03 July 2014

Happy Days Are Here Again ( Pt 1 )

  The skies above are clear again
( Ramadhan 1435 
Selamat berpuasa to my Muslim visitors)

The period of last twelve months has been unusually quiet at Almanar as the number of children attending classes has plummeted down. I will not elaborate on the reasons for this sad state of affair, because, doing so would force me to point my finger at the much-publicised and self-applauded success of the new ‘education blueprint’. If, a few years ago, children would stream out of schools around 12.30, they do so now as late as 3.30, exhausted and hungry. I am talking about children around my vicinity, where many poor children go to school without proper breakfast, and with a mere 2 to 3 ringgits in their pockets. I used to start my afternoon sessions as early as 2 o’clock. I can only do that today on selected days, but not earlier than 3.30 during school days, and at time on weekends, that is, if the schools decide not to have extra classes or other activities.

Alhamdulillah, this current Ramadhan month has brought to Almanar a very special parcel of joy, the very thought of which would not even cross my mind. The largest orphanage welfare organisation of Terengganu, popularly named PERKAYA, has approached Pakcik if I care to help some of their children. They are currently managing four orphanage centres in the state. Would I reject a gift from heaven, ‘orang mengantuk disorongkan bantal?’

Of the four centres, the largest, accommodating nearly 400 primary school children, is 55 kilometers from Almanar. That distance alone was reason enough to deter Pakcik from entertaining the idea of associating with that organisation, a rich body operating successfully one of the largest palm-oil estates in the state.

To my great disbelief, a representative from that body rang up for a meeting with Pakcik. At eleven in the morning of the first day of this fasting month, three top ranking officials duly called at Nuri (Pakcik’s home) to clarify what assistance they would seek from Almanar.
Over the many years, the four centres have been providing homes for the orphans, who are then transported daily to various schools in the vicinity. Two years ago a major decision was made to open the body’s first private school at their largest centre, and that school was officiated just over two years ago; its first group of children are now in their Form 3. To run this private school fresh graduates have been recruited. Sadly, within this short period the school is now being managed by its third principle.

To my surprise the first concern mentioned was whether Almanar would assist in guiding a number of Form 4 children with the hope that the orphanage would, for the first time, realise a ‘record-breaking’ SPM results. Seeing one pupil obtaining all ‘A’ grades seems to be the most elusive target! Of course assistance is equally needed for the children in their new school. Of great concern to them is the standard of English and Mathematics – despite the famous and much acclaimed success of the ‘blue-print’ and PBS whatever!                        


The main areas of concern were discusses and Pakcik assured them of cooperation from Almanar. I never expected that very first meeting to last about three whole hours – without as much as enjoying a drink. But the three representatives were all very enthusiastic. I could understand that when I learnt, later, that they had had a meeting with their Chairman and had been given the full mandate for a change.

Just a few days after the meeting I have now been told that I can now expect the first busload of PERKAYA orphans as early as this weekend ! It is now Pakcik’s turn to organise and make available whatever is needed.

Insya Allah, a new and successful chapter will begin for Almanar.


Pakcik will follow this posting with another that gives some picture of what PERKAYA is.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


ngasobahseliman said...

Alhamdulilah, tell us more later when time permits.

muhaini said...

Alhamdulillah. Looking foward to hear more about it.

Anonymous said...

Pak Cik,

My heartiest congratulations to you for landing a valuable “client”. This speaks volumes of your contributons which have now been duly acknowledged and recognised. Perkaya, which is helmed by a former Deputy Minister, is an organisation with substantial financial muscle. He also runs a similar organisation in Selangor under the name of Peyakin, whose office in Ampang is situated not far from my house.

Idris Mamat

Al-Manar said...


We both seem to have similar interests in the welfare of poor children. I need time to see that things can work as planned.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
Alhamdullillah! The 2 major concerns, numbers and finance are solved. Instant students in large numbers and funds are now made available. Hank would rather suggest Pakcik to be whole heartedly involved in the organising aspects.Teaching should be left to others, paid teachers or volunteers.

Pakcik can then be left with problem solving and admin to keep things moving smoothly.

Augurs well for the future and semoga ALLAH SWT memberkati dengan jalan yang mudah!


Al-Manar said...


All along I had the impression that your main interest was in food industry, bringing up children and caring pokok betik! It is ever so nice to see you calling on us in between yiur busy schedule. Selamat berpuasa anak beranak

Al-Manar said...

