Saturday, 7 April 2007

The home coming

The last three days, either before leaving London for KL or leaving KL for London, are definitely the hardest for me. It gets to me when I am packing. That is when I feel the rush of emotions – sad to leave my loved ones behind, yet happy at the thought of meeting the loved ones I have not seen for a while. Such is life when you choose to stay away.

The 15 minute Heathrow-Paddington Express which I took after arrival, offered me a chance to reflect. Wasn’t it only yesterday that I looked out of the window and saw greeneries so green and the sky so bright and blue that they could only be painted on a canvas? And now I saw grey skies and trees with hardly any leaves and fields still white with frost. Wasn’t it only yesterday I waved goodbye to my loved ones at KLIA – the usual scene – hug, hug at the departure lounge, followed by the usual cry of –“Dont come back so soon!” as I went down the escalator. Such is the love my siblings and in-laws have for me. I didn’t shed a tear during this goodbye. I laughed and I joked, telling Mak I’d be back sooner then she could turn around in her wheelchair. But as the lights dimmed and the music played softly ready for landing, I felt hot tears streaming down my cheeks. The words on the screen, “Thank you for flying Malaysia Airlines” began to look blur as I let out the tears in the dark as there was no one to see me cry.

Three days before my planned departure, I started packing. There were books, books and books, mostly autographed by the writers and some bought at the spur of the moment. By the look of it, the books alone would exceed my baggage allowance. Then there’s the clothes, the gifts from friends old and new and the food stuff. And I only had two bags.

Mai Mak tolong lipat,” said Mak, offering to help with the clutter that was beginning to cause Milah the maid, serious concern. Mak is already an expert in packing and unpacking. After all, she has been living the life of a nomad, moving from one child’s home to another. Her protestations and appeals to go back to the house that Pak built for her are mostly met with silence or excuses.

There was a jovial beat to Mak’s banter while she helped me.

Bila Zaharah balik, Mak pun boleh balik Alor Star. Dah lama tinggal rumah kosong,” So, that was it. My departure was going to be used for another appeal to go home. Earlier, we had asked her to stay on because a grandchild was leaving for India. Then she stayed the duration of my stay. We now have two more excuses up our sleeves. Another grandchild is leaving for Geneva. And Abang is leaving for Libya.

Mak mesti tunggu sebab Azril nak ke Geneva. Lepas tu Abang pulak nak balik Libya,” I offered, remembering Lilah’s reminder about what to say when Mak broached the subject again. These days, most of our conversations with Mak are scripted, carefully composed to cajole her to stay, to coax her to eat or even to persuade her to come out with us.

Mak tunggu laa, lepaih tu Mak kena balik,” she insisted and I left it at that, especially when her attention turned to my DVDs and books. Her eyesight is still good.

Anak sapa ni?” she asked pointing to a boyish looking Sudirman on the cover of the CD collection that Kak Chah Hassan had given me.

Penyanyi! “ I mouthed the word to her and she nodded. She picked up the new magazine Tell and started flicking through. Laaa, sapa letak gambar Zaharah di sini?” she asked when she saw my picture in the magazine. She continued until she came to the picture of Toh Puan Rahah and said, “Macam nak kenai orang ni! I told her it is Toh Puan Rahah and she remembered perhaps meeting her and Tun Razak when they went to campaign in Yan. She certainly remembered shaking Tun’s hands.

I looked at her intently and marvelled at her memory. At 90, she remembers certain events very well. But sadly, she cannot remember what she had asked a few minutes before.

Anak sapa ni?” she asked again, picking up Sudirman’s CD, the curiousity so plain and so genuine in her voice.

Thankfully, Mak was in good health throughout my stay. She coughed a little during the nights that I slept with her. And I remember reaching out to stroke her back to ease her cough. She’s all bones. My Mak is all bones, but as I sit in this dark lounge of mine typing this, I see her as someone fit and strong and yes, beautiful. This is the only way I can cope.

