30 December 2010

Pakcik Reminisces ( Pt 14 ) – With prayers in my heart

Today, Saturday 01. 01. 1011


1956 diary

Pakcik can never look back to read certain entries in my old dairies without tears in my eyes. So much water has gone under the bridge and all has been well for me. How appropriate it was that I chose Quranic Surah 95 / Ayat 4 as the opening line for that year’s diary.

Sunday 1st January1956 – fifty-five years ago today

And the first line of the new year's entry reads:

Muhammad Asad gave the following interpretation :

Verily, We create man in the best conformation. ( ie endowed with all the positive qualities, physical as well as mental, corresponding to the functions which this particular creature is meant to perform )”

Having started the new page thus, Pakcik followed it with a personal prayer, in Arabic, which roughly means :

“ O God, please bless me in the coming year and the years ahead of me.
O God, please endow me with goodness, physically and morally.
O God, please let me be one of those who worship you with their hearts, not just in words.
Indeed you have created me, and so allow me to be one with faith, devotion and success.
And grand me an end after charitable work.”

The following entry in English followed the opening prayers.

It almost makes me delirious when I think of Post School Cert Class. Late as it is for the result of the entrance exam to come, I am yet certain that it WILL come, and it will always be in my favour. It is always my feeling that the Almighty will never disappoint me, for my desire is pure..”


That was 55 years ago – I had just sat for the Cambridge School Certificate Exam ( the Form 5 exam ) followed by a much dreaded entrance examination for entry into the Higher School Certificate Class ( the Form 6 ).

How pleased I am today to be able to play back and listen to the old cries in my heart, of worry and hope. I realise today the prayers on my first day of new year 56 years ago were answered and I was able to successfully ride over my share of ups and downs in life.

And today, yet another new year, I wonder with humility why, 56 years ago, I chose to end my personal prayers, begging that HE would grant me the end of my term with servitude to humanity. It does appear what I have been doing the last 17 years is the realisation of what I prayed for 55 years ago.Praise be to HIM.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


To ex and present Almanar pupils.

It appear strange that I usually encourage you to reassess your year's performance and start a new year with a set of resolutions. Pakcik, on the other hand, sat back woth prayers in my heart on New Year's day. Either way, resolutions or prayers must be followed with continuous efforts in earnest without which it is just an exercise in futility.


23 December 2010

Stop press – Partial PMR results

Right now I am out of town after telling pupil that Almanar would be closed for one week (Pakcik’s turn to have a break too!). All faces grinned at the announcement. And today PMR results were out. A few children have been in touch with Pakcik – naturally the ones with better results!

After enjoying that papaya, the ‘peace offering’ a few days ago, Pakcik am now riding on the cloud nine.

Results known thus far:

FIVE girls are known to have obtained 8A’s, and at least one with 7A’s. Syukur.

I have nothing more to say – not ashamed to admit that my eyes are literally brimming with tears - This is it, my share of joy, my rewards.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


P/S Note for Almanar pupils.

Pakcik ucapkan taniah kepada semua yang meduduki PMR. Janganlah kecewa kalaupun bilangan ‘A’ tidak memuaskan. Biarlah apa yang kita dapat kali ini menjadi durongan buat lebih berusaha. Bukan ‘A’ yang menentukan rezeki dan kebahgian kita dimasa depan.

Percayalah kepada NYA dan kudrat NYA

21 December 2010

And finally - A peace offering!

After class this morning I walked to my house just across the road to find a huge papaya waiting on the front doorstep and smiling at me. It was a huge one.

As the size was rather unusual I put it on a scale and, lo and behold, it weighed all of THREE kg. That should be enough for my three meals a day for three days!

Someone knew how to cheer me up, and that I needed it. It is unlikely that any one would confess to this attempted ‘bribery’!

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

20 December 2010

They are coming back – Plus bonus

It has been raining on and on and the sea is very heavy. Some people in the state have been evacuated as flood water is beginning to rise. But this morning Pakcik had a pleasant surprise. Compared to just nine all-girls there were seventeen children in class this morning, 14 girls and 3 BOYS. Their faces lacked cheerfulness reflecting the gloomy sky outside.

And the bonus was a new boy, Armin.

Armin is very special to me, being the FIFTH in her family to attend Almanar. The first four are his elder sisters, three of which have gone for further studies. He is the only boy in his family and one with the best UPSR results – 5As. For the parents to continue the tradition of having their children attending Almanar, it shows a vote of confidence, making it a personal record for Pakcik, credited with five siblings going through this humble tuition class ; the previous record stood at four siblings.

So despite the heavy sea within sight of Almanar, it is class as usual. And Pakcik will plod on.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

15 December 2010

With a sigh ( Pt 4 ) – Do I carry on or call it a day?

O, no, … only NINE ….?” cried my first little thought when I stepped into my class at Almanar one day last week. Rising to their feet to greet me were just nine pupils, ALL GIRLS. What has become of all the boys?

