I received a call from Ameer's kindy Teacher today, just some updates on this & that.
BUT ...... ( there's always a but somewhere, or else why would I want to blog about it?)
She lodged her concern about Ameer's response on "what do you want to be when you grow up". Curiously enough, I asked, what was Ameer's response that she was so concern about? In my heart, nothing psychotic I hope!
Apparently, Ameer told her, he wanted to be a NINJA !!!! Oh la la.
I laughed & laughed my hearts out, leaving no airtime in between for her to continue because honestly, I thought it was so damn funny. I just couldn't help it and so indulge myself in laughing out loud (alone) for quite a while. I thought that was such a brave enough an attempt by Ameer and an honest one at it too. How many kids would actually be open enough to share their personal vision such as that. At most, it would be the well rehearsed answers as practiced at home - I want to be a teacher, police, ustazah, lawyer, accountant, doctor, architect, etc. Rarely ever - celebrity chef, hairstylist, pro footballer or Akademi Fantasia winner. And a Ninja from Rawang? Wow! That must be the first for the Teacher.
The feeling obviously was not mutual - at all! The Teacher said, even after showing pictures of various occupations to the class and what these people do, yet when she asked Ameer again, Ameer still asked how come there's no photo of a Ninja.
Suffice to say, Teacher was not happy. Teacher was concerned. Teacher was afraid that Ameer could not differentiate between reality & fantasy. Teacher wanted me (this Ibu)to help Ameer to have a better grasp of what's real and what's not.
Oh oh.... I'm in trouble. Not about Ameer's ambition. But in dealing with the expectation of the Teacher.
Hello..... Ameer just turned 5 last November. Technically therefore, he's only 5 years & 4 months young OK?. I see nothing seriously flawed with him sharing that kind of 'personal vision'. Having 3 boys of my own and several nephews & nieces of various ages, I've indeed heard of many others too that are quite not so ordinary, namely rock star, hairstylist, makeup artist, antique cars collector, professional footballer, professional boxer, F1 driver, CSI, pest controller, locksmith, Jimmy Neutron, President, Hannah Montana and Ariel (the little mermaid) to name a few. So shall I just say... heh... this types of childhood ambitions kind of 'run in the family'? hahahah..... I think that will scare the Teacher even more.
Or is it quite obvious that I am not as kiasu as some other parents ke? That's besides the point.
Seriously, I think what should interest the Teacher more was to explore & find out WHY my little Ameer wants to become a NINJA and what about NINJA that excites or inspires him? The standard questions of 4 Wives, 1 Waitress & 1 husband (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) would have done the trick, I think. KAN?
When Ameer got home from school and I asked him about the NINJA episode, of course his immediate response was to DENY. "Eh! No! Ameer dah tukar balik macam last week - Ameer nak jadi Doktor lah, tak nak jadi Ninja. Sebab Teacher kata, in gheal world, mana ada NINJA".
Sad... there is NINJA in the real world la Teacher! May be in our culture not something that we want to lure our children into BUT the fact remains, NINJAs do exist okay Teacher? Because the under world is part of the real world. But that would be too complicated to explain to Ameer right? Or you seriously don't think NINJA exist in the real world? Sigh.....
So Q & A between Ameer & Ibu ensued:
Ibu: Why do you think becoming a NINJA is exciting, Ameer?
Ameer: Because NINJA helps fight off evil people and dia protect the not so strong people tau Ibu.
Ibu: Oh.... ye ker? Macam mana dia protect other people tu?
Ameer: NINJA tu kan Ibu, dia kena practice ghajin-ghajin sampai dia kuat tau, then dia can protect other people la. And he must eat well, macam Naruto tu.
(I have no idea what Naruto eats okay?)
Ibu: Ye ker? Kenapa NINJA kena protect other people tu?
Ameer: Ibu tak tau ker? Kan ada ghamai oghang jahat kat luar. Evil. Macam kena bully ker.... So NINJA akan rescue la oghang yang kena kacau tu.
(So who says cartoon is all that bad?)
Ameer: Ha! Ibu dah faham?
