Happy National Day, Singapore: United we stand as one harmonious nation

Happy National Day, Singapore
United we stand as one harmonious nation

Three-year old Nur Iffah Bte Muhammad Imran.

Singaporeans celebrated the nation’s 52nd birthday on 9 August (2017) with the National Day Parade with much pomp and splendour.

The theme of this year’s National Day Parade is the call to all Singaporeans “to take pride in our achievements, and to be confident in our collective future as we overcome all odds together.”

At the Marina Bay floating platform area, this year’s celebration venue, tens of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the grand annual event and enjoy and the the parade and the skyworks, including the fascinating fireworks.

President Tony Tan, who was there to celebrate the nation’s birthday as head of the state for the last time, was visibly moved as he shook hands with many well-wishers.

Speaking to the media he said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as President and also to reach out to Singaporeans…we’ll have a marvellous future. But we have to strive to work on, there is no end to our journey.”

Congratulations to the nation’s birthday included one from 4-year-old Adam Rayan Dula, who is now in Sydney with his Singaporean mother and American father.

Four-year-old Adam Rayan Dula who is in Sydney.

Some photos of the scenes at the National Day Parade, TV screen-shots from Media Corps’ live telecast, are shown here.

Singing our National Anthem and taking our Singapore Pledge.

President Tony Tan taking his leave after the National Day Parade celebration.

Nursery 1 pupil Nur Iffah Imran: “I love Singapore. I love the colours of our Singapore flag.”

We become better, united and harmonious by working together. My wish is that the young generation of today, including little children like my two grandchildren, Adam Rayan Dula and Nur Iffah Imran, would see Singapore as a happy place to live and they themselves continue to strive to make Singapore an even more conducive place to call it their happy home.

Shaik Kadir
9 August 2017

 

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Second Edition of “Islam Explained” in bookstores now

Second Edition of “Islam Explained”
in bookstores now

“Islam Explained” by Shaik Kadir: The 2008 edition (left) and the 2017 edition.

The second edition of “Islam Explained” has already been published (in late July) and is now available in bookstores.

In my blog on 7 July (2017), I mentioned that “the price of the book is not known at this point in time. It would be tagged by the publisher. However, I feel it would not be more than $24.00 per copy.”

Well, the price of the book is roughly $20:00 per copy inclusive of GST.

PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK
“Islam Explained” was first published in 2008 (168 pages) and the second edition in July 2017 (200 pages). The book provides a wide view of Islam, a faith that recognises no racial and cultural barriers. It has spread far and wide across the globe and today, about one in five people in the world is a follower of the Islamic faith.
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd, a member of the Times Publishing Group.

Where to get the book: In major bookstores, like Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, Times Newslink (airport stores) and Select Books.
Price per copy: SGD18.68 excluding GST according to publisher (or roughly $20.00 including GST)

OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK
The focus on terrorism in the media may have resulted in an inaccurate and biased view of Islam and of Muslims in general. This book, therefore, focuses on the beauty and rationality of Islam and highlights the importance for the world to discover what Islam really is and what it teaches.

The expanded 25-chapter second edition is meant for both the less-knowledgeable Muslims as well as non-Muslims so that they would understand Islam and appreciate its role and mission.

Most Muslims know much about Islam but it is important to have such a “simply written and easy to understand” book to dissipate the message, especially to non-Muslims, that Islam does not condone terrorism or violence. In fact, Islam actually promotes peace and harmony and the vast majority of Muslims adhere to Islam and find peace and happiness in it

It is very important for non-Muslims not to indulge in coffee-shop talks among themselves without knowing much about the truth of Islam and understanding it. Linking Islam and Muslims to terrorism and violence is islamophobia and it is as bad as terrorism and can disunite the society.

ESSENTIAL READING

“Islam Explained”: The copy on the left was published in 2008 while that on the right is the second edition published last month (July) and those 5 stacked-up copies are the author’s complimentary copies provided by the publisher.

In concluding this blog article, I must say I am happy that the publisher had chosen this book to go into second edition. It simply means that the book makes essential reading for Islamic knowledge – knowledge that is necessary for world peace.

Through this book, readers will be able to better understand and appreciate the truth and expectations of Islam and this understanding and appreciation is important for both Muslims and people of other faiths to come together to build a safer and more harmonious society for everyone.

Shaik Kadir
5 August 2017

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Racial Harmony Day: A day to maintain respect, understanding and friendship

Racial Harmony Day: A day to maintain respect, understanding and friendship

Nur Iffah and her friends Elydia (left) and Li Xin, who are in Nursery 1, passing time a day before while eagerly waiting to participate in the Racial Harmony Day celebration on 21 July 2017 for the first time since they entered school.

