Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak

No Bite and The Bark Was Better -- July 31 2007

When I was a little girl, I remember Bapak to be strict. A disciplinarian. Firm but fair.
You know the saying -- his bark was worse than his bite.
The fact is, though, I don't remember him barking much. And there was never any bite.
How was he strict and firm, then?
Frankly, I don't know. I find it hard to remember how. I suppose he was just the way all fathers are and should be.
That larger-than-life figure of authority.
All I remember is that there were little rules set, and we had to abide by them.
I suppose he was Bapak and we did not want to displease him.
But we did not fear him. We did not shiver and quiver at the mere sound of him coming our way.

For all his strictness and firmness, I can say now that Bapak was really a softie.
I have come to the conclusion that it was all a show.
Really, Bapak was the one who'd be comforting us after Mak had given us a good scolding. He was the one who'd pat our heads when we'd done something good.
He was the one who'd have chocolates and comics ready for us when he came home from work.
And once a month, he'd take us to the book store to buy us books.
And yes, when he could, he'd take us to the movies.
He was the one who got Abang Med a guitar and would have us gather around the humongous Akai tape recorder almost every weekend for our sing-along.
It was Bapak who encouraged Abang Med to do little tricks with his (then box) camera and got him a book to explore all those neat tricks.
And oh yes. Bapak was the one who enrolled us in art classes, got us a Mandarin teacher and agreed to let me take ballet lessons.

The art and Mandarin classes were his idea. Taking ballet lessons was mine.
I had come home from school one day and told him and Mak that I wanted to take ballet lessons with a teacher who had visited our school looking for ballet students.
I must have been eight or nine years old.
That young teacher who came to our school was Tan Lee Lan (now Lee Lee Lan of the Federal Academy of Ballet) who was then, I think, a fresh undergraduate who wanted to teach ballet for the love of the art as well as to help her through university.
Bapak, almost immediately, warmed up to the idea of my taking ballet lessons.
He was cool about it. So was Mak. Very encouraging.
I remember he said Azah should also take the lessons with me, remarking that it was a good way for us to occupy our Saturday afternoons, seeing that we would more often than not, end up quarrelling with each other over silly little things.
That was how Azah and I started our ballet.

Weekends were a lot of fun. They usually were. But there was one thing that would spoil our weekends.
It was when Bapak would find one of his books missing or misplaced.
That was a damper because he would make us stop whatever it was we were doing to look for whatever book that he found missing from its place on the shelf or on his desk.
We would be searching high and low for that missing or misplaced book.
Ah..now I remember. That would be the one occasion he would be barking.
Of course, we would always find the book and it would always be that he was the one who misplaced the book.
I think Bapak would always assume that Mak was the one who had misplaced it because he knew Mak was averse somewhat to untidiness and would always re-arrange things in the living room.
But Mak was very careful not to disturb Bapak's things, including his books.
She knew Bapak did not take too kindly to anyone messing his things. We all knew that from a very young age. And Bapak knew that we knew that.
Bapak was (and still is) in many ways, eccentric and had little idiosyncracies.

So, when one of his books went missing (always misplaced, actually), Bapak would assume Mak had put it somewhere she shouldn't have.
He could not tell Mak off. Gosh! He would not dare even to allude to what he perceived to be Mak's overzealous tendency for neatness. No way. That was really asking for trouble.
Mak could retaliate ever so silently but oh-so-potently. I never got to learn that from her.
So, the only other way to demonstrate his displeasure was by making his very irate children go look for that book.
This would happen now and again because Bapak was prone to misplacing his books.
He was always wrong. Mak never misplaced his books. Nobody did.
But, from the time he found his book missing and until he realised it was him who misplaced it, we would be searching for the book all over the house.
We were never amused but, well, how could we protest?
The good thing was that it usually would not take long for us to find that missing book .
I know Mak also resented this whole rigmarole but she never protested. Instead, she would join us in the search.
"Kesian anak-anak Mak," she'd say.
By the time the missing/misplaced book was found, you could see that hint of remorse mixed with regret on Bapak's face.
He would not say sorry for putting us through all that but he would always make up for all that ado.
He would do something nice later -- take us to Taman Selera or the Pines, perhaps -- and we would all so easily forget it ever happened.

