Monday, 29 December 2008

A Story of a Selfless Journey

I remember May 1981 as if it was only yesterday. It was the summer when I was heavy with baby and wrought with anxiety of how I would cope with the pain, the responsibilities of a new arrival in the family.


But it was in May, I distinctly remember the arrival of a couple and their young son at our apartment in Bayswater. They were relatives from the husband’s side of the family. Before this, my introduction to his side of the family was short and sweet and before I could understand their Trengganuspeak, it was already time to say goodbye.


Their brief stay with us was the beginning of a relationship that has come to mean a lot to me. They came into my life at a time when I needed much pampering and Kak Mah provided that plus nasi dagang on a platter. Abang Ngah reminded me of my brother, my uncles all rolled into one. They were easy to talk to and I felt most comfortable with them, so much so that when the time came for them to leave, I practically begged them to stay. I remember standing there at the door of our apartment in Chapel Side, tears rolling down my cheeks as I begged them to stay and be with me for the birth of my first child. But they had to leave and it was a few days later that I gave birth.


But we were to meet again when they came again, this time for a longer period as Abang Ngah came to work. In them, I saw a model family, so caring, so loving. I will always remember Kak Mah’s words; be friends with your children. Make sure that they come to you when they need to speak about anything.


Anyway, what I am about to share here, is more than just our relationship. In the spirit of Maal Hijrah, I would like to share a story of a journey that both Kak Mah and Abang Ngah had embarked on. On their journey, they had selflessly taken others on board.


When Abang Ngah retired, he and Kak Mah could have enjoyed their retirement days travelling the world, but instead as a family, they pulled their resources together, garnered their energy and knowledge to set up a trust – The Almanar Trust - in 1994. The aim was “ ….to provide academic support to deserving individuals who have slipped through the formal channels due to various circumstances.”


In short, Abang Ngah, Kak Mah and their children felt it was time they repay society by handpicking students in need, by offering free tuition in English, Science and Maths. In a house across theirs, built in 1996, Abang Ngah tutors children from neighbouring areas. Those in need of transport were offered bicycles. To persuade others to help with the teaching, he has even offered motorbikes. Their own children, who by then had their own careers, donated the first few computers. Read here for more Pak Cik's Stories, where he shares with them his adventures abroad, his life's experience.


I am humbled by their selfless efforts; Abang Ngah’s tireless devotion and dedication and Kak Mah’s and the children’s unwavering support. Over the years, Almanar had seen the fruits of these dedication – many had passed with flying colours, especially in Maths, English and Science.


Last year, at around this time, I met up with Abang Ngah and Kak Mah, in their house in Terengganu, overlooking the South China Sea. It was an ideal setting for a couple in retirement, to enjoy their time together. But for Abang Ngah, there is still a lot of work to be done. Over the sound of the roaring sea, Abang Ngah talked about the lack of reading materials and most of all support, to help him tutor these children in need. But I do not see him giving up. And now through his blog, he has taken them aboard this journey with him in the quest for education.


So, on this blessed day of Maal Hijrah, may I wish both Abang Ngah and Kak Mah and their wonderful children, more wonderful years ahead in your endeavour to take others less fortunate on this journey with you.


Picture taken from www.almanar-nuri.blogspot.com






44 comments:

maszuzu said...

salam kak teh,

thank you for sharing pak cik's blog with your readers. I am indeed touch by the things he's done which I'm sure has more to come.

selamat menyambut muharram kak teh, may the new year brings joy, happiness, good health and increase in iman and takwa...

GUiKP said...

Kak Teh
I'm impressed with Al-Manar students' command of English. Your Ayah Ngah surely has a winning formula, transforming the students from average performers to high achievers. His calling "Berbakti Kerana Tuhan Untuk Kemanusiaan" should be emulated and promoted.

Kak Teh said...

Mas, salam maal hijrah to you too.
I have been meaning to write about Al Manar's and Pak Cik's stories because I believe, not only is he doingsuch a wonderful job, but also, he has lots of interesting stories to tell.

