01 August 2011

With a sigh ( Pt 7 b ) – Prebet sapu

Selamat berpuasa kepada pelawat pelawat Muslimin dan Muslimat yang kami berdua hormati


Finally Almanar has a fair share of orphans and children of poor families. Numbering about 80 and made up of pupils in Form 1, 2, 3 and 4, they belong to the first intakes into the new home, Darul Akhyar (of my earlier post),

In order to assess the level of their knowledge, particularly in English and Mathematics, I have taken it upon myself to conduct all classes and necessitates opening of evening classes for the first time. On me it has been particularly taxing on two counts. Until now I had never considered sacrificing my evening hours, and that I now have. Secondly, as Darul Akhyar would not have its promised transport facility until next week I volunteered to help out, anxious to get on with the classes as early possible.

Watch the picture of that beautiful white multi-purpose vehicle in the picture below. We acquired that last year. Among its many uses we thought of the great opportunity to load the vehicle with fruit when we go to Makcik’s kampong during the next durian season. I could imagine having a stall in front of Almanar selling durians! That is what a fruitful imagination is all about – making money.

----------- Prebet sapu

We never bargained for the vehicle to run as a ‘prebet sapu’ (illegal taxi). But that was exactly what happened for about one month. Do not laugh when I relate a typical day in July.

The last happened for days ago. A group of 27 pupils had to attend class at Almanar at 3.30 that afternoon. In the absence of any help Pakcik did a wonderful job fetching them from Darul Akhyar, a mere one kilometer distance from Almanar. Instead of loading that vehicle with durians I managed to cram into it 9 children of assorted sizes, finely separated between sexes, to travel the short distance from Darul Akhyar to Almanay. In 15 minutes flat I made three trips to transport all the 27 kids. Two hours later I repeated the acts to send the children back.

Then came the evening class. At eight I was at the wheel again also making three trips, this time to shuttle 28 kids of Form 1, one more; that meant ten passengers on one of three trips. Of course at the end of that I had to send them back. How they giggled and laughed and the poor driver shouting hoarse to keep quiet!

To them it was great fun, at the end of which the boys kissing the driver’s hand and the girls thanking Pakcik voluminously – and a couple of them were heard to add, “ I like you Pakcik.”

But the strain of that one month had begun to tell on the driver of the ‘prebet sapu’. Pakcik had to stay in bed for 24 hours, canceling classes for three days! Thankfully that was the last.


-------------- Part of Form 1

The new group of Form 1 pupils from Darul Akhyar consists of 28 children, ten of whom are boys. It is so satisfying to me to realise that this group is the 16th group of Form 1 to have joined Almanar over a period of 17 years of its life. It gives me a greater satisfaction to realise that this group of 28 has fourteen orphans and the rest belong to poor families of gardeners, rubber-tappers, broken homes and so on. The same goes with the rest of the 80 kids from Darul Akhyar - orphans and children of the very poor. Helping children such as these was the very objective Almanar trust (private) was established in 1992. Alhamdulillah.

Nevertheless I cannot help drawing sighs of regret to see how poorly these children were treated academically during their six years of primary education. Let us look at the 28 pupils in Form 1. In their UPSR exam at the end of 2010 this group can only boast of 1 A and 2 B grades in English. For the five subjects examined, only one pupil scored 4 A grades, and three pupils scored 3 As each. Nine children achieved only C,D and E grades, and of course, ‘my poor little thing’ can only boast of 5 E’s.

-------- Poor little thing's smile of hope


Sintaicharles, a fairly regular visitor from Sarawak, left the following brief comment against my last posting.

“ Pakcik, I got 3Ds and 2Es in UPSR.”

It is slightly better than Pakcik’s ‘poor little thing’ but definitely worse than some of my new group described above.Yet, today, he is a damned good teacher in English, if I must say so without any reservation. And this man from Sarawak even exhibited an exemplary attitude as an educator. This is reflected in his earlier comment against Pakcik’s posting:

Nine years ago, out of pity, I taught a very naughty boy how to read and write everyday after school. However, many colleagues insinuated to me that I was an empty vessel trying berlagak pandai mendidik budak yang tiada harapan lulus SPM'.I was hurt by what they said and soon gave up tutoring that boy.
Now, come to think of it, I should have persisted in teaching that boy. I lacked the spirit of Pakcik

That is Sintaicharles’s attitude and the general attitude of his colleagues.

