“WHAT I REMEMBER ABOUT MS. TATY SANTOSA” (A TRIBUTE TO MY FCE TRAINER)

What do I remember about Ms. Taty Santosa?

It’s been ages, but quite a lot I do. When we first attended our FCE (First Certificate in English) training session, she’d welcomed us with her smile and enthusiasm. Throughout the whole training, this remarkable lady had been more than a trainer.

She was, still is, and will always be one of my great inspirations.

She’d shown me the fun of teaching, even when I attended her class as a teacher myself. Our time wasn’t just filled with word-plays (word formations, sentence formations, sentence-gap filling…you name it), but also stories. She knew how to make the lessons more interesting, especially through stories.

I remember our informal letter-writing assignment. Somehow, Ms. Taty (that’s how we’d always called her) had correctly guessed that mine wasn’t fiction. When she confirmed that with me, I told her that yes, Tiger was my best friend and I’d told him about the death of my college best friend Pumpkin at the age of 26. She’d looked at me sympathetically as she said: “So young.”

Yeah, so young.

Ms. Taty was a big fan of The Chicken Soup series and so am I. Once we had to take turns reading parts of a story about a dying man of cancer writing a poem to his beloved bride – and I’d burst in tears. I couldn’t go on, so somebody else had to do that for me. She didn’t make a big deal out of it, although perhaps to some people – I was just being weirdly, overly sensitive. A cry-baby.

Most importantly, Ms. Taty had always encouraged me to start pursuing my writing career. She said that all my writing stuff had impressed her.

It’s been a while. I found out that she passed away on February 15, 2016.

Rest in peace, Ms. Taty. Many thanks for everything. May Allah welcome you into His Al-Jannah.

Aameen ya rabbal ‘aalameen…

With prayers,

R.

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