GUiKP, I am glad to agree. I have yet to meet his students but I have read warm feedbacks from them. I am so proud to be related to them, even via marriage. I am so proud of what they are doing. I hope to be able to contribute in some ways when I go back.

GUiKP said...

Oops sorry Kak Teh. It should be Abang Ngah. Semoga 1430H membawa seribu rahmat dan berkat kepada Kak Teh sekeluarga.

Kak Teh said...

GUiPK, I am glad you came back to rectify that, although it doesnt really matter and of course I saw my typos too! Tak pernah check langsung - pakai tekan publish saja! That has always been my bad habit.

Manal said...

I had to go and read Pakcik (you abang ngah) blog and was blown away with his reminiscing stories....Even if i dont know them in person, I think kak teh has described them and praised them appropriately. It somehow reminded me of that Charles Dicken's Scrooge (A Xmas Carol, The Night before Xmas) and that beautiful xmas oldies "It's a wonderful life".

Here's wishing us all a wonderful and fruitful year ahead, filled with many wishes and prayers that come true!

PS: did u get to hear and learn their ganuspeak too?

Akmal said...

Salaam Kak Teh,
I believe that somehow what we did will influence other people; depends on the niyyah of course. This is the perfect example of it; or at least, I am moved by this story :)

Al-Manar said...

Indah khabar dari rupa.
When we write to praise someone, we tend to give free rein to our imagination. Abang Ngah am conscious and wary of this lest it turns out the way the Malay proverb goes. Raising the standard, say English, is highly relative. You take a group of form I pupils in my area and must not be surprised when a few may ask “ Apa erti ‘broke’, apa erti ‘bought’ Pak Cik?”. That is after six years of primary school education. If, only if, we can put them on fire of enthusiasm and we slog along together for three years, we may see a rise in their standard by the time they sit for their PMR Exams, but a far cry from the standard in an urban society. Nevertheless we have achieved something. We have raised their standard of English indeed!

Abang Ngah am truly humbled by your very special way of expressing yourself, choosing your own blog on top of it. Not even one ‘Yang Berhormat’ in my area has ever shown his face, whichever party he may belong to. Hence Abang Ngah firmly believe in ‘berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan’ and be a ten-time Dato’ of your own granchildren!

Our love to all of you, always.
Abang Ngah and Kah Mah

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh,

You know these children from the rural schools have so much talent and determination to excell in their academics. But the language has always been a challenge to them. The teachers in school try their best to help, but some of them are also struggling with their own English.

It's a real noble deed your Abang Ngah & Kak Mah are doing. Hanya Tuhan sahaja yang dapat membalas nya.

tireless mom said...

Dear Kak Teh
Thanks for sharing about Abang Ngah, Kak Mah and Al Manar. We heard about what TS Syed Mokhtar has done for the society and I feel that what Abg Ngah and Kak Mah have done are something precious and only Allah will reward them with so much blessings and barakah.I have not encountered with any Al Manar students, but I know I will be very impressed with them when I meet them as how I am impressed with the founders.
May Allah bless Pak Ngah and Kak Mah. You too for being kind enuf to share the wonderful story with us.

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim, bersama kawannya, si Goblok.

Selamat Menyambut Awal Muharram, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai kain ihram.
Eh! Orang dah balik Haji, kamu baru nak pegi ke? Apa daaa Pak Malim! kata kawannya si Goblok sambil memegang golok.

Semoga sedekah jariah yang dilakukan Abang Ngah dan Kak Mah mendapat ganjaran, di dunia dan akhirat, kata Pak Malim sambil mengangkat berat.

mekyam said...

dear kt,

thank you for sharing your and ag's abg ngah, kak mah and al-manar.

so soothing for the soul... such a humbling example for all of us.

anggerik merah said...

Kak Teh,

salam maal hijrah 1430 dan selamat tahun baru 2009. This is stury is really a good example of Hijrah.

