Sunday, May 21, 2017

Peculiar Experience

In the name of Allah, the Almighty.

Two weeks ago, there were many, urm, peculiar occurrences happened to me. By peculiar, I meant it's related to the spirits and ghosts. And today, as I was bored in a course at school, I managed to finish a thriller short story, using one of the events as the base. This is my first attempt on thriller/horror genre, so why don't you read up and give me some feedback later?



The beeping sound broke the silence of that still night.


It beeped again. A soft white light on top of my mobile phone flashed twice, notifying me about the newly received text message. I reached for my phone, unlocked it and read the message:

"Come to my workstation now if you want to hear about [it]."

I hesitated. Should I go see him? I want to know about "it" but it's only one hour away to midnight.

"4 real? Only 1hr more 2 midnite. U still workin?"

I texted him back.


A quick reply from him, as usual.

"Chickening out now? Don't come if you're scared."

Nobody calls me a chicken. Nobody. So I texted him back,

"W8 4 me. Im otw."

I grabbed my sling bag, reached for my keys and quickly left my house.


I pushed the door open. The staff room looked dimmer than usual. Without teachers scurrying around with books or papers in hands, the space looked somewhat spacious yet empty. I looked around and found his workstation at the quietest corner of the room. But he was not there.

I approached his workstation and noticed unfinished exam scripts lying around in bundles with a red pen, uncapped, sticking out in between the bundles. The workstation was a total chaos, but that's how he liked it best. 'The messier your table, the more creative you are,' he oftentimes repeated it in class in defense of his messy table whenever we teased him, and I had to agree with him -- he always came out with weird ideas for his lessons like writing a letter to our future self or giving funny analogies while explaining anything, but it was those weird ideas that made his lessons fun and attracted students to him. And that was why I am here right now, less than an hour to midnight: I want to know about [it].

"You're here."

I nearly jumped out of my boots if it wasn't for the familiar voice. I turned around and there he stood, smiling. I knew something was amiss but I couldn't quite put my finger on what made me feel so.

"Where you've been?" I asked.

Went to toilet to freshen up, he muttered to himself. Mr. Hafiz is usually a bubbly yet sarcastic in conversations (which made me love and hate talking to him at the same time). But tonight, he seemed somewhat quieter than usual.

"You want to know about [it], right?" he asked. I nodded as he pulled a chair and offered it to me, "make yourself at home."

"Sir, can't you pick a better time to tell me about [it]? Like, say...tomorrow morning?" I enquired.

No, can't wait till tomorrow, he muttered to himself again. "Plus, ghost stories aren't scary at all in broad daylight, don't you agree?"

He glanced at me, and I noticed he was wearing an eerie smile on his face.

"Now, it happened about a week ago when I was teaching my night class..."


It was a still night, unlike any other days. Heavy rain just stopped fifteen minutes ago yet there was no sign of frogs begging for more rain, or insects buzzing around. Such a peculiar night, thought Mr. Hafiz as he walked out of the staff room and marched towards the class next to the English Language Room where he usually held his night classes for 5AG.

The two-storey building seemed quieter without hostel students. Mr. Hafiz entered the classroom and began his lesson. They learnt how to properly write sentences: simple, compound and complex sentences using the formulas Mr. Hafiz taught them.

While they were engrossed in the lesson, Mr. Hafiz suddenly stopped. He craned forward and asked,

"...did you hear that?"
The classroom was wrapped in total silence as the students looked at one another in confusion. A few students near the windows shook their head, the ones in the middle looked clueless, but those sitting near the back door -- their faces were as white as a sheet.

A boy sitting in the middle broke the silence,

"Sir, what did you hear?"

Mr. Hafiz described the sound when wooden table or chair is being dragged across cemented floor. Yes, the sharp, high pitch sound you often hear when people upstairs are moving things around. But there was supposed to be nobody upstairs. There were supposed to be thirty three students and one teacher in the whole block that night, occupying the classroom next to English Language room. So who made the sound just now? Or rather, what made the sound?

Most of the girls already looked terrified. The boys were forcing a smile on their face, trying to look brave. Mr. Hafiz was about to continue his lesson when the girl closest to the back door raised her hand,

Sir, we heard it too. But it was a different sound...

The other three girls sitting close to her nodded.

What did you hear?” asked Mr. Hafiz.

The girl, Husna, looked at her friends as if asking for permission to speak up before she turned to Mr. Hafiz and explained,

We heard a knock.


Yes, a knock. On that door...

Husna looked at the back door.


The whole class was now silent. Everyone was looking at the door too. Their faces were white as if they had seen a ghost...or had heard a ghost.



