Last week I traveled from Jerantut to Kuantan via Jengka to meet an old school mate who had kindly offered to give my first born a bit of side coaching before she attend a job interview. Ironically, when we were in school, I didn’t know Ghaz. He was from the English medium class and I was from the Malay medium. Had it not been for a reunion we had in September last year, I wouldn’t have this good fortune to benefit Ghaz’s offer. I can’t thank him enough for spending the whole of Friday afternoon with us. Thank you for your helping hand Ghaz.
While getting reacquainted, we discovered Ghaz’s elder brother was my former boss way back in the 80’s. I remember him as the most ‘humane’ boss in my book of work. Like Ghaz, he too ‘extended’ his professional capacity which helped me tremendously in dealing with a difficult situation at work. He went on to become pengetua of SEMSAS and ended up as Pahang State Education Director and conferred a datukship.
I’ve taken the road a number of times. However, on attending the September reunion, I missed a junction and ended up driving the winding old Jerantut-Maran-Kuantan road. A two-hour journey [had I not missed the junction] turned out to be a four-hour one. I was LOST … not the way but lost down the memory lane. I wrote a rambling about it in Bas7377 and here is an edited excerpt.
Another first yang den ingat ialah balik kampung cuti penggal pertama. Just as I was left to my own devices to get to the school the previous year, going home for the first term break was another big adventure for me. There were two ways to get to Jerantut from Kuantan. One was through Temerloh and the other was through Maran. I couldn't get the Kuantan-Temerloh bus ticket and thought of taking a taxi which cost a lot more than a bus ticket. Saimah my classmate from Felda Ulu Jempol (now a Science & Math Officer at PPD Maran) suggested that I take a Kuantan-Maran- Jerantut “bas ting-tong” with her.
I think ignorance is a bliss because I had never travelled that road and had no idea of how long the journey was going to be or the condition of the road. I was happy to save some money, so on the day, I lugged my bag (minus the wheels, mind you) all the way from the hostel to the bus stop across the school. Then get the bag up the bus to Kuantan and from Kuantan took another bus to Maran. And boy! Did I regret not taking the taxi.
From Kuantan to Maran, it was still bearable though it took too long. I don't remember how many hours, but I had to stand all the 83 km to Maran and the road was not like it is today. It was long, narrow, winding, bumpy and dusty. The road extorted a heavy toll on poor me. Guess what!!! MUNTAH IJO (threw up bile). I was alone and felt so sick. Luckily I went prepared. I had my plastic bags with me. Hmmm... I wonder what would happen had I gone sick all over the bus.
It was already late in the evening when I reached Jerantut and I had not taken anything since breakfast. Sick as I was (felt like limp vege) no one offered to take my bag down (not even the bus conductor - hmmm! What manners). I remember my knees buckled in as I went down the bus. I don't remember being scared or helpless though, just a lot embarrassed. I went to get a taxi and tried to negotiate with the driver to drop me at my door. The driver refused. He would only take me to the junction and I would have to walk 2 km to reach home.
I was feeling too sick and tired to walk the 2 km with my heavy bag. So I waited for another taxi. This time I didn't negotiate. I just told the taxi driver where I wanted to go, Sungai Mai. The driver asked for RM20 [usually it was RM4] and I said ok. When we reached the junction, I told the driver I didn't have the money to pay him and he had to send me to my door and get the money from my parents. He he he !!! That worked. And it was past dusk when I arrived home.
Having gone through this kind of experience and I think I did come out a better person, somehow I wouldn't let my own children go through what I went through. I wrote about this in my celoteh column on exsas website (http://www.exsas. com.my/celoteh4. htm).
Today, I thank Allah Almighty; my first born is attending job interviews. Here’s wishing you all the best my ‘Jewel’.
Go out in joy and be led forth in peace
Dream but not make them your master
Think but not make them your aim
Treat triumphs and disaster the same
For they are imposters anyway
Talk with crowd and keep your virtue
Never let your enemies or friends hurt you
Hold on when there’s nothing left
Except the will
For truth will prevail
Not very original but I have always love Kipling's If.