Idris Mamat,

Don't be to hasty in throwing compliments, Sir.

I am not at all surprised with your knowledge in public figures. I said that before. That former Dep Minister is a highly regarded figure here, befitting his high education, and so unlike the snobs in politics and institutes of higher learning. His old parliamentary constituency is close to where we are but we have never met. I returned to KT after his prime in politics.

I suppose you will be having your clan's Hari Raya gathering in Ampang. Wish you all a memorable one.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank,

Your views/suggestions are valid, very much in line with what I have had in mind. In practice the opposing current has been strong. Many in the urban society may not realise how, in kind of environments, my kind of work is seen as a ‘spoiler’ – affecting some people’s rice bowl. The way our great education policy is implemented, emphasizing heavily on examination results couples with poor teaching standard, has created a lucrative extra-tuition ‘industry’. Almanar, with its small success, has been a threat. A very senior official in the department and a senior teacher once openly questioned Pakcik’s education and absence of teaching experience. Approaches to two universities (all world-class, of course) and a teachers’ training institute have failed. I can rely better on past students who are home on holidays. I am still hopeful that, in good time, I would get some co-operations from these institutions.

My objective is still in line with your suggestions despite past failures. Nothing comes easy in life, Hank. You are not a poet without sleepless nights!

Selamat berpuasa.

Anonymous said...

Pak Cik,

Sorry, I need to make a correction. The one near my house in Ampang is Peyatim not Peyakin. Peyakin is another organisation which is equally well managed and well supported. I’m not sure if Peyakin too is under his tutelage.

Idris Mamat

Aziela said...

Alhamdulillah... Pakcik. I am so happy reading this good news. For the barakah of Ramadhan, I see bright lights shining the tunnel. I believe the students will be thankful to Al-Manar and their owners. Subhanallah, so much beauty, plenty of hopes.

KotaStar said...

Syukur Alhamdulillah. It's a great news or development. You are taking a great venture which naturally would tax the energy but experience and experience would be a great help in the course of the coming months. We will continue to hear more. Also you may expect the mail to deliver a small gift by Sunday or Monday. Rightly it is a small token for this new venture of yours.( seolah-olah mengetahuinya lebih awal) However I thought of the large number of photos you have in yr collection probably it may give some directions.Salam Thanks for the great news.

Al-Manar said...


Indeed we have hopes but let us not compliment ourselves too soon. Nothing comes easy. A plan is not yet a success and we need months and yeears before we see results. Ideed we have been given a rare opportunity but this is just the very beginning. People like you express hopes and prayers that we surely need and say 'ameen' to.

Al-Manar said...


I am fortunate to have friends like you, giving us hope and encouragement. I am sure your other half would agree that drawing a dream on the board is just a start, with no gurantee thet the end result will always take shape and materialise.

Now you are talking about a gift. How would I repay for your thoughts and kindness? Thank you and selamat berpuasa.

naba the mutant said...

Orang mengantuk disorongkan bantal, bantal di buat dari kayangan,
kail Pakcik bukanlah sejengkal,
pekasam diselok sampai ke lengan.

Alhamdulillah and all the best!

Amos said...

Alhamdulillah, congratulations Pakcik.

Indeed a wonderful news in this holy month.

All the best!

Al-Manar said...


Dari Batu Rakit ke Kubang Kerian
Hendak bertemu cerdik pandai
Perut sakit ditengah jalan
Berduhu duhu hajat tak sampai

Janganlah jual pantun. Ini bukan pakar bahasa. Malulah Pakcik menjadi cemuhan.

Al-Manar said...


It is wonderful to me, Amos, but by and large, it is so insignificant . It is a greater wonder when you finish with Coventry and are back to be of service.

Hope all is well with your Ramadhan, and Hari Raya before long.

Omong Mak Long..... said...

Alhamdulillah dan tahniah Pak Cik. Membekali ilmu kepada insan-insan yang memerlukan itu suatu kemuliaan yang tidak disangkal. Diiringi doa agar Pak Cik sentiasa sihat sejahtera dan terus berbakti demi anak bangsa kerana Allah. Salam Ramadhan dari jauh untuk Pak Cik sekeluarga.

Al-Manar said...

Omong Mak Long,

Thak you OML. It is my wish and prayers that I will live up to the children's expectation. Hope you and family, far away from home, will have an equally pleasant Ramadhan and Hari Raya.