A) - Just a prologue
Only then I noticed an earlier message which read, ‘ Salam pakcik. Ayah sy tenat.’ It came at 11.20 pm when I had just retired, too tired to be awakened after a long drive from KL.
Those short messages came from an ex Almanar pupil who regarded us as her second parents. Early this morning we went to her home and at 10.30 I went for the prayers to send off a very dedicated ‘bilal’ of a mosque here. The girl will, insya Allah, be a subject of my ‘End of the tunnel’ series.
The deceased, whom I knew well, has left without a chance to have the worldly satisfaction of seeing the success of his beloved daughter. Alfatihah to this wonderful man whose passing should make his loving daughter realise that he had not lived for nothing. She has a debt to settle.
B) - Now she owns a ring
As I was driving home from the funeral, feeling sorry for the now fatherless girl, I decided to sit and post a new entry before the end of the day, perhaps another of the ‘End of the Tunnel’ series – but not about the bereaved young lady mentioned above. I will pick a boy whom I call Syami.
When I first knew Syami seven years ago he struck me as a high potential and a determined boy. Life was not easy for him, his mother selling nasi lemak to raise five clever children. Circumstances brought Syami and Pakcik close together and I was able to counsel and speak freely to him.
I remember how, during the year he sat for the PMR exam, he had to spend a lot of his time helping classmates rather than for himself, a good quality which might not do justice to his own need. A number of his friends did well in that exam; and as I expected Syami did very well himself and that earned him an offer to join form 4 at a premier secondary science boarding school in Kuala Terengganu. When others would jump with joy, he did NOT want to accept the offer!
I was pretty sure had he continued at his old school he would succees to lead his class and continue to be haunted by his class-mates for help. This was a case of a big fish in a small pond, feeling very comfortable, completely oblivious to the great competition among the giants outside. He was certain Almanar could continue to help him through. Pakcik had a hard time to persuade that young boy to leave his comfort zone. Thank goodness , in the end, he grudgingly took my advice.
Hardly three months later, he came around to admit feeling rather ‘small’ against the giants in his class, especially those from schools in the West Coast. That challenge made him produce his best.
Three years has gone down the line. Today my Syami is attending a two-year course leading to Cambridge A Level exam. He has to take German language as he is slated to read engineering in Germany. He knows he has no alternative but to make it if he wants to go forwards; but this young man seems mentally prepared.
Both Makcik and Pakcik, as a matter of course, attended the wedding of Syami’s sister. At the end of enjoying our food, and as we were leaving for home Syami came to say that her mother wished to see Pakcik before I left. So I went to look her up. The moment she saw me approaching she left her lady guests. What she had was just to express her thanks for what I had done for her son. “ Kalau ada apa apa masalah saya selalu suruh dia jumpa Pakciklah ( Whenever there was a problem I would normally ask him to see Pakik)”; a compliment I least expected from a wonderful mother who could now smile with a ring on her finger.
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