When I first started off living in Seremban, I find the place rather off putting, chaotic and all over the place. It's not like Sungai Petani (SP) at all. In town planning structure, Seremban is comparatively like Sydney in a way, while SP is more like Melbourne. Everything in SP in placed on the two major lanes of the town, while Seremban is a bit here and there, albeit a bigger town than SP of course, with more suburbs. Like SP, Seremban too has an old and new part of the town. But Seremban's new town (Seremban 2) is all the way on the other part of Seremban, while SP's new town is just on the same stretch of the town's two major lanes.
It took some time (months, actually) to get used to how the town and its adjacent suburbs and most importantly shopping areas are placed. But truth be told, once I got the hang out of it, I personally find Seremban such a lovely place to live. It's always so calm, nothing much goes on in this town, we're never held by much traffics and everything is cheaper that in Bangi/Kajang. It's a perfect place to raise a family.
While in SP, the majority population is of the same ethnic, the population of Seremban are diverse but they seem to get along quite well. Seeing a mixture of ethnicity working, eating together is such a common occasion here, unlike in SP. I have been observing this for a quite a while now, and I find that rather comforting, especially in the social media era where everyone seem to want to kill one another due to their differences. Seremban, clearly epitomized 1Malaysia. And of course, need I point out more that they love their MB to pieces. Tok Mat should be propelled to be PM some day, seriously :-)
Needless to say, Seremban has slowly grows on me. If it's the only thing that may prolonged my service here as a lecturer, probably the thought of continuing living in Seremban would be it. The working stress nowadays sometimes is unbearable, especially when needing to deal with fools running around this place they termed higher learning institution (HLE) - pretending to be 'moulding' our future generations. Most are frauds, but they failed to see that. I, myself think I am a fraud, pretending what I had in myself in sufficient to last another generation of students. Truthfully, I am not sure I can catch up. I fear for the sanity of the next generation of educators and their students. I fear for my own sanity, when everything seem to be so superficial. Things are running so fast nowadays, I wonder if anyone is really absorbing anything while they walk and run through the corridors of this HLE. I seriously doubt it.
I can't turn back time, but I remembered being ever so passionate about doing this without needing to check on whether my students are actually attending my class, whether they can understand what I am trying to convey, whether they learnt any soft skills from the course, whether they are able to communicate in English, whether they are job market ready??? These things never really linger on my mind when I went to class. I just went and be myself, and with the grace of Allah, my enthusiasm and commitment simply rub off on these students and they themselves took care of all those things I am made to worry about now. Such a vast difference between back then and now. What made it worst now, the HLE no longer seem to trust the lecturers to hand them the prerogative to do what they love most - teach, teach the way they love to teach. Gone are the dignified days, where teachers are revered as the experts and listened to. Now, it's all about the market. I am not even sure, why I teach no more. Sad, isn't it...
But I tell myself, in life, we must always be prepared to make changes or adapt to changes. Some changes are for the best, while some others may be blessings in disguise. I guess me living in Seremban is one of those blessings. So I still have Seremban. And the kids are doing so well. Could they be the next generation of students which are better off than the current dopey-eyed ones? I sincerely hope so. Because for now, it seems like the only thing that is stopping me from walking away from all of this is - Seremban (and my PhD Bond, of course) ;-)