FICTION: The Light of Forgiveness

Bismillahirrahmaanirrahim.

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This is the story of Amin and Basyir.

SPM was only a month and a half away, and the Form 5 students of SMK LOL (Ladang Orang Lidi) expressed various reactions towards their official trial results after loyally waiting for two hours straight outside Cikgu Fauzi’s room, clamouring impatiently for him to pin the documents on his notice board.

One young man did not mind the heavy pushing and shoving of the crowd as he beamed up as his results. A beautiful work of art! All A’s! Well, almost. Unfortunately, he only got a B for Add Math. He would have to work on that, pronto. He’d do exercises until his eyes cried blood. He was Basyir, one of the most intelligent students SMK LOL had ever produced! The teachers basically worshipped him! Losing was not an option. He was a person whose ambitions did push-ups in his sleep. One day, he was going to be a successful Cambridge lawyer, and if that meant cooperating with Add Math, so be it.

After the pasar malam-like crowd dispersed, a bespectacled boy wearing a Han Solo backpack went over to the notice board to check his own results. He received an A- for Pendidikan Islam, an A for Bahasa Malaysia, and most of the other subjects consisted of B’s, C’s and even D’s. Not very impressive. However, his Math and Add Math both had an ‘A+’ printed next to them. But Amin wasn’t surprised in the least — he’d never got less than an A for any Math-related subject anyway before this. I’m talented in one area I guess, he said, shrugging.

For the next month and a half, Basyir would ask for Amin’s help every other day. Basyir wanted to learn from the best, and Amin was happy to help. However, Basyir did not think much of Amin’s lenient attitude. Sure, he was born with Math capabilities that would put Einstein to shame, but instead of working hard to improve his other subjects, he’d rather play online games and whatnot. He heard rumours that Amin was a world-famous hacker under the username BRUC3WAYN3. Now how would that ever result to anything?

Deep inside, Amin could tell that Basyir often wanted to tell him to do something actually useful with his life but resisted the temptation. Unlike you, not everyone is compatible with the mainstream school system, Basyir.

Pejam celik pejam celik, and SPM results were finally out! Basyir, as the whole school expected, received straight A’s and a fancy certificate as he grinned widely, walking across the stage. He received a fancy scholarship from a fancy company to go to a fancy law school in a fancy place called the United Kingdom.

Amin could find no more than 5A’s on his result slip. That was okay, that was good. He applied for a diploma in Computer Science with Gaming and Animation at a local university that required a minimum of 3A’s for SPM, and got in. Hurrah! No more dealing with chemical equations. Sure, there were more prestigious programs, ones that could take him abroad in fact, but he wanted the one with a clear emphasis on gaming and animation.

If Basyir’s ego was a balloon, it was inflating more and more with every passing second. He received praise from everyone under the sun. In fact, he would turn his nose up at those who he deemed inferior. He called Amin to ask what he was studying now, and when Amin replied, “Gaming and Animation”, Basyir shook his head with disappointment.

“Amin, I’m telling you this directly, without any trace of filter, for your own good. If you listen to my advice, you’ll probably thank me one day. Apply for something else, please. Gaming won’t take you anywhere. Our teachers would be totally unimpressed when they find out you’re in that low-class university. Forbes even listed computer science as one of the ten top useless degrees. You’re talented, Amin. Use that talent for something good.”

And he hung up before Amin could reply.

The months went by.

Amin never truly forgave Basyir for his words, despite trying. There would always be a feeling of hatred and hurt whenever he thought of the other boy. Basyir, on the other hand, made no effort to keep in touch with those who had once helped him. Ibarat kacang lupakan kuilt, as the Malays say.

The months went by.

It was as if Basyir was sinking into the deep sea, and had no means of reaching to the surface for air. His A-level results were the worst of his batch. B’s for English and History, and a D for Math. He couldn’t understand that last part. He was sure he paid great attention to his Math lectures and read du’aa before he exhausted himself with homework. What was he doing wrong? All his batchmates were on their way to drinking tea with the Queen, and here he was with….. absolutely nothing!

Six months passed by, and there were only a few months left until Basyir’s A-level retake.

He hardly had time to read the news, maintain his social media accounts or spend time on his hobbies as he was drowning in his work. He was starting to get the hang of calculus and trigonometry but still encountered many mental obstacles. One night, Amin crossed his mind for a second. That kid was a total whiz at Math. He suddenly remembered the phone call that ended with a bad note, felt the slightest amount of guilt, and decided to log in on Facebook for the first time in two and a half years.

