Actually, it was a SMALL talk to a BIG group of SMALL kids..... Peanuts for most people, but MAJOR for me..... Hehehe...those who know me know what I mean....kan? (I must warn you readers, this is a long rambling write-up, read only if you are really-really bored and have nothing whatsoever to do)
It started with my friend Dr Aida calling me while Abah and me were doing our weekly grocery shopping. She said something about asking me to give a talk on moral issues to a group of standard 5 and 6 schoolgirls. I couldnt hear her quite clearly as we were in a noisy market.I kind of agree thinking that it's not a big deal. I've been doing it week in week out with those girls at the shelter home.
The next day, Abah brought home the invitation letter and I started having palpitation!! The letter was from Persatuan Sains Perubatan USM, inviting me to give a talk to a group of 300 students from SK Zainab 2. Noted that it would also be attended by siswa-siswi fasilitator, two other speakers ie male doctors, who would speak on issues like emergency and obesity, accompanying teachers and some other doctors....by then, I was positive there were some butterflies twirling in my tummy, but I read on. The talk would be held at Dewan Kuliah 5.... and I couldnt read anymore,I felt like vomiting there and then. Called Aida immediately and told her she has picked up a wrong person! Why ME! I am just a 'makcik', a stay at home mum(SAHM), just a small person...I cant possibly stand at the rostrum in a big lecture hall and speak into a microphone. I never dream to do that and I never want to do that.....What I have in mind is sitting cross leg with the girls around me where I could look into their eyes and they look into mine. Heart to heart talk,eyes to eyes....where they could ask me any questions how stupid they may sound. Better if I could touch them, hold their hands. That IS my style......That's what I do with the girls at the Home, that's what I did with the kids during our Read Aloud And Storytelling sessions in DAR NUR AZ_ZAHRA', that's also how we do in our weekly ta'alem program or whenever I was lucky enough to be chosen to go out on the path of Allah and then, chosen to handle an ijtima'i program . Of course, the audience are always ladies and children!!
Aida wont listen to my appeal, in fact, she laughed it off.....and said something like, "It is nothing la An...small kids je". And guess what...Abah said the same thing!! I then talked to my faithful friend Dr Noran and she seemed to understand my predicament and offered to help by sending a power point presentation on HIV/AIDs that she gave to primary school children. Err...thanks Noran, but I was hoping that you could help me a bit more than that, like taking over the talk?? No. she couldnt do it, she's a busy person, a Pengarah Kesihatan of a district...( i call her Puan Pengarah when I want to tease her) .
I then met our neighbour, Dr Norashidah ( Auntie Nora to you, Adik and Abang) and told her as well, as she is like an older sister to me. She STRONGLY insisted that I could and must do it.Gave me a lecture on how I MUST share my valuable experience working with problematic teenagers. She even suggested that I take some beta-blocker when I told her I might have a cold feet and tremble and faint and DIE!! ( as usual la kan, I exaggerate).
This is where I realised that I have too many doctors friends and most of them are medical lecturers as well. Giving lectures are like breathing to them!!(meaning, they dont really understand my prob.)
Tok Su came, I picked her up at the airport, told her and too late realised that she has been a university lecturer for as long as I know her,since I married Abah,that is. She of course,laughed at me and said she was sure I could pull it off easily and wont hear anymore of my lamentation...
At this point,I was like,why nobody understands me??
Even my own mother said I could do it and she sounded kind of proud when she said that... I started to question myself, why everybody is so sure of me when I myself are not?? It really is a mystery...
Kak Chik Illa (aka Ms Cats Expert aka Mama's foodie buddy) then arrived on the scene bringing in much needed comfort....she UNDERSTOOD my predicament. AT LAST!! Thanks so much Illa...
She even gave some brilliant suggestions on how to solve this 'heeeavy' problem of mine. One of it was to ask Abah to replace me as I have always look up at Abah as my adviser, teacher, saviour, comforter(dual meanings..)bla,bla,bla....(the tele conference took nearly one hour...)
I felt light-hearted again and approached Abah, not before spending some time in front of the mirror, acted demure, offered to make him hot horlicks and then, very-very nicely and manja-ly asked him to do the talk. After all, he is some sort of motivational speaker in the campus and had also been invited to many schools in Kelantan. He said no and gave a plethora of excuses, citing ethics, clinical rounds, meeting with post-graduate students, research projects etc etc etc. I then proceeded to next step( as discussed with Illa),BRIBERY!! Offered to cook him the ikan kukus goreng for a whole week...didnt work either.Next,BLACKMAIL!!.....you dont want to know what I said, suffice to say that it didnt work at all!! Last resort, MERAJUK!!
Then only, Abah took me seriously, be all what I always think of him and told me to do something that eventually freed me from that heavy feeling.
It is what I should have done in the first place....turn to HIM,The Provider,The Solver of all problem, ALLAH.......
I did the 2 rakaats of solat hajat, asked for the best solution and that's it. Early next morning, Dr Adibah, the adviser, called me to confirm and I told her I couldnt do it, explained to her, she tried to pujuk me but at last she conceded. I felt SO relieved!!
BUT,.....it didnt end here.
Dr Aida immediately called me again, seriously listened to me this time.I put forward my alasan2 and she countered every one of it!!
1. I said I'm not comfortable with adult males in the audience. She said, she will put me as the first speaker and ask the other two not to come in until I finish mine. About male medical students, no worries, she'll just told them, it is a closed session for ladies only.
2.What if I have palpitations and couldnt speak? She'll be there to hold my hands...
3.I thought hard and came out with another pathetic reason. My dream is to be an 'unsung hero'. I want people to know of my work,without knowing me as a person. If I started to make public appearance like this, tak jadi la unsung hero. She said, "but what about your obligation to the society?" She struck a chord. Yes, I do feel obligated to do this talk. Especially now that the trainees coming in to the shelter home is getting younger and younger, this group age is exactly the right target group for the talk.
4. Last attempt, I tried, "As the tajuk of the program is 'Sehari di USM', it is more appropriate to have medical personnel to speak, the kids would love to hear from them rather than a mere makcik like me. Or you could ask the ustazah from the islamic centre." But, Oh , Aida got answers for everything. She is a professor after all......(must remember to refer to her as Prof Aida instead of Dr Aida) She said she had tried all of them( Head of Social Science Dept( i think), Head of UPKW, the adolescence psychiatrist etc..anyone who could talk on moral issues). All of them have commitments somewhere else. Ustazah...no,this is not a ceramah agama.There's some non muslim students too and the kids should listen to something different. They've listened to Ustazah enough.....
Looks like no escaping for me. Plus, I really hate to let people down, more so if they are nice ones like Aida and Adibah I then understood. I have to do it.I've asked Allah for solution, HE sends Aida with all the answers.
So, I DID it.
Alhamdulillah, it went well. All from Allah. HE helps when we ask. I could never do that without HIM.
Thanks to all the names I mentioned above.I was so relieved when it was over, even felt glad I did it......... Would I want to do it again?
p/s special thanks to Abang and Adik for listening to me practising and for all your suggestions, like, Adik: "Mama, tangan tu kurangkan skit gerak2, nanti budak2 pening, and cut down on emm,emmmm...." Abang:"Crack some jokes Mama, or tell a story, baru budak2 tak ngantuk". And a few others yg memang tak boleh pakai lansung and not worth mentioning!