Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (20)

Nenek Muda - June 26 2007
The long sofa by the wall seemed to be just the right place to sit. It offered a vantage point where nothing and no one could escape me and my watchful eyes. Besides, being heavily pregnant, I needed to remain in one place. The sofa was just right.

We -- my siblings and our spouses and children -- waited anxiously for the arrival of our dinner guests.
The table had been set for a party of six or more. Oh well, if too many came, it would be a buffet.

There are some things we all can remember and there are some that we cannot.
Like what was served for dinner. I know Bapak had prepared a feast. But I cannot remember what was served. I asked my sisters and they couldn't either. But I think for that occasion, Bapak prepared nasi beriyani, chicken kurma, acar, beef curry, prawn sambal and fried chicken.

I remember the house was lit up as though we were having a celebration or a festivity. But we were not quite dressed up for the occasion. We did not want to. Call it our statement of protest.

I was in my baggy t-shirt and trousers with my hair tied up, looking very plain. I figured that without make-up I would look harsh and unfriendly. Just the way I wanted to be.
Adel, then two years old, was colouring pictures with his father by his side.

Nina was not around. She told us that she was attending lectures but did not say whether she would be home for "the dinner". She had made sure that the living and dining rooms were cleaned and done up, and Mak's photographs were suitably displayed.

Then, they arrived.
I remained seated, waiting for the party to walk in.
My cousin the marriage broker arrived with the woman, the one Bapak was to wed. There were others in the party but I forget who they were.

"Why is she wearing a tudung? Is she wearing it sincerely or just for this occasion?" I wondered as I watched them slowly making their way in.

"Eda mana?", my cousin the marriage broker asked, rather nervously. I was sure she could feel the daggers thrown at her.

Of course she would be asking for only Kak Eda. Dear Kak Eda in whom "they" found an ally for "their scheme".
Kak Eda was naturally and predictably acceptable to Bapak's decision to remarry only because of her religious beliefs.


One day I found myself questioning Kak Eda about how she could, her tabligh beliefs aside, be so accepting to having someone else in Mak's place. Surely she would feel some sadness.

She replied: "Ena. I have to accept it. I have to. If only you know what is deep in my heart. I feel as much sadness as you do. But I cannot allow that to distract me. I have to accept it. We have to accept it, Ena."

I understood and I respected her stand. But it was hers, not mine.


Kak Eda emerged from the TV room and "salam" my cousin and the woman in tudung whose face I could not quite see but could tell, from where I was sitting, that she had chubby cheeks.

I watched the goings-on like a preying hawk.
I knew she felt uncomfortable as she sat on the sofa across me. I was looking at her with my right eyebrow raised and my lips pursed.

"Aah. Is that why you are wearing the tudung. You can't fool me. It is for Kak Eda's benefit," I whispered to myself. My eyebrow raised higher. I began to smirk.

She did not look at me. I did not take my eyes off her. Her eyes were on the floor, possibly checking out the oriental rug.
Then, Bapak appeared.

He gave the signal that he wanted to introduce everyone to her. So, everyone approached her to "salam".
Reluctantly I got up. I walked towards her, extended my right hand, and with just my fingers, brushed the fingers of her left hand, turned around and walked away.
Then, Adel came up to her and kissed her hand.
"Nenek muda," he said, mouthing the words his father had earlier tutored him to say when addressing her.
She smiled at Adel.

My cousin, the marriage broker was with Kak Eda in the TV room.
And then, Bapak announced that dinner was served.

Just when everyone was beginning to settle down for dinner, I heard Nina at the door. She looked like she was in a rush. She "salam" everyone, disappeared up the stairs, emerged moments later as she rushed down the stairs, carrying a pillow and a blanket.
She was not having dinner with us and she was not spending the night at home.

Nina, of late, had felt a crushing sense of desolateness and abandonment.
Although she was given a room at the International Islamic University hostel, she hardly ever stayed there, preferring instead to come home. Especially after Mak's passing, she felt the pressing need to be home with Bapak.
But since Bapak told her of his decision to remarry, Nina was given to bouts of wanting to be far away. On many occasions, she would come home very late or come home to just collect her pillow and blanket and then disappear into the night.
She would also drive all the way to visit Azah in Setiawangsa, Ampang, to just let her heart out.
Nina couldn't talk to Kak Ton or me because it would make her feel worse. Neither could she talk to Kak Eda who would tell her to accept it and that did not help.
So she turned to Azah who would listen to her without saying much. Nina found this comforting.
For instance, later on when invitation cards for Bapak's reception were to be given out to our neighbours, Nina couldn't bring herself to do it. It was Azah who volunteered to do it.

At dinner, you could feel the tension in the air. But it gradually eased.
I cannot remember what was spoken or if there was any conversation taking place at all.

I was as not nice as I could possibly be. But I could not go beyond that. I just could not. Neither could the rest of us.
I could plan all the terrible things I was going to do but, the truth is, I could not pretend to be mean.
I could not do it to Bapak, or to Mak's memory.
She did not raise me to be "kurang ajar". And what would this woman think of Mak's children if we behaved so badly to her.
Frankly, as the evening wore on, I had no heart to sustain that look of disdain that I thought I had so perfectly carved.
But that did not mean that I endorsed the whole charade.

We had finally met our soon-to-be stepmother. Her name was Habibah Hamid. My mum was Hamidah Hassan. Habibah was also Mak's mother's name.