He ignored his 300+ notifications and messaged Amin straightaway. It was just a simple message. “Assalamualaikum bro. Sorry I haven’t been in touch for ages, super busy over here. Hope you’re in good health and doing well :). I have no idea what you’ve been up to. I have no idea what anybody from SMK LOL’s been up to. I also suddenly remembered what I said last time, and I apologize. I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong.

A sudden instinct to google Amin’s full name came over Basyir. What he found on the internet left him flabbergasted.

…the worldwide success of the Demi Masa (By Time) and Khaleefah Android apps are not Amin Baharuddin’s only outstanding achievements, he has also maintained a CGPA of 3.75 and above for five semesters now. For his sixth semester, he is doing an internship at the animation company who produced Gegerlgerl and they tell us he’s a gem…

…this twenty-year-old received praise from a renowned lecturer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through a tweet two weeks ago for mastering the art of coding at such an early age…

…when asked about his life goals, Amin mentioned that he wishes to be the next Steve Jobs, only better and with a noble purpose to serve the ummah. The world seeks more creative, ambitious young minds like Amin…

Basyir had never felt worse in his life. It was like being smacked directly in the face. With a truck. Did he once try to persuade this boy not to pursue computer science? He found Amin’s Twitter account, which had 146K followers from all over the world. His cover photo was a screenshot of the Forbes article deeming computer science as the ninth top useless degree in the world. Basyir did not know where to put his face.

Ting! Amin had responded to his message.

Waalaikumsalam. It’s good to hear from you, Basyir! I’m doing okay. Alhamdulillah. I’m in my final semester. Aren’t you supposed to be in Cambridge by now, studying law? Oh that’s okay, I’m glad you apologized. Kosong kosong, okay?

Basyir breathed out a sigh of relief. His iPhone started ringing, and on the screen was the name of a contact that he hadn’t contacted in two and a half years. Amin Baharuddin. They talked all night. Eventually, Basyir came clean and told Amin about his failures and regrets, and how he didn’t know how big Amin was until after he sent that Facebook message. He even cried a bit. Amin assured Basyir that he was forgiven, listened to his worries and gave him advice to purify his intentions and recheck his relationship with Allah.

After that one phone call, Basyir found that his life was going a lot better than it was before. He was more focused in his prayer, he gave off more positive vibes to the people around him, he started playing sports again, and believe it or not, Math became significantly easier! He excelled for his A-level retake and flew off to the UK.

Twenty-five years later, Basyir was giving a speech at a local university.

“As the dean of the law faculty, I wish to apologize for all the mistakes I’ve made throughout this year. And I apologize sincerely, because I deeply understand how not apologizing, even for something seemingly insignificant, could be the cause of your downfall. It was no bed of roses, getting to where I am today.

Let me tell you something. During my time, we never imagined that Noor computers, a product of Malaysia, would one day beat Macs and PCs. Well, guess what? I went to school with Amin Baharuddin himself! But I’m sure you all know Mr. Amin’s story by heart.

This, on the other hand, is the story of Amin and Basyir.”

***

With this, I, Arifah, sincerely apologize for every mistake I’ve ever made, big and small. Salam Maal Hijrah.

the outcome.

Assalamualaikum w.b.t.

Alor Gajah always seemed way too near whenever I had to return there after PB. But yesterday it couldn’t have been further away

I arrived at exactly 11 and was greeted by a LOT of juniors, hahaha. I miss them so. Not to mention my batchmates, of course! I was pretty annoyed to find out that you couldn’t take your results yet, but I saw it as an opportunity to drag Darshini to the Jabatan Sains/Bahasa and the Jabatan Maths/Sains Sosial, to give my thanks to around thirty teachers who taught me priceless bits of knowledge over the past two years. Of course, I’m sure every single teacher in MRSM Alor Gajah has played a part in my life, but I only had so much time. Plus, Mum called to say that the counters were open.

So berdebar-debar lah masa turun tangga nak pergi dewan balik.

I was just confused where to get the SPM slip and somebody misled me so I ended up taking the envelope with the sijils inside first and thought my results were in there. Haih. Then I went to the actual SPM slip counter and lined up at the wrong one because I thought one line was for guys and one line was for girls. Argh.

Then with lafaz bismillah I finally took my slip.

Cerita panjang: 5A+ 1A 2B 1C+ 1C

Cerita pendek: 6A 2B 2C

Cerita lagi panjang:

Bahasa Melayu, A+

Gembira. Sebab untuk PMR aku dapat B untuk BM. Walhal aku tak pernah dapat A untuk BM sehinggalah pra-percubaan SPM, walaupun aku rasa macam setiap kali peperiksaan aku berusaha sedaya upaya mungkin.

Bahasa Inggeris, A+

Expected. Alhamdulillah.

