Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (7)




When Majid and Other Things Had To Go - Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We called him Encik Majid. He appeared one morning at the door.
The year was 1972 -- the year Kak Olin was sitting for her HSC and Kak Eda and I, our MCE.
I was getting ready to go to school. Kak Olin was waiting in the living room, reading a book. She was always with a book.
Kak Eda was looking for a clean pair of socks in the back room.
Bapak had just asked Kak Eda what that thin brown "tali" was doing around her neck.
"Macam hippie," Bapak remarked.
Kak Eda laughed it off and made a quick exit, saying, "nak cari stokin..."

Every school day, Bapak would drop Kak Olin off at Bukit Bintang Boys School where she was doing her sixth form, and then drive across the highway to Assunta Secondary School to send Kak Eda and me.
Mak would send Kamal to Sri Petaling in Section 11 and Lalin to Assunta kindergarten.
It was our morning routine.
But this morning was going to be a little diferent.

"Masuk, masuk," Bapak hollered from the dining room.
The young man, wearing a pair of groovy tinted glasses, walked in.
He seemed rather nervous, unsure where he should be standing.
The sofa looked friendly enough, he must have thought as he stopped and stood beside it.
He was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, tucked in a pair of dark-coloured trousers.
He looked around, nervous but trying to look really cool.
The presence of two young ladies -- Kak Olin and I -- must have made him more nervous.

Bapak asked for his name.
"Majid, Encik," he said.
"Macam nama pak cik saya," I chipped in, as I remembered Cik Jid (Majid Ismail), Bapak's youngest brother who was a journalist with Berita Harian in Singapore.
Majid didn't quite smile.
Perhaps, he was unsure whether he should smile in response to my cheeky intrusion.That explained the nervous twitch of his mouth.

Majid was to be Bapak's driver. Bapak had been made the New Straits Times managing editor/deputy group editor.
The Malaysian operations of the Singapore-based Straits Times had been Malaysianized.
Some people had described it as a "coup".
It seemed it was Bapak who masterminded the move in which the late Tun Abdul Razak (then the Prime Minister) and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (the then Finance Minister) directed the company to transfer the ownership of its entire Malaysian operation into Malaysian hands.
Thus, the birth of the New Straits Times.

How did Bapak do all that?
Well, the story was that there was a "go-slow" industrial action by the editorial staff of the Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur.
As Malaysia was still under the emergency laws enforced following the May 13, 1969 riots, the European-dominated management in Singapore thought that the go-slow would definitely end without much ado.
It was illegal, for heaven's sake. So the management thought that they could hold out by asking for arbitration in the Labour Department.
Basically, they were unyielding. They wanted to tire out the journalists, thinking and perhaps, also hoping, that the journalists would eventually give up. Their spirit broken, and their struggle along with it.
They didn't realise that the journalists had Bapak on their side. His sympathies were with them.
Bapak was acting editor-in-chief, as Lee Siew Yee was in London, on leave.
The Singapore management, of course, assumed that since Bapak represented management, he was surely on their side.
Perhaps he should have been. But he was a journalist first.
Moreover, there was a bigger struggle. The pursuit of nationalism.
It was time for the umbilical cord of Straits Times' parent company in Singapore to be severed.
It was time for many great things.
Bapak and the journalists had also finally got the support of the printers' union. That was it. It was the ripe time for action.
Perhaps, the Mat Sallehs in Singapore had forgotten Bapak's past in which he had had dealings with some of the toughest and most notorious trade unions.
This was up Bapak's alley -- his proverbial cup of tea.
"He thrives in that," someone once said.

I remember those days. Bapak either did not come home, or he came home very very late.
Mak would tell us that there was "some problem at the office".

Bapak had, it seemed, seized the opportunity the "go-slow" had offered.
With one bold stroke, he made his move. And before the Orang Putih in Singapore knew what hit them, the New Straits Times was born.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, now Encik Majid would be driving the navy blue Holden Kingswood which Bapak had got a little earlier.
Encik Majid remained Bapak's driver until 1976, the year he was detained under the ISA.

