Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My good friends/ My best friends at IOBA 1979/ Ibrahim secondary school MCE 1979 batch/ Stayin Alive 1979 group

I have to admit that I'm not a very social person and I don't have that many friends. I used to be very talkative and friendly person but over the years I've become more reserved, quiet , and to some extent anti social. It's really difficult to explain here why I've become such a person but  I believe by nature I'm always a talkative guy. I was the best Bahasa Malaysia debater in my class. My classmates were not willing to argue or  debate with  me  intelligently in a formalized class debate. I was even nominated and appointed  as the emcee for one of the Ibrahim school's song competitions in which there were hundreds of people listening to my emceeing.  I was also once a strong student leader in the university.  I've  a good  voice and my friends would tease me that I have a very deep and mature voice. I once used to dream to become a news reader for RTM. I was  also the school Quran reciter but it was more  of a reserve to replace the main reader ,Zailan Rahman, if he could not make it to the Quran competition. You could also say that I was and still am also  very good at reciting Sajak or poems in a way that people would be mesmerized by my recital. Despite being quiet and aloof now, I've a number of friends that I would like to describe and share with you. These are my IOBA friends.

One of my friends that I was very close to was Zaini Hashim He was a good student and always made as the monitor or assistant monitor  of the class. In the class from  primary school till the secondary school, I would always sit not far from Zaini Hashim.He had leadership skills and looked quite handsome with slightly curly here.His nose was not to pointed but not too flat like me. He's handsomer than me that's for sure. When we went out for camping or for ais kacang sessions at kedai Baharin and Kedai Pak Bahador in Sg Petani, Zaini Hashim would always become the center of attention. On a trip to Pantai Merdeka he would always get a girl to be a friend. On one trip to  Pantai Merdeka, I remember he got a quite pretty girl from Sik or Baling and they managed to exchange letters and  I got the opportunity to read most the the exchanged letters. You have to remember that we had no internet and email then. We used  the not so reliable snail mails to communicate.  Academically, Zaini was quite good and smart student but in term of class academic ranking he was always in the second tier. One thing that I always remember about him is that he was so good in Mathematics. He was the source for me to copy all the Math assignments given by the teacher Mrs Pareira,  in the secondary school . By now you know that I went to Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim Sungai Petani. I remember, I copied all the work without any feeling of regret. I knew at that time that I was already doomed in my Maths subject. 

Because he was the only son of a Merbok member of Parliament , there's an air of slight unintended arrogance  in him but nothing that was awful. When the results of MCE was announced I got good grades even though I did not study that much but Zaini did not do  well. After I got to pursue my studies I think he lost his confidence and became slightly less motivated in his studies and his outlook of life in general. But because of his good grade in Maths he managed to get a place in Politeknik Ungku Omar. I heard that he got married to a janda (widow)  and had a number of children but they were later divorced . I think now he remarried to a TV producer who's very much younger than him. I think now he leads a happy life and has a grandson already. Thank you Zaini for being my good and dependable friend and you were always there for me.

Another close friend that I had was Azhar Ahmad. Azhar was a son of a chief clerk at Pejabat Tanah (Land Office). He was fair , handsome and looks like a cross between a Chinese and a Mat Salleh. He was very stylish and come from a  quite well to do family because his father owned lots of lands and mom was a headmistress at Sek Rendah Jalan Sekerat in Sg Petani. They lived in a bungalow in Jalan Pegawai.One particular thing that I remember about him is that he would always try to imitate and talk like a Mat Salleh  and in school he's known as some one who came from a rich family .He would always tease his friends when they pronounced certain English words incorrectly. One of his bad habits is he liked to come close to people  and then smell their breaths  and later would put his hand at his nose and mouth to show how their breath smelled so bad. I was always targeted by him although my breath did not smell that bad at all. 

