Monday, June 11, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (18)

Roses Are Always Red - June 12 2007
It was one of those lazy Sunday afternoons when everyone would be sitting around the living room, reading newspapers.
It was my weekend off from work and I decided to pop over Bapak's place.
Just thinking about what Bapak had prepared for lunch worked up my appetite real good.

"Everyone" at Bapak's would mean Bapak and our youngest and still (then) unmarried sister - Nina.
Lalin was still studying law in London and Nina was a third year law undergraduate at the International Islamic University which was located a stone's throw away.
Although we would visit Bapak regularly, it Nina who was there keeping him company.
They took care of each other, although there was Manija, the maid who was around to help with the daily chores, if she was not away for the weekend.
Mak had passed away about two years ago.

It was also my maid's day off so I took Adel who was about two years old, and drove to Section 16.
Besides, Nina had called earlier to ask if I was coming over because sometimes I would only be able to pop over in the evening as I'd have lunch at my mother-in-law's.

On Sundays, usually "everyone" would mean, well, literally everyone.
It was the day to check on Bapak and Nina who loved our visits and looked forward to seeing her nephews and nieces.

I loved Sundays or any day, for that matter, at Bapak's. But Sunday, especially, because I got to see my nephews and nieces too.
Adel loved being at his Datuk's. He loved the huge expanse of play area in and outside the house, and the company of his cousins.
Besides, Bapak was your quintessential Datuk. He spoilt his grandchildren rotten.

I opened the door to see most everyone except our eldest Kak Piah and her family. She'd probably turn up in later with Abang Dzul and their son, Irwan.
Kak Eda and her family were also not around. But I was sure they would be later.

Something yummy was cooking in the kitchen.

"Hello sayang. Come here," squealed Nina when she saw Adel walking into the living room.
"Dah makan? Nak tengok cerita cartoon?' she asked as she hugged Adel and smothered him with kisses.

I told her Adel had his lunch. I had too but, being heavily pregnant and always having hunger pangs, I didn't mind another round of lunch. What had Bapak prepared?

"Mee siam," Nina replied.
"Yang pakai mee hoon kasar. Kak Ton had three helpings. And then frankfurters for the kids," she hastened to add.

Bapak loved having his children and grandchildren around. We'd have animated discussions over breakfast, over lunch, over dinner or whenever we were around.

Sometimes, he'd be in the library which had been turned into his study, typing away on his faithful typewriter.
But, the minute he learnt that any of us were around, he'd call us and we'd be spending our time with him there. Sometimes, I'd fall asleep in his study, in front of the TV.

The mee siam was really good.

I went over to the living room where everyone was sitting, a mug of coffee in my hand.
Kak Ton was having her coffee too. Kak Olin was discussing with Nina about practising law in a law firm or working as a legal officer in a corporation.
They were also talking about Lalin, completing her studies and returning home at the end of the year.

Bapak was talking to Kak Ton and Abang Med about some things he was working on.

"Apa cerita?", he asked, turning to me.

That was a multi-faceted question which could refer to my personal or/and professional life. Usually it referred to the office since Bapak was very familiar with the NST and anything related to the NST including the powers-that-be.

After some lazy Sunday discussion with a dose of gossip, Bapak said he was going to "solat" and resuming some work he had been doing.

As we were happily yakking away, Kak Piah arrived and walked into the living room, with a look of urgency and, conspiracy somewhat.

This was not good, I thought, because Kak Piah had a way of delivering bad news in a bad way.
And she came alone without husband and child, so it must be very urgent. It made me nervous.

As she seated herself, she looked around, wide-eyed, as though to make sure the coast was clear, that it was safe for her to impart this very serious piece of information. A matter of life or death.

"Eh, Bapak nak kahwin lagi," she said in a very hushed tone.

Kak Ton almost dropped her coffee mug. My jaw dropped. Everyone just stopped whatever they were doing.

Did we hear that right? Moments of silence. Very eerie.

