Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The lady who taught me how to read time

Back when I was a little kid, I wasn't the brightest in class but I was pretty inquisitive. At the same time I was pretty much timid also. It kinda hindered me to learn more in class. It took me a while for me to gain my courage and voice out my questions in class.

I was about seven years old then. Just entered primary school education. I wasn't good with learning all these new alphabets and numbers. Actually, previously I received Arabic education in my kindergarten days. English wasn't much spoken in class. Most of the time, the class was conducted in Malay and I learned some basic Arabic sentences. So it was pretty scary for me seeing these new letters and numbers.

A significant time in my life I remembered when I was given homework to do. It was a bright sunny afternoon, and I was sitting in the living room floor, trying to figure out how to read the time on my math exercise book.

It had pictures of clocks with the minute and hour hand, pointing in different directions. Needless to say I was puzzled. Not that the teacher didn't teach me, she did but like I mentioned before, I was a timid boy then. I knew the 'short' hand points to the hour of the day but I couldn't figure out how to read the 'long' hand when it points to a certain number.

My grandma, whom I guess saw my 'plight', came over and assisted me. She pointed to the clock in our living room and slowly explained that each visible numbers (1 to 12) is in multiples of 5. I was still puzzled as to why it is so.

She further explained that there are 60 minutes in an hour. And every big number (1 to 12) is in multiples of 5 minutes. So 5 mins x 1 equals 5 mins, 5 mins x 2 equals 10 mins and so on.

By this time I was pretty excited about this time reading thing. I started to exclaimed to her "So, if the long hand points to 6 it means its 30 mins!"

"Clever!" she said.

After figuring out this "amazing time reading ability", I was doing my homework effortlessly. I was writing down the time of each clock picture and I was quite happy for myself. Of course, my grandma was always there, looking over to see that I was doing it right.

After finishing my homework, I spent my time reading the TV programmes section of the newspapers and naturally I learned how many hours and minutes left before a show begins on TV. I would tell her what time her shows starts, and what time it ends. Yes, I was excited. Because now I can read time.

Twenty years on, the lady who taught me how to read time have passed away. My grandma passed away at her home last Friday.

Many moments in my life, when I have failed and others thought badly of me, she was there to console and encourage me to do better. She used to say "Amy belajar pandai-pandai, belajar tinggi-tinggi. Nanti esok Amy hidup senang. Takpe, sekarang memang susah nanti dah besar nanti hidup senang." She calls me Amy. Sounds like a girlish name(which I found out later in primary school) but actually it's a guy's name too. (just for your info people)

It's nice to hear that someone believes in you and gives you hope. It was an encouragement that pushed me to learn and make use of time to gain knowledge whenever I can.

Thank you Grandma. For everything.

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