“Mak, besok Hari Guru di sekolah Ramli. Ramli ingin hadiah sesuatu kepada Cikgu Fatimah…”
by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans
Does that sound familiar? That text is an excerpt from the short story Hadiah Hari Guru or Teacher’s Day Gift from the book Sehijau Warna Daun. Admit it, we only read those stories because our teacher forced us to, but looking back now with a little more maturity, we see the stories in a refreshing way!
If you were in the national school system, you’d probably recognise these five stories (one from each year of secondary school) if you were paying attention in class! Have a read and see how many you remember.
Short Synopsis: Ramli is a Primary 5 student who wishes to give his teacher, Cikgu Fatimah, a present for Teacher’s Day. However, because he comes from a poor family, he cannot afford to buy a fancy present and so gives her pucuk janggus (a local edible vegetable) instead.
Values: Sincerity, Generosity
Honest and sincere giving will earn a respectable nod from your peers, and allow you to lead a fruitful life. Being honest with yourself and others, even in knowing what you can afford, is a great value to have. As US founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”
Short Synopsis: This English classic by Daniel Defoe tells of a young wanderer with a thirst for adventure who goes out to sea. After a few years of being shipwrecked, sold into slavery and running a plantation, Crusoe finds himself stranded on an island and the only survivor. For 28 years, he does all he can to survive.
Values: Diligence, Perseverance, Optimism
In the middle of nowhere, the story’s protagonist has to work hard in order to stay alive. Through it all, he didn’t give up and made the best of his situation. Jack Ma summed it up well when he said, “Never give up, today is hard, tomorrow going to be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”
Short Synopsis: Set in late 19th century London, this story follows a man who has a dual personality, Dr Jekyll (a respectable and good person) while Mr Hyde (sinister and brutal). Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, this novella shares the struggle between good and evil. Initially, Jekyll had been taking a potion to transform him into Hyde, but one day realised Hyde was becoming too strong for him to control. So, he decides to fix the matter.
Values: Self-control, Choosing good
Choices we make will definitely have a lasting effect on others, or even yourself. So the best option? Follow the Golden Rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Short Synopsis: In this short story by French author Guy de Maupassant, Mathilde and her husband Loisel find themselves having to work hard to pay off a necklace Mathilde lost after borrowing it from a friend, Madame Forestier. Imagine their shock when they learn years afterward that the necklace was fake.
Values: Live within one’s means
A venti latte might look good on Instagram or Facebook, but if it’s beyond what you can afford do think twice before buying it. Living a pretentious life that seeks the approval of your peers may not achieve true happiness.
Speaking of living an un-pretentious life, have you read up on Japanese Minimalism?
Short Synopsis: Awanis, a UiTM Student, is carrying out her internship at a palm oil plantation in Terengganu. However, it is not all fun and games as she has to go through many challenges (including the death of her parents) life throws at her. Will she pull through?
The sweet success of tomorrow is yielded only with the determination of today.
Has this reminded you of your school years, or are you in school and reading these stories now? Let us know your thoughts on these titles in the comments below!
Need a motivation? Read how a Malaysian lady is inspiring us with her tongue!