Tuesday 19 December 2006

She is back!

It was three weeks ago that I sat before three excited girls on the 1715 to Gatwick. They were leaving for Malaysia, with plans to pack in everything possible in the three weeks they were going to be there. They even had a crash course in pronunciation in Malay.

“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 Air Hitam Secondary School, and even waited at the bus stop! Such a sheltered and boring life. So, no faraway trips that required visas and certainly no school rombongans.

They arrived home yesterday, Alhamdulillah, lugging heavy suitcases full of souvenirs and goodies and stories about the holiday that took them to Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor, Penang and Kedah. They had a lot to show – photographs, new clothes, cosmetics and toiletries (they are dirt cheap!), mosquito bites and marks left by leeches when they did jungle trekking. I sighed a sigh of relief that everything went well – no tummy ache, no accidents and most of all – no youtube visuals of them doing things that usually appear in youtubes!

Anyway, according to the card that the two friends gave my daughter, thanking her for bringing them to our beautiful and friendly Malaysia, they also thanked her for the opportunity to see her as a real Malay!

Indeed, they saw the best side of Malaysia; they enjoyed the scenery, the friendly people, the cheap but quality goods, the wonderful and delicious food and the list is endless. They had a taste of the city, dining at Crown Plaza, Hard Rock cafe, entertained by Chef Ismail himself at his restaurant Rebung, treated to a massage and being chauffered around, courtesy of a strong cable that I still maintain. They also experienced, briefly, kampung life, when they visited my sister in Bukit Pinang, the hustle bustle of Chow Kit Road and the tranquil and serene atmosphere of Masjid Negara where they stopped for prayers.

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 Malaysia – to discover Malaysia and what she has to offer on his own. Taufiq is joining 20 other Malay youths born and bred overseas in a Youth Exchange programme. He will be with a host family in Rembau. I am stocking up phone cards and I suspect my siblings will have their phones permanently switched off.


Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, I can imagine your joy seeing your daughter at the airport all in one piece. Even more so after hearing all the great adventures and being with relatives and most of all, no barrier with communications.
Seeing that you have seen how your daughter has had such a great time, it will be easier to see Taufiq off at the airport? Yes? :))

Bergen said...

He's gonna be all right.

Kak Elle said...

let them be independant eh kak teh?glad the princess enjoyed her trip and I think the prince will too....kalau siblings tak jawab phone call aunty elle....hehehe

Kak Teh said...

judy, she didnt even allow me to go to the airport but came back by train and fetched by her friend's father. Yes, they had a great time...buti cant promise letting Taufiq go will be easy.

bergen, Insyaallah. There will be mountains to climb and bidges (cultural) to build..hehe, I will be calling home!!!

kak elle, u will regret this offer! Yes, i suppose we have to let them go and jut keep checking that they are alright.

Jane Sunshine said...

What a great adventure for them. Good that you're letting them do this-it's such fantastic exposure.

High Power Rocketry said...

: )

Ely said...

awww, that is such a nice story KT.

ur kids are so wonderful. it is ture, we cant make the kids learn
their roots but they have to want to know it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh,


'Ter'jumpa blog site Kak Teh. Very interesting and 'nostalgic'.

The house on the slide it's that your neighbourhood?

I want to email you. How?

Mumsgather said...

Sounds like they had a reallly good time. Yes, it is good to let them have the freedom to explore on their own without a parent hovering them all the time eh? I remember my dad let me go off to Singapore with 2 girlfriends on our own when I was about 15. What a thrill! I remember it to this day.

Anonymous said...

Ghombau kek mano, Kak Teh? Bongek? Chongkau?

HCI said...

he he sampai hati dok tak baik sangka bout the siblings telephone. Now i tend to believe bout your cubits and cekek, eh ada cekek tak tadi? Lupa, whatever la, but do you still cubit mencubit now?

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
Things appearing in youtube? Have you been watching that Yahya Zaini's thingy? I read about it at 5xmom and wasted 30mins searching for it. Frankly the show is not worth our while...errm.....Not trying to be humsup here.

dlt said...

kak teh, dont worry. if ur daughter enjoy her trips back to tanahair, ur son will definitely enjoy it too...
tapi tang cakap utagha tu yang lomah skit, lum cakap nogori or kelate lagi. sure anak2 kak teh tak paham. hehe!

tokasid said...

Salam to Kak teh and all,

Alhamdulillah anak KT dan kawan2 dia enjoy their trip to Malaysia and they came back in one piece.

Its true anak2 ni kita kena bagi 'sikit' freedom to roam around the globe esp kalau kita dah penuhi tanggungjawab utk memenuhi 'ilmu di dada' mereka.InsyaALLAh they will know their boundary.

La ni mak pak tak berapa control sangat anak-anak kak teh tapi tok/nenek/opah/grandma depa yg dok lorat nak kawal budak2 ni. Dulu kawal kita la ni nak kawal anak kita. Nak tegur salah.Tak tegur salah.

Tentang Taufiq kak teh toksah dok risau aih! He will be okay in Rembau. tapi memang dia akan penin la bila dengar orang Rombau bergebang. saya sampai la ni pun penin kalau orang Rombau bercakap. Rembau betoi2 pure adat pepatihnya. It will definitely be a good experience for Taufiq to be in Rembau.

