In my previous posting, I wrote about attending an interview as a clerk towards the end of 1976 and the following year I was appointed as a clerk at Sekolah Menengah Datuk Bentara Luar, Batu Pahat or in English, Datuk Bentara Luar Secondary School (SDBL).
January thirteenth saw me riding Dad's scooter Vespa JC2551 to SDBL at Lim Poon road, Batu Pahat. Prior to that, I had made a preliminary inquiry of the location of the school with Romli a few days before. It was around fifteen minutes after eight o'clock in the morning as I ascended the slope towards the office and politely knocked on the door. A pleasant lady looked up from her desk and beckoned to me to enter, smiling sweetly, cheering me up. This lady whom I met the other day, was the senior clerk, Miss Siti Rosmah bte Hj Tahir.
|Datuk Bentara Luar Secondary School, Batu Pahat|
Madam Siti Rosmah always introduced me to every teacher who walked into the office. "Let me introduced Borhanudin, the new clerk..." And the male teachers would offer their hands as a gesture of welcome, which I quickly took happily, eager to be accepted as a member of the school community.
I could remember the exact number, but there were many teachers at SDBL. There were Malays, Chinese and Indians a majority of which were the Malays. I could still remember a few names such as Paiman Hussein, Mashudan Kamar, Kadir Bawok, Yusof Abdul Rahman, Rubaie Sulaiman, Mahadhir (an Indian Muslim) and Chan.
At a corner was the office boy named Rahim. He had a nasty look, just like the look of a rogue. His hair was a little bit long and curly that seemed to cling to his scalp nastily. He never smiled. One look at him made me resented him. I made up my mind not to go near him.
During lunch break, walked a Laboratory Attendant by the name of Senin into the office. He said he had been instructed to bring me to a 'Ustaz' religious teacher's house as I would be staying with him (the Ustaz) while I worked at SDBL and be paying part of the house rent to him. The house was not far from the school.
At four o'clock, I 'went back' to the house that I rented with the Ustaz. The word 'went back' didn't seem right because I still hadn't felt that I belonged to that house or it was my home. I had an easy chat with him. He told me that he lived there with another teacher who still hadn't come back from his kampung. When I moved in, the number of tenants increased to become three people.
"Actually, I didn't want to accept you in the house, but En Arif (the school Headmaster) asked me to take you." That was one sentences articulated by Ustaz that stunned me and made me unhappy. However, I did not voice my desolation, but kept deep within myself.
"You can use ... (the name of the other teacher that I had forgotten) bed," Ustaz said.
"Thanks," I replied, but I was adamant not to use his bed.