Sparkle Tots Preschool in Bedok North celebrated Racial Harmony Day on 21 July (2017) with a number of activities for two hours, from 8:00 – 10:00 am.

All students were encouraged to attend school not in their school uniform but in their own cultural attire and to mingle around and get to know one another.

The activities began with the singing of the National Anthem, “Majulah Singapura”, and the taking of the Singapore Pledge at the nearby amphitheatre. Next, the students and their guardians participated in dancing to the beat of songs in the four official languages, with much pomp and pleasure.

After the outdoor activities, there was an interactive talk on racial harmony which was followed by a talk on food wastage. The final activity of the day’s programme was the donation of dried foodstuff by the students’ family, which was collected by an official representative, for charity.

Racial Harmony Day is always, since Singapore’s independence in 1965, celebrated on 21 July each year.

It is a day meant to highlight the importance of having peace and harmony in Singapore that comprises people of many races, cultures and religious beliefs. It is important to be always aware of, and maintain, interracial and interfaith relations through tolerance, respect, and understanding. Singapore has thus far been championing such policy for the prosperity and harmony of the country and its people.

The photos presented in this article focusses on the participation of the writer’s granddaughter, 3-year-old Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, a Nursery 1 student.

Iffah, who is friendly and readily shakes hands with her friends upon meeting them, enthusiastically participated in the interracial and interfaith activities of the day’s programme.

Singing of Singapore’s National Anthem, “Majulah Singapura”…

Students and their guardians dancing to the beat of songs in the four official languages of Singapore.

Iffah and other students of the school…

Iffah and other students of the school.  This particular school conducts four levels of preschool classes – Nursery 1 (N1), Nursery 2 (N2), Kindergarten 1 (K1) and Kindergarten 2 (K2).

Iffah and her classmate Anisah (left) and Raeann, a friend from K2.

Iffah and her classmate friends Elise (left) and Elydia.

Iffah with Teacher Casey (left) and Teacher Pauline.

Iffah donating dried foodstuff for charity.

Relaxing on a pelamin (Malay bridal dais): It’s has been a tiring but indeed an exciting and happy day for Iffah. She is thinking of her 4-year-old cousin, Adam Rayan Dula, who is far away in cold Sydney (now experiencing winter) and is not able to join her in the activities of the Racial Harmony Day.

It is a good policy for Singapore to get students to mingle with their schoolmates from young so as to get familiar with each other’s cultures and religions to maintain peace, harmony and friendship for the benefit of all.

Shaik Kadir
(Nur Iffah’s paternal grandfather, “Atuk”, who accompanied her to celebrate Racial Harmony Day at her school.)
22 July 2017

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“Islam Explained”: It is important for the world to discover what Islam is and what it teaches

“Islam Explained”

It is important for the world to discover what Islam is and what it teaches

Nur Iffah with the 2008 edition of “Islam Explained”.

The book, “Islam Explained”, was published by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd, nine years ago, in 2008. (See photo of the book, above, held by the little girl.)  The little girl is my granddaughter, Nur Iffah Bte Muhammad Imran, who turned three on 3 July 2017. Here are some of her birthday photos:

Nur Iffah’s 3rd birthday celebration (Clockwise from left):  Iffah (1) with her Nursery One classmates, (2) with her two teachers, Teacher Pauline (left) and Teacher Casey, (3) with her classmates enjoying the birthday cake, and (4) with her parents and paternal grandparents.

Nur Iffah is also looking at “another” book, also entitled “Islam Explained” which looks different. See photo below.

Nur Iffah with the sample cover of the latest edition of “Islam Explained”: “I can read with my eyes closed and even with the book upside down.”

RAMADAN CHALLENGE
Well, as the 2008-edition of “Islam Explained” is almost depleted, the publisher decided to have a second edition for it and contacted me to help in updating and expanding the book.
Though it was already Ramadan and the fasting month is a hectic time for Muslims, I decided to help, taking it as a Ramadan challenge. So, from the second week of Ramadan till a couple of days before Eid ul-Fitri, I did the job – for the sake of dakwah to get people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, know the beauty and logic of Islam so that they would understand that it is a religion that teaches peace, mercy and compassion to all.

BACK-COVER INFORMATION

The blurb on the back cover of the latest edition of the book. It is reproduced below.

