Saturday, May 16, 2009

Terima Kasih Cikgu!

Terima kasih cikgu!
Mak ceh cekgu!
Syukran ya mu'allim!

Those are few appreciate words, worth a grain of salt they are compared to what my teachers had done for me. Every year in Malaysia, Teacher's Day is celebrated with joyous festivity in virtually every primary and secondary schools. Songs from students thanking their dedicated teachers are sung, pledges by the teachers sworn to continue to teach without tire are made: an event full of reflections about the deeds of the teachers.

But then, I was not that appreciative as I am now. To me, yea, the "Terima Kasih Cikgu" (Thank you, teacher) sing-along along with other 750 fellow students during much of my younger days in school were fun. Imagine a packed assembly hall, full with 750 excited children with mellow voice, rung the humble hall of wooden stage - resulted a sort of sonorous ad lib orchestrated choir, but that was pretty much for me. Not until now.

Looking back about 17 years ago when I first set my foot in a school, frightful, knowing not what to expect, then came a lady of my mother's age, saying to me, "来,来在这里“ (come, come over here), pointing to me a sit. I blinked, holding tight my father's hand with my right hand, sticking fast on his leg with the other. But she the lovely lady, my teacher, smiled and took my hand from my father's, and led me to a sit - a boy to the left, and a girl to the right. Slowly but surely, I released my father's hand and lend my hand to hers, and so begun my very first day in school, learned to greet "你好(hello)! and wrote the word “水(water).” About 12pm, the school ended, and so ended my first day in school. Not bad!

Primary school was giggly fun. I understood then, my teachers' job was to 'teach' (or more like to 'preach'), and that was it. Some teachers were so 'garang' (I don't know the English translation; mean, perhaps?) while others kindly angelic. And so the standard was set: 'garang' teachers equals 'bad' teachers, 'kindly angelic' teachers equals 'good' teachers. How simple was a mind of a child, no?

Secondary school... now I'm getting older and quite obviously aware of the concept of 'teaching'. No, it was not all about 'preaching', rather, it is something more than that. But then again, a half-developed mind did not grasp the full conclusion. Still youngster, a youngster acted. The idea of a 'good' teacher then was a teacher who grades loosely during exams, and those who only use about 50% of 1hour 30minutes of every class session to teach, and gives the other 50% to us to do random things. But hey, people starts to learn LOVE 101 in school. Some may even classify good teachers based on their 'cuteness', 'prettiness' or 'handsomeness'! Such were the days...

But now, things are different. Some of my colleagues are now even school teachers themselves! I begin to understand teaching is not that easy as it seemed to me, let alone educating. Reminiscing back my younger days remind me of something: if I were not taught by these noble ladies and men to write, to count, to read, and what more important is to be a human, then who would I become?

Even today, the memories of being nagged and caned by my teachers are still clear in my mind. But thanks to their long preaches and long canes, had made me for who I am today. At least I have the basic tools to work on with my life and endeavors.

Thank you teachers, may Allah bless you all. As for those who have passed, Rest in Peace and may Heaven be your final resting place, ameen. :)