The wedding was to take place soon.
The "akad nikah" would be held at the bride's parents' home in Lumut, Perak and a reception would be held later in Gombak where she used to be staying.
None of Bapak's daughters would be attending the "akad nikah". Abang Med, Kamal and my brothers-in-law, Abang Ani (Roslani) and Aziz would be accompanying Bapak to Lumut.
As for the reception, we were all reluctant to attend but we did not want Bapak to feel that we were abandoning him. We knew that Bapak had invited some of his (and Mak's) oldest, closest and dearest friends and their wives. We knew that they were put in a very difficult decision
because they were aware of our sentiments but could not boycott the reception on our account. And we did not want them to either. We understood and we did not hold that against them.


Bapak was leaving for Lumut.
He had earlier asked Kak Ton to help clean up his bedroom.
After Mak died, Bapak told us not to remove any of Mak's belongings, to leave them where they were.
For two years her belongings were intact-- in her cupboard. Her handbags were where she had left them.
But since there would be a new occupant, we decided to take out all Mak's belongings -- her books, bags, clothes, -- pack them in boxes and keep them in the store room.
Bapak also left clear and specific instructions for Mak's photographs not to be touched.


I had never found spring-cleaning to be such an emotional experience.
We felt so sad as we cleared the room of Mak's personal items. I found my eyes filled with tears. So did Kak Ton..
Her handbag still had the "minyak angin" scent and the contents intact from the day she left home for the hospital two years earlier.
Her diary was still on the desk with several dates circled -- birth dates of her children and grand children.
We opened her wardrobe and looked at her clothes -- her kebaya, baju kurung, selendang and kain batik lepas.
I took out two baju kurung which I recognised to be made of materials I had bought her.
"What are we going to do with her clothes?", I asked.
"Give some away to our aunts for remembrance. I am sure they'd like that. The rest we can keep. We can take some if we like," Kak Ton said tearfully.

We looked at the room, all nice and clean. It was now ready for Bapak and his new wife.


Nina had already left for London to be with Lalin who was preparing for her finals after which she would be returning home for good. Nina would be accompanying her "kakak" (Lalin is the only one she calls just "kakak") home. She was also to break the news of Bapak's remarriage to Lalin.
They would both be home in time for the reception.


The "akad nikah" went smoothly, we were duly informed.

I had conversations with myself.
Ok. So I had made my stand very clear to Bapak that I was not happy with his decision. So, I had gone out of my way to make life a little miserable for him. So enough was enough because that woman was now his lawfully-married wife.
I had to accept that Habibah was now my step-mother who would be living in my parents' home. My kids would know of no other grandmother (besides their father's mother) but her and as their "nenek muda' who is their Datuk's wife.


We were at home (at Bapak's) when the groom and bride arrived.
We prepared a little "makan" for Bapak and Mak Cik, as we called (and still do) her.

If she had expected me to misbehave, she was in for a disappointment.
At that dinner, she was not my step-mother yet. She was the woman my father intended to marry. She meant nothing to me. And, besides, I was the angry daughter.

But now, she came as my father's wife. She was something to him, and so she was, therefore, to us. No, it was not that I had suddenly grown fond of her.
She was my step-mother and I had to accord her due respect. For Bapak and for Mak.

As she accompanied Bapak into the living room, we took turns to kiss Bapak's hand, and then hers.


We were still reluctant to go for the reception in Gombak.
Kak Piah and Kak Ton were thinking of all sorts of excuses to stay away but there was simply none.
I had the perfect excuse - my hefty condition.

Just before the reception, Lalin and Nina came home from London.
Mak Cik was in the living room to welcome them home.

If you ask Lalin and Nina about this part of their life, they will tell you that they remember very little -- just scant details.
I think they have blocked the memory of this episode.


The day of the reception, Bapak went to Kak Ton's Media Strategy office in Damansara Heights.
Kak Ton was not in so Bapak left word with my cousin, Kak Che Nah (Julaina) who was working there for Kak Ton to please attend the reception.

That evening, my sisters arrived late for the reception. They sat at the far corner of the hall.
Sure, we had all accepted Bapak's marriage to Mak Cik, but we still had not come to terms with seeing Bapak as a groom with another woman by his side.

We thought Nina would not be there. But she arrived very late for the reception and was dressed in a plain ordinary cotton baju kurung, one of those she would be wearing for lectures, and she was in slippers .
Kak Piah, Kak Ton and her older siblings watched her as she made her way towards them. She greeted them and kissed their hands.

Then she caught sight of Uncle Swee (Lee Siew Yee) and Aunty Lin. Nina went to them and Aunty Lin who was a little tearful, hugged her.
"I'm sorry. But we had to come for your father," she whispered to Nina.

Nina nodded, tears in her eyes.

She got up, turned around and made a swift exit. And disappeared into the night.


Rockybru said...

It's like yr mom died again that day you did the spring-cleaning and took out her things from yr Bapak's room. Sad.
I am glad though that things worked out, for everyone. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mak Midah but she'd be proud of her girls, alright.

By the way, why so late coming out with the 20th instalment. I betcha Mat Salo has been waiting since subuh!


ahirudin (Rocky),

hey...you're the first. usually mat salo would beat everyone else to it. i bet he got tired of waiting.
yeah.. a bit late because i had ot verify some things. turned out my sisters could not remember. They've gone all blank. Nina described that episode in her life as depressing, Lalin has shut it out and Kak Ton, just plain old age... hahaa..kidding kidding. but seriously, some events leading up to Bapak's remarriage or around that, are a total blank. mental black-out.
some things so crystal clear, though like the way i "salam" her, or when she arrived as our step-mom and i kissed her hand.
many others i was unable to include.


ahirudin (rocky):

and yes...so so sad when we had to clean up Bapak's room and took out Mak's belongings.
At one point, I found an album of old photographs. what an emotional journey for us all.
oh yeah... i miss my mum.
and i know you do yours too, rocky.
Al-Fatihah to our beloved mothers.
take care,
see u later at Kak Ton's for mee rebus.