There was one time when I was very young that Bapak was quite angry over, I think, some missing encyclopedia.
I remember he said he was going to cane us. In fact, there was a cane at home although I don't remember him ever putting it to good use except for that one occasion.
Well, threatening to use the cane seemed pretty much like putting it to good use.
I don't remember whether the books/encyclopedia were ever found. I think they were, eventually.
Bapak lined us all up, anyway, and waved the cane.
Like a firing squad.
I'm not sure if Kak Ton was with us. But I remember Abang Med, Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I were there. Perhaps, little Azah too. Not too sure about Kamal. I think he was just a baby.
I don't remember being scared because Bapak, despite looking angry and waving the cane, was not scary.
I remember Abang Med telling us that he had quickly put on another pair of shorts under the ones he was wearing, to cushion the blow of the rotan.
I thought he was so clever.
So, the time came for Bapak to cane us.
He started from the eldest and worked his way down to the youngest.
If Abang Med thought he was going to be whacked and had so prepared for it, then what came must have been a disapppointment, for it did not put the cushion to good use.
It was not a whack. Not a rap. It was a, ummm, a tap on the backside.
I could hardly feel it. So, Abang Med's anxious moments must have come to nought.
I think the girls giggled because it got to be quite funny.
I think Bapak tried to put on fierce facade. It didn't work because, we, the little ones, could spot the pretence.
Bapak then dismissed us, with a warning to not be irresponsible with books.
"Jangan campak-campak buku merata-rata," he warned.

That was the only time he ever held a cane to threaten us.
The fact is, he never laid a finger on any of us.
And he did not take too kindly to reports of Mak pinching or smacking us.
I think mothers get away with a bit of pinching and smacking because they are the ones who'd be cuddling us at night.
They pinch you but just as quickly hug you and soothe you.

I was the one to report to Bapak everytime Mak smacked or pinched me, or any of my siblings.
If you had kids like us, I think you would go crazy and be driven up the wall.
We drove Kak Ton up the wall.
The age gap between Kak Olin, Kak Eda, Azah and I was quite close.
So, Mak had these like-minded kids messing up the house, quarrelling and God-knows-what.
We were always up to mischief.
Kak Olin, being the eldest of the four of us, would get the brunt of it whenever we got out of control.

It was at our very first house in Petaling Jaya -- at Jalan Sentosa, in Kawasan Melayu (Old PJ).
We were all playing in the house and in the garden. Playing hide-and-seek and climbing trees.
Then, Kak Eda fell from a tree which was really a small tree, so she did not quite fall from a great height. She was fine, just a few scratches.
Kak Olin was only nine but she was the eldest of the four of us. So she had to take the rap. Poor Kak Olin.
Anyway, when Mak was told about the little mishap, she pinched Kak Olin's thighs.
Looking back, I could understand how panicked she must have been to be told that her child had fallen from a tree.

Kak Olin was fair-skinned so Mak's pinches resulted in blue-black marks on her thighs.
This momentary episode was quickly forgotten when, in no time, we were back to playing tag, running around, climbing trees. Laughing and squealing.

Everything was forgotten until later that evening when Bapak came home from work.
He called for us --"mana anak-anak Bapak ni?". On hearing his voice, we scrambled downstairs to greet him.
Then he noticed the blue black marks on Kak Olin's thighs.
He asked Kak Olin about it. Before anyone could say anything, I said "Mak cubit Kak Olin".
We could see Bapak's thick eyebrows raised. He turned to Mak.
Mak quickly explained what happened.
Bapak clearly did not think that her action was justified but he did not chide Mak.
He just looked down at the blue black marks, shook his head and muttered under his breath, but loud enough for us to hear -- " mak sendiri ni, bukan mak tiri..."

So, in all honesty. I remember Bapak to be strict, firm. And, well, a softie sometimes.


Dancy said...


The cane ........back in those days , I guess every household has one . That goes for ours too.Bapak's rotan is special ......its about as thick as your thumb and he cut or split one end of the rotan into four .So you can imagine the agony one gets bila kena bantai .

