Monday, January 18, 2010

Until My Last Breath.

I had colourful memories of my primary school. There were no reason to worry about important things other than finishing the homework given by the teachers. One of my teachers who like to give me alot of homework is Cikgu Badariah, my Maths teacher when I was at Sekolah Kebangsaan Dato Bandar Rasah (SKDBR). She is very notorious for giving hundreds of Maths homework to her students. Don't even think of not finishing the work given by her as it would usually mean that you would get the hairdryer treatment from her and your ear would most likely be detached from your head as she would pull the ear of the students who do not finish the work given by her,very, very hard.Haha. Everytime I think about the ear-pulling, I am so relieved that at least I scored for my Maths in UPSR. She is so dearly loved by her students even when she 'tortures' the students with loads of homeworks. As one of her students, I love her too for being one part that helped me to be where I am right now. So when I got the news that she already passed away yesterday evening, I was so devastated beyond any description.

I went to her house yesterday evening to read Yassin for her. As I reached the door of her house, I stopped for a while as I remembered my experience being there. It is already more than 10 years since I stepped into her house. She is very famous with her tuition classes and I was one of her students for her Math tuition class.Yeah, as if I didnt get enough torturing at school during her Maths subject, I offered myself to be in her tuition class like offering myself to be eaten by a dragon.Hehe. The sole reason that I went to her tuition class is because of a girl that I had a crush on went to the same tuition. I guess I tried to spend more time with the girl though actually more of it was spent doing hundreds of Maths exercises.Haha.Off I went to the tuition class at Cikgu Badariah's house and luckily I didnt disappoint her and got an A in Maths for my UPSR. So yesterday was a sign of respect for her, for all the good deeds and nagging that she did for us. Being a teacher like her is not an easy job. She is very strict as she doesnt want her students to stray from the path to excellence though her strictness would not win her fans. But she didnt mind that, she's teaching because she wants her students to be successful in life, not because she wants to have fans. But I guess her strictness wins her admirers instead, as I'm one of them. As I was reading the Yassin for her, I shed tears of emptiness as one of my favourite teachers has passed away and would never come back. One part of me, one part of my memories has gone with her demise.

After I finished reading Yassin and tahlil, I listened to her husband as her husband told stories about her. The last few weeks before her death, her husband already asked her to stop teaching tuition as they already have enough money from their pension. But she was very persistent and said that she would continue teaching. Her husband asked her again, then when would she stop teaching the students? She answered,

" Until my last breath."

And as I looked around the house, it's very true. The house that I went to more than 10 years ago is still the same house that I went to yesterday. She leads a very modest life, she didnt do the tuition for the sake of the money, but for the benefit of the students instead. On top of the fan switch box, there is still a whiteboard duster that she would usually use during her tuition classes. I guess the whiteboard duster wont be used anymore after this.

It's hard for me to write about her in past tense as it is very hard for me to accept the fact that she's now gone. I already planned to go to her house during Hari Raya Aidilfiti a few years back but it never materialised. I really regret it now that I didnt get the chance to meet her after I left primary school. I just hope that she knows that her students love her very much and she would always be a part of her students, until the very last breath.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Is There To a Name?

I studied at a boarding school for 5 years. For those who used to go to a boarding school, it is most likely that you would get a nickname, like I did. I didnt really like my nickname but I never mind about it, it is just a name. I didnt get hurt for whatever name people might want to call me. I am still me, I wont simply transform to something else just because some other people call me differently.

Why am I talking about names now? I guess this is all due to the High Court's decision regarding the use of the word 'Allah' for the Herald magazine for their Bahasa publication. Things, I must admit, have exploded into an unimaginable magnitude. People have been giving their two-sen opinion about this and alot of discussions have been made. Not that I'm trying to preach or anything. I'm just giving my opinion which is absolutely limited and comes from a young man who is yet to experience the world out there.

First of all, let's see this thing from various view here. The word 'Allah', as some people argue, has been used by the Arab Christians for many years and it is used by the Christians in Sarawak and Sabah in the Bahasa translation of their Bible. Why not translate it to Tuhan then, you might ask. They are not publishing it in Arabic, but in Bahasa, you might add. Then why are the Muslims using the word Allah then? It is Arabic, and we are using it in Bahasa too. We can call Allah as Tuhan too, if the argument that is used against the Christians is used against the Muslims. The Muslims are taking the Arabic word and made it as a Bahasa word. So see the similarities here? The problem here is pure semantics. I am yet to see any Christians converting Muslims just because we call our God with the same name. Are we Muslims are so easily duped into converting to other religions? Is our faith that fragile? Ok, so you might want to say, the kids might be confused. Then what about the Christian kids then?Wont they be confused too? Oh,no, you say? Is it because the Christian kids have better faith than the Muslim kids? Are you trying to imply that we dont know how to teach our kids about Islam then? So whose fault is that then? You guess it right. Our fault. If you dare to think that we can simply convert to other religion and that our faith about our religion is so fragile, then it is our fault. Not some kafir.

Now what might be sensitive over here might not be sensitive at all at other places. What might be sensitive for people in Peninsular Malaysia might not be sensitive for the people in Sabah and Sarawak. The level of sensitivities vary according to their places. For example, the KFC advertisement shown at Australia. For the Australians, the advertisement might not be offensive but for the Americans, the advertisement is surely offensive enough for them. So while some people are demonstrating demanding that the use of the word Allah is stopped, some people who could not care less might feel that this is getting out of hand. But what goes out of hand is actually when people started burning churches. Yes, church with -es which denotes plural, more than one. Just in case you dont know, even in wars, Muslims are not allowed to harm people who are taking shelters in churches or any other place of worship, what more actually burning the place of worship. This stupid action actually justifies the fear that people have about Islam like this twisted hater here who keep on damning the Muslims.

My argument is simple, what if we are on their side, our mosque is burned to the ground? Would we retaliate or we simply forgive those who did it? It is not that I'm turning my back on Islam or something like that. I must admit that I'm quite uncomfortable with the court's decision. But we cant act like some medieval savages and do as we like. Jihad, you might say. No Christians are doing any physical harm to the Muslims, at least not in Malaysia, so why must we start burning places of worship? There are better ways to jihad as jihad doesnt mean picking up guns. We can jihad by strengthening our faith, our economy, our education. That is how a modern Muslim should do their jihad. But if there are proofs that the Christians are misusing the word Allah and putting it to some deities, actions should be taken, appropriate actions that are in accordance to law. I just hope that no violence should occur because of this. Come to my house and I can show you a Christian centre in front of my neighbourhood's mosque. No cases of people converting people of other religion as yet here. Like I said before, there is no such thing as a bad religion, only bad followers.