Pi Bani said...

Tough, wasn't it? Sort of ditelan mati mak, diluah mati bapak...

Keanorlinsya said...

It was hard for everyone isnt it? But it seems like it was hardest for aunty nina. Being the youngest and all.

Do you guys really call her nenek muda? I dont know how she (ur dad's wife) take it tapi bunyi mcm sarcasm. My point of view. Sorry for any feelings hurt.



one of life's twists. we all go through some tough patch in our lives.
some people call it dugaan, some cabaran....

thanks for visiting, pi.


hi kea. yes, it was hardest for aunty nina. buy she was the toughest, trying her best not to betray her feelings and emotions.

we call her Mak Cik. That was the deal between my dad and aunty nina... that our stepmom should NOT be called Mak or mummy but Mak Cik.

The kids called her nenek muda, in the beginning. actually it was not meant to denigrate her or that it was our way of being sarcastic. it was coined with the best of intentions by adel's father, simply because adel called his paternal grandma "nenek" so the "muda" was to make that distinction. My nieces and nephews called my mom "Andung".
over the years, the kids dropped the "muda" and just call her nenek. especially for adel and shaira after their paternal grandma died in 2003. so after that, to them there was only one nenek.
thanks for dropping by.
and so sorry you cannot make it for mee rebus at aunty ton's.
take care and salam to your parents.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Luv those Ziana Zain's facial expressions ... I know you are a good impersonator, but yet to see it for myself. Been back in good ole Malaysia for 5 days now but am still grounded in Kubang Pasu. Our house which we left vacant for 9 months have traces of anai-anai, so had to sort that out first - we employed the professionals who spent almost the whole day doing the demolition work, drilling inside and outside the house and applying countless litres of chemical. Termites may be small, but these tiny tanks can cause more damage to houses and furniture than flood and fires combined, and they do eat your wallet!
aMiR (now in Kubang Pasu)

Anonymous said...

Kak...tergenang airmata saya baca bab akak kemas bilik arwah Mak...

And what a coincidence ek...nama both double H?

I've tagged you Kak...hopefully, you would want to do this meme to help someone...it's a meme for a good cause. Please visit my blog for details.

Love and miss y'all so much. Salam to Kak Ton...hari2 lalu dpn umah dia...

Anonymous said...

betul lah kak ena, barang peninggalan arwah memang susah sekali nak uruskan, sebabnya, bila tengok saje, dah nak nangis. memang nak sedeqah kat orang, tapi hati ni kata nanti dulu. kata redha, tapi nangis setiap hari.

kalau saya pegi dulu sebelum suami, rasanya ini pasti berlaku. dan saya dapat agak antara ketiga-tiga anak saya yang masih ada, siapa yang macam kak ena.

Mat Salo said...

Seriously, can TWB's get any better? I'm afraid it can. I think this is the most memorable of the "chronicles" Kak Ena.

But I beg to differ, kak Ena. No matter how hard you tried, it's impossible for you to appear as anything but "plain".

Didn't we hot blooded males dub you the "thinking man's chick"?

Love this post, Kak.

Hussin said...

Hi ena,

I've been following TWB since its first episode but this is my first comments since I was in the same situation as my father remarried after the death of my mom.
In my father's case almost everyone was asking my father to remarry because most of his 9 children were still small when my mother died at age 40.
It was all arranged by a friend of my father's. Even me, the eldest at 25 years of age then was not consulted. But none of us had any real arguments against him marrying again. In fact, I was happy that someone will be around to look after my small siblings.
As it turned out my step mother was one fantastic lady. She took care of my siblings like they were her own. And when my father was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, she took care of him so well that we know we kids cannot emulate.
All said, we still remember and love our mother dearly and missed her so much till this day.

wanshana said...

I can just imagine how difficult it was for you and K.Ton putting away your Arwah Mak's personal belongings that day. Like Rocky said - it must have felt like your mom died again, and all the sadness and emotions resurfacing after two years.

Reading the part where you were going through her clothings - I remember when my Arwah Atah and Atok (maternal grandparents) passed away.They passed away within 1 1/2 years of each other, and both times I was not around.

My Mom had kept a piece each of their clothings for me to just hold close and smell when I came back to Malaysia - it was somehow one way for me to say goodbye to them. My mom still keeps the two items in her wardrobe until today. The rest, heavy-heartedly she had given away. Clothings are the most personal items one could have, and putting aside or letting go of those belonging to someone very, very dear to you is the hardest thing to do... But, it IS one way of letting go physically.

I am teary-eyed again today, K.Ena...

Take care.

J.T. said...

I had to clean out my mum's room early this year. It was sad. Everything that I touched reminded me of the time when she used those items. We left her room as it was for one year after her demise.

When my sister and I cleared out her handbag, we found her clean handkerchief, her half-used tissue pack, wallet with money and photo of my late dad. I felt a great sense of loss that time and that was just the beginning of the "closing of a chapter". We took three days to clean out her room (we did a little each day) ... every single thing - boxed, given away and thrown away.

So I can imagine what you had to go through the day you had to clear out your mum's things. To add to that, someone new was going to occupy her space. An emotional experience, indeed.

pull ma finger! said...

i remember crying, alot and holding the last photo of andung and i took together.

when my eyes dried out, i got angry, after knowing her name, i instantly rhymed it with **** heh i was 7 and the only bad words i knew was bodoh, babi & setan :)

i was chanting it, over and over again.. at the reception and sampai rumah datuk.

but i was a good kid, i even wore that ugly polka dot head band she gave during her first raya with our family.. and had been a good one until you know when, tante...


zorro said...