However , should any of us found the rotan we would tossed it away ...only to see another brand new one in its place . Sakit yunno bila the rotan masih brand new as its still keras . It takes a couple of beatings to make it relatively soft .

Bapak is a disciplinarian ......most of my brothers had a good hiding from him . I guess that is the only way for him to to " tame " the 9 of us . Come to think of it , nobody complained of bapak being a kes dera .I don't blame bapak ....in my neighborhood my brothers were notorious and they get into fights daily . According to my mother there were times her neighbors did not greet her for months ...coz of my brothers lah ...roughing up their sons . But my mother said .ala ...budak budak ...this minute they fight and in an hour's time they are the best of friends again .Whatever , I will still greet them .

There is never a day the house is without its civil wars . We have our own sparing partner too .Poor mak . How she put up with us was just amazing .

As for all of us ...we turnt out to be decent people , ...tak menyamun , tak mencuri ...., pandai mengaji ...educated and with respectable jobs .

Yep....the power of the cane .I don't keep one though ........but I have the cloth hangers ......

Rockybru said...

Yes, he never liked his things moved. When I was editor of Malay Mail and he was the NSTP adviser (was it 2001?), he once asked the secretary to call me to his room. When I got there, he waved the Mail to me and demanded! "Mana aku punya kartun?". I said, "Eh, takkan takde, Pak Samad?". He eyebrowed me: "You cari. Show me where!" I went straight to the usual pages where the comic strips were. True enough, the "kartun" weren't there. "Hah! Mana kartu aku?!" I had to call the chief sub or the production editor at home and asked him what happened to the pages. Put down the phone and I reported to Pak Samad, "They move back the pages last night." i found the pages and showed them to him. He barked! "Kepala hotaks" and "p--imaks". A newspaper editor must never move fixtures like the comic strips as he likes. I think he threw in a "bodoh" in there, too. A newspaper editor must show more respect to the reader, he said. "Ada orang beli paper pasal nak baca komik, you understand?" It was a caning of sorts. I never moved the comic pages again after that, even when your dad was no longer the adviser.

zaitgha said...

you took me to a trip down memory lanes this morning...and aah, the cane...my late dad too had that habit...after scolding us, he would take us for nice nasi ayam in sort of food court in PJ...maybe the same place you mentioned Tmn Selera... or to Kajang to eat satay...in old red Ford...

benphang said...

Thanks for sharing your family events with us. Love reading TWB. Thanks again.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Nan,

Haha! "Mak sendiri ni, bukan mak tiri"...

Did mak terasa?

When I think about it, my dad is a softie too...When my mum punished me as a child, I used to run to him too, and he would say "Aiyo kesian. Mummy scold ah?"

And all will be forgotten...

How easily we forget as children! I guess that's why in a household, there has to be a balance in role of disciplinarian and 'comforter', huh?

I guess in a way, Bapak and my dad were quite similar...Although for my dad, he'd send us looking for his glasses!

And once, about 4/5 years I think, I fell real hard (slipped on the wet kitchen floor) and went slamming into the table, and was bruised all over...

Picked myself up and went look for whoever was in the house, and found mum and dad in their room...When I walked in sobbing for dear life, and they saw the bruises, they both look at each other and cried out "You beat her?!?! Cannot be"

I sobbed: "Table beat!"

Haha...Needless to say, I was queen for a week! Bruises take a while to disappear, no? ;)

Daphne Ling said...

Aiya, sorry!

That should be 'Aunty Nuraina'...Panggil salah orang!

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena,
Thank you for sharing the wisdom on parenting. Another sage on the TWB stage. I had my fair share of barking these last few days and excuse yah for my long-winded rambling here. You see, I’ve just lost my Sony digital camera, and I haven’t yet developed those countless photos taken in Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. And heaven know where I lost it? Two possibilities. At a kopitiam in Kuantan. We stopped there on our way back to Kubang Pasu from Tg Jara, and we snapped the last few photos there. Or, heaven forbid, in my office. I left my Sony camcorder cover case at my office one night and the next day when I wanted to use the camcorder, I realised the digital camera was not inside it.

