Friday, 15 December 2006

An annual review of sorts

In just two weeks we will say goodbye to 2006. I know its a cliche, but time really flies and one can’t help but look at what life has offered us this past year. How much have I achieved and how much of what I dreamt of in 2005 is still a dream ? I know it is so easy to focus on just the downside and not look at the wonderful things that have made life worth living. That was what I was doing – fretting on lost opportunities, sighing on unachievable dreams. Then you realise that others have a far worst deal thrown at them.

Just look at the plight of 3 year old Syazwan Johari who has already lost one eye because of retinablastoma – a genetic condition he inherited from his mother who is already blind. He is in danger of losing the one good eye that now affords him the view of this world, of his mother, of the people around him. The ray of hope that a surgery in the US could save his eyesight was dashed recently when the family was told that his case does not merit aid from the ministry. How sad. I wish it is cases like this that is raised in our corridors of power rather than trivial issues like attacking working mums and ridiculous polygamy awards.

Dr Bubbles, who is involved in clown therapy and fund raising, has been a close friend of mine for a long, long time and I know of his tireless efforts to help children like Syazwan. It takes a lot to despair him but I know that being THAT close to the subject and yet knowing that his efforts and that of his friends from MAKNA might be too late, is taking its toll on this selfless clown. As an old member of he knew that we could support him, for we had supported him when he went to his clown workshop in US some years ago. And true to the spirit of many have pledged to help, not just financially but also physically. With members around the world and in Philladephia, where Syazwan is scheduled to be treated, we can count on their support. But what is more important now is that, Syazwan needs help to get him there. Go to DrBubbles to see how you can help.

The last few days have been quite taxing emotionally. I thank God Almighty that my childhood friend had a successful operation. And thank you for your doas and well wishes.

Last night, I sat in the train homeward bound, reading a journal that took me into the private life of someone I used to know. There were times I had to stifle a sob. I went through years of his life in that short train ride while my friend lies in a morgue in west London, awaiting burial.

It must have been about five years ago that I cultivated his friendship. He used to sit alone enjoying his meal in the canteen of the old Malaysia Hall in Bryanston Square and I chatted him up. I am quite notorious that way. I tend to be drawn to people with interesting stories. And I tend to have a way of drawing out those interesting stories from them. My newfound friend said he designed restaurants. Restaurants with concept. Interesting, I thought. And later, during our subsequent meetings over coffee or teh tarik, he would confide to me that he had had heart transplant. This man sitting opposite me had a woman’s heart beating in him. Now, the story was getting more interesting. And he confided in me that he jotted down his fears, his apprehensions before and after the transplant. He said, one day, we should sit down and write this book together so that it would benefit those with heart problems. By this time, the conversation got really interesting. And we met up here and there. Sms’ed this and that. But what he didn’t tell me was he had been ill with liver cancer and was in hospital these last few months. He left us last week.

His sister is here to arrange for the burial and to pack his things. I told her about the journal. I am borrowing it for a while. My friend, I didn’t know your fear, your loneliness and your longing for your homeland that is Malaysia. I didn’t know you were scared and had no one around you. And I am so sorry for failing you. We had tahlil for him last night. Al Fatehah.

This failure to do something before he went reminded me of my failure to bring Pak Cik Hamzah home. Pak Cik wanted to go home to see his homeland after more than 50 years away, he had packed his bags – he asked whether three suitcases were enough and I had said yes, as we stood in his bare flat in Cardiff. Again, Pak Cik Hamzah left and I got to know about it quite late. What kind of a friend am I????

ButI shouldn't lament further, because I have friends such as Dr Bubbles working tirelessly, another friend like this helping another friend with a very serious disease. And as I type this entry of mine, lamenting things I had not done, yming DrBubbles with updates on Syazwan, another kind soul sent both of us an email with a very encouraging news. Yes, there are wonderful and kind friends around. Alhamdulillah!


Anonymous said...

hi kak teh.

365 days is so short, yet so long. No matter what, every year passed is a year to remember.

Have a fantastic 2007.


Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
I have passed the word round about Syazwan's plight on my blog. I'll see what else I can do.

Kak Teh said...

Have a fantastic new year too vern!

alice, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Al fatihah to ur friend..

kak teh..u r doing something with this entry.. u know many many many people read ur blog..indirectly..u r already helping shazwan....will try to help if i can..
may allah help Dr bubles in all his effort..

Anonymous said...

Like Simah said, your blog reaches out to many many people and in your own way, you are doing so much more than so many of us could do. I think you're fantastic, whatever you may think *winks* .. just a little comment to say that I'm alive, heheh.

