Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Afraid of Being Forgotten

I remembered my time spent with my grandma, Jumirah Abdul Rahman, when I was a young girl. I would help her to make 'ragi' , a kind of yeast or something that you used to make yeast. Later I would follow her to sell it to a merchant in Arab Street in Singapore. Every trip would be an adventure to me. Taking the trishaw at the JB end as well at the Singapore end and making the bus trip in between. This would be followed by a special lunch of murtabak Singapore. My grandmother would be in her best voile baju kurung and batik sarong, with hair neatly coiffed up. She must have been in her early sixtes or late fifties then if she had my mom af age 15. Wow could that have been possible. She was an entrepreneur doing business to make a livinb for herself. By then my mom was married with 12 kids, my youngest aunt was also married then, so she only needed money for herself

I also remembered sleeping on her poster bed occasionally admist schedule among my other cousins. We took turns to sleep with grandma. By the way, I never met my grandfather and I never knew who among my siblings had actually met him.  Grandma was the matriarch  I remembered. We lived with grandma, I think instead of grandma living with us because the 7 bedroomed  house was at the expense of my eldest uncle who housed his mom and his 3 other siblings and family. May Allah reward him

Those were my memories of my grandma. Everything else I have forgotten. She must have been a splendid chef when it comes to making dodol. I can't  remember the other specialities though but I guessed mom being a good cook must have come from her

When we moved to the house in Kampong Melayu, she still had a room to herself. I remembered her growing old in that house. We moved there when I was 11 years old. My time spent with her was during school holidays when I was back from boarding school. Later my family moved again leaving my grandma behind with my aunt which by that time I went to further my studies in 1977. In the summer of 1979 my grandmother passed away while I was in England. The last I saw her was when she sent me at the airport in September 1977. As a granddaughter I never knew how she felt about me

And now as a grandmother to four grandchildren and four step grandchildren I wonder what they will remember of me. All I know is that I love them all and am trying very hard to leave some legacy behind of which I cant really say what it is or if there is any

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Much Ado About Nothing

My last blog was written many months ago. Was it about my brother's passing? What has happened that I didn't write for so long? Am not sure. Maybe it was just the routine, going to work , coming home late, dinner and then feeling sleepy after dinner, playing with the phone or kpopping or korean movies, all the home makeover programmes on astro.... then I question what have I done with my time? All I remember starting Ramadan in June/July, then Eid and then I had to attend a course for one month in August, two weeks of assignment and that brought me to mid September already. Two weeks at work till early Oct. Then 12 days off on a much needed holiday. Since then back at work with more on the plate.

Admidst  all that I did not go to my other house for more than 6 months and when I did go in Oct after I came back from my holidays, I felt like collapsing and crying cause the lawn was with lallang and weeds up to the knees.

At the same time my mind was so cluttered with many problems, I couldn't discuss with anyone and I guess the presence of my daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Jundi was so comforting as they make an effort to visit the Subang house. They even stayed for two weeks, once, and another time about a week. Felt so blessed with their presence. I see them more than I see my son who is living with me. He is like me, like his brother, a confirmed workaholic. Hubby has other responsibilities, so sometimes he's home sometimes he's not.

Nevertheless despite everything that happens, I am not overly concern about making a checklist on doing house chores but I always have a checklist on things to do to maintain silaturrahim and that stresses me up when I cannot achieve to improve silaturrahim with some people. Having a big family is not easy. The weekends are basically for that and the endless wedding invitations. I sometimes, under my breath, wishing that the Malays keep weddings within the family. Seriously... traditions ajak sekampung which can be quite a toll on the pocket.

My sister and hubby always tell me not to analyse about things too much. Right now I still do analyse things cause it's related to people. If I don't think about it anymore that means I really do not care and that's  bad. So don't let me get to that stage. That would be disastrous in a relationship. May Allah help me find a way. Amin.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

My Brother Yusof

As I took the SPRINT Highway passing Damansara Utama on Friday, I realized it was too soon to be anywhere near there, I could not help the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I was passing my brother's house who had just gone to meet his Creator two days earlier .

