Thursday, 23 July 2015

..pakmat's raya..

..a post from pakmat's facebook..I thought I shared it here for my non fb friends..

...pakmat had a relaxing raya..preferring to sit back and watched others going throught the raya rush...the overload of cars on the road did little to encourage visiting...so pakmat stayed at home...and waited for the children and grandchildren to come...it was nasi minyak and satay the first day..what's left on the second day and nothing left on the third...

but,  of course, like previous years, pakmat stood up to be counted...pakmat seeks forgiveness from his children, his wife and ex-wives..friends, including fb friends, and relatives..for all of his forwardness, the times when he was over...his transgressions, his lack of demeanor..his failures as a husband, as ex husband, and as a father...the times when he came short on expectations...

..forgive me...this ole coot, living out whatever balance of his live the best he can..with a smile and a hop.. :)

here's a medley from The Brothers Four..from my time aeons ago..that is more or less the soundtrack of pakmat's life journey...

..selamat hari raya..

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

..a time for Ramadan..

.,.pakmat missed solat berjemaah this morning, solat in congregation at the village mosque. He woke up to the agitated and plaintive meow of Ayam as she tried to wake him up...He could hear his wife reading the Quran in the next room...Later as he let Ayam out, he peered the still darkened but almost light morning sky...It will be Ramadan soon..A time then for the renewal of his faith...time for sahur, the pre-dawn meal. Ayam loves sahur..and this year will be no different from the last, seeing that there will be only the two of them, and Ayam makes three..

He had always measured his year from one Ramadan to another. And this particular year had been eventful for him. He did the umrah in the month of Rejab a year ago - something he had been yearning to do since his haj in 2011...if Allah wills he might just enjoy a few days of Ramadan in the holy land of Madinah and Makkah..but when he did not know, habouring intent uncertain of
the future...as for this Ramadan, another 20 days away, it will most likely be in Bachok...at home on a house bulit on a slight rise facing Kemasin River... and Irama Beach, 2 km away..may Allah grant him the time and space...grant him the will and health that he may solat terawih with the rest of his village folks, with vim and with vigor...above all, with taqwa and with sincerity..with an acknowledgement..that Allah is Greater..that He is the Most Merciful, the Most Loving and the Most Compassionate..

At 70, he knew his life is in its final stretch, the final lap of this worldly journey...he knows not whence or where its end..or how..but this Ramadan he will fast along with others of his faith...

..O Allah..safeguard me for the month of Ramadhan, safeguard the month of Ramadhan for me, accept it from me...and forgive me, O Allah, my sins...


..


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

..a golden gathering..

..it was a gathering of retirees...civilian staff of the Police Contigent Headquarters Kelantan and Trengganu, of which once I was a part of...pensioners gathered and formed a Whatsapp group..old wood and over ripened fruits...false teeth and gray hair..and I was a bit apprehensive as I drove towards Hotel Perdana where it was held...by the poolside...for some I have not met for over two decades..they were from those time when I was young, brash and a little bit of a sarong-chaser...without doubt they have memories of me..as I have memories of them..small scenes that we played out in this drama of life...

..age made us brave..as I was to find out...we joked and laughed as we tried to bridge the gap the years has separated us.. all are grandmothers and grandfathers..one took a dig at me..the laughing eyes and quick laughter is still there..

'you were arrogant then'
and I said yes, I was
'che mat gelenya dulu'
and I said yes, I was..
and, perhaps, still am, a bit..

..but there were no ill-feelings, as there were no old flames..just old friendships rekindled...Allah, in His Greatness, has been kind to us..He gave us longevity, rezeki, and success in various measures...and more importantly, He has given us this time and space that we meet...once more before the final call...syukran, O Allah...








Monday, 18 May 2015

..children and grandchildren..


..children have a way of growing up..into adults: like pakmat once was..and you can no more straddle them over your shoulders, reaching out for that jambu fruit growing in your garden near the fence...they are not anymore the 3-year old they were once...they do not anymore pee on your lap..or cry and wail at the prospect of being left behind...no, they do not do all those things anymore..for yesterdays came and go and suddenly they are parents themselves..in their late thirties, early forties...and you casually past seventy..

..you turn to their children, to rekindle memories of those times..grandchildren are like flashcards..stripping and streaking through the barriers of your memory...tiny fingers curled yours..tiny toes kick your heart into a gooey mess...father and grandfather merge and become one...

