Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Darling Datuk -- January 29 2008

Bapak's youngest grandchild, Sharmaine maybe only 10 months, but she knows her Datuk is one fun guy.
Playtime with her Datuk is usually in his room. You can hear Sharmaine's squeals of laughter whenever she's there.
You'd think that Bapak is tickling her all over, or making funny faces. Well, it's nothing like that.

Just the other day, I couldn't resist peeking into Bapak's room when I heard Sharmaine squealing almost uncontrollably.
I had expected Bapak to be swinging Sharmaine around the bed, or doing a "timang tinggi-tinggi".
It was nothing of the sort. My step-mother was holding Sharmaine up on the bed and Bapak, who was lying down, was just softly calling her name.

"Sharmaine. Sharmaine. Siapa tu? Sharmaine, ya. Cucu Datuk, ya," Bapak was saying, his eyes twinkling and his face grinning.
Sharmaine was thrilled and loving every second of this little "game" with her doting grandpa. She was squealing, her little body jerking with delight.
This little scene, which takes place 3 or 4 times a day is a replay of bygone years everytime there was a new baby in the house.
Only that Bapak today is a less energetic grandpa.

Bapak was a young grandfather when his first granchild, Jasmine, was born.

Jasmine is the eldest of Kak Ton's and Abang Ani's two children. She was born in Sungai Petani Kedah when Abang Ani was a Magistrate there in 1972.

I remember how excited Bapak and Mak were the day Kak Ton and Abang Ani were expected to arrive with their bundle of joy.

During Kak Ton's pregnancy, we were coming up with all sorts of names. And they were all boys' names.

Abang Ani was driving a mini cooper and then an Opel Manta.

So, we'd come out with "Adam Cooper", "Iskandar Cooper" and "Afandi Cooper" just for fun. And then they were "Adam Manta", "Iskandar Manta" and "Afandi Manta".
We never counted on Kak Ton delivering a baby girl.

Oh, I'd be using superlatives just to describe how my parents doted on Jasmine. They simply adored their first grandchild. The way grandparents did their grandchildren.
As for Jasmine's aunts and uncles - they spoilt her rotten.

I was in form five then. Kak Ton did not have a nanny yet by the time she had to resume work after her maternity leave. So she'd leave Jasmine in Mak's care. Somehow I got to babysit Jasmine throughout her stay at our house. I'd bathe her, put her to sleep and play with her until Kak Ton came to fetch her.

I enjoyed taking care of her and would rush to be with her the minute I got home from school. Even after she finally got a maid, Kak Ton would still leave Jasmine at our house. Invariably, it would be Mak who'd be taking care of Jasmine.

It was like that with every grandchild.

When my eldest nephew, Irwan Hakim, was born, we were all ecstatic. Not surprising that he was a little king in section 16. We'd "kidnap" him every chance we could.

In our household, the youngest grandchild gets to enjoy superstar treatment. He or she gets to ruffle or pull Bapak's hair or mess up his work desk. Older ones ONLY get to mess up his bed or bedroom. That had always been the unwritten rule.

Lalin's youngest child, Sonia, is still very attached to Bapak and Mak Cik. She is the second youngest grandchild and still gets the privilege of "monopolising" Bapak's TV remote control. I have caught Bapak many a time watching "Totally Spies". One cartoon programme after another.
Never mind if a special programme on Benazir Bhutto was on BBC.

While Bapak was under ISA detention, only one grandchild was born-- Kak Ton's second and youngest child, Jehan who was born in 1977.
After Kak Ton's "confinement", she took baby Jehan to see Bapak regularly until Jehan was three years old. That was when Kak Ton was transferred to Johor Baru to be Bernama's Johor bureau chief.
By that time, little Jehan had already got to know her Datuk.

In 1980, Kak Olin completed her law studies and returned home. She got married soon after, while Bapak was still in detention.

I was still in Boston then and returned home just a few days after her wedding. I also missed Kak Eda's engagement ceremony which was a day after Kak Olin's wedding reception.

Kak Olin's eldest child -- Khairil Ahmad -- still retains the honour of the grandchild most spoilt by Bapak.
When he was born in 1981, the only other grandchild around was Irwan who was, by that time,
already schoolgoing.
Kak Olin stayed at Bapak's during her "confinement" and when she had to get back to work, she'd leave Khairil with Mak.
As I was still single and was living with my parents, I'd be the one who'd be babysitting him. Khairil grew to be pretty attached to me. I adored him.

