Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Latest on Has

This is Has Hariff, walking with some
of the other students from class 1U.

I wrote before on Has Hariff, the Orang Asli student who came to study here at SERATAS. There is a follow up article on her in the Sunday Malaysian Star. I won't say anything about some of things written in the article, because:

1. I still work here.

2. I don't want to get involved in politics in the workplace.

3. But mostly because The principal thinks I am a spy for the ministry of education, and has been trying to get rid of me. I am not under her authority, and - well I better stop there. Suffice it to say that you could write volumes about her, and how she is destroying the school.

Let's just put it this way- one week into the school year, the students told me they think she is demon possessed.

The teachers here don't think it- they know it. They are just too frightened to say anything about it. It's nice to have friends in high places and use that to intimidate everyone and break their will.

So I will just write about Has.

I teach her twice a week in my 1U class. She is very quiet and soft spoken. It is hard to get her to speak at anything above a whisper. I have trouble hearing her even when I lean close to her in the best of circumstances.

She does have a nice smile, and gets along well with the other girls that sit near her. She seems to be friendly with the girls, and has little to do with the boys, which is normal for her age. Today in class we did a question and answer game where you had to tell the truth, and the kids were asking each other questions about who their boyfriend or girlfriend is, who they love, etc. They asked Has which boy she liked in class, and she shrugged. From her expression, you could tell she didn't like the question, and most likely, didn't like any of the boys either!

If she doesn't understand something in class, she is quick to turn to one of the girls next to her and ask a question. A few times after I have asked her a question, she has told the girls nearest to her the answer and had them speak for her, because she is so quiet and shy. But she does seem to be getting a bit more confident and outgoing, though. She is serious about her studies, and always takes notes in her notebook whenever I write on the board.

As for sleeping on a soft bed, well, we have a couple of the old mattresses from the hostels that were lent to us, and they are just plain old foam rubber stuffed in a fabric cover. I sleep on one of them on the floor when my back is hurting, and it helps. Not exactly the lap of luxury, but I guess to her they probably seem that way, after what she is used to.

So she does seem to be doing well, despite the rigid draconian class schedule and workload the students here have to put up with. If anyone can make it through this academic concentration camp, I think she is one who has to will and drive to do it.