Over the four years he was with Bapak, we all grew to be fond of him.
Especially Lalin and Nina, despite him being such a stickler about the do's and don'ts in the car.
"No ice-cream" was top of the don'ts list.
As for the do's -- I remember he never minded them making a din in the car. So, in my book, he was an okay guy.
He liked my little sisters and my little brother, he treated them well. So, that made him okay to me.
Besides, he was respectful of Mak.

Encik Majid must have got on well with Bapak.
We treated him as part of the family.
If Bapak had his meals at home, then, it was understood that Encik Majid would have his with Bapak. Mak would, of course, be with them.
Encik Majid knew all our relatives in Singapore, and called them by their family names.
They treated him with respect. So did we.
As far as we were concerned, he was an employee of the NST.
He was not our driver.
We got to know his wife well too. His family was like family to us.

Frankly, we were quite amazed that he was able to work with Bapak who kept long irregular working hours.
Encik Majid even worked weekends.
"Does he have a life?" we wondered.
More importantly, Bapak had quite a reputation.
Yes, we heard some of the horror stories.

Mrs Koay told us about a new overzealous and over-efficient secretary for Bapak.
Mrs Koay, essentially was Uncle Siew's (Lee Siew Yee) secretary and Bapak was to have his own secretary.
So, Miss overzealous decided to be super efficient and cleared Bapak's desk of "mess".
It seemed when Bapak came into his room and found his desk to be so tidy, he was not amused. And that is putting it mildly.
We heard that some not so nice four-letter words spewed from his mouth.
And Miss overzealous was history. And so were many others. They worked a day, and called it quits the next.
That was Bapak. His bark was far worse than his bite.
He got on well with Mrs Koay, though.
She must have known Bapak well enough not to disturb his things.
So, Mrs Koay was secretary to both Uncle Siew and Bapak.
For, Bapak, she basically worked on his schedule and appointments.
"Easy-lah to work with your dad. He types his own letters, articles and documents. No need to kacau his desk or his room. Easy boss," she would say to us later.
She continued to keep in touch with us post-1976. Lovely lady.

Indeed, a person made of far less stern stuff would have not lasted as long as Encik Majid did.

One day, Encik Majid came to the house driving a gleaming Mercedes 200 with the registered number, BAK 40.
He was grinning so widely as though he had just won a ... Mercedes.
"Ni kereta baru. Kingswood dah tak pakai lagi," he told Mak.
"Aah... cantik," she said.

When Kak Eda and I came home for the weekend, we saw the Mercedes in the garage.
Encik Majid proudly introduced the gleaming, spanking new Merc to us.
He must have been convinced that we were hopeless, for we were not impressed. The young anti-establishment, anti-anything that smacked of capitalism, non-conformist teenaged rebels that we were.
What a pity, we thought. We had liked the Kingswood. We even liked the registered number - BY 1918.
One thing we always remembered -- just like the Kingswood, the Mercedes was not ours.

"Tak ada character-lah," Kak Eda said, of this new car.
I nodded in agreement.
"Tapi ada air-cond," I whispered.
"So what," she retorted, making me feel as though I was so corruptible. So easily seduced.

The morning after Bapak was taken away, Encik Majid came to our house to report for work.
He had not been informed of Bapak's arrest so he was shocked and was almost in tears.
But we got the feeling that he was not entirely surprised and had somewhat expected Bapak's arrest to happen.
For the rest of the day after that fateful morning in June 1976, Encik Majid looked so forlorn. A little lost.
Encik Majid's routine was a little out of whack as Azah, Kamal, Lalin and Nina had all skipped school that day.
So we told him that perhaps he should go to the office as he could find out more about Bapak's arrest there.
He came back about lunchtime and joined us all for lunch, and lunchtime talk.