Mak notices every crease in your clothes, “Baju tak seterika, ka?” or the fact that your ring or bracelet had not had a good polish. I remember us just lying down on the bed, Mak in her telekung waiting for asar. I slept beside her. Then her 30 year old grandson joined us, sleeping on the other side. Mak stroked his head, knowing that this grandson will leave her soon. Kak Cik then plonked herself beside me. Mak then reached out to both of us, "Ish, anak-anak Mak sehat-sehat!” She said proudly as she wrapped her arms around our ample bodies. And we allowed her to baby us in this manner, reminiscence of the times when we’d fight to sleep on her lap to listen to her renditions of some hikayats or syaer.

Yes, Mak helped me to pack. But once she left to go to the toilet, I had to unpack again for there was everything in that bag that was not mine. There were undies that I bought for her, Nisa’s and Kak Cik’s scarves, the children’s books and even the karipap that I bought for tea.

We have to indulge her these days. Take the money that she offers to buy groceries as her contribution, allow her to hang the clothes outside, even let her do the same prayers again and again because she insisted she had not done them.

We had some crab sambal left overs for dinner just before leaving for the airport. She remembers that crabs are my favourite. We had only crab claws. So, instead of eating, Mak took out the flesh from every claw and put them on my plate. She used to do this when we were small and she is still doing this some fifty years later. It is not because she had forgotten I have grown old, but she still remembers I am still her baby.

MH2 landed early. My husband was still in bed and I told him we’d meet at Paddington Station and have breakfast there. Seeing him wondering around the station looking for me, Malaysia now seemed a thousand miles away. For once, he was early. In fact he was a day early yesterday when he waited at Heathrow at the crack of dawn. The three weeks of book talks and launches and lit fest and meeting friends and relatives were then duly covered over breakfast of tea and chocolate croissants.

83 comments:

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

You were able to hold back your tears waving goodbye with your loved ones at KLIA.

But the moment the plane touched down, your tears flowed freely as you felt the impact of being away from them.

Am touched your Mak see you as her little babe. She still wanted to do things for you. You were truly wise to let her be. It means a lot to her.

I hope and pray she will have long and healthy life.

Kak Teh said...

hi&lo, it wasn't easy trying to keep the tears away. Mak will always see us as her babies, no matter how old we are. Thank you for your well wishes.

raggedyanne said...

salam kak teh,

just drop by to say how much i love reading your blog. Never fails to tear me up :)

Anonymous said...

hi! I'm not sure if you remember me, but on this lazy Saturday afternoon I had decided to browse around some literary pages which led me to sharon bakar's blog where I saw your picture in one of the entries and I recognised you from London! I was one of the PETRONAS A-level students and when we came down to London I'd see you and we'd chat at the old Malaysia Hall in Bryanston Square.I remembered we went for Raya once to HICOM.I moved to Nottingham for uni after that but I was in London quite a bit still (though, less in the new Malaysia Hall-geng dah takde..).Didn't see you for ages after the old M'sia Hall.Hardly expect you to remember its been a while but I was the chinese looking malay,Naziah.
I've come back "for good" but shall be visiting for two weeks in june.
Good to stumble on your blog.
Take care!

Naziah

note (shameless plug of my site): http://rockabella9.deviantart.com

Fauziah Ismail said...

Kak Teh
You left your loved ones here to go back to your loved ones there. The beauty of this is you have loved ones on both sides of the world.
Don't worry Kak Teh. I'm sure your mak is is good hands here.

k.d said...

KTeh...

I witness what you experience with your Mak while packing everyday. And it saddened me to see the deterioration..and it can go downhill rapidly too.

I see family members talking to their mom and they kept asking the same questions, or not remembering that they now live in the nursing homes...

They sometimes asked me who I was everyday coz they can't remember.

Most of the times I see the family members talking to their moms but got no reaction, just blank expressions. I can imagine how difficult it is for them to accept that that is their mom.

Stay strong KTeh...and I hope you find solace that your Mak still in good health.

UglyButAdorable said...

kak teh..it was good to see you the other day..ada rezeki boleh jumper lagie...n off course those food..

"thank you for flying malaysia airlines"..i so can relate to that..

