by for my copy before being high-jacked by others
_______________ 
 
To avoid making this a long posting I may, one of these days, post a note on why I believe he judged his last book, Orang Orang Perang, to be his best achievement; and I will write why Alor Miang is not just an award winning novel for him but one book very personal to me.
________________

Arwah Ali Jusoh often expressed his enthusiasm in training young novelists, several of whom owe him success. To my mind he was a born writer, not needing tertiary education to be what he was. I cannot help believing that characters in his novels were of real people and so were the events and environments. He often told me how he made trips up a hill, into a jungle or down a river to study the environments. He was adamant that one should not imagine the feeling of being in jungle at night without experiencing it, camping overnight if necessary. One should feel the serenity, the rustle of leaves, the buzzing of mosquitoes, the sight of the moon, or the lack of it, among the leaves.   

It hurt me deeply, during the last year of his illness, to see a novelist of his calibre sitting idle with plenty of time on hand, sadly unable to use his fingers. What he could compose in his mind could not be translated without the use of his fingers holding a pen or striking the type-writer keys. Recitation was never an option for him.

___________________________________

 
How did I get to know this wonderful person?

Way back in 1994, a good 20 years ago, it was my ‘hijrah’ with Makcik from KL to KT to start a new phase of life. A couple of months after settling down Pakcik decided to start my voluntary tuition for the needy children. My small tuition Almanar building was about to be built but I could not wait to start. My first thought was to begin with a small number of Standard 5 children. For that purpose I drove to the nearest primary school, about 3 km away. At the school office I requested to see the headmaster, whoever that might be. It turned out to be Arwah Ali Jusoh whom I had never mat or heard of.

Without being asked for the reason of my visit I was ushered into the HM’s office. With a smile he gestured me to a chair and he sat himself in one.  I told him briefly the reason for seeing him; to request for a small group of Std 5 children, stressing my preference for those from needy families. That person must have studied me and understood what I wished.

That was the beginning of my 20-year friendship with that headmaster. When I subsequently knew of his writing skill I began to have dreams of being a writer as well. Finally, I completed a two-sheet type-written essay (that was my pre-laptop era!) and proudly handed it to him one day. Soon after that he dropped by the house. Pakcik knew He had read my master piece and was about to give me his comments, nothing short of high praise, I anticipated.

Then came the bomb-shell. “Haji, tulislah saja dalam Bahasa Inggeris. ( addressing me – Haji you are better off writing in English.) he began. Then, while placing on the table my two-sheet work, which was now full of lines , scribbles and circles in RED ink, he went on (in Malay), “ This is not the Malay way of writing. It is English. Even your Malay spellings are all wrong, Zaaba’s era!” The man was no-nonsense. We understood each other well enough. What a blow to my ego that was!

He had plainly told me the truth. Thence, I ceased to dream of becoming a novelist.
 
 
With his Alor Miang


 


Trying hard to scribble his initials on
  my copy of Orang Orang Perang


That was Ali Jusoh. My prayers go with him.


_____________________
  

 

Berkhidmat

Kerana Tuhan

Untuk

Kemanusiaan