..you sit back and watch as your children goes through the throes of parenthood...and you are glad..your faith in Him restored...for to each, his time...

..bestow upon them, Lord, Your bounty..
..and
..guide them, to the straight path..
..the path of those You have bestowed Your favour..
..not of those who have evoked Your anger..
..or of those who are astray..


..



Friday, 15 May 2015

..a kind soul..

..there's a kind soul from the land of Hang Tuah and Hang Li Po who sends me rm2k every now and then..to be given to those bereft, those facing hard times and those having difficulties putting food on their table...difficulties giving spending money to their school-going children,..also to the masjids in my village...the discretion is mine...and every now and then, she will whatsapped that 2k has been credited to my wife's account...

..until the 29th of March this year, we had never met...she was a follower of my blog since 2010...back to those days when I unfurled without restrain my days as a youth...my life as a polygamist...my failures as a husband and father..and,  more importantly, my journey in front of my God, Allah...I would supposed, as other readers of my blog, she knows intimately me, my wife and ex-wives...my children and grandchildren...I made no conclusion about my life..towards that end I leave it to the readers...she must have...reached her own conclusion..

..hence on, I became sensitive to the people around me..I became acutely aware that most sufferings goes unknown, that people suffered quietly in the background of our lives...that a cheery front hides a pain...that most times, we are too engrossed in our own everyday routine, to bother about others...we are unaware because we never asked...

...thank you, kind soul..for you make this old coot asks..and discover those people who struggles to make ends meet..and through you helps alleviate their burden a little...may Allah  blesses you... and all those unknown people you try to help...
.

..

Thursday, 14 May 2015

...old folks home alone...

..the only thing worse than growing old is growing old alone..being in a old folks home does not help..you are alone among other inmates..as my brother Johan is,...alone and almost abandoned by family and friends, by his children...

..life has not been to kind to him..a series of bad decisions when he was younger, stronger, has left him without a home..his wife's death when he was 65 left him helpless...a son left for the open sea, seeking his fortune as an able bodied seaman...his two other known children are busy with their life...and Johan found himself in an old folks home..alone..


..born with a game leg, his health deteriorates..unable now to walk he spends most of his days in bed and on a wheelchair..when incontinent shows its head, as it usually does inthe aged, he became bitter..and frustrated with his incapabilities...

...I make time for him every Friday...arriving before Asr, helping him get on his wheelchair and wheeling him out to a shady tree...where I replenish his spending money of RM70.00 a week send by a caring cousin and check his phone for airtime balance...I listen to his rant..he wants death..he's bored at the home...but he did not ask for a wife...he has reconciled to the fact that no woman would want to marry him now...

...sometimes we talked about old times..and, as always, our conversation would petered into silence..there is not much to talk about...we grew up apart and have no memories of growing up together...he missed his late mother...his saviour when she was alive..

..Lord, its not for me to question what You had laid out for him...but please, o Allah...forgive him and grant him peace in the final embers of his life...

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

..youthful at 70..

..I tried to be youthful as I aged..at least in my mind..and my mind keeps on assuring me that, indeed, I am 70 and I look it..but I do not feel it..and I really do not know how a 70-year old is supposed to feel..I looked at those in my peer group and found them older than me...and my wife laughed when I told her so, that I found them older than me...but in her family, apart from her mother, who is 85, I am the oldest..but, then again, she is 13 years younger than me..and since the oldest in her family is her sister who is 64, I cannot help but moved around with those who are younger...which helps keep me youthful..

..I also tried to be healthy..but at 70 how healthy can you be?..I watch my diet as I watch my hair greying and my teeth breaking one by one....like most every one else, when I was 55 going 60, I tried holding on to my youth...dyeing your hair black is easy...but keeping your skin taut and your bones creak-free is hard...I bought a Raleigh bike..life now is in auto-cruise, no reason why I should not now pedal a little...which I did with gusto to the beach and back on most evenings...

...I tried to be a better Muslim...I wasn't during my hot curry, polygamic mayhem days...it was hard balancing your life between two women...more so, three...children kept you off-balance...I could have been a better father, of course...I wasn't too bad, but I could have been better...hindsight magnifies your mistakes a thousand times...then, I was just a hardheaded young man with more than one wife...later, I was that 60-year old licking his wounds...now I am that 70 year-old looking at the memories invoking scars of an earlier life....