Kak Teh said...

raggedyanne, thanks for dropping by and such kind words.

naziah, i think i know you! How can i forget those petronas girls who would come down in troops to malaysia hall, all hungry and looking for mee goreng or nasi goreng! yes, i remember you! You are the tall one.

fauziah, its not the worry - its the feeling of guilt. She is indeed in good hands.

Kak Teh said...

k.d. I am sure you have met many of them going through what my mak is going through. On some days she is very good - no repeats, no forgetfulness, but on other days, she'd repeat the questions five or six times just in one sitting. But thank God, she remembers people.

UbA, thanks for the visit - enjoyed the afternoon thoroughly! I've got a name for you - ComelandAdorable!

wonda said...

Kak Teh,
I can feel the depth of your mother's love when I look at the photo of her folding the clothes for you. Immensely touched.

Athene said...

Kak Teh, I get you having to compose everything to be said to your Mak, we had to do the same when my grandma was more lucid, especially when my uncle, her 1st born died 4 years ago. The amount of planning, scripting & casting(who's going to break the news) was worthy a 'Dewan SriPinang" theather!

Even now, when she starts calling for her father, we have to pretend that he's at work & won't be back until later. We feel bad about lying to her, playing tricks on her memories, but I guess in the end, the less emotional pain that she experience the easier it is for all of us.

You are lucky, you have siblings who are willing to share the responsibility of caring for your Mak. My mom's siblings, not only they are reluctant to share duties, they'd bad-mouth and condemns those who are. Maybe one of this days, I'll blog about this.

Theta said...

Kak Teh,
You've arrived! Too bad we weren't able to meet up...I was pressed for time, to say the least...
I'm leaving for AMS in a few hours.

Hope you are not too jet-lagged.

Judging from your fond descriptions, your mother sounds like a sensible, strong-willed and affectionate, not to mention fun, person. I'm sure you'll be in her daily thoughts and prayers, as she is of yours.

iJun said...

welcome back kak teh! breakfast tea and chocolate croissants is soooooo english hehe!

p/s: bila nak makan steambot lagi? lapaq.

~ahni~ said...

Kakteh, teringat pulak macam kami la jugak, bila sebulan sekali balik kpg tu barulah MIL dapat tidur kat rumah dia sendiri (rumah arwah FIL).

Kakteh, janganlah nangis... sedih nyer. Siapa tak sedih bila rindukan mak?

Kak Teh said...

wonda, she'd do anything for her children. and i regret not being able to do much for her.

athene, i agree, it is best to spare her the pain of knowing the truth. How we have to be so economical with the truth!

theta , u are here? aaarghhh! I extended my stay as there was another book launch. We will certainly meet up some other time, if not on english soil, on dutch territory!

Kak Teh said...

ijun, steamboat? anytime...but can we time it so that they have crab sambal as well? Will put my ears to the ground and then let you know!

ahni, it is not so much as perasaan rindu, but perasaan tak terdaya nak buat apa-apa. cuma doa mak sehat dan tak rasa apa-apa sakit. Dan bila jauh gini memang berlipat ganda rasanya.

Kenny Mah said...

I just had a telephone conversation with my Mom and Dad earlier before having dinner with my friend. They are only a couple of hours away, in Malacca, but with every year that passes it seems we visit less and less. And here I read about you flying across continents to spend a little time with your mom, Kak Teh, and I realise that there will always be something else in my life that needs to be done urgently, but those too can wait. Family comes first after all, always.

Kak Teh said...

kenny, you know - that phone call means so much to your parents. I know, for i am a parent too. Since I came back, I have yet to see my son who is away at work. I understand the nature of his work, yet a part of me wants to scream; i am home. where are you? When i saw you, you reminded me of him.

ms.lamb chop said...

Leezzz...thank you for visiting Bapak. Kak Long told me about your mak "korek-ing" her bag for money :) So sweet of her...I am so "tersentuh"....And when Kak Long sesat and she asked "kita nak pi mana ni..dah lama naik kereta"..that was so kelakar....Thank you for making the time. I truly appreciate that. too bad we missed each other :)or, thank God? ha ha ha..I'll be back...:)

Lurrveee from Christchurch

ms.lamb chop said...