We were together from standard three until form 5. Because Azhar or Boroi as we called him during  the secondary school, he was always chosen as a prefect but not the monitor. In standard three ,I was hoping that I would become a prefect but instead Mr Ramasamy, our class teacher,  chose Azhar instead probably because he was impeccably dressed. I was as usual not smartly dressed because my parents were too poor they could not afford to buy me new clothes.Another  of Boroi's bad habit during secondary school years was to bring porno magazines. I don't know where he got the magazines and he would passed them to me and the others in the class. I remember once he brought a good piece of phonography material called the SCALA. The color and print quality of the materials were really first class. Another of his bad habit was he liked to peep at girls whenever he had the opportunity. Once Boroi with Baskeran, one naughty classmate  who later died because of diabetes, were using a sharpener with a mirror to take a peek at Miss Saw's  undergarment when we were crowding her. Miss Saw was our pretty and single English teacher, who liked to wear short skirts.  That event was was a memorable one because the sharpener that we used to peek had a sticker printed  Stayin Alive . Because of that  our Ex Ibrahim group 1979 is now called the Stayin Alive group 1979 because of that mischievous thing we did . Boroi did not do well in his MCE examination but he took the exam again at Maktab ADABI and managed to get a place to study Law in UITM. Now he's a practicing lawyer and married to a rich girl who is  from a Royal family and works as an international banker. They now live in Bukit Kayangan Shah Alam  where the rich and famous live.

There's also another very good friend of mine and his name is Zainal Abbidin Ujang or we always called him Ujang. In school, Ujang was always the monitor. He's appointed as the monitor because he dressed neatly and  looked very handsome. Girls go crazy about him. He had an excellent PR and had the ability to communicate and charm people especially girls. He was the son  an army officer . Ujang would always come to school in a military truck. In the afternoon, he would be cycling in style in his mini bicycle in  a clean  all white attire., Ujang was also a prefect and I have to admit that I was jealous of him because of how handsome he looked. Ujang had this ability of charming girls in Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim and girls in the next school- Sekolah Menengah Convent.  Despite  not being physically big size, Ujang was very mature. He was a very out going and a very understanding friend. He's  one guy that everyone loved and he never had the habit of badmouthing his friends or his foes. If there 's a competition to choose a guy that everyone loves it would have to be Ujang. In Forms 3, 4 and 5,  I would always sit next to Ujang. I think the reason could be that both of us really liked to sit under the class fan. Thus, that was the reason why we were never far apart when it comes to seating arrangements in the classroom.

I remember one day during agama class, our Ustazah called everyone to a recite a verse in the Al Quran and we all managed to recite clearly and beautifully and the Ustazah was impressed by us. When it came to Ujang's turn everyone was keeping quiet because he was the monitor -the standard bearer- and he began reciting Bismillah...nirohim..... It was done with such a melodious and a accurate pronunciation that every one was mesmerized by him . He then continued "wa... wa...wa.." and stopped. We were looking at each other and burst into laughing Then, we all knew that he did not know how to recite the Al Quran.  Even the Ustazah laughed at his antics. I would never forget that moment. Ujang was an assistant director for MSD ,Malaysian student Department in Washington DC. After coming back from the US he brought along his sports car, a two seater Mitsubishi Eclipse and used the car to charm lots of girls... Sorry  Ujang for sharing this with the public. Ujang is one of the nicest guys that I know and he continues to become my good friend, Occasionally, he would give me a call. His children are all very successful and  he's married to a very beautiful lady and they are very happily married. They live in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan in a very big bungalow.Thank You Ujang for having the privilege to be your friend.

My next good friend is Sulaiman Daud. Sulaiman or Leman was a gang mamak from Penang. Even though he is from the Mamak Clan he does not look like a mamak. His fair skin , curly hair  and thick glasses make him look intelligent. Well he is very intelligent and smart. He would always get number one in the final examination. He was never my competitor in the rat race. He had no competitor, he  was that good. He was really outstanding that people believed that he would be the best student and he delivered that. Leman was a prefect as also a hostelite at asrama Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim. One thing about Leman is that his family was into business and they were involved in promoting and selling kopi Chap Hang Tuah. Leman was fortunate because he came from a rich family. He was also smartly dressed and had all the facilities and ability to overcome the challenges to be successful in life. 