..children gives you grandchildren, and I am glad..they will be the light that will take pakmat into the future, a future of which pakmat will not be a part of..and yet, pakmat will be very much a part of it...what lies ahead for them I dare not even hazard a guess...but for pakmat, in this short span of time  that he has left, .he will pedal along,...enjoying the moments that God has given him...thank you, Allah...

..



..

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

..the haj, polygamy and friends..

..readers of my blog would know that I did my haj in 2011 when I was 66 years old..all through my career as a midlevel government servant, the haj never really crossed my mind..I have other worldly distractions and its accompanying problems to attend to..whilst most are of my own making, I would say that my lack of direction, due, in part, to my upbringing or lack of it, saw me going here and hither without really sprouting roots..I married chikani when I was forty..and a few years later I was made a bankrupt... for standing surety to a failed loan..an insolvent wage earner is not entitled to promotions and such...along with a denial to an international passport..a denial to travel outside the country...but that was not to stop me from marrying again when I was fifty..then youth was eternal and I thought the likes of me would never grow old...until I retired in June, 2000 and realised a few years later that age had, indeed, caught up with me...too late, I stopped smoking, slept early, rose early and maintained a resemblance of a healthy life style...I could not hold it in check..no matter the various shades of hair dye that I used..time waits for no man or coot..

..my third marriage taught me many things..but my second taught me that there is life other than chasing sarongs...her mother taught me how to read the Quran...I tried to catch up the balance my life as a Muslim..I completed the recitations when I was 45..married another at 50..and yearned for the haj at 60..but by then I had spent all of my gratuity on trying to alleviate the cost of old age by settling some of my debts and partial settlement of my housing loan, the loan was for my home in Bachok which I built rather late in my life...

...my Tabung Haji account was frozen....but there was a time-lock to my bankruptcy...on the 12th June, 2010 I received letters of release..it was a Saturday..I remember scooping up Ayam from my feet, kissing her..and the tears that welled in my eyes..for I then could almost see  the Kaabah..

....thereon I prayed to the Lord, Allah...for His Mercy..for His Bounty...Praise be unto You, Allah...for in Your Hand the universe and beyond...

...I managed to pay my fare, and much more...He showered His Rezeki upon me from sources I could hardly imagine..O Allah, You have truly taught me the meaning of sedekah..

..and now, almost 3 years later, I am about to embark on a umrah.......



..


Saturday, 19 October 2013

..cats who disappeared..

.,.there must be a place where cats go..

..we, the missus and I,  rear our cats free ranged..feed them twice a day, once in the morning and again before mahgrib..but every so often they will take their leave and disappear...always singly and never in pairs... sometimes to return after a few days, to be fed and rested,  only to disappear again...after Itek, my first tom, and Mekbu, Ayam's blind kitten, I did not anymore make searches...Itek disappeared on the day his molly, Ayam delivered a litter of seven..days of frantic and systematic searches never found him...we only learned of his death from a neighbour, the late Pak Heng,  from across the road...of drowning during a cat fight...he was fished out of the watering well and thrown into the Kemasin River...I went to the spot where he was thrown but saw no signs of him..we shed some tears, my wife and I...missing him like a family member that he was..

..Ayam, the queen is still around..

..later Mekbu left.. she's a blind molly and searches failed to find her..but more than six months later she turned up, with two a month old kittens in tow...like the rest she was fed and attended..but less than a year later she disappeared again, and has not turn up until today....my thoughts are always with them..they who left the cosiness of home and the predictable food served, of rice and boiled ikan selayang...

..Rocky Bubu when first found, crying in between two rotten planks..
 ..molly Maddyna and tom Dagu were kittens from my neighbour's molly...I adopted them and Maddyna was duly spayed...they were comfortable both in my compound as in my neighbour's kitchen, with Maddyna the only one who would follow me in my evening jogs around the kampong...the rest would only followed just up to the outside road...last year they disappeared just a few days apart...Maddyna returned a few weeks later looking gaunt and hungry...she stayed for a few days and left with no signs of returning along with Dagu not returning at all...

..Dagu..
 ..Myteam, a tom, left, too..long after he pierced his face with a loose end of the fence and I had to cut off the steel with a cutter to set him free...his wound healed..but not his wander lust..one morning I opened the door to find him gone.....