Leezzz...thank you for visiting Bapak. Kak Long told me about your mak "korek-ing" her bag for money :) So sweet of her...I am so "tersentuh"....And when Kak Long sesat and she asked "kita nak pi mana ni..dah lama naik kereta"..that was so kelakar....Thank you for making the time. I truly appreciate that. too bad we missed each other :)or, thank God? ha ha ha..I'll be back...:)

Lurrveee from Christchurch

ms. lamb chop said...

Sorrryyy aaa....."gila kosa" - posted twice...:)

kak ton said...

Dear Ah

My father goes through that all the time. Sometimes he does not remember names but there are days he is lucid.

Sometimes we have to lie to him to keep him happy and spare him the pain.

He has been asking for late sister, Eda, who passed away four weeks ago. The maid was scolded for telling him the truth.

So when Eda’s four children came for a visit last weekend my youngest sister, Nina, asked them to lie abt their Umi if Datuk asked for her...just tell him that she was busy at home & could not make it.

My father seemed satisfied with the answer but the next moment asked for their Umi again.

I feel sad for him.

Lydia Teh said...

Kak Teh, glad you got home safe and sound. Mum will always be mum, yeah, no matter how old we grow.

J.T. said...

Kak Teh, after reading Nuraina Samad's "Tuesdays with Bapak" ... on a Friday, I checked out your blog.

I feel exactly the way you do about having to leave loved ones behind to return to the family you have not seen for in a while. I have been in living Germany since 2001 after Texas, USA (1999). It is never easy on the heart but you get through it somehow. When we return to our adoptive lands, Malaysia seems so far away. Still, life goes on. We look forward to another trip someday.

Kak Teh said...

samantha of christchurch, I'd never feel right if I had left without visiting Bapak. And the car ride with kak long and my mak was to say the least hilarious. Mak was wondering where we were taking her. and of course, i kept saying to see bapak, which confused her even more. and when she trotted over to give bapak some money, I nearly cried. and of course, bapak cried. And OF COURSE, she HAD to repeat the question, not once, not twice, but several times to mummy,: Ni, anak ka?????It was really like a scene from a comedy. Poor mak was confused as to how we are related. She knows and still remembers all her relatives, and there i was introducing bapak, mummy and kak Long. mana mai pulak adik beradik ni? she must be thinking. But she enjoyed the day out to morib. Thanks.

Kak Teh said...

kak ton, i am sad that Pak Samad has gone the same path as my mother. Such a beautiful mind he had, such an intelligent person. such beautiful gems he used to utter even tho it turned the air blue in the office.
Yes, we have to lie. God knows how many times we lied and may God and may our parents forgive us. Kak Ton, thanks for sharing your story. Ena must publish her book on Tuesdays with Bapak.

Kak Teh said...

lydia, have you read my mother myself by nancy friday? am afraid we are going to be like that too. Not a bad thing, eh?

j.t. yes, you are so right. Life goes on and when the time comes for the next trip, the happiness,sadness and anxieties rush in all at once, all over again. Thanks for dropping by.

Kenny Mah said...

That's such thing of you to say, Kak Teh. You have such a great warmth to you I felt close to you even at our first meeting.

And I always feel so much happier after a phone call to my parents even though we talk about the most mundane of things, right after the usual openers of "Are you okay? Are you eating alright? Got enough money or not?" And I'm 28! :D

Anonymous said...

KaK Teh,

Thanks for sharing the photo of your Mak doing the packing for you. It captures that touching moment of a mother "babying" her child regardless of age. It's good that you let her "help" you to pack; the photo shows her intense concentration and it's not hard to see that packing for you is a very important job for her.

Manal said...

Kak Teh,

Glad to know that u've arrived safely and all.

