Friday, June 17, 2011

Mikhail and his First School Examination - A tearfully happy tale

While I was walking through (and sinking into) the peat soil of the oil palm estates in Saribas earlier this week, a small drama was unfolding at home. On Monday, Mikhail, my 7 year old son, returned from school, and he was strangely quiet and withdrawn. While changing, Bibik saw that he was furtively looking at some papers and quickly shoving them back into his school bag. In the afternoon, he continued being very quiet, so Bibik went to the tv room to see what he was up to. To her surprise she found him crying alone on the sofa. So she asked him what was wrong, and in between his heartbreaking sobs, he told her that he got a C and a B in one of the subjects he sat of his recent primary 1 exams. Tearfully, he pleaded to her, "Sorry... Bibik, Sorry... Mika tak buat lagi (I won't do it again). She answered, "Hey, Mikhail, apa nak mintak sorry kat Bibik ni? (Hey, Mikhail, why do you need to say sorry to me?)

"Mika tak dengar cakap Bibik... Mika tak mau lagi tengok tv banyak banyak, Mika tak mau lagi main laptop banya-banyak... Sorry Bibik (I didn't listen to you, Bibik... I don't want to watch too much tv anymore, I don' want to play with my laptop anymore... I am sorry, Bibik)", said my son mournfully. Bibiq sat with him and gently consoled him, but he continued crying in her arms until finally exhausted, he stopped. But it didn't end there, for twice she found him sitting quietly as tears trickled down his cheeks.Finally tired out by the day's miserableness, Mikhail insisted on going to bed early and he fell asleep still crying. Bibik did her best, but by then even she was crying. "Saya kesian sangat tengok dia ni...(I felt so sad looking at him acting this way)", she said.

When I got back and having heard Bibik's report, I spoke to my son. I told him not to feel so disappointed with the B and C, because really, he has made me so proud. "But most importantly, you have made someone else even prouder..." I said. "Yes, Papa, I know." He interjected. "I also made Nabi Muhammad and God proud." And he should be happy, because my son appears to have also gotten 5 As. Why, in my days, if I got this sort of exam marks I would be preening my feathers like the fat little peacock that I was. But not Mikhail, he was disappointed because he knew he could have done better. My son wiped away the tears of his academic battle from his red cheeks, and smiling, he remarked "Yea.. Papa. After all, I am already doing my Kumon (Japanese math tuition) for primary 3!" He was his cheery confident self (almost too confident) again.

And for me that is more important than all the As in the world, sunshine.

May God bless all children for the delight that they bring into our otherwise dull lives. And may they find their own voice and place in this lovely planet which we share together.

Pax Taufiqa.

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