I was very disappointed with myself on Monday morning. I heard the news that my former Technical Drawing teacher had passed away on Sunday night but I had scheduled a meeting that morning and I have to be in Ipoh that afternoon. On top of that I had to see the doctor for my diabetic. All this hectic arrangements clouded my already maligned memory – I missed the trip to Seremban, despite promising myself that I shall attend the funeral.
Cikgu Ahmad Basri was a rare breed of a teacher. Despite having a doctorate degree and at one time an assistant to the Minister of Education, he never failed to smile and greet me whenever we met. Even when he moved to UKM. I met him last at a seminar in UKM in 2004 when he was one of the examiner.
Back in 1976, he was my Technical Drawing teacher, the only teacher who could relate to the needs of students in a boarding school. He was still young then and he would be in schools most of the time. Later I left school for further studies and one day in 1982 I met him again in a mosque in Derby Road, Nottingham. He humbly stated that he was earning his degree at the same time as his student. Our path did not cross again until twenty years later when I saw his name at the Ministry HQ. He was one of the special assistant to the Minister of Education. I was pleased that by then he had already earned his doctorate – well ahead of his student, as it should be! We met a few times after that and he still remembered me and he was still the good old affable, amiable, soft spoken, humble, full of wisdom; Cikgu Ahmad Basri. He even accorded me and my family a special treatment during one of the Minister’s hari raya open house.
Back in 2004, I was surprised to see him as one of the staff in UKM’s faculty of Education. He joked that he left the Ministry of Education because nobody wanted him any more with the departure of Tan Sri Musa as Education Minister. In 2005, I heard he was stricken with cancer. The terrible thing was that I have been posponing my wish to visit him. Even until his funeral. I felt so bad and deeply disappointed with myself. How ungrateful can you get. I pray to Allah to grant him all the blessings. SDAR has lost one of its intelectual fraternity. Fatihah to Dr. Ahamd Basri.