A week ago, my student's father came to school and wanted his daughter to go on a study break. When asked why, his answer was simple: He did not have enough money!
Four days later, the school counselor, our driver and I had set off on a journey to Payoh to see the condition of this student's life. Compared to the others' house that I have been to in my 10 years of teaching, I would say that hands down, Mek's (not her real name) house is extremely comfortable, quite big and had the basic necessities like electricity and water but this was the only house that I had been to which did not have a television set and furniture in the living room. All there was in that house was a wheelchair used by Mek's father when he was ill a few years before, a small table and atop was an olden radio. That was the only entertainment available besides them having each other. They live on welfare getting as little as RM 300 a month, lucky for them the house was built by friends who had helped to donate the materials. Food is scarce, with that much money, what possibly could they buy, so a typical meal would be dried fish and rice.
As I got home and went in my room, looked around, looked at my children's room and the things they have, the toys and the RM 250 pair of jeans hanging, and the custom made dresses Khalida gets from her designer uncle and Iman's Body Shop perfume and lotion, and the food they have..the abundance of food we have in the larder and in the refrigerator. Here, in my walk-in-closet, I have leather bags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Coach and saving up for a Chanel AND not enough with that I am on a mission to persuade my husband to buy me another from Gucci.
Boy, we are very lucky, very lucky but it is nothing to be proud of because I have forgotten my roots and where I came from, forgotten the times when Daddy did not have enough money to buy us this and that, forgotten the days during college where I had to borrow RM 50 from my best friend to last me another week and above all I have forgotten humility when bringing up my children! Yes, some may say that it is my right as I worked hard for this life that I have, that it is my rezeki to have a husband who could provide for me..but has it ever occurred in mind that it might have be given by God so I can give it back out? Who needs 20 handbags when 2 is sufficient? Why buy bags that cost RM 3000 when you could get one for RM 300 or RM30 that serves the same purpose? Why in the name of heavens does a 6 year old child need to wear perfume and lotion from The Body Shop when the ones in Giant are just as good and sweet smelling? Why do we need to keep munching on more food when we have already had our dinner?
The lesson I learnt is to be thankful for what I have even though it is not as much as I would like to have. Secondly, don't forget to help those who are in need so, have you paid your zakat pendapatan?