Saturday, 13 March 2010

..pakmat's chronology..

..inasmuch Malaysia as a country had its formative years in the fifties and the sixties..from the Federated Malay States, Unfederated Malay States to the Federation of Malaya..(a term that pakmat loved best..Persekutuan Tanah Melayu..taking it to mean unity in a country)..so did pakmat..I considered the fifties and the sixties as my formative years, too..growing and maturing along with my country, Malaysia..

..the onslaught of the Japanese 25th Army..routing the British on bicycles..

..it was on the 13th of  March, 1945 or thereabout that I was born..in Lemal, Pasir Mas, Kelantan..at the tail end of the Japanese Occupation..where food is scarce, money of the banana kind valueless and life is cheap..even though it lasted only for a number of years..from 8.12.1941 to 3.9.1945, it was a life of hardship unparalleled in the history of Malaya..

..and took over KL..

..and I cannot imagine or put a scale on the hardship that my late parents must have gone through during those period..for when the Japanese 25th Army landed in Kota Bharu that fateful day on the 8th of
December, 1941 at almost 2.00 o'clock in the morning,  my eldest brother, Johan was 2 years old and my mother in confinement with her second son, Adnan....there were no stories to tell, but when her husband, Hamid, died in late 1944, she was a two months pregnant widow with two sons aged around 6 and 4..and a bad bout of morning sickness..but I was born, nonetheless..and through the pain and blood, she must have cried out for her late husband, as I must have cried out, too, gasping for air, in protestation of being released from the comfort of her womb...

..I know she struggled to bring the three of us up..the best she could..even thought the Japanese surrendered, nationalism was born, communism through the MCP became a threat..and a state of Ermegency was declared in 1948..it unsettled her..a young mother trying to fill out her life with subsequent marriages that somehow failed to fleshed out the vacuum  left by my father's death..

..but in 1951 her younger brother, Zakaria, was a somebody..an Assistant District Officer in Kuala Krai..and so to him she sought help..'Take this Mamat, my son..and give him a chance for education"..he took me and promptly send me to school..Government English School (Primary), Kuala Krai..and pakmat suddenly became an 'anak D.O.', whatever it means..

..it was the height of the emergency in Kuala Krai..the nights inevitably broken by the staccato sounds of gunfire and the days I was taught 'a man a pan...a man and a pan..' my first introduction to the Queens language..and rides to Kota Bharu was almost always on an amoured GMC police truck..

.. on 27th Julai, 1955, Malaya held its first General Election..I was in Standard 5..it was festival time in Kuala Krai but I did not know anything about it..I remembered the song, though..and the late Dato' Zainal Alam..



..when Tunku shouted Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! on the 31st August, 1957 I was in Form 2 and in Perak..Sultan Yusof School, Batu Gajah..reading Henry Miller alongside The Tale of Two Cities..and a thick sex manual that my late uncle hid in his cupboard..


..and when Malaysia was declared on the 16th of September, 1963, I was a temporary Federal clerk  with the Public Services Commission, Young Road, KL..having been appointed earlier on the 18th of May, 1963..managing to impress the interview board with my command of English..

..yes, I grew up and matured together with my country, Malaysia..been through its highs and lows..sang wholeheartedly God Save the Queen and stood just as proudly through the strains and drumbeat of Negara Ku..

..now in peaceful Bachok I made my retreat..leading my life as quietly as I could..the sun may have faded from my life..and I am enjoying the stars..but I know, for my country, the sun is shining just as brightly, through the storm clouds and the tempests...I leave thee in the hands of my children and my grandchildren..
..and to my parents, my mother who toiled during those desperate years, my father whom I never get to see...Al-Fatihah..

21 comments:

hazeleyed lady said...

Ass-Salam pakmat
Hardship in life forced people to be creative and independent.
i suppose ...living and experiencing life in that period of time has made you what you are today...
You should be proud of yourself pakmat.
Allah Bless you.

Kama said...

salam pakmat. a bittersweet account. it brought me back to my late opah's recollections of her own personal heartache during the japanese occupation.

your mom's story paralleled my grandma's. grandpa died age 25 during the japanese occupation, leaving a young widow age 22 and 4 small children, the eldest of whom was my mom (she was 7).

she took to renting a stall in pasar besar kota baru and sewing to feed her young family. i was told the kids (including the baby) survived on ubi kayu and kopi o during those hard times.

we are so blessed not to have to suffer the way they did, YET far too many of us, especially the young 'uns, don't have an iota of syukur in our soul... so sad..

pakmat said...

salam hazel..yes, I am..:) but the hardship faced by the ppl, kelantanese, especially, were real..too real..stories about the atrocities are in everyone's memory..it was a hard time..

salam lady kama..ubi kayu and daun pucuk ubi kayu cicah dgan budu..masa ndah telah, panjang dagu-dagu..:) we joked about it now..even the survivors make fun of those times..I guess as a way of accepting their hard past..but life then was always under the threat of a slap or a bayonet..and I do not think that our imaginations can equal the sufferings of your opah..or my mother..but maybe the occupation served as an awakening..to the ppl and to the rulers..and not least, to the british..thank you for sharing your thoughts here..:)

rizal hashim said...

May Allah bless your mother's soul and grant her the gardens of paradise.

pakmat said...

..thank you, lc..and may you and your family be blessed..as said uncle lee, keep that song in your heart, and a smile on your lips..best wishes to Intan and your kids..and steady with that heart..:)

mekyam said...

love history lessons from a personal view like this. make the events more real. thank u, pakmat!

pakmat said...

hi mekyam..I like to think that I grew up together with my country..:)

mamadou said...