No one, yes, no one can every replace our mothers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,

i can understand your (and kin's) feeling of 'betrayal' when your dad took a new wife. Had anyone of you put yourself in his shoes? Would he not had felt 'betrayed' too by his family at a time when he needed their understanding and support most?

There are many sides to life. Often times we will only view it from our vantage point, which is only human. We forget about the other person's point of view.

i would have fallen into the same emotional trap given the same scenario. But your episode today made me realized that there's also a selfish side of me which needs constant dealing with.

Thanks for the learning. Am glad i survived to read this episode ;-)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Nuraina,

*Shudder* I would never want to get on the wrong side of you...I would definitely be squirming very uncomfortably if you were to sit in one corner and glare at me throughout the night...

You know, I have a friend whose dear mother died of cancer. About one month after her mother died, her father got married again, and did not tell them...

He took them back to the kampung for a kenduri and told them it was just a kenduri doa-selamat!

They (5 girls in the family) only found out that the kenduri was actually a wedding reception when they opened one of the cakes (after 'kenduri') and saw 'Selamat Pengantin Baru!'!

And for 5 years after, they were absolutely mean to their stepmom. They slammed the door when she called them, refused to eat the food she cooked etc...But in that 5 years, they realised she was actually a gem (who loved geese!), and would have made a wonderful mum, had they given her a chance...

After 5 years, they accepted her, and one day, she asked if they could call her Umi, which they all agreed to...Now they all get along great...

I just thought I'd share this story with you...

But am glad things worked out for you...;)


Hi aMir...so glad to know you're home. i hope the termites have been annihilated.
so when are you coming by KL? Do tell us.
remember, it's mee rebus on tuesdays at Kak Ton's and you and your family are invited.
my dear aMir -- thank you for mentioning ziana zain because i was laughing until my sides ached. it felt good.
thanks for visiting.


raden galoh : alamak...tag lagi. ok. let me check it out at your blog.

accia: alaah, E, sedih baca your comment. You look at you 3 children and you can tell which of them will react like me.
take care, E

Mat Salo: bro, thank you for taking time to visit TWB.
i kirim your salam to everyone and they kirim salam balik.
oh dear....bila masa "thinking man's chick" ni? kak ena tak tahu pun.
anyway, thanks again for visiting.

Hussin: how lucky you and your siblings are. She sounds wonderful. Not everyone has happy stories of living with their stepmothers.
thanks for visiting, hussin.

shana: hi shana... how is your mum? hope she is better.
yes., i can relate to you experience.
we have different ways of dealing with the death of ou loved ones.
take care.

JT: how sad it must have been for you. but somehow, i could feel a sense of closure there.
take care, JT.

Zorro: I know where that is coming from, Zorro.
Youa re such a wonderful and filial son. Your mum is so lucky to have you, and also Karen.
I hope my son, Adel will treat me just like you have been (treating) your mum.
see you tomorrow.

eric: ok... whew., you survived this episode.
we only know what we really are when we have to deal with extremes of emotions.
take care, eric. hope to see u soon.

Daphne: ooh.. i was pretending to be mean.. haha.
anyway, i don;t blame the 5 kids. they didnt have a chance to express their feelings about their dad's remarriage.
but looks like all's well that ends well... sort of.
take care



my dear ina.. my heart went out to you when andung died knowing how close you were to her. you were with her on her last trip to johor just before she died.
you were her darling little ina.

my dear, we know what happened. we understand why you are feeling this way. you tried, as all of us did and are still trying, to get along, to accord due respect.
but crap happens. you can't help retaliating.
when people hurt those you love, you hurt them back.
take care, my dear. hopefully, over time, things will be better.

Anonymous said...

sorrylah kak ena, to me, anak yang will react like you tu mungkin yang rapat sekali dengan i.

Anonymous said...


been a silent reader for a very long time ...

my father still wont allow us to enter or clean his room after my mom died few years back...did some peeping...tak berubah...so far...

could not imagine if the 'day' will come for us to 'spring cleaning' his room like you & your sister did...

Keanorlinsya said...

Referring to dapne's comment: The dad remarried 1 month after the death? Harsh!

5 years until the kids took her in? Even harsher!

The world is a cruel place.

Thank god all is well now.

Blabarella said...

I actually think you children handled it well, emotions notwithstanding. We're only human, and it's only logical that you would reject any notion of a parent remarrying, however justified their reasons may be. But in the end, that sense of "hormat" prevailed, Alhamdulillah, and I think that's enough. Wow, I think I'm hooked to TWB now.

Anonymous said...

Pak Samad could have married a young woman. One of his reporters. There were many who would have been so willing. He could have chosen a beautiful celebrity, a respected banker, a lecturer, poet. There are many who would give themselves to this great man.

Sekarang jua, kalau Pak Samad mahu pasti ada wanita yang sanggup dimadu.

But your Bapak is a great man for he chose someone who met with the conditions set out for him: someone not prettier than his late wife and not smarter.

Of course, those conditions themselves have made it easier for Samad. Women who are less beautiful than your mother are a dime and a dozen. And I have not met a woman who has more brains. (including the women I list down in the earlier paras)

If Nuraina had asked Pak Samad to come up with a woman prettier and smarter than her late mom, he would not be able to re-marry until this day.


Anonymous said...

Pi Bani,

Tak le tough sangat. Kalo Pak Samad dibiar hidup membujang lagi tough. Kita lupa: sukar nak jaga seorang bapak. Eloklah dia dah kahwin lagi.

Dancy said...

Assalammualaikum .

Is that the last episode ?