"Tipu-lah," I said, suddenly, looking at Nina. Not in front of Nina, I wanted to say. But it was too late.

"It's true. I'm not joking. He has already said yes," Kak Piah said, unravelling this mystery which we knew nothing about. Said yes to whom? When did this happen?

Bapak had joked about some people trying to find him a wife. But he was only joking. So, we never pursued the issue. Perhaps, also we did not want to entertain the thought and Bapak realised that it was a sensitive issue.

So this piece of news came as a huge shock to all of us because it hit us that all that joke was not a joke after all. That there was going to be a new woman in Bapak's life, one who would take over the role of wife and mother.
That she would be sleeping in Mak's room, in Mak's bed.
And that Bapak wanted a new woman in his life. God, no!

Questions, questions. Who was she? How old was she? Where was she from? "Anak dara", widowed or divorced? Any kids?

Kak Piah managed to answer only three: Not so young anak dara from Gombak.

I was remembering a casual conversation I had with Kak Eda one day as we were just lazing around in the TV room as the kids were watching "Tom & Jerry" on the VCR.

"Hey, you think Bapak will remarry?", I asked.

"He should," Kak Eda replied. "If he is lonely." She smiled, as though knowing something I didn't.

I was so unhappy with her reply and I said so.

"If he loves Mak, he shouldn't. Why? What for? He doesn't need to," I remarked, so naively.

When Kak Piah broke the news of Bapak's impending marriage, we were all so upset.
Nina must have taken it the worst and I did not blame her. She remained silent all the while.
I could imagine what was going through her head.

Kak Piah said that one of my cousins was the culprit who had been playing cupid. And we weren't consulted? What right had she got to be doing this? How dare she?

"I will never forgive her," I said. "I will never forgive Bapak." At that point, very unthinkingly said.

"But why does she want to marry Bapak?", Kak Olin asked.

Then, in walked Bapak, looking for a newspaper to use as reference for whatever that he was working on.

"Aah... apa cerita?" he asked. Very innocently.

You tell us, Bapak.


Mat Salo said...

How very prescient Kak Ena, to bring this up in light of the "newly-weds".. ha. Excellent narrative and totally engrossing! Will be waiting with baited breath at this juncture - in both Bapak's and your own sibling's lives, with the new "emak"...


Hi Mat Salo,

just a coincidence, bro,a coincidence.

thanks for visiting. and see u at Kak Ton's later.


Agree with bro Mat Salo, the timing is Tag Hauer (I mean, great)!

I remember friends telling me how strongly you reacted to your dad's plan to remarry."Strongly" is an understatement, your protest was legendary. AKJ and AAT tried to change your mind and yo were adamant about not going to the wedding. But I'll let you tell the s tory next wee.
If Nori was half as mad as you, Pak Lah would still be a widower today. And/But pak lah is not Pak Samad!

Anonymous said...

Hello. :)
Just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading TWB. I got my mom hooked on the series too.
Keep writing. :))


ahirudin (rocky):
thanks, bro. yeah... i remember.
but you know it was later..after the fact.. i felt really bad, i felt I had been a little selfish.
bapak was about 67 years old at that time.How naive i was to think that when a man was that age,he should not be thinking about remarrying. aiyah! i was thinking about my Ompong (maternal grandad)who lost his wife at a much younger age and never quite remarried. I know that his relatives fixed him with a woman but it never worked becos his heart wasnt there.

well, thank God, Bapak was not a PM or we would have no choice in the matter.
I think the situation is a little different for Nori. Jeanne is someone she knew well, someone married to her mom's younger brother. Her aunt. And I've heard only good things about Jeanne.
And I think Nori is much luckier, in that sense.

Of course,of course, Pak Lah is not Pak Samad. And Pak Samad is not Pak Lah.

Thanks, bro.

dr_poli said...

Assalammualaikum .

My emak passed away 12 years ago. She was 63 years old . Emak died in my bapak's arms . He was devastated ...and cried all my years I never see my bapak cried .

