27 September 2009

A Special Note For Ex-Almanar

For the first time Pak Cik had a record book ready during the recent hari raya season for Almanar- associated pupils to jot down their phone numbers and e-mail addresses - a few having own blogs. Surprisingly enough there were about 60 of them arriving in groups at different times during the course of these few days. Some were on leave from their far-away places of work, such as the rural areas outside Tawau and Sandakan. But most of the sixty odds are still studying at various IPTA's and IPTS's. Only a handful of them were current pupils at Almanar - perhaps still too shy to muster their courage to show their faces; no doubt in good time they will.

One of your old friends proudly brought along her HUSBAND and a baby SON who was barely two-month old. Just like his parents and grandparents, the baby would have addressed me as "Pak Cik" too, if only he could talk! Of those who came around, Mak Cik and Pak Cik could hardly recognise a few girls ( young ladies, to be precise ) looking matured and beautiful, a far fetch from the shy little ones we used to see those years at Almanar - dengan hidung masih berhingus. Whreas the gallant boys, heavily outnumbered, were nearly swarmed to a swoon at the unexpected sight!

Some of you could not make it to Nuri this time around, simply 'kirim salam' through friends who turned up. Thank you for the thought. If any of you wishes to have contact numbers of your lost friends, check up with Pak Cik. I will give them to you - this time for a fee of course!

Apart from expressing our appreciations to those who remembered us through visits, salaams, SMS's, e-mail messages etc we must not forget to thank those who came along with ketupat, nasi dagang, nasi minyak, keropok, laksa, tapai, akak, cookies and so on and so forth - enough for the two of us to last till next Hari Raya had not our children, granfdchildren and our other guests helped themselves.

Thank you, children.

To those who will return to their work places, particularly schools and hospitals, please remember, it is now your contractual obligation to live uo to our motto:

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

18 September 2009

A Special Thank - for an unexpected gesture

Some 25 years ago a pretty girl with fair skin and curly hair was a friend of Pakcik’s daughter at an SMS (boarding school). Since then I have not seen her, now happily married with children. Pakcik was totally taken by surprise this morning when advised that a sizeable sum of money had been credited by her for Almanar.

“What triggered her to perform this charitable act before a Hari Raya?” I keep asking myself. But no, really I do not wish to know the answer. I pray that He will not just grant her what she dreams of but, instead, will bless her with whatever He alone knows is best for her and her family.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

10 September 2009

Tokens Of Appreciation ( Pt 2 )

Before this holy month of Ramadhan leaves us, Pak Cik should say a few words of thanks to many who have paid compliments in various forms, encouraging words, gestures and personal gifts, to Pak Cik and Mak Cik. For Almanar we have received, voluntarily and unsought for, cash, books and other materials. A local company has for the first time offered each ‘anak yatim’ associated with Almanar a sum of RM100/= as a Hari Raya gift.

As Pak Cik once wrote
Tokens Of Appreciation in January 08 of the simple gestures shown by parents. Likewise the two of us, Pak Cik and Mak Cik continue to receive these small gifts,

a small paper bag of duku (in season, costing about two ringgits)

some rambutan ( dari pokok sendiri),

a bunch of bananas,

cempedak (from kebun Tok Ki!),

a packet of keropok, and packets of kurma.

The real value is in the desire to express a deep-seated feeling, no matter what the monitory value of the gift is. They are invaluable tokens of appreciation, humbly and sincerely presented, for which words are never adequate for us to express our thanks.

A real surprise was when a girl handed Pak Cik a neat bag made of cloth, containing two boxes of good quality dates.

“ Pak Cik, ini buah tangan daripada Pengetua sekolah saya.” This came from a new principal of a fairly new secondary school which in the last three PMR examinations did not have a single pupil achieving 8As, mainly for weakness in English and Mathematics. Two months ago Pak Cik offered help for the first group of fifteen Form One pupils to be tutored at Almanar. Apparently the principal is very pleased with the initial feedback. Pak Cik do not promise grade A but I promise to give the children as good a foundation as possible in these subjects.

To all the well wishers please accept Pak Cik’s many thanks. To the Muslim readers Selamat Berpuasa dan Selamat Berhari Raya.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.

04 September 2009

Another Son Commented – Tanah Tumpah Darah Ku

Pakcik’s No 3 , my second son, has sent me a comment related to Merdeka. He is a senior manager for a multinational consulting firm. What he discovered during a recruitment dialogue with a group of young Malay graduates was somewhat beyond his expectation. Pakcik would like to have it posted here, with the hope that readers can share what he had to say. I would certainly like to think that his is not an isolated case – the awakening of our young ones. Here is what he wrote:


Contributing to the nation – there is hope yet.