The blurb or back-cover information of the new edition goes:
     Islam, a faith that embraces races and cultures, has spread far and wide across the globe and today, about one in five people in the world is a follower of the Islamic faith. Few people have not heard about Islam or interacted with Muslims. But many, including some Muslims, do not know much about Prophet Muhammad and what the Qur’an actually teaches.
     Unfortunately, the focus on terrorism may have resulted in an inaccurate and biased view of Islam and of Muslims in general. Islam is not responsible for those Muslims involved in terrorism and violence; and these Muslims make up only a tiny fraction of the vast majority of practising Muslims who adhere to Islam and find peace and happiness in it. Islam actually promotes peace and harmony. Thus it is important for the world to discover what Islam is and what it teaches.
     This book explores the fundamental beliefs of Islam from its conception to what its adherents need to practise to be righteous and helpful to the peace and progress of one’s country of residence and the wider world. Presented in an elegant and concise way, it explains the different aspects of Islam the in topical form and clarifies misconceptions about the faith. Through this book, readers will be able to better understand and appreciate the truths and expectations of Islam for both Muslims and people of other faiths, to work together to build a safer and more harmonious society for everyone.

SIZE AND THICKNESS
The 2008 edition is 19.5cm x 13cm and has 168 pages while the latest edition has a new chapter, “The Muslim World”, and has 200 pages. It is larger in size, 21.5cm x 14cm, just like my previous book, “Inside Islam: 101 Questions & Answers”, published in 2004 by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd.

The latest edition is bigger and thicker (200 pages) as the information has been updated and expanded.

FROM SYDNEY WITH LOVE

My 3-year 8-month old grandson, Adam Rayan Dula, giving a thumb’s up for the second edition of “Islam Explained” from Sydney. The photo on the right is a screenshot of a handphone video of him saying, “Atuk’s book is good.”

AVAILABLE SOON
This second edition will be published this month (July 2017) and will be available in bookshops soon. (The price of the book is not known at this point in time. It would be tagged by the publisher.  However, I feel it would not be more than $24.00 per copy.)

FIRST TWO TO PLACE ORDER
The first person to place an order for two copies (no payment yet as the price is not known  now) of the second edition book is Mr Munawar Khan, Director of Al-Mustaqim Graveyard Services in Singapore.

Mr Munawar Khan (left) with the author, holding the sample front-and-back cover of the book. Mr Munawar’s contact is: Tel: 96687256, and Email: almustaqim.enquiry@gmail.com

Nur Iffah with Ms Nor Ain Saleha holding the sample of the front-and-back cover of the new “Islam Explained”.

The second person who has placed an order for five copies of the book is Ms Nor Ain Saleha Abdul Hamid, a volunteer with the Health Promotion Board and the Singapore Red Cross Society and a MUIS Befriender.

DEDICATION
The last paragraph of the Introduction to this edition of “Islam Explained” goes: “This book is dedicated to anyone and everyone, irrespective of race, religion or culture, who reads it to know and understand Islam and Muslims better so that together we can leave harmoniously, respecting one another, and working towards making the world a better place to live in.”

Shaik Kadir
7 July 2017

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“Quran Hour” gains huge success

“Quran Hour” gains huge success

Posters announcing the Quran Hour were displayed days before the event.

The Quran reading event, called “Quran Hour’, held in Singapore for the first on 11 June from 5 to 6 o’clock, was a huge success. Many took part in the event in mosques all over Singapore and at home during the stipulated hour.

The date (11 June) was chosen because the verses of the Quran were first received by Prophet Muhammad on 17 Ramadan and it coincided this year with the evening of 11 June.

This Islamic date, 17 Ramadan, is known as Nuzul Al-Quran, the celebration of the day of the beginning of the Revelation of the Quran. The verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet by Allah through the Arch-angel Gabriel over 23 years, but it began with five verses on 17 Ramadan. This first Revelation, containing five verses, which the Prophet received is the first five verses of Chapter 96, called “Iqraa” (Read!). The verses, translated in English, are as follows:
“Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher who created –
Created man from a clot of congealed blood,
Read! And thy Lord is most Bountiful,
He Who taught the use of the pen,
Taught man that which he knew not.”
(Quran, 96:1-5)

The word “Read” is the very first word of Islam, the very first Command of Allah that led to the formation of Islam. It is a call in education for the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, encompassing compassion and mercy for all living and non-living things: humans, animals and the environment.

The Quran Hour aims not only at encouraging Muslims to respect the day of Nuzul Al-Qur’an but also aims at fostering the habit of reading the Quran often for knowledge and spiritual well-being. It is meant to encourage the Muslim to make the Quran his or her life’s guidance and to foster peace and harmony in one’s own country and the outside world.

“Quran Hour is an incentive”

Mdm Khairon Mastan, reading the Quran at home, says: “The ‘Quran Hour’ is actually an incentive for reading the Quran on a daily basis and gaining wisdom from it.”

The following photos and comments received some participants of “Quran Hour” provide a glimpse of the adoration and success of the event on 11 June 2017.

