Friday, April 27, 2007

Rubiah's Story

A regular reader of "Tuesdays With Bapak" is Rubiah Ariff. We have developed a kind of closeness. She was the one who asked a lot about my niece, baby Sharmaine. In a comment in the latest TWB, Rubiah alluded to her childhood. I caught a story there. I said that she had a story to tell.
She certainly has. Rubiah sent me a little tale about her life as a young girl in Sarawak and when she furthered her studies in Penang.
She said, perhaps it was not to be published in my blog, because her husband cautioned to not "steal Nuraina's blog".
Hai, suami, suami.
Forgive me, Rubiah. I have to post your story.
Here is Rubiah's story.

"Dear Nuraina, Assalamulaikumsalam.

Our life is simple saja. I was born in Long Lama (Ulu Baram). Pa was from Kedah (kerja polis) and Ma was a local (masuk Islam after kahwin -- umur 14 tahun). Have 2 sisters and 1 brother before myself and another bro and sis after me.

Long Lama is an outpost town (12hrs journey by boat from the nearest outpost-Marudi). At home, life is too simple. One clinic cum post office cum ofis pendaftar. School is just a small room at the back of the gereja (st. Anthony's). A priest comes in daily to teach. We were the only Muslim family there. (Tapi you can find several chapels in/around Baram, pelik, kristian dah sampai, Islam belum). So Pa susah hati, takut jadi kristian. So he packed us off (the older ones)to boarding in Marudi (malays everywhere).

Parents visit 3 bulan sekali (sebab jauh). Biasa lah, I was known as the "airmata" princess. (makan taugey hari2, no taste). Pa goes hunting weekends, payau (deer) and fishing (prawns, fish) nearby. No fresh beef! No peti-ais, no ais-krim. kalau sakit kena travel in a long boat to Marudi. Nasib baik, emak "murah" masa melahirkan we all. But one thing is clear, we are all brother/sisters to everyone back home. The elders are called Apai/Indai, kakak/Abang, Anak/Adik.

Kerja Pa senang, mana ada gaduh2. Semua peaceful folks. later on, SPM over, I studied nursing in Penang. Wah... sedapnya makan2 situ. By then the elder children dah kerja, Pa&Ma dah pandai naik "belon" (flight). They were at my "grad'tion".

I worked as a "reader" at Kindergarten in Penang (waiting for job). Then dapat kerja kat Adventist Hospital. Disitu bertemu jodoh dengan suami (Shariff Osman). Abah dia accident, kita onduty at A&E. Nenek dia yang jodohkan.

Okaylah, dia juga baik, tak banyak cakap. Saya juga budak "ulu".

Pa&Ma suruh terima pinangan (bukan apa, takut terpikat kat anak2 mamak Penang!) tak balik Sarawak!.

Tunang 2 tahun (suami masih belajar o'seas). Kahwin di Penang, suami dapat kerja (kerajaan) dan lepas tu' transfer to Sibu (sarawak).

Dah masuk 4 tahun di Sibu (another small town). Pa dah meninggal (heart attack). Sebelum Pa meninggal, ada beli rumah di Marudi sebab ramai kawan kat situ. Changes don't happen so fast in small towns.

I love going back to Marudi and Ulu Baram. Suami paling seronok mandi sungai, hunting, climbing. Adventure betul. No fear of crocs.

I remember, each time Pa takes us home for school holidays (year end, sebab holiday panjang) I would sit in the long boat, paling depan sekali, lepas my tocang and let my hair "fly with the wind". Kak/abang bising, menjerit "Ikat rambut, nanti botak". Kat sekolah, rambut ditocang 24jam, skearan bebas!

It still is fun! Good old days. But your life is more colourful. Alhamdulillah, kita semuanya selamat dan sihat.

Eventho' I live in Sibu, my family & in-laws selalu in and out juga. Mother in-law paling suka kalau diajak balik ke LongLama. Tak pernah complain apa2. Pandai swimming, tau! Dia pakai seluar sampai kelutut dan t-shirt besar. She forgets herself sometimes, berenang kat tempat dalam2. Bahaya, ada rapids.

Syukurlah. Terima kasih sebab sudi tanya pasal kita. My salam to everyone at home, baby, Bapak & family. Harap2 Nina dah sihat, jangan putus susukan baby, supaya baby cepat besar, sihat dan cantik.

p/s: Tolong jangan publish yang ni kat blog, ya? Suami kata "trying 2 steal Nuraina's blog". Muah Muah

Rubiah Ariff

7:02 AM"

(Note: Picture is of a highland in Sarawak)


Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina and readers of TWB, It was never any intention to steal yur thunder. Maaf, saya pohon. There was a TWB (the part where Bapak said "Jangan boyfriend-boyfriend!" Exactly the same thing my Pa said when I left for Penang. Pa did not have to worry lah, my thoughts were on the food, food, food. Ma pesan "Jangan main ikut2 saja, ah, guna akal kamu untuk pikir sebelum ikut cerita kawan2". That little episode "triggered" something in my mind, our parents dekat2 nak sama lah (maksud kita the loghat!). Nuraina dear, I prefer your TWB anytime, anywhere. Come on all bloggers, Hurray for Pak Samat! THE Only LELAKI melayu, I know. (Psst: Bang Shariff, campur sikit cina!) Salam utk semua

Rubiah Ariff

mekyam said...

