I have a little brother, Fauzi. He is the fourth of the family, out of five. My siblings are quite unique…all were born in December, my sister and my youngest brother even shared the same birth date.
I am an exception, however. So too Fauzi. I was born on August, whereas Fauzi was on February, the same month of my mother. Fauzi has this one special trait…he will spurt out anything that crosses his mind. Anything! He doesn’t think twice nor has a second thought about what he will say. This causes him so much trouble…and he always ended up being in a fight or a quarrel with somebody over what he had said.
He never backs down on his words. He will say what he means, and means what he says…although sometimes he have no idea how serious the things he had just blurted out.
If somebody asked my friends who knew me after 2000 to describe something about me, I’m pretty sure 9 out of 10 will say that I am a man of few words…the one that hardly said anything. No one would have believe it if I say that prior to 2000, I was just like my little brother, Fauzi. Even my friends who had been around me the period of 1998-2002 forget this fact. People tend to forget easily…they say, mudah lupa.
I remember in one occasion, back in 1998, I was having a conversation with a certain Adi Saufi Mohamad Daud. I said to him, I feared being scolded by fellow seniors, as we were a fresh batch of juniors, and couldn’t quite understand the norm in boarding school. To my surprise, he boldly stated, which up until this day, I could still recall precisely his every single words…
“Engkau memang! Sebab mulut kau tu!”
His frank answer caught me by surprise. But I was so small and stupid that time, I couldn’t understand anything. And it didn’t stop there. On another occasion, I was saying something towards Ridhuan Zhafri (KLON, as we used to call him) which provoked him so much, and he simultaneously said
“Kau ingat badan kau kecik aku kesian nak belasah kau ke?!”
But it all changed in 2000. I couldn’t remember what really happened that changed me very much, but part of it was because the looming PMR exams. I studied seriously, and I became extremely quite. I didn’t talk to anyone for months…and when I started to talk afterwards, I couldn’t put up a proper sentence! I’d been muted for such a long time that I forgot how to construct a conversation.
In one occasion, to justify my state of silence, I said to Haikal Zakaria, one of my best friends at the time, that Allah created two ears, two eyes, but one mouth, so that we should listen more, see more, and talk less. Haikal didn’t quite agree with me…and the next day, he came up with a good reply. In an amusing way, he said we should berzikir more. I agreed with him…but I still hold my earlier argument true.
The tipping point was the year 2000. It changed me so much that I was never the same person anymore. I started to think carefully about what to say as not to hurt other’s feeling. Now, no one remembers what I was like prior to 2000. It is deeply embedded in their mind that I am a "quiet, non-talkative" person. Even Lan (Loqman Afiq) expressed his displeasure at me for teasing Icam somewhere in 2002, because he thought I was being unnatural. I used to be very quiet…he reckoned. Just 4 years earlier, that same behavior of mine wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows.
And up until this day, I hardly say anything to anyone. My eyes work twice as much as my mouth…as I am an avid reader. Some will say I am a quite man due to my fondness of reading…but I developed this habit long before 2000…since I was in primary school. I remember being a regular to my village library (Perpustakaan Desa), and read almost every book in that small library.
I’m not sure if Fauzi would follow my path…but for the moment, it is highly unlikely. He currently is in form two…maybe in a year or two, he will experience a massive change of personality, just like me. Who knows?