JoeBangla said...

salam.tak tau nak cakap apalah Kak Teh tapi one of your stories (tak yah cakap lah yg mana satu) nih brought tears to my eyes. scary....

Jane Sunshine said...

Makes one feel so small, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But I echo Blabs, you've done so much and touched so many people in so many ways. I am so proud to be your friend.

Anonymous said...

KakTeh, you are such a wonderful and dear friend. May Allah reward you for all the good deeds you have done, for spreading the word around and for being there whenever someone needs a helping hand.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, sometimes I sense you are too humble. I also sense that you do a lot and help a lot of people but yet you feel you've not done enough. If only your friends could assure you that you have done more than they had expected. You are one person with many, many friends but not enough hours in a day to keep in touch with all. Put it down to timing and not because you haven't done enough. Don't forget, you work, you have a husband, four kids and six cats. I am sure none of your friends expect anymore from you than you have already given. May God bless you for the way you give your 100% to all you meet and know.
I am sure I am speaking on behalf of all your friends that we all appreciate you very much for the little and big things that you do.
2007 will see Kak Teh also receiving blessings from all her friends and no regrets. :))

Kak Teh said...

simah, kita buat apa yang termampu. Insyaallah.

blabs, happy to see u here! thanks for kind words.

joe, i know and i understand.

Kak Teh said...

jane, jane, jane! need hug!

klmuk, i know what you have done too. thank you.

Judy, thank you for kinds wiords and wishes.

~ GAB ~ said...

Happy New Year!

I cannot help but wonder, about the "old" Malaysian men in that land, are they happened to be stuck over there and having no means to be back in Malaysia or simply they had nowhere to go? Or rather the complacent that makes them stay?

I met a lady in that dinner in Washington DC years ago. She was on holiday with her hubby, a Belgian gentleman. She read medicine before and the hubby was her classmate but she decided to quit before the commencement due to the sick daughter, diagnosed with some kind of muscular disorder thing. It was a tough decision for her to make at that time but he decided to quit anyway, to be round the clock taking care of her kid. I asked her, "Do you regret quitting medicine yourself?" She said "No, perhaps I am happier to see my daughter's well-taken care of... One day, she'll continue my dream to be a medical doctor"

~ GAB ~ said...

Forgot to tell you, that lady is a Malaysia lady. She was in TKC or STF or something, she was a bright student then.

Anonymous said...

Clark Gable Of Pulau Duyung signing In:

Just come across interesting read today.Lat's Kg Boy has made it big in America with glowing review.Comparison to Charles Shultz of Peanut ,labelled as Will Esner of Malaysia and Matt Goering of SIMPSON praised him too!!...we cant just put the ceiling to his gem,can we???

Kak Teh said...

gab, some of them do have means to go back. theyhad worked all their lived and had pensions. indeed some went back. but for some, they have lost contact and with one or two after i had highlighted in the press, their relatives contacted them and they went home.

my heart goes out to that lady looking after her daughter. all that sacrifice!

clark gable of pulau duyung,
we are really proud of him!

tokasid said...

Salam to all.

Kak teh, sebenarnya ramai antara kita merasakan kita tidak membuat secukupnya atau yg sepatutnya.Ini kerana expectation kita towards ourselves is too high.

yg penting, kita telah membuat sesuatu yg bermakna dalam hidup samada kpd diri sendiri atau orang lain.Directly or indirectly.Like what you have been doing all this while.

Your cerita ceriti had actually menyedarkan sesetangah kita apa yg kadang2 kita tak perasan atau nampak.

Thank you kak teh and do continue selagi larat noo....

(Teringin sangat nak makan ikan pekasam sepat benua. Nak kena balik SP la lagu ni)

Kak Elle said...

kah teh it sadden me to read this entry and I salute you ..I agree with Simah and al-fathiha to the uncle.

m.u.l.a.n said...

alfatihah to your friend kak teh. wishing you everlasting love, happiness & rahmat Allah (for all the good deeds that u've done).. happy new year..

Anonymous said...

Adik Teh dan pengembara alam siber semua,

Lama tidak berpantun seloka
Blog adik tetap abang baca
Sekadar rasa kurang selesa
Mengenang nasib nusa bangsa.

Adik bercakap tentang putaran masa
Tentang musim yang berlalu dan tiba
Tentang masa yang menjadi ukuran usia
Tentang rindu, dendam dan nostalgia.