In form 5 during the biology class, I remember Leman was called out by Mr Edgar Augustin our Biology teacher. He was asked to show to the class where the diaphragm was. Mr Edgar was known as the fiercest teacher in the school and we all scared like rats. Leman was trembling to show the diaphragm because he was not sure where it was , I could see his hands shaking quite violently and not pointing to anything. Nobody said anything and it was dead silence. He was finally scolded by Mr Edgar for not being able to provide the answer and he was also scolded terribly for saying "Dont know" . "Next time dont say I don't know. Just say Mary had a little lamb ," argued Mr Edgar. Leman in MCE really scored in Biology subject.He was offered a scholarship to study overseas but he rejected the offer and instead decided to become a businessman. Today, he is a millionaire and a very successful businessman and a globe trotter. He travels the world to do his business. One thing about Leman is that he's always willing to help the poor. We are still good friends but recently he was diagnosed with a severe back pain.

Will continue...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How I brought up my children?/ How to bring up children/ Siapa Kassim Selamat ? Lawyer, Doktor , Engineer...

I feel rather uncomfortable discussing this very sensitive topic. I'm not an expert in child development or a good motivator like Dato Fadillah Kamsah. Nor I'm a good orator and a very religious person like DUKE or Dato Ustad Kazem Elias. I'm just an ordinary guy who has passed the midway of the 21st century  and still figuring out what is best for me. I still face problems that people face and sometimes I try to find ways like other ordinary people on  how to solve my personal problems. I've no special certificates nor diplomas in psychology or counselling  that will convince people that I have the authority or the persuasive power to tell other people what and how they should bring up their children. What I'm trying to do here is just to share my own experience with other people on how I have brought up my children. I don't have many children but only 3-2 boys and a girl and they are the love of my life. Unlike me who as very few children, there are lots of families with 5-8 children or more in their beautiful and happy families and I really respect the parents of these big families

Image result for kassim selamat
Kassim Selamat? Siapa dia Kassim Selamat...Lawyer, Doctor, Engineer?

I remember my life as a child was a little difficult financially, my father was a policeman with the rank of mata mata or a police constable . A police constable at that time was earning less than RM 200 ringgit. My family was quite large with 7 siblings-5 girls and 2 boys, and mother was a full time housewife. Most of my father's salary was spent on food. I remember we would hutang (borrow on credit) at a kedai mamak   to buy all the necessities like rice ,sugar and flour. Ayah as we call our father would pay off part of the hutang at the end of the month. We lived on hutang most of the time and we hutang on so many things. Even buying our TV was done on credit from Chin Radio in Sungai Petani Kedah. We also hutang from the bread vendor using buku 555.Not much was left of the monthly salary to buy other things.

We did not have money to buy luxury nor simple and cheap  things. Buying good quality durian was a no no. I remember Ayah buying durian longgok (rejected and cheap durians ) for a few ringgit and all but one  durian was fit for consumption. I remember I had to use  my sister's white blouse as my white short sleeved school shirt and my friends were asking me why there were some sewn lines on the areas of the chest in my so called school shirt . I did not know what they were and my friends never asked me again . I remember also buying hardy white plastic shoes to go to school and I remember how the rubber tappers during those days would put on the shoes before going out early in the morning to collect rubber. I also remember how I had to borrow from my friend, Zaini Hashim a son of a member of parliament.  a singlet for a sports ceremony because my dad could not  afford to buy it. I was chosen by my teacher Mr. Chin Ah Ba , a teacher whose leg got amputated or something was wrong with his right knee and walking gaitly, to be the recital of the sumpah kesukanan for my primary school , Sekolah Rendah Ibrahim.