These were children of 13+ who have completed their standard 6 (UPSR) exam and are waiting to be slotted into the various prestigious secondary schools (the like of MRSM, SBP, Sekolah Integrasi, Sekolah Elit, Sekolah Kelaster, sekolah agama negeri, not to name the private ones as well) or just into the nameless and humble one close to my home.

Almost 50 of these 13+ pupils have enrolled at Almanar for an interim class which I run during this long end-of-the-year school holidays with the aim of helping them to pass their free time in something useful. Of this number there were 15 boys, a creditable percentage.

But that morning there were just 15 and without a single boy!

What has become to the children of this vicinity? This seems to be the trend within the last few years, despite the known increase in population and the visible increase in the number of schools? Are the parents not interested to see their children spend some time usefully during these long holidays? The situation was far better during my earlier years with Almanar.

I say all these WITH A SIGH.


I had to put aside my feeling of dismay. Life must go on. Among the nine children present that morning were four girls with 5As in UPSR exam. The government of this state has been very proud of the UPSR results, topping other states for several years. So that morning I had a fair share of ‘pelajar pelajar cemerlang’ (excellent pupils).

In the course of doing some simple exercises in English, I asked if anyone could tell me the meaning of the word ‘these’ in a sentence that began with ‘ These words …..’. There was dead silence. Finally, one of the girls with 5As responded by saying that ‘these’ meant ‘berikut’.

What about the meaning of ‘this’ was my next question. All seemed to know ‘ini’. I followed that with the word ‘that’ and ‘those’. That literally drew a blank. At the end a couple of them plucked up the courage to say that they thought both words ‘that’ and ‘those’ meant ‘ini’ as well.

I can quote many examples of the above nature among pupils of higher forms attending Almanar. I may put a small posting on this one day.

Indeed, some may be proud to blow the trumpet over the improved performance of our children in English.

But I can only DRAW A SIGH.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

I may not seem to be doing justice to the children elsewhere, especially in the urban areas. But I say what I have been seeing the last sixteen years in the area where I am. The social ills among school children, mat rempit, stealing, house-breaking, drug addiction, birth outside wedlock etc keep gaining prominence, and they are very real and frightening indeed.

06 December 2010

Moment to Reflect (Pt 2) - The FOAM - Truth or Vanity

The year 1431 is coming to and end. I ought to post something appropriate for the occasion.

I have just written a philosophical aspect of my coconut watch, the ageing and dying generation and the young ones ready to take over. How about the sea, the old timeless ocean? It has a lot to offer.

Within these couple of weeks what is more prominent is the incessant sound of waves beating the shore day in and day out. This is a normal annual event and as I have already settled down here for nearly two decades, the sound from the sea no longer bothers nor disturbs me and my sleep. Instead it becomes a welcome background to this otherwise quiet environment. It is music to the ear to wake up in the middle of the night hearing the rhythmic sound and imagining the rollers rushing ashore unleashing themselves with force onto the vast expense of the sandy beach, sweeping it smooth and clean.

Accordingly, armed with my small camera I walked over to the beach at the back of my home to watch the wonderful, at times fearsome scene of the marvel of nature, the magic of His creation especially when the Monsoon wind blows hard from the vast South China Sea. I was fully aware that somewhere down town, twenty odd kilometers away, some people were absorbed and excitedly watching the glory of man-created Monsoon Cup battle now being held off the coast of the City of Warisan Persisiran Pantai.

As expected the sea was rough, not as rough as it should be when the time comes, but a far cry from one’s picture of a peaceful scene on the beach. There I stood all alone watching the ocean drama. I was not disappointed. Each time a series of waves unrolled themselves at full speed the end result was a vast sheet of white foam covering the whole stretch of the beach - yes, the FOAM. Think about it, the beautiful clean white foam, the froth, the bueh. What has Quran got to say about his?

From my copies of Quranic tafsir I picked up two, one of Pustaka Imam Asy-syafi’i’s Tafsir Ibnu Kathir, and the other of Abdallah Yousuf Ali. I had the verse I wanted written on a white and photographed it. It is part of ayat 17 from Surah 13 ( Al Ra’d )

Pustaka Imam Asy-stafi’i’s Tafsir Ibnu Kathir :

“…..Demikianlah Allah memisalkan kebenaran dan kebathilan. Dan adapun bueh itu akan hilanglah dengan sia-sia, adapun yang memberi manfa’at kedapa manusia, maka tinggallah dia di bumi. Demikianlah Allah membuat perumpamaan-perumpamaan.”

Abdallah Yousuf Ali’s :
“ ……Thus doth God (by parables) show forth Truth and Vanity. For the scum disappears like froth cast out; While that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth. Thus doth God set firth parables.”

This is what I wish to leave to my readers to see and sleep over. Watch the beauty of Quranic parable of truth and vanity (Yousuf Ali ), kebenaran dan kebatilan (Ibnu Kathir) – the momentary beauty of fresh, white foam (froth or bueh) adorning the beach.

Happy maal Hijrah. May the New Year ,1432 be a rewarding year to my dear visitors and ex-Alamanar pupils, wherever you may be.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.