November 25, 2005

The Virgin tea-boy.

His name is Shafiq, our company’s eastern region branch office tea-boy and cleaner, due to the limited scope he have during the day, he usually naps his way out day-long utilizing one of the empty desk spaces available. Shafiq pushes aside the keyboard, mouse & pad of an abandoned PC (the monitor would be too heavy though tempting to be pushed aside) to make room for his arms-cum-pillow, and lay his head venutring into another dimension.

For months, I have failed to recognize the screaming contrast! Here you have a poorly educated man with a subtle job, putting aside a computer connected to the internet that at least would be an entertaining ride not to mention its potential as a learning and life-changing experience!, why? Why he never thought of turning it on instead? perhaps out of fatigue (which I doubt), or out of comfy laziness and lack of ambition, or sheer shyness and humbleness that is intrinsic in south-east Asian cultures… perhaps I was the one who was not motivated enough to offer him to use the PC, after all, it is under my jurisdiction until the IT folks find out about it that it is an abandoned asset…

"Shafiq" I shouted "Do you know how to use a computer" in a cross- gulf-arabic-Tagalug-hindi-urdu-english dialect,
"No" was his answer with sheer shock out of surprise,
"Do you know what’s the internet ?” i reiterated and he replied with an unanticipated "Yes"!

Next step, I needed to fuel his interest So I asked him where he's from and he answered that he's from Bangladesh, no need for search engines, a quick www. & .com pre & post fixes to both ends of “Bangladesh” should lead us somewhere interesting... and it did, it was a Bangladeshi portal. Thanks to auto-foreign text detection, the mystic Bengali script appeared, and the looks at his gazing eyes where a carbon copy of my own when I first experienced the internet back in 1994, maybe with a hint of bitter homesickness I assume.

At the risk of no longer recognizing the sincerity of the motives behind teaching the guy how to use the PC and the internet during his lengthy free times, I cannot help but add that I found it very humorous how he oriented himself to use the mouse… not as funny as my aunt's husband who bought a brand-new computer for his kids back in 1997… he wanted to give it ago, so he picked up the mouse mid-air away from the table, started pointing it at the monitor with intermittent clicks on the mouse in a very hilarious abstract scene of people falling preys of "new" technology in the midst of his kids vivid laughter...

3 weeks onward, Shafiq no longer required my assistance to log him into the computer, as he picked this skill up himself, in fact, he now prints the articles of interest to take home with him, I was astonished today that he started fiddling with MS Office, nibbling a bit with spreadsheets on Excel, digitizing the hand-written handbook that seems to be written by his Mom, but for a 3 week newbie, I must admit it is an impressive progress..

All I hope for now is that he guides himself intellectually through the internet and his use of the computer, to better develop himself and his knowledge... the possibilities are endless…

This entry was written back in early October, Yesterday I came to know that the “vigilant” IT department has already identified the unassigned and unused asset in that particular branch, and so recalled it, leaving our friend stranded with more desk space for him to nap on, and shattering my dream of Shafiq the tea-boy becoming an IT guru in his spare time…

2 comments:

Kommy said...

Salam Basem :)
I think the english name for barza'7 is PURGATORY....

:)
Keep on & Best Regards!
Kommy

Mohammed said...

Actually Limbo is the closest english equivalent to "barzakh"