It was in the early 90's.
I was sent to learn the Quran by my parents to one of our learned man in the village, we call him Pak Hamzah. It is a custom at that time in every village for children to learn the Quran after school and khatam (finished reciting the whole Quran with good tajwid) before setting out to secondary school.
The school was his house, a traditional, Malay wooden house. We were to read at the hall, an opening where most modern house would sit the TV and sofa, but here is just an empty opening.
There were no monthly fee nor monetary obligation whatsoever. We bring our own Quran and rehal (a contraption to sit the Quran), as the Quran is holy and it is unethical to put It directly on the ground where people usually stepped on.
The T&L was easy, three hours, from two to three we recite on our own, new comer will learned from the senior and practice reciting in front of the senior, from three to five Pak Hamzah will appeared from the adjacent room and sit in front of the hall. Every body will observe silence as one by one of us recite in front of him, where he will correct our reciting if wrong.
However, this memoir is not about the Quran education, it is about one of many character I met when I was growing up that directly or indirectly influenced me.
Our class clown is a senior, firm yet funny, sometimes wacky, he's not very bright nor completely dull, I went two years late but able to pass him a few verses in advance.
One day he caught a flu and goes Hashim!(achoo) all day long.
Then the infamous crazy idea came out, "Why is it we have to spell out Hashim's name when we sneeze, why can't it be Hafiz or Hamzah or Hasnul? What is so special about Hashim that we have to mention him every time we sneeze?” complained him.
From now on I don't want to mention his name again." said he spitefully, as if he had some grunge with any Hashim guy.
Just at that moment he sneezes and spell out Hamzah name, "HammmmmmZAH!" followed by a burst of laughter from everybody.
What a coincident, Pak Hamzah our Quran teacher appeared at that very moment and everybody goes quite as quite as a fried mouse.
Pak Hamzah pause for a long while and gave our class clown a straight face. The senior look down at the floor.
Well nothing really happen after that, he didn't get in trouble.
Till this day, I always wonder if that sneeze that spell out Hamzah's name was real? or just he playing around.