11 April 2010

A sad side to it

The face of the girl stepping into the Photostating shop looked familiar. I was surveying her face when she turned and noticed me. Almost spontaneously she showed sign of recognition. Seeing a blank on my face she asked politely, “Pakcik, lupa saya?”

I apologized and for that she offered to introduce herself. Her name is Fauziah (not her real name). She used to attend tuition classes at Almanar. As an aid to jog my memory she mentioned two boys’ names who joined Almanar in early 2005, Azmi and Fazil (also not real names). Unlike these two boys who stayed on until PMR and continued to visit Almanar, she stayed on for a few months only. There was a tinge of regret in the way she said it. She knew, mentioning the two boys’ name would help. There are among the success story of my earlier posting ( 2009 SPM – Against the trend!). Azmi has 9A’s to his credit in his SPM and Fazil 8A’s.

Indeed, linking herself to that group helped me to place her. But she must have suddenly realised her mistake. I would quite naturally ask how she fared herself in the exam. She never bargained for that I am sure. In an undertone she murmured that her results were not so good, obtaining only 3 subjects with A grade, P.Islam, B.Melayu and Geography. To exonerate her lack luster she quickly volunteered, “You remember Akmal,( not real name) don’t you? She also left Almanar like me. She obtained just 2A’s , in Pendidikan Seni and Islam. She got E grades in English and Maths.” So there were others who performed worse!

Indeed Fauziah did not do badly. Many have done very much worse. But to Pakcik it was a shame for she had the potential to do better. To illustrate my point, let us examine briefly the progress of the four children in the five years they were in the secondary school. They had just completed their UPSR exam. They were at par with each other at the start.

Student UPSR 2004 PMR 2007 SPM 2009
Azmi 2A's; 3B's 8A's 9A's
Fazil 2A's; 2B's; 1C8A's 8A's
Fauziah 3A's; 1B; 1C2A's 3A's
Akmal 2A's; 3B's2A's 2A's

The two girls faltered all the way and something had inspired the boys to prove their worth.

I feel sorry for the girls and for many others. I would have less pity if they had come from well-to-do urban families. But here in the backwater of great development, it is not just their future but at stake is the future of their parents and families as a whole, and the community.

I feel truly sorry for Fauziah and Akmal. What had gone sour for them?

This was what Pakcik feared and this was one of the reasons why Almanar was established sixteen years ago, to lend a hand to the needy. Our system, with the rigidity of established rules, formats and guidelines, and often lacking in caring and humane approaches, may indeed put some children at a disadvantage. And these may be the very children who are the most deserving to be given help and guidance.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


NanaDJ said...


I agree with you. There are a lot of children who needed help but they are sadly neglected. If only those millions that are being lavished on someone's pet project be given to you and those like you....Once, long ago, I did give free tuition at my house to my weakest pupils, the greatest satisfaction was too see them making steady improvements in their results and achieve some success in their lives later on.

abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Pak Cik,
To my mind,you had done more than what you set out to do,if there is a slack, then the blame should not be yours.
You can take the horse to the water but you cannot make it drink.

Al-Manar said...

Once, long ago you did that, making you a guru to me. Indeed, there is that satisfaction. As you know it abounds with frustration as well, giving that variety and challenge we need in life.

Al-Manar said...

I like that horse bit. Wouldn't it be nice if it were a cow that we can keep for Qurban next Hari Raya Haji? Salaam to you and family.

Anonymous said...

Sedih tapi dah jadi kebiasaan kalau 'terpaksa memilih' (selalunya kerana kesempitan hidup) anak perempuan dijadikan 'korban'. Yg lelaki biasanya lebih diutamakan. Minta-minta kes budak-budak ni bukan macam ni lah....


Al-Manar said...

Kia buatlah apa yang mampu untuk mereka yang layak dibantu, bukan semata mata atas dasar lelaki atau perempuan. Tidak ada faedahnya mulut melaungkan sesuatu dengan tangan didalam saku. Alangkah eloknya langkah yang baik bergerak lancar tanpa gendang dan serunai.Salam kepada Murni.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
2 things can happen:
1) the most brilliant my not be the most successful later in life.
2) those disadvantaged early in life would have the unusual strength to overcome.

She'll make amends. I'm sure we'll not hear the last of her.

Al-Manar said...

I agree being just brilliant is not good enough in life. Likewise being disadvantaged in early life does not mean the end of the road. There is still a life span of not less than 30 years beyond SPM. And it is never too late for one to make a start in something earnestly and succeed. The future is not ours to see.

norzah said...