Musim gugur hidup kita
Ketika hati terasa hiba
Melihat daun-daun berguguran
Ditiup angin berterbangan.

Musim gugur hidup kita
Ketika nostalgia datang melanda
Melihat matahari hilang sinarnya
Burung-burung terbang hilang entah ke mana.

Musim gugur hidup kita
Ketika duka menusuk jiwa
Melihat langit gelap mendung
Pohon-pohon bogel basah dan murung.

Tetapi haruskah musim gugur membawa duka
Membuat hati rundung dan lara?
Mengapa tidak kita raikannya
Kerana ia semusim lagi dalam hidup kita?

Hiba, wahai adikku adalah cinta
Hiba, adikku adalah kasih
Hiba, adikku adalah racun
Hiba, adikku adalah penawar.

Abang pun berasa hiba. Anak dan cucu yang pulang bercuti sudah kembali semula.

They are now up there somewhere in the sky, traveling westward. They live a full 12-hour flight away from us. They are going back to freezing winter after a month of sunshine. That’s one of my four daughters. She’s married to a foreigner and they have two sons aged three and one. I also have a son.

Anak-anak adalah cahaya hidup kita. Cucu, bagi yang sudah mempunyainya, adalah penawar.

Three of my five children are grown up. Two are married. The other two are growing up.

Anak-anak tetap anak-anak.

In our minds they never really grow up. We keep going back to the days when they spoke their first words, took their first steps and introduced us their first kekasih.

Abang Malaya bangun kesunyian pagi ini. Cucu-cucu sudah pulang. Mereka tidak lagi mengetuk pintu bilik dan memanggil grandpa. Anak dan cucu Adik Teh adalah permata nilam.

Allow me to share with you and everyone here, an SMS that my son sent me on my last birthday.

Kata-kata beginilah yang membuatkan segala pengorbanan dan susah payah kita mendidik anak-anak menjadi madu dan penawar.

“Abah, happy birthday (once) again and thanks for being a good dad to all of us. We may have days that I/we don’t speak to you (or each other), but do know that all your children love you and we do the things that we do for a reason. You have taught us well and we’ll always do our best to make you proud. Thanks again for everything and love you a lot. Happy birthday again and thanks for the many lessons and love you’ve bestowed upon us. Good night.”

Adik Teh, what more can I ask?

So, let’s love our children and, Insya-Allah, they’ll love us in return. Thus I can feel your sense of longing when your cahaya mata is far away from home.

Thank you for allowing me this space. Ands thank you to all.

Sri Diah said...

Dear Kak Teh;
Sedih sungguh dgn malang yang menimpa Bro Karim. Hari tu saya, Datuk Azman dan Datuk Chamil ada berborak ttg hal ini... Our media friend should start now... mana tahu esok lusa nasib kita pula. Didoakan Kak Teh sejahtera di sana.

Anonymous said...

there's so much we want to do & achieve but tak kesampaian kan? i thank Allah for 'stumbling' upon your writings - reminds me of the big rocks that i "want" to move, only to be delayed & distracted by the smaller rocks around.


HCI said...

Dear Kak Teh,

You can write your friend's story. Apo keno I ni dok asyik suruh orang tulis buku, :-))

May be some of her articles could motivate you, so go to:
I'm going, I read about it in yesterday's star.

meandbaby said...

Dear Kak Teh..your entry today reminds me of the things that I should do...on the plight to help the boy..will help whatever that I standing ovation to you for doing this to a mother to a special child I'm really proud of you..I owe you one! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kak Teh said...

tokasid, kak teh rasa mungkin lebih baik kalau kita rasa kita buat tak cukup, lebih dr kita rasa kita dah buat cukup. dan betul kata you, apa yang pentingnya kita buat sesuatu dan juga niatnya.

kak elle, thanks for yr kind words.

happy new year to you too.

sri, kak teh harap persatuan wartawan akan buat sesuatu. takkan persatuan tak ada funds? kak teh baca dt ahmad talib dah dapat kumpul something from one Jelita event.

Kak Teh said...

ibu, thanks for the visit.

has, why dont u give me a kick in the you know where to get me started?

meanbaby, i know thatyou have a lot on your plate too. but you are all so resilient and strong.

Kak Teh said...

abang malaya,
musim gugur tak semestinya membawa duka,
dengan angin nyamannya dan daun berwarna,
cuma musim gugur ini sungguh tepat maknanya
bagi kita yang sampai ke penghujung musim hayat kita.

baguslah anak-anak abang malaya sudah dewasa. Kalau dah anak duduk di luar negeri semakin kerap lah abang dan kakak bercuti untuk melihat cucu. Agaknya di mana? Dua belas jam penerbangan?