Some of the girls were already hugging one another. They boys were no longer smiling. Mr. Hafiz approached the door, cautiously checking what could possibly make the sound. His usually cheerful face was no longer wearing a smile. The students were holding their breath when Mr. Hafiz pulled the door to reveal the source of the knocking sound: It was a security guard. He was standing there, smiling, before apologising for scaring everybody.

The whole class broke into laughter. Who could have thought that somebody was really standing behind the door?


So it wasn’t even a ghost?” I asked, disappointed. I looked at the clock: It was quarter to midnight.

                Hasty, aren’t you?” Mr. Hafiz chuckled. “Can’t you wait until I finished my story? As I was saying, the whole class broke into laughter, except Husna. She did not even smile...


                Husna did not even smile, not even when Mr. Hafiz cracked his funniest joke that always made her laugh. It was then Mr. Hafiz knew something was not right but he did not say anything to anyone until he concluded his lesson that night. While everybody else was leaving, Mr. Hafiz approached Husna and asked what was wrong. She was trembling,

                I smelled something when everyone was laughing... Something peculiar.

                What did you mean by peculiar?

                She looked behind her shoulders, just to make sure nobody was listening before she whispered,

                I smelled something that shouldn’t be here.

                Mr. Hafiz’s eyes widened when he heard Husna mentioned the word “corpse” but he tried not to show her that he was shocked. Husna described the reek of decaying smell that came and went – sometimes strong, sometimes faint.


Whoa!” I gaped. “You don’t say...

Mr. Hafiz stood up, straightened his necktie and went straight towards the door. Need to go to the loo, he said then left. I did not think about it before, but now I wonder why would Mr. Hafiz wear his working attire late at night like this? He always changed into his comfortable jersey and track bottom.
It was five minutes to midnight and Mr. Hafiz still had not returned. The night began to feel a bit chilly, yet I could feel cold sweat streaming down my back. Images from Mr. Hafiz’s story began to fill my head.


It was as if a piece of sheet was dragged against a rough surface. I looked around warily. There was nobody else in the staff room.


The sound came from the opposite side of the staff room where lights and fans were switch off. I reached for my cell phone and quickly dialled Mr. Hafiz’s number.


No answer. I dialled again.


Hello?” I could hear his voice on the other end of the line. His voice sounded sleepy, as if just woken up from sleep.

Sir? Where are you?

Kimi? Is that you? Sorry, I was already asleep when you called.

Why did you leave me alone in the staff room? What’s taking you so long?

What did you mean? I was feeling a bit under the weather today, so I called in sick. I did not even go to school today.

I could not believe my ears.

Why are you in the staff room at this hour?

I gulped. The reek of decaying smell began to fill the room...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Have Faith!

In the name of Allah, All-Knowing.

It's been a while since I last wrote here. In fact, it feels a little awkward to even write an entry here. Life has been hectic for me. Work, after work, after work... But let's not talk about work for today. Today, I am sharing a poem I wrote six years ago.

For whatever reason, a friend of mine was feeling down. She wrote this:

I replied to her poem with another poem:

With each winning,
we earn fame.
With each failure,
we learn lessons
and we gain strength.
We become stronger
with each failure.
And in fact, a bit wiser too.
The key here is 'patience.'

Plan ahead
as if we are going to
live another thousand years.
as if we can
go back in time.
Live today
as if we are going to
die any moment now.
The key here is 'balance.'

The secret of
good planning
and decision-making
do not lie in
how far ahead
we look at something.
But rather,
at how we consider
and reconsider
and again, reconsider:
The elements of
the now
the past
and the future.
The key here is 'clarity.'

Now that we have learnt
the essence
and important
keys to planning
and decision-making,
there is another thing
to bear in mind:
"We propose, Allah disposes."
Knowing this,
we should understand that
above 'patience', 'balance' and 'clarity'
lay the most essential key.
This is FAITH.

Plan, then execute it.
Next, have Faith--
In Allah.
In ourselves.
The best shall come our way
when we least expected it.
Because Allah knows better
what is best for us.

Looking back at what I wrote, I definitely surprised myself. Didn't know I was so wise back then. *giggles*

For those who are facing failure or any kind of difficulties in life, this poem is for you. May Allah ease your trouble and pain.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wisdom Not Passed Down

In the name of Allah, All-Knowing

Inside my head
is a place,
a secret garden
nobody has yet entered.
sprout and grow
like crops in demand;
But I am only one person--
these pair of hands can only
do so much.
I was taught how to plant,
I watered them with enthusiasm
and sunned them with curiosity
--but to turn the crops
to food of thought,
I was not taught how
As Time took away
my only chance.

