Thursday, September 23, 2010

In A Life Of A Boy...

Over the weekend, 2 groups of boys came ‘beraya’ at my house as they saw my father busied shoveling the soil to plant my ‘ubi kayu’ sticks Mak Ngah gave me last weekend* (yes, I stressed mine because I was supposed to plant them but Ayah – well, he enjoys doing things for me even at my age, I am indeed forever blessed).

The first group came on their bikes on Saturday morning, with sweats rushing down their temples. I ushered them in, after they said they wanted to ‘makan kuih raya’ responding to Mak’s joking remark, “Nak Makan Ke Nak Duit Raya” (back in kampong, most kids would tell us upfront that they just want ‘Duit Raya”).

So, they were munching on almond biscotti (the nuts are good for your brain my dear), some salty knotted mini popia, chocolaty cookies and gulping 2 glasses of Ribena each (:D only after this I watched Ribena’s ads on TV – enough with ‘Air Sirap’ for kids!) while Mak asked them the usual stuffs. Bouncing looks amongst themselves, it seemed that they wanted to stay a little longer and enjoyed the snacks and drink while they can - after all, the sun shone so brightly. As always, I have a soft spot for kids (Read: Spoiling them if I was given a chance to do) and being around them never fails to make my eyes watery because it’s overwhelming to be able to smell innocence and courage rolled into a bundle of cells we called a child.

As they shook my hands stepping out of the door, I told them to be a smart and good boy. Clinching Duit Raya envelope in their hand, I followed them till they were out of my sight. As if able to sense that they were being watched, they turned around and grinned shyly. Since their group was the first to visit, I make a point to give double the amount of my usual Duit Raya. Plus, Ayah told us afterwards that my neighbours across the road ignored them when they gave their Salam. That’s not the first time they do that – I have watched the same incident last year. I wonder if Raya is exclusive to those we know and care these days. Such a pitiful reality during this supposedly meaningful Eid Mubarak, especially when it involves those who are capable enough to spread some joy – materially.

How could we turn away from children, as if they are of lesser important subjects?

Many of today’s social problems amongst our children stem from ignorance and indifference displayed by their supposedly-to-be role models – us, the so-called grown-ups. Many seek comfort and attention from anyone they spend most of their time with; even when deep down they know such company won’t be a lasting and genuine one, doing things to slowly pass their time.

Full of energy and hormones, we ought to be doing more for these kids so that they could dispense their exuberance in ways that could shape their future.

One of the criteria of Happy People, based on an e-book Sir Walla shared with me, is to embrace togetherness through culture and sports. Co-curriculum activities in school should be made readily available to anyone interested for free and these activities should be tailor made to suit children’s exuberance, seamless energy and curiosity. You must be thinking that I am being unfair putting more such responsibility to our teachers but I hope you would see the special role of school in uniting children, providing opportunities to them to do their best and giving surmountable benefits to address rampant social injustice.

Yes, children always make me cry and if you read these 2 poignant poems, you would understand why I feel that way.

Whose Child Is This?
~ Author Unknown

"Whose child is this?" I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
"Mine", said the parent with a tender smile
"Mine to keep a little while
To bathe his hands and comb his hair
To tell him what he is to wear
To prepare him that he may always be good
And each day do the things he should"

"Whose child is this?" I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
"Mine", said the teacher with the same tender smile
"Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach him how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct his dear little mind
To help him live by every rule
And get the best he can from school"

"Whose child is this?" I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
"Ours" said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
"Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever"

One Hundred Years from now
(excerpt from "Within My Power" by Mr. Forest E. Witcraft)

One Hundred Years from now
It will not matter
What kind of car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much money was in my bank account
Nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a better place because
I was important in the life of a child

p.s. On third day of Raya, Pak Ngah and Mak Ngah cooked their famous Chicken Rice and also served us ‘Ubi Kayu Rebus’ and ‘Sambal Tumis Ikan Bilis’. The ‘ubi kayu’ was so tender till the centre I just had to ask Mak Ngah where she got her ubi from. She told me it was from her backyard garden.

Out of nowhere, I turned myself into Ms. DooLittle (after many months of disappearance) and asked if she could share with me the sticks. With her parang, I was smiling from ear to ear watching her swift moves cutting the plant into 1-foot-long sticks. She told me to plant the stick in pairs (so they could support each other when they grow tall) and to remember ‘yang mana pangkal yang mana hujung’. So, in 6-month time, I would sink my teeth into them. Get to know more about ‘ubi kayu’ here in my previous post “
A Curious Case of Cassava”.


zorro said...

Fisha, I only met you and worked together at Hulu Selangor, but now I know that yours (your pa and ma) is a special family.

Ibnu Hanaffi said...

Love this. ;-)

And love to read your posting. This is the first article. Look forward to dig further into your blog.

Keep writing Kak Fisha ;-)

-Aleng (Ibnu Hanaffi)