The cleaning up of the room touches me. Ever since emak died I've not gone into her room...that's becoz bapak selalu locked it up .I know he cleaned it ..bapak gave us emak's jeweleries and we 4 sisters chose the pieces that we like ...and that was some 7 years later ( after emak died .)We did not give to any of our sis in laws becoz we felt its too personal and they might not like the old designs.I'm still using them.


accia : she will follow her heart when that happens.
hopefully, Insyallah, things will turn out well, should that ever happen.
take care, E

Nuar: Your father hasn't remarried years after your mum died? That is quite unusual. If he decides to, or some smart aleck people decide that he should, pray that he will get a wonderful person to replace your mum.
Thank you for visiting.

Kea: That's the reality of it all that life can be cruel. But not everything in or about life is cruel.

blabarella: i think it is so easy to continue feeling hurt and betrayed. But, at some point we have to take stock of things to chart the future.
once that person becomes family, then we have to get real.
but that is just the beginning.
there is a Malay saying -- about how we sometimes accidentally bite our tongue. that's life.
can be pretty, can be ugly.
it is up to us to define it.
thank u for visiting.

Wassallam: oh dear. What can I say? except that you maybe wrong about Pak Samad easily finding candidates among his reporters. Pak Samad had a reputation of, you know, mouthing expletives. He got on well with the female reporters...but, er, i don't think they'd want him for, you know....
(suddenly I am unable to articulate my views).
anyway, anyway....thank yoo for your kind words.

Anon@2:30am: Tough, memang tough. Kita kalau kahwin orang tua kita mesti tahu yang suami kita ni dah meningkat umur dan tak lama lagi akan, uzur, menghidap bermacam2 penyakit. kalau niat kita untuk mengharung keduniaan, dapat pangkat dll, kita tidak ikhlas. satu hari, niat kita akan terbuka luas. kita mesti sanggup bersama suami kita yg tua. kita tidak boleh serahkan semua kepada pembantu. yang tersurat,ke, tersirat ke, akan dilihat, di pandang jelas.

Tak susah, jaga bapak seorang. Tanya Nina, adik saya. Tanya saya pun boleh.
Yang susah, bagi sesetengah orang, ialah nak jaga suami yang tua.



i thought after 20 instalments, I should wrap it all up.
but it is not fair to just leave it like that.
no, that's not the last.
must have been hard for your bapak to have lost your mum.
but he has his children... and i am sure he sees a lot of your mum in his daughters.
take care and thank you or visiting.

Unknown said...

Sorry for saying this. As much as I understand how you all felt about the replacement, how do you think the person concerned felt about the not so friendly welcome. Don't you think she had sleepless nights prior to it. How do you think your bapak would have felt? Do you think he enjoyed seeing you all squirm? Don't you think he felt bad about the cold reception given to your mak cik but then couldn't say a thing so as to not complicate matters more. Couldn't the whole episode, at that time, sort of make him feel guilty. Guilty for breaking your hearts, guilty for bringing in another person into near ridicule? Sorry I had to ask. I am not saying what you have done is wrong. I guess I would have done the same if I were in your place. Just imagine what we human are capable of. We are capable of animosity in the name of love or in other words 'jealousy'. Please don't get me wrong here. Just asking. I am sure its all okay now.


Nak Tak Nak,
I wish human beings were incapable of feeling hostility, animosity and antagonism. That would be Shangri-La.
Love, love and peace.
I wish too that human beings were incapable of hurting their loved ones.
How nice if human beings were incapable of infidelity and only knew sincerity and honesty.

You know, I am not proud of what I had done during that time. I had demonstrated my weakness, that I was incapable of holding back my emotions and sentiments.
I know one thing, though, I could not pretend to my father, my siblings, my cousin the marriage broker or to myself that it was all so hunky dory for me.
It was not, I hated the fact that someone was going to take my mother's place.
It was utter base, sheer territorial instinct. Or simply for the love of my mother or to protect her memory.
Rightly or wrongly.
I cared for my father's feelings. I understood why he needed to remarry but I could not accept that he wanted to.
And frankly, I did not care about my Mak Cik's feelings then before she became my father's wife..
I didnt have that space in my heart to think about her feelings.
And yes, I wanted her to squirm. But she did not.
I wanted her to know that i did not like what my father was doing. She could be another person and I would have reacted the same way.

In a way, it was better for her to know what she was in for.
Better to know our ugly side before she married my father than after.

You must understand, of course,that I am laying bare things that I dare lay bare. There are stuff that are just too personal and too private -- for my Bapak, Mak Cik and my siblings -- to be revealed.

No, I am not offended by your questions and you remarks. they are not offensive at all.
I appreciate them.

Thank you for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

Every time I baca episode berkenaan your Bapak's 2nd marriage, my "otak" siap dok gambarkan keadaan masa tu macam sebuah filem yang sedang ditonton, since I know who is the lead actor and the actresses (siapa yang jadi lead?).

Even tanya my children about the Ursula's character in the Little Mermaid. Nak kena cari balik VCD Little Mermaid anak I kalau ada kat rumah....

Editor said...

Nuraina, am I also invited to the mee rebus at Maria'a on tuesdays?
Why no sms invitation from Rocky?

Anonymous said...

It was during one of those nights we stayed late in his house before Bapak remarried.He told us how lonely he had been."Kalo siang bila semua orang ada ,Bapak tak rasa. Tapi bile semua orang balik rumah maseng2,Bapak sunyi"
Those words prompted us...Arwah Eda & I to encourage him to remarry.We even drove him to his first date at Kak Noi's house in Gombak.
I have never thought that i would be feeling the same ,now...


the Razzler said...

Kak Ena ...