Here I am,
As I look at these
pair of hands,
I wonder how can I regain
the wisdom
not passed down?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Love Story for Book Lovers

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious.

I could not sleep last night and the heart was not at ease. As a result, I wrote this short story. Why don't you try reading and let me know what you feel about it? :D


"A first book has some of the sweetness of a first love."
–Robert Aris Willmott

Dear diary,
Do you know what I hate the most? A big crowd.

No, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate people. I love talking to friends; having casual chitchat with colleagues or talk about life with my best friends. But I hate – if hate is too strong a word, then I guess, I should replace it with ‘dislike’ – yes, I really dislike a big group of people. Whenever I find myself in the midst of a crowd, my breathing intensifies and my heart pounds faster and my vision seems to narrow and as I begin to sweat, I can practically hear everything! Yes, everything.

As you may now know, big crowds make me feel anxious and my only escapism is reading. And writing – to you.
It was December 5th afternoon. The day was fine just like any other day – the high sunlit clouds drifted across a clear blue sky while soft breeze pecked softly on my cheeks. Fresh air filled my lungs and I felt refreshed and exhilarated, until I had to walk through a big crowd gathering in the square. I took a deep breath as I quickened my pace. I began to breathe heavily and I was soaking in sweat; my hearing often became more sensitive in this situation. I could hear people talking about soccer match last night, people talking about where to eat their luncheon, couples whispering to one another how much they love each other. And all I wanted was to get out of there. Find the bookstore where I could bury myself between the shelves, away from this maddening crowd.

Dear diary,
            Can you believe what happened today? After I escaped the crowd’s clutches, I found myself entering my safe haven. You know, the Safe Haven, my favourite book store? Yes, I went there. It was a little weird when I was greeted by another person instead of Mr. Kinsley, the store owner. The new assistant, she is a girl wearing a pair of spectacles. Affable and kind too. Since I was the only customer at that time, she followed me everywhere I went while offering me the assistance I didn’t need – you know me, diary; I never needed any help in bookstores. I prefer to take my own sweet time browsing through the books, no rush.
         So I politely dismissed the girl and she smiled at me as she left. It was the most brilliant smile I’ve seen today. Honestly, I lost track of time whenever I have books in my hand, though I noticed the girl came to check on me every once in a while – if I needed her assistance, that is. It was finally the time for me to leave. I took the books I wanted to buy to the check-out counter and watched the girl scanned the barcodes on each book.
              “That’s $41.
             I took out my wallet. As I was about to hand over the cash, I realised that I was $1 short. I checked my coins but there wasn’t enough.
            Guess I have to cancel my purchase. I don’t bring enough cash, $1 short. Sorry to trouble you after checking out these books...
             The girl reached out for sling bag near the counter, took out her purse and handed $1 bill to me.
             I-I’m sorry?
            Take it, Liam. It’s the $1 you lent me a decade ago.

Dear diary,
Have I told you how I began to love books?

When I was 14, I used to go to our state library because it was just a stone’s throw away from my parents’ house. No, I didn’t go there to read nor did I borrow any book. In fact, I never borrowed a book. I frequented the place because of its quiet and relaxed ambience – a perfect place to sleep for someone who hates big crowd like me! Yet mom always thought I went to the library to do revision with friends. Hush, now, diary. This is our secret.

Books were the perfect sleeping draught for me. I open one, read a few lines and I’ve confirmed my ticket to lala-land. But what happened that fateful day had changed everything.

Yes, everything.

I went to the library as usual and slept one long hour there. I woke up, feeling refreshed, and was ready to return home. I walked slowly by the circulation counter where people borrow and return books loaned to them. I usually slipped by the front door unnoticed but a voice stopped me on my track. A voice so sweet I had to turn around and see which angel it belongs to.

Can I please borrow these books?” the voice belonged to a little girl in green long skirt. The librarian took the girl’s library card and scanned it. There were wrinkles around her brows when she looked at the computer screen but she forced a smile at the little girl,

I’m sorry but I cannot check out these books for you.


It seems that you have $1 fine on your card. Unless you pay the fine, I cannot check out these books for you.

The girl remained silent for a few moments before she asked innocently, “Can I pay the fine tomorrow? I don’t bring any money today.” But the librarian shook her head and dismissed her polite request. The girl looked devastated and tears started to well up in her eyes. I could see how much she wanted to borrow those books, so I fished in my front pocket for one dollar bill as I approached the counter. I placed the $1 note next to the books,

Excuse me, ma’am. This is to pay her fine. Can she borrow these books now?