When talk was rife that Bapak was detained for communist activities, Encik Majid was emotional.
Dear, faithful Encik Majid declared that if they wanted to know where Bapak went, what time and with whom, he should be the one the Special Branch should question.
"I can account for his every movement outside his home," he said.
Dear, faithful Encik Majid.

There was also a time when he came over to the house with some books and documents.
"Ini boss punya. They all kemas bilik Bapak," he said, rather sadly.

One morning, about two months after Bapak's arrest and subsequent detention, Encik Majid came to our house, looking a little despondent.
He asked for Mak who was busy in the kitchen.
"Saya dah di suruh tidak kerja untuk Mak Cik Midah lagi," he said, trying to break the news as gently as he could.
"Kereta dah nak di ambil balik..."
Encik Majid, of course knew this was coming but I had the feeling that he was just hoping that the company would actually forget about him, in a way that allowed him to work with us.
But, how would we pay for his services, I had wondered.

Mak knew too that this day would come, that Encik Majid would have to go. And of course, the Mercedes too.
In fact, she had already received a letter from the company stating Encik Majid's termination of services and the withdrawal of the company car.
She only informed Kak Piah, Kak Ton and Abang Med about it.
The rest of us had no inkling but, we had expected this inevitable development.

"Saya tahu. Saya dah dapat surat," Mak told Encik Majid.
She told him not to worry.This was expected, she said, because Bapak was no longer with the NST.
But, she told him that he was always welcomed at our home, anytime.
"Jangan lupa Hari Raya," she said.

That weekend, Mak told Kak Eda and I that Encik Majid would no longer be with us. And neither would the car.
We were sad about Encik Majid because he had been like family to us. Besides he had served Bapak well, shown the greatest respect for him and for Mak.
He had also been very good to Lalin and Nina.
The Mercedes was not a big deal although it was only natural that we had grown to like it. But it was not ours.
And we had, after all, the small little red Mazda 1000 which Mak had been using.

But what would have been a big deal was something she had chosen not to tell us.
With Bapak incarcerated, she had now to find a source of income to support her school and college-going children.
She was reminded of Bapak's EPF money. But, that would be to repay Bapak's debts on whatever loans he had taken.
Bapak's poor financial management was legendary, we were soon to find out.

Mak was to be bread winner, driver and everything else. And in her head was whether we all could remain in college and whether we would be forced to move out of our home.
And where would we go?
She told us much later that at one point of desperation and despair, she was thinking of Medan where her ancestral home was.
That, to us, was unimaginable. Unthinkable.
Thankfully, her faith brought her back to earth, to reality.

Her one consolation in all this was that Kak Ton and Abang Med were already working.

"But, would we be a burden to them?" she had wondered.

41 comments:

Anon. Fm Miri said...

You have a great mother sis.

Penarik Beca said...

Self proclaimed peminat setia "Tuesdays with Bapak" ni tak dan-dan nak baca Tuesdays with Bapak (6) dah baca Tuesdays with Bapak (7).

Apa la aku ni! Many days too late.

But my wife is always on the dot. She is addicted to Tuesdays with Bapak.

"Dia tulis fasal ITM sampai saya rasa ada balik di ITM tu. School of Architecture tu memang sunyi. Sebab tu lah kakak tu lari ikut jalan tu agaknya..."

mekyam said...

Dear Nuraina,

As usual, you deliver... lovely read!

I have not been able to trawl my fave blogs since last week, but manage to rush pell-mell and make it to this week's TWB. (Do you see the skid marks? ;D)

P.S. Btw, belated congratulations on the birth of your brand spanking new niece. To her proud parents (if they read this, GOOD JOB!

Rocky's Bru said...

"Bapak's poor financial management was legendary, we were soon to find out." - Jalan Sudin

Ena,
Most journalists I know are the opposite of wizards when it comes to financial management. But that's not just because of their lifestyle of poor maths. Journalists are also not well paid. They are expected to feed on their own passion and live on a liquid diet. They are grossly underpaid for what they do and for their services to the people and their contributions towards nation building.
At NST, like at many media organisations, a journalist makes the decision not to get involved in outside business. This is to avoid any form of conflict of interest. If they wish to write for any other publication, they need to get the permission of the editor. Usually, if there is no conflict of interest with his own publication, the editor would allow it. A few dollars more is always a consideration for journalists.

