Saturday, May 31, 2014

Notes for my novel

While everything is still fresh and raw, I'd be jotting down notes because the intention to write a novel on my mom's life is real and strong.May the book see the light of the day.

I was talking to one of my neighbours today and she told me about her late mom as well (of the same gen with my mom...children of the war). Her mom's stories are much more interesting: she came from Indonesia naik tongkang kecik...boat tu terbalik...she lost her brother and saw tangan terkapai-kapai minta tolong diselamatkan.That picture of death stayed with her till she died.My neighbour was saying they didn't know her mother developed schizophrenia till she was in her the kids were growing up..they remember her as always sleepy and kuat tidur.Rupa2nya she was taking anti-depressant which made her sleepy all the time.Like mine, her mother was also a dialysis patient.I think it would be more trying to care for her than we did with our mom.But we both agreed that when Allah chose us to care for our moms, it was an amanah.Jangan kita complain.My nephew who took care of his dad said there was more rezeki when he took care of his dad than now...when he's gone.I notice this too.When my mom was alive, duit in my handbag berlebih-lebih sampai tak cukup tempat nak simpan.Semalam yang tinggal small notes je...lunch pun tak sempat.

But I want to jot down about the different ways my siblings grieve.
I think we were all overwhelmed by guilt after my mom passed away.The day after the night funeral, my siblings yang jarang visit my mom while she was living in KL rushed to the kubur early in the morning.Biasa bangun lewat. It was a sign of guilt cleansing.

My Kak Ngah who is always in denial and fearful of my mom dying sanggup went on a day trip to KL to bergolek-golek on my mom's bed at Sal's place.Malangnya Sal had changed her bedspread cos' she thought if mak keluar hospital nanti, she'd go back to her place.

Me? I yang jarang memasak ni tak berhenti-henti memasak as though trying to convince myself it's the same home mcm dia masih ada.Of cos' it isn't cos' the voice telling you what to do, asking you to speed up doing things, this that is no longer there.

When we went back to KL, Sal and I (whose homes were the most spent places for my mom) were texting each other of how sad we felt.Orang lain takkan faham.That's what my psychologist friend said - no one will understand your grief.

My friends at IIUM recited al fatihah during their premier workshop for management leaders at Awana on Tuesday.How sweet.Kak Oni told me that the day before they did that for Prof Aziz Berghout's mother who died in Algeria.Masa Kak Oni rang to ask how my mom was, I was in the surau to solat Zohor, 30 or so minutes after her demise.We both broke down on the phone.Kak Oni so overwhelmed...dia yang letak phone dulu.Looking back I thought how kelakar! Two usually strong women akhirnya kecundang! She must have thought of her own mom who died of cancer.

Friday, May 30, 2014

That hollow feeling

One of my messages of condolence came from Sharon Bakar who said no matter how peaceful one went, there would be a hollow in the hearts of those who are left behind.

Memang betul.I was so tired balik dari Raub petang semalam that I took a nap.Tengah2 nap tu that hollow feeling came mendadak.I felt suffocated.I woke up, rasa nak berguling-guling nangis.Frantically trying to reach out to any of my close friends (Nik looked so tired in his sleep that I didn't want to disturb him).Masa nilah my friends tak mengangkat telephone.Then my psychologist friend who is so used to dealing with traumatised patients (she counselled MAS staff post MH370 tragedy) text-ed me.We started talking.She said that hollow feeling is the deepest pain of grief..acknowledge it.The stages of grief would include that..mula-mula shock-denial-guilt-anger etc.I'm between guilt and anger (at myself, at others- for not being kinder to my mom di saat-saat dia memerlukan) but Dr.H agreed with Prof Quayum's wise words: mothers only know how to love and forgive their children.Dr.H ni betul-betul hantaran Tuhan! Alhamdulillah...Allah mendidik dan menjaga kita dalam banyak cara. But it will take time.

By Asar, the floods of emotion burst.I akhirnya berguling-guling juga (metaphorically speaking).By now Nik dah bangun.He said let it go.Let everything out.It's so tiring draining your emotion like that.So after a good 10 mins or so,I pun terdiam.Ada rasa lega.

Then Azah returned my call.Another wise friend. More later.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Last Rawa Queen now gone.