I remember clearing my Mum's room was a real torture!! every little things brings back memories of her .. the packets of tissues that she would always put a few packets on standby near her pillow .. I just couldn't throw them away!!

I just cried my heart out!!

I love my Mom ... I miss my Mom!! ... so so so much!!

Take care ..

Anonymous said...

Kak Ina,

You just showed the real meaning of "when love and hate collide" on your Bapak's wedding day. Love your Arwah Mak and Bapak so dearly; hating the situation and people who involved in it.

For me, your reaction is normal la,kak. Not to be proud of,like you said earlier but much understandable.

Harap keluarga akak bertambah rapat dan bahagia selepas episod ini.

-Make PEACE not war ;)

Hi&Lo said...


It takes courage to bare the other side of you. Take heart, you have taught us great lessons.

Our natural human instinct takes the better part of our valour.

It's humanly impossible to be magnanimous to accept another person in place of your Emak.

The loss of one's mother is not the same as grieving other losses cos no one can be closer than our mother. If she dies, one great part of us die with her.

Nur, and to your siblings, don't feel bad abt the folly. But in the end, you all pass with flying colours.

Am proud of your family.

Anonymous said...

I have seen so many women who did not marry after their huband passed away and raised their kids alone.For man, it is the reverse. Itulah sebabnya syurga terletak di bawah tapak kaki ibu!


itu kisah silam. kita orang cuma buat perangai sebelum bapak nikah. lepas tu kita terima sebab dah jadi isteri bapak.
kita orang senang saja, mariani... asal bapa di jaga dengan baik... itu saja
selepas bapak nikah mak cik kita ok dengan mak cik. kita hormat dia sebagai isteri bapak.


i think rocky stopped sending SMS to those who were among the first group who were at the mee rebus sessions. it is understood that the mee rebus luncheon is on unless otherwise notified.

Keanorlinsya said...

The mee rebus luncheon is on every week tuesday right?
Hmm tuesday is my off day.
Aunty Ton, im coming one of these days for ur legendary mee rebus.

A Voice said...

Your closet clearing scene is like that scene in an Iranian film abt a childless women having to prepare the room for her husband's new bride.

Geez, I can't remember the movie title.

After clearing, she moved to the maid's room upstairs and stayed in as she heard from inside the husband and his family returned from the celebration and the newly wed moved into her room.

Rox said...

I think I'll make an effort to return home and spend some time with my mama. Although I don't think she'll die just yet, I'll do so this Christmas and not make any more lame excuses. It's the "minyak angin" in this episode that did it. I don't really have the "missing" gene but suddenly I miss my mama. She kept a small bottle of that stuff in her handbag and I'm wondering whether she's still doing it. I've not read your earlier episodes (1 - 9) for lack of time (excuses, excuses!), so I've some reading to catch up with during my coming two-week holidays. I'm looking forward to them. You've a way of writing that makes me laugh and at the same time wistful ... rare talent indeed!

Anonymous said...

brother aziz..

tak sampai 6 bulan aida meninggal, sudah rasa macam tu.
amacam, brother? kuatkan lah iman. takkan tak boleh?

peace, brother.


the razzler: so sorry to have taken you down that road. i feel so sad.. take care.

Ain: Bahagia, Ain. suka, duka -- sebahgian dari hidup. semua terjadi dengan izin dan kehendak Allah SWT.

Hi&Lo: Thank you H&L. Thank u for the very kind words.

basree: yes.. i have seen such women -- stoical, patient, and strong.

A Voice: I seem to recall this scene too.... It was shown on Astro a couple of years ago..

Roxanne: Hey there... You do that, roxanne... visit your mama.
and if you're in KL and feel like meeting up...anytime, sista.

Anonymous said...

After reluctantly accepting Bapak's decision to remarry, I think Kamal and I were more subdued in our behaviour.

Whatever reactions we all might have shared initially, the sons subsequently took a different path from the daughters.

I must have been totally blur about what my sisters were up to then, because I seemed to have done the opposite. I remember trying my best to make Mak Cik feel at ease when the first "rombongan" came for dinner. I even sat next to Mak Cik for some time and made small talk so that she'd feel more comfortable.

In trying to be (genuinely) nice to my future step-mom, I unknowingly sabotaged my sisters' efforts. Looking back, though, it wasn't such a bad thing.


abu rabu (abang med),

initially, i had a line that said "i cannot remember what was spoken at the dinner table or whether there was any conversation taking place, but credit should go to abang med and my brothers-in-law for trying to get things going smoothly".
but i was not even sure about that. i do remember something to that effect, vaguuely though. so i deleted that line.

anyway... the sisters should only be me, kak ton and nina. kak eda, of course, accepted. kak piah objected but was not as hostile as i was. kak olin was not ok but was not extreme like me. nina was very sad and depressed but had her own way of dealing with it. kak ton exercised restrain.
so actually..everyone was subdued except me. there was no plan as such to make Mak Cik feel unwelcomed. Just subtle way of protesting.

Azmi said...

Dear Ena,
your dad must be very proud of you and your siblings for the "sacrifice" on your part in extending your family to include a new member that keeps your dad company. I can appreciate what you went through. I never shared this with anyone before, but things could have been different for me and siblings if we had not been so "selfish" and possessive of our 87 year old father. But that's another story for a rainy day when we sit over another cup of coffee. Felt real hiba reading about you sorting out your beloved mom's stuff. In my case, that task was left to me to manage alone and it really broke my heart. I found letters and p/cards from us to her which she had kept safely tucked and I still keep notes and letters she wrote to me and for me. No one could ever, ever replace our mothers but our dad deserves to be cared for and there are just some things that daughters (or sons) for that matter couldn't offer and the more easily we accept that the better...

aman said...

gosh...this brings back horrid memories. when my dad remarried there was also a kugiran kampung! and they played lagu selamat pengantin baru! aaggghhhhhh!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

You have given us another gem in TWB (20).