Your mak is a living proof of a beautiful golden age lady who has indeed been blessed with so much love throughout her life. There's one thing she said to me in her soft kedah accent that made me wanna laugh but i tried my best wanita malayu sopan look to remain calm when she saw me sitting on a long wooden bench: "Pasai apa duduk situ, keras, nanti sakit pungkok. Dok la atai sana" (pointing to the sofa). How accommodating and hospitable in a casual malay-etiquette she was! What touched me even more is that she remained subtle with me without being so typically intrusive like other mak2 or nenek2 malays esp when they see a lady visiting alone. Questions like: Seorang jer, suami mana? or simply: datang seorang jer? are some of those queries that wud slip out instantly from a typical malay mak/nenek to me before i cud even shake their hands first. But, mak kakteh was concerned on making me feel comfortable on top of everything else. She even brought me a pair of fork and spoon on the dining table to my own surprise coz i wasnt expecting her to do so.

By the way, friends, I was privileged to get to see kakteh's mak korek isi ketam and putting them on her plate that evening.

Sorry, kak teh, panjang lak citer sini.

noor said...

kak teh,we met for a couple of times in London. Thank you for the greeting. Where are you now. KL or UK?

Atok said...

have to catch-up over crab lah. but our hj chef gi umrah, 15th baru balik.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Ah,

I am glad you're back in England, safe and sound. Have you got over the keletihan?
you had a very tight schedule back home here. your days (and evenings were full)
thankfully, we had time for each other.
I am also glad that -- thanks to having to fetch you from your sisters' homes in Bangi, I now know where they live.
The next thing for me to find out is your eldest sister's house in Kajang.
I didnt get to find that out.

Ah, you remember a very very long time you told me that my dad looked like your dad -- rather my dad reminded you of your dad.
well, when i met your mom at Nisa's house, i was thinking about my own late mother. strange that you mom smiled a lot like my mom. maybe it was me. maybe i was imagining it. but, really, i looked at your mom and my mom's face flashed before me. i wondered how she would be had she been still alive. she'd be 81 years old.

Ah, indulge her as much as you want or as you can.

Take care! and salam to hulaimi

U.Lee said...

Hello Kak Teh, what a wonderful mom you have, and can imagine how she helped pack all your barangs looking and enquiring.
You mentioned seeing frost in london. Its April and we had a week of beautiful warm weather 12'c, then past few days it snowed! -8'c! Caught everyone by surprise. Kelam kabote take out our heavy anoraks and boots from storage.
Gosh, I'm sure you had a fabulous time on your 'balek kampong' holidays. Its always an experience to return to our place of birth.
My last balek kampong was 2002, couldn't recognise KL anymore.
You keep well, Kak Teh. Best regards, Lee.

Ms. Blabs said...

"It is not because she had forgotten I have grown old, but she still remembers I am still her baby." - that is just so, so beautiful.

It was a pity that you weren't in London while we were there. I didn't get to meet up with Jane either, as she had to dash off for a last minute conference in Paris, but we did manage to have a lovely long chat on the phone. Hope to be able to catch up with you the next time I'm in London (although I have no idea when that will be, this trip has rendered us bankrupt!)

Honeytar said...

Kak Tehhh !!! Nampak gayanya kena pi London lah baru dapat jumpa Kak Teh! Anyway glad you arrive home safely. I like the photo of your mak 'baby-sitting' you with the packing. :)

melayudilondon said...

happy homecoming KT!

wmw said...

Another post that made me teary...the bond between a mom and daughter is indeed extra special. Since my dad's passing, my mom is most important. And your post reminds me of that fact once more.

NJ said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Very lovely entry on your Mak dear. I can totally relate how you must have felt when u were packing to go back to London, because that is exactly how I feel every time I wanna go back to KL from kampong, although my Mak is only about 4-hour drive away from me now.

Your 1-month trip back to KL was like a celebrity tour to some foreign land my dear! I heard your stories all over the blogs, your photos were splashing all over the local newspapers and magazines. To tell you the truth I was kinda contemplating whether to leave comments in your blog again (although I have no doubt I will always be your constant follower/reader) coz rasa very da segan!!! But with your recent visit to my tiny blog and hearing all your encouraging/soothing words, they bring comfort to me and my existence in this blogland, and with that what the heck I will still leave trail in your blog…hehehe

Mutiara said...

welcome back to London KT. Hope you had a good time with family and friends in KL.

Frankensteina said...

Your post reminds me of my late great-grandmother who was still 'mencangkul' at the age of 89. I was her first great-grandaughter and I was very 'manja' with her. She also packed my clothes everytime I was going back to boarding school and she made mean curry kepala ikan.

