..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..