Monday, June 23, 2008


I was at the Newsroom when Ayah called around lunch time.

“Ami, Pakcik Rawi dah meninggal. When can you come home? We must go…”

“I’ll be there at 3:00”


As soon as we reached Kampung Ramuan Cina Kecil, near Lubok Cina, Melaka, we saw the old folks starting to assemble in front of the surau.

I stopped the car and Ayah went out to say hello.

I didn’t recognize any of them and had no idea how they fit in & where they are in the family tree.

But their ears looked like Ayah's, their eyes... and some even walked like Ayah.

I got out of the car and bersalaman with all of them.

They just couldn’t take their eyes of me like I was some strange makhluk from outer space…

”Wah anak Dak Leman ni dah gomok botor. Ekau ni bilo nak kawin? Muka lawa, duit manyak, oghang glemo, terkonar, apo tak kawin-kawin, nanti dah tuo, dah sakit, ado yo oghang tolong tengok an…”

I just smiled. There was not much I could do to shut them up, after all, I have to respect these people, as they are related to me.


As the jenazah was still on the way from Klang (Pak Cik Rawi meninggal at Hospital Klang, and my cousin Md Shah and his family were on their way bringing the jenazah) me, Ayah and Mak went to Mak Teh’s house. Mak Teh is my mom’s elder sister.

After spending time with Mak Teh, we went to see Mak Andak, who has been very ill.

Mak Andak was staying at her daughter’s house.

She has been eating very little and she was so thin.

Mak Andak was bedridden and has trouble communicating and remembering.

But despite all that she called my name as soon as I walked into the room.

She was so nice to even ask me if I was OK, and how come no one was serving us drinks.

I cried in my heart as Mak Andak looked so frail.

When I was small, I always enjoyed spending time with my cousins at Mak Andak’s house in Sungai Baru.

Mak Andak never failed to bake cookies for us kids and I liked looking at Mak Andak because she was one of the most beautiful ladies in the kampong.

Her husband, the late Pak Andak Salleh was a great man.

He cracked lots of jokes.

Pak Andak, like Ayah, was one of the few budak kampong made good, studied at SITC (the best teachers training college at that time) and was a good and well known mathematics tutor.

Pak Andak died about 2 years ago.

After Pak Andak died, Mak Andak must have been so lonely until she fell ill.


After spending time with Mak Andak, we went to visit Mak Cik (Ita’s and Ana’s mom).

Mak Cik has been sick too. Mak Cik is Ayah’s sister.

Her hearing was bad, so it was difficult to communicate. I smiled most of the time and she smiled back.


The jenazah arrived at about 6:15 pm.

We performed the Sembahyang Jenazah, but we didn’t stay for the burial as Ayah and Mak thought I was so taxed by the whole thing, particularly the attention and remarks by the clan and being photographed by the kids using their handphones.

I was OK and quite used to remarks like apo tak kawin, apo gomok bonar etc… I have the skills to tune out without being angry. Well, Mak and Ayah have always been very protective.


On the journey home, I asked God for more time for me to spend with Ayah and Mak.

Ayah is now 76 years old.

I have lots of things to catch up with Ayah and Mak.

We just couldn’t find extra time to spend more quality time. We are always in a hurry.

I just want Ayah & Mak to know that I love them very much.

Ami sayang Ayah, Ami sayang Mak.

Now, every time Ayah or Mak demam, I will panic… I want to spend more time with them while at the same time I know they have very little time left….

I cried while driving back to KL. Both Ayah and Mak were sleeping in the car as tears drenched the collar of my shirt.