Monday, June 27, 2011

The Diary of A Seasoned Car: 555

It felt like sailing a boat on a wavy ocean when driving this car. The absorbers had lost its function. I'd been considering to change them for a while.

So, finally I decided to do it. The comfort of my potential passengers was my motivation. Furthermore, I might take this car for a long journey in the near future.

However, the budget was a little bit overshot. It was my ignorance that I did not make an adequate research for the best workshop with the best price. It was a little bit impromptu.

Earlier in the morning, I went to another workshop to replace the damage front number plate. The plan after that was to replace one of the door knob. Halfway through I changed my mind. My mind was actually elsewhere. I was thinking about a potential passenger. And then the thought of replacing the absorbers suddenly became imminent.

Money was not a real issue. I had my savings and with that money I went to a workhsop in Bandar Baru Bangi to have the job done to the car.

To my dissappointment, it took them almost 3 hours to get the job done which was about 2 hours and 15 minutes later than what had been promised. There were even additional charges to the charge that had been initially agreed. Contractually, I could have cancelled the service. However, the work was half done (They had disassembled the necessary parts before leaving the car like that for me to wait for almost 2 hours. Great tactics!). Should I revoke the contract, I would be in a very disadvantagous position. They could leave it like that and let me reassemble the parts myself! Should I decide to continue, I had to pay a hefty price, yet affordable, for their service. Either way, I was sucker punched.

However, considering the lesser of the two evils, I took the latter. I'd get at them back later. From RM 490 to RM 561 to RM 555, I felt like I had been conned. I could only blame my stupidity should that feeling was not just a feeling. I admitted that I couldn't really think straight that day.

At the end of the day, no more wavy ride of the car. It felt better than before when driving it on bumpy roads. But at RM 555? I felt like that amount should had been put in a small tiny book called '555'. Well, lesson learnt; Do not go to an unfamiliar workshop to get your car repaired and when you couldn't think straight, avoid riding a seasoned car.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Untold Story of A Mu'allim: The Truth

A lecturer once told him.

"There are two types of truth. The truth and the real truth."

The statement caused him to raise his eyebrow, "What's the difference?"

The lecturer said, "Well, you see... when two persons argue, both of them are telling the story based on their own exclusive perceptions and evidence, if any. What they present are the truth exclusively to themselves. Why? Because they believe it to be the truth."

"Okay," he said. "But then, how do we get to know the real truth?"

"It's all about belief. Which facts are more believable to both parties."

He chuckled, "I guess we won't find the real truth then."

"Well, I guess that's the painful truth that we have to accept, isn't it?"

There's only one thing about the truth that he know. It hurts. Recently, he had a 'Meet the parents' session at his workplace. It was a time where the performance of the students will be revealed to the parents. He thought this was a really good opportunity to dig up the real problems of his students, if any. He needed to know of any space that he could use to improvise both himself and his beloved students.

He had positive meetings with the parents. Both him and the parents knew that they share the same goal. To build a better tomorrow. The children are the future, there is no doubt about it. A parent told him in Malay, "Teacher, you can do anything to my child. Punish him if necessary. You can do anything as long as you don't break his bones. I just want my child to be a better person."

While he was not a keen supporter of physical force to use againts a 10-year-old child, he was left numb witnessing the determination of the parents to see their children to become better persons. Their eyes were glaring with hopes. He felt burdened but it was a burden that he had to carry when he decided to hold the title as a teacher. That's the truth.

However, in a very isolated case, a guardian of one of his students just couldn't accept the truth. The meeting was very short. There was not much talking. The guardian just asked him to pass the student's examination result. The guardian took off his spectacles and seemed to scrutinize it. He glanced at the student. She didn't look back at him. Her face was gloomy. That gloomy face left him wondering the reason behind it.

Then, without even asking him to explain the result, the guardian started to curse. Unpleasant words were heard. He hoped that only he could heard the guardian's voice. So, he took the best measure for the moment. Keep smiling and let the guardian talk. After all the mumbling finished, the guardian took off without even saying thank you.

