Noob Film Review - CIKGU LIMAU KASTURI (1993) by Seika
A tale of an English language teacher, Cikgu Halim (Harun Salim Bachik) from Kuala Lumpur who gets a transfer order to teach in a remote village of Kg Limau Kasturi in Kelantan. Reluctant at first, his mother told him there is where teachers are needed most, compared to cities where most are readily available.
In Kg Limau Kasturi, he sees the strong willingness of the kids to learn and that motivated him to go on (despite already requesting for a transfer upon arriving).
He faces resistance from the religionist Lebai Lazin (Zakaria Musa) who labelled the education system as ‘kafir’ (infidel) in origin and English is the language of the ‘penjajah’ (colonialist). His daughter Ruhani is being stopped from going to school, feeding his own phobia and vendetta.
In contrast, there is Pak Hassan who is an elderly in the kampung demonstrating the manner of a true Malay. When Cikgu Halim insists of paying him the rent for his house and food, Pak Hassan excepts only RM50 and return the balance as a gesture of sincerity and not to offend Cikgu Halim by declining totally. A kind of manner that is slowly fading away. How there is something ‘extra’ to be learned from living in a kampung.
Cikgu Halim’s mother herself is actually from Kg. Limau Kasturi. (She might be the one who requested for the transfer in the first place!) She also had a tough time in getting an education back then. But her strong willingness made it through and she has succesfully shaped her son, Halim to become a Cikgu, trying to avoid the same struggle she had befalling on the new generation.
Ruhani, the Lebai Lazin’s daughter has the same willingness. Despite being restricted in going to school which denies her the rights for education, she sneaks in and peeps on the classes to make up for it.
The face-off between Cikgu Halim and Lebai Lazin debating about how Islam encourages balance in everything (in this case education) instead of stereotyping and being judgemental leads to Lebai Lazin’s change of mind. Ruhani then is allowed to go to school.
She might grow to be the next teacher for the next generation of Kg Limau Kasturi.
It shows the importance of the special breed called ‘Cikgu’ in our society. How bearing the title is noble in its own way.
And how this go side by side with D-Mulsion shorties about how we should cater for better reach of education to the rural area. Above all, the kids are as capable (if not more capable) as the kids from the cities.
A shortfilm (1993) that has stand the test of time. A body of work that has a clear timeless message. And rejoice upon the return of English in Science and Mathematics!