02 November 2008

At long last, the end of the tunnel - Part 2

(Out to sea with tears and toil)

A good twelve years ago, a boy of thirteen joined a group of new Form 1 pupils at Almanar. He had just passed his UPSR (Standard Six) examination. Like the rest of the group his result was not good enough to qualify for admission into a boarding school. But he was certainly better qualified than his father, a simple fisherman. It was not an easy life for a fisherman of 37 to feed his family of six children. The mother had to help out to make ends meet by working as a hired hand preparing fish for making keropok. The boy was simply called Hazri.

Hazri, today, with Abdul Aziz (Form 1), the size Hazri was when he joined Almanar 11 years ago

A very conscientious and responsible man indeed Hazri’s father was. He might be lacking in education but he knew its value in life. He was what he was because he had no proper education. For that reason he was determined to see a change in his family. Hazri was his first boy. The boy must have education. It was his dream that this boy would never have to weather the South China Sea day in and day out, come rain and shine, for an elusive catch. He left a legacy of words in his first son's memory, “ Carilah apa pekerjaan pun. Jangan sekali-kali mengikut cara ayah ke laut! Belajarlah.” ( Choose whatever profession you wish but never be a fisherman like your father! Study.)

A neighbour, who had a son of Hazri’s age but with better UPSR result, suggested that Hazri be sent with his son to a ‘paying’ tutorial class in town. Alas, it was hard enough for Hazri’s father to keep the family in one piece. The father had to content having his son receiving free tuition at Almanar, a small and unknown one-man show in the village. The father could only hope that the old ‘Pak Cik’ of Almanar would succeed in helping his son. It was a further relief to him that Almanar allowed his son the use of a new bicycle. Two and half years later the father was struck by cancer. That was just about six months before Hazri’s PMR (Form 3) examination. Life was even tougher for the family. At one stage Hazri did not turn up for classes at Almanar. That worried Pak Cik because the boy had shown great promise in his study. The boy could not afford to miss class.

In explaining the reason for his absence from Almanar class, the fifteen-year-old boy related to Pak Cik how sad he was when, one evening, he found the family with no rice to cook. Determined to do something he approached the owner of a chicken farm nearby for a manual job, washing the premises. At least he could earn a few ringgits a day. To his disappointment the ailing father found out what he had been doing. Absenting from Almanar class was a sin. “Biar kita berlapar. Jangan engkau dibuang kelas oleh Pak Cik!” ( Let us starve but never let Pak Cik find reasons to dismiss you from his class! ). That was the man’s firm order, his commitment towards education, That at all cost his son would never ever have to go to sea. On one of Pak Cik’s visits the frail man, lying helpless and in pain in bed, had little to say other than a few broken words of thanks for helping his son.

It was during a fasting month when the ailing father was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. Just before the time to break fasting Hazri’s voice came through the phone to say, “ Pak Cik, ayah dah nazak …” And, it so happened, that was the eve of the day the PMR results would be released. Pak arrived too late at the hospital.

At the burial ground on the following day, when his father’s body had been safely laid to rest, Pak Cik told Hazri to pull himself together. He should get his PMR results from school that same afternoon. He had to look ahead, as a man his father wanted him to be. Dutifully Hazri went to get his exam results and immediately called at Pak Cik’s house. It was a day too late. His father would be proud to see his son’s performance. ( May Allah bless his soul ) With the results Hazri gained admission to a MRSM college at form 4. He was definitely on the right course – further away from the sea that his late father dreaded most.

The rest was history. Today Hazri stands tall among the young men in the city of Kuala Lumpur, working as a graduate in Mechanical Engineering. He will probably, one day, hire a boat and set off with his family from his old wooden house by the sea towards the island resort of Redang. This time he will remember the great many trips charted by his father in fair and foul weather – for a different purpose, that Hazri, his son, would never be like his father.

As a matter of interest Pak Cik asked Hazri what had become of the neighbour’s son who had an edge over him in many ways twelve years ago. With a grin on his face he simply muttered, “He is a factory worker.” Such is life.

Deserted and lonely when the fisherman is gone

And Pak Cik pray that Hazri of this world will understand and appreciate the spirit that lies behind Almanar’s motto, lest he forgets that one day he, too, will have to contribute to the society in whichever way he can:

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


To be sure that Hazri did not find anything objectionable in the above writing Pak Cik had him go through it before posting. He wished that I record the following points:

Hazri today

"PAK CIK HASSAN" sounds short and simple but there is much to talk of him as far as I am concerned - a god-father to me. I first met him 12 years ago. I still remember the first time I studied Maths and English with him. I had zero knowledge in English and was poor in Maths. I was lagging behind but he handled me like a baby, teaching simple English grammar and Maths. He never gave up even when I asked silly questions. He helped me financially as well.

