My Golden Year of Shells

When I started KES, one of the first things I was introduced to was the Liber Aureus (Golden Book). Huh? The “Liber Aureus”? The GOLDEN BOOK? That was my initial reaction. But to my surprise (and possibly disappointment), this mysterious-sounding, famous, fancy Latin-named tome of legend was not a book constructed from pure, 24-karat gold – now that I think of it, that would be quite impractical.

Apparently, this Golden Book was one of the highest achievements in the school. If you did an exceptional piece of work (like, REALLY exceptional) or gained a certain amount of credits (the school point system), your name would be written down in the Golden Book, so your achievement would be remembered even years on from now. Getting an entry in the Golden Book was the one thing everybody in school worked towards, and soon, I too joined the race. 

Since then, I probably worked harder than I ever had. Like my classmates around me, I had the Golden Book in my sights. And so that was how I worked until December 2018, when I got my first Golden Book entry – a DOUBLE ENTRY too, if that wasn’t surprising enough. I couldn’t believe it! Up until then, being able to make my mark in the Golden Book seemed so out of reach to me. And here I was, holding the pen in my hand that would write down my name in the prestigious Golden Book! Little did I know that by the end of my first academic year, I would have a total of not 1, not 2, but 4 Golden Book entries, meaning that my name was carved into school history four times! What a great way to end the school year alongside my unexpected exam results! I don’t know how I did it, but it was indeed a miracle!

Alhamdulillah, I feel so blessed to earn such a great achievement. However, I cannot claim that this is just a product of my hard work. I would not have achieved this without my teachers. Their fruitful teachings have benefited me in countless ways, not just academically! My friends have also given me their support and encouragement. It’s true to say that a friend’s motivation is like no other!

Above all, a lot of the credit goes to my family, especially my parents, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad, without whom I would have never gotten this far. They are the ones who have been sacrificing a lot for me. Their unconditional love and endless support have motivated me to keep on working harder!

And how could I forget all of you wonderful people? You are our loving supporters! I may not know all of you, but your love, prayers, and kind words touch my heart. There is no way I could thank you all enough! May God shower you and your families with the best of blessings!

And of course, all praise is due to Allah, for He is the one who has seen all my struggles, and He is the one who has showered His endless blessings upon me. For now, all I can do is thank Allah and pray that next year will be as fruitful as this one.

I also know that somewhere, somehow, my Mamajee is watching over me. I just hope that I have done enough to make him proud of his nephew as he looks on. May Allah let us all be reunited in Jannah.

Last but not least, I would like to say goodbye to the Shells year. It has shaped me into the KES boy I am today!

Blessed,

Omar Mukhtar

World Book Day

Charles Dickens.jpg

Today is World Book Day! As I see Mr Dad busy preparing costumes for Fatimah and Ali, I can’t help but miss those days in primary school when I dressed up myself. The most memorable costume would have to be the one for World Book Day 2017! I always preferred to be different from other people. I hated those ready-made shop-bought costumes because most of them were Disney cartoon characters. So in 2017, instead of dressing up as a character from a book, I came as…an author! Yes, that’s right, an author! I always believed that I had an author in me somewhere, screaming to get out!

As a big fan of Charles Dickens, I chose to dress up as him during his childhood, the darkest hours of his life, when his family was in debt and his father was sent to prison. He was only 12 years old but he was forced to take up a job in a shoe-shine factory to earn money for his family at this time of his life.

I can clearly remember the night before the big day…

Mrs Mom was really ill at the time, and Mr Dad had his hands full not only looking after her, but Fatimah and Ali too. So there I was, still no costume ready – but I guess I was lucky! If Cinderella has her own fairy godmother to prepare her outfit to the ball, then I too have a fairy god-uncle who came to the rescue! My Mamajee was the one who saved World Book Day! He searched through my wardrobe, looking for something he could work his magic on. He stayed up all night preparing the costume. He even went as far as cutting up gloves and sewing on patches for my trousers one by one!

So here it is, my costume for World Book Day 2017, handmade specially by my PAWSOME uncle! And it’s not just handmade, but handmade with love. It may seem like a normal costume, but really, the love, care, time and effort that has gone into it is what makes it so valuable and heartfelt! And that’s what made this World Book Day one of the most memorable ones!

