After running my errands last Saturday, I realised there were 2 missed calls on handphone – both coming from Sofie. I suspected it had something to do with Azman’s culinary school as the lady from the school did mention earlier that the session for new students would probably start in mid Jan. True enough, when I called Sofie, I was told that Azman had just received a call from a lady asking him to report to the school on Monday.
Sofie asked how to go about as neither she nor Azman were familiar with Ipoh (except the hospital). I told Azman to take the bus to Ipoh – I’d fetch him from the bus station and send him to the culinary school. I did suggest to Sofie that maybe she too could come along so she could see the place herself, but after giving it some thought, Sofie felt she shouldn’t. She needed to send/fetch her 2 younger children to/from school. And if she came to Ipoh together with Azman, it would mean no nasi lemak business aka no income for the day. For someone who doesn’t earn much, missing out on a day’s sale of about RM30 to RM40 is a lot.
Azman promised to call me once the bus was nearing the bus station. He needed to go to the bank first to arrange for an ATM card and immediately after that’s done, he’d get on the bus to Ipoh.
I got to the bus station at about 10.25 am, and the bus Azman was on, arrived 5 minutes later. Immediately I brought him straight to the culinary school, in fact our timing was just nice. We didn’t have to wait long for the 1 hour briefing session starting at 11 am given by one of the management personnel. I am glad I attended the session, it opened my eyes to the wide career prospects for the students once they obtained their certificates. As a matter of fact, they could go on to diploma level if they performed well. I sat beside Azman during the briefing and I noticed he paid attention throughout. Obviously this is where his interest lies. I doubt he’d be paying attention in class had I forced him to continue schooling in form 4. He’d probably ponteng 3 out of the 5 days each week in school…
After the briefing, those who needed hostel accommodation were brought to the hostel. Students would need to pay RM150 per month for hostel, and since they’d be getting a fixed monthly allowance under the Tabung Kemahiran, they can use their allowance to pay for the hostel fee. Food however, is not inclusive.
Parents were allowed into the hostel today since it was registration day, and so yes, I did get to see Azman’s dorm. There were 8 beds in the dorm. One good thing is that there is a kitchen where the students are allowed to cook. Azman prefers to cook rather than buy out every day.
Anyway, there were quite a number of things Azman still needed to buy. He came today wearing the pair of shoes bought when I brought him shopping 2 weeks ago, but he didn’t bring along any slippers. He can’t be wearing the shoes for games, and definitely not to go to the toilet! He also needed pillow, bedsheet, trackbottom, sports shoes, necktie (the dress code for Mondays is smart-dressed, including neckties for the boys), socks (the only pair he brought was the one he was wearing & when he took off his shoes to enter his dorm, I noticed his socks had one big whole).
There were more induction sessions after 2 pm for the students, and I didn’t think there was enough time for me to bring him shopping for all those stuff during lunch break, so I just brought him to a nearby minimarket to buy a pair of slippers and a pail. I told him I’d come back after asar so I could bring him out to buy all the other necessities.
After zohor, I decided to buy some of the stuff first – the ones that didn’t require size measurements. Besides, I know Azman well enough to know that he’s not fussy in terms of colour or patterns, so I bought the pillow, bedsheet/pillowcase, blanket, socks and a necktie. That way, when I brought Azman out later, we didn’t have to spend so much time shopping.
When I went to fetch Azman at the hostel later, 2 of his new friends wanted to come along. The 2 boys needed to buy some stationeries and being from outstation like Azman, they too weren’t familiar with the area yet. So yep, no problem, I took them along.
Just like when I brought him shopping 2 weeks ago, shopping with Azman had always been easy. He’s not fussy, and knowing that if it was his mother who had to pay, he wouldn’t have most of the things anyway, Azman would usually just agree with whatever that I suggested. So we bought him a pair of trackbottom, a pair of shoes and some stationeries.
Only one thing is not settled yet. Apparently for the monthly allowance, he’d need to have an account with a particular bank. The one he has right now is from another bank. Being only 16 this year, he’d need his guardian to come along with him when he applies to open up an account with the bank. Knowing it would be troublesome for his mother to come all the way to Ipoh to open up the bank account, Azman confided with the officer at the culinary school. The officer said she’d try to call the bank to ask if I could be the one accompanying Azman for the opening of bank account. But then I figured, since there was mention that the school will be closed for the whole week next week, might as well Azman open up the account at his hometown, where it wouldn’t be too troublesome for Sofie to go to the bank with him.
After being on mak angkat mode for the day, I noticed Azman seemed eager and excited this time around. He promised me he’d make full use of the opportunity given to him. I truly hope he will try his very best to prove that my suggestion to send him to the culinary school was right.
Come on Azman, show us what you’re made of…