My Ramadhan :Day 18

Thursday

We have passed the halfway mark and from this point on it will be a downhill ride…. fast and forgettable (the hunger that is)

I walked into an almost empty classroom this morning. Only a few made it to the class. Maybe they were still sleeping or just woke up but the ride to the class was not worth the trip. I went on as usual making a conclusion to the lessons that we have had for the last 13 weeks.

The subject is C++ programming ; not so appealing to rush through the morning traffic. The students are going to start a long Hari Raya break starting tomorrow; so some of them may have gone back to avoid crowded buses or trains. Shah Alam will be a ghost town when the students leave. The madly traffics with raging motorcycles and naughty Kancils will disappear from the streets. Things will be quiet for a while so the locals can breathe a relief and enjoy the peace and tranquility.but students population brings in a lot of business to Shah Alam. Especially food and housing. I dont own any business but will benefit from the thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere that came with it. Choices of food outlets are tremendous in shah alam so do clothing’s and accessories. So we do not complain much.

At the end of the class I just could not let them go witthout giving some kind of rewards for the effort that these few students have put forward. So I posted a “bonus” quiz that required them to write an essay on “ Five people that you wish to meet this Raya and Why?”. Just some points they can use to pad up their test marks, and some really need a good pad up.

Here are some of the answers they have given me. Please excuse the grammatical mistakes as I have yet to correct them. The essays will be graded mainly on how they explain the reason why.

Interesting, isn’t it?

My Ramadhan : Day 14

Casablanca, Morocco

Sunday

I woke up feeling numb, early in the morning for sahur (pre dawn meal). For the first rime I had rice. Whatever! Killing off all the thoughts battling in the mind. During the fajr prayers my mind went wild with the memories of my late father in law. We will go through this Ramadhan without him and felt for the first time his absent in our life. His family and relatives did not really keen of him and I am here among those who hate him. I was not sure I wanted to be here .

Pa with brother Muhammad.

The memories of him are too much and the loss is still painful. I have lost the reason to be in this place. I would go back to the empty patio without the sound of a broken desk fan. No more yesterday’s newspapers that he regularly went out to buy each morning. Nothing’s around just a dusty desk and filthy cushions that the cats used to sleep. No more —- “ Din sapa bila? (When did you arrive?); nothing, the air was thick and quiet. I crossed my arms and squeezed my chest and felt like it gonna explode and burst with melancholy.

The sun rose as quickly as it sent the night away; so I felt as the sunshine started to heat up the room. I got up and realised that my Pa is really not here. What a sad feeling.

My Ramadhan : Day 13

Saturday

My body can cope better now with the fasting. Occasionally, the hunger came and went. No longer I felt nervous or anxious due to lack of food. I could easily see the end of this fasting without any problem. InsyaAllah.

Travelled to my hometown today for a quick getaway. The city roads were busy but once we hit the highway it was a smashing drive through beautiful rain forest. The beautiful blue sky just a perfect background for the hills and mountains. Once in a while when you drive away from the city ; you would appreciate the beauty of lush green hills and valleys that create such an amazing serenity when you look at it. I just took it for granted and never before think for a moment that my place reflects such a great beauty.

The drive was long, the road surface was bad most of the places plus terrible driving manners from my road companions gave such a stressful time on the road. I tried most of the time to exclude all those bad factors while driving but you know when your life is at the stake too you must get involved and go with the flow. Sometimes you raced uphills, which is illegal at most spots, just to avoid the big trucks or that expired old pick up that could not get itself on top of the hill anytime soon today.with a narrow road that was a big challenge.

By the time we reached town, the folks were busy shopping for iftar and the traffics became madly hectic and erratic. I had a long drive and now have to continuously stop and go to let people find the kueh they were looking for breaking the fast. At times I was fascinated by the many booths by the roadside selling all sort of sweets and dishes and the frenzied buyers trying to get their order first. That’s the Ramadhan i remember the most from my memories in this remote place that is so special to me.

I pressed on for my breaking of fast appointment with my old friends in Pasir Mas. I arrived just on time and met the familiar faces of my old classmates. Not many was there just enough to reminisce the past time of our childhood. And that was about 40 years ago. Many have caught up with a hardlife as painted on their faces and stuttered smiles. The handshakes were firm and hard as if not to let go of our beautiful pasts.

Our parents were mainly peasants who raised us with little hope they had. Not much I think our parents expected from us, just stay alive and stay out of troubles. I sat down amazed by the many dishes laid out on the table that triggered my appetites from the past.

Speechless, I raced through the many Ramadhan I had around this place; it was wonderful time with family and friends. The memories that I rarely indulged myself into so as to isolate them away and build a new memory with my children in Shah Alam. But tonight I would let the oldies roam the night and take me back to the good old days. Maybe it would do some good to me, so I hope.

We entertained orphans as well tonight as part of the social responsibilities to the community. They all looked happy and in high spirits. We talked, we ate, we laughed and we ate some more. The night was awesome and I have not had so much fun for a long time. Friends can fix you in so many ways. I felt rejuvenated and alive again as we walked down the memory lanes.

Thank you friends!

My Ramadhan : Day 12

A sunset over Shah Alam

Friday Day 12

The morning was quiet. I went into a half full classroom and felt sick in my stomach. Do I have to deal with this again this morning? I gritted my teeth, made some stupid jokes and continue the lesson. And as expected no one really paid attention. I stood there like a stupid ass and fed everyone with misery.

What a day!

