A text message came in at 9.25a.m. yesterday morning from a former colleague, Cikgu Zamri. Going by past experiences, I knew instinctively that something was not quite right for ordinarily, Cikgu Zamri would not have texted me. He was the first one to inform me when two mutual friends passed away on two separate occasions a few years ago.
Hands trembling, I fumbled to access the message and my worst fears were confirmed. It was with shock and disbelief that I read the text " Cikgu Mat Zin meninggal". I was momentarily engulfed by the all too familiar intense feeling of sadness, helplessness and remoteness all rolled into one, every time a news of this immense gravity hit me. I knew he had some heart problems but he was a picture of perfect health the last time I met him some two months ago.
I called back Cikgu Zamri and another former colleague, Cikgu Shukri to get the details and was told that he complained of breathing difficulties the night before and was rushed immediately to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital Alor Setar. He succumbed to his death in the wee hours of yesterday morning.
I knew Cikgu Mat Zin when I was a teacher at SMK Tunku Seri Indera Putera, Jitra. His stern and formidable exterior, which was expected of a descipline master, belied the the gentle, kind and jovial personality that he truly was. It was to him that I ran for help every time I encountered problems putting down the few student hardcores who caused endless trouble in class. He would round up these rouges and after a few sessions, they returned to my class, as timid as a mouse!!!
I shall miss you Cikgu Mat Zin. May your soul rest in peace. Al Fatihah.