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Nureen Sabrina Albakri Shahrin Albakri

March 26, 2013

Nureen Sabrina Albakri, you'll always be my baby girl.

Nureen Sabrina Albakri, you’ll always be my baby girl.

I’m sure anybody who bothers to read this blog would’ve come across the mention of my eldest child, Nureen Sabrina Albakri. Well, this post is dedicated to her. She was born on 27 October 2000. That day remains as one of the best days of my life. Among her siblings, Nureen has always been the cool one. When we stayed at Nenek’s house and she was still a baby, she would be happy just playing on her own and not bother anybody. Even when it’s time for bed, we could leave her on her own, she’d play with her toys and eventually fall asleep on her own. Raising her was generally trouble free.

When it was time for her to go for her preschool, we sent her to Smart Reader Kids in Taman Seri Gombak. That was when she started surprising everybody. Barely a month into preschool, she spoke beautiful English. “With an American accent”, said her kindergarten teacher. We blame that on the countless Playhouse Disney shows she watched (not that it’s a bad thing though). She would never get tired of the shows. She began to use words like “humongous” and the like. Although my command of English is not shabby by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t recall having even heard of “humongous” when I was 5 years old. Since then, Nureen’s command of the English language improved by leaps and bounds.

In primary school, she was an average student. Of which I have absolutely no complaints. Her progress was steady if not spectacular. But when it came to English, she was the absolute star of the bunch. Reminds me of myself to be perfectly honest. I was never an excellent student back in primary school but I had no competition where English was concerned. And so the journey continued smoothly. When she was in Standard 5, I had to move to JB to work. At first I was concerned that without me around, her studies would suffer. Alhamdulillah that was not the case. Although all the time I am in JB, I’ll miss her terribly.

We were rightfully concerned when she was about to sit for her UPSR exams. I didn’t want to exert any pressure on her. In any event I thought that since we didn’t want her to go to any boarding school, UPSR would be a mere formality. But I understood the pressure she was under. It was not easy with UPSR being her first major examination since entering primary school. She suffered a fever as the exams approached which made me become aware of the level of stress. I told her to take it easy, at the same time managing my expectations. Results time came and she scored 5As. I was overjoyed and extremely proud. Who wouldn’t?

That having said, we didn’t want her to go to any boarding school although she qualified. So we enrolled her into one of the schools near home. And she has proven to be a revelation in her school. She was accepted into the best class in Form 1, the Special Program class. Apparently students who are accepted into the class were all top scorers in the UPSR exams. Again she made me really proud. In secondary school, her excellent command of English proved to be her strength again. Her teacher selected her to represent the school in an inter-school public speaking contest.

She didn’t disappoint and was placed second among participants from 20 schools. Apparently the judges were impressed with the way she opened her stint and that she was eloquent in the delivery of her piece. I truly wish I was there to witness her performance. I’m sure it was a joy to behold. Moving on from that success, she has been selected to be a member of the school debate team. Which I’m sure she’ll do well. There’s no doubt. Not any more.

To be honest, she reminds me so much of myself. We could laugh at the same Seinfeld jokes and she enjoys comedies as much as I do. There have also been occasions when I notice that our thinking and approach to things are even alike in some ways. What more could a father ask for?

Now every time before I leave for JB she’ll be my walking checklist. Did you bring your charger? Did you bring your wallet? Is your Smart Tag with you? What about your iPad? I’ll have to answer yes, yes, yes and yes again. I know she means well. And she’ll hug me really tight every time. Oh, and she’s a big anime fan.

I do not know if I’ve been a good father to Nureen. I hope I have. I’m so proud to have a daughter who is so matured, so easy to talk to, shows responsibility (sometimes she can be a bit of a child, but that’s OK) and is the best daughter a father could ever ask for. I know she’ll grow up to be a successful woman. There’s just so much more I could write about this wonderful daughter of mine. But I just want her to know that I love her and I promise to do my very best so she could lead the best possible life.

Don’t ever stop being who you are girl. I love you.

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