Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (4)

Anak Komunis - Tuesday March 6 2007
The day looked promising. A crisp and cool morning. But I knew that it would be hot in the afternoon, as usual.
Did I want to go for lectures? That'd be better than staying cooped up in the room. Might as well.
Hope it won't rain later, though.
Last night was rotten.
Last night Bapak was on TV. Not the way anyone would've liked to see their father. I wished I had been home with Mak and everyone else.

At ITM (short for Institut Teknologi Mara), we were on high ground but days were hot.
That was why I always carried an umbrella and because I wore contact lenses, I needed to have on my Paloma Picasso-styled sun glasses.
In fact, I had just started wearing contact lenses earlier in the year and had got used to them.
It was unbearable in the beginning. I got them, tried them and they hurt. So I kept them out of my sight.
Not a good idea, Ah and Fati had said.
"You bought them to wear them, you vain girl and now you don't wanna wear them. How-lah you?", lamented Fati.
"Come, come, Ena. let us help you get used to them, ok?", chipped in Ah.
So, Ah (Zaharah Othman) and Fati (Fatimah Abu Bakar) made sure that I put the contact lenses on. Waited by my side to make sure that I did not take them off even though the lenses were stinging my eyes.
This went on until I got used to the lenses. After that, it was a breeze.
Wow, I could really see my face minus the glasses in the mirror.
I could see the world. I could see the guys.
Why couldn't I see the world and the guys before that?
How could I with my very thick prescription glasses? I must have been 10 years old when I started wearing glasses.
They got thicker over the years as my vision got worse.
It was okay when you were in an all-girls' school. Not so when you just started campus life where the boys were.
Anyway, I had always thought that even Raquel Welch would have looked ugly in my prescription glasses.
So, for a quite a while, I would only be wearing my glasses at home, in the hostel, in my room, when reading, driving, having my meals, with the girls and in class.
As soon as I stepped into the world outside, I would take my glasses off.
Which meant, of course, that I was very "rabun".
So when you could not see, you were quite handicapped. Although you could hear, you couldn't be so sure who among the many people was talking to you.
Someone would say "hi" to me and I couldn't see who in heaven's name it was.
It was not the best situation but heck, vanity reigned.
That was why I thought contact lenses were the best invention in that part of the 20th century.

I did not want to skip classes although I had a damn good reason to.
After the show on TV last night, I didn't want to be alone.
Couldn't go home. Maybe later I'd get a ride home from one of the lecturers.
Gotta see if Mak was okay. And the kids too.
Damn King Ghaz!

For now, I knew Ah and Fati would make me feel better.
There would be Mia, Ina, Riza, Tini and Kat who'd would want to be sure I was okay.
Thank God for good friends. They're the next best things after your own family.
In campus, they were your family.

I had not seen Bapak for more than 2 months since the morning of his arrest.
They said his detention was for an indefinite period.
What did that mean?
Was he still alive? Were they giving him anything to drink, to eat?
What were they giving him?
It was agonising. It felt like forever.
Worse when you were not told anything.
Time was really taking its time to just past by.
The police officers who came by our house several times after Bapak's arrest, were no help. Mak had pressed them for details.They couldn't give her any.
And ITM semester had started.

Last night, Bapak was on TV.
At least we knew he was alive.
Bapak confessed to being a communist, that he went by the name "Laniaz" which was "Zainal" backwards.
His confession was part of a special programme.
I had walked into our classroom where there was a TV and caught Bapak as he was speaking.
Bapak was seated as he spoke. I couldn't make out the room he was in. I couldn't make out anything. It was only his face and his voice I was seeing and hearing.
He looked so thin and was wearing the same chequered shirt that he was wearing the morning they took him away.
He was speaking slowly in Malay. But not in the way that he was known for.
So uncharacteristic of Bapak.
If Bapak spoke Malay, his accent was a cross between Bahasa Baku and Bahasa Indonesia.
"Saye mengaku bahawe saye....", I heard him say.
That's not him. What have they done to him?
He said many more things, about communist, mastermind, Singapore. Some names were mentioned. All so untrue.
How could they be true?
Ask us. Ask his chidren.
Ask Mak.
He is my father, for God's sake. I know him.
Lies, lies, lies.
After his confession, Ghazali Shafie said: "Ini lah manusia bernama Samad..."
"Manusia bernama Samad". How dare he!
Damn you.

I ran out. It was too much. It was unbearable.
Ah, Fati, Mia and gang came after me.
"It's okay, Ena..", they said.
I didn't sleep too well that night.