I miss her a lot :(

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh:
I stumbled on your blog a year ago and I love to read all your entries. I'm a Canadian and live in Ontario. You seem to be such a warm person and I like your beautiful writings. I love the stories of your Mak. I hope you had a good trip back home. Please can you write about Adibah Amin's book launch. I'm anxious to know how the launch went. I wish I can get her books here in Canada. I don't know how to get them. I'm learning a lot about Malaysia from your blog and other interesting blogs out there. Cheers.

Queen Of The House said...

Kak Teh, I pray that you will have the chance for another lovely visit with your Mak. In fact, many, many more visits. She is such a grand old lady, isn't she?

anedra said...

Mak teh, miss you already and am glad that this time I managed to spend time with you at the Lit Fest as well! Hope to see you again soon. What a month! Double whammy too-had to see Azril offf two days back. Baru 2 hari, dah rindu. Macamana??

Kak Teh said...

kenny, mums will forever asked the most mundane things like where are you, what time are you coming home,dont be too late. aaah, echoes of my mak ringing in my ears!

anon 0758, Thank you. if i allowed her, she'd do anything. Now I stopped sighing about certain foods that I want to eat, favourites that she used to cook so beautifully. Kalau dia dengar, she will try to cook for me.

manal, hehehe, that is so typical of Mak. She makes friends so easily. Am glad she didnt ask awkward questions. I didnt realise she went to the kitchen to get fork and spoon for you. But you know, she did aske me in the car on the way to the airport: Sapa pompuan Arab tadi?

Kak Teh said...

noor, we did??? pls remind me where and do tell me yr identity. Maaf kalau kak teh tak ingat. But pls let me know.

atok, oooh chef buat umrah. I remember now him telling me.

Ena, yes, yr dad does remind me of my dad. His features. I do remember yr sweet smiling mum. And i remember thinking how she must have suffered. She had the strength all mothers have. I hope we are blessed with it too. Take care, ena, love u always.

Kak Teh said...

uncle lee, everytime balik Kl mesti tak kenal jalan.Am like a stranger in my own country. and many a times taxi drivers tried to con me...i swear i saw kpg kerinchi twice when i was going to RTM. weather in london is back to being warm...for now. yesterday felt like being in KL. dont know abt tomorrow. temperemental laah.

blabs, you were here??? and i missed you? oh no!!! pls pls email me..have something to discuss.

honeytar, i really wanted to visit Tok Li, but i had to depend on people taking me here and there. yes, do come here and tapau some nasi padang.

Kak Teh said...

melayudilondon, yes, dah balik and hope to see you soon!

nj, please dont feel that way. It so happened that i was where things were happening. I wanted to be there and that was one of the main reasons too that i went back; to attend the book launches and lit fest. and hehehe termasuk pulak dalam The Star. quite an honour to be at Kak Adib's launch.
and you know, I do so love yr writing.

mutiara, I did, i did! and not enough laaa tetapi hati dah berbelah bagi.

Kak Teh said...

frankensteina, yr late great grandma sounds like my mum. given a chance, she'd do the whole garden.

wmw, by blogging about my mak, i feel better - pouring out what I could never possible utter to her without sobbing myself silly.

Kak Teh said...

QOTH, she is indeed a grand old lady. I know you must be missing yr mum too. I just dont know how I'd cope when the time comes. Allah pls give me the strength.

anon from canada, thank you for such kind words. Indeed, I will write about adibah amin's launch. I felt so honoured being there and being asked to say a few words.

anedra, i missed seeing yr children,. i wish we had more time. I sms'ed azril and i think he'll cope.

mama irma said...

Kak Teh,
This entry has had 50 comments already. Mine would be insignificant, but just to let you know that while the tears were welling up, I chuckled myself silly reading about the karipap your mak included in your packed luggage!
You are certainly one great writer/ story teller. An inspiration!

Kak Teh said...

mama irma, i treasure every comment, i read and read them again and again. whenever someone leaves a comment, it means that he/she has taken the trouble to read what i write and also taken the trouble to give me his/her input. I really appreciate everyone's contribution to any story that i have.
hehe, yes, karipap!

