Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blind Date

I am going on a blind date tomorrow.

Yes. Laugh if you must. I will be meeting a fellow blogger. I better not mention her name here, in case she doesn’t want the fact be made public. After all we both have secret lives. If she doesn’t mind other people knowing that we are meeting, then she’ll do her own press conference.

I left my first comment on her spot only a couple of months back, 25th May to be exact. And I visited her quite often after that, not daily but at least once a week. And we got more and more comfortable leaving comments at each other’s blogspots as time goes by.

And then the bombing in London and I got worried about Kak Teh and so I gave her my handphone number. Kak Teh and her are related. And we discovered that we could chat real-time at Ely’s place (another great cyberbuddy). And so we chatted, and I started visiting her on a daily basis. We exchanged emails, our real names and even pictures. It just so happened that she works only sepelaung – a shout – away from my office. A meeting makes sense! Since I have gotten so comfortable with her and we chatted almost everyday, and we are so nearby, why not meet? Yes? No?

And so I am meeting her tomorrow.

Truth be told, I have NEVER been on a blind date.

And I am nervous.

Stage fright.

Do I have to live up to a certain image? I don’t start Anakikan with a specific image to potray. Readers form their own impression of me and if that is how others see me, fine by me, i guess. It isn’t deliberate, all this while, I have always been just myself. I have never lied in my postings (I AM Catwoman! I have two cats!). Will she like me just the same as she likes OOD? Do I have to crack jokes all the time and think up of clever conversations? Do I need to impress her? Maybe meeting her as Catwoman will do the trick, yes? What if we run out of topics to talk? Tomorrow is a long lunch, maybe it is a bit too ambitious to meet on a Friday lunch hour… Maybe I will bore her to death and she will just fall smack into her soup. That will be embarrassing (mental note, don’t let her order anything soupy). Maybe we should just buy gardenia buns yang lima posen tu and eat standing? Maybe I will have a colleague call me about half an hour after we meet so I could make up stories about how the mosque is waiting for me to give khutbah so I could make a quick exit?

If she is okay with eating gardenia buns standing then it will be easy. But what if she wants, proper lunch? Where to eat? Fast foods are usually the safest bet, but I don’t really fancy them. And she is on diet. I am not on diet (not that I don’t need to), and eating in front of a dieting person is as rude as eating with sound effects around muslims in fasting month. Maybe I will just drink diet coke while she nibbles on her no-dressing-please salad. Then we can both order chicken without the flesh and rice without the carbo and lotsa greens.

And then, biggest dilemma ever, whatta wear? Friday is a day of songket, says the First Lady. Maybe I will wear my pengantin attire. Yellow songket. But then must go find Master Ken Kenobi to do a neat sanggul. But wait a minute, she might think I am desperate to impress her. Should not over do it. Must jual mahal a bit also. Maybe I should just go in jeans and hardrock black tee with the dragon. So she will think that I am cool and not the slightest bit affected and that I do this all the time, and hey, c to the o to the o to the elle, cool man.. That will make me seem younger too, maybe will get about 20% discount on the age. So she will not accidentally call me makcik. God forbids!

Should I get her anything? Like a friendship plastic band from McD that says, ‘Grow Up Not’, it is only RM2.90 I think with a Value Meal. Very much affordable. Maybe I should get her five of those, different colours of course. Ten also can! Cannot be more than ten because we don’t want her to think that I am hitting on her.

And conversation topics! I will perhaps pack a few things, like family albums and favourite books and all that. That cant possibly fail. I can talk about my childhood non-stop for a few days. That settles it.

But hey, wait a minute… wait a minute! What if she is not the person that she described herself to be in her blogspot. What if she really is a he, or a serial rapist? What if she is really after my money, yes all my fifty ringgit?

Looks like I have to be up real early tomorrow morning, to do my hair, nails and make-up.

And bring pepper-spray just in case.

Ely, you said you would give tips on how to meet cyber friends?!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Adam Ahmad

I think that time I was in Form 1. I was 12. It was probably 1982 or 83.

Adam Ahmad made his debut on television. There was this composing competition and he was representating who-don’t –remember with the song Kau Pergi Jua. I think Kazar was in it too with his song, something about the sufferings of fishermen. Of course, why would I remember a song about fishermen when Adam Ahmad was making me bleed through the nose?