In the early hours of Wednesday 22 April 2015, my brother Yusof the third in the family succumbed to his short illness. About a month prior to his passing, he moved to stay with his eldest son in Batu Pahat. In his 76 years almost, he was an independent being. In his last couple of years he was living with his wife and their youngest daughter after all the older children were married and lived on their own.

I am the eleventh child in a family of twelve. The age gap is so big  between my brother and I. My memory of him went as far back as when I was 6 years of age, thereabouts. Then my brother was either in MCKK for his sixth form or he was already reading Economy at the University Malaya, the first National University in Malaysia. The year was 1966. He, together with his first cousin Tan Sri Samsudin Othman, then simply Din, attended University together. Nevertheless their paths took them to different worlds, my brother's a quieter one than his cousin's.

I remembered my brother had a series of Teach Yourself Guidebooks and among them was Teach Yourself Urdu, Teach Yourself Music and many more. I too remembered playing chess with him at an early age. Can't remember beating him at his game but practising with him gave me the upper hand against many. I played so much chess when I was young against my siblings as well as my cousins as we all lived in a big house together. 

Like all my other brothers Mohamad, Abdullah and Jamaluddin who had already left this world to meet The Creator, brother Yusof was not a man of many words but learned he was as he was an avid reader and he studied every little thing conscientiously.

A chat with my brother in law revealed more. He was buddies with my late brother since they were 12 years of age. He reminisced his times with my brother saying that Yusof was one who was never  mischievous even when young, one who never had any ill-feelings or bad intentions towards anyone all his life. If the world was full with people like him, he said, the world would be a peaceful place to live in. He summarised his 64 years knowing my brother with those comforting words. The best friend who remained a good friend to the end.

I may not know my brother so well when I was young since we never really lived in the same house for long. He left home when I was around 5 years old, too early for me to even get to know him. He was already married by the time I was 10 years old. I paid short visits to his home during school holidays and after I was married we always stop by his home when they were living in Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu on my way to Kota Bharu where I was residing then.

He taught himself to play the keyboard and the guitar. Violin too if I am not mistaken. He realised his dream to read and play music in his son Harris who read music at University and who is now a music teacher. He loves to play, listen and sing many of his favourite songs, mostly English songs.

A few close relatives remember him as;

    - " A man who loved learning any subject matter, may it be religion, arts, language, philosophy or    even music."

      "A very intelligent man. Extremely curious and strangely funny. Knowledgable though in his quiet but cheerful style."

      "One who never raised his voice or truly showed anger. A kind man indeed."

"I lost a very good friend.... said my sis in law. To his children and families they lost a good father.

He married my sister in law when she was 19 years of age. Having lived with him for 44 years what does one expect to be but a close friend till the end. He is survived by 2 sons, 2 daughters and 10 grandchildren.

To my Dearest brother , may Allah place you among those that He loved. AlFatihah.



Saturday, 14 February 2015

12 February 2015 Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiun

'Nyawa kita diumpamakan pelita
yang pada bila-bila masa sahaja boleh terpadam.'

TOK GURU DATUK NIK ABDUL AZIZ NIK MAT
1931-2015

Farewell to a great man. How could they even say otherwise….. How will ours end?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Nazareth - Love Hurts Lyrics



To all in love. It will only stop hurting, when you let go. By then you do not care. Enjoy while it lasts.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Stepmothers

I was introduced to the 'stepmother world' through the likes of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and the local movie like 'Bawang Merah Bawang Putih'. It's all about wicked stepmothers.

My first experience around a stepmother was not my own but my late aunt who became a stepmother. She was never married before she married a widower, a teacher with three children. From memory, the children were very young between the age of 4 to 7 years if  I was not mistaken. I was very young then too. My aunt went on to have many children. At twelve years of age I went to boarding school away from my hometown and at 18 I left to further my studies. Thus I have no idea how close she was with her stepchildren but I am certain she went through many challenges in raising her stepchildren and her own children. That I will never know.