Clearing out your Mak's personal items must have been an emotionally arduous task for you and Kak Ton. I was spared this very ordeal when my parents passed away but I think I can imagine what it must be like.

As to your initial animosity towards your Mak Cik, if it’s of any comfort, I believe most people would react in the same way given similar circumstances. It’s all too easy for those of us who have not been confronted with the same plight to dispense wisdom and pass moral judgement on your reaction.

Hmmm… thinking men’s pin-up girl (to paraphrase Mat Salo) with a raised-eyebrow and pursed lips…..

Anonymous said...

Nuraina said...

Tak susah, jaga bapak seorang. Tanya Nina, adik saya. Tanya saya pun boleh.
Yang susah, bagi sesetengah orang, ialah nak jaga suami yang tua.

9:29 AM


Wow Nuraina,

That's is kinda deep.


azmi: thank u, azmi. how heartbreaking it was for us as well.
and yes, we found our letters we sent to her when we were abroad studying. they were neatly "filed".
i realised it, but not too late, that indeed, bapak needed something none of us could offer.
i was very hostile to the idea of bapak remarrying. but the day, Mak Cik came to our house as our step-mother, all hostility dissipated and all barriers were broken down. we had no choice, but more, we were doing it not just for Bapak, but for our mother. she would not have wanted us to be bad to our Mak Cik.
But, our Mak Cik, to be fair, tried to win our hearts. It was not, by then, difficult, because had already accepted her. Besides, she was very good with the grandkids. She loves the kids. And to me, that was enough... you love the kids, then you're ok.
So, we have got along well...all of us... a little hiccups here and there but because she is not our Mak, it makes us more careful not to hurt her feelings or to be kurang ajar.
I think it is so easy to be rude and all those mean things to one's stepmother...but if she is not to you, in the first place, then why should you be to her?
also as long as she takes good care of our father, that's fine.
she spoils us too, always oooking stuff for us when we visit.
and when we don't visit for a couple of days becuase of work commitments, she'd call.
yeah.... i am fond of my step mother.
and she always reminded me, in jest, about the way I salam her the first time. and we'd have a good laugh.
so, all that drama, was before my dad married her.

aman: alamak. kesian nya. thank God, we didnt have that,.

sesat: thank you sesat. thankfully, that was all in the past. and i do believe that things happen for a reason.
And things happen by the grace and will of the Almighty.

and Mat Salo's "thinking....." You know that was new/news to me.
Doggone it!

anon@7:20am: no..not deep. very literal. for some people taking care of their fathers is a big deal and for others taking care of their aged spouses is also a big deal.
And there are those who take all this in their stride.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Kak Ena,

You know that (through our phone conversations and previous comments on TWB) I found your protest as amusing. In fact, I laughed on few occasions.

But today, I felt for you Kak Ena, kesian Kak Ena....I cannot for the live of me imagine the emotional turmoil you had to endure. What more you were heavily pregnant.

When Ayah died in 2000, some marriage proposals came to mama. My youngest sister (emotional and expressive person) told her this "kalau mama kawen lain, adek bunuh suami mama!" Oh dear....

She was 20 years old already then. I dare not say anything, I was afraid Ayah could hear it from heaven. Of course, mama, just like many women - didn't remarry. The love of her life now is Luqman. I silently thank God for not giving her Ayah's replacement.

If that happens (in Rocky's words) my protest would be legendary.

Take care Kak Ena.

Hi&Lo said...


Am overwhelmed by Azmi's participation. I know it took helluva effort for her to type the keyboard.

I know what's like to lose a mother, but I can't comprehend the loss of a spouse.

Anonymous said...

hi nuraina, had wanted to drop a few lines her...now i can..i ll freak out if am in your situation...my mom is my everything .. i really mean EVERYTHING.. how i wish she can be with me forever and ever and ever....cant wait for your next...seeing Rocky soon ...u know for what la...

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Ena,

Came across your blog accidentally 2 days ago, and could not let myself away from the computer screen until i managed to finish all your TWBs (from #1 - #20) in one go (from after maghrib until 4 in the morning). Amazing writing !!! A hearty congratulation!!!

I'm always a big fan of Pak Samad's "Patah Sayap Terbang Jua" and read it several times since i was in primary school (1977 when i was in standard 4) until several years ago. Pak Hamka's "Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wick" was also another piece of my evergreen favourite that i keep reading and reading.

Still vividly remember the characters of Wahab and Mon, World Cabaret on so on. And this reflect the rich and strong characters of Pak Samad's himself. However, its very unfortunate that Pak Samad was not that productive, as far as producing novel is concerned.

Looking forward for your next entry.

Kangar, Perlis


Elviza: You're back from your break...
Hope you had a good one.
Your mom is a living example of a woman who chose to remain a widow. I have met your mom. She is beautiful. I can imagine the number of suitors she got. She was still young when you dad died, right?
My mom was left without a husband for a long period, three times in her life. The first time, she was very young. Life was uncertain because she was not sure whether Bapak would be released at all.
But, well...I won't go down that way now...

So, how was Luqman? Mesti rindu mummy dia, ek? Atau tidak?
Thanks, my dear, for visiting.

Hi&Lo: I know...it was sweet of her. I will be calling her soon... thanks H&L for visiting...again.

Irene: Hi..so nice of you to drop by. You must be very close to your mum. That's really nice.
Anyway.... see you soon.

