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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Staffroom

I feel like I need to clarify that this is a work of fiction. It has no relation to any event in real life.
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The staff room had always been an unexciting place to be. At least for the male teachers. Save for the occasional gossip session with the women, there was nothing really to do except for official teacher work or chilling out under the fan to catch up on some rest. 

The staffroom fitted about 14 teachers, although for all of them to be in it at the same time, some sort of celebration had to be under way. There was always more than half out to be in class, some off to the canteen to get a drink (the food was terrible), or just not in school, for medical reasons or otherwise. And of the 14 teachers, only three were male. I was told that this was the norm for all-girls schools. I had gotten used to being surrounded by female teachers since teacher training college. Not many guys were too enthusiastic about teaching English. I was part of a rare breed.

The most senior of the three was Mr Tan. He was a no nonsense bespectacled math teacher, five years to go until retirement. He always carried his signature blue-tape-around-the-handle cane when he went to class. He didn’t talk much. He’d rather spend his time marking books or scolding children than talk with us other guys.

There was also me. Clearly the shortest of the trio (I was even shorter than some of the female teachers), the youngest and one of the quietest in the staffroom. Whenever a circle was formed to discuss the latest piece of gossip to land in the gossip group’s lap, I would be the one in the background, just listening, not contributing a single word. A stray laugh would escape my mouth every now and again when the teachers cracked something hilarious, but otherwise I would have nothing to contribute almost all of the time.

And then there was Ustaz Hisyam. The second most senior religious teacher in the school. In his early thirties, dark skinned, tall, has been putting on some weight lately since the birth of his second child. Very laidback guy, sometimes even wore slippers to class. But only after he was certain that the headmaster wasn’t in. He’s rather talkative too. Likes to find out things about other people’s backgrounds, where they came from, what it was like growing up and stuff like that. 

When I first entered the school four months ago, I had a lot of respect for him. He was one of the friendlier teachers who showed me around, introduced me to the other teachers, told me interesting facts about the other teachers so that I wouldn’t ask about the wrong thing to the wrong people.

But then one day, Ustaz Hisham called me, as he always did, to pray Zuhr in the small storeroom in the staffroom that we male teachers used as a surau, since this was an all-girls school. Only this time, he didn’t ask me to iqamat for him. This time, he came close to me and asked me to take off my pants. At first I thought he was joking, but the look in his eyes proved me wrong. I said no and tried to make a run for it. He grabbed my arm and said slowly in my ear “Come on, no need to pretend anymore. As long as we don’t make a sound, no one will know a thing.” 

I decided that I had to put my foot down before things got worse. I looked him dead in the eye and said “Ustaz, I don’t know how you got the impression that I am gay, but I am not. Not at all. So please, let me go!” Making sure that my voice wasn’t loud enough for passers-by to hear.

Ustaz Hisyam smirked. “Okay, so you want me to take it out first? Fine then. Here you go.” He let go of my arm and started to undo his belt buckle. Before he could show me anything, I made a run for it. I turned around, went out the door, shut it behind me and walked briskly to my desk in the staffroom. I packed my things and took my motorcycle back home without informing anyone.


The next day, I applied for an MC to get off work. Now, my workplace has turned into a nightmare. What should I do?

7 comments:

amirah shokri said...

Very refreshing. Selalunya isu gangguan seksual ke atas perempuan je diketengahkan.

atyn k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ismi Syahirah said...

Hmm..is there any continuation of the story?

atyn k said...

Be it women or men, sexual harassment is surely something scary and could haunt you forever. I've had never been in that situation before. Well at least, not that bad. I'll just use 'A' instead of 'The Victim' to make it easier to comment. In my opinion, I think A should face him and talk to him personally. Tell him that he respects him as a senior co-worker and he has no intention to disrespect him nor humiliating him. As someone who has a lot more knowledge in Islam and hold a respectful position in the society (a teacher and ustaz), what the ustaz did was obviously something wrong and unacceptable. He might think that A tak layak nak nasihat dia ke apa tp dia patut tahu, yg A taknak terlibat dgn hal peribadi dia. Apa dia nak buat, jalan hidup yg dia nak pilih, itu antara dia dgn Allah. Jangan libatkan A and bersubahat sama. I think for now A should let this pass because no matter what the ustaz did, tak salah utk A jaga aib ustaz tu but still, be careful whenever he's around him. Although A is a fully grown man but we never knew what's gonna happen. A could've end up in an unwanted situation he'd have never wanna be. The ustaz might set up a trap to make ppl believe that he's the victim. But if the situation gets worse, bawak benda ni ke pihak atasan and lodge a police report. Or change workplace. I know there's a big possibility that people won't believe in A (since he's the "ustaz") but still, A has to do the right thing. Talk about it with someone he trusts could be helpful too. Kadang2 lelaki biarkan je benda2 ni berlalu sebab diorang malu nak mengaku dekat orang yg diorang kena gangguan seksual (which I don't understand why -,-). Sexual harassment is sexual harassment. As a victim, A should do what he has to do

husein said...

Ooou smells surrealism

Najwa Shams said...

Bro, ni nak jatuhkn golongan agamawan ke mcm mn ni.

takky said...

x pelik sebab perkara2 mcm nie mmg dah slalu dgr....
for me, if dis situation still happen....
just remain him about the punishment for dis crime (sesuai ke guna ayat crime 2??)....
n better sertakan skali ayat surat yg sesuai masa ckp kat org 2....
if still same, i means org 2 buat dono je....
tawakal n take brilliant and faster action like u take d MC....
huhuhuhuhu.....