10 February 2009

To Sir With Love

A Form 4 girl handed in an essay for correction. Her piece of work may not excite many, but it does Pak Cik. She talks about her days in the primary school, focusing on what she is not likely to forget. Her memory of a certain teacher, one who taught her English in Standard 5 and 6, stands out with a trace of emotion.

She remembers her Sir Azmi. That was the name of an individual who she and friends very much dreaded. ‘A violent temper’ is how she recalls of him, one quite generous with his ‘rattan’. She had had her share. So painful it was that she cried and sobbed and that she cannot forget. “But if I come face to face with him again I want to thank him,” is her thought of him today, six years down the line.

Today, this girl remembers her Sir Azmi as one who tried his best for her, the pain being part of his way, how detestable the act may be in the eyes of many. Pak Cik am much more appreciative of that young teacher, cikgu Azmi, whom I know well enough, without the Sir – he having no reason to lay his ‘rattan’ on me!

Long, long ago, at the beginning of his teaching career, Azmi was like an outcast on the island which, today, is a well known island resort off the coast of Terengganu , a long way away from his home in Johor. There was nothing on that island then, except for a sheltered village of fishermen. A school of some sort had been built by the government to give the fishermen’s children a fighting chance to be literate or, with luck, a better future. If the children were of any good they would continue their secondary education at a school on the mainland, where they would be accommodated in a hostel.

It was on that isolated place, remote from modernity, Sir Azmi learned not only to be on his feet as a teacher but also to understand the harsh life of traditional fishermen and their families. He began to be aware of the significance of his contribution to the next generation of these islanders. He went through a hard time to improve the performance of that school and, indeed, after some years he began to see result. Pak Cik could sense his satisfaction and pride as he related to me his experience.

He did his time on that island, and success earned him a transfer to a school on the mainland, back to civilisation, so to speak. He began to see different challenges. As chance would have it, he came to hear of Almanar. He dropped in to say hello to Pak Cik and we began to see that, though far apart in age, we had something in common. Intent on improving his pupils’ English, he sought Pak Cik’s assistance to double up on his effort. Surprisingly, in return he volunteered to spend some of his free time to take a class at Almanar. This is how from time to time Sir Azmi keeps surfacing in my memory. In fifteen years of Almanar’s existence he is the only person who has ever given such an offer, to teach English at Almanar. Cikgu Azmi is one in a million, an unsung hero in his own right.

Pak Cik can vividly recall the day when the result of UPSR results were released. Sir Azmi turned up excitedly to say that his school had the highest ever number of pupils with A grade in English. We rejoiced over his success. He had every right to feel elated.

It is a loss to any school that loses the service of a teacher like this. Pak Cik know it too well that he was sad to leave the state he had grown to love. But, in some way he was relieved to be transferred out of this state. He wanted to escape the ‘political maneuvers’ of those with envy and jealousy. Sir Azmi finally learned one bitter lesson in real life; the credit from one’s effort and success may at the same time earn him some enemies. Today, Sir Azmi is serving in a state where his wife came from. Pak Cik am pleased to learn that Sir Azmi, now richer with four children of his own, is helping the people of his community - “…….am trying to do something like Almanar,” he said to Pak Cik with his typical humility, with his normal enthusiasm nevertheless.

Cikgu Azmi, you are very much remembered, more than you realise. Some cannot forget the pain inflicted by you but their love and appreciation are greater. Pak Cik and family know that your four children will do even better than those you have helped on Pulau Redang and elsewhere. Perhaps you have misplaced your ‘rattan’ where you used to be. The four kids are lucky to have you and a mother, a qualified and dedicated teacher no less.

P/s for ex Almanar :

Pak Cik know that there are at least two of you, who have qualified as teachers,and are now serving in the interior of Sabah . I know Sabah well - when Kota Kinabalu was simply JESSELTON. As you are thinking of home in Terengganu, learn what you can of your pupils and do something for them in the true spirit of Sir Azmi and

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


mantan said...

Pak Chik,

At last the gate is wide open.

What I think about teaching:

1) If you teach someone something, you give them instruction so that they know how to do it.

