An SMS from a Malay College teacher to his/her student
I have thought for a while whether I should comment on this or not. Despite the backlash, maybe it is a good reminder to all of us adults and parents that certain things are just off limit.
I have heard about some personalities who make a habit out of cursing the students. Usually on "tak halalkan mengajar, jadi tak berkat in your exam, padan muka". I was quite taken aback that these personalities take comfort and pride when students they don't like do not achieve good results in exams. These "bad" students were then made examples to the rest, usually "padan muka teruk, ilmu tak berkat, saya tak halal".
I do not want to go into the merits and demerits of managing supposedly problematic students. I come from a family of teachers, from my own siblings and many many cousins who take pride out of the noble career. So I can sympathise with the challenges and ordeals teachers have to deal on day to day basis and my admiration for them always.
Yet there must a certain "terms of engagement" in the duty of a teacher.
I have had my share of troubles in koleq. Once, I was bundled by Gedebe (together with Tungkid, Peah, Nik and a few others) into the sports storeroom behind the Senior Com and without a question, he asked us to line up. He whacked our backside so hard with his legendary belt - and to make matters worse, the buckle travelled all the way to the frontal private part, leaving a bruise at the tip of the genitalia for a few weeks to come. The pain to pee then, was worse than the pain to pee after masuk jawi!
I did many other things which some teachers were uncomfortable of. I published underground Warta KPKM that allegedly was the catalyst for the showdown between F5 and Prefects Board in KPKM election in 1993 - as a result, there was a long discussion with Tuan Haji Alimuddin (at that time he was the HEM) in his room. Gedebe also told me to stop writing for a while.
Pendek kata - I had created quite a lot of problems in koleq, in my own ways. Yes I did not have a colourful disciplinary records, yet I was a headache to some of the teachers.
But never in my life time I was threatened with this capital penalty of "kena sumpah, tak berkat belajar and lingkup study". Even Gedebe who could no longer tolerate my antics nearing the end of my days in koleq, just opted to keep a distance and he was not as chatty with me as before (to his credit, it was all my fault).
Gedebe was perhaps one of the most enigmatic teachers ever served MCKK (after all, mana nak cari cikgu kejar budak dengan parang!) - yet I have never heard him curse anyone. He would beat the hell of out anyone (remember the classic Shosha drama in the Dining Hall in 1991); yet one cannot help to reflect that most of the time, he did that out of love (and uncontrollable rage!).
Most of the teachers I come across beat us out of love - and I dare say this because they have never uttered any ill-feelings or wishes for something untoward for our future. If any, they always manage to see the lighter side of any "bad boys".
Remember Miss Au Yoong's fling and love affair with 5 Sc 5. With all due respect to 5 Sc 5, if I were a teacher back then, it would have been a great challenge to stay for a period in that class. Managing Kalai alone is more onerous than looking after one whole F1 or F2 (credit to Kalai!). Yet both Miss Au Yoong and the boys of 5 Sc 5 managed to bring the best out of each other - I watched the "Kehidupan Terlampau 1994" video and have to admit that Miss Au Yoong could not hide her happiness or how touched she felt when the boys of 5 Sc 5 greeted her at her car one day for one special occasion.
(to those uninitiated ones - 5 Sc 5 ni buleh kira dungeon laaa dulu, tempat students paling colourful! The next contender 5 Sc 4 je laa kot)
Or who could forget Tungkid's complete transformation to the point he was awarded a Special Award by the college for that transformation - because of the efforts, attention and love that Miss Liew showered on him. Fadli and I (and the Sc 1 boys) were also very close to Miss Liew - yet there was no way we could rival Tungkid's closeness.
And Tungkid never looked back - his personality, hard work and most importantly empathy (and understanding) are the exact same traits that have become the mark of the man now, that were nurtured by Miss Liew back then.
The reason I am writing this is not to be sentimental - but to give examples that a teaching profession is a labour of love, hence the utmost satisfaction must also be derived from the love that the teachers and students have for each other.
It is even more profound in a boarding school like MCKK - because these are our alternate parents, mothers and fathers while we were away from home. My parents never stopped mentioning that they raised me until I was 13, the rest I spent with my teachers and colleagues in MCKK and overseas after that - a clear sign of how grateful they are of the amanah that had been carried out by our teachers back then.
We were very lucky because we were blessed with teachers who loved us to bits. Even when as a batch we failed the expectation to make a record in SPM, the then HM wrote a melancholic letter to me in Scotland (of which I still keep) expressing his pride and love for all of us as a batch and how we had made his life easy. To him, the rather disastrous SPM result was a takdir, which he accepted gladly - since it was from an unexpected candidate.
How I pray and wish that a boy in Malay College now is showered with love in the same way that our teachers did way back - for that is also one of the tradition and ingredients that make MCKK experience so fulfilling.
However, one must begin to wonder what sort of environment children are subjected to - when teachers curse and deliver pronouncements of halal and haram of their teachings freely as matter of habit! It would not be long before students begin questioning adults' sincerity if each time they make mistake, we curse and pray for them to fail!
In my opinion, students do not have to worry when cursed (or threatened with haram ilmu!) by teachers with questionable sincerity, because I doubt their prayers have berkat in the first place!