As an aside to Abang Nuar’s comment on Merdeka and nation building, I’d like to share what happened in the office last month.
I was asked to help recruitment with figuring out how to better attract good capable Malays into the firm, something which the firm has always struggled to do. As a way to gauge what makes the freshies ‘tick’, we organized a forum with a group of our newly hired to understand what were their career aspirations and why they had joined us.

I opened the floor to the young and energetic group for them to share their thoughts. Sure enough, it started with the ‘usual’ ideas of what makes a great career. They wanted an exciting job, something that challenges them, somewhere that allows them to learn, to build skills, to be paid (..and paid well!), to travel, to open up their minds. This is not going to help me very much I thought initially. Haven’t I read about all these things in our recruitment brochures somewhere before? However, as the discussion went on, another theme seem to emerge. It was about how they would like to give back, about contributing to society, about building the nation.

Was this just a ‘politically correct’ answer to my tired prodding of “is there anything else?”, or did they genuinely feel this way? Can I trust these young twenty somethings? What do they know about contributing back? Wouldn’t they at this age be more concerned about getting that first car, or that flashy new phone, or travelling or generally having a good time?

The answer was a heartwarming no. Pragmatically, of course they wanted these things, but somehow beyond achieving all that, real fulfillment comes when you have left behind a legacy, have touched the lives of others and have, ultimately, help build a nation. One even quoted Raja Nazrin’s speech “You don’t have to be in public service to do service to the public”.

I think we can sometimes get despondent when all we read about these days are how the young are selfish, how for Generation Y it’s all about me me me, how no one appreciates the struggles of the past and how society has become less and less caring.

Well, after listening to this group of ‘kids’, I feel a renewed sense of optimism. It’s not all bad, there is hope yet.


Amran “

Pakcik’s response to him would be:
During babah’s time in office there were occasions when I faced young graduates. Certainly babah did not detect your finding. Perhaps I was using different and ancient recruitment tools. If this is the prevailing attitude among the young graduates - and I would like to wish that to be a trend - there is hope indeed as you said. But of course we do not lose hope.

“ ……..and never lose hope of God’s soothing mercy ……” Yusuf : 87

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

01 September 2009

A Son Commented – Tanah Tumpah Darah Ku

This time Pak Cik’s No 2, Anwar, sent me a comment which I prefer to enter as a posting. Here is what he wrote:

I would neither be too embarrassed nor too proud to proclaim that being a post-merdeka child, I lived my formative years in a peaceful , staggering economic growth and politically rock solid Malaysia under Tun Mahathir’s stewardship. Digesting babah’s absorbing account of Merdeka, I cannot help but feel humbled by the contrasting thoughts that ran through our minds when I was around babah’s age. Yours was of hope for the community, Tanah tumpah darah babah, whereas mine was of self interest and an individual pursuit of happiness. Half a century of merdeka , of stability and familiarity, certainly bred contempt to many post-merdeka children who were emotionally detached from the struggles of Malaysia’s independence forefathers, myself not excluded.

Over the years, eyes wide open to the journey of this young entity called ‘Malaysia’, I began to realize that this God-sent peace, harmony and prosperity are not our rights, but ours to strive for. Nothing is guaranteed for my children, my grandchildren, and the many generations beyond that. The onus is on me, in my own, small, individual way, to contribute to nation-building.

Today, on the morning of Malaysia’s 52nd year of merdeka, I watched the black & white recording of Almarhum’s Tunku Abdul Rahman’s proclamation of Merdeka. His seven shouts of “merdeka” followed by the band’s heart rendering ‘Negara Ku’ finale brought tears of happiness, joy and hope to many Malayans on that day….. and across time, on 31st August 2009, to one much “enlightened” mid-aged person in PJ.

Yes, we live and hope for another day. And to borrow babah’s sacred words, ‘berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.’ ”

My response to him would be:


That you have moved ‘ ….to one much ‘enlightened’ mid-aged person ..’, as you said, is an indication that you are capable of evaluating. Insya-Allah nothing will be very wrong with any of us as long as we do not fail to use the special faculties we have been endowed with, and we do not become what He says:

“ …………..men who have hearts with which they fail to grasp the truth, and eyes with which they fail to see, and ears with which they fail to hear. They are like cattle – nay they are even less conscious on the right way ……..” Al-A’raf : 179
With love,
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan