Inside young minds, faith seems almost less than concrete. Like the saying goes, apparently, on a white piece of cloth, any colours smeared may be taken in as a form of conviction. Or maybe, the colours that are forcefully fed may be questioned silently, kept deep down inside until the unexpected moment comes. A moment which will be a frightful affair for any orthodox Muslim Malay parents.

And the moment came for Zani when he uttered, “There is no God!”. See, Zani was a nice young boy in his early teens. Kind hearted and quite studious as he was one of the top academic achievers in his primary school. He came from a wealthy middle class family with, I might add, sufficient religious background. His father frequently prays at the local surau and once in a while an usrah is held at their home.

Life in a so-called elite boarding school may take some time to adjust, especially for 13 year old urbanely spoilt boys. But Zani made himself comfortable fast. He made fast friends and adjusted well in his new curfew environment. He never failed to perform the obligatory solat, 5 times a day as advised by his parents. He was the perfect son, student and person.

Back then, SRP was recently abolished and the PMR examination was its replacement. Zani was one of its candidates. He was well prepared. He was confident, well, he got the brains anyway. And the copy fest began! Multiple choices questions were students’ favourite. Heads started turning, eyes started glancing, minds started memorizing the patterns of the black dots on other people’s desks and Zani was one of its intellectual source.

A few months later, the results were out. Unfortunately, Zani didn’t do well. He didn’t get an ‘A’ for mathematics, an ‘A’ compulsory subject for students in order to continue studies in the boarding school. Zani was devastated. It was the start of the moment I mentioned earlier. “There is no God!”. His mind was racing fiercely. He questioned. He wandered far inside his own immature mind.
“The bastard twins didn’t pray at all! They drink! They bullied juniors! Yet they got straight ‘A’s!”
“And look at the two potheads, other than smoking weed, they were frequent weekend visitors of a whorehouse in the nearby town. They too got straight ‘A’s!?”
“Even the knuckle crazy Kelantanese got straight ‘A’s!”
“If there is a God, He would’ve been fair to me!”
“Fuck it! Fuck God! Fuck everything!”

*****

Zani was accepted back into the school after an appeal. His parents paid more attention to him. His mind was no longer racing.

Life is never fair, right?

Well, life turned out OK for Zani as an adult, at least OK for now.

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