PETALING JAYA, July 23 — For most people, their weddings would be a memorable life event.
It was no different for Samuel Isaiah, a teacher at SK Runchang, Muadzam Shah, Pahang.
But unlike most weddings, some of the English teacher’s most important guests were his Orang Asli students.
In a throwback post, the Kuantan-born educator took to Twitter to share his wedding photographs from 2017 and the heartwarming story of transporting 100 of his indigenous students to see him tie the knot.
My 100 Orang Asli Children and My Indian Wedding!!— SamSam (@samuel_isaiah87) July 22, 2019
The year 2017 was an eventful one for my wife and I as we tied the knot! Wohooo!! pic.twitter.com/xhyRWfEuPI
“Even before getting married, my wife knew that my orang asli children were a big part of life.
“I thank God that she accepted me and my huge baggage of hundreds of children,” wrote in the thread.
Samuel added that his indigenous students were most excited when he announced the happy news.
Their “Santa Tuha” (old man) is finally getting married, haha. The news spread like wildfire, and in no time almost every child in the school wanted to be at the wedding!— SamSam (@samuel_isaiah87) July 22, 2019
On their own, all my children ultimately made-up their minds that they were coming to my wedding 🤣🤣
At first, Samuel was worried if the students’ parents would be okay with it and there was also the transportation cost to factor in.
The beloved teacher’s good intentions paid off in the end thanks to a discount from RM1,000 to RM700 made possible by a colleague after more children said they were keen to attend his wedding.
Clad in their traditional attire, the Orang Asli children even surprised the newlyweds with a performance.
Everyone turned their heads towards a group of spirited and fierce looking Orang Asli children, hitting their bamboo sticks together as they marched rhythmically whilst making their entrance!!— SamSam (@samuel_isaiah87) July 22, 2019
IT WAS SO LIT I TELL YOU!!
(they were also ridiculously cute hahah) pic.twitter.com/FpcLnDrxe2
“Of course, my children then stole the show, as I was beaming with pride. The performance by the children was powerful, moving and brought guests to have a glimpse of how amazing my children are,” Samuel wrote.
Of course, my children then stole the show, as I was beaming with pride. The performance by the children was powerful, moving, and brought guests to have a glimpse of how amazing my children are. pic.twitter.com/qwddnWuahd— SamSam (@samuel_isaiah87) July 22, 2019
In May, Samuel was one of 16 recipients of the Ministry of Education’s Superhero Teachers award in conjunction with Teachers’ Day.
According to previous reports, Samuel has been teaching English since 2012.
Through previous Twitter posts, Samuel can be seen teaching Orang Asli children outdoor to honour his students’ affinity with nature.
Thus I believe the best way I could ensure that the children wanted to be in school is to engage and create love in them towards learning, as the desire to learn will cultivate a passion in their heart to persevere despite the challenges they face even beyond their time with me. pic.twitter.com/QMcUC1bMeC— SamSam (@samuel_isaiah87) March 18, 2019
According to non-governmental organisation Suka Society, indigenous communities in Malaysia have little access to education and in Peninsular Malaysia, with some 7,029 indigenous children having never been to school.