"Hey Anak Komunis!"
Say what? Did I hear that right?
I almost lost my footing as I was going up the steps at the School of Architecture, enroute to the 13th floor in the multi-storey building where the School of Mass Comm was.
It was not the shortest route but I decided to use it.
It was one of those mornings when you just did things without any good reason.

"Hey Anak Komunis!" again. A guy's voice. It was coming from the right.
And yes, I could see someone, his head bobbing in and out from behind the pillar.
Pengecut, I thought.
Aah. I could see the idiot now. He'd have been lucky a few months earlier for I would not have been able to see him.
But now I could see. Maybe it was better to be "rabun". Then I could pretend I couldn't see.
Too late to even mull over such things.
Now I could see other people as well. They quickly retreated into the classrooms.
But not that head behind the pillar.
I rushed to where I thought I saw the culprit, the coward.
But he was trying to make a quick dash. He was running away. I gave chase.
"Oi, mari sini. Oi, pengecut. Mari sini, kalau berani," I shouted as I ran after him.
He had gone. Out of sight. I stopped not because I was tired.
There was no point in looking for that guy.
And it was not so easy chasing people when you were wearing heeled shoes.
I looked around. There were a few people, looking quite stunned.
I asked whether any of them knew that guy.
Someone nodded.
"You go and tell him to see me. I am in hostel two. Or 13th floor, multi-storey. Tell him to say whatever he said to my face," I instructed, my voice quivering.
I didn't wait for any response. I turned and walked slowly away.
Then, when I was out of their sight, I ran and ran.
Tears started streaming down my cheeks. My eyes began to sting.
Hell, where was Kak Eda? That guy must be one of her course mates.

"Anak Komunis. Anak Komunis".
I made my way to my classroom.
Would they be calling Lalin and Nina that too?
Azah and Kamal?
"Anak Komunis, Anak Komunis."
Damn you, King Ghaz!


Typhoon Sue said...

Taunting, jeering and name-calling is a reflection of the doer's low mentality. I'm sure you emerged from that experience a much bigger person that you were before.

Editor said...

Sad to hear of your father's detention, Nuraina. It must have been terrible to have undergone that ordeal. It is one thing to be the daughter of a writer and another to have undergone the torture of a father being taken away and detained.
We do not know the full story, only what you have told us to date. Finish the story and book it. It should be a good read. The story of a political detainee.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Nuraina,

The book my friend, the book...you have practically written half of it anyway...

Unknown said...

As i told you, i never want to miss "Tuesdays With Bapak", tapi tak pernah la lagi aku sebak.

Yang bawah ni aku sebak! Isteri aku lagi la. tengok cerita Hindustan pun dia keriau!

But, this is not cerita Hindustan, Sis!

After his confession, Ghazali Shafie said: "Ini lah manusia bernama Samad..."

"Manusia bernama Samad". How dare he!

Damn you.

I ran out. It was too much. It was unbearable.

Ah, Fati, Mia and gang came after me.

"It's okay, Ena..", they said.

Pls forgive that guy. Semua kepala kena pusing masa tu. Entah-entah, kalau aku pun ngaji ITM masa tu, aku pun.... (Na'uzubiLlah!)

What can i say now? Say "be strong, Ena" or "sabaq la..."?

Damn cliche!!

Salam persaudaraan untuk Ah, Fati, Mia and gang... your family and Al Fatihah yang paling tulus for your mother.

Pernah baca buku Syed Husin Ali? Saya panggil dia Pak Tuan. Bila saya baca buku tu, saya lebih kagum kepada Kak Sabariah dan bukan Pak Tuan!

Begitu juga kepada emak Saudari!

shar101 said...


And I'm not referring to Raquel Welch or the Paloma Picasso sunglasses.

Being a well-known person on campus and having a well-known dad must have been 'hell' for you then.

One day, when your book is published, track down that guy behind the pillar and send him an authorgraphed copy with an added message - "Rewriting History".

Revenge can be sweet, dear.

Kak Teh said...

ena, i can almost see that scene now and am in tears. Tuhan saja tau how we wanted to help you but we felt very, very helpless. there were a lot of pengecuts those days - and i can safely say - even now. You walked with yr head high ena. You still do. Good for you - Damn them!

The Pisces Man said...

I've read your Anak Komunis (3) and (4), wrenched in sadness. However, I still hadn't gotten the chance to read Parts 1 and 2. Perhaps you can consider putting the past links as you progress with your stories.

All I can say is that what you and your family went through was horrible. It was like hell had been pushed to your doorstep, and without your consent and will.

Some may think it was the thing of the past, but I'm sure you and your family think otherwise (at least occasionally).