..Maddyna..
 ..my thoughts are always with them..they who left the cosiness of home and the predictable food served, of rice and boiled ikan selayang...to feed on a need to wander, and find a mate, maybe...

..attending to an ailinmg Bubu..
my thoughts are especially with Rocky Bubu, who was nursed from a worm-infested disease to health...who grew to be a handsome tom with a character of his own...who would take every opportunity to plop on my lap where ever and when ever he found me seated...


..the irreplaceble Itek..

..Mekbu and her first litter..
  ...there must be a place where cats go...but where ever they are, a little bit of pakmat is with them..

Thursday, 3 October 2013

..Pak Weil and the Haj..

..would be haji Ismail bin Ibrahim, 74..
 ..he is the bilal of our village's masjid, the masjid's muezzin, as it is...and at 74 he is slight of built, soft of voice and looked a little bit frail...but he is healthier than most, definitely healthier than most of his age...

...well-wishers who came to see him off..
 ..for the past four years he has been trying to make it to Makkah...age is fast catching up with him and he knew he has to make the trip before his health fails him...Makkah was in his doa's, his prayers and always on his mind...

..his luggage..
..several weeks ago, he got the letter...telling him that he was chosen together with his wife, Halimah binti Junoh...Flight Group 61, KT 61, the eighth last flight, with departure on the 4th at 1.30 am, from KLIA...the preparations left him breathless...the Health Department, Bachok ran out of innoculation serum...but his children rallied around him...his cucus, numbering 30 from 6 of his 8 children, kept his hopes high..

..and this morning, as he left for Pengkalan Chepa for the noon flight to Kelana Jaya, pakmat called out the azan...Allah is Great...Allah is Great...this is no God but Allah...and Mohammad is His Messenger..

..Godspeed, Pak Weil...may Allah keeps you under His care, and mabror be your Haj......

Friday, 19 April 2013

..pakmat's haj..

..doing the pilgrimage to Makkah in the year 2011 was, without a doubt, the ultimate high in pakmat's life...never a jetsetter or a globetrotter, it was the first time that pakmat ventured far beyond the comfort of his shell...the well-wishes that he carried with him saw him set foot on a strange yet familiar land, more than 8000 kilometers away from home, along with a few million others of his faith, to converge on the House of God, Baitullah, and gathered on His plain, the plains of Arafat...

..it has left an indelible mark on his body, mind and soul...he left on the 15th of October, 2011 resolute in his affirmation that God is Great...and came back after 47 days on the 30th of November, the same year, more resolute in his affirmation that God is Greater...

..others before him had made the journey...as there will be others  after him..his children and his children's children...going through their own experiences, making their own private memories...similar in the overall, but unique to each and every one of them...as it was with pakmat...

...words are so inadequate..as it is with pictures...and so he wrote with his heart...scattered all over his blog...his memories interspersed with other jottings...until yesterday..he gathered all posts of his haj, and put them together in another blog...posting them like a book...as a record of his journey...for his children and grandchildren to read...for his friends...for anyone at all who would bother or care to...

..my hijrah...please click here..




Saturday, 13 April 2013

..these days, those days..

..a song pakmat grew up with..from a fumbling youth to a married man..


..these days with my children, nieces and nephews, I used all the applications that come along with a smartphone...viber, wechat, whatsapp and, of course, facebook...I store my pictures online through picasa, dropbox and such...my blog is a form of maintaining a journal...stories about my past, mainly, my children and my life.,.

..I can say without reservations, that I am active in the cyberworld...I have loads of friends there, of which I am in constant contact...amost all I have never met...but I see their lives unfolding before me as they see mine...almost intimately...sharing their highs and grieving their lows and loss...my children think I am cool..and I said, no..its not so much being cool, but just a matter of keeping up with all of them...whilst having the privilege of having friends from every corner of the globe and exchanging ideas with them...it keeps me mentally alert..and at 68, the only thing that I can traipse around with is with my mind...

..and I cannot imagine it being otherwise....growing up in the fifties, I had none of these things kids today took for granted... our motor training was walking around with a bamboo pole inserted into another shorter pole stuck in the ground...cognitive skills was acquired through peek-a-boo sessions...and later, a little bit older, games were cops and robbers or cowboys and injuns..and much later, when I have acquired the ability to read, it was books..of every kind..from Henry Miller to Enid Blyton, even Elizabeth Arden...

