Perkhidmatan Saya Masih Panjang

I'm back in Kuching this weekend after a mad rush to attend the wedding dinner of a buddy of mine last night. I would usually stay away from such events unless I was personally invited by the bride or the groom.
I dislike lectures from zealous married marriage missionaries & having to explain why I'm the weirdo who is unmarried & worse *gasp* ungirl-friended.
I also dislike the facial expression of people who react to the revelation that I am a lowly teacher. Yes, I kidnap children & sell them off to child armies in Africa. No, I dont teach the almighty Form 5 because I am an incompetent teacher.
I pity the person who teaches Form 1.

But, this wedding was a must. This guy is a great friend of mine & this event would definitely bring together other great friends. I was right. I got to reunite with some of my long time no see buddies & we reminisced over beer, Chinese food & cigars.
Made some new friends too. Met one person who could genuinely see why I am doing what I'm doing. Enlightened banker, he is.

Last night, I was also given the most amazing compliment of all time.
One of my buddies told me this: "I really look up to you, man. I read your blog. Because all of us have dreams but you are the only one I know who is actively pursuing yours."
Or something like that. Beer does mess with memory retention.
Imagine if someone said this to you. WOW. Right?

Honestly, I have never viewed myself as a person who has made it. I am someone who has achieved a little in life but I still have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go. Actually, I want to keep building up & doing more & making an even greater difference exponentially every single year. Only stopping the day I die.

I was very heartbroken when a teacher I looked up to & sought leadership from when I was at my lowest point 2 years ago said to me: "Saya mengikut rentak ketua saya."
I wanted him to support me. I wanted him to encourage me. At that point of time, I was beaten down in almost any possible way & I was down emotionally & mentally as well as exhausted physically. I was swimming against the current. I was working very hard & putting in long hours. I gave my best & I was given scorn in return. So I looked to him for hope.

Even after his reply, I tried to reasoned with him. Utterly unbelieving what I just heard.
Shouldn't we set our own standards according to our conscience & then actively pursue it instead of blindly imitating poor leaders who have very little desire to see growth & make a difference?
To which he replied that should be the way. BUT: "Perkhidmatan saya masih lagi panjang."
Justifying his previous statement & his refusal to fulfil his fullest potential. Also, totally discouraging me & shattering my already broken spirit.

For a short period of time ensuing, I actually followed in his footsteps. Tired. Broken. Leaderless.
What else was I to do? Wouldn't you have done the same at your lowest moment?
That was the pits for me. Life was a meaningless living hell.
At one side, you see the screaming need for almost everything imaginable. At another, you choose to do nothing about it.
I had a pretty relaxing life though. I could sit back & do as little as I wanted.

Thank God. I woke up from my zombie existence a few weeks later.
I opened my eyes & saw others just like me. Working their hearts out doing what they love for the students they love. Yet at the same time gaining nothing but scorn. No appreciation. No thank you. Just criticism & nit-picking.
The ones doing the bare minimum were having a ball of a time. They were free to enjoy doing whatever they wanted to do for themselves. No criticism. No demands. What a wonderful life.
Imagine if it was the other way around. What a wonderful working environment that would be.

Right there & then. I realised.
Perkhidmatan awak masih panjang. Perkhidmatan saya LAGILAH panjang lagi! Adakah saya patut lebih releks dari kamu?
This kind of warped logic entraps many men. Not I. That is not the life I want to live.
I want to be more than a conqueror. I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to make a difference in the lives of the neglected & the less fortunate.
I dont care about getting rich. I dont care about getting tired. I dont care about getting scorned or criticised.
I will fight the good fight & continue to do what I believe in my heart is right.

The time to complain is over. Now is the time to act.
The time to be sorry is over. Now is the time to dream.
The time to depend on others is over. Now I will depend on my faith.
The time to be led is over. Now I will lead others who are not led.

I'll be honest with you. My past 2 years as Chief Warden has been nothing but hell on Earth. I worked really really hard to sustain a sinking ship. I got attacked by people who were supposed to lead / support me. I was criticised by people who would not lift a finger to help or teach me how they would do it.
I never shared about this because I believe in promoting what I love instead of bashing what I hate.

Realising that I was not alone made me burn. An anger at injustice burned deep. It pierced my soul.
From then on I saw: Why 90% of teachers have mental illnesses. Why teachers burn out. Why good teachers turn bad. Why talented teachers leave the public education system where they are needed most.
I saw good teachers cry. It broke my heart.

From now on, I will not only try to make a difference in the lives of my students. I will also do the same for all the good teachers I know. I will provide them with the leadership, encouragement & love that they deserve.
Just as I would give to my students, I would give to good teachers even more.

Photo by Tom Hussey
Watch out. Perkhidmatan Saya Masih Panjang.

p/s: Oh, for those of you who use "perkhidmatan saya SUDAH panjang" as an excuse, please do the education system a favour: retire or resign. I appreciate your many years of service but you are taking up valuable space a younger person would make better use of.
The civil service is not a welfare service. It is an accumulation of the best & most passionate to glorify our nation.


  1. Continue the great job you're doing Jarod. Be like a mango tree. Keep on producing good mango fruits despite what people would do to us.