NAS: I caught a story there.

You dont say! ;D

Nuraina, I've heard much abt the newshound's keen instinct. Never see it in action before. Now, I'm slackjawed impressed. Woohoo!


Dear Rubiah,

That is some story! And told with such simplicity, such freshness. I was transported.

Guess you can take a girl out of Long Lama but you can never take the transluscent quality of a dew-laden (I imagine) paradise like Long Lama out of a girl.

I'm so glad neither you nor NAS take your dear hub's caution too seriously. :D

What a treat!

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Ena
I see a blogger in the making here. Nice read!

Kata Tak Nak said...

I am glad you posted this. So refreshing reading her post, so peacefull so carefree. How I wish I could escape into that stress-free environment. Di sini la ni stress gila-gila. I just tunggu bila nak pencen? 5 more years, 5 more long long years. Thanks Rubiah for that bit of fresh air.

QueenB said...

such a sweet n simple life; reminds me of life in the padi fields of kahang then

Mariani said...

Kak Ena,

Please ask Rubiah to continue with her story. I think she has a lot to tell especially to those yang tak pernah rasa hidup dekat tempat macam Long Lama.

I must admit that while reading her story, I was imaging the place and situation. Seronok tau naik perahu... I have experienced it long time ago in my kampung (I was born there but raised in KL - so masa kecil bila balik kampung tu excited sangat2. Agaknya macam .....) But now my kampung pun dah ada jalan, so perahu tambang is no longer popular.

Nak kena baca blog dia lagi....

zorro said...

Nuraina, thanks for sharing Rubiah's story with us....her early days reminded me of childhood days in Taiping.....not a care....always barefoot...catapulting birds ( I fee rotten now thinking about this beastly act) and then bakar them and stealing fruits from my grand-uncles orchard, and spearing ikan budukang in the stream that swung by our government quarters....and they are now demolishing those quaint quarters.Our kids had no chance to experience this. Rubiah, where you are it is still verdant and green....get your kids out there often.

sesat said...

Good on you Nuraina for posting Rubiah's story. Her kampung halaman sounds like my kind of place.

I have long yearned for a simple, remote and tranquil place to live in retirement (hopefully soon); whether this is going to materialise remains to be seen. Some years ago, I worked in Croatia and Bulgaria for about a year and when I was there, I loved travelling to little old villages to marvel at the history and the serenity of these places and the simple lifestyle of the people.

Thanks Rubiah for telling the tale to Nuraina and thanks Nuraina for sharing it with us.

abu rabu aka ash wednesday said...

Dear Rubiah,

In TWB(8) you wrote:

"I was determined to help out and at least try to make this world a better/safer place for others. I became a nurse. My motto: If I can make one sick child smile, 1 mark. Relieve pain, 2 marks. Rub a young mom's backache during delivery, 2 marks."

There's more to you than just a kampung girl who was packed off to boarding school at a tender age.

You have to tell us about "your calling", about that turning point in your life when you visited your Pak Cik Mahmud at the "rumah orang gila."

Mat Salo said...

Waaah . . . what with Ijok, golden handshakes and all, a breath of fresh air indeed!

Rubiah's poignant story touched a wonderful chord in us all, mine especially - since I spent some years in Miri as an oilfield "thrash" in the early 90s. Working with BSN, my wife was occasionally posted to far outposts like Lawas where to visit her and our first-born son (Klinik Teo, '93) I had to fly-in by Twin Otter. Rumah panjai, . . . longboats . . .Aah, the sheer romance of it all!

Rubiah, please, I urge you to blog about these stories . . .

And thanks Kak Ena for discovering her!

change said...

what a nice story, simple yet "merusuk kalbu". I came from abt similar village background with mandi sungai, tangkap ikan semilai, panjat pokok and ate the fruit on the tree, and playing kite on the the padi field etc. no tv, no video game, even no radio, but ultimately happy. I miss the calmness and feeling free. i wonder about my kids that won't hv a change to experience living in kampung; and now at oversea seeing totally different cultures. For sure i will bring them back and to my kampung

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena

Thank you for "Ruby Story".
As everybody knows we have TWD every Tuesday, so rasa-rasanya bila kita boleh dapat sambungan "Ruby Story" ni. :)

Take care and have a nice day.

P/S to Kak Ruby, salam perkenalan and please dont stop writing because Nani rasa banyak yang boleh you cerita especially zaman kanak-kanak you di 'ulu'

Nani-Big Apple

A Voice (of Another Brick in the Wall) said...

Very refreshing story.

Rubiah, the blogosphere awaits you.

Apandi said...

Thank you for brightening up my Monday morning. I could just imagine a film based on Rubiah's story by Yasmin Ahmad.Sure meletop.

kak ton said...

Dear rubiah

I like your style. So refreshing.

Go on start your own blog. There is so much that you can share with us.