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)

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Culinary Boy

Remember Azman, Sofie’s son? The one who wanted to stop schooling after his PMR so he could start working immediately as he was no longer interested to go to school?

So what kind of jobs did he think he could get when all he had was his PMR qualifications, which by the way, was not that good? Since his interest was in cooking, he was thinking of helping out at food stalls etc. During that time, a friend of mine, who’s in the management of a private culinary school, suggested to me to send him to the culinary school to take up a one year course in kitchen practice.

Personally, I would have preferred it if he had chosen to complete his SPM first. But I knew that while I could have coaxed him to continue schooling up to form five, he’d ponteng sekolah most of the time, like he did when he was in form 3. He was under sponsorship then, why would I want to waste the sponsor’s money when I knew he’d play truant most of time, right? It was much easier for me to coax him to join the culinary school, where his interest lies.

Indeed, he was excited about the idea. Sofie was already very weak by the time he had to register, so I was the one who accompanied him during registration day.

Initially things went quite well. But he started befriending a girl who came from a well-to-do family, and soon he started acting  like he was from a well-to-do family too. He started asking for money from his mother… on a weekly basis! I told him to stop asking for money from his mother.

Then when Sofie died, Azman’s attitude turned for the worse. He felt as though he was the best amongst his siblings, and just because I took interest in his well-being, he thought he could depend on me every time. He didn’t want to listen to his aunt who became his new guardian, and he didn’t even bother to go and see his siblings during weekends. Instead he chose to go back to another aunt… the aunt who had once upon a time spread the news about Sofie’s HIV status to the whole kampong.

I finally had to put a stop to his big-spending style. I told him to manage his own finances (by then his Tabung Kemahiran loan had already been banked into his bank account) and to no longer ask for my help. In a way, I was hoping that by doing so, the boy would go back to his aunt Rozi and his siblings if he needed anything.

Well, he didn’t. While he didn’t dare call me to seek for any more help, he didn’t go back to his siblings either. As a matter of fact, when his older brother tried to advise him to apologise to their aunt Rozi (the new guardian), the two brothers almost ended up in a fight.

The aunt and Azman’s 3 siblings gave up on him. They didn’t bother to contact him and anymore, and he didn’t bother to contact them either, telling people that his family had abandoned him.

When I went to visit Rozi and the 3 children last year, they told me that Azman had stopped going to the culinary school. They assumed he did not complete his one year course there because Azman seemed to be at the other aunt’s house in another town most of the time. I guess they didn’t bother to find out further and Azman didn’t want them to bother him too. I was quite disappointed, thinking that all my effort in helping him to get a place at the culinary school, went to waste.

Well, today my friend (the one who’s in the management of the culinary school) called me up, asking me if Azman had got himself a job. Apparently Azman did complete his one year course, entitling him to a level 2 certificate. Thank goodness!

His attitude hasn’t changed though. Still as stubborn and egoistic as before and still not wanting to apologise to his aunt Rozi for being so rude. Neither had he bothered to contact his siblings.

I am however still relieved that he completed his one year course. Continuing to level 3 wasn’t part of the earlier deal, although I was hoping he would. With the cert that he has now he can apply for a decent job, with enough salary for him to start paying his Tabung Kemahiran loan. He is still young, just 17. Hopefully when he is more matured he will realise how much his family means.


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