Monday, June 22, 2015

Separation: Lil' Sister in Penang

Today, my parents and I sent off one of my younger sisters to ILP in Nibong Tebal. Penang. It's the beginning of Ramadhan and according to the schedule my sister gets, she won't get any off until one day before Raya.

What makes us anxious was my sister, she's never been away from home. After her SPM, we were quite worried that she won't get any place - and she didn't seem to care either. Well, you can't really tell by her constant stare to the screens: TV, iPads - and her choice of programme doesn't really appeal to me. It was her older sisters who sat through with her, filling up the UPU application and all. She wasn't standing out in school, not sociable nor active, but we understand, that's just how she is.

It's until from the vacation we had in November that my sister said, "Tak sabar nak belajar jauh-jauh, naik kereta api," 

That come to me as a shock. Knowing her, she would never want to stay away without my parents. She never had sleepover in the cousins' house nor any of her friends. So for her to decide that is quite amazing, and I didn't take it seriously, of course.

Then the offer came in, for her to enrol in Sijil Percetakan in Nibong Tebal. She loves reading novels, and always helped my mom dealing with the printer - I guess the course itself isn't bad. What's bad is it's in Nibong Tebal. That's far considering her two older sisters are just half-an-hour and an hour away from home, in Bangi and KL respectively. She have no choice apparently since the course only offered there, and she was rather overwhelmed by which courses she should choose. So when the offer came in - she accepted. She slept on it for a few days then she rather fixed on it.

My parents still entertained the idea that she might not go and we did try to inspect other institutions of the same function - but it was hopeless. Nibong Tebal it is.

The institution wasn't bad - in fact, it might be great for her. However most of the students are actually from around: Penang, Perak and Kedah. She and maybe few others (probably very few) - and she might be the only one from Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. Her roommate is living nearby too, and she told my sister that she'll be home often. The institute encourages them to do so.

I was away before, and I understand the value of separation but that was only when I was 20. Furthermore, I had my two years in INTI to prep myself with and friends who share the same fate. But this time, I felt differently. Probably because I was once at her side too, and now I am on my parents' side. God, this feeling. Maybe I felt guilty too because I pushed her to find a place to study. We did try to find nearer places to home, but none of them suit her interest.

She faced it rather well. I didn't see any tears jerking off her eyes. She was rather strong. Almost 18 years of her life, my family and I didn't give the credit she deserves. She's rather dependable and quite good in doing house chores, yes, but to expect her being away studying in something we never expected from her. Now that she's doing exactly that, it is applaudable and for her circumstance, pretty amazing!

I really hope she does well in ILP Nibong Tebal: make some friends whom she can depend on and in turn (or rather in process) they can depend on her, and can adapt to course she's taking. I really hope so.

Once we reached home, our family was busy devising the best way she should travel home. Probably the ones who are more anxious about this are my Parents and followed by her older siblings. The manager in the institute gives his words to my parents that even him can send her off to Butterworth (apparently the nearest public transportation hub, one hour away by car). Luckily the place isn't that far from my father's hometown, Taiping; and Nibong Tebal is only 30 mins away. So maybe my uncle will be kind enough to assist her.

Ah, did I say that our whole family and I did not give her enough credit? She did well today and hope continues doing so. She deserves more credit!