“Quran Hour is good opportunity to know Islam”

Ms Khadijah Abdul Kareem, reporting from Khadijah Mosque in Geylang Road, Singapore, said amusingly, “It’s KKK”. What’s that? Well, Ms Khadijah found it a coincidence to have met a young lady named Ms Kadija Nguette who was attending the Quran Reading Hour there. “See, it’s ‘Khadijah met Kadija at Khadijah Mosque’ – KKK, right?”

Kadija Nguette, whose parents were from Senegal, was born and raised in France. She is working in Singapore.

“The Quran Hour is a good opportunity for people like me to learn about Islam and improve our reading of the Quran,” the young lady told Ms Khadijah. “I often come to this mosque to read the Quran and do my prayers. When reading the Quran, other readers near me correct me. This is good.”

Ms Kadija Nguette added, “There are many beautiful mosques in Singapore, and so we have the huge opportunity to meet people of the Muslim community and have Iftar together as a way of bonding with them. This is especially meaningful to me as I have no family here in Singapore.”

“Enthusiastic calmness”


Reporting from Al-Istighfar Mosque in Pasir Ris Walk, Ms Habsah Jamal, said: “The atmosphere in this mosque during the Quran Hour is what I would term as ‘enthusiastic calmness’.

People streamed in way enthusiastically before the start of the Quran Hour to participate in this highly-spirited event organised in Singapore for the first time. The people looked calm as they divided themselves into groups to read the juz (parts of the Quran) chosen by the group. Generally, each group comprised 8-10 participants, and they calmly and softly read their selected juz, making sure not to disturb the other groups nearby.”

“Young participants increasing in number”


Mr Jamain Suaib, reporting from Kampung Siglap Mosque, said a prize giving event for winners of a memorising of Al-Quran Musabaqah (competition) was held before the Quran Hour. “The participants were young people below 21,” he reported. “One male and one female came tops for having completed memorising the whole Quran.”

As for the Quran Hour event, Mr Jamain reported that many people came to take part in the event. “You can also see that the participants are younger and more sophisticated. Most are English educated youngsters, and this is good. It is heartening to see the number of young Muslims in the mosque is increasing nowadays.”

“One of the most magnificent mosques in the world”


Writing from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Ms Rohani Rahim Nawawi, a Singaporean who works there and stays alone, says she was eager to take part in the Singapore Quran Hour from there. “I read in your blog about the Quran Hour which was to be held in Singapore mosques on 11 June from 5pm to 6pm Singapore time, but as Abu Dhabi is about four hours behind Singapore I was not able to make it to a mosque to read the Quran. Near where I stay there are three mosques but there is no prayer rooms for ladies except for medium size ones which are far away,” she wrote.

Ms Rohani said there are mosques everywhere in Abu Dhabi. “But the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the grandest. It has prayer facilities for women, and is always crowded, especially during Ramadan.”

She added in her message: “I am sending some internet photos of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which is one of the most magnificent mosques in the world for you to use in the article.”

“Kiki’s reading of the Quran is fantastic”


Mdm Rahmah Abdul Rahim, who is wheel-chair bound, reporting from her home on the day of “Quran Hour”, said: “We need this kind of events on a yearly basis. It is good as we can also doa for peace in the world, though we do doa for peace every day.”

She added: “I am sending a couple of photos, one of it shows two ladies. The one sitting on a chair is my elderly Mother-in-law while the other person is the caregiver whose name is Kiki. The other photo shows my husband, Jamaludin Othman.”

Mdm Rahmah and Mr Jamaludin read the Quran in their room while her Mother-in-law and Kiki have a separate room. “Kiki’s reading of the Quran is fantastic. Kiki has a God-sent ability to read the Quran in a melodious way. Alhamdullillah!” remarked Mdm Rahmah.

“When the Quran is read, listen to it with respect and attention”

[ Ms Mariati Johari, who was at Al-Falah Mosque, took the photos of Mdm Kamisah (with pink tudung) and others reading the Quran.]

Reading the Qur’an is a barakah (blessing), so is listening to it. Prophet Muhammad said: “The person whose recitation and voice is most beautiful is one who, when you hear him recite, you can feel that he fears Allah.”

Also, Allah instructs Muslims: “When the Quran is read, listen to it with respect and attention.”

And, putting the teachings Muslims read from the Quran into practice brings greater blessing. “Those who listen to the Word (the Quran) and follow the best meaning in it; those are the ones whom Allah has guided.” (39:18)

(Many thanks to Ms Khadijah, Ms Habsah, Mr Jamain, Ms Rohani, Mdm Rahmah and Ms Mariati for sending in photos for use in this article.)

Shaik Kadir
17 June 2017

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Qur’an Hour:  Let’s read Al-Quran together this Sunday, 5 – 6 pm

Qur’an Hour:  Let’s read Al-Qur’an together this Sunday, 5 – 6 pm

A Qur’an reading event, called “Qur’an Hour’, will be held for the first time in Singapore this Sunday (11 June) from 5 to 6 o’clock.

