For Appreciation Week 2013, teams of writers looked into the lives of 4 special individuals who contribute to our daily school lives – people we may not always notice. Starting today, we will post the stories of 1 individual or group everyday, for you to understand who they are and their backgrounds. We hope this encourages you to show your appreciation for the perhaps less-noticed staff members around the school; they may not be significant in their own right, but they definitely make a significant impact on our school lives. Today, we feature 45-year-old Shahrin Ahmad, the cleaner often seen at the Marymount Gate.
By Aidan Mock (13A01B), Pang Ly-Shan (14A01C) and Hazirah Mohd Helmy (14A01C)
Every day, “the smiley cleaner at the Marymount gate” greets students passing through the walkway and makes friendly conversation with them. That’s what we now all know him for, with many of us looking forward to his bright smile every day. Last week, we decided to pay Mr Shahrin Ahmad a visit. He is 45 years of age and started working just three months ago but he has already made quite the impression on our students.
Most of us see Mr Shahrin in the mornings as we come to school, and he is still there when we leave in the afternoons. Sometimes, when students are almost late and rushing in to school, he even opens the gate for them so that they would not have to slow down. We asked him how the students usually respond and were delighted to hear that most students would reciprocate and greet him back cheerfully as well. Some even stop to chat with him, something that he says “brightens his day.” However, there are some who don’t seem to hear him or at least pretend not to. He finds this somewhat discouraging, but despite all this, he still puts on a smile and saying a cheery “Good Morning” to everyone he meets. Hopefully, the school makes him feel like his efforts are worth it.
According to him – and this seems sadly to be corroborated by a post on RJ Confessions – someone has complained that he is ‘too friendly’. However, we don’t feel the same way at all. He tries his best to be friendly, but is never too overbearing. He greets us because he wants to be approachable and polite; he feels that is how people should interact. Mr Shahrin did have some reservations after that incident, but we are very happy to report that some of you encouraged him and gave him your earnest support. We don’t know who these students were, but it’s due to you that Mr Shahrin Ahmad continues to brighten up our days with his bright and cheery manner.
The senior Mr Shahrin works over at RI Boarding, keeping this all very much in the family. However, this is also one of Mr Shahrin’s main concerns, as his septuagenarian father has just been discharged from the hospital due to cardiac arrest and also suffers from asthma. We hope that both father and son will keep healthy and well, especially as the work can be physically taxing and the hours quite long.
However, Mr Shahrin keeps himself cheerful and looks forward to your friendly smiles every day. He hopes that students will continue greeting him and responding to the small talk, and wants us to know that he is only trying to be friendly and approachable, as it is simply his disposition. Though his workday is tiring and we students seem very stressed as well, if we take a moment to smile, to respond and be positive, it is very possible to brighten someone else’s day and make a huge difference.
P.S. One thing you might not know about him is that he is a dedicated fan of SNSD. In fact, his music taste is very eclectic, including singers like Jennifer Lopez, 4 minute and Boys like Girls. He’s been to three concerts in the last two years. Now you know! This could be a good conversation starter the next time you pass him.
Appreciation Week is featuring this story and more at a mini-exhibition in the canteen this week. Come on down and write thank-you notes, or show your appreciation in your own way! :) Look out for our next staff feature tomorrow!