I'm certain that our youngsters in the villagers will continue to need assistance in furthering their studies or sharpening their intellectual acumen, in addition to what they get from the formal education system. Even in the urban areas they have to go for private tuitions to get the As they require for further studies.

You're doing a real amal bakti to help them, Pakcik, and the few who didn't follow through and performed rather poorly, must shoulder the blame themselves. It's a pity that our boys and girls are usuall very weak in English, Maths and Science...and sometimes even in Bahasa. That's why I'm trying to do something through my blog to help them in the languages. What's scary is that the teachers of languages themselves are not uo to the mark.

What I write is more for them, so that they can do a better job teaching our children. Your contribution is more direct and I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Pak Cik
congratulations to pak cik and the students who had strained their brains for the achievement. Hopefully pak cik and mak cik are well.

In my opinion, students who study for 3 years (form 1-3) with pak cik should stay and continue attending Almanar...Don’t be like me who went to the hostel of an SBP for form 4 and 5 after three beneficial years with almanar….leaving Almanar then was a wrong choice, My input of English did not improve during those two years. Now, I keep putting a lot of efforts to improve my English particularly my speaking skill..


Al-Manar said...

I suppose as we grow older we get more and more grumpy. Nothing in the world is right and yet life goes on nevertheless. I hope one day you will have your entries on Malay grammar transformed to a proper book for schools.

Al-Manar said...

What Almanar has tried to do is to give as much as possible within the three years what is necesary to move forward in English. With that one should be able to move ahead through self learning.It is wrong to continue one's dependance on tuition to further improve one's English. With good books on grammar and good reading material one can do wonders. Keep trying Fatinah.

Anonymous said...

They have chosen their own way.So,there is nothing more to regret.How are you being Pak Cik?Next week I will be sitting for my MUET,a really big thing for me.Hopefully,I could perform well in all sections especially writing.There are two more weeks to go before this semester ends.Everything will be just fine.Insya Allah.Send my regards to mak cik.See you soon at Al-Manar.

Al-Manar said...

I am sure all will be well with your MUET.

mohd sahdan said...

my name sahdan,,
i think i wanna lean english again..
can i lean again pakcik,,
im too regret pac cik and i want join class on semester break,,

Hazri Hazmi said...

Dear Pakcik

How are you? Even if I have not read all the comments I realise that you have done more than what we think. I agree with the comment "being just brilliant is not good enough in life, future is not ours to see". It is assumed that being brilliant gives a mountain of advantages to get a better life and job. But that is life. Everything is fated by God. I really hope what had Pakcik say "it will be a start" for next 30 years become true in my case.
Pakcik. Being one of your first batch of students is a great thing for me. It is not just English, Science or Math in class but being with you gave me more understanding of this hard and challenging life. Hopefully quitting from being an engineer to be a primary school teacher is not the worst thing I have done. Your guidance hopefully will help me move ahead in life..

1997, 13 years ago I left Al-Manar. I can say knowing you is a gift from God. Thank you Pakcik and Makcik. May God bless both of you..


Al-Manar said...

Mohd Shahdan,
Pakcik can still remember you.
Shahdan,if we regret over our earlier mistakes and are determined to make good, I believe we have reached a turning point for the better. Do call at Almanar and we will discuss what can be done.

Al-Manar said...

I must admit feeling rather disappointed the first time I heard of your decision to change course in life. Nevertheless, you did work with great determination and succeeded in an adverse environment. Using as a basis what you have acquired, to do something you prefer in life is your right. Pakcik began life like you but ended in a different profession, and not without some success.
Now I begin to realise that you have more than 30 successful years ahead that I referred to, to do something meaningful to yourself and family and to serve the community. I wish you all the best, Hazri.

Please call on Pakcik the next time you return home from Johor. With your permission I wish to write a short posting on the change of direction. We will discuss that.

Anonymous said...

It is funny to recall that I could have been doing the same thing as those girls did, leaving al-Manar too soon. I do remember leaving al-Manar after my first class. Lucky for me, Allah has better plan
for me. Two years later, I joined al-Manar again, and this time, I realised what al-Manar really is. For me, it would have been absurd to regard it as another tuition centre, as this is where you (pak cik) guided me, and many other children of Batu Rakit, and showed us the path of our life.

p/s: For those who intends to leave al-Manar,well DONT.

Aliff, UTMKL

Al-Manar said...

I am glad to have had pupils like you associating with Almanar and benefitting from it. It makes all Pakcik's effort worthwhile. Wish you success.