D said...

Ahh... this has always been my dream: to serve others without any material gains! May I still have time to do all these, just like your Abang Ngah and Kak Mah (crazy woman I am, with so many crazy dreams to help others when she herself still needs help! LOL!)

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
Salam Maal Hijrah.
Perfect post for Maal Hijrah. Abang Ngah and Kak Mah should be nominated for Tokoh Maal Hijrah. They are the unsung heroes that need to be recognized.

Kak Teh said...

Manal, I will always have GUiT to refer to when I am stuck with Trengganuspeak - but am okay when he is not withhis 'gang'. Yes, abang ngah and family are an inspiration.

Kay, yes, language is the barrier - i think what these children need as well are people to talk to - to converse with them. I have another friend too who goes to Trengganu occassionally as a volunteer to help rural children with English. Tuhan saja yang balas orang2 macam ni.

Kak Teh said...

Akmal, am very sure of that.

Abang Ngah, you are too modest. That is all I can say but never mind the YB's - who needs them. They will only be there when they want to share with the publicity.

Kak Teh said...

Tireless Mom, yes, I am sure there are plenty of people like them - doing their bit quietly - and not wanting attention.

Pak Malim, selamat menyambut tahun baru, kak teh ucapkan kepada pak malim sambil makan ikan cencaru. Apa resolusi tahun depan, tanya kak teh sambil surung papan.

Kak Teh said...

Mekyam, my sentiments exactly.

D,insyaallah you will. And you have that kind of personality and dedication to do it.

Anggrek Merah, welcome back. Lama tak nampak! Salam maal hijrah to you too.

Kak Teh said...

Zawi, usually these unsung heroes are the ones who do not ask for rewards or recognition and I know abang ngah is one of those. Bless them for their efforts. Salam maal hijarh to you and family.

mamasita said...

Alhamdullillah our Muslims pun ramai yang sanggup berkorban unselfishly to help others..maybe there are more in Malaysia tapi kita tak tahu their whereabouts.

Selalunya kita dengar Mat Salleh yang suka buat such sacrifices to help others without much in return.

And so to have Abang Ngah and his family membuat amal kebajikan macam ni is so awe-inspiring to all of us.

Semoga kita semua dapat mencontohi kedrat Abng Ngah sekeluarga yang amat murni dan suci ni.May Allah Bless them for their good deeds.

Kak Teh said...

mamasita, yes, I am sure there are many more. May God reward them for their efforts. These are the ones who do not want recognition.

Mama Rock said...

kak teh, hats off to both your abg ngah and kak mah. it's a really honorable effort...

Chahya said...

I'm indeed touched & inspired by the selfless efforts by Pak Cik. Thank you for the link to AlManar.

Kak Teh said...

mamarock and chahya, thanks for kind words. Salam maal hijrah and selamat menyambut thaun baru!

ruby ahmad said...

Dear K Teh,

This beautiful entry on the selfless journey of Abang Ngah & K Mah, is indeed humbling.

I read the entry on Hazri. How sad & touching indeed, learning the struggles & turmoils of our marginalised group. It naturally angers us, when we read about how people across the board are so corrupt, not discharging their duties towards people who are struggling to educate their kids.

Let's hope there will be more people like Abang Ngah & K Mah & hope for less corruption, even though, as I have said in NJ's entry, I'm an idealist.

Happy New Year to you & family.

Kak Teh said...

Ruby, thanks for directing to me the story on Hazri - i read it and it left me in tears. Makes us realise that sometimes we take things for granted - while there are those who struggle.

Ruby - please check your email.

Happy new year to you and yours.

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...i wish to do the same one day...what a great heart both of them...;-)

Kak Teh said...

[danial][ma], (there, i got your name down properly), am sure you will, one day ..and have a wonderful new year celebration and here's to a fruitful and prosperous 2009 and beyond!

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...any way you write/adress my name is ok with me...;-) have a great year ahead, a blessed year with lots of love and joy, peace, and always in great health...