Mungkin boleh dia naik ghebau(kerbau) kot?

AuntyN said...

Awat tak habaq no telefon AN kat depa haghi tu Kak Teh. AN duduk dekat sgt dgn Bworth nak compare dgn London tu. Bulih AN tolong translate bagi depa baih mana nak ambik pi ALoq Staq tu.

Taufik will be fine too. Kut-kut dia nanti lupa mama dia kat London tu bila balik sini hehehe

Anonymous said...

in the words of yesteryears, "takkan nak duduk bawah ketiak mak sampai bila-bila"

he'll be fine

Mama Rock said...

oh kak teh, i do let the kids go but still send them to teh bus stand or palces where they want to be. susah nak let go ya? but i'm sure all of them will be fine. glad your daughter had fun adn taufik will come back with a bit of minang accent too :)

Anonymous said...

What they experienced will be remembered for a lifetime. Taufik will have loads of adventure too. BTW, how long will he be there?

nyonyapenang said...

2 years ago, my son flew alone to london to join his friends for a month long holiday. wuaah, mula-mula gua pun takut for him ler but it was a good break and opportunity to discover many new things without his mama hanging next to him.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bahan Kelabu. Mothers are naturally very protective of their younguns. Fortunately, eventhough the umbilical cords have been severed at birth, today's Moms are truly blessed with the invention of cellphones. There is no limit to the amount of slack these days except for battery life, free minutes and signal.

Kak Teh, I know this is one adventure Teh Jr will never forget. I've always imagined my son doing something similar before he goes off to college. It's a long way from home but I can put my mind at ease knowing that he'll still be close to all his aunts, unks and cuzs.

Anonymous said...

Laaa mai Penang ka? tak nampak pun!

shiok na! i've always complained to everyone that my chinese friends would go for holiday to china and my indian friends would go India. Me? Mana mau pegi huh? hehe

Taufiq will have a blast! Being a foreigner in an exchange is fun! and the spices will go even better if he's about to learn his heritage!

I'm leaving in 16 days =)

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Kak Teh,

hmmm..utahrgan accent...I like the spell of it.

Kalau lah dok pikir,Malaysia ni dah jadi macam USA 'a land of peace and hope for migrant'

It happensin early 20's ships of vessels sail through the Dock in New York hoping for a bright future and hope,immgrant as far away from Napoli,Mainland China etc.The 'God Father' the Movies tells us that.

KL is full of new migrant now,We not only have little India but Little Nepal,Little Dacca,Little Siagon,Little Ranggon even Little Ulam Batoh also got.etcetc.
Not to mention all year round Thai Festival at most Malls too.

Thus,not suprising your darling met someone at a bus station asking for direction turn to be look alike Malaysia.
Looking at the situation hmmm.....
I could migine all those 'Little Hamlets' scatters around KL would turns into giants if we are not careful.
Glad they ejoyed the hols.Me looking forward for both my nephews next summer home from London too...


~ GAB ~ said...

That is what I had wished when I was a kid - to travel with friends to some places, explore our own things and meeting some nice surprises along the way. May be I was reading too much Enid Blyton's books at that time.

Anyway, good for your daughter to have that kind of experience traveling to a foreign land that belongs to her, with friends. Something for her to cherish in her life. One day she'll blog over her experience just like what Kak Teh has done. She'd relate over her anticipations on mom's worries in her own perception.

mommy@lif said...

cutenya main congkak sambil bersembang!! kak teh, entry like this makes me addicted to ur blog!! tq for sharing :)

ManaL said...

pucuk pauh delima batu,
anak semilang di tapak tangan,
walau jauh beribu batu,
hilang di mata, di hati jangan.

From rombongan sekolah to travelling on my own, thank god my parents understood my hobby....heck, i see myself as a citizen of the world and malaysia is the homeland.

Anonymous said...

Mana kenanga & abang malaya
dah rindu rasa nak baca selokanya
mailah bersama kita bersapa
semoga panjang silaturrahim semua.

Demikian madah Edelweis kita
Ibu muda anaknya comel manja
Abang Malaya ditanya ke mana
Kenanga pula tak dengar cerita.

Abang Malaya tidak ke mana
Dalam Malaya jua berada
Dengan anak dan cucu bersama
Dalam blog Kak Teh muncul sekali sekala.

Inilah lumrah hidup manusia
Ada kala riang ada kala duka
Ada kala banyak ilham untuk berbicara
Ada kala kering segala warna dan tinta.

Kak Teh anak-anaknya sudah pulang
Tentulah lega dan hati pun girang
Berceritalah mereka malam dan siang
Ibarat sirih pulang ke gagang.

Wahai Adik Teh orang bijaksana
Adik tanya cucu Abang Malaya tinggal di mana
Cucu Abang Malaya duduk jauh di sana
Tempatnya sejuk tidaklah terkira.

Itulah kita orang Malaya
Dah merantau merata dunia
Abang Malaya saja yang dok tak pi mana
Pasai sayang sangat kepada bumi ibunda.

