Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Tuesdays With Bapak (14)
Growing Pains - May 15 2007
Now that I have two teenagers who are growing very fast, I am remembering what a tough time my parents had with Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I.
Actually, Kak Olin was not too bad. Kak Eda and I, I think, must have given Mak a lot of problem. Oh Mak! Bless her! How she tried to hide our misbehaviour from Bapak.
Mak never reported to Bapak those naughty little things that we did. You know, this party and that party that we attended WITHOUT getting his permission.
In our day, that was considered very very naughty. There was no punishment for such transgression because we were not supposed to be doing that. So, the issue of getting caught and getting punished never quite arose because we were not supposed to attend parties without Bapak's permission. As simple as that!
Most times, we would get his permission. But sometimes, we got invited at very short notice and it would be really impossible to get his permission at the last minute.
No compromises! The rule was that Bapak must be informed of any party or outing a week before.
But, oh.... rules were (and are) meant to be broken. Right? Especially when those St John's boys would be there.
Ok. Here's the thing. Our guy friends are from BBBS and La Salle. So, you know, very incestuous to be dating them. We were and still are good friends until today.
When Kak Eda died (on March 8), a bunch of them were at her "tahlill". We were happy to see them, but as always, it would be at a sad occasion that we would be meeting up.
If someone's kid was getting married, that would be the happy occasion when we would be getting together.
So far, though, we have not got together on any of the guys' second marriage.
Let me tell you how permission was sought from Bapak.
You see, we have a library/study where, we would be doing our studying (usually, trying to) or having Maths (tuition) classes with Danny Thaddeus (dear dear wonderful Danny).
Or reading comics.
There was a notice board in the library.
Bapak would leave for work very very early. He worked all seven days.
Except on Saturday and Sunday, he'd be working from 7.30am to 8pm or much much later.
Most times, it'd be very late. If he came back for dinner, he'd usually go back to the office.
I don't know if there were mobile phones and PCs then, he'd want to use them to his full advantage. I think he'd still want to go to the office. He is a very hands-on sort of person.
Now, the notice board was put up for the simple purpose of -- communication between Bapak and his rebellious (hahaha) teenaged children, namely Kak Eda and Nuraina.
Direct communication was not quite possible given Bapak's busy schedule everyday (except Sunday) so any messages, "application to party" et al, had to be pinned on the board.
It suited us just fine. Under the circumstances, we could not have asked for a better mode of communication.
Imagine having to ask Bapak face-to-face:
Us: "Bapak, can we go to Roy's (Rahimah's, Sharifah's etc) party?"
Bapak: " Bila? Di mana? Ada budak2 jantan?"
So it was so much easier to just write this:
2 Jalan 3/5 (or something)
Saturday, June 24 1971
7pm to 11pm.
signed : Eda & Ena (sometimes Olin)
There! And then Bapak would sign on it, if he consented. And he'd usually change the time to 7pm to 9pm.
And he'd send and fetch us to and from the party. And he'd make sure that he was seen doing that by all and sundry at the party.
This went on through our teen years (after form 3) when we were allowed to accept invitations to parties.
It's a wonder there were boys who were STILL interested in us!
We thought how lucky other girls were that their parents allowed them to party and party. No need to ask for written permission.
I realised much later when I began my practical training with the NST (during Bapak's incarceration), that pinning up signed notes, messages, assignments and so forth, was actually how reporters work.
Before the advent of sophisticated and hi-tech IT, it was paper and pen.
At the NST's office then, there was a huge partition behind where I was sitting, which was actually a board where editors and reporters would pin up messages and the like.
Reporters would check the board for their assignments or messages.
Now, I am not sure this will work with my two kids --Adel and Shaira. They'd really think I am a dinosaur. And so not cool!
(PHOTO, taken in 1959 in front of our house at Jalan Sentosa, Petaling Jaya. We had just arrived in Petlaing Jaya from Singapore, following Bapak's acceptance of a job from the Straits Times to start Berita Harian.
Bapak is carrying me, Mak is cradling Azah. Standing are Kak Olin and Kak Eda.)