...it was in 1970 that I met my first wife...courting in the days when communication was not instant has its drawbacks...back then, even telephones of the black and bulky kind were a rarity...of course, its difficult to rendevous or arranged trysts without texting or instant messaging...but you become innovative and daring...pakmat deluged her with letters...letters carefully written, and posted with  ten cent stamps affixed on the envelopes..addressed to her school, to her home, to anywhere I thought she was...quoting anything from Blake to Shakespeare...

..chatting was by waylaying her on her trisha on her way to school...for an exchange of a few words...a smile, maybe, and she was on her way again, and I was left struggling to restart my Vespa...there was no Facebook or KFC..no malls or video calls...the only way to meet was to scoot up her door...and hoped that she was home, and her mother in a friendly mood...

...those were wistful times...but today, I don't think I can survive a day without the internet and my smartphone...

Monday, 1 April 2013

..relatives far removed..

..we are fond of saying that if we did not get to know of our relatives...uncles, aunties, cousins, fourth cousins...and those far removed...that if we did not try to know them, then there are no better than strangers...and with todays trend of leaving and uprooting ourselves from our home villages and seeking a livelihood somewhere else, chances of getting to know and be close with our relatives are getting slimmer..and harder...we are closer to those around us, our friends...

..and so it was  with pakmat...Lord knows how many relatives that I had, whatever side I care to mention...children of my brothers of common parents numbered more than twenty...brothers and sisters sharing a common father, for the late Hamid, my father, as also his sons, was known to have several wives..God knows how many there are...my half-sister in the city...there is no, as the Kelantanese are fond of saying, 'gimari' among us...we do not relate and we do not communicate...hence the absence of 'gimari'..


..it was with a tinge of regret that on the night of the tahlil for my late brother, Adnan, where all his children gathered, pakmat hardly knew any of them...and they are my very own nephews and nieces....we were all busy with our own lifes...as pakmat was busy trying to find my own little plot on this little piece of earth, that I forgot I have relatives...I went my separate way...and it was selfish of me...it was downright arrogant...for my children do not have the apportunity to get to know their cousins, uncles and aunties....my actions denied them from knowing them...

..so I told my children that things are about to change...I am gonna bridge this self-imposed gap...through Facebook, through Whatsapp...through normal calls...and through visits and invitations...for, yes, we share the same sky and the same earth...there is no reason why we should not meet...for we are, after all, relatives...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

..clogs..



..there is a mosque in Bachok, Masjid Pak Pura, that have several pairs of clogs for use by the jemaah...and whenever pakmat stopped by for solat, usually solat zohor, pakmat would used them, going clong-clang for a moment as I made my way to the wuduk area...and for moment pakmat would be transported back to those time when he was just a child of 5 or 6, staying with his mother in Kampong Sirih, Kota Bharu...

...she would be at her sewing machine, keeping an eye on me as I clogged around the house, shirtless but a pair of shorts tied with a gunny sack rope, tali guni, as they called the piece of rope then...nearby was a house rented by some ladies who worked nights in some place mysterious nearby...and they would sometimes sent me on errands like buying food packets, nasi berlauk, or toasted bread, roti bakar, from a coffee shop situated along the main road, a hundred yards from mother's house...unlike my mother and stepfather, these ladies almost always woke up late, usually just before noon...

..later, when I was a bit older, Form One, Clifford School, Kuala Kangsar, my uncle, to whom I had been fostered, would take me home during the school holidays...and left me there by the main road on his way to Banggol...and I would hurried to my mother, took off my shoes and slipped on the clogs..and just sat there on the wooden steps of the house...enjoying the feel of wood against my soles...

...inevitably, my brother Adnan would come on his bicycle...and  I would placed the clogs carefully on the steps next to the tempayan, and cycled barefoot around the kampong...and my mother would peer through her glasses, warning me to be careful and not to fall...

..indeed, love is the flower that passes...and memory the fragrance that lingers...

..

Monday, 25 March 2013

..my brother, Adnan..



...we were a sibling of three, sharing common parents, Aminah Sulong and Hamid Daud...Johan, 74 is the eldest and I am the youngest...in between there was Adnan...He must have been 71 when he died that day on the evening of a Thursday, 21st of March, 2013...