The librarian looked at me, shifted her eyes to the $1 note and then to the little girl. She nodded, took the money and scanned the books. The girl was beaming with the most brilliant smile I have ever seen. I could feel blood rushing to my face and my cheeks started to get red.

You see, diary, I am shy around the opposite gender – especially the cute type. So I quickly escaped the scene so that nobody could see me blushing. I wanted to go home but the same sweet voice stopped me in my track, again.


Diary, you know how nervous I get around girls. As I heard her voice, I quickened my pace hoping to lose her but she was persistent. She tried to catch up to me, walking briskly, with the books she borrowed in her arms.

Hey! Wait for me!

The louder she called for me, the faster I walked. And faster. Much faster.



I stopped. I turned around. I saw the girl lying flat on the ground, her books scattered around her. I ran towards her, helping her to get back on her feet.

Are you okay?

I’m fine. Thanks a heap!

My face was red.




That brilliant smile again. “Tasha. That’s my name. What’s your name?


Call me Liam.”

Tasha and I, we became close friends after that. We often went to the library together. She loved to describe the books she had finished reading, always telling me to start reading them too. So diary, that’s how I began to view books differently.

Are you...Tasha?

You didn’t recognise me? Don’t tell me I look fat now,” said Tasha jokingly. I shook my head and explained that seeing her in the bookstore I visit three times a week is the last thing I could think of because I had never seen her in the bookstore before. After all, it was a decade ago when I last saw her in the library after her family had to move following her father’s redeployment.

I’m so glad I meet you today,” I confessed. My heart rate increased, my forehead began to sweat.

“Same here,” she smiled. “Uh-oh, can’t chitchat with you now. Boss is back from his errand. How about we go out this weekend?

My heart skipped a beat. Tasha beat me to asking her out this weekend.

S-sure. I’ll see you soon.

I approached the entrance, ready to leave.



Don’t forget to call me tonight,” she winked, then continued her work as if nothing happened. I walked past the entrance and my heart almost exploded with joy.

Dear diary,
            I am such a fool. How am I supposed to call a girl when I don’t even have her number? *sigh*

P/S: Don't worry, diary. Everything's under control. Tasha left her number at the back of the receipt. Now I'm going to call her. Good night, diary.

So. How was this short story? Kindly leave your thoughts and comments. I really appreciate it. :D

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Dengan nama Allah, Maha Mengetahui segala sesuatu.

Sudah berapa lama saya tidak menulis entri di blog ini? Terasa sedikit kekok membiarkan jemari ini kembali menari di atas papan kekunci, setelah bertahun tidak menulis...

Kesibukan sentiasa menghimpit diri beberapa tahun ini, but all was good. Mudah-mudahan selepas ini dapat meluang masa untuk kembali blogging walaupun sibuk. Doakan ya!

InshaaAllah, entry kali ini ingin berkongsi sesuatu yang menarik. Teruskan membaca. :)


Beberapa hari yang lalu, saya telah menimbulkan satu kontroversi dan kekecohan di kalangan pelajar saya di alam maya (Facebook dan Wechat) apabila saya memuatnaik status yang amat ambiguous pada 14 Disember lalu yang berbunyi,

"Rasanya dah tiba masa untuk berpindah..."

Statement tersebut di Facebook dan Wechat menerima banyak komen yang bertanyakan ke manakah saya mahu berpindah . . .

. . . yang telah mengisi idea nakal dalam kotak fikiran saya - ya, cubaan untuk mengenakan para pelajar yang banyak bertanya. It was the longest and most elaborate cyber prank I have ever done, and the result was...unpredictably heart-warming. Rasa berbunga hati ini. Ehehe.

Sebenarnya, status asal saya itu punya maksud lain tetapi melihatkan ramai yang pantas membuat kesimpulan yang saya akan berpindah sekolah, I decided to play along. Dua hari selepas status berpindah yang pertama, saya memuatnaik status berikut:

"Alhamdulillah, telah mendapat keizinan untuk berpindah."

Semakin ramai yang meninggalkan komen - rakan-rakan yang bertanya dan mengucap tahniah, dan para pelajar yang mahukan jawapan. Saya tidak reply langsung di ruangan komen - I left them with their own imagination.

Keesokannya, saya sengaja "memanaskan" lagi keadaan dengan status baharu:

"Alhamdulillah, dah melawat tempat baharu tadi. Semuanya okay walaupun tidak sehebat yang lama."

