He is a pure kampong boy from northern of Perak. Grew up with 7 other siblings in an old wooden house with dirt floor that they called home. My late grandmother once told my mum that she felt a wash of coldness while giving birth to my father. Did I mentioned it took place in middle of the paddy field? Yes, he was delivered at a paddy field. His parents did various jobs in the village to put food on the table. He grew up differently from the rest. While others in such lacking environment busied themselves with work and friends and other activities, abah was keen towards learning. Among stories an uncle told me were that he would fight his way to ensure he gets to school even if it was pouring rain thrashing through muddy roads, he would collect newspapers thrown on the street just so that he would have some reading material to go through and he would light up a candle at night to re-read his text book at the end of the bed with wooden plank he found as table when the whole house quiet to sleep. Readers, when a good man passed, other people will continue telling his good stories.
His love for education and for learning led him to the university becoming among the first in his village to ever do so. From crawling through degree, to accomplishing his masters in the land down under of Australia to finally conquer his PhD. All in his journey to become the teacher, the educator, the best and that he can be. His accomplishment was made successful with his savior by his side, the one that always stood strong amidst the trouble life could throw and the one that joined him reaching the same goal even to PhD level, his true life partner, my mum. They were like the dynamic duo in the education world. Supporting each other in various researches, finding ways to deliver teaching and influence students, travelling buddies carrying their laptops everywhere working through vacation. It’s one of those unique sites that as a daughter it’s a privilege to witness.
Although he left us all a little too soon. He didn’t even had enough time seeing his grandchildren grows up or meet his new future grandson, or spend his retiree money on lavish vacation or step into the new place he bought for his lover. Emotionally we might sometimes feel he was taken away too early in his life but when we assessed the situation, his timing was selected and right for him. Allah invited him home. A few months before he left, we hear beautiful things from him knowing unconsciously that his good time was near. He often said he kept seeing someone in white by the window peeking, or he has people in white visiting him, or he saw that beautiful garden that he begged the people there to let him stay but they kept saying not yet but soon. It’s nothing scary but admirably beautiful.
His memories and the lesson he passed on would keep us grounded as long as we lived. He advised me to improve my Bahasa. Hehe, still working on it abah! He advised my younger sisters to not be someone else’s maid, be a boss. He proved it by never bullying my mum into house chores and treat her like a queen she is wherever she goes. And no one can bully my mum either. In his own funny way that is how he display his love for his queen. He was always the good son and worked hard to improve his parents’ lives and with my mum together they sent them for Haj even with their minimum school teachers’ salaries back then. He has his way of helping others but he hates lazy people and feel that if you are lazy you do not deserve help until you prove yourself. His heart is genuine and he does not talk about others. He so hates gossiping and it makes him uncomfortable that he would leave the room. That’s my abah.
His love for his daughters were unconditional. He would travel for hours on the road regularly just to visit his daughters from boarding school, to universities and up till we were at work and more so after we got married. It shows that no matter how old we get we are still his little girl. How I remembered him visiting with groceries and fruits and more fruits. Being the Asian parents, he always asked us to save money. Whenever we had extra cash and bonus and feel like treating the family he would always be so reluctant to accept and insist on paying and kept reminding us to save money. Yes abah we will, Insyaallah. And don’t get me started on education and prayers. He would want his daughters to excel in their studies and have a sense of securities and in his understanding that is the definition of independent women. Being smart and able to provide on your own and not asking from anyone else. It’s a deep lesson of success and pride being demonstrated in real life. The biggest adversity in life for him would be when it relates to his precious daughters. I remembered how my late sister passing almost broke him once. Future reminder to self, to keep his legacy proud. In later post I would love to share how he enjoys embarrassing his daughters. Which until now become one of the sweetest memories I ever so cherish. Al-fatihah….