...we were on the way to town that fateful evening, my wife and I...and it was rather uncharacteristic of me to make that short trip...it was Thursday night, after all... a malam Jumaat....I would normally be at the mosque in Kampong Sungei, reading the Surah Yaasin in congregation after solat Magrib...but that evening I persuaded my wife to accompany me to town, for some arrands...and drop by Johan at Sri Kenangan Old Folks Home..he was strapped for cash...

...but fate took over as we neared Kubang Kerian....it was 6.30 in the evening...Lina, my second daughter called and told me about Adnan's death...I remember being numbed for a second and being disorientated for  a moment...my wife said something but I did not hear...I just drove around without an inkling as to where I was going...sometimes I wonder at which point, at which particular part of our lives that fate leaves us alone...for we are never in complete mastery of anything...we plan and propose...and God disposes...

..unlike most siblings, we did not grow up together...our father's untimely death in early 1945 left mother, Aminah, widowed with three sons..it was unsettling time, the Japanese Occupation nearing its end...the future was uncertain...and she was too young a mother to be without a husband...she must have struggled to survive..and so it was that Adnan was in Singapura, Johan in Tanah Merah and me everywhere...

..it was only later, in our adult years, did we get together....there were no childhood memories among us...we grew up apart and distance...but we were and are brothers, nonetheless..and that night as I read the Yaasin over him, I tried to control the tears that welled...forgive me, brother...May Allah grant you peace...and put you in one of His Edens...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

..the legacy...

..events made these old man feels unsettled...even though Bachok is as serene and as peaceful as ever, pakmat cannot help but gives the scenery a second glance...even though he used to iterate that life is fragile, as also his health, as also his wealth, there was always this confidence that the next day will be a tomorrow...and ayam will wake me up at 5.30 am and I will be able to walk out of my house and pray in congregation to my god, buy nasi berlauk for breakfast, jog along Pantai Irama, fondle my cats, kiss and hug my grandchildren, admire the sunrise, take a drive to town and all those other things that I am used to do without worries and hardly a care in the world...without nary a thought to my safety..I have always been a peace loving man...and this is a peace loving country that I am in love with...and I like to think that when I am dead and gone, when others from my generation are dead and gone...and my children's children have children of their own, they would be able to do the same thing that their forefathers had done...and maybe more...and they will look back to their forefathers and thank them for this legacy...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

..past and future..

..they say as a man grows older, older meaning approaching 70 like me, all he has left are memories...and he has no more future to think about...which is true in part...true in that he is way past his days of usefulness...swung through his shelf life...and deemed no longer worthy of credit by the banks...and so, I try not to think too much of the future..preferring, instead, to live from day to day...and making plans one or two weeks ahead...only when you are nearing the end, do you really appreciate this gift of life...and I give my thanks to Him for each new day that I woke up to...

but to say that I have no future is not true, of course...I planned...to the end of my days...and beyond...for  beyond the end of my days is my future....and God willing, He will grant me a better future....

..the zenith of my life...doing the haj..

..but as to how far back my memory takes me, I am not too sure...I have no memories of being a toddler..but I remember being a child of about four or five years old...plunging into a brook, Sungei Keladi, of Kampong Keladi, Pasir Puteh...along with similar aged friends, stark naked, and was promptly swept away by the swift flowing river...and I remember someone who was bigger than me grabbing me by the hair and pulling me out, gasping for air...only later, as an adult, did I realised that he had saved my life...and even then, as now, I did not know who he was...

..pakmat's future..granddaughter, Saerah..
...I always say that in little children you see the future...which, perhaps, explain my fondness for little children...for they will grow up into a future of which pakmat will not be a part of...but that is the way as it should be...immortal in our mortality...with our children and children's children carrying on where we left off...

..


Saturday, 23 February 2013

..my first mother in law..

..a man with more than a single wife, will also have more in-laws...thankfully, for pakmat, balancing among in-laws is not a arduous as with wives...no matter what they say about in-laws, I found mine none of the abnoxious and overbearing things as they were made out to be....no...all of mine were supportive and non-partisan...as a woman will never forgets her first, whatever that is, pakmat remembers  his first mother-in-law rather fondly...

..she died on a Thursday, 5th of July, 2012, some minutes after ten in the morning..she was my mother in law that everyone called Mok...she was 86, and mother to my first wife whom my children, taught not to mince words, called, in my presence,  'my ex'...as Tom, my son-in-law, would say it, nanny to her 7 grandchildren..