My mother died around Zohor time at HUKM on Tuesday, 27/5/14. Coma was induced so that there would not be too much pressure on her heart.She was on morphine as well.On the second day of her being unconcious, we were allowed to be with her in the ICU ward.As her blood pressure dropped by the minute, we stood close by but there were me, Sal, Eishah, Pak Din and Nasir by her death bed (I sat on a chair not really mengadap her, reading yassin).Then Sal rushed to say lifeline dah lurus.Pak Din who was reciting doas and yassin for almost half an hour pun confirmed mak I dah takda.Then the doctor came...checked semua and further confirmed that the last Rawa Queen was gone.

Eishah teriak.I scolded her and told her to quieten down.Then I pun teriak (quietly). Pak Din said to redho but my mom sempat mengucap.I asked him how he knew cos' mak I was unconcious.He had his way of knowing.Syukurlah alhamdulillah he came to visit and he was there.My mom loved him much.My mom would have preferred the other side of life cos' her husband, mother, siblings and my sister who she kept saying was the kindest of us all..they are all on the other side.My mom pergi dgn senyum di bibir.We had feared for her but I think bkn doa anak2 dia yg akan menyelamatkan dia tetapi dia yg akan save us in akhirat.She could have meninggal syahid kecil for going through (and sabar) 4 years of physical pain..her last few weeks were even more mencabar but tidak sedikit dia menyesali dugaannya.

We decided to mandi the jenazah at the hospital je.So all my siblings,me and two nieces helped with the mandi.Orang yang tolong tu said my mom was so lucky cos' kain and kapas bungkus jenazah tu berlebih2. Mek said becos' she's small size.The lady said tidak juga..ini rezeki dia.Another good sign.We were happy.We wanted her to have a good end...diredhoi Allah.

Around 6 pm, jenazah dibawa balik to my mom's place in Raub.This was her wish.Mula2 I bergaduh juga with my no. 1 and no. 3 who live in Raub.They wanted jenazah to turun from their home.Alasannya rumah mak dah lama tinggal..semak samun etc.Why didn't they take care of it, I asked.Dah..bergaduh pulak kejap.Anyway, I sent back my bibik a day earlier and got one of my nephews to clear up junk things yang dia simpan dekat depan rumah my mom saying the least we could do was to give her our last respect.Sebelum ni dah berbuih mulut ckp suruh clear up, clear up.Alhamdulillah he said yes (this is the closest grandson who had been living in the house on and off whn my mom moved to live with us in KL).Long got another maid to help my maid clean the the end kami berjaya bersepakat on this last respect.

Nik and I arrived the latest..missed the solat jenazah secara jemaah but the three of, him and Sham my nephew did another before jenazah dibawa ke tanah perkuburan di Kg Semantan where everyone in the family was buried.Dah jadi mcm private graveyard pulak.

Pak Din and Zalila arrived dulu dari kita dan sempat solat jenazah.Zalila said mak I pernah pesan kat Pak Din dulu if she died, pls solat jenazah kat dia.That was why he came.They are like family already to us.We went in one car.Pak Din called Zalila to tunjuk betapa cantiknya liang lahad my mom..mcm disimen-simen..mmg betul...mcm ada ukiran masjid on the dinding kubur.Everything went fast and quick.Semua cucu-cucu lelaki yg mak I jaga masa kecik yg carried the keranda and buried her.Just as she had so often wished.

We went back to have dinner at my mom's plc...everyone was talking about this tough Rawa queen...I will be writing more about her in a novel...insyaAllah.I told Sean cos' he wanted to know how old my mom was..Sean said wht a remarkable woman she was and said he'd talk about her in his class on impact of World War 2 and the development of modern Malaysia.Ha engkau!

Bibik told me more of my mom cos' they were best friends when my mom was living with me.There were so many things she told bibik which she never told us.Baru I tau why my mom was so determined to give us the best of education, why she would not let us cook and how she met my dad.Betullah Sean kata my mom was an excellent enterpreneur ( I told him how even without education..she missed out cos' of WW2 zaman Jepun..umur 15 pun dah kena kawin, my mom punya properties more than wht we have now).Bibik later told me how my mom jual manggis murah RM2 dari her cousin so everyone bought from her.Duit tu she beli make-up and bedak sebab dia ikut one of my uncles (a violinist) nyanyi kat kenduri kawin.Wow! So she was also a singer.Bab ni she never told us.She also berlakon in school concerts but since girls were not allowed to be onstage, she had to drag her two brothers on stage to act with her.That's how my dad saw her and fell in love.He would always wait for her after school (my dad stalking my mom!).She hated him at first..would throw his songkok at him.But my dad told her he wanted to marry her.He was in his mid 20s and working with the government.My aruah wan said choose Manaf and not the other guys.Haha..far-sighted betul my aruah wan.Her other girls had married rubber tappers so I guess she wanted the best for the youngest daughter.