Also, come to think of it - such incidents can still occur to this day. People are robbed off their freedom and lives right in front of their families and sometimes, from the comfort of their own homes without their rights being read out to them.

Some who are taken into custody are judged guilty until proven innocence or remain 'guilty' without any trial whatsoever. While others who apparently and obviously are guilty through our naked eyes, are released or never arrested, thanx to the power of money and influence.

The trend is not just here in Malaysia, but also common throughout the world. May we all are protected from such humiliation, where we become the victims of 'fitnah'. Insha' Allah..

A Voice said...

THat must be terrible but admire yr guts to chase the bugger.

The children to one fella (do not wanna name names) was in our dorm, but none of us ever came down to name callign and ran away.

I m sorry to tell you this. Although we were just in secondary school then, we were more mature than that fella ITMer of yours.

fabmama said...

Yes, I remember those cowards. More of them now hiding behind nicks. People who want others to listen to their snides and warped opinions but are afraid to show themselves. But Aina, you were so brave. I remember several times cringing at those verbal assaults, but you took those 'snipers' on and gave back as good as you got, if not better! It's nice to know that we were of some comfort to you, my dear friend. We didn't know what else to do. Love you much. Fati.

tokasid said...

Salam to NAS and all.

One thing I noticed about MOST politicians esp those power greedy ones( ain't they all?).They will do ANYTHING to ANYBODY to go up the power ladder. During those years the bogeyman is Communist.So when Pak Samad was tagged as a Communist and forced to confess(like the Arqam group too)for the rakyat that action was justified. I'm sure the rakyats in Malay heartland condemned Pak Samad.Knowing the hatred towards communism,I'm sure a lot of people 'kafirkan' Pak Samad bcoz he was Communist.
But most of the Melayu then were ignorant and poor.What ever is presented by the Govt. via newspapers(UM,BH,Utusan Melayu),the radio(RTM) and TV(again RTM) is like a quranic truth to them.I've heard ppl say: "Takkan gomen nak bohong kot?" when someone questioned the ISA action on Pak Samad.

What King Ghaz did ,is happening and will happen again but the bogeyman will not be a Communist.He can be a murderer,corruptor and why noted sodomiser?
And NAS there a lots of ambitious politicians out there, right?

edelweiss said...

Salam untuk Kak Nuraina...

Just like what rajahram said '
We do not know the full story, only what you have told us to date. Finish the story and book it. It should be a good read.'

I was too young to understand teh whole picture then...but i would like to know with in depth knowledge now. You can help feeding us with the whole story.


Anonymous said...

sorry for the inconvenience caused here. I am a final year student currently working on my final year project, was wondering if you are willing to take part in an interview. results are strictly for education purposes only.

Sharyn( sharyn2205@yahoo.com)

Anonymous said...

hi nuraina,

i use to be rabun too and can't recognise ppl who waved or smiled at me till i got contacts in college i think. another friend also did the same and he is a bloke. hahhahahah...vain we were....

u must have gone through a lot at that time. actually, the rumours that your dad is a communist spy still abound. but it's shocking how the gomen can turn around and say such nasty things like "manusia bernama samad" and calling you "anak komunis".

however, re the communist, i believe that some versions of history states that they actually fought for the country's independence from the japs but were subsequently 'betrayed' by the alliance. that's the other version.

i wish like you more people will share their experiences so that the real history of msia will slowly emerge. and perhaps one day we won't need to go to spore to watch amir muhammad's movies.



The Blueberry said...

Kak Nuraina,

I can't stand reading the part where he says "Inilah manusia bernama Samad"... Sorry, but I ternganga. That was such an underhanded, ill-disguised sneer. You were so strong to be able to go through all that and survived, and especially your mom. And you should've given your high heels to the cowardly's head, biar lekat parut. Luka di badan boleh hilang, luka di hati takde sapa pun tahu.

Anonymous said...

Sis Aina,

After his confession, Ghazali Shafie said: "Ini lah manusia bernama Samad..."

I’ve high regard to this ex-minister, but after reading your entry today…. Phew.. seperti kaca hancur berkecai.

This is a second blow in my life. (The 1st was with Mr. CLEAN back in ’99). I recalled after seeing the special program tat night, I had a heated argument with my late Pa.

My late Pa said its all rubbish, and I’m against it. In his Brunei slang he said “Ani semua kelakar. Paloi saja mandangar bah. Samua propaganda politik” How stupid I’m to argue and to stand up for tat "MAN", only now I know my Pa is right. May Allah bless him and his soul rest in peace.