But later that day my relative dropped by. My day ended beautifully. Alhamdulillah

My Ramadhan : Day 11

Al Hambra : the glory of the past

Thursday Day 11

The day we remember our teachers and what they mean to us. Everyone of us started to see the world through our teachers. In the early days of my childhood I had teachers from school. Most of them were very strict and “bekeng” to most of us. In the 70s we had mostly Chinese and Indian teachers. The chinese headmaster was very bad and totally unapproachable. That was from my perspective as a student. Are you supposed to fear you teachers? How does the exchange of knowledge will happen if you feared your teachers so much? Not much really. We had a few Malay teachers and they were no help either. I remember trying very hard to complete a peribahasa homework. I just could not sleep and cried in bed until mom came. She did not know peribahasa also so she asked me to get help from my brother. He helped a little and my stress level started to disappear. I am not sure I learnt anything from school; it just a place you spent until father came home from work.

Born and raised here…..not much has changed since I left

After school I went to a religious lesson at the mosque. The ustaz was really nice and he asked me to join the class as I was looking through the windows. I had no money to pay for the lesson(but later found out that it was free) or books to go with the lessons.the ustaz said it was okay just sit there and listen. And thats what I did. I owe a lot to that ustaz and pray for his good life where ever he might be.

Happy Teachers Day !Ustaz….

Ramadhan Day 10

The colours that rejuvenate an old palace in Marrakesh,Morocco

Wednesday

I was sickened by the IG suicide voting. Now we are on the map together with the rest of world in teenage suicide. Finally the beans have spilled and the true face of our youngsters have started to emerge. And that is a reality that we have avoided to discuss all this while. Nope we have a strong family unit, our culture is different and our kids would never do that.now what? Where should we start the blame game? As MJ said, start with the man in the mirror. Lets start all over again by admitting that our youth has problems and they need our help. In Uitm, as we are approaching the final exam week, many students will feel the squeeze until they find themselves in the corner and do not know what to do. Some contemplated suicide. Seriously. It happened. We were lucky that in Uitm we have a lot of safety nets that was able to capture this well before it worsened. In the front scenes and behind the scenes the safety nets are set up to capture the complicated thoughts of our students. Sometimes they want to be gay but then not all the time only when he has a boyfriend. Crossdressers feeling depressed and showed up all over the internet. Gay clashes were the worst because both could be at the verge of death. All these are real and happened right in our neighbourhood to our innocent youngsters. As I said, start with ourself and take care the ones around us close to us, boys or girls. Never to shun them away for being naive or misbehave.

Took them gardening

I understand well the pressure our youth is going through because I went through a rough time myself when I was young; being bullied and all. The psychological scars remain to these days and wish the culprits to die a slow death and suffer until his bones dropped. It was that bad. Feeling sad, reserved, isolated, frustrated, angry, raged,bad tempered, lonely, act of bullying and many more are signs and red alerts of youngsters in trouble. I work with my students by monitoring all these alerts and how serious they are. Once anyone of them popped up, I know what to do.

Mentoring program at the faculty

My students or any youth group in general live in their own complex society. As an old generation, I would have a tough time to understand and comprehend the structure of their thoughts and actions.but we have to dig in and get close to them. Only then we will be able to manage the situations.

The future of Malaysia is in their hands

Gotong royong program in Shah Alam

Good luck to all and may Ramadhan give peace and serenity so we find strength and reasons to walk our future.

My Ramadhan (continues …)

 

Ramadhan Day 7

Sunday. Gout attack. Period. So I scribbled this …..

Dulu kita kerdil menumpang bayang2 orang
Kini sudah gah pandai pikat hati orang

Dulu kita bodoh tak tahu tulis baca
Sekarang sudah pandai bermain kata2

Dulu kita hodoh tiada sapa yg nak
Kini sudah ada bini dan anak-anak

Dulu kita diejek pakai kasut buruk luka di betis
Kini sudah pandai berfesyen ala2 retis

Dulu kita tiada kawan punya badan bau kari
Kini sudah rapi supaya kawan tidak lari

Dulu kita tiada beskal nak pusing kampung
Kini ada kereta tapi x balik kampung

Dulu kita hidup happy2 aja
Kini kita hidup dengan apa yg ada saja


Indah sungguh hidup dulu2
Kini ia tinggal dalam kenangan

So don’t worry be happy …..

Ramadhan Day 8

The gout attack from yesterday was still there. You’d feel like to poke the burning bulge and let whatever inside to burst out. So painful. For those who do not know what a gout attack is…ask google. If you are over forty and woke up one day feeling like you’ve sprained your ankle and could not walk straight, the attack has started. In a few hours, you would feel so in pain you wish to get a knife and cut it out. You wanted to be so dead. Anyway, this is Monday and I have to drag myself to my classes; one in the morning and another on in the afternoon. I rushed out for the 8am class and when I reached the parking lot at my faculty, I just could not go on. I usually walk to the Engineering that would take about five minutes. But this morning, it felt so far away as I inched my way to the stairs. Forget it! It will take ages to reach my class. The walk was not only slow but painful as well. I never made it to my morning class. In fact, I missed the afternoon class as well. Maybe I should see a doctor and get some pills for this. I never did that too.

The pain made me so frustrated that I just refused to do anything useful. Fcuk it! I am old, I am mad and I am in pain. What else is there? I wanted to close my eyes and let it go away. Let the miserable things disappear.

 

Ramadhan Day 9
It was beautiful morning as I drove my son to his driving lesson. The sunshine was bright but pleasant and gave the springtime feeling from the places I used to be. But this is different, it’s home, the place I wont be leaving anytime soon. So, no hurry; no train to catch or flight to board. I’m home.

Nowadays, Shah Alam is home. It has been for the last 15 years. So far, we love it here; near to KL although I have seldom gone for anything important. Accessibility is good. People are friendly. The crime is low although scary sometimes. But we manage and keep our eyes open. I love jogging and there are plenty of jogging routes and parks in Shah Alam.