The Stranger

tak kenal

Many believe that I have lost my faith in the human race. I have, on occasion, been prone to believe this as well. After having seen the deserving get whacked into pitiful submission while the unscrupulous get the world handed to them on a silver platter once too often, something inside is bound to break – even if just a little. Repeat the process often enough, your world-view simply changes into something quite hideous.

Life is not governed by the Queensbury rules – when the other guy is down, whack the stuffing out of the sorry sod! In life, there are no referees to stop us from doing this. And the non-existent referee will not stop us from driving our knees into the other guy’s tender groin either – and then setting him on fire after that.

So what? Isn’t this the way the game of life is played? Fine! But what if we are the sorry sod on the receiving end of such treatment? In this case, all we can ever hope to do is to grin, bear it and think of good old England – and hope that the Queen will send in the SAS soon. Again, I wouldn’t count on this, either: not unless I was holed-up as a hostage in the Iranian embassy. Even then I wouldn’t be too sure.

I have learnt to expect that when I am down, the world and his brother-in-law will soon come along and start trampling merrily all over me. After all, what makes me think I am special enough to deserve to be treated differently?

That’s right. Nothing!

But just as I was bracing myself to be trampled underfoot, life threw me a curve-ball. Someone whom I had never met (and who – his upon his request – shall remain nameless) called me up and asked if we could sit down for a chat over a cup of coffee. Over the phone he sounded bright, cheerful and very sincere. I thought why not? Things couldn’t get any worse for me anyway.

So, what is he like? In person, he is everything like he sounded over the phone. On top of that, he is also one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable people I could ever hope to meet in this lifetime. I sat there mesmerised as he took our discussion to places I never even thought existed – and I was soaking-up all that knowledge like a sponge (or tried to, anyway). The man is light-years ahead of me – of anybody!

At about the end, he came to the part that he wanted to see me about. Ever so cautiously (almost as if he was afraid I’d be offended), he said he had somehow gathered that life wasn’t going all that well for me. He also added (again, very cautiously) that if I wanted to make a fresh start of it, I was free to use his office (located in a prime commercial area) as my own. He’d let me have an entire room to myself and would leave me alone to get whatever I needed to get done to get my life back on track.

Huh? What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the catch?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with this picture at all. And there’s no catch – of any kind. As it turns out, he’s just a regular guy who wants to do a good deed for someone who is down on his luck; someone he doesn’t even know. He says that many times before, when he was down, others had come to his aid and helped him along. It was now time for him to pay it forward.

The concept blew me way! There I was thinking that good guys only existed in the movies – and then along comes this guy. I think, thanks to him, my world-view is in the process of mending – and mending fast!

Though am not able to take up his gracious offer (I am now already sharing a consulting practice with some guys in Danau Kota), I am deeply touched by he stranger’s gesture – more deeply than I could care to express in words. May Allah s.w.t bless his kindness with eternal blessings!

Maybe its not time to lose faith in the human race yet, eh? Maybe – just maybe – if I should ever get over this rough patch, I too, will be able (someday) to pay it forward to some other guy who is down on his luck.

14 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. Salam Sir, there are still plenty of good samaritans out there 🙂

    But from the title, I thought this was going to be another I-got-stung article! Typo??

    Have a good day!


    Ooops! Thanks for pointing out the typo – I’ve been a silly bugger!

  2. Hi Matt,

    I think I know who this Mr Stranger is! As an experienced betting man, my money is on ‘Our Man Flint’ (James Coburn or ‘Error’ Flynn). The ‘spitting’ image pedantic guy that had an eye for details that pieces one & one together but also spat the dummy over my innocent implied insinuation on hostel students’ activities (Errol, u disclosed too much detail there, bro). I can tell a good guy from miles away. Good on you, buddy!

    Matt, what u just experienced reminded me; the ‘Principles of Chivalry’ as displayed by the magnanimous Salahuddin when he conquered Jerusalem from the crusaders back in 1187. Treat your defeated opponents with kindness & respect. Yes he extended his hand to help his ‘enemy’ up instead of finishing them off which was the norm back in those days. He’s still revered up to this present day for his act of his.

    Trust me, there are still a fair amount of these principled Samaritan around.



    Yes, sir. There are still a few good guys knocking about out there.

    I feared that writing this post would cause speculation on the identity of the stranger. However, I guess his identity is not as important as his deed.

  3. Salam MatB,

    Have faith, my friend. There are still many good souls around. Only a matter of time before God put them in our path. On the condition that we never lose hope.

    I’m speaking from experience. During the tough times of 1999, I was out of job and doing nothing in particular. An old friend that I’ve not been in contact with for some time gave me a call to offer me a job. The pay wasn’t great but it helped me stabilise for a bit. An initial stint for 6 months extended to 3 years, whereby I managed to `bernafas semula’.

    I’m sure you’ll be able to pay it forward, someday too

    Oldstock (I really like this nickname – got class!)

    Good for you, sir.

    Yes, thank you for reminding e never to lose hope.

  4. Salam MB,

    Aha! So you found out the world is not an evil places after all eh? Good for you 🙂


    The world isn’t evil; men (and some women, too) are!