Sampai sini dulu adikku yang baik
Abang nak pi kedai Raju kena teh tarik
Blogging dengan adik abang tak serik
Mai kita ajak Kenanga datang balik.

Jo Kontan said...

Kak Teh Tumpang lalu...

Salam Saja Pada Kak Teh
Berkaftan Biru Memang Chantek
Nampak Seri Tambah ceria
Abang Malaya Pekena Teh.
Restoran Raju Jalan Chantek ?
Depan La Salle, Petaling Jaya ?

Ampun for the amateurish try

Takpaaalah kaaan.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Tahniah to your daughter for her enthusiasm (sp) to discover and rediscover her roots.

Kak Teh said...

jane, the heart is heavy but I know I had to. But my phone bill really went up.
rk2 :)

rly, i now think that its best to let them choose what they want to see and learn.

chu, the pictures on the slide are all around my area. Butmy house is not in the picture. You can email me usingthe email facilities here. or zwan_uk@yahoo.co.uk

Kak Teh said...

mumsgather - i wich i had those kind of trips..only when iw as in sixth form, i was allowed to go to friends' house to revise for exams.

atenah, tak tau lagi - but I think they are going up Gunung Datuk.

has, memang pun kak teh hantu cubit tapi bukan hantu cekik. tapi memang pun depa threaten tak mau jawab telefon - whch wld certainly come a few times a day hehe!

Kak Teh said...

mama irma, yahya zaini? noooooo! i was more concerned that they are stopped by pegawai agama ke, or filmed by irresponsible people - aiyayaya - the worries of an irrational mum!

dlt, i can imagine taufiq coming back speaking with nogori accent!

Kak Teh said...

Kak teh memang perangai begitu,
bimbang dan resah rasa tak tentu,
anak dah keluar telefon selalu,
kak teh pun tau ini tak perlu.

mungkin kak teh terlalu galabah,
cekalkan hati dan perlu tabah,
tapi lambat sedikit bimbang bertambah,
takut anak-anak dah mula menyampah.

abang malaya kembali semula,
kita mencari kenanga pula,
munculnya dia sekali sekala,
sibuk semestinya kenangan kita.

Kak Teh said...

tokasid, kak teh ni bukannya apa, sini macam-macam dengark berlaku - macam mana tak susah hati. memang nak kena lepaih depa pi sendiri. kena berjaga-jaga, laaa kan?
Taufiq dah tak sabark dah nak pi.

auntyN - i pun lupa nak suruh depa pukoi talipon katyou. Honeytar telefon dia - dia ingat salah number sebab dia ingat dia dapat orang putih kut! hehe.

bahan*kelabu - betui tu...sekali sekala tak pa laaa.

Kak Teh said...

mama rock - ya - dia dah nak bawa macam2 - video recorder nak record everything. Nak kena bagi phrase book kat dia! haha!

wonda - he will be with the host family for more than a week and the rest with our family members. He also cant wait to see his friend who has gone back to malaysia.

nyonya - waaaah - talking abtit oredi brings tears to my eyes...how la?

Kak Teh said...

tati kakak noni, what is interesting, especially after rehana's return, was to listen to her stories - malaysia is she saw it -certainly from a different prespective. Yes, thank God for mobile phones, emails and ym's.

ikan bilis, u are certainly a veteran with youth exchange. I think i will encourage taufiq ro be more involved. yes, rehana did got to penang - tapi sat saja..tak dan nak buat apa - mee goreng mamak pun tak dan makan. all the best to you in yr next venture.

Pak Tuo, I am sure you have plans for your nieces and nephews now - and am sureyou will spoil them rotten!

Kak Teh said...

gab, you are making me think now...she'd be blogging justthe way i blog abt my mak, all my worries and anxieties. and one day, she'll have a visitor who will comment, "Aaaah, just like yr mama! we know her too well," Uncle Gab.

mommy@alif, she was tired but insisted that we play - so we played a few games - she lost each round!

manal, yes, u are quite a traveller. I remember rehana telling me that she met u on the number 7!

Kak Teh said...

kalau tak try maka tak tahu
bila dah try nak cuba selalu!

OSH, what touches me most is that she suddenly said - i want to go home - home being there!

Kak Teh said...

Abang malaya,
kak teh tanya bukannya apa,
kut-kut lah mana tau kita terjumpa,
anak cucu abang di mana-mana,
semasa terbang ke sini sana.

Abangpun cukup ke sana sini,
semasa bertugas tentu berani,
tak kira mana tetapkan pergi,
menjalankan tugas yang sudah diberi,

sekarang ni abang banyak berihat,
memerhatikan perkembangan negara dan juga gelagat,
sesetengah pemimpin yang kurang bakat,
nampak sangat kurang berpakat.

kak teh berundur di sini dulu,
tahlil kawan yang sudah berlalu,
sejuknya di luar rasa malas selalu,
tapi mesti pergi berdoa perlu.

Arena said...

Glad your daughter had a great time here Kak Teh.

Kak Teh said...

arena, she did. even when telling the stories abtthe leeches, she was excited!