..she was the wife of a policeman...and was widowed some years back before her death when her husband died on the 26th of July, 1998..my ex was her only child...but sometimes in her teens, her late father took on a second wife, who duly had a pair of male twins...I know my ex revolted, from the stories that I heard, but Mok took one of the twins and treated him as her very own...he was showered with love and care..

..my first daughter, Tisa..tok's pet..


..Tok with my third daughter, Ida..

...ex with her cucus reciting the Yasin over Tok's grave..

..may she always be blessed..

..with Ebok..
..Mok was loved my all..this son-in-law included..she was always gentle and hardly had a harsh word for anyone..not even for her madu...least of all, her husband, whom, on the main, remained in Johor with his second wife, whom we called Moksu, while she was with her daughter in Kota Bharu....until her daughter met me in 1967...she resisted me in the beginning...which gave truth to the adage 'mother to begin, daughter to win..'  but she relented and we were married on the 1st of April, 1973...

Thursday, 21 February 2013

..hotsprings..


..it was hardly a river..it was more of a brook than a creek, hardly 3 feet deep at some points...but it is tantalisingly clear and sandy...and it curves and turns like a benevolant serpent through the forest...and pakmat was charmed...enough to make repeat visits...


.and  the hot spring that spurts out through some rocks on a mount that banks the river is collected in a mini pool...it is solid rock and it is hot...hot enough to keep away the kids...but not enough to keep away pakmat...who emerged fresh and warm after several dips...


..but I am no more the gung-ho youth of before...though I did let my hair down, or whatever is left of it, there is still decorum befitting an old man to think about...I dipped and waded...but I did not convoluted or attempted somersaults...I just absorbed  the peaceful surroundings...and praised the Lord for my endearing health...


..the verdant trees and flowing stream reminded me of Mekkah...the stark contrast did...and the soft, billowing breeze that flowed through the trees was like the breeze that I encountered as I tawafed the Kaabah...

..Praise be unto You, Lord...for, indeed, Your Bounty is endless.....

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

..rocky bubu...and a thing about cats..

..my belle..ayam..

...I was never into cats as a kid or when I was a struggling youth trying to carve out an existence in Kuala Lumpur in the early sixties...cats were just..cats.....I did not care much about them and generally, they kept their distance from me....I was more into girls...they were the object of my dreams and fantasies..But I did not made any headway with them, either...girls of my age were just not interested in boys my age...and girls younger than me were not interested in anything...and I was only good for running errands with the older girls...

..and the late itek..

..it was only upon marriage and two kids later that cats entered my life...but they did not figure much...we were in Terengganu, and there were the beaches, stretches of beautiful beaches...and tantalising islands within the horizon...they cats were there, somewhere in the background, getting a rub or a pat as I rushed about busy as a servant of the government, a father and a husband...


..taking care of sick rocky bubu..
..but later, much later, three marriages, two divorces and 13 children later, the cats came in...a daugher in Form Three and her two years younger brother from my second marriage, about the only marriage that I have now, started it...they wanted some cats in the house...at least two...

..rocky bubu when first found...
...a house without cats is lonely, they said..and you both are not going to have babies anymore...
...hey, your father is not yet over the hill...its your mother...
...yes, they said...they still want a cat or cats...

.it was 2007..I was a retiree for 6 years..the eyes have stopped roving but the mind has not...might as well focus on some felines of the furry kind...its safer...and less tiring..or so I thought...


..before he turned sick..
..and so it was that we had ayam and itek...two furry balls that rolled straight into my heart...and when itek drowned a year later, there was not a dry eye in the house...

..giving bubu a wash from his  own excrement..
...cats are here to stay...and I believed that I became a better person because of them....and when my health improved, my wife and children said that it was because of the cats...and I agreed...







..

Sunday, 10 February 2013

...cny reunion dinner..


.....we had a family reunion dinner of sorts last night...which is nothing unusual, of course....but since it was Chinese New Year eve, it could very well be a Chinese family reunion dinner...but ours is a multicultural society and I had always been a multi-cultural man, so last night, it was a most natural thing to do...the children were excited and chose the venue...Restaurant Satay Malaysia, and upbeat satay joint along Jalan Pengkalan Chepa...but ours were not the only family intend on having a reunion dinner last night, judging from the rows of cars parked...and anxious customers waiting for tables  to be cleared..