Anyway , PAk LAh's wedding had me imagining ...what if my bapak remarried ..after all ...surrounding our house are a bunch of widows ( and they are not merry widows , mind you )....what if bapak had chose any one of them ....what if bapak had chose my immediate neighbour ? ...she had been a widow for the past 24 years ......why ..even her own children are thinking of the same thing ...we don't mind mak ..they said can take turn to sleep either in that house or our own house .

My sister had said ..yep...she can imagine them taking turns to clean the drain ..when they told me that was no laughing business for me ..I was completely in spasm mode....

I don't know how I would take it if bapak decides to marry ....touch wood....!


Sook: Thank you. I appreciate that.


dr_poli: I have come to realise many things, though late in life.
if you bapak decides to remarry, i'm sure it's for a very good reason.
anyway, let's hope,whatever happens, it will be for the best.

thanks for visiting

zabs said...

Tahun pertama, ingatan masih kuat.
Tahun kedua mula rasa kesunyian. Tahun ketiga kawin, kalau takda penghalangnya....

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sis Ena,
You wrote:
Kak Piah said that one of my cousins was the culprit who had been playing cupid. And we weren't consulted? What right had she got to be doing this? How dare she?

"I will never forgive her," I said.
I remember reading elsewhere in Jalan Sudin, a few days ago, that you nearly sent your cousin, the self-appointed match-maker (or was it trouble-maker?) packing all the way to grubby and unglamorous Coventry in the early 90s as a “punishment” for “messing up” with your family affairs. All is forgiven now?


zabs: begitu lah nampak nya. Apa nak buat?

AmIr: You know, it was quite teruk of us.. we didn't talk to her for nearly two years. actually, we hardly saw anyway because she was staying in Gombak. It did not make a difference, except that she knew we were angry, very very angry. Yeah, all is forgiven. dah lama dah.

Hi&Lo said...


Let me assure you that your reaction is natural. I came across daughters who are so attached to their late mothers, they see the remarriage of their dads as a betrayal.

Thank God, in your case all is forgiven.

J.T. said...

It is never easy for a child to accept such a change, no matter the age. Seen it happen - some never get over it while some forgive and move on. Glad it is all the past for you.

I love the build up ... I was engrossed. Looking forward to next segment.

Daphne Ling said...

Haha Aunty Nuraina,
Was strongly reminded of Pak Lah's wedding all of a sudden...Ironically coincident, or?

Anonymous said...

...and my dad took on a second wife while my mom was still alive...which was even worse... & i never forgave the other woman...

Ayah said...

saspens nya cerita ini... macam Drama Minggu Ini la...


Hi&Lo: Yes, i saw it as a betrayal, that was the initial reaction. I couldn't see it from my father's perspective.

Daphne: A coincidence, yes. And Pak Lah's remarriage inspired me to write about my dad's. I was going to write about it, but never got around to.

JT: Tell me about it. I was 36 yrs old and about 7 months pregnant with my second and youngest child. And I was like a 6 year-old about to get a step-mother.
I rejected the idea totally at first.
But,oh well.. you love your father and you have to think about his needs. We can't always be with him all the time... we are his children, but he needed a wife.
thanks for visiting.

ayah: hello, ayah? must be in cloud nine,eh?
sometimes, our lives are a drama. We live a drama everyday of our lives without realising it. That's why, those who are creative and have imagination, pen books, poetry while others, make movies etc..
People less creative (like moi), blog.

anyway, Ayah...i can hear the spring in your footsteps, the joy n your voice and I can actually see the mirthful smile on your face.

Please kirim my salam to Shana and muah-muah to your handsome hero and little women.

ANON@1:56: I have come to believe that it takes two to tango.
Don't blame the other woman alone. Unless of course, she is a gold-digging bitch (that is, assuming that your father has a lot of gold) or simply a bitch who wreaked hell on your family. Now, even if she was all that and more, you have to blame your father for bringing hell to your family.

