Thursday, January 16, 2014

Directing Change.....

"Stop criticizing, stop arguing with yourself, stop feeling as though there is nothing else you can do to change things." said a friend one day some years ago when I told her I wasn't doing anything great. "Come and join me and do something." she said to me as she walked hurriedly to catch her flight. I smiled but didn't say anything one way or the other. I was then into caring for my aging mother and my mother in law who were not able to take care of themselves without supervision. And caring for a mother is the greatest thing to do in life. One should not think otherwise.....ever. So I lay low.

That was sometimes in early 2003. I remember this thought now as I sat down thinking what we should do next having established the SmarTop Subur Fitrah Integrated Pre School last year and having helped to establish Situwangi Boarding School in Garut Indonesia starting in 2009 with initial planning  and implementation.

Martin Luther King had a dream and his Dream came true. American Civil Rights march to Washington DC saw Barack Obama as President of America for the second term. Not everybody loves President Obama, but I am writing this to internalized "The Power of Dreams". 

Thinking about dreams and dreams coming true, I quickly dialed my friend and suggested that we should set up tuition classes for needy students, primary and secondary in 2014 using SmarTop classrooms in the evening and at nights. We do not have the resources to establish a primary school with our intended agenda just yet, but surely we can try setting up tuition classes in certain  important subjects like science, English, mathematics and perhaps Arabic. We were excited at the thought and we will start by winning over some teachers to help us part time in the evening or at  night. 

It is no big deal about opening tuition classes. But offering it for very low tuition fees or totally free for the poor kids, it should mean something for some parents. We hope so. In between classes we could give short session on achieving success based on knowledge and Taqwa and the importance of maintaining high moral values. We discussed this issue briefly when we met again three days ago in Tangkak while taking care of our new programs for the year 2014 for the SmarTop kids as seen above on Sunday morning. 

While we were so driven discussing the possibility of setting up tuition classes, my friend suddenly remembered that the Ministry of education has discontinued all Public Exams and therefore school children may not be motivated to do extra learning. If learning is purely to pass exams, then we may have to scrap the idea or put it on hold. We paused.....

We ourselves feel a little confused and bewildered. We dared not think beyond this point. Are we mature enough to embark on this strategy to do away with public exams.  Are kids ready and are parents willing to accept fully the consequences of this change.  The Ministry of Education must have given it a thorough thought and ordinary citizens like me will just wait and see. I may not live long enough to see the difference......so we decided to take one step at a time without losing sight of our final goals.

Cost and benefit is a delicate balancing act when trying to effect change. High morality and good behavior based on the Islamic faith (akhlak) is of utmost importance. Almost everyday we read in the papers and almost everyday we hear in the news of things happening to unwanted babies, to disenchanted young people, to confused young mothers and to old and lonely senior citizens. They are either being abandoned or being treated unfairly, or being discriminated upon, or being abused and or being ignored (to name some) by someone or some groups in society.

And even more worrying, today petty crimes are rampant and it is growing like wild fire in volume and seriousness. So my friend and I decided to play our little part to make this world a better place to live. SmarTop Subur Fitrah becomes part of our operating centre to work on our agenda.

Effecting  and directing change is not just by talking. It must be by doing. (Walk your talk).

Last Tuesday at SmarTop we celebrated "MaulidurRasul" and took the opportunity to discuss with parents the need to form a Parent-Teacher Association for 2014 which we neglected in 2013. YB Dato Safarudin, SmarTop's Chairman,  is seen here with me discussing some points with the newly 'elected ' chairman, En Ruslan Pardi, on how we should get started. En Ruslan is with the Education Department Muar and we have trust in him that this need to work together is in good hands. Alhamdulilah. By the grace of Allah En Ruslan is very willing to contribute to the best of his ability. We are looking forward to working  with parents more effectively this time. May Allah guide us all the way.

Personally I am excited to work harder this year, insyaAllah, because I am inspired by some individuals in Tangkak who came forward to help train our teachers from time to time without charge. These individuals do not have children with SmarTop and yet they are too happy to help. May SmarTop be blessed with more bounties and may Allah be pleased with our effort.....directing and  effecting change in the best way we know how.......

"May God grant us the serenity  to accept things we cannot change , to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference." Aameen...



Al-Manar said...

I thought what I should do and have been doing for 20 years what I thought. That is the long and short of it. I have approached no one and no one cares to offer help.

During all these 20 years I am yet to see the sign of a YB. But my wife and I are happy. Who cares about YBs. They came and they went thinking they had the right to be there. Hence, I keep to my motto 'Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan'.

Belive me HE, the Most Generous and Caring has rewarded my family members in many ways. Children keep growing every day with or without help. Let us not be one day too late waiting for the gods of education to plan and keep failing.But I am happy to have seen real results - engineers, doctors and all. That is real satisfaction enough in itself. Real rewards are for Him to decide.

Selamat berkhidmat dengan maju jaya.

ngasobahseliman said...

Salam. Thank you for your deep insights. You've done a lot for the young and may they later help others when the time comes.In our case now we got help from ordinary citizens.Alhamdulilah. No politician at all. Maybe in the future some politicians who really understand the role of the 'khalifah' will take the lead. May good tidings come upon us and our future generation and may Allah bless us all the way. Aameen.

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