    "Bila orang puji petik buah, teruskan bagi buah yang baik. Bila ada orang datang baling kayu pada kita, teruskan bagi buah yang elok. Bila ada orang dtg tendang kita,teruskan bagi buah mangga yang elok. Bila ada orang lain datang hendak menggergaji dahan kita, teruskan bagi buah yng elok. Dan bila ada orang dtg hendak menebang kita, teruskan juga bagi buah yng elok. Nescaya orng2 terdahulu yang memperlakukan kita pasti akan menghalang tindakan akhir ini kerana buah baik yang dihasilkn"

    Got this analogy from my LADP session earlier today. Meaning to say,our challenges will never end. People will definitely bring you down out of jealousy or purposely. Just give our best despite everything and I am sure people will finally see the seeds of our efforts.

    1. Thanks, Tash.
      This is a great analogy to stick to our convictions even though we face resistance.

  2. Sometimes letting off steam is just to vent your frustrations - nothing much will ever happen. I used to do that and one "guru cemerlang" said that I was "very brave" to speak like that to the top brass. Of course, I was very senior and I would just speak my mind. Most would fear for their rice bowl, afraid they would get into the little black book and would not get promoted and what not - things I did not care for one they would quietly toe the line - the "yes" people!

    Not that what I did changed anything - it would depend on who's on top - I was glad to have one excellent one right before I retired...and changes happened almost instantly. I see you as one like that too - hang on in there, keep it up...and your turn will come to make things happen.

    1. hahaha~~~
      You are right about taking care of the rice bowl & avoiding the little black book. I do not care about such things neither. I do what I do for more than money.

      That's why I have to start creating & working on not depending so much on my salary for my needs. Eventually, I want to teach because I want to. Not because I have to.

  3. Jarod,
    You don't need to kowtow to these people. Some of them will not be comfortable seeing you doing more, thinking differently or organising unimaginable's rattling them from their comfort zones. Oh, I have seen it all, backstabbing, badmouthing, unfair treatment, surat layang...just because we have passion for doing things we love and doing it the way we think best for our students, not to fit in the system. Just bulldoze ya way and teach passionately. Eventually, when they see your determination & unwavering spirit, the losers are the ones staring at them in the mirrors.

    Trust me, you are doing an amazing job by using ya adversities as a springboard to do more and give more. Persevere Jarod..I salute you for doing what you do. Keep it up & you are not alone!

    1. Good to know that there are other teachers all over the country like you, Fadzleen, doing new things to improve our system & doing our best for our students.
      Let's keep it up!

  4. I don't think you had gain nothing..
    well now you are more experience and more mature..
    at least you manage to help to repair the sinking ship..
    this is good karma.. eventually those people will get their consequences for being so bad...

    1. I am unable to repair the sinking ship. It is still sinking. I was merely delaying the inevitable.
      Schools need good leaders. Or they turn into sinking ships bringing down the students & teachers with it.

  5. You are doing a grate job buddy....continue to strive and shine...

    1. One day, I hope to reach your level, Mohana. =)
      Hope all is well with the girls back at home!

  6. I think you're doing ok, just continue doing what makes you feel happy and contented.

    Have a great weekend ya!

  7. "The civil service is not a welfare service. It is an accumulation of the best & most passionate to glorify our nation"
    Lol you are right... I do remember some of my old teachers some were good and doing there work well.. some were I don't know what to say,... but kudos to teachers like you... I am a teacher too.. though I am doing my stuff online :)

    1. It doesn't matter where we do our stuff. =)
      I'm sure you're a good teacher.

  8. Anonymous20/1/13 16:29

    Two years ago, i met my ex-teacher in school with my bf. She asked me about my job, i said i am a teacher. She said nothing but " hmm~" .. Then she asked my bf, what is his job, my bf is an engineer. She said very good, she start to have million questions bout his job. What should i feel about this? It's not just happent to be once, i met two of our ex-teachers (bf n i were classmates for years), same things happent. Engineer is like for smart ppl?Teachers are for stable income? Last choice? To others,i am still okay with them cause they dont know much about teacher. but, teachers themselve also looking down on teaching?To me, they sound like they are having a very lo000ng, miserable, pathetic life.

    1. Teachers need a lot of encouragement/assurance. That is what I will give to any younger teacher who approaches me.
      We are judged every single day by hundreds of students & their parents & their ah gong ah ma.

      Dont take it too badly. I'm sure you don't need them to reaffirm what you think of yourself & your work. =)

  9. visiting here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =)

    Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

    1. Thanks for the visit!
      I'm going to visit you back & do something even better... actually READ one of your posts!

  10. do what you think is right.

    your students and colleagues are really lucky to have you, a berry dedicated teacher, and a loving co-worker!

    1. Just doing what I can. Thanks, Constance!

  11. Mr Yong, never stop motivate ourself to become the greatest teacher ever known! keep it up man!

    Please do visit my blog too.. A simple teacher with very ambitious things to do.. Just like you!! ;)


    1. I did visit your blog. I read several of your posts too.
      You've got a great idea about getting your students to create videos infused with Science lessons.
      Measure how it helps students understand science better or do better in the exams. Then, present it at a conference or something.

      Keep doing what you are doing & sharing it with the world!

  12. Respect! You da man.
    I should treat you to a good meal one fine day. For all that you have done for the young people.

    1. Thanks. I'd love food. Esp FREE food.
      Who are you actually?


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