Bapak was the quintessential doting grandfather. He broke every rule on parenting. He seemed to hold on to the maxim that grandfathers exist to spoil their grandchildren.

He'd take Khairil to Jaya Supermarket everyday to buy him....a toy. Khairil had He-Man, Transformers, dino-riders, star-com and lego...and all manner of toys. You name it, and Khairil would have it.

Kak Olin would be shaking her head and would be making such a fuss about Bapak's over-indulgence with Khairil.

"Stop spoiling him, Bapak," Kak Olin kept reminding Bapak.

Did Bapak listen? Did he even care?

If Bapak today is as active and energetic as he was in those "Khairil" days, Sharmaine would be one very spoilt little lady.

I do believe I can hear a sigh of relief from Nina...my youngest sister and Sharmaine's mummy.

19 comments:

MaryKate said...

Yes, Nuraina, grandpas are around to spoilt the grandchildren to the max. I remember my father spoiling my then 1 year old daughter and only grandchild in the family, he doted on her day & night, also remember my very frustrated mom who got scolding from my dad whenever my daughter cried.

Dhahran Sea said...

Hi Nuraina,
As usual its good to go through your TWB again... take care & salam.

zorro said...

Ena, I can empathize with your bapak...you just wait when your grandchild comes....worth waiting, believe me. Everytime I either return home or they return home, Patrina and Wayne has to do some re-work, re-engineer and maybe some repair.

zaitgha said...

grandfathers...they are all alike....love this TWB as usual and have a great week mam and God bless....

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

am no granddaddy but like you, being an uncle i wouldnt think twice about spoiling my niece and nephews rotten.

bailey said...

i miss my arwah atok kak ena.

he died when i was seven.

he is the bestest thing ever happened in my life.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sis Ena

"She was squealing, her little body jerking with delight".

The feeling above ... I know it so well.

Does Sharmaine like to take off her Datuk's glasses too when he's playing around with her? Elham likes to do that to me but only when I'm monkeying around with him. When watching TV, or more often, reading blog, and he's on my lap, he's not interested to remove the glasses.
aMiR

Rocky's Bru said...

To be a grandpa is to be a dad all over again, I suppose. Your bapak's spoiling Khairil with daily toys ... mmm, that's so familiar!

mekyam said...

Nuraina: He seemed to hold on to the maxim that grandfathers exist to spoil their grandchildren.

Not a maxim, Ena dear. It's universal law! ;D

ms hart said...

Kak Ena,

Really can't help bursting into laughter reading about your catching Pak Samad watching Totally Spies!!! ha ha ha...all too familiar, ya? That made me drop a note here! Otherwise, I was a silent reader. Btw, when I was growing up, Pak Samad's writing always made me want to be a journalist! I saved my little scholarship money to buy his book on journalism and I listened to him at journalism workshops! Met your arwah mom too! And, Nina was my junior at U. Oh, may I know when the next TELL is coming out? Can't seem to find one here in Melaka. Thank you, Kak Ena and wassalam.

sesat said...

Nuraina said:

"I do believe I can hear a sigh of relief from Nina...my youngest sister and Sharmaine's mummy."

I too believe I can hear the same sigh of relief. ;)

This TWB is another good read written with your trademark tenderness......love it.

U.Lee said...

