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Your Johor: Love of reading has brought rewards
Kamdi Kamil (left) with Professor Abu Bakar Hamid, a well-known academician from Universiti Malaya.
MY love of literature has been deep in my soul since my childhood years in Rengit, Batu Pahat.
With the support of my parents and mentors then, I could easily read two simplified novels and tales in a day.
To enhance their contents, I wrote a brief reflection on the story and would then present it to my teacher.
For my efforts, I was awarded with more novels and was encouraged to dissect more literary works.
My love of writing intensified during my school days at Dato Bentara Luar secondary school in Batu Pahat and Kolej Islam Malaya in Petaling Jaya.
Surprisingly, I was in the science stream during my pre-university years at Kolej Islam.
However, I was editor of the institution’s annual magazine and wrote many articles on the school’s programmes.
My two-year stint as a trainee teacher at Mohd Khalid Teachers’ College in 1971 was also memorable as I got to know many prolific lecturers and novelists.
One was the late Shahrom Hussein who, apart from being my language lecturer, shared his knowledge of script-writing, drama presentation, dialogues and poetry with me and others.
My teaching career at various schools in my hometown, Batu Pahat, ended in 1979 after I decided to pursue an arts degree at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
After that, I became a lecturer at Maktab Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim Johor Baru (now Institut Pendidikan Guru, Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim or IPG KTI). I held the post for the next 21 years.
I had a wonderful time at IPG KTI, particularly as the head of the college’s resource centre.
Apart from managing a well-organised resource and reference centre at the central library, I also oversaw the monthly bulletin, magazine, journals and other publications.
I produced some 70 essays and short stories during my tenure there. I edited my students’ works, from articles to short stories and other assignments.
I also helped to draft welcoming speeches for the college’s director and other senior officers, especially during formal functions such as convocation, Teachers Day and other special occasions like working visits from top officials from the Education Ministry and other state government officials.
My circle of friends became much much wider after I became more active in social activities like parent-teacher associations (PTAs), Rukun Tetangga committee, residents’ committee and more.
Today, I’m involved in almost 20 non-governmental organisations.
Looking back, my stint as chairman of the MSAB (English College) PTA was the most distinguished.
Steering the association for five years (1999-2004), I gained the fullest cooperation from both principal Abdullah Edros and his successor, Zakaria Shukor.
One of our successful projects was the “PTA in a classroom” programme. In each classroom, the parents were members alongside the class teacher. The committee comprised a chairman, secretary, treasurer and 10 committee members. All office-bearers, except secretary, are parents.
The class teacher held the secretary’s post.
Discussions were held at the meeting room and the topics included upgrading classroom amenities like ceiling fans, curtains, furnishings, equipment and resource corner.
We even mooted a weekly tuition class by engaging teachers from other schools.
The project resulted in all classrooms being fully equipped with basic facilities, which provided the students with a conducive environment to study.
My long service as a lecturer ended in 2003, upon which I assumed the post of principal at SMK Taman Megah Ria until the end of 2005 when I retired from government service.
Soon after, I was employed by the Johor Heritage Foundation as its historical research officer.
This appointment suited me as within a few months, I have authored more than 15 publications on Johor’s history and heritage.
Kamdi Kamil, 61, lives in Kampung Melayu Majidi with his wife, Rahmah Mohd Mofit. They have four sons and two daughters. A recipient of the Tokoh Guru award in 2007, he is also an authority on the country’s history and past leaders
Interview and pictures by Syed Abdullah Syed MohamedThis article has been viewed (127) times