It was three weeks ago that I sat before three excited girls on the 1715 to Gatwick. They were leaving for
“Mak Ngah” said my daughter who was supposed to be the guide for the other two.
“Mak Nah,” repeated one friend. ”Mak Nyah,” said the other, practising how to address my older sister they were going to meet on arrival.
Oh, well, whatever, I thought, feeling a tinge of envy at the spirit of adventure, freedom and excitement. When I was their age, Mak took me everywhere, even to my first job as a temporary teacher at
They arrived home yesterday, Alhamdulillah, lugging heavy suitcases full of souvenirs and goodies and stories about the holiday that took them to
Anyway, according to the card that the two friends gave my daughter, thanking her for bringing them to our beautiful and friendly
Indeed, they saw the best side of
And how Malay has she become? Oh well, how about loads of kain batik sarongs, the umbrella like thingie to cover food, and....a congkak! So we played congkak while she talked about her holiday and believe me, I have not forgotten how to play!
Although I was apprehensive about letting her go, I now know that it was a good decision. Family holidays is fine, but being able to explore the country, the culture by themselves without us telling them what we want them to know, showing them what we want them to see, is quite different and has its advantages.
Sure I worried about how she was going to communicate with Mak, her grandmother. But I needn’t have. Both hugged and cried when they met and Mak, talked and talked animatedly in her pekat Kedah Malay, hands in action to convey whatever she wanted to convey to the granddaughter she had not seen for a while. Even both her friends fell in love with Mak who kept hugging them. “How did they communicate?” I asked my siblings in one of my numerous sms’es to them.
“With lots of tears and laughter” came a reply.
Communication was indeed not a problem. But I did receive this urgent sms saying, “Mama, pls call me back and speak to this person,” I did and true enough, I myself couldn’t quite understand the person I was speaking to. My daughter wanted to know where the bus they were taking, would stop and the time of arrival in Alor Star. They were then at a bus terminal in Butterworth. The guy I was talking to had a very strong Utaghra accent.
I am glad that they spent time with their relatives, met up with cousins and did what young people on holiday do, without their over-protective parents around.
BUT sending them alone to be with your siblings, without you being there to defend yourself is certainly not a very good idea. THE SIBLINGS ganged up on me and told her how I love to pinch, how I cut Kak Cik’s hair and left her in tears and how I virtually got everything I wanted because I was utterly spoilt. Well, whatever!
Next week, another sayang mama is leaving for