2) If you teach someone to think or behave in a particular way, you persuade them to think in that way.

3) If you teach, your job is to help students to learn about something at a school, college or university.

(Instruct, Persuade, Help) and cane?

She thanked the teacher is not because of the canning. Something else!

Kak Teh said...

Abang, what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. Just to let you know that I have sent through Anwar some books - not many, but enough to keep your students busy. I wish I can send more.

and another thing: we are all missing Rayyan. He has stolen our hearts and I keep hearing his voice everywhere. I think he is also besotted with our girls. salam and love to you and kak mah.

Pak Tuo said...

Khas Untuk Anak-Anak Pak Chik,


Ini adalah kisah benar.
Kampong Pak Tuo terletak hanya 6 batu dari Bandar Melaka.Kemudahan infra strukturnya sekarang alhamdullilah ada sedikit perubahan kalau dibandingkan dengan zaman persekolahan Pak Tuo dahulu.
Namum begitu generasi PakTuo pasrah akan apa-apa anugerah yang diberi.
Azmi,seorang budak kampong berpewatakan dan berkebolehan sedehara sederhana sewaktu kecil merupakan anak bimbing Pak Tuo sewaktu dia bersekolah.
Usianya ialah 6 tahun lebih muda daripada Pak Tuo.
Sewaktu dia didarjah 5,Pak Tuo masih bersekolah ditingakatan 5.
Dikampung Pak Tuo tidak ada pusat tution pada waktu itu,maka menjadi suatu kebiasaan kami anak-anak orang-orang kampung membimbing adik-adik yang lebih muda daripada kami dalam mata pelajaran yang diperlukan bimbingan secara percuma.Kebiasaanya diwaktu petang atau hujung minggu.
Azmi,adalah anak sulung daripada 5 beradik.Yang sulung biasanya mempunyai tanggung jawab yang besar terhadap keluarga.
Namum begitu,Azmi adalah seorang anak yang patuh.Sewaktu dia ditahun peperiksaan SPM,keputusaan Azmi tidaklah begitu memberangsangkan,malah,tidak melayakkan beliau meneruskan pelajaran keTingkatan 6 di sekolah kerajaan.
Oleh itu Azmi,berdepan dengan hanya suatu jalan itu berkerja.Beliau mula berkerja sebagai'Budak Pejabat disebuah firma Guaman di bandar Pak Tuo,Melaka sejurus mendapat keputusan SPMnya.Mempelajari aliran sistem kerja sebuah firma guaman.Perlu diingatkan pada waktu itu Firma guaman di bandar Pak tuo amat sedikit.Tidak ramai peguam yang ingin membuka guaman di Melaka pada waktu itu.
Atas kemahuan diri sendiri dan galakan senior-senior dikampong Pak Tuo serta dorongan diberi,Azmi mengambil kelas malam dan menduduki peperiksaan STPM.
Beliau,menduduki beberapa kali dalam peperiksaan tersebut untuk mendapat keputusan yang baik bagi mengikuti program Ijazah Undang-Undang.
Akhirnya,berkat tabah,kemahuan,dorongan serta keyakinan beliau sekarang seorang peguam yang bertauliah dan berjaya dibandar Melaka.
Oleh itu Nak,
Tabah,focus dan pasrah merupakan senjata yang paling berkesan dalam membina kejayaan seorang insan.

Insyallah akan Pak Tuo,ceritakan suatu lagi kisah benar,tercapainya cita-cita seorang Hakim yang berasal daripada kampong Pak Tuo


Terus and focus.Insyallah

Al-Manar said...

Cikgu Wahab,
Yes, the gate is open and you are very welcome, bringing with you the years of teaching experience. Your comments carry what I mean by expereince. I wonder how much of your true satisfaction you are willing to share with us. Thank you,cikgu Wahab for expressing your thought here.

Al-Manar said...