(Tunggu novel untuk cerita selanjutnya)

I have only this to say: I love you mak and wished I had treated you better the last four years you suffered.Semoga Allah ampuni our dosa and that your roh dilimpahi rahmah with your other family tercinta on the other side.Al fatihah.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


It was a happy black&white reunion not only for Nora&Mazlan but for all of us saudara mara, sahabat taulan and former students. I went earlier cos' Nik was still working on his press releases.He arrived from office tak lama lepas I sampai.

Masuk je, nampak Ikmal and Dell and the every table there would be people I knew and everyone said the same was a blessed gathering and I am so happy for Nora and Mazlan (we went a long way...Nik got close to Mazlan as Scottish buddies..Mazlan in Glasgow, him in Stirling.Mazlan and I knew each other since we were 11 and met again at Matric Subang Jaya..he just got married to Nora then.)

Kita doakan mereka kekal bahagia sehingga ke akhir hayat.

Yesterday's KBM was fun sebab kita buat kecoh pasal byk perkara which would have raised doubts about unis being intellectual orgs.Nmpk mcm my colleagues ni very da best cos' mrk bkn kaki bodek.I really, really like.Tapi jgn tompang gelak la sama gue bila gue open my big mouth. :))

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Nazeer was in a foul mood today.He'd cry when we angkat dia.Rupa2nya sleepy! So as I carried him in my arm...tak sampai beberapa minit, he was asleep, sucking his thumb! Cute banget!

Some pics (and some of Z's 22nd bday last week):

High drama

Sometimes I feel we no longer know how to take care of our aged parent.She's 82 this year and as her health deteriorates, we think of the best ways to make her comfortable.

On Saturday, Mek drove back after driving my mom back to Raub to fulfil her wish to "tengok rumah". The house is long abandoned since my mom moved to live in KL and JB every now and then.On Sunday, mak was supposed to fly with Farhan (Sal's eldest son) to JB but I had a distress sms frm Sal at 7.30 pm on Sat saying my mom didn't stop bleeding from her fistular at tne Dialysis Centre.My husband and I rushed to the scene and while the nurses struggled to stop the blood frm flowing mcm flood, we prepared to drive her to a private hospital near my home.Basyir had to come with us to help press the arm so tht blood would stop.Midway, Basyir was saying baju mereka dah lenjun with blood.By the time we sampai the hosp, nurses and guards rushed to rush my mom to the emergency room.It looked like someone had stabbed her in the stomach.

Nak jadikan cerita, doctor binggong on duty tu said they could not handle the situation cos' my mom was bleeding too critically.They could only try to stabilise her and suggested I bring her bck to HUKM where she did her fistular and that she had to go in the ambulance.Blood pressure was too high then it went too low.As I was going out, I sempat beritau doctor ngok tu how surprised I was he didn't want to do anything to my mom.Si ngok tanya I,"But what can I do?". I said if anything happens to my mom on the way,I'd hold him responsible.When I met up with two members of the family who're doctors themselves, they told me to report the matter to MMC for unprofessional behaviour (it was an emergency). Maybe I case it happens to others..kalau nak cases yang cantik je, janganlah buka hospital babe.Buka la health resort sahaja..tempat orang berehat-rehat.This country is going to the dogs, I tell ya.

So I merasalah naik ambulance...I found something more disturbing.Most motorists do not give way to emergency sirens! Mereka drive mcm lenggang2 kangkung! I asked tne nurse attending to my mom in the ambulance: adakah ini normal..people not giving ways? She said biasa kak.Mereka tak cepat-cepat kasi ruang.

But I have to give it to the young doctors at HUKM emergency room.They all looked tired but they served dengan penuh rasa tanggungjawab.One young doctor nmpk letih sangat tapi masih terus bekerja.Mukanya haram nampak mcm he felt he should not be there.I must write to the CEO and Dean to congratulate them.Berbeza betul dgn hospital penipu yg private tu (naik ambulance with emergency service tu dah RM800+.., mak I nyaris juga nak mati).

I really feel if we pay a bit more to government  hospitals esp uni hospitals pun tak apa.They work hard!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Almost the end of a semester

Why do I feel like so consumed, so shredded this end of semester? (isn't it always, though?) Alhamdulillah my work is in order but theses luar tu masih tersadai (maybe this is why! Why do students bother to write fat theses? Brevity is wit..tidakkah mereka tahu?)

