Sunday, August 7, 2011

Puasa doloe-doloe - Mencari Kerja

1986 was the year I managed to - for the first time in a decade - fast at home. 

From the mid-70s onwards, it would always be in Kota Bharu. I would be coming home to Taiping only for the Raya, and in the early 80s, I would be fasting away from Malaysia. No chance even to come back for Raya.

In Perth and Melbourne in the 80s, fasting was easy I think for the simple reason that it was performed during the winter season. The hours were short and it was cold enough for you not to feel the agony of doing away with food for the less-than-12 hour odd duration.

But in 1986, my body systems got a shock of their lives by fasting in the mid-summer Malaysia.

Ideally since at that time I have not found a job yet, I could fast in the cool comfort of a ceiling fan room in my house. I could even sleep in the afternoon, and no one would bother me. Afterall, I think after 5 years of mugging at the tertiary level, surely I deserve to take some form of break, right? ;))

I believe it must be circa May or June in 1986.

But I had a big task at hand then. No one would pay me to lying idle and with the scholarship money cut off, I had no choice but to quickly start applying for job.

In hindsight, 1986 was the worst of time to graduate since we were at the height of the (worst) recession ever seen in Malaysia then.

But I saw an opening at the FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia) as a research officer, and they wanted chemical engineers. I knew nothing about wood, but I do know a bit about basic engineering processes, such as drying which would be used in wood process. So I thought it would be the break I needed.

May be I saw the ad a tad too late, but there was no way I could post the application through the snail mail and reached the proper hand in time, so I had no choice but to deliver it in person.

On the very last day!

From my auntie's house in Ampang, I took Bas Mini No 23 and headed to Lebuh Ampang.

It was nearly noon in the middle of the fasting month. 

May be I had to wait for 10 mins or so for the Bas Mini that would take me to Kepong. I don't recall anymore - mini busses were quite efficient during those days compared to RAPIDKL. Normally there would always be one around, ready to take you anywhere. I had never been to Kepong before and I guess I must have asked strangers on how to get there. There was no Prof Google then, so for sure I can't be asking him. There was no way I could afford to take cabs then as an unemployed.

Upon reaching Kepong, I think the bus stop right in front of the guard house of FRIM. I am not really sure to be honest, but most likely. But the office is another mile inside. It was a sprawling office complex that would still be intact today as it was in 1986.
I am sure I would have to walk from the guard house on the left,
to the cluster of the office blocks (red rectangles)
on the right to deliver my application. What I am not so
sure now is whether I have to walk from Kepong town to FRIM.
No doubt FRIM is quite shady with big trees, so the long walk to the main office was not as bad as I thought it would be. After passing my application to some stranger in the office, it was another long walk back to the main entrance to catch another mini buss back to KL and this was the journey that I would remember for the rest of my life.

It probably took me at one and half hour to reach Kepong and about the same time to reach back to Ampang. The walk at FRIM would probably be 10 mins each way at the very least.

Coupled with the fact that on a hot day, I was perhaps drenched in my own sweat and was definitely in need to replace my bodily fluid.

But it was in the middle of the fasting month and I can only watched all the stalls selling drinks along the way and especially at Leboh Ampang, and yet were not able to even sip a drop. I was beginning to seeing things that were not there.
"I wish I could drink something. I wish it was not fasting month. Keep your cool. You'd be rewarded in the hereafter; or on the short term hopefully you'll get the job and start earning a living."

Taken from internet
There was too much temptation in KL then. The roadside stalls were selling everything in the open, especially the cool drinks. The air tebu, the cincau, the soyas; all the drinks that would quench my thirst.

Anything your heart desires. Anything that would only increase your craving.

Everything that could tempt you were available.

I could only look and yearn for the forbidden drinks. I wish, I wish, was all I could mutter, and tried to lower my gaze.

I guess I survived that day. Probably melepak and melepek selepas tu in my Auntie's house while waiting for iftar. 

Nowadays it is not too bad. I seldom bother to walk or shop during Ramadhan. Even if I need to do that, I would be driving. The malls are now airconditioned - except for may be Jalan Masjid India, so the temptations are much less.
The drinks to me was the biggest temptation to fast in KL, due
to our hot weather. Taken from Internet

Just for the record, I did not get the job at FRIM. Heck, they did not even call me for an interview. May be I didn't have a strong cable. Actually, I didn't have any. May be, I don't know.

May be I was not qualified enough in their eyes.

But life is like that. I guess it was part of my destiny; perjalanan hidup yang telah ditetapkan - the qadha and qadar Illahi. I have no regret of my own professional life's journey which includes not getting a job with FRIM.

This is only a reflection of the very thirsty day I had to endure then during the fasting month of 1986 in order to secure what I thought would be my first job.

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