Monday, May 16, 2011

Bekas Guru Ya?

Friday morning last I dropped by my neighbourhood Speedmart mini market for a loaf of bread. At the payment counter, the cashier, a pleasant-faced girl of perhaps 18, gave me a friendly smile and asked:"Tak kerja hari ni?"

I returned the smile, saying "Saya dah pencen." That's not quite the whole truth, for I do not draw any pension of any kind from anywhere, and I am still writing professionally, but it beats having to explain what I do for a living.

Then she blurted: "Bekas guru ya?" Now, saying 'Yes' would definitely be an outright lie but saying 'No' would need a qualifier, and I wasn't in the mood to indulge. So I drew a deep breath, ayed with conviction, took my loaf and change, and left.

Throughout my career as a journalist, and now beyond it, I have always been mistaken as a teacher and not once any other profession.

I have been told time and again that I possess that school-marmish look and that I would not look out of place in front of a classroom or a lecture hall. As always, I would go away feeling good about myself.

Let it be known that I love being taken for a teacher, because teaching is one of the most noble professions ever, and deep in my heart I knew I would have made a fine, dedicated cikgu.

In fact, it was a toss between teaching and journalism way back in 1973. Had it not been for the timely arrival of that offer letter from the New Straits Times, I would have entered a teachers' college, majored in English and taught till the day I retired.

Today, in celebration of Teacher's Day, here I am, wishing all cikgus out there a warm Hari Guru from the bottom of my heart.

I have so many of them to thank for, for turning me into what I am today; from Cikgu Samsudin Jusoh (here and here) who guided me from Primary One to Six, to Mr Magan Lal who held my hand over Mathematics that had me completely addled in Form Three, to Cikgu Jawhariah Mahmood who shared the beauty of English and poetry with me in Form Five; I love them all...


Pak Zawi said...

truly a noble profession but I don't feel comfortable when addressed as 'Chegu' by those neighbours of mine who didn't quite know what I did for a living before retirement from service. Rather than explain that I wasn't a teacher and bother myself to tell them what I did, I just allow them to address me as such. Happy teachers day to all teachers including 'Chegu' Zawawi.

hazeleyed lady said...

Ass-Salam Sis

Being a are indeed 'a teacher' to all...

tireless mom said...

Betul betul betul kak Puteri. You have that school-marmish look. Actually when I first saw you, rasanya masa kat Lake Club dulu tu, the same thought was running in my mind. Kalau tak journalist pun, I thought that in one phase of your life you were once a teacher, of course a good one!

Wan Sharif said...

Mmm. I was a trained teacher who failed to be one due to a rather practical reason.. I did not get JPA scholarship and survived on Trengganu loan.. as such Jabatan Pelajaran did not have any "bond" on me.. and refused to take me in as they fear I would quit and go for another job. My four years studying Maths and Physics with Education was "thrown of the window" on this technicalities.
On the hindsight.. My guru sementara stint at sekolah Ugama Tok Jiring kind of hinted me that maybe I would make a bad teacher with my Ganu Inggeris and 'roundabout explanation' ;))..
Happy teacher day to all teachers and us parents.. after all we are also teachers to our children and anak anak sdara...

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Nak panggil Aunty Cikgu lah from now on, boleh? Alamak! Jangan rotan saya! purrr...meow!

Anonymous said...

kak puteri macam cikgu besar.

Anonymous said...

Kak Kama,

When I was a policeman, my subordinates had a habit of calling me "Cikgu", I don't know why. Nonetheless I considered it an honour.

Now that I am in the teaching line, any stray call of Cikgu Jas never fails to lift my spirits.

Jasmani(Cikgu Dah Bengang)

Anonymous said...


Could go for a headmistress or maybe even a chopper pilot.