28 May 2010

End of the tunnel (Part 8) -Al-manar : Kenangan Terindah

One of the readers of Pakcik’s last posting, named Mohammad Khazaidi bin Kamaruddin, left a brief comment, almost subtly inviting me to visit his blog. Yes indeed, I did so out of curiosity. And what a surprise it was! Heading his most recent posting was :

So that was it, a posting that he began with “I would like to dedicate this entry special to Tuan Haji Hassan bin Abd Karim and all the family of Al-Manar “.

To be able to write what he did he must have done bit of research not to mention reading through my early postings and one in When Less Is More where he picked up a couple of photographs.

I could not recall anyone named Khazaidi, a rather uncommon name in this part of the world. I gave a hard knock on my memory bank. The best it could produce was that of a popular boy in my class. ‘Edy’ was what everyone called him. But of course, trust Terengganu people to butcher a name; the ‘aidi’ of khazaidi can be ‘Edy’, giving a bit of Englishness. To be sure I asked the person himself who confessed he was the boy I knew as Edy during the three years he was in my class. That was good 13 years ago.

In 1997, Edy ( let me go on using that name) came to Almanar with a group of about 30 pupils of Standard 4 from a local Primary. It was part of an experiment I agreed to do with a young teacher in English, Cikgu Azmi about whom I wrote in February 2009 ( see To Sir With Love ). I gave my help in English and Maths. At the end of the three years ‘Sir Azmi’, as he is fondly remembered today, declared that his school had never achieved as well as it did in the UPSR exam of 2000. Having performed well Edy was admitted into Sekolah Menegah Integrasi, one of the prestigious boarding schools in this locality. He performed equally well in his SPM that he was selected by Petronas into its university even before SPM results were known.

Today, Edy, the son of an Imam, is reading Petroleum Geosciences at the university. And, adding to my pleasure, he still remembers Al-Manar with tenderness.

Such gratitude as expressed by this young man may not make Pakcik’s day any less tiring but it does give a sense of joy and an added reason to keep on despite occasional frustrations.

My response:

Dear Edy, you have done yourself and family proud to have come this far. Keep it up to the end. Today it pleases us that you still remember Al-Manar, Makcik and that old man,Pakcik, but when it is all long gone, do remember that he expects you to give back something in return to your community. We pray and wish you success, and hope we have not heard the last of you.

Berkhidmat Kerana Tuhan untuk Kemanusiaan

13 May 2010

Pakcik reminisces (Part 10) - 13th May

13th May

It is a date, just like any other dates.

To all pupils of Almanar, past and present, the date means nothing. Perhaps when it is connected to the specific year of 1969 it may sound vaguely familiar, of something read from buku sejarah, perhaps?

This time last year Pakcik wrote about 13th May in my Pakcik reminisces ( Part 7).

I was there in the city where the curfew was imposed. Something happened in Kampong Baru. Blood had been shed.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting I had to play a small part during the curfew days. It was scary.

Allow me to repeat the incident I wrote in May last year involving a member of my staff.

I remember how badly shaken this Chinese-looking Malay clerk when he related to me how close he was to be butchered when an angry mob, with parang and all, stopped his car and dragged him out on the Federal Highway. His life was spared only by his utterance of ‘syahadah’ that convinced the blood thirsty group of his true identity.

In a way I was lucky to have a special pass to drive around in the city during the curfew. I was able to ferry to my house two families who were living in a somewhat ‘unsafe area’.

My house was a kind of temporary refuge for them.

We were in a state of war just because a group won an election and were over-zealous with victory,
A group was defeated and felt humiliated.

A time for revenge that was – 13th May 1969

And there was blood.

I do not fancy my children, their children and their children’s children to experience the fear that Pakcik felt then.

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A ‘Melayu Bangkit’ gathering was planned to be held in the new indoor stadium of K Terengganu. YAB Tun Dr Mahathir was to give the opening speech. Coincidentally, I had a morning off from Almanar, and this maybe the only occasion Dr Mahathir would ever come so close to my home. Without further ado I took an easy drive there, just about 8 km away. Whatever one may think of him, I enjoy Dr Mahathir’s talk, his cynicism and all. Alas, a small notice said that the gathering had been postponed. Disappointed I drove home, in the morning of May 13th

04 May 2010

What an honour

It was a rather unusual occasion at Nuri. The two of us played host to a group of bankers - the chairman and his wife, a director, the CEO, the branch manager and a number of officials of a bank.

It began with a phone call from the chairman himself, an old friend of Pakcik.

“Hassan, I am coming to KT with a few colleagues. We are having a meeting at our branch office there. Will you be free …….. ?” Of course, not engaged in any gainful employment, Pakcik could easily make time to receive visitors, an old friend and wife of all people.

So makcik had some tea ready and I personally had a few young coconut fruit brought down from our home grown trees, my pride, for some fresh juice.

Soon after lunch they descended in five cars! With them were two large boxes containing books and dictionaries.

“A gift for Almanar from our bank,” said the branch manager.

Simply, that was that, a pleasant break from otherwise our quiet life. And I cannot but feel honoured by the visit and the gift gesture.

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