21 November 2009

What A Smile!

( Note to Redline : This is the answer to your question – what were the two pictures of the previous entry for.)

Four months ago Makcik and Pakcik were given a clean bill of health. I went home with a broad smile.

When one gives a broad smile to Pak Cik I take it that he or she is pleased over something. What if Pak cik am given a half smile or a little smile? I take it a lesser degree of pleasure, not a cynical one. There is also a dry smile. I wonder what a wet smile is.

But there is a kind of smile which Pakcik experienced with discomfort and embarrassment. I went through that about six weeks ago. It all began early one morning when I looked at my handsome face in the mirror. I usually give myself a smile but that morning I failed to form a smile on my face. The right half of my face showed the smiling expression but the left half of my face refused to move, however much I tried. I tried a wink. It was OK with my right eye but the left refused to obey. I opened my mouth and to my horror it was a distorted O. “Have I got a stroke?” ran through my mind.

Over the phone a doctor I know assured me that I had what is known as Bell’s Palsy, a temporary loss of control over one side of the face. It was named after one named Bell.

Awang Goneng’s younger brother, a medical specialist who happened to drop in with his wife three weeks after the event, asked Pakcik whether I experienced bell ringing in my ear. According to him some people had that, or something bothering in one eye. No I did not hear any bell, but it was Bell’s, nevertheless, according to him. Those in London, I can imagine, must have started to hear bells ringing everywhere as 25th December approaches. To them, PakCik, an experienced Bell’s ringer, can assure that it is all OK!


Now that it is over, Pakcik can afford to take it light-heartedly, not during the first couple of days. The array of advice, suggestions, offers of help, prescriptions, comments and so on was impressive. At Almanar, the faces of the pupils displayed expression of horror and concern. I am very grateful indeed for the sympathy shown to Pakcik. No one smiled except for a nasi dagang seller (who is ever so grateful that her daughter was an Almanar pupil and is now a nurse, earning good money and driving her own little car). On seeing Pakcik’s failed smile, she gave a broad smile, exclaiming, “Pakcik dah dapat macam saya dulu. Lapan minggu, baik!” Her smile was a way of assuring me that all would be well because she had gone through it. Sadly I cold not return her smile except for a funny half, crooked smile!

For my own record Pakcik must list down some of those remarks made by the concerned individuals. Here it goes:

Use of morphine ( sounds deadly )

Steroid pills ( sounds less deadly)

Warm baths

Acupuncture ( Awang Goneng had this in his well researched thesis on Bell ’s palsy)

Johnson’s Baby Oil for rubbing with lots of salawat

Olive oil (minyak zaitun) to massage he face with

Jampi-jampi to scuttle away the ‘uninvited’ visitor

Plenty of rest ( teaching Almanar pupils, no exception)

Gentle massage on the affected area ( the doctor who advised this gave a good laugh when Pakcik enquired whether it would be best done by a lady – I meant Makcik of course!)

A complete body massage

And other remarks and comforting words.

When Pacik entered a sundry shop for Johnson’s Baby Oil, I was conscious that the lady owner was curious why this not-so-young man wanted baby oil. So, I had my Johnson’s, my minyak zaitun and went through most of the items listed – including some other pills (in addition to steroid). Alhamdulillah, it was all back to normal three weeks later.


Bell’s Palsy over, Pakcik decided to tackle the next bothering condition, the cataract on my right eye. The problem on the left eye was successfully done two years ago. So on 11/11 (hence the Poppy Day entry), Pakcik went through a half-an-hour operation, by laser. I had the earlier experience, totally painless but scary. Imagine someone working on your eye when that very eye was wide open, seeing the spotlight overhead and vague shadows of moving objects working on your very eye-ball!

That too went well.

So I am as good as new with full control over the degree of a smile I wish to flash around, winking like mad, but, sorry, not driving with eyes closed.


So, now if any of you hear loud sound of bell ringing in any one ear and you are not anywhere near a school or around the period about 25th December, try a half smile in front of a mirror, or stand outside a shopping mall winking left and right at passersby. See the outcome!

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

09 November 2009

11 / 11 The Poppy Day

The occasion is not a good enough reason to close our Almanar. But, regretfully, Pak Cik will not conduct any classes from 11/11 to 14/11. For what is worth, let us say Pak Cik will be busy for my SPM exam!

To those associated with Almanar, who will be sitting for the dreaded SPM exam, Pak Cik can only hope and pray that you will do as well as you can. Please remember, how important we see the SPM exam, we, human, cannot dictate its outcome.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.