My eldest son Azfar Naqiuddin looked really handsome in his white Baju Melayu, songkok and sampin this morning. His school requires Muslim boys to wear this uniform every Friday. I'm glad. As I look at him, I know that he will grow into a strapping lad in his teens.
He put on his black canvas school shoes, strapped his school bag and scrambled to daddy's waiting car. I waved at him and called out 'I Love You'. Seated on the passenger side of the car, he mouthed 'I Love You' back to me. My gaze settled on his face, again I am struck by how innocent his face looks. Unstained. Unsullied.
My bright, intelligent firstborn son Azfar Q is more oft than not, misunderstood. Unique, impulsive, highly distractable but also smart, loving, honest and full of wit. He has emerged in more ways than I ever hoped he could. Sometimes I forget the obstacles he faced, and took for granted his eminent progress. How he, despite his language delay could structure his own system as to how he cope and manage, and finally grasp what needs to be learnt. How he must be clutching at straws, to understand what was expected of him. But that was years past.
My Azfar Q, in a normal mainstream classroom in a private school setting last year, had scored above average overall percentage for all his exams. A feat not to be overlooked, for a child who only began talking at age 4, who had been diagnosed as a 'slow learner', who is 'branded' as ADHD.
But he was suggested 'medication', by the school management as he sometimes 'misbehaves' and 'disrupts' ongoing lessons. "WHAT WOULD OTHER PARENTS SAY, THEY PAY MONEY TOO" was that hurtful unforgettable biased remark thrown at my face by the then Principal of the school.
Oh yeah, and my money then is not of any value? Or of a lesser value although in the same amount? My child will not be given the opportunity that he deserves to be integrated in the school system? My child is denied what should be rightfully his no question?
Apparently, awareness is not there. And the lack of the initiative to care makes it worse. Well, biarkan si luncai terjun dengan labu-labunya. Ignorance is bliss? I think not.
I am not spiteful. Far from it. I am yes a tad frustrated by the inadequate education system or the lack thereof. But I know my Q will survive. That is just his nature. He is capable. He will enhance his potential and he will exist as an independent member of society, with his quirkiness and his brilliance. It will not be so simple a task, but he will make it. And I will be with him along the way. For he is my Q, for always.