He felt so devastated and terrified. He was terrified with the truth that the guardian was trying to convey. He didn't have the chance to know the real problem of this particular student and the guardian was so overwhelmed with his emotion to even try to discuss what really went wrong.

The beautiful world crumbled before his eyes all of the sudden. He was humbled by the truth. It is indeed painful to accept the truth.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Singapura Yang Tidak Kukenali: Ubah

Walaupun memegang taraf warganegara Singapura, tidak banyak yang boleh saya ceritakan tentang negara tersebut. Negara itu tidak lebih daripada Bedok Reservoir yang merupakan kejiranan di mana nyai tinggal ataupun taman permainan di Blok 9 Holland Avenue yang menjadi tempat saya bermain bersama-sama adik-adik dan juga sepupu saya setiap kali pulang ke negara ini. Singapura bagi saya tidak lebih daripada kunjungan hari raya ke rumah sanak-saudara ataupun menziarahi saudara terdekat yang meninggal dunia.

Jadi, apabila saya pulang ke Singapura, pasti ada sahaja perkara janggal yang akan saya temui. Negara ini cukup pantas berubah; orangnya, insfrastrukturnya, budayanya... Setiap kali saya pulang, ada sahaja bangunan baru yang naik. Kalau dahulu tidak ada Marina Bay Sands, sekarang tempat berkumpulnya tahi-tahi judi itu menjadi sebuah destinasi utama yang menjana ekonomi Singapura. Peluang-peluang pekerjaan terbuka luas dengan pembukaan tempat-tempat seperti itu. Ada yang menjadi penyambut tetamu, ada yang menjadi GRO, ada yang menjadi pembancuh arak, ada yang menjadi tukang cuci, ada yang menjadi pemandu, oh, pintu rezeki terbuka luas di sana. Berpusu-pusu gerombolan anak muda ke sana untuk mencari sesuap rezeki. Hasil yang diperolehi menjadi darah daging masing-masing. Darah daging anak-anak. Darah daging cucu-cucu. Cukup hasil itu untuk dirasai oleh 7 keturunan yang seterusnya. Hasil yang dijana daripada judi dan arak.

Bayangkan apa akan jadi Singapura di masa akan datang? Generasi-generasi yang darah dagingnya terpalit dengan hasil judi dan arak.

Perubahan-perubahan yang saya lihat itu sudah tidak menjadi satu kehairanan lagi. Saya tidak hairan lagi apabila masyarakat Singapura tidak lagi mempunyai tatasusila ketimuran. Saudara-saudara seagama saya juga tidak segan silu membuat maksiat malah ada pula yang mendabik dada membuka pekung masing-masing.

Tatkala saya meniti pinggiran Sungai Singapura, saya terpaku kepada tugu Stamford Raffles yang ada di situ. Masa depan beginikah yang dirancang oleh penjajah Inggeris ini? Masa depan yang dipenuhi dengan tahi-tahi judi, kaki botol, penzina dan anak-anak luar nikah? Nyata jika demikian, agenda penjajahan itu masih berjalan seperti yang dirancang.

Setiap kali menyeberangi tambak, saya akan menoleh ke pulau kerdil itu. Entah mengapa, setiap kali saya menoleh, pulau itu kelihatan semakin kerdil. Mungkin inilah perubahan yang paling jelas dapat lihat. Kekerdilan.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Diary of A Seasoned Car: Blinded

The journey continued. A few days earlier, recklessness had costed it 'an eye'. Immediate replacement was necessary as without the 'eye', the vision would be blinded when darkness falls.

After replacing the exhaust pipe, the next stop was a place to change the right front light of the car. The first visit to a scrapped car cemetery was not fruitful.

The search resumed to a nearby a workshop in Kajang. The place was suggested by the mechanic who repaired the exhaust pipe. True enough, it was much easier to find spare parts for the seasoned car there. It took about 3o minutes for the light to be replaced and the cost was reasonable.

Although it was not an original part, at least the view will no longer be blinded.