Friday, 25 November 2016

The jadegrey-eyed Russian

Holding a cup of white coffee in one hand, I walked towards a vacant bench near the library entrance, aware of a middle-aged guy sitting on the other bench next to it.

"Hi.. Can I ask you a question? You're a Malay right?", he asked while I was adjusting my sitting position.

A lil shocked by the sudden voice, I answered, "Yea, sure...", glancing at the jadegrey-eyed guy.

"Can you explain what's the difference between 'Kak' and 'Kakak'?" At first I didn't get what he was asking because the 'k' at the end was silently pronounced. Then he said "I was calling a Malay sister 'Kak' but the the brother said "Don't call her 'Kak' . Call her 'Dik' because she's younger than you". "..ButI was told that 'Kakak' is for older ladies, while 'Kak' is for younger ladies". Only then I was able to comprehend the confusion that's going on his mind. He looked quite disturbed trying to figure out this Kakak-Kak-Adik for ladies, and I find it funny.

So I went on explaining in simple words until he get the idea that "Kak from 'Kakak" is similar to "Sis from Sister" which is normally used on older ladies while "Adik" is more suitable for younger-aged boys or girls.

The conversation didn't stop there. Soon I got to know that he's a Russian, from Cherkess Republic to be exact. He's almost done with PhD, just had his viva last week and currently doing some minor revision. His research is on the History of Islam in 1980s. He's been in this research field for so many years. He also shared that it's really hard to practice Islam in Russia. If they found someone going to the mosque everyday, they are perceived to be the extremist Muslims or Wahhabi. They will get arrested and will never return D: that is so so sad! One more thing, if Muslims read certain verses from the Quran that "condemns" the disbelievers, they will also be arrested! Russia don't like Muslims because the non-Muslim majority over there viewed Islam as a strict and conserved religion which is against secularism and freedom -- which Russia do not need. T^T He said that these info never came out in media, but that's the reality of our religion over there; which is so in contrast with the freedom that he (and us) get in practicing Islam in Malaysia. 😢

Then the conversation went on.. and he found out that I am from Singapore.. Aha!

"How much is S$1 to RM?" ------ RM3
"What's the population of Malay/Muslims in Singapore" ------ 11-12%
"So the Chinese control most of the businesses over there?" ------ Yes
"What's the salary like?" ------ Basic salary $2k (more or less)
"Singapore is a very nice and clean city... (yada yada yada)..."
"What's the price of 1kg meat over there, is it expensive?" PAP! I grinned wryly.
"I'm.. not too sure about that... I... don't go to the market...😬".
He smiled and two seconds later we both laughed hahahahah omg I feel so paiseh at that moment.
Apparently he found out that I'm 25, doing my masters and still under my parents care 😂

[!] Disclaimer: Haha ok kejap. This is not at all a flirty-kinda-conversation if you've been thinking so okay. He has that 'Ayah2' kinda vibe, just initiating a conversation in a situation that didn't make me feel awkward at all. ^^

Then he asked, "So what are you going to do after you finish your Masters?"
In my most relaxed tone, I said, "I'm going back to Singapore and find a job, and.."
"No no no, wait, stop", he cut me off.
"What, what? Why?", alarmed.
"After you finish your Masters, don't return" (I'm like... OOOKAYYYYYYYY? O_o)
"Stay here and continue your PhD". (O_o.... that's far from what I planned. ceh ingatkan die tak kasi balik sebab nak suruh travel around the globe dulu ke ape hahaha >_>)
"..Because you're still young. You're just 25. Say, writing for PhD requires around 3 years... by 28, you'll be a Dr! You know why? Because at this level, you are already in 'that stage' of academic level. If you go back and find a job, in 2-3 years you might lose your academic skills. When you take PhD at this young age, you still have that energy and determination. Unlike when you do it in your 30s or 40s. After you're done with PhD, you have everything. You can do whatever you want. You'll be Dr. Nadiah."

At that moment, it felt like a pile of cold water just splashed onto my face. I was awakened by his encouraging advise. It felt like an advise from a big brother. It sparked some spirit deep within even though his advise wasn't 'that' successful enough to convince me. Why? Because I have my own mission (for now) and after I finish my Masters I plan to go back, work, and carry the responsibility of the youngest grown-up child in the family. It is time. I've spent 6 years in KL pursuing 2 degrees and I think it's best to go back home to face life's real challenges. 😌😌😌

Nonetheless, I was totally (and still am) enlightened by his honest advise. Well of course I wish to have the freedom doing whatever I want to chase my dreams and my travel goals. But hey, we are not living this life as an ignorant individual. We cannot be self-centered. We have to think about other people and matters that revolve around our own tiny personal compound. Whatever we do and all of our intentions will be questioned. 😔

Faisal (pronounced FaiSal not FaiZal --- he claimed that everyone here calls his name with a tint of 'Z' hah) is his name. I'm thankful to have met this brother (or uncle?) today. Amazing how a 30-minute conversation with a stranger would leave a mark on my soul. And mind ya (again), I did not develop any feelings towards him okay, except that his beautiful Russian eyes caught my attention! Hahahahahaha astaghfirullah tak ghaddul basr hahahahahah.

Side note: Nadia is a common name in Russia. 😄

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