Mat leaned back against the sofa he shared
with two other persons. He could see other
sofas seated with young people of about his
age. Without exception, each person held
either a large envelope or a paper file in his
or her hand. Everyone was nervous and
expectant though each tried to look
nonchalant and relaxed.
The room that Mat and the others were
sitting in was air-conditioned. A pretty
young girl sat in front of a telephone
switchboard and was busy handling calls.
The room was tastefully furnished and
decorated. Mat thought: so this is the place
I might get to work in; not bad, not bad at
all. He checked the contents of his envelope
- certificates, reference letters, identity
card, resume, etc. Yes, everything seemed
to be in order. This was the first interview
he was going to attend after applying for
various jobs advertised in the newspapers.
He wondered how he would face up to the
interviewers when his turn came. Being a
recent school-leaver, he had absolutely no
experience in being interviewed. He had
consulted some older working friends about
the correct way to present oneself at an
interview, but they gave him contradicting
advice that left him no wiser.
The door marked "Conference Room"
opened and a young girl, presumably one of
the secretaries, stepped out. Everybody
turned their eyes on her. She held a piece of
paper in her hand and from it she called out
a name. Mat held his breath, heart
pounding. Maybe this was his turn.
An unfamiliar name broke the tense silence
and the young man next to him stood up,
adjusted his tie and followed the girl into
the room. Mat and the rest settled back on
Ten minutes later, the young man emerged.
Another name was called. Still it was not
After an hour of waiting and watching
others getting into the room, Mat was
feeling edgy. When would his turn come?
He fidgeted about, fiddling his tie and
rolling up the corners of his envelope.
He must have started to day-dream
because when he heard his name being
called, the young girl was standing right in
front of him.
"Ahmad Nordin, are you Ahmad Nordin?"
She asked Mat, raising her voice.
"Er, Yes, Yes!" Mat muttered. "It's your turn
Ahmad jumped up and and followed her
into the conference room.
Inside the room, three men with ties were
seated together behind a large long table.
They looked as though they meant
business. In front of them was a chair on
which Mat was indicated to sit. Mat
managed to say "good morning" and "thank
you" before he sat down.
"Ahmad Nordin?" boomed the man in the
middle. "You wish to be a sales
"Yes," Mat replied. "I want to give it a try."
"What experience do you have?"
"None, sir. But I am a fast learner."
"Maybe, maybe" the same man
After this opening exchanges, Mat felt
himself answering their questions
confidently and spontaneously. He did not
feel uneasy at all. In fact he was beginning
to enjoy the interview. Soon he was talking
cheerfully as though he had known these
men for years. Then suddenly the man in
the middle gestured to him to stop.
"Okay, Encik Ahmad, that's all. We shall
inform you as to whether we want you or
not. You may go now and thank you."
Mat stood up, wishing that he could stay
longer. There were other things he wanted
to say. Nevertheless he had to leave. So he
uttered "thank you" and shuffled out of the
When he stepped into the busy street
outside, the sun was shining brightly. He
squinted his eyes to get used to the glare.
The day was hot but the sky was a beautiful
blue. Mat felt happy and relieved. He had
just attended an interview which he
reckoned to have done quite well. He had
just cleared a fearful hurdle and he came
out unscathed. With a smile on his face he
half-walked and half-skipped down the
MATHS FOR JEE MAINS
PHYSICS FOR JEE MAINS