Looking forward for next Tuesday.


p/s Sori a bit BuzyBodi: Three links in your Favourites having wrong entry. i)Unspun, ii)The Malay Male, iii)TV Smith's Dua Sen.
suggestion: Remove and redo link.

zewt said...

one can truly feel you when one reads your tuesdays with bapak series....

BaitiBadarudin said...

Hey, I'm myopic and vain as hell but have been having problems with contacts the last few years.
As for that historic televised program, it was hard to believe that that was Pak Samad speaking to the audience.
I can feel your pain, and I would give chase and kick the coward's butt too!

Anonymous said...

kak aina, thanx for sharing things that not many of us knew especially young journalist like me about how is it like during that time.

whatever it is, to me when people said, ' manusia bernama .....' that is the most demeaning words a person can said when referring to another person.

Anonymous said...

It's been a long time that I didn't read such a touching story. Please kept on writing kak nuraina, and I'm gonna make sure that i got your autograph when you make it a book.


Anonymous said...

Just a note to freelunch2020 about the comment:"however, re the communist, i believe that some versions of history states that they actually fought for the country's independence from the japs but were subsequently 'betrayed' by the alliance. that's the other version".

It is not some "version" of history, it is actually a fact that these "communists" fought in the jungles of Malaya against the Japanese. My father became a teenager during the Japanese occupation and he and his brothers fought alongside Chin Peng and his followers. The Japanese were the common enemy and people who would never have associated with each other under normal circumstances joined together -- Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, Europeans, to battle the Japanese. So basically all the people who have now been termed "kaffirs" by the present government risked and gave their lives in defense of Malaya.

The communists who fought against the Japanese, expected, once the war was over, to have some concession, some standing in the crafting of the federation, but that was not to be. What ensued were the terrorist activities/attacks that brought about the Emergency. Is this not taught in schools in Malaysia any more?

Nuraina, people who feel a need to label other people, often have issues within themselves. You got the "anak komunis" and I got the "anak Mat Salleh" and spoken with equal venom I am sure. I never gave a damn and I hope you didn't either.

Anonymous said...

Nuraina, thanks for the poignant pieces on a shameful episode in our history. It serves to remind the nation that the fight against fascism, lies, treachery, idiocy and hypocrisy is a long and tortuous road. It serves to reminds us that what happened then can happen now, or rather, is happening now. Keep up your good work. Continue to fight for a just Malaysia, free of hate, bigotry, racism.

Anonymous said...


how did you do it? To be a survivor and a fighter. Yes, the ans is in your stories but ...

what you and your family had to go thru is not an easy thing and you guys are the choosen one ... cause HE knows you can handle it.


Anonymous said...

dear Sis,

anak komunis...hihiii...saya banyak kawan darilatarbelakang ini...semua nyer bersepah kat chow kit...bapak & emak komunis...serta mereka pun berfahaman sosialis...but malays blood are very thick,,gua tak kisah berkawan dengan mereka..yang penting bendang mereka melayu..dan batas hidup mereka islam...sehingga sekarang ade jugak yang baru dapat IC..better than sis get to learn at ITM..but my friend belajar sampai SPM.. KL boys pehhhhh...so mostly there follow maner kapal yang boleh bagi wang semua diaorang ikut tak kira melayu ka...cina kaa...india kaa...apehal pun kak yang penting nawaitu kiter dan jgn naya orng macam king ghaz...is good to know that are people like u sis...

Anonymous said...

i know that you're all mad with King Ghaz on your father's detention, but after some 30 years has passed, i think he deserved to be pledged forgiveness from you/ your family.

Forgiveness is essential rather than saying 'damn you' to him, of the problems which has become a history in your life.

Sampai bila kita nak berdendam?


anonymous 1:44pm,

who are we not to forgive King Ghaz? We were angry with him. we hated him. True. That was 30 years ago. When my father was arrested and detained, yes, we hated him for what he did. That, I believe, is normal.
That "damn you" that I wrote. It was the feeling then not now.
i think, kita tak payah nak berdendam.
Thank you.

mut said...


If I am not mistaken, Syed Hussin Ali was also asked to finger Mahathir Mohamed as a communist by the police( if I remember correctly). This was described in his book "Two Faces" about his detention under the ISA. He refused.

And if I am not mistaken, the minister behind all this was also King Ghaz, who was a Mahathir rival aiming for the PMship at the time.

I sure there is a lesson here that was not learnt by Mahathir Mohamed; in my eyes, people like Pak Samad, Pak Zahari, and Syed Hussin are heroes. Even the communists fought and died for something they believed in.

But these politicians? These so called leaders are the scum of the earth.....