Assalamualaikum Pak Mat

Mengenang kembali sejarah. Terkenang masa duka kemudiannya ada ruang ria, merasa kita berjaya mengumpali waktu meraih kejayaan yang mungkin diwaktu itu tidak pernah diimpikan. Mengenang jua jerih orang tua yang tidak tahu erti sesal membuah kesesalan berpanjangan kerana tidak sempat mengenang jasa apatah berbakti yang semahunya.

Perjalan jauh, menjadikan kita lebih mengertikan apa ertinya pengorbanan

Terima kasih

sot said...

Salam Pakmat, reminds me of a song thought to me during a stay at my auntie's house at Telok Kemang with her soldier's husband - "den den poi, masuk dlm hute, den dapat sekor ayam done, den den poi jupo sajan mejo, den dapat pangkat las kopral, 515 hari jepon merintoh negori, ramai rakyat yg bengkak kaki, akibat makan rebus ubi".

Patricia said...

Your post made me remember the stories my dad used to tell us when we were young. Both he and my mum lived through the war years, and the stories are sad ones.

I remember him with my son in his lap, and my daughter at his feet - telling his 'old' stories, and the two of them in rapt attention.

History come alive. Worth more than the 'distant' narrative found in a book - made real in the telling, by someone 'who was there'.

Thank you for sharing, and bringing back memories of my dad, who's well past all these worldly horrors now.

pakmat said...

salam mamadou..indah susunan kata-kata saudara..:)..dan dari seseorang yang bahasa melayu bukan bahasa ibunda..dan memang penyesalan meresapi dada pakmat..antara seorang ibu dan anak..kerna kata-kata yang tidak diluahkan..kasih dan sayang yang jarang dizahirkan..kesilapan waktu muda yang tidak diperbetulkan..
..satu perjalanan yang jauh, mamadou..InsyaAllah..kita akan diketemukan...:) cheers..


salam sot..sejarah memang akan membuat kita terkenang..:) sebenarnya banyak lagu-lagu yang mencuit hati..:)

pakmat said...

..hi, pat..everyone has stories to tell about those trying times..but I noticed that no matter how horrifying the stories are, there is always humorous slant to it..stories about hiding from the jap, and wetting one's pant with fear, being slapped for not showing respect or bowing your head..yes, we all have our stories to tell..ppl of those time deserved our respect..

hazeleyed lady said...

1963...you were already a clerk...when i was only 3! Life must be tough...
Stay healthy and happy ok pakmat.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Pakmat,

I’d got an uncle who was trucked away into the jungle by the japs & was never seen again. Dad & his other siblings boycotted Japs’ product ‘til the day they died tho they never enforce that rule to our generation. I guess it’s just‘hatred’ between their generation only.

Also Pakmat, I can imagine U got into this craze back in the 60’s…hahaha so retro one!

So hip

Cheers,
Tommy

aneem aida said...

am fascinated with your good english that d misery your mother went through takes second seat.It's not easy to find good english these days;times may be bad then but pak mat and many pursued knowledge and english with zest.Unfortunately today,even TESL graduates don't write well.Keep writing with nostalgia as it does evoke sentiments of nationhood and make us realise the vision and sacrifices our forefathers had and made for us.Those were the bad good old times !

pakmat said...

..thank you, lady a aida..you sure you r 15..?..!..:) for if you r, than pakmat is fascinated with you..and the maturity displayed..a rare combination of virtues in someone so young..cheers..

pakmat said...

..salam hazel..yes..:) life is tough..and I am several decades older than you..but I will try to stay healthy and happy..

hi tommy..of course I was into ago-go..twist..and the limbo..and of course, there are many who went missing those times..with some ended up as targets for bayonets practice..but then it was war..and wars tend to bring out the worse in men..and the best, too..if it is of any consolation, tommy, almost everybody lost someone or something to the japs, then..

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Abe Mat,
Wow! So nostalgic. I can't compare my life with yours, for I am only 3 compared to your 65! Anyway, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! Better late than never, right? purrr....meow!

pakmat said...

my dear cat..3 in a cat's world is 30 in human's..that makes almost half my age..:)

aneem aida said...

Im so sorry pak mat.Actually, my auntie who is a teacher at VI,she was fascinated after reading your article, she requested me to help her post her comment to your article. So, being an obedient niece,I oblige without much hesitation. Sorry again Pak Mat.

As for myself, yes I'm 16 years old this year. Well, Im a cyber crazy some sort and I had read some of your articles and it is really touching coz i live in a different environment compared to what pak mat had gone through.I will keep reading your postings coz it will also help to improve my english. You have inspire me coz in my school teachers always make fun to those who hails from kelantan even teachers can't speak good English...you know kelantanspeaks.Thanks alot. Salam.

pakmat said...

salam, young lady aneem aida..no problem and your command of English is way ahead of most 16yr-olds..and your aunt?..send her my regards..tell her that in 1962/1963 pakmat used to walk up to VI in the evenings to attend Further Education Class, Form Six..from Hose Road, where Dewan Bahasa is, for home was somewhere there then..and tell her that pakmat's flattered by her comments..:)I've read a bit of your blog..and like it..and I think your r a very responsible sort of a girl and I am proud of u..have fun but keep that dream in focus..jdbb..jaga diri baik-baik..cheers..