26 August 2013

AUGUST again - Hari baik bulan baik

 In Pakcik’s family August is the month of celebration, this year being exceptional.

There are three birthdays and three wedding anniversaries – birthdays for three grandchildren and their grandmother, and wedding anniversaries of our two children and their parents. Isn’t that confusing and puzzling enough? I will not add to this mess with the mention of the Merdeka celebration. And following hot on the heels of all these comes the birthday of the old man himself. But let us forget about all these as the following is the reason for this entry.

- Apart from family members and friends, about fifty ex Almanar children came visiting,  That was for Hari Raya. It was quite a sight to notice doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers and all, some with spouses and a few with one or two children each.

A group of ex Almanar

Another group of ex Almanar

Tired,after the first few days, Makcik left for KL with children and grand-children to continue celebrating there, leaving this old man to hold the fort, not expecting the unexpected. 

Shazron & Zuzanito

- And that was the time when two special visitors came around. One Malay couple from California, Shazron and Zuzanito, rang me. Two days later they called on us (I should say ‘me’).  It was Awang Goneng who brought us together. We had a few hours together including for two of us to go for Friday prayers. I am pleased to have met them and look forwards to seeing more of them. As my cooking skill is limited to preparing three-in-one instant coffee and making hard-boiled eggs, we went out for lunch. The deal was that they would have to foot the bill if it was beyond a certain figure, and I lost because it was a few ringgits short of it. But I would be very sorry if they had to pay after their morning's experience at their sea-side resort hotel restaurant. They were fleeced having to pay a whopping THIRTY five ringgits for a plateful of tasteless‘nasi goreng’!That price could, perhaps, be acceptable in sunny California - but in Terengganu! Talk about world-class daylight robbery!

 On the following day my second group of visitors, a couple and one son turned up totally unannounced. I had just returned from town, shopping for my supper, and was about to change into my birthday suit when the bell rang. Someone was at the gate! In sarong and vest I rushed down and out to find a family of three.

The man’s smiling face looked vaguely familiar. He dared me to identify him and I was wrong. But I was almost spot-on when it came to guessing his age – giving him just one year older. I do not feel bad about that since he has chosen to use Oldstock for his blog name. Indeed the well-known blogger came to give a surprise visit to one of his ardent followers. I marvelled at his skill as a detective, sniffing his way to Nuri without anyone’s help. But I felt rather bad as I could not do justice by entertaining them to a meal.

And now I am beginning to wonder the reason behind this surprise visit. Their son is a young doctor who has just returned from overseas, a very eligible bachelor indeed. Were they, by any chance, expecting to catch a pretty face lurking behind Nuri’s door (mengintip bunga ditaman)? In that case, I am afraid their visit was a disappointing one.A few days earlier would have been of interest when ex Almanar children were around.   

Note to my visitors:My new friends from California and Oldstock and family, thank you for all the troubles you cared to take to visit Nuri. We are honoured. I am very sorry that Makcik was not around to do justice to your visits. But this is not going to be your first and last visit, I pray.  

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

19 August 2013

With a Sigh ( Pt 16 ) – Endless journey to World-Class

I cannot help heaving a heavy sigh every time I read the catch word ‘world-class’ related to Malaysian education. We read and hear how we establish schools, colleges, universities and all at nothing less than of world-class. But when our universities slipped in position to below 200 world ranking, we would rather claim that the yardstick was not suitable to be used to assess our education - the great ‘world-class’ of our own.

The standard of English has deteriorated so badly that we had to import Americans, Australians, Indians and all – and yet here in this country are still thousands of experienced teachers who made the standard of English among Malaysians admired and envied by many countries, and who are prepared to return to class-rooms to lend a hand today, if only they are being approached. Of course most of them do not have Masters, let alone PhD’s. Many were awarded simple Diplomas but with knowledge and experience enough to teach our new PhD holders.  

On 17th August I found something of interest to read in NST. “Towards world-class and quality education” ran the heading. It talked about the nation’s education system which “will continue to experience transformation for the next 13 (thirteen) years through the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 …..” I wonder if this ‘blue print’ is closely akin to the very familiar ‘road-map’ in the Middle-East conflict with road designed by the super powers to end up in the arid desert sand. So I said “Ha, Ha !” instead to suppress my heavy sigh.    


Two days earlier NST, in its SPOTLIGHT, carried the story of Victoria Institution, the oldest school which celebrated its 120th anniversary.

Often referred to as VI, this school nearly had its name changed, once to Sekolah Menengah Victoria and on the second time to Sekolah Menengah Jalan Hang Tuah. Many would probably question the resistance to change. Why should we continue to keep the name which, after all, commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria ?  How could we try to make Malaysians imbibe loyalty to Malaysia as long as we keep them reminded of our humble days? To make us truly Malaysians, if need be, we must remove traces that remind us of colonial days to reflect our current world-class stature.  We have done many changes, the likes of Batu Road, Jalan Mountbatten, Telok Anson, Port Swettenham, Jesselton and so on !

Because VI has managed to maintain a lot of its traditional ‘Britishness’, it is today, probably, one school in our country unequalled in its all-roundedness, from academic to discipline, games and all. Given that small autonomy, the Principle and members of staff have continued to uphold the school’s dignified performance and achievement in many fields. The school does not take pride in all A’s. No, but it is among the best in many areas, the boy Scouts, school football team, societies etc. It is a Malaysian school that can claim to be a world champion school band. Its alumni consist of many notables, not to mention Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the five top richest men in Malayisa, ministers, sportsmen, and if I may also rope in Awang Goneng ( lawyer, journalist and author of the bestseller AMap of  Terengganu of Trengganu ) who makes his occasional appearance here.

Personally it is my regret that I failed to get into this prestigious school to do  my Higher School Certificate ( the present STPM) way back in 1956 and, instead, had to be satisfied with SJI ( St John’s Institution ), a close rival of VI’. So I failed to have my name in ‘also there’ league of ex VI. Fortunately I can breathe easy because, today, in some devious way I have a link to that school. I will save this story for one of my future entries. So, despite all these, I can still draw a sigh of relief.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk Kemanusiaan

15 August 2013

All in the family ( Pt 9 ) – An anniversary

Whatever starts at one time will, without doubt, reach the end of it all – with the only exception, the One and only One.

He is there at the very beginning and will continue to be there even at the end of time.


The beginning

For this couple it began in August FORTY NINE years ago, praying, hoping and believing that it would be a bed of roses all the way. Half way to the present the couple multiplied to become five, having seen the arrival of three members of the second generation; very much to the couple's prayers and expectation.  

Two plus three young ones - halfway to the present

But today even the three young ones have aged as well

And today, forty nine years down the line, the original two have grown even larger in size with the arrival of another ten forming the third generation - not to mention the spouses of the the second generation.  

Today's enlarged clan ( regretfully, one d-i-l and the smallest grandchild are not in the picture)


Having successfully travelled this far do we deserve to celebrate? 

Indeed, we do, with a day of fasting, humbled and with full of gratitude for the beds of roses that we, hand- in-hand, merrily danced through, and for giving us the patience to successfully struggle across every hedge and hurdle over the many years.

Who knows Pakcik’s clan will yet see a golden anniversary in a year’s time - Insya Allah.

  • Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

05 August 2013

Moment to Reflect ( Pt 10 ) – Selamat Hari Raya

Tidak rimbun
Tidak menghijau
Tidak mencakar langit


Juga makhluk Nya
Juga rekaan Nya
Juga memuji nama Nya

Kepada semua yang menerima keesaan Nya
Sekalong bunga
Diiringi ucapan


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