Encik Kamal Khairi Bin Ghuslan @ Ruslan
Dari SMK Methodist (ACS) Ipoh, Perak
Dicalonkan oleh Adam Hakim Bin Amir
What ever could I say about Mr Khairi? His presence, his words, his ambience; nothing could ever describe how much of a stupendous teacher Mr Khairi is. Mr Khairi taught me for awhile back when I was in the fourth form. He was a fresh teacher, straight from college. I first met him at the Monday morning assembly, where he was introduced to the whole school by the principal. In my mind, all I saw was this chubby teacher with black-rimmed glasses, wearing a tie, looking very 'nerdy' indeed. All I could think of during that time was "here's another teacher, looking very boring". Nothing about him caught my intention, until the principal announced that he is our new English teacher. To be very frank, I thought he was going to teach History (the nerdy glasses, the tie, that gives it away), but never in my mind it would be English. That week when Mr Khairi arrived, it was after our mid semester break. We received a whole new timetable prior to the holidays, and on that Monday, we had English for the last 2 periods. And guess who came in? Yup, Mr Khairi. We had no idea that our previous English teacher is not teaching us anymore. So the whole class was surprised to see him. Mr Khairi came in carrying his sling bag, sweating from his neck, down to his underarm. His back was soaked, and his face was dripping with sweat. I bet he was running trying to find our class, and mind you, the form four's classes are all located on the third floor; the highest floor. And he was 15 minutes late. He introduced himself and wants us to introduce ourselves. I could still remember clearly how everything went on that day. He made us tell him what our nicknames are, and what we enjoy doing as hobbies. He was the only teacher ever, as far as I was able to recall, who asked what our hobbies are. And I find that to be very odd. After a few weeks, I was able to ask him about this. He told me that by asking a person what his or her hobbies are, it could tell a lot about the person. He said he wanted to know what we like, so that he can make his lessons more interactive and fun. And his lesson are exactly as what he wanted it to be; interactive and fun. It was never a dull moment in his class. There's always something exciting he managed to concoct. He would always bring us to the computer lab, which I very much enjoy. He would use the LCD projector and teaches us using it. He would show us videos on animal rehabilitation, environmental conservation, and even videos about the vast cultures from all over the world. Mr Khairi used to live in Johannesburg, South Africa for quite awhile when he was small. He would show us photos during his time of living in South Africa, and just talk about the how different it was over there compared to our country in a multitude of aspects. He would talk about Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, with so much pride and inspiration. He said he was very lucky to be a part of the people who experienced Mandela's ruling of South Africa. He would tell us how people where severely segregated by the colour of their skin under the Apartheid Rule, and how Mandela managed to put a stop to this and later on revolutionised a whole new era for South Africa. He would raise a lot of current issues during classes, and make us give our opinions and thoughts. He would provoke us on the issues by asking questions that would instigate our minds. It was an intellectual and galvanising experience to always be in his class. However, there's this one class we had that I could never forget. There was one time when he played the song Don't You Remember by Adele for the whole class to listen. He made us rest our head on the desk, close our eyes, and just listen to the song in the computer lab. Adele's soothing voice, and the tranquility of the cool breeze coming from the air conditioner, made it an enlightening experience. The song was very emotional. The melody somehow managed to struck a chord deep inside me. Nobody knew about this, but I cried silently while we were all listening. After the song ended, he told us to face him, and tell him what we think the singer is trying to say. A few of my classmates stood and shared their views. I wanted to raise my hand and share my thoughts, but I just couldn't. For some reason, my tears kept on coming down my cheeks. Nobody saw though, as I was seated at the corner. I hurriedly wiped my tears. Before the class ended, Mr Khairi gave us a task to write a letter to whomever we want, telling our love and appreciation for that person in the letter. And I knew exactly who I wanted to write it to. A few days passed after the lesson that day. Mr Khairi wants to see me during recess. Without thinking much, I went to the teacher's room. He said he was taken aback by my letter. He said that my letter was very motivational and inspiring, and he was very much appalled by who I wrote the letter to: I wrote the letter to myself. I wrote the letter to myself, telling myself that I love 'me' very much. I told 'me' that I am strong and confident. I told 'me' that no matter what everybody is saying, that is not who 'me' is. I told 'me' that I could be anything I put my head into. I told 'me' that whatever everyone is saying, nobody could ever let 'me' down. I told 'me' that I can do it. Since primary school, I was bullied for being fat. Kids would call me derogatory names that I wish not to write here. And for some reason, the bullying got worse when I entered secondary school. Because of my size, I would easily ripped the middle seam of my pants. One time, it ripped as I was about to stand during the assembly, exposing a large area of my behind, and everyone around me laughed at me. I was very embarrassed that I cried. Because of this, I never made friends, as nobody would even want to be my friend. My large size and how easily I sweat made me smell, and kids would call me the worst of names about how I smell. After seeing Mr Khairi that day, i felt happy. I felt happy because someone recognised the things I do. I never had friends, so books became my friends. Suzanne Colins and JK Rowling are two of my favourite authors. There's something about the magical universe of Harry Potter made me feel astounding. I enjoy immersing myself in books. Mr Khairi said I would make a good author. And hearing someone saying something like that to me, I felt very happy. I never had anyone see the best in me other than my parents. And to have someone like Mr Khairi say such nice things about me, I was truly happy. Mr Khairi said he showed the letter to our school magazine teacher, and asked for the letter to be published in our school magazine. I told Mr Khairi to allow me to use a pen name instead, and he said "See, you even have a pen name. All you need now is to write a book". And boy was he correct. I am now currently furthering my studies in English literature in a university in the UK, hoping to become an author one day. I am in the midst of writing a self-help book. And all of this started from the Adele song that Mr Khairi made us listen to on that particular day. For many reasons, I would like to remain anonymous in this nomination. I found out about this Guru Inspirasi McDonald's a few days ago and I just had to write about Mr Khairi, the most amazing teacher I've ever had. I have many reasons to remain anonymous, and I hope the McDonald's team would respect my anonymity. All I want is for my story about what a wonderful person Mr Khairi is, and how a little nudge of motivation and kind words can affect a little struggling kid, to be heard by Malaysians. I still keep in touch with Mr Khairi till this day. We mostly contact each other through Instagram DM's and by posting silly comments on photos in Facebook. Mr Khairi now teaches in SMK Methodist (ACS) Ipoh, Perak. Thank you so much McDonald's for providing this awesome platform for teachers. They're amazing individuals.