Ramzan: Thank you for visiting and taking time reading TWB.
I'd like to just, perhaps, correct you about something. But, first, perhaps, our definition of "productive" differ.

"Patah Sayap Terbang Jua" was just one of several novels/books that Pak Samad wrote.
Among the others (I cannot remember all) are "Tembok Tidak Tinggi", "Kail Panjang Sejengkal", "Hud", "Hussein Zed", "Orang Jauh", " Detik-detik Cemas", "Menimba Yang Jernih" and "Sutinah".
He also hads a compilation of short stories (antoloji cerpen) -. "Mastura" and "Temasya Tinta". He has also written books on journalism "Kursus Wartawan" and "Mengasah Bakat".

Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

ok so i may have missed the boat completely, but how many brothers do u have, Pn Nuraina?


i have 2 brothers -- hamed (older brother) and kamal (younger brother)

Anonymous said...

ahh ok. I'm always late and never been the first in most things i do. Not gonna bother u with more Qs. I'll dig deeper in the archive. thank u, Pn Nuraina.

Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Ena,

Another poignant one, fascinating undercurrents notwithstanding.

You took all of us who have lost parents, mothers esp, to that place where the pain lies dormant, just waiting for the slightest touch to throb anew; to that hole in our hearts that never fills, emptiness made more vivid by such things like wisps of minyak angin and favourite handbags with little notes tucked in forgotten recesses... Our only solace that where we're all going -- they, she esp -- insyAlllah, will be there awaiting us.

Meanwhile, impotently orphaned, we manage the best we could.

P.S. Thank you for the list of your Dad's works. I now have a guide of sorts for my search. Thanks too to Ramzan of Perlis who prompted it.


Dear Kerp,

don't be hard on yourself. it's ok, you know, you can ask me any silly, inane, irrelevant question. you can also ask me very tough questions. Ill try to answer them in the best possible way.
i am very appreciative of the fact that you "sudi" baca TWB at 3540 Jalan Sudin.

Thanks, Kerp... and you may now kacau Uncle Bernard and say "hi" to him for me.

See you


Mekyam: Hello, hello, hello.
I was wondering where you might have been.
You know, I thought I'd never touch this episode because it meant that I had to go back, go down that path again and to recollect the experience, the moments.
Of course, there were many things I was not able to reveal. Also, I thought I'd continue...but I don;t think so. I think I will the story the way I had ended it in this instalment.
I would be lying if I said that evrything was hunky dory from the start (of my Bapak's remarriage). I would also be lying if I said that things were terible from the start.
But I am lying when I say that it was not easy but we all tried -- for apak and, more for our beloved Mak and her memory.

As in life, there is the bitter and the sweet and it is up to us to try and make the best of any situation. Yeah, life is short...

and my dad's books... do you remember the magazine "Gila-Gila", so popular in the 80s? Bapak (who was a friend of the publisher) was asked to write columns/articles for the magazine. You know, he'd help anyone.. if his contribution could help the magazine, why not?
So, I forgot to mention that there is a book -- "tan sri A SAMAD ISMAIL MENULIS" -- a compilation of his articles.

Thanks for visiting, Mek Yam!



sorry...a line somewhwre in my reply to you should read:
"But I am NOT lying when I say that it was not easy but we all tried -- for Bapak and, more for our beloved Mak and her memory."

that's what happens when we delete and retype, delete and retype...

thanks, Mek Yam

Anonymous said...

Pn Nuraina,

getting replies from u is already an honour for me, and TWB reminds me so much of my own late gramps (tok ali).

will be having lunch wit uncle bernard today and will definitely tell him u said hi.

mutalib saifuddin said...

i heard many times people calling their step mom 'Mak Muda', and 'Nenek Muda' seems to be new one, perhaps?

i know that sentimental stuff that your mom left when you spring-cleaned the room. i felt that too when i cleaned my late auntie's room in my house, few years after her death, and felt very, very sad of her passing.

Anonymous said...

Alhamdulillah the army of soldiers, i.e. the anai-anai, has not encroached any of the book shelves in our house. Thus, A. Samad Ismail: Ketokohan dan Kewartawanan, Kail Panjang Sejengkal and Patah Sayap Terbang Jua are all intact. We are driving to Pasir Putih Kelantan this afternoon to visit my in-laws. Will inform you in due course when we make the trip to KL.


kerp: i'm glad TWB is connecting with you at some level.
thank u for visiting.

mutalib: how sad it must have been for you.
take care and thank u.

aMiR: oh.. that's good news.
ok...do keep me posted when you are in KL.
We are looking forward to (hearing of) news from u.
Take care

Anonymous said...

Tante Ena,
Found your blog by accident. Anyway in those days i used to drive Nek Bibah fr Gombak to 'Tok Kacang" house's in PJ.
Just for the sake of being given the opportunity to drive a car with my brand new license. I tried not to kepo2 during that time just following my order Gombak-PJ and PJ-Gombak. Anyway i'm glad everything turns out well. Wassalam.

Yang bernama Siti said...

Salam Puan Ena,

My mum told me how hard it was for her when she first married my father who was a widower with 7 children. I don't think she told the stories to anyone before. It was very hurtful, sad and tough in the beginning. So much so that when a widower with 5 kids showed an interest to marry me she was not so keen to meet him. And she never did. I tak jadi marry that man. It was a long story.

It is tough meeting your future step children the first time. Believe me it was not fun. Even though the widower's children did not make me feel unwelcome; in fact 2 of them (the youngest) sat near me and talked to me. It was the traces of the late wife that was very hard to accept or to deal with. The house was full of her spirit even though she never stayed there. And I could feel her presence very strongly.

Anonymous said...

True idea