Arena said...

Kak Teh,

You have done so much for your friends around you. Though arena kenal Kak teh tak lama, I think I know how passionate u r about helping people. Jaga diri baik2, n big hug from me..

High Power Rocketry said...

: )

Anonymous said...

Kak Teah dear,

It is always the case, we feel we have not done enough. But take it from me, it is not true.

If all we did was to listen and listening brought HOPE to the person, you have given a lot. Listening is time and time is a commodity. So you have given something by sitting with the person and listening, especially I know you listened with kindness, another commodity.

It is ok for people to leave this world without achieving the aim physically, for as long as they left with HOPE burning high in them.

Be happy to know that you have given.

Happy New Year and May God Bless you and all.

ibuVouge said...

entry kak teh ni buat iv pikir, apa yg iv dah buat untuk org lain
selamat tahun baru kak teh!

Anonymous said...

hmm macam cepat sangat tahun ni kan? apa2 pun selamat tahun baru 2007 :)

Anonymous said...

Pok amai-amai
belalang kupu-kupu
Tepuk beramai-ramai
Sungguh gah pemimpin melayu.

Tu bulan tu bintang
atas pokok kayu ara
hunus keris menjerit lantang
belakang tabir lain kira.

Sorong papan tarik papan
buah keranji dalam perahu
cantik tampan dari kejauhan
bila dekat teruk berbau.

Abang Malaya berdukacita
Mengenang nasib tanah ibunda
Banyaklah dusta banyaklah nista
Hidup rakyat semakin menderita.

Bacalah blog Tuan Rockybru
Cerita PM beli perahu
Harga mahal berjuta ribu
Betul atau dusta abang tak tahu.

Selamatlah adik di perantauan
Murah rezeki kasih berpanjangan
Abang Malaya teruskan perjuangan
Demi bumi ibunda kesayangan.

(Abang Malaya)

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh, sekadar apa yang termampu kita tolong lah no. Kalau takmampu duit ringgit, doa pun OK lah kan. Whatever Kak Teh, you have done so much and there is no need for regret for things you missed to do. InsyaAllah, Kak teh dan keluarga dibalas oleh Nya.

Bergen said...

The world will always have a place for someone like you, Kak Teh.

Kak Teh said...

arena, thank you for your kind words. Happy new year to you and ed.

rk2 , :) too.

Ruby, you are so wise with your words and how true it is too. Many a times we feel we have not done anything, BUT yes, we ,listened and we have allowed the person to offload some of th estress. Yes, u are right.

ibu voge, selamat tahun baru to you too. and let's hope we can do more.

Kak Teh said...

alinlai, selamat tahun baru to you too.

Abang Malaya,
Jangan abang runsingkan diri,
Mudarat pulak kesihatan nanti,
resah bimbang kita sendiri,
mereka langsung tak ambik peduli.

dengar kata semua naik harga,
apakah gaji dinaikkan juga,
orang kerja sendiri macam mana pula
yang anak ramai perlu dibela?

apa nak jadi wallahualam,
tak nampak cerah semuanya kelam,
masalah negara sudah mendalam,
kita yangtak tidur siang danmalam.

alhamdulillah seorang kawan dibantu
sakitnya lama sampai begitu,
kini diberi perhatian dalam blog yang satu,
kawan yang setia yang sering membantu.

Abang malaya janganlah resah,
tidak bermakna abang tak kisah,
kalau sakit nanti siapa yang susah,
jagalah diri jangan gelisah.

Kak Teh said...

auntyN, ya - kita tolong apa yang patut dan kita terus berdoa.

Bergen, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

I have been your silent reader for almost a year. I have always indulged myself in your beautifully written stories. But your post about Pak Cik Hamzah has denied my resistance to leave comments in your already full box. Pak Cik Hamzah is not a stranger to me because i was an ex-Welsh uni student. We lived in the same area-Riverside, Cardiff. He never failed to 'tegur' whenever he bumped into us. And yes, how would we forget his toothless grin. Everytime he saw any Malay student, he would say "Aku dengar ada orang Melayu nak kawin dengan orang Paki kan? Cakap dekat orang tu, jangan" And that has become his tagline that we used to joke around. Al-Fatihah to Pakcik Hamzah.

Kak Teh said...

fizah, I cried when i read yr comments. At last I found someone who knew the Pak Cik Hamzah that I knew. Can I plead with you to write to me - email me, pls at