All mosques in Singapore will hold the event at the same time, according to an announcement made at the Kassim Mosque every day, the mosque where I went for my isyak and terewih prayers since Tuesday this week.

Muslims in Singapore are urged to take part in the event by reading the Qur’an during the specified time for impact and unity in reading the Islamic Holy Book.  You may read some chapters of the Qur’an in chorus softly if you are in the mosque reading in groups, or any chapter, or part of it, or a page or even a few verses of your choice from wherever you are outside the mosque.

If you are in your home, you may read the Qur’an alone or together with your family members.  But if you are with your friends, or alone in the shopping mall or in the bus – you can still read a portion of the Qur’an in your heart – if you could bring a small, handy copy of the Qur’an in your bag this Sunday or, nowadays, you have the whole Qur’an “inside” your hand-phone and this facility is indeed advantageous to Muslims as Muslims are frequent Qur’an readers and reciters, at least, largely, during the five daily prayers.

This date (11 June) has been chosen because the verses of the Qur’an were first received by Prophet Muhammad on 17 Ramadan and it coincides this year with the evening of 11 June.  This Islamic date, 17 Ramadan, is known as Nuzul Al-Qur’an, the celebration of the day of the beginning of the Revelation of the Qur’an. The verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet by Allah through the Arch-angel Gabriel over 23 years, but it began with five verses on 17 Ramadan.

The first Revelation, containing five verses, the Prophet received is the first five verses of Chapter 96, called “Iqraa” (Read!).  The five verses, translated in English, are given in the following slide:

As can be seen, the word “Read” is the very first word of Islam, the very first Command of Allah that led to the formation of Islam.  It is indisputably the noblest call in education – for knowledge and wisdom encompass compassion and mercy for all living and non-living things: humans, animals and the environment.

The Qur’an Hour aims not only at encouraging Muslims to respect the day of Nuzul Al-Qur’an but also aims to foster the habit of reading the Qur’an at least for an hour daily for knowledge and spiritual well-being.  It is meant to encourage the Muslim to make the Qur’an his or her life’s guidance and to foster peace and harmony in one’s own country and the outside world.

READING THE QUR’AN

The following pictures show Muslims, young and old, male and female, reading the Qur’an:

Young Muhammad Yasir Yuuta, who’s from Indian-Malay-Japanese parentage, reading verses from the Qur’an at an iftar (breaking of fast) function at the Siglap Community Centre on 4 July 2015. (See https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/practical-islam-iftar-at-siglap-cc-promoting-multi-racial-interaction-and-harmony/ ) The other photo shows girls attending a Qur’an reading lesson.

Qur’an reading at Masjid Kampung Siglap (Siglap Mosque) during the World Qur’an Hour last year (11 September 2016). (See https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/world-quran-hour-enhancing-islamic-spirituality-and-togetherness/ )

Quran reading at Masjid Kassim (Kassim Mosque) during the World Qur’an Hour. Muslims in Singapore joined the World Qur’an Hour event from 9:00 – 10:00 in the morning on 9 Zulhijjah which coincided with 11 September, 2016). On this day (9 Zulhijjah), known as Day of Arafah, all Haj pilgrims must be in the Plain of Arafah (Padang Arafah, in Malay). Arafah Day is the peak of the Haj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca. The 1-hour World Qur’an Hour on 9 Zulhijjah is meant to coincide with Arafah Day.

Qur’an reading at Masjid Kassim (Kassim Mosque) during the World Qur’an Hour: The reading of the verses of the Qur’an reverberated across the world as Muslims read the Qur’an between 9:00 and 10:00 am of their countries’ local time.

The first slide shows ten-year-old Munirah Shaik Kadir reading the Qur’an, and a photo of her marriage to Mr Allen Dula (Adam Abdullah) in 2011. The other slide shows Ms Munirah, Allen and their 3-year-old son, Adam Rayan Dula, in Rome in March this year (2017) where the family visited for Munirah to present her paper, “Analysing the effects of managing element interactivity in science learning”, at an International Conference focusing on new perspectives in science education, in Florence, Italy. Munirah, a former Mathematics and Physics teacher, who did her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Singapore, is a final-year PhD candidate in Sydney. She says: “Reading is important for mind development, and widening of knowledge in useful areas. That is why the first command in Islam is “Read!” So, read a lot and be wise.”

Ms Munirah rightly says: “Reading is important for mind development, and widening of knowledge in useful areas. That is why the first command in Islam is “Read!”  So, read a lot and be wise.”  Therefore, do take part in the “Qur’an Hour” this Sunday (11 June 2017) from 5 pm to 6 pm.