For me there is no other word than “Thanks a lot Pak Cik. You changed my life. You taught me to have positive views on life. You guided me in religion and even discussed political issues. You have helped me to fulfill my late father’s dream – that I would never be a fisherman like him. I could not have done it without your help.”

Pak Cik, once again thank you very much. May God bless you, Mak Cik and family with good health.To those pupils out there at Almanar make the best of Pak Cik. Believe me, as your senior (1st batch at Almanar) you can't get from school what you can get from him.



changgeh said...

En Hassan,
Thank God that I am the first to trail here. Everytime I read about Almanar and the noble deed you did there I can't help but tears will unknowing flow, and I get emotionally carried away.Take it from me I could understand how indebted Hazri felt.If it wasn't for your kindness and guidance he surely won't had made it. May Allah bless you and your endevours.

Al-Manar said...

You need not show any excitement for being the first to comment. You should if that is what you get on chedet. com where the odd is one to hundred, if you are lucky and able to send a comment within the first minute of a new posting. Suffice to say Almanar.blogspot is a far cry from that. You can wait for a month and may still be the first! To me the appearance of a few odd comments are truly and humbly appreciated. Thank you for being a regular.

ARZ said...

Pak Chik Hassan,
I joined Changgeh to share the same emotions. I know, Hazri is not alone. He is but just one success story from the many that has passed through the gates Al-Manar.

May Allah keeps you in good health to continue your amal jariah. Amin.

Al-Manar said...

En Ramli,
As I commented in your blog you have every chance to introduce ‘ARZ Cycling Clubs’ in schools. A lot will be gained by those pupils, who, as you know, require some kind of co-curriculum activities for the 10% of the merit points to join an IPTA. You have the skill and manpower resources What a noble service it is.

Wan Nordin Wan Hussin said...

Pak Cik Hassan
Thank you for sharing this uplifting story, and I wish both yourself and Hazri; "Semoga Allah swt. memberkati segala usaha anda".

May I have your permission to link Al-MANAR to my blog?

Al-Manar said...


But of course you have my permission for the link. It is heartening to see a new visitor. Hope you are successful in whatever the good thing you are striving for in life

Wan Nordin Wan Hussin said...

Pak Cik Hassan
Err, not really a new visitor. Infact, we have met before, and exchanged pleasantries. Will link you shortly.

Anonymous said...

I know this Hazri. he was one of my friends at ALMANAR.
it is true that you have done a lot for your students, Pak Cik. I am one of the lucky persons to receive help from you. Pak cik also gave me a bicycle to go to ALMANAR. At that time my family could not afford to buy me one, and Pak cik kindly give me one with the hope that I would keep on learning at ALMANAR. On top of that you even paid for my registration fee to join MRSM. There is a lot more that you have done for me.
Thanks, pak cik.



Al-Manar said...

You deserved every bit of tea and sympathy from Pak Cik and famly and you have not failed us. Your appearance here gives me ideas. Would you mind calling over to Pak Cik’s house one day to discuss about this science/mathematics teacher? Would it not be an interesting topic to relate how your late father ( Yarhamuhullah ) literally chased me around Chabang Tiga market with chillies and cucumber? Oh, he did. He loved you no less than Hazri’s father did his son. And you are no less successful, my pretty lass!

Al-Manar said...

I know, I know. It does get a trifle slow with age. How can I fail to put two and two together?
I should have visited guikp before making my comment. If I had, I would have realised the presence of that uncanny detective, your father, who once read my past (with exaggeration)?

Anonymous said...

Fara said:
Pakcik..I have read your new article which is very inspiring as always. I went through that at Almanar although in a somewhat different way and under different circumstances. Well done to hazri and may Allah bless you and your family pakcik.

Al-Manar said...

Truly you came to Almnar better prepared than most in academic sense. Unlike others who came with just one or two As at UPSR or with none at all, you had 5As. Pak Cik am flattered to hear that you, nevertheless, benefited something from Almanar. Perhaps that little something helped you to be studying in Indonesia today. Wish you all the best and that you will return to Malaysia a mature young lady, ready to face your working life - tougher than that softy who was so prone to tears! Pak Cik would like to feature you in my blog one day.

Anonymous said...

diNda commented:

Sometimes I don’t want to go through Pak Cik’s blog because it brings tooooo many memories, happy, sad and fun, all coming together. I just can’t stop my tears when I remember what Pak Cik have done for all of us. Now I have stepped into a new phase in my life but I will never ever forget the person named Pak Cik Hassan.


Al-Manar said...

I am pleased you have been one of my ex-Almanar visitors and now have chosen to put a comment. Would you please send me an email to identify yourself? Please do.

Kak Teh said...

I am in tears after reading this. One of my blogreaders pointed out to me how touching and inspiring this entry is.

Al-Manar said...

I am thrilled that I was successful in expressing in words my feeling deep down. Thank you Zaharah