However, for me, it is a different thing when a man takes another wife while still married to another. That's because the wife HAS A SAY. She can still say NO.
What did you mother do when he wanted to marry another? Was she not informed?
I know that in many situations, the wives are helpless due to many factors.
I am so sory for your mom and you and your family.

Remember to err is human,to forgive divine.
i also know it is not so easy to forgive when you have been witness to your mom's sufferring and pain.
Take care.

mutalib saifuddin said...

roses are always red.

the event co-incidentally repeats almost 14 years to Pak PM...perhaps..

perhaps your dad remarries because he needs someone to accompany him...

but she is made puan sri, and they got married in 1993 right?

usually people don't agree it (on permitting their parent(s) to re-marry) at first, after few months, maybe the anger would calm down..haha


so many things went through our head.
My dad was not a wealthy kaya-raya man, he had 10 kids and as many grandkids and he was old. He was old and getting older. So, why would anyone want to marry him? Aaah.. perhaps for his personaility? unlikely.
but, you know at that time only 2 of his kids were not married and yes, he had a "big" house". perhaps this woman thought that his 2 kids would soon get married and leave the nest. and yes, she became a Puan Sri.
Also, she might have a different definition of "wealthy".

those were our initial scepticisms to the woman's intention to marry our Bapak.
We didn't mean her any ill-will etc..Just thinking of the worst possible scenario, as it were.

It was 1992 that Bapak remarried.
The same year, my daughter, Shaira was born.

elviza said...

Kak Ena,

Hahahahahh, I can't help but laugh when Rocky came up with "....your protest was legendary"

I leave it to you to tell us the details. Well, if you dont feel like it, I ll ask Kak Ton and Kak Azah.

Again, hehehehehe.



my dear.... i can laugh about it now, really. but looking back, i think i must look like a daughter with horns sticking out of her head.
kesian, Bapak, ek? Tak nak bagi dia kahwin. we all thought we were taking good care of him.

Nina was the one who made sure that he was taken care of at home so that he did not feel neglected.

But, I guess, as children, there is just so much we could do, we could give.

thanks, sister for visiting.

clueless said...

nuraina a samad said:

ANON@1:56: I have come to believe that it takes two to tango.
Don't blame the other woman alone. Unless of course, she is a gold-digging bitch (that is, assuming that your father has a lot of gold) or simply a bitch who wreaked hell on your family. Now, even if she was all that and more, you have to blame your father for bringing hell to your family.

However, for me, it is a different thing when a man takes another wife while still married to another. That's because the wife HAS A SAY. She can still say NO.
What did you mother do when he wanted to marry another? Was she not informed?
I know that in many situations, the wives are helpless due to many factors.
I am so sory for your mom and you and your family.

am missing the point about his whole thing....

so what is the moral of this whole issue???

So is it OK for a man to take on a second wife while the wife is still alive but not OK to remarry when a man survives his wife???

Who are we to pass moral judgements???

Where is all this leading to??? We can debate on this until the cows come home & still I dont think we come to a moral "answer"...


Adik Nuraina,

Memang kebanyankan laki-laki begitu. Memang naluri laki-laki, perlukan perempuan. Dari kecil di timang emak, disusu emak, dijaga kakak dan makcik, dimanja nenek. Sudah dewasa digila-gilakan oleh gadis2, mimpinya pasal perempuan, angannya pun pasal perempuan. Sudah kahwin, isteri dikasihnya tapi wanita lain dicintainya. Pendekata, seorang laki-laki tak boleh hidup tanpa perempuan. Biar tidak ada air untuk diminum atau nasi untuk ditanak, namun hidup tanpa wanita tidak sekali.

Seperti kata YAB perdana menteri kita, hati laki-laki banyak ruang. Ada laci untuk si anu, ada kotak untuk si anu; ada ruang untuk kekasih yang masih hidup dan ada sudut bagi kekasih yang sudah tidak ada lagi.