(For the understanding of non-Muslim readers of this article, the Qur’an can only be called the “Qur’an” when it is in Arabic, the original language of its revelation; translations are not the “Qur’an” but mere translations and interpretations.)

Shaik Kadir
8 June 2017

[Further reading: “’Quran Hour’ diadakan 17 Ramadan” by Juliana Sharmine Riduan, Berita Harian, Friday, 2 Jun 2017)

 

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Fond memories of KBPS Class of 1968

 

Fond memories of KBPS Class of 1968

The excitement was already in the air some three weeks before Saturday, 22 April 2017, the day when the excitement came to grandeur in a reunion gathering of the “Class of 1968” schoolmates of Kaki Bukit Primary School (KBPS). It has been almost half a century, how time flies…

It all started when Mdm Mariati Johari, popularly known as Hajah Mariati Johari, Director of Institute of Aromatherapy Enhancement Pte Ltd, Singapore, started the ball rolling by creating a chat group that first consisted of a few people, including me, their form-teacher of Primary 6A.  Soon, the number swelled to include overseas members – from Abu Dhabi, Perth and Kuala Lumpur.

Fourteen people, including me, attended the reunion gathering at Hajah Mariati’s business premises. They are:

Mdm Mariati Johari, Mr Jamal Rahim, Mdm Norjah Arrifin and Mr Omar Mattar.

Mr Suhaimi Bari, Mdm Rohani Rahim, Mr Zohri Ali and Mdm Khadijah A.Kareem.

Mdm Zainab Marican, Mr Isa Adam, Mdm Kasmah Latif and Mr Iskandar Sabirin.

Mdm Junainah Hassan and Mr Shaik Kadir, writer of this article.

My memory of the people who attended the grand reunion gathering that auspicious Saturday, goes way back to 1964.

The year 1964 was certainly memorable for me because it was the year when I first started my working life after leaving Secondary 4 in 1963. I started work in April of that year as a trainee-teacher, attending a 3-year part-time teacher-training course at the former Teachers’ Training College at Paterson Road.

Three years later, in 1967, I became the class teacher of Pri 5A. I enjoyed teaching this class. There was a small-sized Malay boy, Muhammad Bin Zamawi; and there was a lanky Indian girl, Leela Devi, both always vied for the two top positions in the class examinations.

The following year (1968), I followed the same class of students to Pri 6A. I taught all subjects (English, Mathematics and Science) except music and physical education as these subjects were handled by specialised teachers. Everyone in my class passed the Primary School Leaving Examination. I was overjoyed. That year was also my last year of teaching in a primary school, after five wonderful years of teaching primary school children.

In 1992, I went for the Haj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam for those who can afford the cost and health.  One of the rituals was to be performed in Mina, and one night there, while trying to sleep for the night, a pilgrim on the adjacent bed, who I met there for the first time, and I chatted for a while. He told me his name – Faisal Abdullah Fernandez, a convert to Islam, and asked me where I was working.  I told him that in my early working days, I was a teacher in Kaki Bukit Primary School and taught Primary 6A in 1968. Surprised, he told me his wife was a student there and mentioned her name. But, I couldn’t recall her.  We exchanged our home telephone numbers and took photographs of us for remembrance of our meeting in Mina.

A couple of weeks after we returned from the Haj, I received a call from a lady who identified herself.  She was Mr Faisal’s wife, Ms Rohani Rahim.  She called to ascertain if I was her teacher as my name sounded familiar to her, and that started my friendship with the couple. In 2010, Rohani and her other classmates arranged for a KBPS-1968 reunion gathering at the condo of Junainah Hassan. I was invited.

Some years ago, Rohani was posted to Abu Dhabi and she still works there.  Her husband passed away in that city.  In our remembrance of him we shall, at this point in time, silently recite the Fatiha and doa for Allah’s Blessings on his soul.

When Rohani heard from Mariati about the second reunion of their classmates, she flew to Singapore for the occasion.  Omar, who has migrated to Australia, also flew in with his wife, Elizabeth.  Another of their classmates, Mohamad Nasir Said, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, was also eager to join the gathering, but he could not make it.

A few pictures of the members of “Class of 1968” when they were in Kaki Bukit Primary School were circulated.  Some of them are reproduced as follows:

Music and physical exercises (PE) were conducted by specialised teachers. The 6-person group photo shows Kasmah (second from left), Norjah (third) and Rohani (sixth). The girl on Rohani’s right, Jariyah Ahmad, was always third in position in the class examinations. She passed away a few years ago –  and, in our remembrance of her, we shall now silently recite the Fatiha and doa for Allah’s Blessings on her soul.