Sentimental mode on,

Omar Mukhtar a.k.a. The Pawsome Lion

#The12YearOldAuthor

#BornToWrite

#WorldBookDay

p/s: Since it’s World Book Day, I can’t help but think that if Mamajee was a book character, he would definitely be Gandalf from ‘Lord Of The Rings’ because he is kind, wise and he always has magic up his sleeves! What about you? If you were a book character, who would you choose to be?

Officially A King Edward’s Boy!

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It’s official! I am finally a King Edward’s boy! 😆 I’m going to go to King Edward’s School (KES), my dream school! I am more than over the moon right now, and all the hard work and sacrifices that led up to this moment have paid off!

When I was in Year 5, my class teacher, Mr Webster, said I had the potential to apply for a grammar school. At the time, I was clueless as to what a grammar school was. I had never heard of it. All I knew was that after Year 6, I’d be going to a normal secondary school. Mr Webster then gave me a leaflet for an open day at King Edward’s School. I went home and did some research, and I found out that KES was one of the best schools in the UK and one of its famous alumni was the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, J.R.R. Tolkien himself! That’s when I decided that I had to attend their open day!

It was 18th March 2017 when I first set foot into my dream school for their open day. It was like I was Harry Potter stepping into Hogwarts! The building looked old and grand, and almost castle-like – just the way I like it! I felt that connection between us as soon as I stepped through the front doors. KES was the only grammar school I visited, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Whenever people asked me what my school choices were, I always said KES and only KES! Everybody was surprised because the other students had at least 3 choices of schools that they wanted to go to…but not me! I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else other than KES!

The entry requirements to join a grammar school were not easy! First, I had to take and pass a test called the 11+ to be considered for a place at any of the grammar schools, and a separate entrance test for KES. And I couldn’t just pass the test! The results had to be outstanding because there were thousands of students like me sitting for it too! However, Mrs Mom was gravely ill at the time and Mr Dad had his hands full with taking care of Mrs Mom and Fatimah and Ali, so, unlike the many other people who started preparing many years back, I had to start a few days into the summer holidays when the 11+ was less than one month away in September (2017)! 😰

Preparing for the 11+ was hard enough as the things I had to learn were not covered in school, but the search for someone to become my tutor was FRANTIC. Almost everybody turned me down because it was seemingly impossible when everyone had started two or three years back when I had to cover everything in less than a month, but one person had gone beyond the act of kindness and took me as a student of her own – Auntie Shaheen. We didn’t even know her. She was a complete stranger to us but she was like a God-sent angel! She was willing to give me some guidance and support so that I could do the test! I couldn’t have done it without her and I will never be able to thank her enough! Not only that, she also guided Mrs Mom and Mr Dad and told them what they could do to teach me from home!

The whole family was super supportive too! Dadajee and Dadijee flew all the way from Malaysia to help us! Mrs Mom and Mr Dad taught me all they knew, Dadajee always sat by my side every day to help me and time my practice tests, and also made sure that I had enough rest, Dadijee took over the kitchen and made sure all the food was ready and everybody else encouraged me to keep on working hard! Dr Auntie and Mamajee also played their part in assisting me in my studies! I studied from morning to evening and we didn’t go on holiday anywhere during that summer! But I think that the hardest thing I had to sacrifice was reading! I have Obsessive Reading Disorder😁, and giving up my books was like TORTURE!!! There were days when I found myself reading the back of cereal boxes at breakfast time – that was how desperate I was to find something, ANYTHING to read! 😂

After plenty of preparation, the day of the 11+ finally arrived, and I wouldn’t say I whizzed through it with ease, but I was feeling pretty confident! Soon, it was over, and there was nothing I could do other than pray and wait for the KES test. That came in a matter of a couple of weeks, too, and the anxiety was getting to me. 😞

Then, one fateful day, I was at school when I was unexpectedly called out of class by Mrs Chesney-Ly, my school’s English Leader. She told me that Mrs Mom had called. I wasn’t that sure about why. Maybe something serious had happened at home. But then, I put the phone to my ear and when the conversation ended, I was speechless. I had passed the 11+ – with flying colours! I nearly burst into tears of joy! This was basically a dream come true! Now I could go to any grammar school I wanted to! I can still remember that moment when I broke the news to Miss Patrick, my class teacher, she jumped up, waving her hands in the air, and shouted my results out to the whole class!