Tahukah kau di dalam hati ku ini
Tersimpan perasaan cinta yang suci
Kau bunga
Ingin ku sunting mu menjadi milikku
Lantas kuabadikan dalam jiwaku

And so, Adam Ahmad became my first crush. At 12, I haven’t discovered boys yet. I saw no difference between me and a boy. I was still running around the house ‘berlengging’ to mak’s disapproval. I was such a kid still. Didn’t know the difference between ‘cinta’ and ‘tinta’ even. But Adam Ahmad was something else. He was different. When he sang that song, when he cried out how much he regretted not telling the girl his feelings before she died, and he looked straight into the camera; my heart skipped a beat and I was all shy, didn’t know where to rest my gaze because it was at me he looked, it was for me he sang. Such a terrible crush.

That time I was in boarding school. I could not afford to buy a cassette, even the cetak rompak ones. There was a scholarship, RM30 for a year or a term, I can’t remember. It was for me to buy biscuits and jams and whatnots; those years I was constantly hungry and dewan makan food was not exactly enough (never mind the taste). Hallo, I was twelve okaye? Those were the famine years, Live Aid - We are The World, remember?

We were not allowed to bring radios to school and if we were caught having cassettes in our possession, the warden said he would put our names in a Black Book (until today i still don’t know what the Black Book was, or even if it existed at all and what harm could befall those who got listed in the book). Kids being kids, some of us did manage to smuggle in cassettes. Walkmans were allowed but nah, couldn’t afford it either. Even batteries were considered expensive back then.

One of the seniors had Adam Ahmad’s cassette. I remember borrowing her cassette and borrowing another friend’s walkman to listen to him. This would be done after the night curfew, after the wardens had made their rounds. I would be under the covers, listening to Adam Ahmad and yes, berdarah-darah hidung throughout. It was a costly affair; the batteries and the Black Book menace!

I promised myself that when I have my own money, when one day I become so rich until gaji makan tak habis, I would buy his cassette.

Adam Ahmad soon disappeared from the music scene. There were gossips that he had gone mad because a girl jilted him (I would just KILL the girl). But he disappeared alright.

Detik-detik yang indah
Di masa kita bersama dulu
Ku harap akan dikenang
Sehingga akhir hayatmu
Hanya Tuhan sahaja yang Maha Mengetahui
Bagaimana pilunya hati ini
Meninggalkan kau sendiri
Dengan perpisahan ini
Ku harap kau bersabar

After my degree, and with my first engineer salary, I went to one music store in Chow Kit.
‘Adam Ahmad ada?’ this was more than ten years after his debut album.
‘Ini ka?’ and showed me Ahmadi Hasan’s cassette.
‘Bukan! Bukan! Adam Ahmad! Awal 80an punya. Itu kaset gambar dia pegang bunga punya!’
‘Ini ka?’ and showed me dusty Sons of Adam’s.

And since everything that towkey suggested was wrong, he asked me to go look for it myself. Not on the shelf of course but in his dusty boxes back in the store. Funny. I found Muhaini Suratman, Gaya Zakri, Roy & Fran, Zaleha Hamid, Noor Kumalasari… older cassettes than Adam Ahmad’s, even Sakura Teng was still there. He had everything from the 1960s all but none from the early 80s. How can? How can?

And so my quest for Adam Ahmad continued. I combed through all the music stores in Chow Kit, Petaling Street, Bandahilir, Muar, Kluang, Batu Pahat…everywhere. But I could not find him. I sent letters to radio stations and recording companies, nobody replied. Nobody even remembered my (possessive tu) Adam Ahmad. I even went through the phone directory calling many people from Ahdam Ahmad to Adam Ahmed… all I tried (except engaging a P.I's or Bomoh's service), still I could not find him. I went in a toko karpet at jalan TAR because its name was Adam Ahad. Couldnt find Adam Ahmad there, no, he did not sell carpets.

I got engaged with someone who knew many people from the music industry. And I told the guy, I want Adam Ahmad’s albums as hantaran. As you may have guessed, he wasn’t my jodoh. He could not find Adam Ahmad and we broke the engagement (for other reasons, of course).

Sometimes over Rima KL (radio channel for oldies and asli songs), they played Adam Ahmad. I wrote to them, no reply.

And one day on tv, i saw an ad of a compilation album from artistes of the 1980s. There was ONE Adam Ahmad’s song, the popular Kau Pergi Jua. Yamtuan bought it for me. And over I found two more songs. Downloaded them. And now Yamtuan told me, RMKL is always playing another one of his song. Maybe I will write to RMKL.

My quest has not ended. En Adam Ahmad, if you are reading this, don’t call me! After I pengsan! Anyone who has both his albums, please sell them to me. I have promised myself that I would own them. Even though I am not rich yet, and my gaji still makan tak cukup, I think it is way past time for me to honour my hajat (I can go without meals for a few days). I want his albums!!!!

Hari demi hari
Ku nanti dan ku nanti
Cahaya yang akan menerangi
Bila kan ku pandang
Alam maya ini
Dalam gelap ku rasa
Kehadiran Mu
Mungkinkah di suatu hari
Nanti akan dapat aku temui
Segala apa yang ku citakan selama ini..

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Chenta oh Chenta

Zaman bercinta memang indah.

Percintaan itu indah, pemandangannya pon indah; rumput lebih hijau dari hijau dan langit lebih biru dari biru (why notice the grass and the sky when in love, you ask? Well, love doesn’t discriminate, cows love too).

When Yamtuan and I were dating, we laughed a lot. He knew how to make me laugh (a big plus point). Everything was so funny and we laughed ourselves silly. People must have thought that we were on ganja all the time. Well, love had that intoxicating effect on us. And then we decided we should celebrate the comedy that was our relationship with marriage. Both mothers said okay but since both mothers were into ‘ikut adat lah, nanti apa orang kata. Kawin stail koboi sat ni orang kata hampa kena tangkap basah’ so we had to do the ‘bertunang’ thing first. I was always wary of this bertunang nonsense. But being the dutiful children (I insist) we were, we agreed but only for a few months. We agreed on 6 months.

And the six months engagement period was a real Italian opera oh-my-gawd! Berdarah-darah! We fought all the time. I cried all the time!

I suppose when you were dating, it was the easiest phase because you were not sorta ‘tied’ to each other. There were no real commitments except scout’s and brownies honour. There was no stopping you should you wish to walk out. Families were not in the picture, there was no pressure.

But being engaged was a different ball game. It was like waiting to see the dentist. You were afraid of the unknowns and all the possibilities; ‘we need to remove all your molars’ said the dentist or ‘woohoo, you have perfect rows of teeth, you deserve a lollipop’. There was no way you could tell that life together would be all molar-extractions or colourful lollipops! And the knot felt like a noose around the neck and the slightest misbehaviour from your betrothed would make you re-evaluate the decision; ‘do I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy who eats nothing but chicken? Maybe I will be happier with a guy who eats fish’. And you see the door, the way out. You could walk out from it still. And if you wanted to, you must do it before the wedding! The fact that those fiery red devils with fork were working full-time did not help matters. It was the most horrible period of our relationship. Let me just say that within this period, there was one casualty, poor Mr.Ericsson. He died of severe trauma to the whole body after ehem… falling out of a speeding car, and Ms.Nokia, God bless her, was disfigured for life after that terrible impact with the wall. She would never be the same again.

We fought teeth and nails (and handphones) all the time, over things so significantly not important. Most of the time I could not even remember what the fighting was all about.

There was this huge fight one day. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what triggered it but the fight got real ugly. This was all through the phone. I had enough. I switched off the phone and decided I would go back Kluang and just tell my family that the engagement was off. I could not tahan anymore. I packed my bag and went Puduraya. Bought a Transnasional ticket to Kluang.

When the bus arrived, I gladly went on it, chose my seat and just cried. I was so tired from the constant bickering, and I missed our good times and I wanted to just end the engagement. Maybe we would be better off without each other. And I cried (the bus was almost empty, it wasn’t a weekend) and cried and soon I fell asleep.

The bus stopped for makan-makan at Yong Peng but I didn’t go out. I continued on sleeping, nursing my wounded heart. Oh I was the reigning drama queen of ayaq mata that time. I slept on.

When we reach the destination some five hours later, I woke up NOT in the familiar Kluang bus station. We were somewhere else, somewhere terribly foreign to me. Eyes puffy from the sleep and all the crying, I approached the bus driver.
‘Encik, kita kat mana ni?’
‘Pontian lah, dah sampai.’ He said. Ayo..
‘Saya nak ke Kluang. Ini bukan bas ke Kluang ke?’
‘Adik salah naik bas lah ni….’

What to do? It was almost night and in this part of Johor the town slept early. There was no direct bus or taxi service to Kluang but I could perhaps persuade a cab driver to send me there, but I would have to pay double of the whole cab’s fare, meaning I would have to pay my fare times 4 passengers times the trip back because the cab would not want to drive back to Pontian empty. The amount would be enough for a trip to Perlis and back again, on a bus. The other option was to stay on the bus and go back KL.

‘saya ikut bas ni balik KL semula lah’ I said. I was totally embarrassed actually.
‘boleh! Boleh! Adik tak payah bayar tambang. Kira abang belanja lah. Tapi bas ni nak singgah Pagoh dulu. Nak pergi kedai kain terbakar tu. Abang nak beli baju raya.’


And so I journeyed back to KL, with the annoying Abang trying to hit on me.

‘adik umur berapa?’ he asked at one point.
‘ye ke? Abang baru 25.’
Right, ABANG!

By this time, the silliness of the whole situation was apparent to me. The sob-sob sadness was gone. Called the tunang. He laughed at my stupidity, nak merajuk pon bodoh! And he picked me up at Puduraya.

Maka kedua-dua pihak bertelagah merangka pelan damai. And he married the bodoh the ood finally. Phew!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Station

I have erased all the links because they are now all listed at the Sentraal Station. The few that i still have here, may or may not be at Sentraal Station. I checked macam tak perasan pulak ada kat sana, maybe under different name/description. I myself am still new at the station. I myself must try all the routes. The new few that i tried all took me to wonderful wonderful destinations where the people were all so very nice and friendly ~ sounds like a touristy ad? It is!!

I present to you, The Station! I like.

So, like that loh.

So, see ya all at the Station.

Credit to Kak Teh for pooling us all there and for Mak Nenek for the map. Macam REAL i tell you! I like!

Bersatu kita teguh, bercerai kita sedih.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I live in a pig-sty. It looks like a decent-sized apartment, 3 bedrooms, one really large kitchen with dry and wet parts, dining area, tv area and two bathrooms. But the apartment really is just a pig-sty with frills.

It is not dirty. But hell it is messy! Toys are littered everywhere. The beds are never made. There are always stuff on the table (fengshui kata, there must be lotsa food on the table to prosper), and there will always be either pillows or clothes waiting (a lonnnnnnng wait) to be folded or more toys or books or newspaper on the sofa ~ if you can find the sofa at all. No place to sit, even to walk in the apartment has its own consequences ~ use a shovel, quicker, to go from one room to the other might just take you days! We do not accept walk-in visitors. To come to our place is strictly by appointments only. That way, we can make sure the apartment is more presentable. Give us notice so we can shove everything under the bed or the carpet. Spray Febreeze here and there and hide the kids in the closet too. The dust never mind, in case of water-supply shortage, can use to do tayammum. Throw rugs on the floor. And dim the lights. Switch on uv lamp, so whites look whiter than they really are. Stage all set, now guests can come in.

I am not exaggerating, of course.

Pix of the dining table.
Image hosted by

Why, one wonders. My mak taught me well, kemas rumah kemas bilik kalau tak nak kena tiao. Sapu mop hari hari. Jangan tangguh buat kerja. Theory all I have, a scholar when it comes to Sains Rumahtangga (got A1 for SRP). So y-o-y?

Ok, now the excuses.

0630 - Home
Both Yamtuan and me would wake up at the same time. One of us would go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast while the other one will do ironing and prepare the children’s bag. Who does what is also determined by previous nocturnal activities, who did most work .. (ya know what I’m sayin?). Then we would shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, wake the children up and off to work. I will arrive at the office at the earliest 0830, at the latest.. emmm, pretty late, better not put here. I should be at office at 0800 actually.

My average is 0930, okay. – Office
Busy busy ~ blog blog blog blog work blog blog blog lunch blog blog work blog work work blog. End of a very productive day. Wait for bus, wait for train 1 (PA System: Komuter mengalami masalah teknikal, tren mengalami kelewatan, kami memohon maaf), train 2 (PA System: Komuter mengalami masalah teknikal, tren mengalami kelewatan, kami memohon maaf) and finally wait for Yamtuan at train station. Pick up children at 1830.

If we have to go singseh and buy diapers or milk or soap and then go grocery store for kelapa parut and vege (Yamtuan must have anything with santan and I must have vege) we’ll be home by about 1930.

1930 hrs – Kitchen & bathroom
Dot will already be requesting for dinner. So rush to do silat in the kitchen. Tanak nasi and throw things into the wok, letak garam all to make dinner. Can eat can do. Yamtuan will bathe the kids. When he is done with both, the first one will want to go toilet to ik-ik. After cleaning her, the boy will have chocolate cake in his diapers pulak. Repeat process.

2030 hrs – Living room & dining room
I will feed the little one while Yamtuan feed the sister. Sometimes Dot will insist on feeding herself so we brace ourselves for the aftermath of this daring stunt. By the time they are done, both kids will be happy and full, both parents hungry and cranky. Yamtuan cleans the both of them and I set the table for dinner. By the time we are both seated, it will already be 2130, at times even 2300! Eat but no time to chew food because the sister is doing a WWE with the brother and the brother at 7 months old is using curtains and anything with legs to pull himself up only to fall flat on his face. Sun wails. Dot hits him. I scream at them. Yamtuan screams at me. They scream louder. Neighbors call the police.

Average 2200 hrs – Dot’s bedroom & master bedroom
In one room,
Yamtuan and Dot. ‘tidurlah!!!
‘But I want to watch Pooh’
‘Tomorrow, tidur dulu’
‘I want mommy’
‘she is with your bro. After adik tidur then she will come, okay’
‘but I want to sleep with mommy’
‘later, she’ll come later’
‘nak makan buah?’
‘nak minum susu teh?’
Cry! But of course, everything also cannot, how not to cry?

In the other room,
Sun ‘mengopek’. Doesn’t want to let go. I pull, he wakes. I give, he sleeps. I pull again, he wakes, and cries. Okay okay, you want, take.

By the time the children fall asleep, it will be about 2300 or more and the two of us would be conked out as well!

And the next day, the same routine. When to kemas rumah?

I just ym-ed Yamtuan. We both agreed to make it a point to kemas the house everyday starting from tonight. Sleep can do at office. Remember the hadis, dear? Help me clean up the house, okay?

This is my janji maya (in cyberspace everything is maya-virtual, right?), as the whole cyber community is the witness, no more will we live in a pigsty! No more!

Al hadith

There are more sunnah nabi-(s) to follow than just the one about having four wives. Thought of sharing one hadis here (hint hint to Yamtuan).

Aswad ra berkata bahawa ia bertanya kepada Aisyah, katanya, "Apakah yang diperbuat Nabi dalam rumah?" Jawab Aisyah, "Baginda juga melakukan kerja rumah, menolong isteri baginda. Dan apabila waktu solat tiba, baginda pergi solat."
s.bukhari I::adzan.

------------Narrated Al-Aswad bin Yazid: I asked 'Aisha "What did the Prophet used to do at home?" She said, "He used to work for his family, and when he heard the Adhan (call for the prayer), he would go out."-----------------

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hoppy Happy

I was busy pumping milk in the toilet one day. A woman walked in, saw what I was doing and hand flew to cover gaping mouth.
‘Oh, you are pumping milk.’
Apparently I was (I wasn’t kneading myself just for the heck of it). Smiled. Nodded head. Continued with what I was doing. She was still standing in front of me, blocking the light. But never mind, I didn’t need light anyway. Could do it with eyes closed.
‘Banyak dapat?’
‘Well, just enough for the son. Not enough to feed Africa.’ Smiles exchanged.
‘I wouldn’t know. I am single.’ Oh. Okay.
‘I am 44 though’ She continued on. Okay…?
‘At 44 and I am still single!’ Okay already!
I did a quick scan of her. Tall, slim, not-bad looking at all, tired and sad. Standing there with the light behind her, she looked lost, terribly lonely and in dire need of a friend.

We exchanged names. Warmth in Cubicle #2, West Wing Toilet, Level 3. She was Jee. Jilted by her boyfriend of eight years, turned down many proposals from married men, had aged and sick parents that depended heavily on her, yearned to get away from it all, marry and be merry. A really nice girl, but a sad one too.

Jee, my new friend.

I refuse to believe that marriage is a solve-all solution, a master-key to happiness, because it is not (it can be headachy in fact). Happiness doesn’t come packaged in the form of a husband and children. Undeniably, I am happier for being blessed with Yamtuan, Dot and Sun. And I can’t thank Him enough. Having said that, I still think that to walk into a marriage and putting that responsibility on the spouse is a bit of a tall-order. ‘Thee I wed. Now, thou shalt make me happy OR ELSE.’ Uhuh, i don’t think that is even remotely fair.

I believe one’s own happiness is one’s own responsibility. A marriage is only happy if we make it to be, want it to be. Being single or divorced is no excuse to be unhappy too. And if we stop asking around, ‘where is MY share of happiness?’, I believe we will be happier. It is not up to others to give it to us. It is for us to beeeeeeeeeee.

Happiness is a state of being. And being happy is voluntary. I was asked by ex-es, ‘are you happy (now that you've left me)?’ There was a time when my answer was ‘can lah’ or ‘so and so’ or ‘biasa je’. But once I decided that I had spent enough time waiting for happiness to come falling head first onto my lap, and just BE happy instead, I AM happier. Now when asked the same question, my answer is, ‘very!’ because that is how I want myself to be – very happy.

I think we all need to do a self-inventory on a regular basis; you know, see ourself as how others must see us. Counting all the charges; negative positive neutral proton electron all. Do we attract good things or do we repel them - unknowingly? Quality assurance. Quality control. In-process inspection. Final inspection. Packaging. Labeling. Stock check.

Getting more friends or attracting candidates for the post of ‘husband’ is all about marketing.

Decide the target market – young-barely-legal-boys, or mature-men, or bald-sexy, or brooding-mysterious, or plump-clownish, what-have-you (whatever turns YOU on, sister!). Strategise! Look at the product – you. Look at the packaging – your attitude, colour coordination, presentation etc. Look at the after-sales service – consistency, ilmu, iman. Look at the freebies – your ‘assets’, your acrobatics maybe? See how you can increase your marketability. As in securing any sales, make it easy, fun and natural.

First of all though, you MUST like what you are selling. You MUST believe in the marketability of the product. You MUST – can't do it any other way – LIKE the product. You must like YOURself! Find all the stuff that you like about yourself. Find ways to improve things that you don’t like about yourself. Laugh off things that you can’t change and learn to live with them. Once these are done, you will naturally be happier. I guess then it will dawn on you how you don’t really need other people to make you happy, that you don’t need a husband to make you happy. And once this is decided, that all this product improvement is really for yourself, and not to snare a husband, the husband will meekly arrive… as jodoh intends it to be. And accept the hard cruel fact that you can’t have Mawi either, he is happily engaged. Move on sister. Hands OFF him, ye hear?

Terribly simplified I know. But I am writing this as an ex-grouch, ex-slouch. To a certain degree, albeit a teenie weenie one, I do have authority on the subject. Disagree with me? Just laugh it off. And i will laugh too.

Ely, you are happy all the time. Help me out here! Second me!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It Was Time

I declared today as an off day for myself as a reward for working so hard for the past few days. The holiday was requested by myself, submitted to myself and approved by myself. No question asked. Yipee!! Ms Myself is such a generous boss!

This morning, I loitered at Kompleks PKNS in Shah Alam. I wanted to find malay and hindi movie vcds to be sent to Intan and a cousin in Kent. Where else would I be able to find the whole collection of weepy sarokhan and rosyamnoor’s movies if not at a malay dominant shopping complex?

I got distracted by a book store. Went in and found a gem. The gem is titled ‘Sajak-sajak Saleh’ and ‘Poems Sacred & Profane’ (yes, two titles, two languages but one book) by who else but Salleh Ben Joned.

Reading the book on the train-ride to office (yes, despite the day being declared as a non-working day), I wept as I felt his pain in Ria, a poem written in the memory of his daughter, Maria.
‘Now you are dead, I want to dream
Your physicality
Back into this house
In which you hardly lived.
Defiantly, I filled the rooms
With your laughing faces, defiling
The ritual of denial
I’d been taught to observed.

You were nearer to me, my Ria,
Than my own jugular vein.’

To lose a parent is heartbreaking but I guess losing one’s child is far more painful. But who am I to grade pain and sorrow?

I remember clearly the day my father left. It does not feel like a memory, it feels more like watching a scene in a movie with all too-familiar faces playing in it, so surreal was the day.

I remember being able to tell that death was about to visit us on that particular day. It was hari raya and my newly wed sister was to fly to Sarawak for honeymoon. When my brother did not want to go with us to the airport, a voice in my head said, ‘but you will be left alone when we die’. For some reasons, I was so certain that we would all die that day in a car crash. There was no fear, just little butterflies in the tummy. I dressed with care, even making sure that I had put on decent underwear (did not want to be caught dead with torn undies!).

Abah insisted that Mak sit at the back. He wanted me to be next to him and I was more than happy to oblige. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Abah was not in a hurry to send off my sister. He was a bit heartbroken when my sister got married. To Abah, Along was still too young. In his eyes, we would always be his little girls. Along did grow up too fast. And I knew that Abah missed her.

On the way back, Abah drove faster than usual. This was not like him. He was always a patient driver the kind that keep the speedometer at a speed that the police would approve. Clearly he was rushing to be home. And he asked me to help remove his shoes and socks. All this was done while he was driving. I braced myself for a crash, a swerve, a skid but it did not happen.

We reached home intact and the death warning wisped away from my thoughts. Oh, not today then, I thought. You see, the fear of losing my parents was always at the back of my head for as long as I could remember. As a kid, I would be sitting by the window of our kampong house nursing my worry as I wait for their return every time they went away. My prayers were always, ‘God, take ME first before you have to take them, for I am a weakling. I don’t want to live in a world without them.’

Abah did his solat and sat watching tv with me. Soon, a friend came for raya and Abah asked me to get the guests drinks. And when I handed him his glass of sirap, he looked down into the glass and refused it, ‘ada semut’ he said. I went back to get him another glass of sirap and as I approached him in the living room, he looked at me, smiled and lied down. The guests laughed and Mak told him to sit. He did not get up. Eyes still on me, he kept on smiling. And I knew. It was time.

And he died then. Just like that. Gaze fixed on me, and a smile. And I died many painful deaths.

It was a circus after that. I called 999 but the operator said, nobody responded because it was after all hari raya, a neighbor rushed us to the hospital just so a Doctor could pronounce his death officially. And Abah felt so cold and that smile that smile that smile...

When he was taken home after that, laid in one corner of the house, I curled up next to him and spent the night watching him smile in his deep sleep, willing him to wake and say it was all just a big fat joke.

Faces came and left. Hugged me and kissed me. And they told me not to feel, ‘Tuhan sayang dia lebih dari kita..’ they said and that got me angry. It was like telling me, that I did not love my Abah enough. And his death was a punishment. And I got angry and I stayed angry at God for many many years. The years after his death was of confusion and anger.

I was 21 then, just graduated from ITM. And I wanted so much to be able to afford buying him better shoes and send him to Haj and graduated from a proper university with jubah mortar hat and all. The list of things that made my heart ghalat. Wouldnt it be easier if he were to be sick and suffer for months so i had the time to do my bakti to him and in the process be more prepared for the time when it does arrive? His death seemed to be easy. Maybe it was easy, but only for him. Not for us. We were not prepared. But then again, when would anyone be prepared for death of the loved ones?

Such was my traumatic experience of losing Abah. He was only 48!

I am a parent now. As I prostate my small self to God, my prayers remain, ‘God, take ME first before you have to take them, for I am a weakling. I don’t want to live in a world without them.’ Except my ‘them’ now means my Mom, Sis, Bro, hubby and children.