8 January 2017

As I drove away from Semashur last week, there was a pang of sadness leaving Adam Farihin behind. It will be the first time he will be away from home for a prolonged period of time. Away from his parent, siblings and friends. Friends that he’d known since a long time. The first evening, we came to back to an Adam-less home. Every time I looked into his room I’d half-expected him to be there in front of his computer playing games for hours while balancing on the two legs of his chair. He’s not there anymore tonight. Instead his youngest sibling has decided to occupy his room and slept there almost every night. I also wondered when he’s gonna call, at least to tell us he’s doing okay but I guess he’s busy with orientation week. He did called us the next day although only for a few seconds. He asked us to bring a few more clothes, hangers and also his mother’s home-made tom yam. I reckon you’ll learn to appreciate your mother’s cooking now huh?

I guess this is a normal reaction for every parent who is parting from their children. I’m sure it will get better with time. Today we went to visit Adam in his school. We just waved at the security while driving in. I presume they saw our school sticker hence the smooth entry. I can tell Adam was glad to see us. He waited impatiently at the surau as we were 5 minutes late. We had lunch together and he related his experience during the first 5 days there. He said the food was okay, not as bad as I’ve been telling from my experience. He had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning though to shower because else he had to wait behind all the seniors.

Rumour has it they will leave the first formers alone first and the bullying will only commence during the second year. That’s what his senior said anyway. Although I was rather alarmed at first to hear that, I’m sure any kind of bullying is nothing serious and not physically abusive or else the teachers and wardens will be hearing from me. It’s part and parcel of hostel living and it’s quite common everywhere. Ideally nobody likes this kind of culture in an educational institution but it’s a vicious cycle. The seniors did it to the juniors and on and on it goes through the years. I wish they would put a stop to that but unless there’s some serious paradigm and culture shift by all the students and teachers involved, I don’t see it going away anytime soon. My advice to you son, if the seniors ask you to do something (or help them), just swallow your pride and play along. As long as its nothing humiliating or abusive just do it. If you think they have crossed the line somehow, don’t be afraid to let me know. It will deal with them accordingly, I promise.

The good news is Adam get to come home every two weeks starting next Friday. We can go pick him up as early as midday every Friday. I doubt these kids even get to feel homesick at all except for those out of state. Just consider it as an extended summer camp Adam except that you have to go all year round. With the kind of negative influence these kids can give you in and outside of school these days, we worry for you if you attend regular day school. Yes it will be tough at first but just like your mom and dad before you, we are sure you will get along fine. Hang on there kid!

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