These days, some journalists use their positions to enrich themselves. We also have top editors put there by their political masters. These include people with big businesses out there. I have seen such people come and go and I have come to the conclusion that, yes, it is indeed impossible to remain neutral and objective if you have a multi-million ringgit company to run as well, business associates to take care of, and politicians to suck up to.

In many ways, journalists are like the police force and the army. They are poorly paid and they work in trying conditions. They serve the nation but they are not acknowledged enough for it. But it is crucial, despite these, that the IGP and the General are people who are not easily seduced and who are not corrupt. If they were allowed to run businesses out there and compete and join forces with everyone else from the tycoon to the crook, what'll give?

If you want to get rich, get out of the newsroom, the police force and the army.

riki said...

cant wait for next series ^^

izinni said...

"The Singapore management, of course, assumed that since Bapak represented management, he was surely on their side.
Perhaps he should have been. But he was a journalist first."

hmmm not much we can say about the management of newspapers nowaday ... most of them are acting as though they've never been a journalist.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sis Nuraina
Just curious, why did Kak Eda and you sit for the MCE exam in the same year? Both of you born in the same year? Or did you join the "express" train? Sorry if you've mentioned this in your earlier TWBs but I cannot recall.
aMiR

jorji said...

TWB kick arse! i dun have time to read it at ofis,so i save it in my pendrive then i baca kat rumah...

my wife said "sampai kat rumah u baca blog!!??"

legend said...

blogging is good for everyone...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

rocky,

years ago, while I was still a (secondary school) student, a friend insinuated that my dad was corrupt.
I almost slugged him. I was insulted because i knew Bapak was not. I knew how we lived.
i asked him why he made such an unfounded accusation.
He said because we lived in a double storey detached house in section 16,PJ. What crap!
i told him if my dad were corrupt and on the take, we would be living in a mansion, and we would all be in boarding school in england.
I was a student and I gave him a lecture on corruption.
I knew about the ills of corruption from a very young age. It was a topic we often discuss over Sunday breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime we found time to sit together at a table.
i know one thing. Bapak turned down an "offer" from a Sabah politician (in the 70s). He therefore turned down, among others, a holiday home in england, vacations to europe and anywhere in the world and boarding school for all his kids.
Plus, all expense-paid for the Haj for him and Mak.

Whatever...Bully for you, Bapak!

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

aMIR,

actually you are right. Kak Eda was 15 months older than I am.
I jumped (express class/double promotion/whtever) class from standard one to standard three. That was offered then, in the early 60s.
i remember when i entered std one, everyone had to do a test. i didnt know what the test was all about. and then, before i knew it, seven of us were asked to leave the classroom and joined another class.I believe they picked seven from each std one class. So, we were all put in std one express. then the next year we were all put in std 3 express.
I was with kak eda in the same class from std 5 until form 2. she was absorbed into the science stream and I, into arts.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mekyam :
thanks again.

And Nina and Mack said: Thank You, Mekyam.

elviza said...

Dear Kak Ena,

I must tell you that I think I am having an affair with TWB. I was away from the office and home the whole day and I couldnt log on to read TWB as early a I wish.

I was truly restless the entire day! Now that I have read it, I must wait for another week. Duh!

shar101 said...

'Organized mess'.

I can relate to that.

'Within the clutterness that one has on one's table, there is actually order within the universe'.

Go figure.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

So you're a smart alec, huh ... and gosh you still remember the exact number of bright young things selected from each std one class to join the express class. This holiday home in England offered by the Sabah politician, is it in Hampstead Heath London? Again, just curious.
aMiR

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Ena

I remember those trying times. It was 1976 (has it been 3 decades already?), I had been working for just over a year, and I was tasked with making the monthly repayments for the Section 16 house. I was only earning M$1200 then, and I had to put aside M$500 monthly for the repayment. The scheduled repayment (according to Bapak's loan agreement) was actually more than that, but M$500 was all that I could afford.