I thought that this was the last of God’s blessings because this was much, much more than I asked for! I quote what Auntie Shaheen said: “Now you don’t have to worry about anything! No school will reject you!” I had hoped to just pass the 11+, but I had excelled! But later on, we got a phone call from none other than King Edward’s School…my dream school! Apparently, I had done extremely good in their entrance test, and had been offered a school place with a chance to get a scholarship out of the 125 students! In order to actually get the scholarship, I would have to attend a separate interview at the school. The funny thing is that the results for the 11+ were released on Mrs Mom’s birthday (10th October 2017), the call was on Mamajee’s birthday (10th November 2017), and the interview was scheduled on Dr Auntie’s birthday (14th November 2017)! I had a good feeling about this, and when the interview was over and done with, I was glad that I had done my best. But deep inside, only God knew how anxious I was about not being able to get the scholarship because the yearly school fees for KES were extremely high! 😳

Then, the awaited day came when we were all waiting for a letter from King Edward’s School. It was the day before the deadline date for the outcome of the scholarship interviews. The night before, me, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were discussing that it was fine if I didn’t get the place, even if it did break my heart 💔. KES seemed far out of my reach, and we were grateful that we wouldn’t have a problem to secure a place at any normal grammar school. I was restless, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then when I came home from school that day (Thursday 7th December 2017), I found a letter on the fireplace addressed to me and it had a KES stamp on it. Both Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were there too. They were both waiting for me to open it. I opened it nervously…and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Suddenly all the tension melted away, as if a weight had been lifted off my back. I had been awarded the full scholarship! It was one of the happiest days of my life – I burst into tears of joy! I was going to be able to go to my dream school, where one of my idol authors studied, where I would be able to do great things! I am truly blessed!

So only a few days ago, on Thursday 28th of June, me and the family were invited to the Admissions Ceremony, where I was formally welcomed into the school! Walking up onto the stage to shake the Chief Master’s hand – Dr Mark Fenton – feelings of nervousness overwhelmed by excitement passed through me. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, that I actually had the chance to go to my dream school and make my family proud! 😊

Dear Future Pawsome Lion,

You may be reading this in 10 years or so from today, Sunday 1st July 2018, and if you are, then never forget all the people who sacrificed things for you! Remember what your family has done for you, what Mrs Mom and Mr Dad have been through, what Fatimah and Ali have had to sacrifice for you, all the prayers family, friends and teachers have sent for you, and all the hard work everybody has done for you, because without everything, you wouldn’t be who you are today! And most importantly, please remember to stay humble, be thankful to God as He has given you more than you wished for, and be a great person in this world so that hopefully one day…YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

From The 11-year-old Pawsome Lion

Sunday 1st July 2018

Dear God,

Thank you for all the blessings You have bestowed on me and my family. I can’t thank You enough! Please restore all world peace so children across the world can have happy moments like this too and can grow into wonderful people who can make a good difference in this world and SHINE…

p/s: Feeling:

  • Blessed 😇
  • Grateful 🙏
  • Excited 😜

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My Superhero Uncle!

herooven mamajee

Guess what? Mamajee won the 3rd place in Hero Oven! We couldn’t be more proud of him. We know how challenging it was for Mamajee. It’s a baking competition, which is quite out of Mamajee’s comfort zone, but he didn’t back away. He took the risk! Now look what he’s achieved! Congratulations Mamajee! We really look up on you for willing to accept the challenge. You never give up! You’re absolutely brilliant. You’re the best uncle anyone could ever wish for! You’re our idol Mamajee. You inspire us all. You’ll always be our superhero… 🏅

#TeamAdamForever ♥️

11 Reasons Why You’re Great!

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Dear Mamajee,

Now here’s some reasons why you’re the best uncle,

There’s quite a lot, 11, to be exact!

Now, for a start, you’re always caring,

Always loving to all of us!

Number two!

You bring happiness with you,

And three, you’re so talented in cooking,

Your food? It’s basically heaven in a spoonful!

Next up’s the way you’re always by our side,

You’re also smiling, cheering us up!

You brightened up every dark corner,

Your laugh is just the thing to make us grin!

Whenever I think of stars, I remember your eyes,

Your hugs are warm,

Your jokes are so funny!

And to end it all here, you’re so loving!

You’re almost like our father!

And yes, I could go on and on!

Like the fact that you’ll never say no,

Or how you’ll fly across the world just for us!

But I just want to say,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And thanks for everything you’ve done for us and more!

From your nephew,

The Pawsome Lion,

On behalf of Fatimah and Ali

p/s: Dear Mamajee, remember where we took this picture? My birthday gift to you is some very good news…