Hello Nuraina, this my first time leaving my barefoot footprints behind. Used to sneak in, read your interesting and very eloquent postings then tiptoe out.
Anyway, due time difference, you asleep when I come to read.
But somehow have always been reluctant, apprehensive leaving my fingerprints behind, ha ha,
don't ask me why? One year too! Normally even if Sophia Loren, I'll introduce myself first. Ha ha. I guess seeing the word 'journalist' makes me nervous.
By the way, allow me to say, you sure one very attractive lady. WOW!
I couldn't help grinning from East to West read of your Bapak and his entertaining the baby.
But what caught my eye for a double look was your mentioned of 'Opel Manta'.
Holy Smoke! I still remember that car! I totally forgot about that make till now. So sleek and stylish too. Used to see lots of KL SYT's driving them too.
I also had a yearning for the Opel Commodore.
But being a bachelor then, and as my main hobby was making mothers worry about their daughters going out with me, I went for a red Alfa Romeo.
It did help score points with the SYT's (sweet young things), and helped towards securing a dinner dates...but somehow mothers those days even if can't drive let alone know what is a Michelin or a Goodyear, maybe thinking Mat salleh girl's name, when they see a red car, be it an Open Manta or Alfa Romeo? Macham a Bull in Spain. I still think matured mothers don't like daughters go out with men in red cars.
They sure start repeating all their good virtues to their daughters before daughter gets into my car. Maybe make the poor daughter repeat too, Ha ha.
Ahhh, but if the mothers see an Opel, or Vauxall, or Simca Aronde or Borgward Isabella, the mothers pulak nak masuk kereta.
Nurina, I guess most grandfathers are like Bapak, or Makcik...doting on grandchildren. Bless them and all grandparents.
Nuraina, you keep well, and have a nice day, Lee.

Anonymous said...

When Bapak was still up and about and Haris was still in diapers, Bapak would occasionally let Haris sit on Bapak's lap and play with the typewriter keys. You know, THE typewriter that no one was allowed touch or move from the dining table..

Not to mention Bapak, Makcik and Haris' almost daily trips to the car wash, just because of Haris' obsession with those big colourful automated rollers. Makcik had one very bright and shiny car then..

Lalin

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

marykate: i know... as a grandchild, you can do no wrong in yr grandaddy's eyes. i know... we are not supposed to scold, chide, admonish...or mete out any form of punishment on .... our children in front of our parents.

dhahran: thank u... and take care.

zorro: i know.... i know you.. and i know your gorgeous grandkids...
"repair", huh? hahaa

zai: thank u, my dear.

kerp: i can imagine you as Uncle. Kerp... sure kena spoilt kalau jadi your niece.

bailey: oh, my dear... i know the feeling. Al Fatihah for your atok..

aMiR: as a matter of fact, yes....all his grandkids love taking off his glasses..Waah... Elham is a clever boy. he knows when not to be monkeying around with you!

take care!

ms hart: i am so glad that THAT is a normal occurence. My nieces and nephews are just so ..oh i don;t know., "Lucky" can't be the word. I suppose it is a generational thing. Grandparents can be the sternest parents but when they become datuk, nenek, atok...they become softies...

thanks, ms hart for visiting. and wow! it is a very small world! glad that you dropped by.
And Tell s available at Times bookshops and many newstands in (Melaka) town.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

rocky,

i know where that's coming from...
you don;t even have grandkids yet but...you're really doing a datuk on your kids...
can;t imagine what you'd be as a datuk..

cheers!

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mekyam: whew! thank God! Bapak isn't weird, after all.

Sesat: Thank you, Sesat...


ULee: Thank you, Lee. You know I have read your blog which you, suddenly ended, much to my dismay...
i enjoyed so much the stories you told... were they about Lily? In Penang and so forth.
oooh yes... Opel Manta was considered so, mmmm, style-lah. It was kinda sexy car.
Those days, British and European cars reigned...
thanks for visiting, Lee..
And thanks for the compliment. Would you believe I think I am NOT photogenic!

mekyam said...

Lalin said... Not to mention Bapak, Makcik and Haris' almost daily trips to the car wash, just because of Haris' obsession with those big colourful automated rollers. Makcik had one very bright and shiny car then..

Is Haris yours, Lalin? That was so beyond CUTE! Bet anything Haris is a smart extremely creative (maybe a bit odd? kidding!) young person now. :D

[You know, some idiots in my family spend good money taking their brats to those takberfaedah Disneytwirls around the globe! They need to be apprised in ernest about value-added alternatives like CARWASHES!]

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

lalin: ooh....i remember that. Haris and the trips to the car wash.
I think Mak Cik got car wash overdose. she must have really OD-ed on car washes.
That's right...Nik and you were staying with Bapak. And...er...Bapak didn't quite encouraged you guys to go find your own place, kaaan?
and when you both decided to get your own, ada deal, kan, dengan Bapak?
You had to leave Haris at Bapak's? hahaaa...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Mekyam: I am replying on behalf of Lalin. She may come in later to reply on her own behalf..
Yes...Haris is her eldest and only boy (of 4 kids).

Not a bad idea....pay RM5 for a car wash "ride"?