.. a distant relative by marriage died the other day.. he was 53 years old.. I hardly knew him when he was alive..we moved in different circles, as it were..but as is the norm in the kampong, we visited his grieving widow and his nine children..
it was a ramshackle of a home.. rickety and bare of items normally found in most homes..just an old tv set.. a mat on the floor. .a room without a door.. and not much else..
…later I was to learn that he was a daily rated construction worker… died of a fall whilst working on the forth floor of a building.
Mak Nik, the widow, was a full time housewife. ..with nine children,. I cannot imagine her doing anything else.. leaving the burden of bringing home the money to Pak Nik..but when she has the time, she will be packing charcoals into plastic sacks in a kiln nearby owned by her brother-in-law..earning 50 cents a sack..
… come tobacco-growing season, the whole family will be out on the field..hoeing out furrows, planting seedlings, nurturing the plants and finally harvesting..bringing much needed extra dollars…
..their eldest, a son, and still single, graduated 5 years ago and is a lecturer at one of the local university.. on a piece of ancestral land, he is building a modest home not far from the existing house..with 7 other siblings in school, marriage has been postponed..
..their second child, also a son, just graduated and is teaching somewhere..
….with two sons finishing universities and at the threshold of their respective careers, things are looking up for Paknik and Maknik…all those sacrifices, toils, and sheer hard work has borne fruits..that none of his children dropped out of school is a testimony of Paknik as a father, and Maknik as a mother…their children must be very proud of them..
..but he is dead now..no doubt his wife and children will missed him..the eldest will take over the mantle..life goes on regardless..tears hidden..gathering strength from each other..
..and so, to Paknik, Al-Fatihah..may you be in a special Garden bestowed by Him..and your face shined like a thousand suns as He says Salam…Peace..from your God Who is Most Loving..