Because life was so difficult my father became very strict, stern and fierce person . He would get easily irritated. He would called out my name aloud until all the neighbors a few blocks away from our low cost home could hear him and I   would rush back home to answer his shouting. I would get whacked for the simplest of mistakes. Everyone in the family would fear my authoritative father. I get whacked by my father quite a number of times and occasional getu or pinching from my mother too. I remember my dad whacked me on the head and shoulder until the papan rehan that I used to put the Quran split into two. I cried a lot and even had considered running away from the family. I envied my primary school friends  Zulkifli Ahmad, whose father was a high ranked police ranger(Adjutan polis Hutan)  who got 3As and 2Bs (those time it was so difficult to score)  in the exam and got the chance to study at Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid in Alor Setar. I also got jealous with the tall and and tough Ariff or Arab ,his nickname, for doing quite well in the Peperiksaan Penilaian (More like UPSR nowadays)and was rewarded to go to the same college in Alor Setar.  I wished I had done well academically  and would get the opportunity to further my studies faraway from my family. But it was not to be and I still got stuck in my sleepy hometown -Sungai Petani.

Because of the constant whacking and rotan from my father and sometimes the scolding that I got from my mother , I promised myself that I would not do the same thing to my own children." I promised I would not rotan my children" That was I what I promised myself when I got hit. And I kept that promise ever since .I've never whacked my son and my daughter except for one isolated instance. I had to rotan my eldest for not performing his Friday prayers when I found this out from his best friends. I think that was the only time that I really hit my eldest son. After I did the rotan I felt so bad and so regretful and guilty and I cried silently- "Ya Allah why did I do that" But of course I did not show my remorse to my children nor my wife.  I promised myself again I would not whack  or punish my children. That's the pantang that I keep until now .  Because of this  bad personal experience I never rotan on my children unnecessarily.

Giving a rotan is not the only thing I disdain, I really treat my children with unconditional love. I would kiss and hug my children all the time . Even until now at the age of 26 my children still come to my room to kiss me good night. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would hug my young children and kiss and give  them unconditional love. I would always make sure that they are protected and guided by my love.When they were young children  ,I would also like to tell them bravery  stories of Awang Kenit. ( Sad that my grown up children now do not remember all the stories of Awang Kenit that I frequently told them) I would also tell them horror stories of nenek kebayan complete with the horror sound effect and  they would come close and lie next to me and I would hug them tight. Sometimes they would fall asleep next to me. My chubby daughter, Tom, after listening to the story would always sleep  under my armpit. I really love all those moments.

When I was young and studying at Sek Rendah Ibrahim and Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim Sungai Petani, I was always weak in Maths subject. I don't know why I was so weak and disinterested in numbers. I just did not like Mathematics. But the best thing is that I knew the importance of the subject. In the primary school, I would hesitantly complete all the mathematics assignments. When I was in the secondary school I just totally shut  myself out from the subject. I would do all the assignments by copying my friend's- Zaini Hashim.You could say that I really didn't like Math especially when the subject was taught by the lazy and inept  Mrs Pareira, At home ,I would stop hearing the one hour radio program  every friday called Dari Kampus ke Kampus. The radio program would report stories of young would be engineers and scholars who were successful  in their universities studies.  I hated it so much because it  always highlighted the importance of science and math to be successful and I know I was not good in those subjects. 

Because of my failure in Math and Science, I promised myself I would really train my children to be good in the subjects. When they were young I would make sure that they like Mathematics and Science. I would always train my children to remember the Mathematical formulas and tables. While driving, I would ask them to add and minus  the license number of cars they could see. They would add, minus, multiply and did many other things related to numbers and mathematics. At the end of the so called unofficial class I would reward my children with toys and something that they really liked. Sometimes the toys were quite expensive at least for me who was earning meagerly. I think because of the training they had, all my children were good in Maths and two of them were Mathematics olympiads. I remember I eldest always won so many prizes from his school in Mathematics.

