Had it not been for you
I parked my car and walked into the shop holding an old novel to be photo-stated . A young lady sporting a light blue Malay dress and a matching scarf was looking at a photostat copy which had just been handed to her by a shop assistant. It looked to me like a form, perhaps a completed application form.
Conscious of my standing beside her she looked up only to find Pakcik’s face looking straight at her. Instead of shifting her eyes away a surprise look of recognition broke in her face. Almost instantaneously she opened her mouth to give a soft cry; “ Ooh, Pakcik Hassan … !?” , then followed with “ Lamanya tak jumpa ! ( I’ve not seen you for so long !).
Her feature began to look familiar, and that word “Pakcik” told me who she should be, one of ex Almanar children. I was quick to change my surprise to a gentle rebuke , “ I am not surprised if you do not recognise me. You have not bothered to contact me after all this while.”
That was a good line which prompted her to be defensive, “ Tak kan lupa Pakcik! Kalau tidak kerana Pakcik ajar saya Bahasa Inggeris mana saya dapat masuk UIA ! “. ( It isn’t possible to forget Pakcik! Without Pakcik helping to teach me English how could I join UIA ?”
So this girl, Aishah, had graduated from UIA and she went on to tell Pakcik that she was having some document prepared to take with her to UK. In about one week’s time she will be starting her Master’s degree at Hull University.
I am sure, she could never appreciate, nor could anyone else, how her impromptu declaration (of my help in teaching her English) meant to me at that moment. I am not ashamed to admit this. Aishah rewarded me enough with those few involuntary declaration.
Now I am able to reflect on this girl, Siti Nor Aishah, a young orphan, who, together with a few others, joined Almanar Form One tuition class in 2003. She completed SPM at the end of 2007. It was a credit to me and to her continued effort to finally earn the elusive ‘A’ grade in English. That, with her good SPM results in other subjects, earned her a place at UIA. And now she is proceeding to Hull.
Siti Nur Aishah
Reminiscing the time she was studying at Almanar, she said, “Mother used to scold me whenever I failed to attend one Pakcik’s class. ” Aishah realised how much her mother, a single parent, had wished her success in education. That is what has inspired her to come this far and to go further.
On the second day of Hari Raya Qurban Aishah’s mother had a small party. Pakcik and Makcik were too happy to be there – to bid her farewell. Insya Allah, we will, before long, be seeing more of her, a lady with high education.