  5. Nice posting. Reminds me that we all can do the ‘pay it forward’ concept…



    Yes, ma’am. Come to think about it, we all can pay it forward in some way.

  6. Mat B
    Ditto everyone up there. When the chips are down, memang ada a “Good Samaritan” or two out there to extend a helping hand. I had mine in 1998 soon after my consultancy ‘bungkus tikar’ due to the crash. A single mother with 4 kids to support; no job, no income, no roof over our heads (kena jual to bayar hutang)… AND up popped an old friend out of nowhere, offering me a job with a decent enough pay to put food on the table and the kids in school. May Allah swt bless him and prosper his business always..

    Puteri Kamaliah

    I think we should all blog more about these inspiring people who have helped us in some way – sure beats whining and groaning and complaining about whats wrong with the economy, government, opposition, this guy, that guy, this policy, that policy or whatever.

    What says you?

  7. what a wonderful story!

    your kind “stranger” didn’t restore only your faith in man, matb. restore or shore up ours, too.

    thank you, both!


    I’m glad you feel this way, ma’am

  8. Hear, hear Matt,

    I second ur response to Puteri. Yes, we should have more of these inspirational stories to uplift our morale. For all those whining, groaning & complaining just about everything under the sun, I suggest they seek help from Steve G Jones, clinical hypnotherapist extraordinaire.

    This guy is incredibly good, he just about cover all facets of human weaknesses & problems..heheh. He must be the mother of all ‘kiasu’ entrepreneurs (maybe got Chinese blood in him). Matt, he even can help u power your mind ‘To Stop Being Mr Nice Guy”. hahaha…not that it is a bad trait to have.

    Check him & his products out on;


    P/S – I haven’t had such a good belly LOL for a long time, reading Steve G Jones.


    I need this Steve guy! 🙂

    But seriously, we all have a choice: we can write good things about people or we can write not-so-good things about them; ultimately, the choice is ours.

  9. Mat

    Life is never fair. We just have to do the best we can. Including Ban Ki Moon at UN.

    It’s things like what you did for your friend’s son at the kampong. Some one above observed you and sent some one with an offer to you.

    Good to know that you are settling down to a consultancy business. Many best wishes for its success.

    Remember that the world is full of crooks and nasty fellows. The Madoffs, the Ah Longs, the get-rich-quick. Many didn’t quite made off, yet others tried to stretch too long and made people financially sick.

    We go the slow and steady way, my friend.

    Dry Humour,

    Thank you, sir. I will take what you said to heart. And thank you for the kind wishes.

  10. Dear MB, is good to have you back.

    Yes, there are very nice people out there. You see, I believe in this positive or negative aura thingy. I trust one will be plagued by a series of bad luck if he allows all these bad vibes to be around him. My point is that, whenever feeling down or perhaps feel the world ain’t a pleasant place anymore, just smile and chin up. I am sure this magnetizes good luck.

    But then, Sir, compared to you, I am just setahun jagung..I do not know what is ahead of me..

    I wish you the best of luck, MB..:)


    Thanks for the kind wishes, ma’am

    I will put to practice what you suggestd. It sounds like a good idea.

  11. Mat-san,

    A little digression.Kassim Ahmad, my MCKK senior who posts commnts at your blog from time to time, lost his elder brother yesterday…the late Capt Yusof Ahmad, aka The Ancient Mariner, who died peacefully in his sleep.

    Innalillahi Wainna Ilaihiturjaun!Allah jua yang kekal.

    To Kassim & the family members of Allahyarham…my heartful condolence.Berbanyak-banyak lah bersabar.Allah lebih menyayangi Allahyarham, dan semoga Allah berkenan menempatkan roh Allahyarham di antara golongan mereka-mereka yang solehah.


    Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajiun


  12. Tumpang lalu Mat B

    Higashi san,
    All these while Pak Abu and I kenal Kassim Ahmad, kami tak tau pun Allahyarham Yusof abang kepada Kassim. Thanks so much for this useful bit of info. And you too budak koleq? Gee, there are far too many things I don’t know..

    (thanks Mat B for the ‘laluan’)

    Puteri Kamaliah

    For you, ma’am – anything!

  13. Mat-san,

    My apologies again..kindly allow me to respond to Puteri Kamaliah.

    Puteri Kamaliah…for better or for worse,yes, Ma`am, I am a Budak Kolet too.About 4-years junior to Kassim Ahmad, and v-much junior to the late v-dignified and senior blogger,The Ancient Mariner,Capt Yusof Ahmad(Kassim`s elder brother).

    As they say in Disney`s terms, Ma`am, I am too, entering that stage of completing the Circle of Life(perhaps approaching the last quadrant, some say).But, I am determined to live each day to the fullest..there isn`t much of an option where that`s concerned, is there?

    So, Mat-san, be like me…No time for regrets(remember `Ol Blue Eyes),no time for reminisces…God brought us to this world for a purpose, we aren`t really sure for what exactly, so let`s go on trying to find out, as if we shall live 100-years more!



    For you, too, sir – anything!

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