you want to go where everyone knows your name …

It has been a while since I was away from the serenity of sura hujung. The beautiful beaches along jalan pantai has constantly got my heart longing for a holiday. Maybe once again I can draw the faces in the sand or stroll by early in the morning. The kids can run up and down playing with the waves once more. Feeling so miserable at the office or at home with the neighbors. People are just different. Maybe I need time to adjust but the thing is just so painful. Even having tea break with the gang is different. There is no gang here! I haven’t come across people going for tea. Not that these people are more hard working than the rest of us. They disappear and reappear every now and then. The case now you see me now you don’t. Things are physically hard here in all aspects of life. It does not only seem hard and difficult; it IS hard and brutally difficult. But still we see people come streaming in from all places in the country to taste life in the city; just like myself, I supposed. I have been here once before and as far as I am concerned life was much much livelier back then. The simplicity of rural living could not be compared by any standards here. It is the best !. People may seem poor in the village but rich with humane and humanity. I guess I don’t have what it takes to be a city dweller. I am not sure myself but I know where I am supposed to be and would be in the future….back in a small town like Dungun.

My transfer to Shah Alam thought by many as a promotion. I could not emphasize enough that it is not a promotion and it has never been intended as one and I am pretty damn sure it is not one. I was going for different environment as seeing myself enjoying too much and doing nothing with my area of research. It was my intention to come and grow in my field of study but after a few years here I am not sure myself if this place is any better.. I will give sometime to myself to adjust and look around maybe I will find a spot to raise a flag and say “ OK. I am here!”.

I remember that by the second week after the move, we were thrown out of the house that we just rented We just could not come to agree with the tenancy agreement proposed and the owner was not prepared to budge. I guess the days when you moved in and out of the rumah sewa have long gone. People are getting very sophisticated with terms and agreements. Coming from remote village, I’ve kind of forgotten that sweet smiles and humble conversation have no reservation here. Everything must be formal and documented and signed. So there we were, out in the street looking for another place to stay. Not that there is no other houses in Shah Alam, but we need another thing, money. People don’t smile to you without money, literally speaking. What have this society come to be ? So modern and complicated that we forget the root of human existence. Maybe I am in the wrong circle seeing the values that contradict every single principle that I live for. I guess my big task now is to find friends or people that believe the similar philosophy.

Some people say the first impression tells the whole story. I could not agree more. When I first reported duty on June the 1st, 2004; they could not give me a room. Being in UiTM for so many years I kind of understand the situation. Space is limited and with hundreds of lecturers I can really imagine the proportion of the problems. People will hang on to their rooms like a lion defending his territory. I guess it is human nature to fight for a little space to move about, to breed and raise a family. A lion will hunt down any intruder that comes into the territory and defend it with his life. That is the basic instinct in nature. Even human will do the same if being pushed to the limit. However, the mind and the knowledge that shape that mind has made us act rationally. We think about consequences , the good and evil of our actions. We see people around and realize that they are part of our life whether we like it or not; whether they like it or not. Sometime we bump into each other and still remain a complete stranger. I know you from somewhere but could not recall the name. The time has made us so insensitive of each other. Not in any moment that we can sit down and relax other than thinking of rushing here and there to beat the traffic or getting in front of the queue.

The date was 8th September 2004 and for the first time since I came to this place, I feel welcomed and accepted. I am one of “us” now. Perhaps those having the same experience would feel the greatness of such a feeling. There was no ceremony or anything like that but it was one of those days where you converge to a point that meet you with the right people and having the right conversation during a perfect mood of the day. And of course we all enjoy the moment. Maybe others do not realize this magnificent point of time except myself. It was rather important to me that now I can move on and proceed with other things. Being alienated at work, or at any other places for that matter, is the worst challenge that one might have to face. As in Cheers, “you want to go where everyone knows your name”.I guess it is human nature to be accepted by friends and colleagues as part of our social consciousness. After four years here in Shah Alam, I can see my family and I are settling quite nicely. My daughters,Aqeelah, has just finished her SPM and busy trying to find a new place of study. Nabiela is very comfortable at her school in Besut, Terengganu.;and Ariefah, likes her school in Shah Alam and fast making good friends as well as good grades. My other children, Maryam and Ahmad, are enjoying their times at the school. I am not sure whether they learn anything there but for now it is good to know they are comfortable. My wife is getting herself busy with her PhD and I believe it will take some time to get into the rhythm and all, like myself, she will get there eventually. All praise be to Allah for giving us the strength and courage during all those times. So, as Anwar is out trying to form a new government, Obama swept everyone off their feet and book himself a place at the oval office, I myself seek a brighter and healthier future ahead. My age has gone past 40-year-old mark and keep thinking of what have I done for all those years of living. What is it really the thing that matters the most? Am I happy? Satisfied? Fulfilled? Accomplished? At the end of the day I realize that healthy body is so precious that nothing else matters. But again, it is a daunting task to keep the body fit. With extra fat hanging around, I have a long way to go.

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