Ibu: Ah... yes! So, Ameer nak jadi NINJA, sebab Ameer nak protect orang baik dari orang jahat eh?
Ameer: Ya. Tapi kalau nak jadi NINJA, kena practice rajin-rajin dulu (sambil buka langkah ala-ala martial arts macam dalam Naruto tu) baru la kuat. Lepas tu baru la boleh protect orang lain.
Ibu: Ah... betul....
Ameer: Tapi sekarang Ameer dah tukar la Ibu. Cikgu kata takde sekolah ajar jadi NINJA. So now Ameer nak jadi Doktor. Macam last week yang Ameer ada cakap kat Ibu tu. Tukar jadi Doktor balik lah.
And he hurried off upstairs to change his school uniform. Quickly did his homework without being asked. So that he can have uninterrupted time to watch his latest favourite cartoon, the Tom & Jerry show. That's Ameer for you. Business first, leisure ensues. Straight A's in his monthly tests thus far, except for lukisan.
Yes... Ameer's short lived ambition involves fantasy, no doubt. But based on noble hopes & desires, isn't it? The one thing that the Teacher could have done then, had she enquired that bit further, was to help translate & guide my child to similar "peace keeping" & "protect others" kind of occupations which are more common and real (to her) than NINJA. Polis ke, askar ke, FRU ke, lawyer ke, martial arts instructor ke, Menteri Pertahanan ke, NGO activist ke, UN Envoy peace keeper ke .... whatever la... whatever "REAL" to her la kan? That would still be a better attempt than simply pouring cold water to such a noble heart desire from an innocent child.
I grew up at an era when most parents & teachers similarly expected their kids to choose the standard occupation. Careers in arts, culinary, music, literature, professional sports for example, were not only unheard of, but almost a taboo especially if they are considered "ishhh.... tak boleh, kita orang Malaysia/Melayu/Islam" or simply if it's "non-money makers".
Somehow, as a child and up till form 5, I managed to 'stray'. I always came up with the not so standard answer, from the very-very low on approval rating (perempuan joget, no kidding!) to the neutral ones (welfare officer, lawyer, lecturer, engineer - boring stuff?) and right up to the ironic ones (nuclear physicst, air stewardess - ironic because I'm not that great in maths at all for the former and bukan ler lawa, tinggi lampai & sopan santun bebeno for the latter.... hahaha). During the interview for scholarship (at age 17), I made the interviewers fell off their chair - laughing, as I told them I wanted to go to US simply because I wanted so much to go to Disneyland, nothing else. Interestingly enough, the interviewers said, I've got "personal vision", and they like.....
What I ended up as today? A career totally unheard of by my kindergarten teacher back then.
So adakah ini satu fenomena Bapak Borek, Anak Rintik? Or more appropriately, Ibu bintik-bintik, Anak polka dot?
I think the world today offers a lot more than the standard occupations - unimaginable years ago. And who knows what the future holds?
The challenge I offer to teachers out there; please.....
ASK MORE THAN TELL
For without exploring further what's on their mind, you would hastily reach at a conclusion that is only based on half of the picture. The half that is in your mind and yours only. NOT in the mind of the person that you should be exploring further - the child, the student.
I don't mean to be overly protective - but I think a child deserves some extra time to be heard first, rather than simply to be told off.
To anak-anak Ibu, BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE so long you are happy with your choices and do your best in your chosen field (subject always to 'di jalan yang benar, halal dan baik). Bertebaran lah dimuka bumiNYA, rezeki itu ada di mana-mana, InsyaALLAH... I will pray that you will be guided, be protected, be reminded and be successful always, dunia & akhirat.
To Abang Idin, if you indeed choose that route, I don't mind getting complimentary pass to sit with the Man U players in their designated bench. Seriously.
To Hafiz, if you are still undecided which car to spare one for me from amongst all those in your future collection - berbuih dah mulut ibu cakap, I will easily settle for the Volkswagen Van okay? The ori version. Nothing more expensive.
To Ameer, the options are plenty still. No worries my boy.