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

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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.





















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