I also remember to train them on communication skills . I would encourage my children to use and speak English . On long trips like to Trengganu, I would give my children roles as  speakers or give them tasks in which they had to give speeches in English. And I would share with them the so called correct way in  giving speeches. I also encouraged them to use English when asking for extra pillows and towels  from the hotels we stayed for the night. I would just keep quiet and they would practice using English to order those things with the housekeeping  section of most of the hotels that we stayed.

I also remember telling and teaching them to appreciate insects and animals. I really liked to take my young children to the zoo. I don't remember how many times exactly we have visited  Zoo Negara at Ulu Klang but it must be countless of times. We also visited the Zoo in Melaka and in Taiping. I would tell my children all the various animals at the zoo that we were visiting.

Another thing that I did to my children is getting them to respect the elders. This is something that I feel parents nowadays tend to forget. When I was young I myself really liked my old neighbours . I would buy cigars for my immediate neighbor Pak Shaari .Pak Shaari was a barber doing his round riding an old Raleigh bicycle. I would visit Nenek Mak Mah at Gok Arang as they called the place. The old lady stayed in a small dilapidated hut by  the mangrove river. I would also tease Kak Peah a pretty middle aged lady married to a hardcore UMNO member-Ustad Shuib. She liked me so much that she wanted me to marry one of her daughters. No I did not marry her daughter even though she's quite pretty. Because of the training that I got and the way I see the world , I also trained my children to respect old people regardless of their status , race and religion. I remember when we went back to our hometown, Sungai Petani for a holiday and we stopped at a stall to buy apung lenggang   from an old  Indian lady  whose age was around early 50s and  my son called the lady mak Cik and she was very happy about it and he got extra free and delicious apung lenggang, a pancake like flatbread.

Although I'm not a very religious person judging from my number of trips to to the masjid. I always make it a point for them to be grateful to Allah. I always make sure that all my children would perform their daily prayers and to fast during the Ramadhan. I also made sure that my children would attend  religious schools in the afternoon to learn about all the religious duties of a Muslim . And I'm very happy with the results. Now my children would get upset with me If I procrastinated on my prayers. They don't say it directly to me but I know they were insinuating that I've yet to perform my prayers on time. All my boys can be Tok Imam based on the religious knowledge they have and their piousness.

Another thing that I instill in my children is the concept of sedekah. I made it a point to give back to the poor a portion of what I earned. They learned this through out their young life, I would always tell them that  happiness is sharing with  family members and sharing with the poor. Because of this , my children are not stingy with their siblings, friends and also their parents. They are always there to help their parents and their family members. I remember giving money to the poor from cases that I read in the newspaper and I would invite them to follow me to  deposit money thru the ATM for the poor people. I also showed them how I also support my parents ever since I first started working  and I would make it a point to  deposit money to my parents  via ATM before the 28 of  the month and  I would invite them  when I deposited money for my parents.

Finally in moulding the children I would train them to be very confident. From young I would instruct my children to book hotels via the phone and to use English when communicating with the hotel personnel. I also would encourage them to think out of the box. I never stopped them from doing naughty things like climbing the fence , running at the mall and learning whatever they wanted to learn. My parents when they trained me they would always say  No to too many things. But I work the other way round , I would tell my children to do things that they like. and  I never said no to them. But there are always limit in whatever things that we do.

My children are not par excellence in their academic achievements but they are good all rounder children, students and citizens. They have good manners and and quite religious. They know their duties as a Malay and as a Muslim. They don't smoke and they don't  go out at night. But they also don't go to the masjid everyday but we make it a point to do jemaah prayer as often as possible. My eldest is a doctor at Putrajaya hospital and he enjoys his work so much and he aims to be a Cardiothoracic surgeon one day.  My second,a girl ,is a lawyer at Bandar Tasik Selatan.She loves cooking and  If she quits the legal domain she might just be a cook. I will support her in whatever things that she wants to do. My youngest who's 22 years old is now doing nuclear Engineering at UTM but was offered a number of places in UK universities but unfortunately did not get any scholarship or loans. He said he wanted to study till he gets his PhD and I hope he will achieve what he desires. My youngest is probably the smartest of the three.