We have had some initial first-hand news of you and family. And a few pictures show us how grown up the ‘kids’ are. We are told that they only know ‘cakap orang puteh’. But I said Hafiz should also be talking in Arabic. As a child at King Fahd’s school (?) he was trying to memorise the word ‘mauz’ for ‘banana’ just as difficult as ‘pisang’ for ‘banana’. Kak Mah thinks the ‘kids’ should be with Malaysian TV stations to put right some of the aweful and shameful rojak Malay (or is it rojak English?) they seem to be proud of. Thank you for the books. I am quite anxious to see them. But you can understand that it often takes shorter time to get to KL from London than to KT from KL! Abang Ngah’s e-mail will follow in due course. Our love to all, including Sir Hulaimi.

Al-Manar said...

Pak Tuo,
I am grateful for your true life story for ex-Almanar pupils. I have enjoyed that myself. Was your Azmi, by any chance, in London around the middle of 1980’s? One day Pak Cik would like to know (privately, of course) why you have chosen ‘Pak Tuo’ which makes Pak Cik sound so ‘mudo’? We also look forwards to hearing what you have promised about the Hakim. Would you kindly let Pak Cik have your e-mail address, please?

Anonymous said...

Yes,I remember him well..He used to teach me when I was in standard six.I always saw him with his thick 'rattan' and that made me scared enough from approaching him.He was such a good person. He would do anything to make sure that the students paid full attention to his lessons.He really wanted us to be good in English.If you are still in contact with him,could you please send my regards to him?I wish that he still remembers me and I wish I could meet him again.How can I ever repay you sir.

Anonymous said...

There are two things that remind me of Sir Azmi, his ‘alphabet sheet’ and he used a whiteboard instead of a chalkboard. I still remember way back in the year 2000, when he gave every single of us in his class that sheet. There were examples of certain tenses on it, which were categorized into present tense, past tense, and past participle and each of the tenses was represented by A, B, C, D and so on. It was something new for me for I had never met any book that arranges the tenses the in such a way. It was very simple and he taught us on how and when to use the tenses. Years after that, I met you, and with you, I learned more about the tenses and English. Speaking of a whiteboard, both of you have it. It was easy to imagine then how a ‘kampung’ boy, 10 years of age, got fascinated with something that other teachers rarely used.

Sir Azmi is a teacher that one should be proud of, and I believe it is people like him that should be running a school, instead of those who were politically appointed.

p/s: I am sorry for not writing to you lately, send my regard to mak cik.

Aliff, UTM

Al-Manar said...

Your Sir Azmira will likely read this posting and get your message. Otherwise I will mention this to him.

Al-Manar said...

Now you know where the original A, B, C ... sheet came from !!
Hope the Almanar flag is showing its colour in UTM.

Pak Tuo said...


Can I link you pleased,

Tok Pa said,if we help children when we die we go to heaven.

Tank You Atuk.


Al-Manar said...

I know just a little about your Tok Pa. It is all very good.You will not go wrong following the footsteps of a wise man like that.But do not forget to ask him the not-so-good things he has done so that you can avoid them.

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Pak Chik,

I did email you enquiring about the Postal Address of Al Manar.
You could stick it in my mail.

Wasallam.Pak Chik.

Pak Tuo

Anonymous said...







Al-Manar said...

My dear "Sir Azmi"

I am delighted to see your response.
Since I wrote To Sir With Love I have had quite a few boys and girls who claim to have been your pupils. They seem to have the same impression of you, a 'tough master'. On the other hand,they all,without exception,have me to convey their salaam to you. Indeed, they remember you with love. It is so gratifying, isn't it?

Do not forget to keep in touch. Bring your family for a visit to KT. You are very welcome to stay with us at Nuri.

My salaam and best wishes to you and Rozita

Al-Manar said...

Pak Tuo

I have been experiencing a lot of problems with my e-mail. Sent mails have been coming back. Hope you will get my e-mail somehow.

Anonymous said...

ermm..he had been my teacher in standard six.. althought i was the new student there,the feeling of afraid of him always sticked on my heart.. he once had a ruler on my palm(such a pain and embrassing) but,however,if you think deeply,,you will find that, the embrassing feeling to other people because of not doing well in English(and had a punishment by him) make my english better than the previous and make my UPSR results became 5A..

Al-Manar said...

It would be nice if you had left your name for Sir Azmi to rtemember you