So in Sydney (more specifically, Marsfield and the surrounding areas), as in any other townships that have Malaysian university students there I imagine, there was a Malaysian community consisting of the TESOL undergraduates (that was us), MARA and JPA undergraduates (they usually were doing a degree that had something to do with math. Lots and lots of math), self-funded students, postgrad students as well as the Malaysians that have gone over there to work and build a family.
Every now and again the Malaysian community there would have little get-togethers to celebrate birthdays, or Rayas or Merdekas and things like that. Some of these Malaysians have children, and they usually come along to our small kenduris too, to the delight of most of us single folk. Tambahan pula, the majority of us were teacher trainees, so it was only natural to think that we had an affinity towards children. At least I did (and still do).
So there was this one time in one of those get-togethers, a Kak Filza (not her real name) commented on me after discovering that I was a teacher trainer, something along the lines of "oh, tapi Anwar tak suka sangat dengan budak-budak kan?"
I could almost hear my heart shattering when she said that, because I had always thought that it was pretty obvious to anyone who saw me around kids that I LOVED being around kids. Even over there I would play and kacau the Malaysian kids whenever there was a gathering or whenever I went over to a family's house. I've even carried around Kak Filza's baby daughter, Luna (not her real name).
So when she said that she thought I didn't like kids, I was really taken aback. I tried to play it cool and answered, "eh, saya okay ja ngan budak," but so many questions ran through my head, the main ones being "what did I do that made her think that I didn't like children?" and "Was I actually treat children badly?"
Ever since that question was asked to me, I have always taken it upon myself to be extra good with kids and always try to show to the kids especially that I enjoy their company. Of course I don't overstep any boundaries, but I do make funny faces to them, fistbump them, ask them about stuff, wave to them whenever saying goodbye, y'know, basic things like that.
Since Kak Filza asked me that question, I've been self-conscious about how I am around kids. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I think it's just my way of proving to her that I AM good with kids, even though she can't really see me at all. It also makes me uncomfortable because at the back of my mind I can't shake the feeling that I'm only being extra cool with kids because I'm doing this to prove somebody else wrong, instead of a more ikhlas reason to be cool with kids.
Having said that, I have no doubt that I enjoy the company of children, sometimes more than the company of some adults, and I want all the children that I have taught, am teaching and will teach to succeed in whatever they choose to do.