Thanks to the timely intervention of Uncle Chew (Chew Beng Chiat, who was with Public Bank then), the repayment was rescheduled around my ability to pay. (Can banks be as flexible these days, I wonder?)

Even though I felt the pinch, it was really a small contribution on my part. Hardly a sacrifice, in retrospect. After all, I was still a bachelor. It just meant that instead of a Ford Escort, I could only have on my radarscope a Mini Minor (which I duly bought: a white one, BAS 4450). Kak Piah and Kak Ton were already married then, but they made sacrifices. Their contributions helped keep the family's financial affairs afloat.

All our financial contributions would have come to nought if it weren't for Mak. Her perseverance, faith and strength kept us us together, gave us focus. Her unrelenting determination to provide the best for her children under the circumstances allowed us some semblance of normalcy in our disrupted lives.

- Bang Med

pokChad said...

Enko lansung tak kesian kat orang tua, pendek riwayat aku... tebeliak biji mata... kalo kempunan telor ikan ker cantik gak bunyinye ni kempunan nak tau kesudahan TWB.

Aku malas nak baca ko punya TWB (bersiri).

Bila ko dah cetak TWB dalam bentuk buku JERIT kat mana bley beli.

kak ton said...

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

…it was really a small contribution on my part. Hardly a sacrifice, in retrospect…

-----------------------------------

Med,

You contributed almost half of your salary to the family.

Yet you did not complain or protest when told the amount needed to repay the monthly housing loan.

Bless you, Med. Without your contribution, the bank would have repossessed the house or the family would most probably have to sell it and move into a smaller one.

Of course, you would not want it any other way. The family must stay together...in that house. You did not want your siblings to feel traumatized, especially the two youngest, Lalin & Nina, by moving out of the house they love very much...and which we all still do.

We could not have asked for a better brother.

And, of course Mak(may Allah SWT bless her soul), our pillar of strength, for all the sacrifices made and for her devotion to her children.

Kak Ton

change said...

what happen to pak majid?

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

penarik beca: kalau dah boring nanti, beritahu, ya. Kita boleh buat Wednesdays With Mak...heheheh.

Anyway -- ex-ITM,ke?

Anon: Mothers are, arent they?

Izinni : That seems to be the general observation. Some things have changed for the worse.

Jorji: Asalkan TWB tidak jadi sebab kegisiran suami/isteri...

elviza : oh dear.. i shall try to keep the fire burning.

Shar101: Yep... i can relate to that.

Pokchad: Alamak...

Riki: thank you

Legend : it is, indeed

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Kak Ton & Abang Med,

I remember how the "elders" (arwah kak piah+abang zul,kak ton+abang ani and abang med) sat with Mak to discuss the (family) state of affairs and our future.
How could I forget abang zul's suggestion that we all stopped college and work. I did not forgive him for that for a long time.
I was young, But I knew then that far too often, people were quick to make easy decisions.
No brainer, telling us to quit school and earn a living. That is so short sighted. so short term.
And what about Kak Olin's future? She was in England and was not on any scholarship because Bapak never allowed us to apply for any kind of scholarship even if we were eligible. Kak Piah and you both contributed to Kak Olin's education.
Kak Eda and I were full-paying students at ITM. we then had to apply to have our fees reduced to the minimum because we had by then qualified given Bapak's status.