Pendidikan Islam, A+

Subjek ni pun aku tak pernah dapat A selepas PMR (even for pre-trials and trials) walaupun sentiasa berusaha. Tak sia-sia maktab hantar pergi Kem SPA Pendidikan Islam.

Mathematics, A+

This one really mirrors my PMR. Pretty sure I got C’s and D’s before the exam (yes, my Maths was that pathetic) so for the second week of PMR I studied Maths like crazy and sacrificed KH for it. The night before the last day of PMR, I only slept for 2 hours because I was desperate for an A for Maths. And I got it. Thank you Allah.

Even a month and a half before SPM I was still clueless about Maths and got like, 50+ marks, so I owe it to my tuition teacher Cikgu Lokman for guiding me over the holidays. I became addicted to doing Maths model papers after that.

Pendidikan Seni Visual A+

Expected. Alhamdulillah. Now I can finally upload my drawing for Paper 2.

Sejarah, A

My weakness is always Sejarah — I assume that I can cover everything in a short period of time, so I focus on other subjects. I could’ve got an A+ if I tried a little harder, but what’s done is done.

Additional Mathematics, B

I guess my parents were hoping for at least an A-, after long and costly tuition hours. But hey, it’s something. I couldn’t give all my attention to Add Maths. I got 22 for trials. For the first exam of the year I got 7. So Alhamdulillah for a B.

Biology, B

I expected a C, really. So Alhamdulillah.

Physics, C+

This one is quite disappointing because Physics is usually the best out of all my science subjects and I was expecting to get something in the range of A- to B. Oh well.

Chemistry, C

Glad I didn’t fail!

OVERALL: Alhamdulillah. All is well.

alhamdulillah

Yeah, I know. I focused on my strong subjects and ignored my weak ones. ‘Cause some people got, say, 7 or 8 A’s but only 2A+’s, yet the rest are B+’s or B’s.

Ah. Never mind. I have no interest in pursuing maths or science-related fields anyway.

Ramai orang dapat 5A. Aku bersyukur kerana aku dapat juga ambik Pendidikan Seni. 100% A! And four out of five of us got A+’s. I just hope pengetua lets future generations take Seni even though I don’t think any of us got more than 6A’s.

I had no choice but to take up the science stream in MRSM. Well, even before that, I was in the science stream. Maybe if the kids who got good grades for PMR didn’t get automatically pigeonholed into science stream, I would’ve chosen art stream.

Maybe 6A’s isn’t society’s ideal grade but I’m happy. I’m actually super-relieved that I don’t have to apply to all those scholarships from Khazanah, Shell, PNB, Petronas, et cetera that will only make me get a migraine. I know what I want to do and I have my own plans to find success in life. On the way back home I even sent in my application for a certain art and design school. If all goes well I’ll finally get to chase my lifelong dream of becoming an artist.

So, no matter what your results, I want to say congratulations. Congratulations for completing your education and having something to show after eleven years of schooling. Some people don’t have the privilege of education. Accept your results with an open heart and thank Him.

To those who got pretty grades, all the best in life. Follow your dreams and not anyone else’s. To those who got average or not-so-pretty grades, never stop looking and never stop learning. Find your strengths. There are a million opportunities out there, and they will come to you if you make an effort.

There are people who got 10A’s yet couldn’t get themselves a place in university. There are people who got 2A’s who managed to pursue their degree overseas. It all depends on your will.

Our time in school is done. Now let’s venture to the real world, go our separate paths and make the most out of life.

tomorrow.

Assalamualaikum w.b.t.


By this time tomorrow,
…guess who is going to be the first person among her SIBLINGS to get her SPM results?
…guess who is going to be the first grandchild on her FATHER’S side to get her SPM results?
…guess who is going to be the first grandchild on her MOTHER’S side to get her SPM results?

*inhales* *exhales*

Well, saya nak ambil peluang ini untuk menyusun sepuluh jari meminta maaf untuk semua kesalahan saya. Saya hanyalah seorang hamba yang lemah dan tidak sempurna dan banyak dosa. Bukan nak minta maaf hanya sebab nak dapat keputusan esok, tapi result tu lah yang menjadi ‘catalyst’ untuk meminta maaf. Saya selalu mengutuk orang, sakitkan hati orang, pemalas, tak tunaikan tanggungjawab, kerap membazir, dan lain-lain. Harap-harap kalian dapat maafkan.

And to all candidates of SPM 2014, may He be with you and grant you the best results. Whatever your fate is, accept it with an open heart and strive for success in the future Insya Allah. A person’s self-worth is not measured solely by their academic performance. Whatever happens tomorrow is not final, be it excellence, mediocrity or failure. Make du’aa and tawakkal.

spmm