To this fine teacher who started from a low beginning, I would like to tell him this:

Perhaps, Sintaicharles, you have now learnt something from what you called ‘the spirit of Pakcik’, a pseudo teacher who has never been taught all about the sophisticated teaching techniques and what ‘exam formats’ are all about. You are one person of my own heart, an example of one who does not believe in the need for a good early start to succeed. It is YOUR SPIRIT, Sintaicharles, that I need to plant in those Melayu punya children. I thank you and I say forget those colleagues of yours. Sadly, after having qualified, attended courses after courses they lack the natural attitude every educator should possess in the first place.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


Anonymous said...

AK, Salamat Berpuasa to both of you. I have just gone through your blog read about the sweet little girl Ani. As you know I was away from KTr for six days and was back yesterday 31/7/11. While I was in Kemaman on 29/7/11 a friend who had just retired as a Headmaster of a secondary school in Trengganu dropped in quite late at my daughter's house with wife bringing along ten packets of nasi lemak they purchased at 11pm. We all enjoyed a sumptuous supper. The retired teacher, a Chinese covert and wife are both graduates of University Malaya, a very religious couple. During the course of our conversation he related a nmber of shortcomings in our education systems. He had tried to do the right thing while in service but was not successful due to non committal attitude of most of his teachers. He then related about teachers in Singapore. They are dedicated, committed, competing amongst themselves to teach students with EEEEE 5 rather than better-performed students to prove their ability to achieve something regarded impossible. They are committed in their profession. AK, this is exactly what we have been talking about some time back. To our Che Gu2 I ask what have you been doing? Tolonglah anak bangsa sendiri agar mereka tidak terciciran.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
You were so stressed out from all that driving, eh? Aaahhh...you need a cat massage, then.
Anyway, I can't say much about the Malaysian education system as all of us in this house are home-schooled. Mama was one who has teaching qualifications but never practiced. There are many stories of late-bloomers, so to speak, that we can take as good examples. You'll never know, one of your poor little things may turn out differently, now that they're given a second chance. Belakang parang diasah lagikan tajam! purrrr *giggles*

Anonymous said...

Dear Pakcik

Selamat berpuasa, kesian overworked sampai sakit, hope you are now fully recovered. If you could introduce "most improved students" yearly I am willing to sponsor some prizes like we used to have in golf. Perhaps this will give some incentive and motivation for your students like the very pretty poor little thing. Once I started the week with handicap 12, on Tuesday played well under in an inter club competition and was cut 2 strokes. Then on Friday I was cut another 2 strokes for playing under again in another competition. I was rewarded the most improved golfer and was elated as my dream was to be a single handicapper !!! A little bit of patting my own back here hihihi ....


Wan Sharif said...

Semangat yang begitu kental.. Alhamdulillah. Semuga Allah memberi kekuatan untuk terus menerus berbakti.
Semuga Ramadhan mendekatkan Abang Hassan dan orang2 yang Abang Hassan sayangidengan Redha dan Maghfirah Allah..

Al-Manar said...


Great minds thinmk alike. I would like to get to know the retired teacher. Who knows, given a little push he may join the dogooders. We can afford a samall allowance, a token of sort, not to say we are rich by any means. I will be very grateful if you can use your typical good office - even a nudge to the MB?

Al-Manar said...


Ho ho ho. You have given me an idea, cat massage. My poor little things can be trained by you and company to do massage, professionally, of course. You can then help to run a centre in KL. Shall I suggest this to the less academically inclined?

But I have hopes that they will get somewhere somehow in life - the late starters' way. Allahun Akbar, the Ultimate Planner.

Kucing puasa tak?

Al-Manar said...


You are the fourth visitor to suggest/offer rewards for good performance. Indeed, I may introduce an incentive scheme for these children. I never thought of this seriously in the past but with the current new groups it may be just the thing to help improve situation with greater speed.

Thank and every one else showing generosity/interest towards these poor little thinmgs of mine.

Al-Manar said...

Dinda Ayah Wang,

Semoga doa yang baik do hari baik bulan baik dimakbul Tuhan.

By the way, I was rather saddened by the death of that poor soul. He/she comes from daerah Duyong. I am never surprised if you will have a special post on some you knew all along. Somewhere I feel the presence of certain unfairness, lack of real proactive steps by our admin, to say the least.

yohteh said...

...dan semua kita melihat senyumnya,
senyuman manis dan mengharap...

...terima kasih Abg. Hassan...

norzah said...