Oh yes... I remember those days.
Thankfully, there were good people (among the journalists) at NST.
Kak Bedah (Zubaidah Abd Rahman) who was an editor in BH, asked Mak to be contributor for Berita Harian.
Mak had to work. Not that she did not know how. She was a journalist in her younger days...
The late nights Mak kept to finish her articles because nights were the only time she had that allowed her to sit down and finish those articles for BH.
I do also remember how late payments by NST were.
I remember a "sad" story Mak related to me one day. She told me how people could be unkind. When payment was so delayed, she called the person in charge of payments (shall remain nameless), and was simply dismissed. In short, this person (a young lady) was rude to her, as though Mak was a nuisance.
I was so angry I asked who this NST person was. I called the NST (i was still a student but had done practical training with the NST), asked for the person,spoke to her and told her off. Yes, she was a rude person.
But... as fate would have it and remembering always how small the world is, I joined the NST, and then Bapak rejoined the NST.
No need to say how this person was and had been to me through the years at the NST. She had to deal with me for a long time because of work etc.
No, I dont believe in balas membalas. I always believe that is not for us to do. The point is, I didnt have to do anything. She did. She had to be nice. Never a rude word from her since..

After such a long time, it was quite a relief when Bapak's EPF funds were finally released.
i think that eased Abang Med's and your burden.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

aMIR,

Alamak. Smart alec tu macam "loyar buruk". Not complimentary.
But I know what you mean.
IQ kita, okay-lah.

Anyway, I have no idea where that holiday home in England was to be.

mekyam said...

Nuraina: Kita boleh buat Wednesdays With Mak...heheheh.

YES! Oh YESSSS!!!!

Please don't toy with us. :D

Nuraina, I think we are now sooo into the rich tapestry of your family history... macam ikut siri The Waltons pulak. Betul!

At the end of each segment, our mental cameras longshot to a house in Sec 16 and in the darkness, we can hear the childish voices of Nina and Lalin calling out, "G'nite Mak, G'nite Abg Med, Kak Ton, Kak Eda, Kak Ena..." ending with whispered sobs of "G'nite Bapak... wherever you are... we love you!"

***

Rocky: [Journalists] are expected to feed on their own passion and live on a liquid diet.

Aha! Now we girls know how Nuraina, Marina, Kak Teh et al keep their figures. :D

Mat Salo said...

God.. what am I doing? I post-poned my self-imposed deadline (last Monday) of my blog so I can catch my dose of TWB less I suffer from symptoms of withdrawal... hehe.. tis my 47th day on a drill rig in Indo, the 6th well that I'm on (that's the feverish state of the oilfiled for you)..

Sis, when I mentioned Kamal and I were contemporaries, I meant we were more than that. He was housemates with batchmates of mine in ITM so go way back. In the hey day of our misguided youth, we never asked Kamal about these things. It was a time of girls, big engined motorcycles and jazz. I am glad you brought these serials out, and about time too. I had an inkling, but never knew the true extent of your 'trials'.

Sis, TWB MUST BE published in book form, if anything to leave this important legacy for generations on. I've got my RR cap on, "there is so much flotsam and filth out there cyberspace, but this, my dear, is not one of them".

*Sniff* now I'm gonna look silly indeed going out there barking orders to my driller and roughnecks sis.. because my eyes, red and glazed...

acciaccatura said...

kalau ada character ibu dalam sesebuah kisah, i'll always imagine myself in that particular situation. your mum is my favourite when i read TWB.

Anonymous said...

Madam,

Seronok sangat baca coretan TWB, tak sabaq nak tunggu minggu depan.
You make me ketagih dari jauh, nak baca yang seterusnya. Apa jadi dekat En Majid? apa lagi your next TWB? tak sabaq la nak tunggu minggu depan! hehehehehe!

Nanti boleh la cerita about your mum pulak..., kesabaran dan ketabahan dia sebagai seorang isteri yang telah melalui pelbagai pengalaman.

Selamat berjuang dan selamat menulis lagi dan lagi.

Peminat setia TWD-Nani-Big Apple

Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

Dear Ms NAS,
I always look fwd to Tuesday reading on TWB,the day I read the paranoia of late 60's and early early 70's. Those were the time when Suharto in Indonesia was continuing the programme to prosecute the oppositions labelled as 'communist'.

