12.12.12 is too rare a date to let it go without a few words.
How has the day passed for Nuri's occupants?
At 8.30 this morning a small group of Form 3 children came around supposedly to do revision in Mathematics before going into Form 4 in less than three weeks’ time. But it ended up much of the time with Pakcik giving advice. They sure need it after so much of their time being wasted over the last three years ; a wake-up call.
Just before lunch time the two of us took a short drive to a new restaurant about seven kilometers away. There was not much in terms of food variety but it was a very clean place, much to Makcik’s approval. Being rather early we had much of the place to ourselves, having ‘lontong’ and some ‘tea tarik’. The owner’s wife was friendly enough to come and sit to talk with us. She seemed to know well the customers having meals then. There was a small group of lecturers from the Teachers’ Institute and a teacher entertaining a group of children, probably to celebrate the end of their SPM examination.
The conversation with the owner’s wife turned more personal. We found out that she is not from Terengganu but her husband is. He works for an agency of the state government. Surprisingly he is a PhD holder and on a number of occasions has been approached by one of the two universities close by. But he has repeatedly turned down the offer to be a lecturer. He sees a better long term future for the family. Aside from running this restaurant the family has also started operating the business popularly known locally as ‘homestay’. Along the basis of the better known English ‘Bed and Breakfast’, the occupants of their ‘homestay’ are given free breakfast of local delicacies, ‘nasi dagang’ and all at the restaurant, a very attractive deal indeed. Seeing a good future in their venture, one of their children, owning a diploma in electronic has been encouraged to join this family business. I am determined that, one day, I will meet the owner of this restaurant whose outlook in life is one that I have a lot to admire. He does not see it of any benefit that his name card should bear the prestigious ‘Dr’.
As I was paying the bill for our simple meal one of the restaurant assistants came around smiling sheepishly to address Pakcik. “Pakcik Hassan kan? Tak cam saya, pernah belajar di Alamanar. ( You’re Pakcik Hassan, aren’t you? You don’t remember me. I used to study at Almanar.)” She is now doing part-time work while on holidays.
Short of doing something in the afternoon I found an old copy of Daphne Du Maurier’s REBECCA from my little library. I sat down reading it, getting more and more absorbed in the book which was one my favourites more than 40 years ago. I am now in the middle of the book and the plot is becoming familiar. How I love reading Daphne’s works, all of which I must have collected; a few are missing after moving houses over the years.
After our prayers together I am now sitting to write this short posting while Makcik is preparing our simple dinner.
It has been a simple day on this auspicious 12.12.12, unlike other days I have to sweat over groups of underprivileged children who, for the rest of the school holidays, are away from their ‘home’ a kilometer away from us.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.