It has been a month already. Living and teaching here has really been a rare special experience for me. For many reasons, some of which I have wrote previously, others come in tales of how you get treated, of how children react to you and of how things really go by here. Getting fed is the Malaysian way of humble yet loving hospitality. We are always flushed with food, either from fishermen who go to the market to sell his catch and stops by to get us some laksa or famous noodles, food we do not savor here normally. Sometimes local people here who happens to go out to town return with bundles of fruits, packets of food and more or less anything that you do not get to see here on a daily basis. Sometimes it is just the extra mile a fellow colleague goes to fry empty flour mixed with water, which turns out to be REALL GOOD. Haha! Such is our Malaysian way. To eat, to be fed and to know that we bond over food, is a tradition, a culture, we Malaysians are proud of that even makes an outsider amazingly envious.
And among other times, it is just not food that adds to my beautiful journey here. Children, pupils whom we teach simply find ways to bond with. They speak knowing that I do not understand a single thing but still know that in some distance, I have gotten their words. I am too flustered that not being able to reply, I somehow respond in ways that these children never seem to get bored of. And no, I do not make up as a clown and go around making puppies out of thin long balloons. We are originally what we are. And that makes every moment, bitter or sweet, become a benchmark to which you will miss when you leave, which has somehow also been my motto. To know that you will be missed when you leave is not an achievement any other person can claim. It takes just being who you truly are, honest and sincere in what you do to make things somehow better. Sometimes, it is not about making someone or something succeed. It is about the impact upon which we leave them on that returns us that feeling of grief and gratitude when we leave. Forget about making differences. Think about making a person smile a day, and that itself will bring you many pauses the moment you decide to leave or when time calls you.
Parents who talk to you and share stories soon become good friends. Unknowns whom you humbly portray yourself upon acknowledge you. Colleagues, whom you never have met before become a place where you share personal opinions. These are the things not everyone gets. And as thankful I am for having being blessed with such happenings, I also fret upon others. To think that life is always beautiful, somehow gets you thinking that you may only be assuming it or just wanting to believe that it is. What truly lies hidden beneath is what we choose to see or embrace. Somehow, though I am at peace here, I find myself troubled in things I am not accustomed of.
You see, when you choose to become a teacher, you have to answer one very big question. If you do not sense this in the beginning, life itself will bring it upon you, which you will then think about it and wonder, is this really how things are? Is this the real reality or some prettily adorned mirage? A simple yet much to think about question, I myself know not where to begin or how to end it.
Do you teach to what your heart says? Or do you teach to what is expected of you?
Ok now that makes it two questions. LOL.
You know it is real when you enter a class and teach and return home, knowing your pupils learnt nothing. You know it is true when you strive so hard to do something, only to test your patience to the edge, and in the end, nothing much has changed. You know it is the real deal when what is done is difficult to be undone, and that being stuck in the middle disgusts you so much so that you think what really matters.
Them, your students?
Or, everything together?
I am sad that there are among those pupils who really could care less for what they are responsible for. I am sad that there are among those who really try but just cannot make it. I am sad that when these pupils try so hard to live in this reality but only to be shoveled deeper further in very unjustly circumstances.
Human, people like you and I and those in between.
Such are things that I can boldly shove out, but no, not today. And why you may ask?
Simply because, we live in a world today where little is known of the real deal and much is believed about those that aren’t.
And so, when answering that two big questions, which would be your path? Will you teach to what your heart says or will you succumb to what is expected of you and try to make something out of it?
If you ask me, I believe in humanity, humility, maturity and attitude. If you still do not understand, read through once more, and what is lacking is what I do not believe on, which then puts me on a stage I know I will be missed when I leave.
This is because, at the end of the day, life never really gets to evaluate you. It is you who assess life and try to make a difference, even if it means going to lengths, I shamelessly call, integrity.