A 'prebet sapu' driver, a durian seller, a dedicated teacher, a private ecucational instution organizer.....what other roles are you going to assume, Akhi Pakcik? I continue to be amazed at the multiplicity of the good samaritan roles that you play, Pakcik Hassan and wonder how all the things that you do are financed. Yes, you have a trust fund of some kind but even a trust fund needs to be comtinuously replenished in order not to be depleted. All i can say is syabas to the way you undertake to do all that you have done and are still doing giving a full meaning to the words
'berkhidmat kerana Tuhan'. Selamat berpuasa and may Allah bless you and Makcik.

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
It's been testing times. It can be done in emergencies as the show must go on. But otherwise it would be risking too much, health wise.

Al-Manar said...


Itulah orangnya. Taktahulah samaada dia atau pun saya yang benar benar erharap. Selamat berpuasa. Sebelah Manir tentu banyak kueh di pasar.

Ciming home via Manir, about half way to Batu Enam, I unexpectedly noticed new road coming on my left - still under construction. You would know this better. I wonder if that is part of the proposed Lebohraya Pantai Timur.

Selamat berpuasa.

Al-Manar said...


Begitulah, saudara.Kata orang puteh Jack of all trades. Kalau betul betul nak buat duet supaya jadi billionaire mati ditengah jalan!

I think we are all fortunate in life. I have a feeling one of your great fortunes is in having very successful children - my guess.

To be able to draw fund from a trust one is a blessing that I grabbed. But it is limited. I have big dreams in the way of a proper elite esidential school for the poor, just a small one of real quality - the way I rate quality, not what has been brandished about.
I may drop you an email. ( hope your e-address on the blog is current)

Selamat berpuasa dengan keluarga tersayang.

Al-Manar said...


Itulah kadang kadang kita ini ingatkan masih muda, semua boleh! Bila dah terlanatang baru sedarkan diri.

But you are still young, a new birthday boy, baru dua hari. I wish you well dan selamat berpuasa on top of a happy birthday with many returns of the day, akhi.

ninotaziz said...

Dear Pakcik,
I am trying to imagine a carload of 9 children, excited I am sure, chatting, giggling and pointing in all directions...it must have been chaotic I am sure. Even with five, I sometimes lose my cool!

Take care and have a good rest and Selamat Berpuasa to both of you - Four girls fasted, specially glad for Ilena who is in Standard One. Now Ikesha, in kindergarten, greeted me with this when we came home, 'Mak, Wok nak puasa. Tapi teacher beri donut kat sekolah!' Well, we are trying out puasa sekerat hari at the moment. We'll see how she fares...

sintaicharles said...

How selfless and tenacious you are in educating the kids. Many people would have whined if they were in your shoes. You put many teachers to shame. I hope to be like you. I am still trying to keep my spirits up for teaching. There are many obstacles along the way.

Thanks for your kind words, Pakcik.

Al-Manar said...


How nice it is to be talking to your own kids about fasting, half day and so on, and promise of much muney for every half a day and so on. Enjoy that dear Ninot while it lasts. It will all be memory before you realise that time indeed passaes so quickly.

This afternoon the hired bus could not start. So 'would
Pakcik help?'. Of course I did but just two trips each way. The warden did the rest.

Selamat berpuasa.aya dimana tahun ini? Our children will be back - full house macam kapal pecah lah yang 10 cucu buat nanti.

Al-Manar said...


Keep up ypur spirit. This afternoon I had rhe form 1 and how frustated I was when the majority did not know words like went and came. But I had to keep cool because the progress is definitely but deadly slow. I have to keep on reminding myself that progress for these kids means heaven and earth to them in the end.

Aren't you trying to fast for half a day like Ninot's little girl? It will do you a lot of good healthwise if you can do the whole day for a few days.

sintaicharles said...

Good suggestion. Many of my relatives in Brunei are Muslims. They ever asked me to try fasting with them.

Anonymous said...

Salam pakcik.reading it reminds me how important learning vocab was to you to learn english.You always asked the vocabulary before starting the class.Iif we couldn't get the meaning, you were so upset and so frustrated with us. But you never gave up to teach us until we succeeded.Thank you pakcik.

Al-Manar said...


So you still remember your vocab days at Almanar. Do you know that whenever I have children with A's and B's in UPSR exam, I would them them this story: Once I had a girl with 5 B's. She got a lot of scoldings from Pakcik for not learning her vocab but at he end she got 8 A's in her PMR exam.

If you are back for Hari Raya Makcik and I would love to see you again, Syuhada.