First photo: Omar as a “Bar Girl”; second photo: Omar as a “Chetty” complete with sarung pulikat and an umbrella; and in the third photo: Omar as an “Invisible Man”, so need  not waste time in trying to locate him!

Some of the schoolmates of “Class of 1968” when they were in Primary 3A with Ms Amina Jani, their class-teacher.

When the mood of the reunion get-together mounted, someone suggested something in pantun-style and the writer of this article, SK, threw in a couple of replies as appetisers and the initiative developed into a pantun (poem) contest in which no one won any top prizes but all the five entries, judged by Mdm Khairon Mastan, wife of the writer, were deemed worthy of being declared winners. All the seven pantuns, two by SK and five entries, are as follows:

Pantun initiation by SK

(1) “Memori rakan sekolah Kaki Bukit Primary”

Kita berkenalan dari Sekolah Rendah Kaki Bukit
Keinginan bertemu dengan semua sentiasa di ingini
Alhamdullillah, keiginan itu menjadi realiti sedikit
Jadi, marilah kita bergembira pada Hari Sabtu ini
– SK

(2) “Selamat datang Omar dan Rohani”

Disana Omar, disini Rohani
Ditengah-tengah Omar punya isteri
Bersatu hati, berhati murni
Mereka dah datang ke negeri sendiri
– SK

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Pantun contest

Entry 1: “Pantun mengenalkan teman”

Sir Kadir guru kita sekolah primary
Orangnya tegas mengajar penuh makna…
Memang Rohani balik kenegeri sendiri…
Tapi Omar datang sebagai foreigner…
– Iskandar Sabirin

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Entry 2: “Kenangan Memori Rakan-rakan KBPS”

Satu dua tiga dan empat
Lima enam tujuh dan lapan
Memori kita ini bertempat
Bergolek ketawa di-perjumpaan.
– Jamal Rahim

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Entry 3: “Kawan tertawa…padan muka”

Itik jalan terkedek kedek
Push up!!! di tepi sekolah tangga
Cik Gu nampak Omar makan keledek
Murid2 nampak ketawa berdekah dekah!!
– Mariati Johari

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Entry 4: “Rindu serindu-rindu nya”

Omar dan isteri dah sampai dulu,
Esok nya pula Rohani Rahim;
Perjumpaan kawan sekolah di hari Sabtu,
Untuk mengeratkan silatul rahim.
– Khadijah Abdul Kareem

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Entry 5: “Bersua kembali teman2 persekolahan”

Omar di-Perth, Rohani di Abu Dhabi
Sama2 jauh tak pernah bersua
Sekarang mereka dah sampai di-sini
Tiba esok happy2 semua hendak bersama
– Junainah Hassan

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The day of the grand reunion get-together party, held on Saturday, 22 April, 2017, was held at Mariati’s business venue, “Institute Of Aromatherapy Enhancement Pte Ltd”,  at Grandlink Square in Guillemard Road.

Omar Mattar, who flew in from Perth, his hometown, came with his innovative initiative for each us – an autograph card and a souvenir keychain.


This autograph card made by Omar is given to everyone present for the group members’ signatures and keeping. Omar also gave each person a keychain as a souvenir.

“A reunion meeting is a great way to catch up with old friends, relive old memories and enjoy a day of fun. Some students of Class 1968 first met seven years ago, in 2010. Since last year, we have been clamouring for another reunion. Junainah Hassan and I made efforts to search for our other “lost” friends, and we gathered in a WhatsApp group. We fixed a date, and finally we met, at my venue.  By meeting almost 50 years later, we picked up where we left off when we were children in Primary 6.Our honoured Sir Kadir, our Form Teacher of Primary 6A, was invited, and all of us had a great time together.  I must say, it was the best reunion we had.  I wish and doa that all my friends and Sir Kadir a blissful and blessed life till Jannah.”  – Mariati Johari

“I was excited to meet my long lost schoolmates, whom we have not met since we left Kaki Bukit Primary School in 1968, in the reunion gathering in April.  When we met, there were hugs and tears in some eyes for getting this opportunity to meet on this memorable day.  We appreciate the warm hospitality of Mariati who hosted the reunion party at her shop. It was also nice of Omar to fly from Australia and Rohani from UAE to meet us.  Omar also made a memorabilia card with our Primary 3 class group photo printed on it for everyone to sign and keep as a memento.  We also got a souvenir key chain from him. Thanks Omar. Our class teacher, Mr Shaik Kadir was also present.  We salute you, Sir Kadir.”   – Khadijah Bt Abdul Kareem

“I was quite excited and nervous on the day of the reunion gathering.  When I was at the door, I saw the people inside. I didn’t recognise them but they were smiling at me. They recognised me from my photo which I had sent in our WhatsApp group before we met.  A man came up to me and hugged me.  After 50 years of not seeing or contacting my classmates – because I live in Australia – I was happy and glad to meet up with them.  After we broke the ice, we laughed, we joked and we reminisced about our school days. Also, l thank our class teacher, Mr Kadir, for joining us. He is so friendly.”  – Omar Mattar who lives and works in Perth, Australia.  