I'm quite happy with my CW output despite being away for a week.My online coursemates pandai-pandai belaka.Their stories are always funny and deep.Seronok juga baca hasil tulisan orang lain ni.One might think doing it online is easy.I think not.There were times rasa mcm I need a real facetime with my tutor.Ada masa mcm malas nak hantar assignment but so many kiasus in the class so the pressure is on.

Zetty presented her Dept's work on digital radio and newspaper.It's a nice feeling sharing their achievements.Tiba-tiba ada pulak gambar I terselit kat video depa.Mesti orang ingat gila glamour cos' I seem to be everywhere.Let me correct this: it was one job I offered to instil budaya membaca di kalangan students (and others) so I offered to do a book review slot for the radio.Sekali tu je..(cos' the idea is to get other lecturers esp Profs to share what they read to inspire listeners).Nampaknya I kena lah bantu cari orangnya now since gambar dah keluar.Some things are just meant to be.


A bit late for a meeting but nice discoveries.A few people expressed how it's been a longgggg time since they last saw me.They were not the only ones saying so.Mmg I takda masa nak ber-lime light macam zaman IWFF.Haha.The amount of work post IWFF mmg tidak terbayang.And yet.Rasa macam satu pun tak siap.And much done.But I love these people who had kindly expressed their happiness to work on projects I'd enjoy doing.If done as a team, tak ngapa.I buat sorang-sorang, tak naklah saya.

Monday, May 12, 2014

More memories of Kyoto

I will want to return with my family for a real holiday here jika diizinkan Allah.

the map of the Imperial Palace which is open only twice
 a year to the public
so kami cuma bergambar depan batu UNESCO ni je la
(which declared the site as a world heritage)
ni kat tempat lain

some of the participants of a session at the conference
This lady is from Turkey (who later came to me to ask about my topic and 
dalam tergesa-gesa tu I forgot to bring my card.Cheh! But she took my email add)
masa yang terhad untuk topic yang besar (for all)

eating from our Japanese lunch boxes.And networking
too many fine dining jap restaurants kat mall bawah hotel kami
Ni kat Gion tempat Seiki bawak kita dinner
traditional homes turned posh dining area, Gion
colour yang menarik
orang selalu ingat Gion was once a red-light district.It was never
Seiki kata kat shrine ni lah geishas pi semayang sesudah dan sebelum kerja.
I looked up Wiki...Gion was never that kind of place and geishas are not pros
in front of Gion Uemori,the restaurant where we dined in Gion.Seiki had to book
a week early and that was the last table
waitress dia fasih ckp English
This I will never forget.Raw fish yang buat I kena keracunan makanan.Sashimi tuna and snapper, dipped in soy sauce or eaten with wasabi
On the day kebakaran berlaku (but it was not here).Ni depan
hotel kami
ah...the river in Gion as we all strolled and talked nonsense, coming 
back from dinner
you'll love this area.Damai.
takda yang bising dan mabuk
At the roofed market downtown
macam-macam ada
yang mungkin boleh dimakan mentah
kerang sebesar telor ayam
downtown Kyoto is very modern and besar
masih di pasar berbumbung
jika nak beli kain ela
Japanese garden
bukan autumn pun tapi pokok ni mungkin plastik.
Hard to tell in Japan
yang ramai pakai mcm ni pelancong luar yang sewa baju Jepun.
Jangan tertipu
I'm quite sure this is pegaga but Seiki kata tak leh makan.

Bdk-bdk sekolah beli gula-gula pelbagai perisa
yang diperbuat dari tepong beras, isinya mcm2 flavour: banana,
strawberry, cokelat etc
third generation penenun sutera Jepun di Kyoto.I bought a tie for
my cik abang di rumah
makanan Jepun yang halal! (in our hotel area)
typical Japanese lunch box meal
Mak Makoto kasi..ingat ubat gegat but Seiki kata gula2
so boleh dimakan dgn selamat
where we stayed.Very convenient
Sushis sold at Kyoto Station area
one of two things I sempat beli di Isetan.Harganya da bomb
but made in Japan
byk tempat semayang mcm ni di tepi2 jalan

the selendang I liked so much.Two items dah dekat seribu ringgit Malaysia!
But made in Japan.Puas hati!

Sisa-sisa musim bunga di Kyoto
Had a quick meeting and drinks with two Profs from Kyoto
Uni's Centre of SEASian Studies: Mario dan Carol
I enjoyed the time out with them.Nak datang kembali!

Kamo River dekat Uni of Kyoto.Ada org duduk atas batu tu 
main music
cuisine yang berbeza every time makan
backgroundnya cantik.This at the conference 
venue: Kyoto Research Park