Laki-laki seperti Pak Lah adalah fantastik.

Tapi bukannya mereka tu jahat atau gatal-miang dan tergili-gili. Bagi saya, asal seorang lelaki itu mampu dan tidak zalim atau kejam, biarkanlah. Naluri laki-laki, kalau tidak berteman ia lemah dan mudah digoda syaitan.

Jangan marah dan terima kasih. Salam pada adik-beradik dan rakan2 blogger semua.


Clueless: I can see that you're missing the whole point. And I apologise if I have in anyway misled you into thinking that I was making a moral judgement here.
It is not my place to make any.
and here is not where i'd like to discuss the moral -- the wrong or right -- of a man taking another wife while his wife is still alive, or after his wife has died.
So, Clueless, whether or not there is a moral to the issue, is not for me to state here and now.
thanks for visiting.

To anon@1:56: My apologies if i seem to be so cavalier and reckless cutting through some very sensitive tissue.
Indeed, there is never anything right when a woman suffers from her husband's action/behaviour/decision and so forth, that disrupts their marriage or the very fibre of it.
And, it is not for me to make any assumption or judgement here. If I do seem to have done so, I apologise once again.


Lubok Melayu,

Apa lah nak di kata lagi?

Terima kasih.

Hai, laki-laki.....

mustang said...

sorry, nuraina, may i say something here.
you are really clueless. yes you are.
from what i understand, nuraina is saying that TO HER, it is a little different when a man takes another wife while his wife is still alive. She did not say that it is ok. she is saying it is a different thing to her.
you sure sound emotional. don't take it out on nuraina.
thanks, nuraina.
not my first time here, but my first time commenting.

thanks for the space.



No worries. I really don't mind whatever Clueless thinks.
It's ok.
Thanks, anyway.

zhmi said...

Dear Ms. Nuraina,

Just a little digression: I first met your stepmom when she accompanied your Bapak to attend a brainstorming session at my former workplace, a KL-based think tank.

For some reason, my colleagues and I were forewarned by our bosses to be extra nice and polite to Puan Sri. And that made us nervous. But she turned out to be an affable person who didn't put on airs about her title/status. What a lady!



aah... that's nice to know. I would be upset if she had been otherwise.

thank you for visiting

kerp said...

I was young and stupid back when my late tok wanted to marry after decades my opah left the world. not too sure how my mom and aunts reacted when they first learned about late tok's intention but mom told me during their courtship tok would be on the phone every single hour giggling and laughing, like typical teenagers. i thought that was kinda funny...hehe..

kerp said...

salam tuan lubok melayu,

tanya sikit...tergili-gili tu apa?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we just do not undertand the affairs of the heart! yes, it is mighty difficult to accept the "new" person in your family, who is going to share "My' mother or father's life., But as Pak Lah, wisely put it, God has made the heart to accomodate many loves in one life! Each with a special place in the heart! and Pak Samad being the wise man he is, would not just accept any "dara tua' to help him to make mee siam! but I think for companionship!

quinn the eskimo said...

Hey Nuraina

Pak Lah and his reasoning about man having the space to love many has given some men ideas.

If Pak Lah can sound credible and sincere - holier, too? - when telling of his loves, i can imagine many men practising the speech in front of the mirror. -- "Not that I will love you less, but I have a big heart, you see..." Hah.

Nothing againts Pak Samad or Pak Lah remarrying, but they have just given some men a lifeline.

But not me of course.


anon@2:54pm: yes, i suppose at that age, it must be companionship tht he needed.

thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,
I thought it best to leave my comment at the very last. This "well-meaning" makciks/friends trying to soothe aching hearts do not appear only in widows/widowers doorsteps. Sometimes "friends" are traitors too. They will say "ala, lamanya tak ada anak, kawin baru aje, mana tahu bini baru boleh beranak!" put very nicely, for all to hear. Sakit hati juga. Anyway, just continue to smile and get on with life. As usual, my salams to everyone, Bapak and muah2 for baby. Wish Bapak "Happy Father's Day" for sunday to come. Muah2.




people can be insensitive, bordering on cruel. it hurts when your friends are the culprits.

thank you for visiting and your salam.

