Monday, 29 March 2010

Goodbye, Ruby Ahmad

This tribute to Ruby Ahmad appeared in my column today (29th March 2010) here.

I’M EVERY WOMAN: Goodbye Ruby Ahmad

2010/03/29
ZAHARAH OTHMAN
Last week, the blogosphere was stunned by news of the sudden passing of one if its gems, Ruby Ahmad. 

It took everyone by surprise as there, still staring from her eponymous blog rubyahmad.blogspot.com, is Ruby Ahmad, with her famous ravishing smile, the epitome of optimism and exuberance. Sms-es were coming from all corners of the world, from shocked and stunned friends in cyberspace. After a few phonecalls and messages, I cried myself to sleep and woke up hoping it had been just a bad dream. But more messages on my handphone confirmed the sad truth.

By morning here, entries dedicated to the late Ruby had sprouted in the many blogs of those whose lives Ruby had touched — those who had known her through her writing and “meetings” online and those who had actually met and enjoyed a friendship with her, no matter how brief. There were many.

But who was Ruby Ahmad? The brief description on her blog simply says: “I’m a ‘go for it!’ kind of person. I act on impulse and am a great believer in tackling any problem head-on. Being an eternal optimist, I believe the nitty-gritties will sort itself out at the end! “I place great faith in the positive aspects of human nature and that we should all work in this light so as to live in a humane and just society.” 

Ruby was one of many bloggers who had no qualms revealing her identity. Her pictures of networking with her former Tunku Kurshiah college mates, socialising at charity events, promotions and concerts tell us she enjoyed life to the fullest. She gave as much as she could offer and in this she was almost tireless and selfless. In most of her writings as in her media interviews, she propounded and expounded her belief that we should strive to live in a humane society. She shared whatever she had to motivate the young, gave her input on cluster schools and many more. 

Through her writing and pictures, her readers had the impression of a person who had acquired her wisdom through travels far and wide. She rubbed shoulders with people in the corridors of power, and those in the periphery. We know more of Ruby from her interactions online and in comment boxes. Her continuous banter with Uncle Lee in Toronto, her wise and considered advice to student Daphne Ling and words of sympathy and motivation to cancer sufferers. The nature of online interactions is such that it makes it possible for us to piece together the tracks one leaves behind in comment boxes and put together the person behind the writing. But we could be wrong.

Last week I realised that I did not know Ruby yet like others, I also felt I had somehow known her for a long time. This was the contradiction that was hard to take, and my heart ached as if I had lost someone very close. Ruby Ahmad, the blogger, qualified architect, wife, mother and grandmother, had managed to hide something from all of us right until the end. She had the dreaded breast cancer, which had spread to her liver. This was what took her away from us. On receiving the news, we scoured our mail boxes and comment boxes and even her entries to see whether she had left any clues. Nothing.

I met Ruby in early 2007 after countless interactions online and by phone. She was exactly as I had imagined: outgoing, exuberant, gracious and impeccably dressed. We met many times during my visits home and during these meetings, she revealed a bit more of herself to me. I had seen her work the Ruby Ahmad magic. We were at a dinner table after a concert and she chatted and listened to someone everyone else seemed to be ignoring. She gave this person her time, which I believe, was much appreciated. At a gala night, like two naughty schoolgirls, we approached a minister who had somewhat admonished women bloggers, and introduced ourselves: “Datuk Seri, we are women bloggers,” after which we ran off and had a good giggle. This and more is the Ruby I want to remember.

Last week, she was taken away from us. But in a special corner of my heart, she will always be there, urging me “Kak Teh, go for it!” Goodbye my friend.

21 comments:

Pi Bani said...

Wonderful tribute, Kak Teh!

Kak Teh said...

thanks, pi.

Naz said...

Beautiful.
Al Fatihah.

GUiKP said...

Ruby Ahmad - the delectable grandma that left footprints in our hearts. Thanks Kak Teh and NST for this fitting tribute.

Kak Ezza@makcik Blogger said...

Terkilan, tak sempat membaca , mengenali dia sebelum ini walau pun nama dia seperti pernah saya dengar satu ketika dulu...Al Fatihah buat beliau..
Terima kasih kak teh kerana artikel ini.

aliff muhammad said...

Salam,

Kak Teh,

Saya membaca kolum ini di NST tempohari. Selepas itu baru semak blog Kak Teh.

Setiap yang hidup pasti merasai mati.
Semoga Allah SWT mencucuri rohnya dengan rahmat dan rahimnya.

GUiKP said...

oops I mean who not that.

D.N.A.S said...

I got to know Allahyarham (in the cyberworld) when she left comments in my blog about 4 years ago. It's so nice of her to make time to give advice and share experience with other bloggers and never failed to reply to every comment left in her blog.
Even now that she's gone, I think we can always read again all her postings in the blog as well as in FB. She really had a beautiful mind. For all her kindness, she will always be remembered.

NanaDJ said...

Kak Teh,

A beautiful and touching tribute. I knew her personally since we are all ex TKCians, but not as well as I know her sister Nuridah. She is truly a wonderful person and will be sadly missed by all of us especially TKCians.Thank you for such a beautiful write up.
Alfatihah.

aliff muhammad said...

Kak Teh,
opss. silap taip. bukan tempohari. ayat tu sepatutnya berbunyi

"Saya membaca kolum ini di NST tadi pagi. (entah kemanalah kepala saya berfikir).

MA said...

Kak Teh : I never liked goodbyes. I like to think of her still very much alive in the blogsphere and in our hearts.

Yes you have described her well in which how she can make a person feels special. She has that gift of utmost diplomacy that I personally has observed.

When I got your sms I was stumped for a while cos it felt surreal. And I wasnt able to go online till much much later. It was only after a few phonecalls,sms'es and reading tributes upon tributes when I realised it was true.


I read somewhere that to know if someone is very much loved - to witness it during their funeral where you can see the outpouring of love. I think Ruby has that.


Alfatihah.

kay_leeda said...

Al-fatehah.
Such a wonderful person she is. And one with a beautiful smile.

Thanks for sharing Kak Teh.

pakmat said...

..yes, for a moment, she touches mine..and I hoped for a nanosec, I have touched hers...

Iron Butterfly said...

auntie, this is a truly wonderful tribute.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

touching, Ah.

Al Fatihah.

elisataufik said...

sebak baca, kak teh.
But it is so true.. Kak ruby is truly inspiring. Even in her passing, she still inspires.
*hugs*

Al-Fatihah!

mekyam said...

touching tribute, kt. and that's a beautiful picture of arwah.
al-fatihah!

Royalshoppingarcade said...

Kak Teh,
Thanks to your tribute I learn about this dreadful news.She has indeed touched me in her zest for life.May she rest in peace and ditempatkan di kalangan orang orang beriman.Alfatihah.

Zubaidah Arshad said...

I met her virtually in a blog of a long gone Piah Zadora once. The blog of Piah was nothing but extraordinary. The curses and talks-behind-the-back, were the essence in that blog. But Ruby came in, and talked ever so charmingly and she stunned most of the commentators there. That one moment, did make me wonder how wonderful she is.

I didn't know her back then. But I do know now. Thanks to you.

May she rest in peace. InsyaAllah.

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh -

This is such a shock.

I didn't know Ruby personally, but yet, getting to k now her thru' her blogs and comments, I feel like I've lost a friend ...

Pey said...

Dearest Kak Teh, I think it is so fitting to learn of this sad news through your wonderful tribute to a very special blogger.