More than that, TWB is about the tribulation of a close knit family
caught in the situations none of their doings.

In Indonesia the informations about people whose names were provided for by CIA operative ended up killing almost 600,000.Declassified CIA documents can be read here:


http://www.namebase.org/scott.html

and here

http://www.namebase.org/foia/indolist.html

How reckless can they be with Non American lifes.

Thanks for the story,we were fed by CIA with similar list i believe,Bapak was one of them.All the name conjured to annihilate all oppositions to American influence in SEA nations ...they were fighting in Vietnam and the Domino theory were the believe during that era.

We were fighting for freedom then,the Generations of Bapak were made of sterner stuff ...we could only read in awe of a great man of principle in Bapak which sound so alien now.Hope you dont mind me calling your Bapak as our Bapak ,as he is Bapak to the nation too!!

ewoon said...

Another towering Malay for the herd to follow, if only they can. Your Dad is one uncompromising man, always guided by what is right. I am very proud of him myself. Reminds me of our late Tun Dr Ismail's unwavering "I'll do for the country what I'll not do for myself and my family."

The book, the book, we need the book for posterity and set the record straight.

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Ena:

"Bapak's poor financial management was legendary, we were soon to find out."

How true.

When we got Bapak's financial affairs in order, we found that he had hardly any savings.

Luckily, Bapak had an overdraft facility (secured against the housing loan) of just over 80K, which he asked me to administer. When cash was short - which was
often - the overdraft was used to top up.

But the overdraft was not money we actually had - it was borrowed money which must be paid back. I had to meticulously account for every sen used from the overdraft. During the Tuesdays that we saw Bapak, he wanted to be kept updated of the family's financial situation.

Yes, Ena, as you noted, when Bapak got his EPF years later, the EPF money was used to settle outstanding loans and debts. I could finally think of buying my own house.

Kak Ton:

I really didn't think I sacrificed that much, though I am very touched that you thought I did.

I was staying with the family, so I had very little "living expenses". I may have bought a small car while friends of mine were driving Datsun 160Js and other assorted terrors of the road, but I didn't mind. I actually had an emotional attachment to the Mini Minor (the first car I bought when I was a student in Sydney was a Mini: light green, reg no. DMX 207).

Besides, I earned extra money writing for Sunday Mail (at M$50 per article, this amounted to M$200 or M$250 per month).

The only other financial commitment I had at that time (that I can remember) was paying back my study loan. All in all, my financial commitment was maybe M$900-M$1000. I still had some money to spare.

Sure, I felt the pinch, but it was bearable. I felt fortunate that Bapak bought the house when he did (at a price that was still affordable), and that it was within my means to pay.

The house meant everything to the family, and the family meant everything to me. (After my studies, I resisted the temptation of settling down in Australia with my then Australian girlfriend because I could not bear the thought of being away from the family.)

The repayment for the house had to paid, and I was given that responsibility.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mekyam: thanks again, mekyam. Oh dear. what have I done here? We will see what we can do with TWB first.
(Pandai2 saja saya ni...cakap tak fikir dulu...)
but thank u,mekyam.
and oh. i do remember the Waltons. And I am imagining the exact scene now. priceless, mekyam.

change: Pak Majid, my uncle died afew years ago.
Encik Majid, my dad's designated NST driver remained in the NST after Bapak's detention. I am not so sure whether he continued as a driver soon after. Later, when I joined the NST, we met each other often. And he would visit our family during Hari Raya or khenduri kahwin or funerals (Mak's and Kak Piah's). I know that he was later absorbed into one of the departments as an office administrator. I remember that he was in the properties dept (of NSTP).

accia : Such kind words. Thank you.

Mat Salo: Kamal is the youngest of only 2 boys in our family, He is adored by his sisters. When he was in ITM, most of his older sisters had already been working, and each of us gave him pocket money. Can you imagine that?
I think in the mid of his ITM studies, Bapak was released. But...what a small world.
And thank you.