Sharmaine says "muah muah" to aunty rubiah.

mekyam said...

Hi Ena,

Since I read TWB18 I've been mulling on this bit of conundrum that must have plagued couples forever the world over.

The upshot of my deep reflection is... I'm okay with my hub finding a replacement, should he want to, when I'm no more.

You see, the idea of him not having someone to pick his shirts and find his socks and, above all, to argue with about everything and anything just about breaks my heart. ;D



woww.... you are a woman after every man's heart, you are.
that is so so so sweet....


mekyam said...

Nuraina: you are a woman after every man's heart...

Dear Ena,

Actually the motive is not really that honorable. ;D

First, easy for me to reach that conclusion since there are no kids whose feelings I have to consider.

Second, I figured where I'll be it's not going to bother me. It's the one who got left behind who still have to deal with life here.

Third, which is the clincher, I'm so darn cocksure (no pun intended) of my egotistical self that I know I'd come out better in comparison and he'll cherish my memories even more. Hahaha!

No la, I'm just kidding. I think what he feels for the replacement would be something new and it would never take away or erase whatever we had.

P.S. Hoping to be told how noble I am, I told him. He said "Ya, Ya, you say that because there's every likelihood I'm going to die first" and then proceeded to give me a long spiel on life expectancies between the genders and not hearing what I wanted to hear, I just zone out... ;D


Mekyam: Trust you with an ulterior motive :D

Cool. And you've got one cool husband too

Ayah said...

Hi Kak Ena...

Jz read ur TWB(18) tonight. Been bz..think u know why. I guess it's a blessing coz then I don't have that long to wait for the sequel. U got me on the edge of my seat already!

Btw, u mistook someone else for me lah...a different 'ayah'...but I have muah-muah to Shana and kirim salam to my handsome hero and little women (err.. did u ask me to do it the other way round? Hehehe..)

Ayah (in cloud 9....)

WANSHANA said...

Dear K.Ena,

I just can't wait to hear the response of the children to your Dad's "Apa cerita?!", even more so, to HIS response to his children's "Apa cerita?!"

Waiting...waiting...waiting... Aihhh...Satu penyiksaan...


Ayah : alamak, salah orang-lah.
So sorry..
before your comment came, i didnt think anything about making a mistake.after your comment, i clicked on "Ayah"'s nick and Ya Allah! Baru teringat, "Ayah" has been a commentor in my blog. But totally lupa. Ingat Ayah/Shana saja.
So my apologies to both, "Ayah" and you.

well, well,well.. ahem ahem... yes yes.. kita faham kesibukan anda.
Love to Shana and the kids and remember, Tuesdays at Kak Ton's (or any other time) for mee rebus is an open invitation to you and your family.
Hope to see you guys.

(PS; Kak Ena nak reply kat Shana lepas ni.)


Shana: How are you? Must be busy,ek? Maklum aje...

Tuesday is just one more day...Suspense sekejap aje.

Baru lepas respond to Ayah. Kak Ena responed earlier to an "Ayah". Salah orang.
anyway, i told Ayah that you, Ayah and your kids have an open invitation to Kak Ton's Tuesdays for mee rebus. Okay?

Take Care... and hope to see u.

Amde Sidik said...

I don't really thing anything wrong for any one getting married even at the later age like you dad. So many like him, in the West or East. I could imagine that you wouldn't like to imagine the new partner of your dad sharing your later mother's bed.But what is fairness?

Keanorlinsya said...

Aunty Ena!!!!!
Just so you know, im read TWB from my dad's mobile phone since the internet was cut down. Harini baru boleh baca. How i miss the TWB clan. Kirim salam to everyone.