Ana Sarda joined Almanar early in 1998, together with a group of form 1 pupils. She was a skinny figure of twelve, to-day a charming lass of twenty-two. Pak Cik have not seen her for a good seven years. How she has changed over the years to one who is free and easy at conversation and generous with her smile.
Then, in 1998, she was the eldest of six in the family. Her father retired early from the army but life had to go on with the growing family. Her mother, a good cook, prepared half-a-dozen types of ‘kueh’ every night and her father had it all delivered to a number of coffee stalls before dawn to catch customers on their way home from surau after their subuh prayers. Ana did her share of the work helping her mother. Consequently, she could only start doing her school work after nine o’clock. But that was not all as she had to wake up again by four, an unearthly hour for children of her age, to help out with the final part of her mother’s work, frying, boiling, packaging and so on.
That was Anna who, nonetheless, never failed to attend classes at Almanar with enthusiasm, albeit looking rather tired. Pak Cik came to learn of her nocturnal ‘co-curricular’ activity at home, and appreciating her position, I chose to ease my pressure on her. I even tolerated her occasional sleepy nods in class, fighting drowsiness. But Pak Cik was very worried particularly when it was barely three months before her important Form 3 examination (PMR). With hardly another choice I sought her father for a frank talk. It was such a relief to Pak Cik when he readily agreed to my suggestion that Anna be given the permission to stay with Pak Cik’s family during the months leading to PMR. Nuri then became her temporary home.
For some reason best known to Anna she left our house after the examination and simply vanished. There had not been a visit from her, not even a phone call. It was a great disappointment beyond words. And now, after seven long years of diappearance, she turned up. Pak Cik was least surprised when her second question was, “Are you angry with me, Pak Cik ?” I was truly lost for words. “Pak Cik I have finished my study at UPSI.”
Pak Cik and family offered her tea and sympathy with the sole intention of seeing her succeeding in life, and now she turned up to tell us just that. Should we grudge her for her disappearance and apparent lack of gratitude or should we be delighted with her success? She is now waiting for her posting as a teacher in chemistry, the subject she majored in.
A drop of tears for Ana!
It was a long dark tunnel and Ana has come to the end of it.
1. While waiting to be posted, Ana has been seen at Almanar voluntarily giving help to
pupils with problems in science and maths.
2. Ana is now the eldest of eight, two more added into her family since she joined in
1998. She is hoping to take along her two young brothers, still in primary school, to
wherever she is being posted because she is determined to see their success in life as
Ana has begun to live up to our motto : Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan