My father whom I called ‘Abah’ passed away 22 years ago. So my siblings and I dah jadi yatim since then. At that time I had just get an offer to further my studies in I*UM. I was supposed to register myself to the university in a month’s time. He knew about the offer and was very happy as I was the first to enter university in my family. At that time he was 84 years old. He was no more able to drive the car and only managed to ride his motorcycle to go back and forth between our house in Kuala Sialang and Mak Tua’s in Kuala Jempol. The way he rode the bike pun was not that smooth… a little bit shaky at times. That could be due to his eyesight yang dah agak kabur. Kadang-kadang suspen jugak kalau membonceng dengan dia. He being himself memang tak boleh duduk diam. Ada je yang dia nak buat.
Abah from my perspective is such hard headed person…kalau putih kata dia putihlah… payah nak menang kalau argue dengan dia. Dia paling tak suka kalau orang tak tetap pendirian, cakap berbalik-balik i.e. kejap cakap A, kejap cakap B. Bila dia tak puashati, dia akan marah or bagitahu masa tu jugak. Dia tak simpan dalam hati. I think it is a typical orang dolu-dolu. Kita sebagai anak kena ikut cakap mak bapak tanpa banyak soal jawab. Agak warak, orang kampung hormat dia. Dia pandai cakap omputih and Arab. Kalau dia argue memang siap dengan dalil Al-Quran. Abah did not really expressed how he loves his children, grandchildren directly. But we know he loves us. In my opinion, typical people zaman tu memang tak reti tunjuk kasih sayang diorang…is it? That’s how I felt. Tak pernah la bergurau senda dengan dia. Cuma we really respect him. He always encouraged us to study hard. Bak kata Akak, Abah pernah tanya dia: “Kau nak kawin ko nak belajar laie?”. Kalau still nak belajar he’ll find the means to finance the education. Akak pernah cerita that Abah pernah jual tanah sebab nak hantar Embong sekolah ke Singapura. I do not really know cerita-cerita lain di zaman Embong, Akak, Alang and Acek. Adik and I were not around YET masa tu. We were the generation after them. That’s why tak banyak cerita yang kami tahu…Cuma some of it. Bila kami besar (sekolah dan kerja), diorang semua dah kawin dan tinggal di tempat lain. Jumpa pun sekali-sekala macam weekend, kenduri, raya or cuti panjang…That’s why bila I had the opportunity to further my studies, I was so grateful when my siblings (you know who) agreed to finance my studies. Alhamdulilllah also sebab dapat pinjaman pendidikan dari JPA.
Those time (early 50s) memang susah. Abah had 2 families. Mak Tua gave him 9 children and with Mak he had 7. He has to feed both families. Education wise masa tu mana ada banyak loans and scholarship macam sekarang. Embong and Akak jadi cikgu after their secondary school and every time cuti sekolah, they will have their teacher training course at SI*C at Tanjung Malim to obtain their teaching certificate. Alang joined Royal Malaysian Army. Acek plak after MCE (or HSC) got the offer to enter university but had to turned down cos lack of financial support. He then worked in D**L in Kuala Lumpur.
Every night after solat Maghrib, he will read to us the stories about the Prophets (Sirah). Those are the stories that I still remember until now. I think if he had the opportunity to learn like now, he must be somebody big… He was very intelligent in his own way. His Jawi handwriting is very beautiful. When I was in S*F, I normally wrote letter to him in rumi and he will replied in Jawi. Hmmm, I should have kept his letter. Tak tau dah mana perginya.
When I was in primary school, if Adik and I go anywhere with him, people will mistakenly recognized us as his granddaughters. That was because the age gap between me and my brother before me was 13 years. Dan Abah pun dah berumur 70an masa tu. Bak kata orang, Adik and I ni tersesat and baka tua…. Ye ke? Kadang-kadang boring gak bila orang kata we all ni macam cucu Abah. Malu jugak bila Abah marah kat orang bila makan di pekan. Whatever it is, we are happy to have such an understanding Abah. Masa kami di sekolah rendah dan giliran Abah di Kuala Sialang, Abah akan hantar kami ke sekolah dan jemput waktu tengahari naik kereta. Abah kerja sendiri iaitu juru ukur persendirian. Bukan la macam juru ukur glamer zaman sekarang. Gaji dia tak sebanyak mana dan tak tetap. Ada kerja, ada gaji. Tapi cukuplah untuk menyara kedua-dua keluarga. Kalau ada rombongan sekolah kemana-mana, Abah tak pernah melarang kalau nak pergi. He will allow me and Adik to go. He himself liked to travel. When I was in Standard 5 and had obtained 5As in my Penilaian Sekolah Rendah, he brought me to Sumatera to search for his families (roots). We went to Pekanbaru, Bukit Tinggi and Padang. Tulah pertama kali berjalan paling jauh seumur hidup. Masa tu we all naik flight kat Batu Berendam Airport. Naik Fokker which can accommodate 45 passengers. The travel took us 45 minutes to reach Pekan Baru. Bergegar-gegar je dalam flight tu…suspen gak.
In June 1987, I was still in kampung, Mak told me that Abah had gone to Seremban Hospital to undergo eye operation. Just nak jadi sebab orang kata. He was allowed to undergo the operation without much problem. Unlike as we know, if a person needs to undergo an operation, there were various checks and tests that the doctors need to do. But in his case, boleh buat cam tu je. Pelik tak? What more he was 84 years old at that time. So the next day, Mak and I went to Seremban. We went to Acu Amat’s house first. Acu Amat is Abah’s youngest brother. Then Acu drove us to Seremban Hospital during the visiting hour. When we reached his bed, the bed was empty. We asked the nurse there but the nurse told us that he was still in the OT. We waited there for a couple of hours. After much waiting, I asked the nurse again. This time is a different nurse. The nurse seemed lost and went somewhere to search the whereabouts of Abah. When the nurse came back, she told us, “sebenarnya tuan haji ni dah meninggal di bilik bedah” (actually this guy had passed away in the OT). We were so shocked as nobody came to tell us. When we asked baru dia nak bagitahu. Geram, sedih bercampur. Mak pun tak tau nak buat apa. I called Acek who were in KL and Akak and Alang in PD.
When Acek came baru kami uruskan the necessary documents to bring Abah home. It took us about 2 – 3 hours to get the jenazah out of the hospital. Emak and me ikut sekali dalam kereta jenazah. Kami sampai di kampung masa dah nak dekat Maghrib. Malam tu semua anak-anak Abah dah sampai di kampung. Esoknya selepas dimandi dan dikapankan Abah disembahyang sekali di rumah dengan diimamkan oleh arwah Embong Borhan. Jenazah Abah kemudian dibawa ke rumah Mak Tua di J*mp*l sebelum dibawa ke Masjid J*mp*l untuk sembahyang jenazah di masjid selepas solat Zohor. Kemudian Abah dikebumikan di kawasan perkuburan Kg C*c*r. Abah meninggal pada 25 Jun 1987. So this 25th June genaplah 22 tahun Abah pergi meninggalkan kami.
They also gave me moral support and took good care of Mak when Abah was no longer around. Rasanya sebab didikan Mak dan Abahlah yang menjadikan kami adik-beradik boleh bersatupadu dan menanggung aku dan adik sampai habis sekolah walau diorang tak hidup mewah. Adik-beradikku bukanlah CEO di mana-mana syarikat besar atau pegawai tinggi kerajaan yang bawak kereta Mercedes tapi Alhamdulillah mereka berjaya dan hidup bahagia dengan cara masing-masing. Embong (bekas guru agama), Akak (cikgu pencen), Alang (askar pencen), Acek (masih bekerja di Majlis Daerah *P) dan Adik (di T*). Kami masih boleh berkumpul di rumah di mana kami dilahirkan…terimakasih pada Akak sebab masih tinggal di rumah itu. Masih punya tarikan untuk pulang ke kampung… ke tempat asal kami.
So, today is the 22nd year Abah left us…Abang-abang, kakak-kakak, anak-anak buah, cucu-cicit, marilah kita sedekahkan Al Fatihah dan doa buat Allahyarham Hj N**u yang kita sayangi..Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas rohnya.