“Our last year in primary school was 1968 and after that I kept in touch with only a few of my classmates of that year when we were in Primary 6A. An opportunity to meet some other 1968 schoolmates came in 2010 in a reunion gathering. The feeling of renewing friendship developed further. Then, in March this year, we searched for more “lost” schoolmates via Facebook and “found” some more. I was indeed excited about the April gathering. We met on 22 April.  It was a simple but meaningful reunion. In this reunion, I met Iskandar, Omar and Jamal for the first time. I respect everyone, and we are now active in our WhatsApp group.”   – Rohani Rahim who works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mr Mohammad Nasir

“To reunite after being separated for about 50 years is something unexpected. Nevertheless, the reunion took place in April. My primary school friends and our beloved form-teacher, Mr Shaik Kadir, met at this reunion get-together.  Coincidentally a few months ago I said to myself how nice it would be if I could meet my teacher and primary school friends in Singapore. I was longing to meet them. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the reunion gathering because my beloved father was seriously ill in hospital.  I yearned to meet Mr Shaik Kadir and my primary school friends in person. I am looking forward to seeing all of them in the next reunion, insya Allah.”  – Mohamad Nasir bin Said, who lives and works in Kuala Lumpur

 

I am touch by the above poem written by Khadijah. I must also say I enjoyed the reunion get-together event, and I thank you all for the respect and honour given to me as your former teacher. Here’s a short poem for you:

As tonight (Friday, 26 May, 2017) begins the blessed Islamic month of Ramadan, I take this opportunity to wish you all: KBPS Class class of 1968 and all Muslim readers, Ramadan Mubarak (Have a Blessed Ramadan) and Selamat Berpuasa (Happy fasting) from tomorrow.

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Addenda: Salam friends, there are two surprises for you and I am inserting them as an addenda to this article, indicated as Addendum 1 and Addendum 2.  They are:

Addendum 1: Who do you think I met last night (28 May)?

It’s one of your classmates who was not present in the Class of 1968 reunion get-together on 22 April.

After the terawih prayers at Masjid Kassim last night, as I was crossing the road in front of it, I heard a voice calling, “Cikgu!”  I turned around and saw Rashid Misgon, one of your 1968 classmates.  We talked excitedly, and I then asked him why he was not present in the Class of 1968 reunion get-together in April, to which said he was unaware of  it and would have attended if known.

Rashid gave me a lift and sent me home. In his car, we talked briefly about our meeting in Kuala Lumpur last December (2016).  Yes, I happened to meet Rashid in the Malaysian capital. I was with Ms Dewani Abbas, a Berita Harian journalist, who is also a former KBPS student of mine (Primary 5 in 1966) and who I coincidentally met in 1982 when she interviewed me for getting a Fellowship Award for an attachment with Sydney Times, Australia. We became family friends since that time, and we used to travel together to India and China and even for Umrah in 2012.  In December last, Dewani, her husband and her husband’s relative, me and my wife went for a holiday to Penang and stayed one night in Kuala Lumpur. It was there that we met Rashid who was with his wife, and they joined us for breakfast and lunch.

With Rashid and Dewani in Kuala Lumpur in December last year (2016), and with Rashid in his car last night (27 May).

Rashid conveys his salam (Islamic greeting) to everyone present in the get-together.

Addendum 2: Isa Adam’s compliment of his former teacher

Isa and his wife, Mdm Tania Anis.

Isa Adam, who was present in the Class of 1968 reunion get-together on 22 April, placed two messages in my Facebook. The messages are:

(1) To My Dearest Teacher Mr Shaik Kadir. It takes a big heart to shape little minds. As a student’s a teacher always takes a hand, opens a mind and touches our heart, always encouraging, inspiring, hardworking, dedicated and supportive. THANK YOU SIR for being so helpful, enthusiastic, patience, kind and a caring model. We may not say this everyday but your inspirational words are like a beautiful footprints that have been etched in our hearts and minds forever.  You “SIR” a truly amazing hard to find and impossible to FORGET. Teachers like you are ONE in a million. Thank you forever so very much!

(2) “Thank You Sir Shaik Kadir for being the best teacher for always being kind for making lessons fun for showing us new things and for helping us to G R O W. Amin !”

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Once again, Ramadan Mubarak to all.

Shaik Kadir
26 May 2017
(1 Ramadan 1438 H)

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