21 April 2008

Sufiah – oh – Sufiah

When Sufiah hit the headlines recently, Pak Cik mentioned her name in class. Surprise, surprise, the whole class of Form 3 seemed to have read about the girl. I wonder if it was an English language paper they had picked up the story from. If that was so, they would have acquainted themselves with a few 'useful' English terminologies associated with Sufiah's profession ! If only they had read the London paper, which first splashed the news, they would have been thrilled with the accompanying photos. Pak Cik can say that I was truly saddened by the 'exposure' - the story as well as the pictures.

Do I feel the need to organise help for this girl ? Pak Cik commented to Almanar pupils that what they had read was the bitter side of life which they would, sooner or later, come to recognise and have to come to grip with. At the same time Pak Cik cannot take my mind off statistical figures published in a local daily recently. There is nothing to be proud of in what it says that 75% of the unemployed are Bumiputra and 60% of those involved in prostitution are Bumiputra as well. So why have we got to clamour over the lone Sufiah, an intelligent person with good education,who has willfully chosen to live the way she does? The 75% and the 60% are closer to home and are the ones we all need to be concerned about. If we cannot help them let us help ourselves and those who are dear to us from being part of that statistic. And Pak Cik sincerely hope with education, including conviction in our religious belief, we will survive the bitter tests in life.

To make the news of Sufiah appear more personal ( as Pak Cik did with our celebrity, Awang Goneng ) I must bring in Mak Cik into the picture. As soon as she had read the News of the World on internet, she scurried around searching our collection of photo albums. " I knew I had it," said Mak Cik proudly. " Here's my photograph with her."

It was on a trip to Oxford. Pak Cik's niece, Karina, was studying there and so was Sufiah, aged 13. Look at the photograph. Study the innocent face of Sufiah standing alongside Mak Cik, Pak Cik's sister and a family member. Would it ever cross our mind then that such an innocent looking and intelligent lass would be what she is today ? Such is life - a shadow, a poor player that frets and struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. So, ex-pupils of Almanar, wherever you are, I must say that we ought to look at ourselves, where we are and question ourselves what good are we that gives us the right to notice and criticise 'kuman diseberang lautan'. Let us do our utmost, then hope and pray that all is well. Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

St. Hilda's College, Oxford - October 1997


Anonymous said...

The 23-year-old Sufiah used to be a great person, passing her Maths A-level when she was only 12. I was so impressed with her exceptional ability. How dissappointed I am with her, a maths prodigy some years ago, and today chosing what she said is a ‘better’ life. She even said that she had no regrets over what she had done. “I have studied so intensely for so many years, I want to have some fun,” that was what Sufiah said. FUN?? Think about that..

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Al-Manar said...

It is rare to be honoured with constructive criticicms, one like yours. It is so inspiring to know that there is progress. You can afford to be more specific on where my weaknesses are and what needs improving. I learn so that I can pass on to my pupils lessons of a better quality.Thank you
Salaam from Pakcik