_deli said...

Salam pertama & salam maal hijrah,

Dah terlalu lama sangat asyik mengintai blog kak teh ni. Truth be told, I'm one of you loyal lurkers - to your blog lah. Jadi hari ni nak bersuara sikit.

Malam kelmarin i chance upon a movie by Mira Nair titled Namesake. Tak dapat tidak, I did draw some parallel to your life. New husband, new family, new country, new surrounding, etc. etc. That's sacfrifice on your part.

As for Ayah Ngah, perlakuannya adalah sesuatu yang patut dicemburui dan seharusnya diteladani. Seperti yang ditulis beliau, keep a journal utk muhasabah diri.

An act I must follow.

Pi Bani said...

Thanks for sharing Kak Teh. To me your Abang Ngah and Kak Mah are the true YBs... Yang Berkhidmat. May Allah bless them both.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi my dear,

Thanks for your lovely words in the mail. I feel touched & humbled with your believe & trust in me.

Dropped by to wish you again:

Happy New Year.

masterwordsmith said...

Salam Kak Teh,

What a lovely blog you have, Kak Teh. I am also a chocoholic. Pleased to meet you indeed!

Thanks for sharing pak cik's blog with blogosphere....We are richer after reading about him.

Ah - no need to ask for permission, Kak Teh. It would be a great honor if you linked my blog to yours.

Here's wishing you and your family the very best for 2009.

warmest greetings,
Paula

Hazia said...

May 2009 unwrap many joys and wonderful moments. Happy New Year:)

5xmom.com said...

And can I tumpang this post to wish you a Happy New Year as well?

All the best for the new dawn and new year, Kak Teh! May we meet again soon.

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

Happy New Year 2009 to you and your family.

Kak Teh said...

[danial][ma], same to you and if you are ever in my part of the world, do let me know. Happy new year!!

Deli, terima kasih kerana sudi datang dan meninggalkan coretan. Kak teh pun sudah menjenguk blog Deli dan sungguh suka dengan blog bersyaer pantun dan bersajak. Memang kak teh minat sangat. Kak teh akan cari filem yang Deli sebut tu. Kak Teh juga ingin ucapkan selamat menyambut tahun baru dan semoga Allah memberkati dan menerima segala amaln kita.

Kak Teh said...

Pi Bani, welcome back - yes I echo your sentiments. All the best for all your good efforts. we need more people like you.

Ruby, no problem. I knew you are the right person.

masterwordsmith, paula! Thanks for dropping by. I was drooling when I was at your blog! Thanks for kind words - and now I dont know which of your blogs to link...will do it after this.
Oh, did you know that I was working in NST Penang before i came to London? Penang has a special place in my heart.

Kak Teh said...

Hazia, here's to a more productive and prosperous 2009 and beyond to you!

Hi & Lo, Have a wonderful year ahead and thank you for being a friend.

Lilian, kita pasti akan berjumpa lag!! Kak teh nak pi makan di kayu. bawa anak comel tu sama.
Have a wonderful year ahead and the very best wishes from me and mine to you and yours!

masterwordsmith said...

Salam Kak Teh,

:-) Oh Kak Teh dulu di NST? Mungkin ku kenal Kak Teh...Ku juga fr mass comm lah ...

So how long will u be in London? I love London, esp West End...but my fav place is Lake District and Bath...dah lebih 10 tahun tak balik...I am drooling also thinking of all the Eccles cakes, penguin wafers and lotsa chocs u are enjoying there...

Do take care...

All the best to you and yours!

Kak Teh said...

Paula, kak teh dah 10 kali 2 capur 9 tahun in London. dah lama sangat. Oh you dr mass comm mana? i see that you are in the media too. tell me more.

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...actually i just reached home from london to renew my passport and at the same time went to the bookshop opposite the british museum to get AG's GUiT but unfortunately the bookshop wasn't opened maybe still celebrating xmas...maybe was not not my luck...;-)

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