..going through the menu..


..time for some pictures..
....food were served in batches, and we waited almost an hour for it to arrived...but it was ok...we were just too happy to be together to let the late arrival of food to bother us...it was Chinese New Year...and tomorrow the Chuan awaits us with roti jala and chicken curry..


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

..68 and beyond..


...I will be 68 in a few weeks time...not that it really matters for I am not one who places much importance on dates, anniversaries and such stuff...it must have been my upbringing...growing up in a family where there were no blowing of candles or cutting of cakes has made me into what I am today....a little bit cynical in outlook... a little bit rye with a dash of sacarsm...it  does not put a stopper on aging, of course...but that's ok..I just realised that in every old man such as me,  lurks, in thoughts and in the soul, a young man...we are what we think we are...the colours may fade...the gums shine without its pearly whites...hairlines recede or thin into shining white...less on spring but sprightly...yes..I am that young man when ever and where ever I am...it takes but a chuckle, a glance and a smile and I am that 26year-old again...dashing out that cha-cha steps to Cherry Pink and Blossoms White...





Tuesday, 29 January 2013

..cats and stuff..

..ayam enjoying a nap..
..of course, there are cats like Toffee and One Ball Bandit, and they loll in luxury and travel in beemers and posh limousines...as there are cats like Awang Jules and Lilie, staying high above ground, peeing and pooing in private loos prepared by their masters and mistresses...but as they bask in the love and tender loving care of their minders, they are also cats who literally litter the wet markets and five-foot ways of towns and cities throughout the country...and for these cats, I try to spare a few seconds every time I meet them...a stroke and a pat...some cat food..sometimes, if they are in too bad a shape, a trip to the vet...


..mokku..just after her visit to the vet..

 ...one such thrown=away cat was mokku...dirty and thin with a pair of bright eyes, shining below a heavily diseased pair of ears, she was found sprawled one morning in front of my wifes little shop, starving...after a trip to the vet, she improved and turned out to be quite a dainty little lady... she remained at the shop and became the wife's constant companion...until a few weeks ago when she went missing...we think she was abducted, judging from the many comments she received from passerbys and strangers who saw her...


..rocky bubu, 7months...found wailing near a rubbish dump..


...at the last count, we have a total of 11 cats, with 4 toms, not counting another 3 belonging to our neighbour which had made pakmat as their forster father...they free ranged around our house compound and made the shaded area at the back of the house their play area...they slept where ever they like, pee'd everywhere and poo'd on a sand dump across what was supposed to be the lawn of our house...

..pointer-cat, ayam..

..gua musang rest area..
..gua musang rest area..


..greeting the main provider of food..
..there are times, of course, when the missus sighed and wished that we never had cats...but come feeding time, once in the morning and another in the evening, when she feeds them rice mixed generously with boiled ikan selayang, she changed her mind with 'Mari sayang...lapar ke?..kesian..'

...to pakmat, the cats are here to stay...they are totally dependant on us for food and healthcare...I enjoyed having them around and I think, my wife did, too...they are, after all, one of God.s creation...and I think, in many ways, my life is richer for them..





Wednesday, 23 January 2013

..chuan and chinese new year..


...Chuan, the goldsmith, is about the only person in Bachok who reads The Star...as it is not available in Bachok, he buys them in Kota Bharu where he lives...and pakmat the second person to read it after him...usually at about midday when I drop by the shop just before solat Zohor....over the years that we had known each other, it has become a routine...

..Lyn Sin...Chuan first cucu...to her I am papatok..
...yesterday he gave us a box of mandarins...he placed them in my car which I had left unlocked as I made my way to the bank...later as I walked in into his shop, looking for his day's copy of The Star, he told me about the oranges...he answered my comment of it being too early, isn't Chinese New Year another 20 days away, by saying that he will be closing shop next week...and for me not to forget to come by his house on New Year as he will be serving roti jala and chicken  curry...all halal, of course....supplied by a known Malay caterer....I raised my eyebrows as he had never done it before, being the strict vegetarian that he is...


..'Its for you and family lah...and some of my Malay friends...'
..'Kuih bakul?..'
..'Ye lah..but no Ipoh groundnuts this time...what for give you kacang...?.. you pun ada gusi saja..'

..yes, endentulous me would not be able to enjoy the nuts...but I am looking forward to the roti jala...

..happy chinese new year, all...