Status ini diikuti dengan kenyataan mahu mengemas barang-barang di bilik guru dan permintaan andai ada yang sudi menghulur bantuan. Sekali lagi, status ini dibanjir pelbagai jenis komen dari yang bertanya kepada yang mula membuat pelbagai spekulasi. Tidak kurang jugak yang mula kehilangan sabar kerana saya langsung tidak respons. Beberapa orang pelajar mula menghantar chat kepada saya,

Ramai yang bersungguh bertanyakan sebab saya berpindah,

Ada yang begitu concerned and ready to lend their ears andainya saya ada masalah sehinggakan mahu berpindah,

Malah ada yang mula emosional,

Tak kurang juga yang mula merayu agar saya tidak berpindah,

Pelajar-pelajar lelaki pula cuba menyembunyikan perasaan sedih mereka,

Saya sudah mula rasa tersentuh dan terharu dengan responses yang saya terima dari para pelajar yang benar-benar tidak mahu saya berpindah. Akhirnya, saya terpaksa mengalah kepada beberapa orang pelajar perempuan yang hampir menangis and were very close to breaking down.

...tetapi "permainan" ini masih diteruskan lagi!

Bagi memastikan prank ini berjaya, saya telah berkomplot dengan beberapa orang yang telah tahu (pelajar-pelajar perempuan di atas ini dan beberapa rakan sekerja) agar mereka diam dan act natural seolah-olah mereka tidak tahu apa-apa.

Tiga orang pelajar telah menawarkan diri untuk membantu saya mengemas meja dan packing barang-barang di bilik guru. Mereka juga telah saya beritahu hal sebenar dan mereka berjanji untuk tidak memberitahu rakan-rakan mereka berkenaan prank ini. Usai mengemas meja, saya memuat naik gambar ini dengan caption yang amat ambiguous,

"Meja telah dikosongkan. Tak sabarnya untuk berpindah! Goodbye yang lama. Hello yang baharu."

Ada pelajar yang sudah mula syak bahawa saya hanya akan berpindah meja, tapi tidak kurang juga yang masih bersedih kerana menganggap saya akan berpindah sekolah!

Akhirnya, saya mendedahkan juga hal sebenar kerana kasihan melihat pelajar-pelajar bersedih, terutamanya mereka yang berharap dan menjangkakan saya akan mengajar kelas mereka pada tahun hadapan. I feel so loved!

Honestly, I didn't mean to troll anyone. Saya bersembang dengan seorang rakan sekerja, Cikgu S, yang mencadangkan saya berpindah meja supaya ada ruang untuk meletakkan rak-rak buku untuk projek I Want To Read A Book tahun hadapan. Idea untuk troll tu datang kemudian. Ehehe.


Mungkin ada yang tertanya: Kenapa troll pelajar?

Mungkin ada yang tak bersetuju dengan cara saya, but here's my answer:

Belajar zaman sekarang tak sama macam belajar zaman dahulu. Students are more creative these days, tapi kurang hands-on experience. Setakat duduk sahaja dalam kelas, pagi bawa ke malam cuba siapkan kerja can be very stressful. Instead of sajikan mereka dengan hiburan-hiburan murahan, a teacher's good sense of humour is what these students need. Kalau guru dan pembelajaran pun mendatar (monotonous) dan tak menarik, bagaimana pelajar nak pupuk minat? At least, bila ada surprises (and trolls!) seperti ini, para pelajar akan berasa lebih teruja dan look forward to learn more. At least that is what I believe.

Selain itu, prank ini juga telah memberikan kesan yang amat positif pada diri saya sendiri sebagai seorang guru. Setiap guru tahu adanya pasang surut dalam karier ini - in fact, lebih banyak down daripada up dengan permasalahan dan kerenah dari pelbagai pihak sehinggakan profesion keguruan ini menjadi sangat stressful. Bila tertekan, mulalah hilang motivasi dan semangat untuk mengajar. Betul? Bila keadaan sebegitu, kita perlukan dorongan untuk membakar semula semangat mengajar itu and from this little prank, I was reminded why I got into teaching profession.

Dari respons para pelajar, I feel needed, loved and appreciated. And these things are the important things that keep all teachers going, to keep us motivated and rekindling our passion in teaching.

Teaching is not only giving; there is give and take in teaching too, after all.

"Ya Allah! Ikhlaskanlah hati ini dalam mengajarkan ilmu dan mendidik generasi muda, sabarkanlah hati ini dengan kerenah mereka, dan janganlah Engkau padamkan semangat ini walau bertahun berada di lapangan dakwah yang kecil ini. Ameen."