The wooden verandah creaked and groaned under the heavy weight of the stream of visitors, who seemed to be arriving by the dozen. My siblings and I, dragged along by Mak, took our place in the queue patiently, clutching bottles of air zamzam in tumblers and fruits bought at Pekan Rabu for the host. At this time of the year, Pak Haji Y’s place in Pendang was the place to go. Anxious parents dragged reluctant, protesting teenagers to what must seemed like a clinic of last resort to score those A’s or at the very least calm the nerves and open the hearts and minds. Our turn came after what must be like an hour long wait and within just three minutes, we were making tracks home, Mak’s nerves suitably calmed while ours, at the very least, reassured after hearing the wise dulcet tones of the Pak Haji.
If anyone was affected by exams, it must have been Mak. She did all the worrying. We were quite, er what’s the word? Cool! She arranged for tutors to come to the house, woke us up early in the mornings for at least two hours of revision while she prepared sandwiches, milo and constantly checked to see that we had not gone back to sleep. And of course, the compulsory visit to Pak Haji Y in Pendang, whose blessed water, we dutifully sipped every morning before going to school. Me suspect, Mak would sneak into our bedroom every night on the pretext of checking the mosquito coil. But was I dreaming, or was it Mak stroking my head and reading some ayats? The wet patch on the pillow and my damp patch of hair must surely be one of her efforts to make sure that whatever I read went straight to the head. Such was her dedication, (or was it lack of confidence in me?). Out of frustration, she’d mumble: Ish, kalau Mak boleh buat periksa, Mak dah buat dah periksa untuk anak-anak Mak.
Right now, I could do with Mak’s doa and support and that reassuring touch of her soft hands on my forehead. Cos right now, I am also worried about my children who are facing their own exams. And of course, Mama must also show that she can do it!
Who was it who told me that juggling work and study wasn't easy? Well, that person is $£"^! right and I am now kicking myself for believing I can do it.
Last year, at this time, I was a bundle of nerves as I prepared for my first ever exam in what must have been more than 20 years since I sat for my last paper. I nearly didn’t make it after staying up all night trying to absorb theories and facts that seemed to whizz past my head. But hubby persuaded me like he would a 9 nine year old and waved me off with some doa’s.
This time around its supposed to be better but its not. The revision class yesterday didn’t help much. Class swot lugged in a thick file of notes, complete with colour-coded stickers and impressed us with a list of questions (which seemed foreign to me) she predicted. For all I knew, they were discussing Greek literature. Rushed to the library and collected an armful of books and managed to concentrate for about an hour before my mind wondered to more pressing matters like what to cook for dinner. Note pad looked something like this:
Sidaoru’ang – born 1943 – from Phitsulanon District –left home at 12 to go to Bangkok- writings initially autobiographical – must buy chicken, toilet rolls, cat food, must update blog....
Never been much of a swot or the mugging type. Cant remember how I got through all those exams but I supposed the results were enough to see me through high school and college. The earliest and first important exams was the Lower Certicate of Examinations. And I remember it was the first time that objective tests were introduced. Multiple choice answers meant that some of us rolled up papers with A, B, C and D written on them and tossed them in the air and the one we picked would be the answer. Or play pin the donkey's tail on the alphabets with the 2B HP pencil.
And one solution to anxious moments outside the exam hall. A last minute tactic was to pick a book, close our eyes and open a page. And that page was meant to be the chapter to read. God help us all if questions from other chapters came out. (And God help me if my children were to read this! No, sayang mama, it was mama’s friends who did this!)
Finding time to study in between work can be quite a problem. I try reading in the bus, on the train, in the tube. I’ve tried the osmosis method for the brain to absorb whatever I am reading, as suggested by Pok Ku, but almost always ended up with bumps on the head and more damage to brain cells. I’ve yet to try burning the book and drink the ash mixed with water. I'll probably call Mak on the morning of my paper. I wanted so much to blog about her for Mother's Day, but that will have to wait and today 05 05 05 a special date for that special person in my life and I cant even do anything special.
But all things considered, I've made a start - I’ve now got myself lots of pens, pencils, erasers and notecards with colourful stickers. There’s a pile of books waiting to be devoured and digested in a very, very short period of time. So, now I need to get my priorities right and this means: Clean toilet, scrub the bathtub, rearrange the books, cook, make coffee...and more coffee.
So, think of me, dear friends, while I try to sort myself out. Will resurface for some fresh air when I can. And think of me in your doa’s for these tired old brain cells ain’t functioning well anymore!