THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Sofie’s son…

After arranging for the continuity of the monthly schooling assistance for Ika & Saiful, Sofie’s 2 younger children, and informing their aunt Rozi via SMS about it, I decided to give the family some space. I wasn’t really sure how receptive the aunt was about having me taking interest in the children too often.  I didn’t want her to feel as though I am monitoring her every move. Maybe a once-in-a-month call/visit would do.

But last Saturday, after done with cooking for lunch, I noticed there were 3 missed calls on my hand phone – all from Rozi. I had earlier left my phone in my room and so I didn’t hear it ringing while I was in the kitchen.

Seeing 3 missed calls from the same person, I figured it was important. Could it be that Rozi had problems arranging for the 2 younger kids school transfer? I remember Sofie herself had problems previously even though she was their own mother.

So I returned Rozi’s call. No, no problem transferring the the children to new schools nearer to the aunt’s place. The problem was with Azman, Sofie’s no. 2 son now studying at the culinary school. The boy had already missed 2 weeks of classes when his mother was hospitalised earlier. No problem about that, he did get permission from the college and he did get the doctor’s letter to show them. But because he had missed classes for some time already, Rozi suggested to him that he should start going back to classes on Wednesday, 3 days after his mother passed away, so that he wouldn’t miss any more lessons. But Azman refused, he said he’d only go back to his hostel on Sunday, and start going back to classes on Monday.

That too was understandable, since Thursday was a public holiday in Perak. But Rozi’s main concern was that Azman had gone out since Wednesday and didn’t come back since, without informing her where he went. Azlan, the older brother who went back to their old house to get some things, found out that Azman had gone to his other aunt’s house (the aunt who had spread the news about Sofie’s HIV to the whole kampong). He did advise his brother to go back to Rozi’s house, but to no avail.

Rozi and Azlan did try to call after that, but Azman didn’t bother to answer his phone. Azlan ended up sending text messages to his brother, reminding him to remember their mother’s advise and requests when she was still alive. But Azman didn’t bother to reply the messages either. So Rozi got worried… what if the boy doesn’t go back to his hostel on Sunday and decides to skip more classes?

Since her calls were not answered, Rozi resorted to getting me to call and advise Azman. I waited until later in the evening before calling Azman, pretending that I didn’t know where he was, and just asking him when he’d be going back to his hostel.  I did ask him where he was, and he did say he was in the other town, not at Rozi’s house. Good, at least he didn’t lie.

I did make him promise he’d start going back to his classes by Monday.

It’s Monday today, and while I was in the kitchen this morning, a call came in. The moment I saw that the call was from the culinary school, I got worried. God, did he not turn up in class today too??

Apparently, the call was from one of the staff of the culinary school, calling to ask about his Tabung Kemahiran loan. You see, in the earlier form, Sofie herself was the first guarantor, and Rozi as second guarantor. Now that Sofie has passed away, they needed a new guarantor to replace Sofie. I wasn’t about to get myself involved as guarantors to any loans taken by these children (once I start then each of them may resort to me as their guarantor later, I wouldn’t want that to happen…. there are simply too many of them), so I told the lady that Azman’s new guardian is his aunt Rozi, and to contact her direct on this matter. Rozi’s number was already in the form as she was named as the second guarantor in the original form.

I am not really sure if any of Azman’s other relatives are willing to become his guarantor (even earlier on when Sofie was looking for a second guarantor, Azman’s cousin who initially agreed, in the end chickened out). But in case Rozi calls me to seek my advise, I’d probably suggest to her to take the opportunity to brainwash Azman and tell him that nobody is willing to be his guarantor if he is not willing to change himself. On my part, I will advise Azman to go back and BEG for help from his aunt and uncle or older cousins. Of course I will give him a piece of my mind as well…

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