My College friend married a widower also with three children but in her case the youngest was eleven years old thereabouts, the eldest fifteen and another in between. The two younger children were girls. My friend was single when she married and it has been many years now and she take care of her step children superbly cause the two girls emulate her in many ways. She is a successful career woman. She does not have children of her own.

Another close relative I know also married another and had two children with the new wife. Initially there were friction between his children and the stepmom but both sides persevere and with patience tried to understand all parties. I strongly feel that the children upbringing in respecting others, to be kind to others, to share material or love with others bring the whole family together again.

Five years ago I became a stepmother myself. This time around it's like the 'Brady Bunch' for those who grew up in my era  knows the sitcom very well. I have three children of my own, age between eighteen to twenty five, when I married and my husband, widowed with five children aged fifteen to twenty eight. The courage  to marry a widower with children was simple. I thought I had  so many nephews and nieces whom I love and who also loves me, I reckon, then I thought it can't be that difficult to love and to be loved. I am a working stepmom and that makes it doubly hard to divide my time between my children and my step children. Not just that between me and my hubby we already have seven grandchildren. Four from his side and three mine. In truth there isn't mine or yours anymore. Daunting as it is from three children to eight, I am still trying to be a good stepmother. Five years on it can still get better and I am sure it will.

My three children too have a stepmother. There didn't seem to be any hiccups. All went well between my children and their stepmom. Now that they have a new brother, the family is complete.

I remembered a friend told me that her father who married after her mother passed away, mentioned that her father brought his dirty clothes for her to wash whenever he came to visit. She wondered why he married the stepmom, she told me. It definitely didn't look good for the stepmom, isn't it?  Why the father brought his dirty clothes for his daughter to wash we will never know. Men have to play a big role in a marriage like this. But more often the stepmother is being judged and I say why can't he do it himself…  Ha ha.

I also know a couple who had to breakup because the step children couldn't get along with their stepmom. Was there really a choice? It was either the father remain with the wife and never the twain shall meet or easier to simply let the wife go.

On a serious note both stepmother and stepchildren have their roles to play but the husband/father has the biggest role of all to play. May Allah ease everything for all.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Mother

Grandchildren born between 1981 to 1994

My late mom's second set of grandchildren were born between 1981 to 1994, a total of thirteen altogether. Only three were born when she was still alive. She passed away on 8.6.86 at age 66 and 2 months later my daughter was born. My eldest son was barely two years old then. Come to think of it my children never knew their maternal grandma and they never ask about her. I would go through the same fate I guess, buried and forgotten unless told.

Born in 1920, my mom was the second child of 6 siblings. Those days the girls stayed home and was never sent to school. Her eldest brother was an educated person with a good career, then in the 60s was working with an oil and gas company and went as far as Brunei to work. The rest of her siblings, all went to school except for her. I guess being the eldest girl she had to sacrifice to take care of her younger siblings. I was informed that she always ask her mom why she was not sent to school.

She may have not been educated formally but but then again the small world she lived in was her University. One does not need a Degree, Masters or a PhD in raising children but one need to have good values, lots of love and most important of all religious knowledge. She raised 11 children ( a child died a week after birth and another died at age twelve). Whether she succeeded in raising all of us is not for anyone to judge but Allah.

Mom only dressed in the traditional 'baju kurung' all her life, donned the same hairstyle pulled back in a bun, never worn any make up except for a light pat of powder on the face. Never owned a house or a car, only travelled to places in Johor, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Singapore (to my knowledge). Her world were her family, her siblings family and those in the neighbourhood where she lived. She was never a person who complained much about her needs not being met or what she did not have. My sister remembered her clearly as someone who is selfless and always put the needs of others before her. Despite all that she lacked in material she made it up in spiritual, she raised us well and made sure all of us had a good education. If only she lived long enough to see her descendants, she must have made lots of doa for all of us to be blessed by Allah.

Mak, it will never be enough to pay you back in this world for what you have done for us and for us to raise our children and leave your legacy for them to raise theirs. We will always love you and you will always be in all of us forever, either they know it or not.



Some of the grandchildren and the great grand children.




The Family at two of the Grandchildren's wedding