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

You read and re-read comments left by your visitors. I do that, too, with your blog with keen anticipation.

Every one here is so full of warmth and affection for you. Sometimes, it makes me choked with emotion.

Your influence is far and wide. Even tho we have not met in person, reading your blog is like meeting a kawan lama. Your personality glows in your writing.

Your Mak is also a blessing to all of us. Manal aptly said she is a living proof who is always caring and thinking of other people.

I guess you are missing her now. At the same time you are happy to be back with your husband, children and tabbies.

She is as close as your heartbeat.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Having two worlds has made the wonderful person that you are. When you're in London, you miss KL and vice versa. Therefore this has made you value all the simple joys in life. I detected that easily during the times I was privileged to chill with you.

I had no idea your mom is already 90! When I salam her at Dena's, she looked much younger. The fact that she still recognises you till today and she lovingly scooped out the crab meat for you, is testimony what a good person and what a good life she leads. Manal described her as non-intrusive. I described you as non intrusive to so many. Yes, they were curious about you only because you are quite an Icon. Now I know where you got that beautiful trait from. Keep that up my dear.

So many others would need air time here, so I shall pen off and say, I sure am glad to have gotten to know you better and you have traits I personally would like to emulate. Lovely.

Now enjoy your time in London with loved ones.

Kak Teh said...

Hi& lo,you are so kind with yr words. Thank you. I must really learn how to accept compliments. I am truly blessed to have such good readership, that appreciates what i write and respects how i write and more importantly one that shares their experience with me thus making it a very enriching exercise.

ruby, if your blogger name is xyz, i'd never dream of asking you yr real name unless you tell me. I think we have to respect people's privacy. I can count the number of bloggers i know by name.
well, my jetlag is nearly over and i have no excuse to sleep longer than i have to and its back to work!!! argghhhhh!

cekya said...

i truly loved your story when you guys just baring2 near her with her telekung on. touching moment la..

pokmang said...

kak teh,

kesukarang, melafazkan, pengucapang, perpisahan pada yang tercinta......

kelambu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

kak teh,
macam kenal je carpet merah tu, rumah nisa & aji kan? seronok baca kisah kak teh dengan tok. saya ni kawan nisa, selalu jugak jumpa tok kat rumah tu, every time saya datang, tok akan tanya nama siapa, dok kat mana, so, we introduced ourselves all over again. tak apalah, tok wan saya pun macam tu, cucu sendiri kekadang dia lupa nama, datang dipanggilnya kita dengan nama mak kita. may be dia ingat mak masa muda-muda dulu. all the best ya kak teh.

Kak Teh said...

Kelambu, yr comment was published when you clicked the publish button, however i have deleted, republished it here without yr phone number.thanks.
Kak Teh
No need to publish my comment here...

I am not a regular blog reader (maybe 1-2x a month, whenever I am free)...saw that your elder brother is going to Libya. Is it Tripoli? I am a Malaysian living in Tripoli as well. Maybe I can get in touch with him....

anon,,memeng tak silap lagi! jenguk-jenguklah tuk. dia memang suka sembang!

bibliobibuli said...

Congratulations! Your have won a Thinking Blogger Award. Please collect your blog-sticker and list of rules here.

Mama Rock said...

kak teh, welcome home! and i soooooo look forward to another round of prawn mee, InsyaAllah..

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh

I was away from home and when I come back the 1st thing I want to do is to read your blog. Again you make me cry with your story of MAK and those experience in Malaysia. I am glad you have a good time.

Take care and please dont stop menulis.

nani-big apple

Ms. Blabs said...

KT, have emailed you!

Kak Teh said...

sharon, what an honour!!! A THINKING BLOGGER AWARD eh? I will post it soon!

nani big apple, pergi ke mana? ni sedang mencari idea for u know what!

mama rock, thanks.

ms blabs - i have emailed you!

Arena said...

Kak Teh,

U write beautifully as always. Touched by what you wrote about mak. Glad that you are now safely back home.

Sayangnya, masa I ke sana, Kak teh pulak di KL..I went to Khans hari tu..hehhe..