Nani Big Apple: thank you. good to know that TWB touches a malaysian beyond our shores.

Clark Gable : As always. I am touched. Thank You.

Ewoon: Thank you. I am inspired.

kak ton said...

Dear Ena

No, it was never a burden & hardly a sacrifice at all. We (Abang Med, arwah kak Piah & I)) did was what was required of us. Never crossed my mind that you guys should leave college & work. It was our responsibility to take care of you guys. You would have done the same. I know you would. So would all my siblings.

King Ghaz took away our rezeki by putting Bapak under detention but Allah was with us. With His help, we managed. Alhamdullilah.

By the time Bapak was released in 1981, all of you had left college and already working (except for Kamal, Lalin & Nina) - you with the NST, Olin (by then married) was with Komplek Kewangan, Eda with Ijas & Associates & Azah, American Express.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Yes, the book, but that is not what I have in mind. A movie. There is all the drama of a good movie and I am not just saying this to be one up.

I am sure if we are in the west this story would be adopted for the silver screen. Of course to spice things up they would over-do the characters a bit. What if they wanted you to be a bit of a rebel, or even a hippie?

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

kata tak nak,

Oh wow..
oh wow..

That is possible.

Anonymous said...

I used to stayed in jalan Sudin Singapore before.
Kaki Bukit area during my childhood.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,
Tuesdays are the best days of my life. Its my off-day (kerja di klinik swasta). Read TWB, jalan2, masak2, lunch and kemas rumah. Tunggu suami pulang. Then we share the days happenings. Suami kata, you/family semua "people of remarkable strength and faith". Semoga diberkati ALLAH and happily look forward to more stories on Tuesday.

Rubiah Ariff

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anonynous at 8.34pm:

that is nice to know.
when I hear the words "Kaki Bukit", I feel so so sad.
I often tell my friends that many of the old Malay movies (on sultans and hulubalang etc) were shot in Kaki Bukit.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Puan Rubiah,

thank you. And May Allah bless you and your family.

For a large part of my life, Tuesdays were the days -- that was when we would meet my father when he was udner detention.

I am glad and very touched that TWB touches you.
And thank you also to your husband for his kind remarks.

QueenB said...

Pertama sekali, I tabik Pak Samad, Kak Midah dan anak-anak.
Kedua, kenangan di Kampung Melayu "Kaki Bukit". Tempat jatuh lagi dikenang, ini kan pula tempat bermain.
In my mind's eye, I can still see the moonsoon drain where I almost drowned after a heavy rain, the bullock cart that we used to get rides from, the jambu trees, the 'air pancur' facing my family home (Jalan Damai), the corner house where they shot all those old Malay movies (Rumahku Duniaku, if I'm not mistaken, with Roseyatimah or is it Fatimah Ahmad?)
And then the hill that leads to the mosque at the top, 4PM where they trained young people in arts and culture, the community clinic and 'barrack hitam'.
I heard the mosque is now squeezed in between some new buildings, is that true?

Fauziah Ismail said...

Ena
Semestinya apa yang berlaku tu ada hikmahnya. I'm reading your Tuesdays with Bapak to find out what it is.

Anonymous said...

Fauziah Ismail said...

Ena
Semestinya apa yang berlaku tu ada hikmahnya. I'm reading your Tuesdays with Bapak to find out what it is.
-----------------------------------

You are looking for that hikmah?

The hikmah: They (the samd family) learned the meanining of patience, piety, compassion & love for one another & what sacrifices are all about during those trying years.

My admiration to Pak Smad, the late Paun Hamidah & nuraina & her siblings.

Black's@ Amin Iskandar said...

Nuraina,

I've been following the Tuesday With Bapak. I like it. But this one i like the most. I really like the character of Majid the driver. Actaully behind the great people, there is the people like Majid who is loyal.

I'm very impressed with Majid.
Keep on with the Tuesday With Bapak. Introduce to us more about this kind of character who is very supportive behind the scene.

Cheers,

Black.