Kak Teh said...

arena,I hope you enjoyed yr stay. tapi dah biasa,kan? and food in Khans' is always good.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh

Tak pergi mana just around Manhattan, tolong Liza Jamil with little kenduri kat rumah dia.
Actully I like to read or check all the blogs in peace of mind and quite so that I can enjoy bila baca.

Take care and bila nak mai sini plak?

Nani-BigApple

Kak Teh said...

nani, kirim salam kat liza and jamil. depa masak mestilah sedap...I know.

Nisa said...

I missed you just within a day....we could have met at the Reading fes....Roha and I had so much fun! ;) Well...Azam and Hazel too :D

Kak Teh said...

nisa tth,aargggh, i actually extended my stay sebab ada launch iof adibah amin's book. but we met at dina's launch, kan? perhaps we will meet up again. Insyaallah.

ayie@penang said...

salam,

i am your silent reader...

alhamdulilah kak zaharah selamat sampai ke UK. entry ni membuatkan saya menangis mengenang aruah ibu yang telah lama pergi.

teruskan menulis, thanks!

Kak Teh said...

ayie@penang,
terima kasih kerana sudi membaca blog kak teh. Kita sama-sama sedekah Al Fatehah kepada arwah emak. Ya, kak teh dah selamat sampai ke UK - tapi belum lagi hilang penat dan jetlag!

msiagirl said...

Kak Teh, I got very tearful at your account, I was very touched. It's hard to be in one place where your life and work is, and for Mak to be in Malaysia where you can't get to her without 20 hours journey or so. I am in the same position and feel it keenly. Many more happy visits to you.

Anonymous said...

oooh k teh, love reading your tales. thanks for sharing. i hope i can be as good as you in treating my mom if/when she turns fragile like your mom. i hope i will never hurt her, like you and your sisters do. great examples, and inspired by your tales. thanks.
and yes, i see my 4 years old daughter as my baby, though she insisted that she's no longer a baby (hehehe... i know she's only 4 years old not 40 years old ;-)). i believe a mother will always see their child(ren) as babies regardless of their ages.
-nor-

Kak Teh said...

msia girl, It is alwats difficult, sint it when leaving? but this is how we choose to live. thanks for the visit, msia girl. hope we can meet up some time.

nor, Insyaalllah you will be a good daughter.someone said to me the biggest trial for a child is looking after her ageing parents. I think it is true. Kak teh doa kita akan jaga ibu bapa kita seperti mana mereka jaga kita.

Ainun said...

Hi Aunty Zaharah,

It's a pity we didn't meet. That's ok. I can still remember your Mak. Can't remember when she came to London exactly, sometime in the late 80's I think, but she flew back to KL with me, as I was going back for summer hols. Amazing how strong she still is. Just like my Opah-lah, who can't remember whether she had done her solat or not, asking the same question a few times etc

Last week I had the privilege to meet Dtk Dr Paddy Bowie. Another amazing lady, at 83, still alert and still writing. Have you ever interviewed her aunty Zaharah? She can still remember my Babah when they were in Shell in the early 60s. Amazing memory too. Anyway, take care.

Kak Teh said...

ainon, did you know that i forgot that she flew back with you!! thank you for reminding me! and so sorry we couldnt meet up. I was so busy, as you must have read...
anyway, yes, paddy bowie was here recently. i missed her talk but i have met her a few times.

the kimster said...

once there was a way to get back homeward

mommy said...

one will always be the baby in the mother's eyes... i have 2 kids and my mom still worries about me constantly. And I think I will treat my children just the same later. The years just flew past unnoticeable i guess...

Love love love your post about your mother...

Anonymous said...

yes do sekk tons of forgivenes from ur mom - u need to

Kak Teh said...

the kimster, there is always a way to get home...pay for it!

mommy, thank you. It is difficult being away - yet there;'s no choice.

anon..yes, i do go back often to see my mother. My recent visit back was for work - thus one cannot be on benefit when one is working.

Kak Teh said...

anon, everyone needs to ask for forgiveness from our mums - thank you for reminding . you are too kind.