Up to now, I just discounted the second possibility. Why would the pencuri just took the digital camera and left the camcorder intact when the latter is at least three times more valuable than the former. However, after one colleague reported that her laptop and cash which she left in the office went missing last week, then suddenly it triggered me that somebody could have accessed my room and my colleague’s room. I had made a police report and the police had called me for further clarification such as why it took me twenty days to report the lost? You see, all this while I was dead certain that I left it at the kopitiam a few weeks ago.

After our dinner there, I went to the toilet and when I returned to the table, my family members had all left and waited for me in our Waja. I immediately made a frantic call to the night-duty manager after I realised the camera was missing and, again and again, just to check for further development incase somebody has returned it a few days or weeks later but the answer was always negative. When I pressed her that in my video recording, the camera was there lying on one of her kopitiam tables, she countered the CCTV shows no camera on the same table just after we left. My family members could not recall whether they have taken all our personal belongings after they left the kopitiam while I was still in the toilet.

Wife’s explanation was Elham “demanded” that his soiled nappy be changed immediately. He was screaming at the top of his voice and if she waited for me, the kopitiam shop will pecah. I can tell you Sis Ena, when Elham cried, he is hardly Comel. And Arman’s explanation was he took the Sony cover case to theWaja, assuming the digital camera was in there without first making sure of it. I didn’t demand any explanation from Ainaa. Oh well she is a darling little girl, isn’t she? So, if anyone just bought a used Sony cyber-shot DSC T9 (and sexy black, if I may add) recently, it could be ours. The lost is tiada ganti but after telling all these, I feel much better now. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Abah, I dont remember any cane or anything like that from him, other than one or two occasions with Mak.
Abah, I miss you.

Semuga ditempatkan bersama golongan hambaMu yang soleh. Amin

wanshana said...

I feel warm and fuzzy reading this about your father...It is just something that I did not expect him to be.

My Abah is a strict disciplinarian until now - even his grandchildren are not spared!:D But, he never used the cane. One "killer stare" and one mighty "dengus" from him and all of us would just freeze with fright.

Mior Azhar said...

The cane. The must have fixtured in most homes dulu. Since my mom was a teacher, she used it more often than my bapak. Tapi sesekali bapak used it, mau pitam kami adik-beradik. He he. When I became a father myself, I bought a cane once but never get the chance to use it as my daughters took it and threw it away. So who's cleverer now?


dancy:i can already feel the rotan. ouch!
sometimes, that's the only way to discipline boys!

ben: thanks for visiting.

daphne: tak apa...aunty Nan pun tak apa.
i think fathers always have a soft spot for their daughters.
and mothers, their sons.
so, there you are, ada balance.
oh,,after Bapak said "mak sendiri ni bukan mak tiri", Mak didnt say anything. I'm sure she was already feeling bad but she knew she pinched Kak Olin, not out of hatred or anything like that. i think it was out of panic and shock.

molten cake: I'm so sorry about your father.
Al-Fatehah for your father.

Wanshana: Ooooh, I know. the look would be enough...

Mior: haha... that's a good one. clever kids!


aMiR: oh dear. all those pictures that you took. sayang,nya.
well, you've done the best you can to try to find your camera.
really, you can only hope that it will be returned to you, Insyallah.
sometimes, it is really beyond anyone's control.

let's hope for the best.
take care.
hope you still have a great holiday.


rocky (ahirudin attan):
oh yes... i remember that. i know you were quite terkejut that Bapak pointed that out to you. you didnt quite expect that he'd notice the change.
yeah...i didnt either. we had taken our readers for granted.
ah-hah... i can imagine the expletives that spewed forth....
thanks for taking me back..


i don't think people keep canes now. do people cane their children?
i know i don't believe in it at all.
thank God, I don't see a need for it. I wouldnt know whether i'd need one if my kids were really more than nakal.

a long time ago, there was a kind of food court in old PJ called Taman Selera. I'm not sure whether it is still there. Then, there was Medan Selera in section 14, PJ. When we moved to section 16, Medan Selera was where we'd head for....the best satay, lontong, curry laksa, assam laksa, roast chicken...
now,dah tak ada...
thanks, zai for visiting.

Anonymous said...


The cane. We should bring back the cane, put it in the teacher's hand, and tell him or her to take care of our kids and cane them if necessary. We need discipline. The problem with some teachers is that with the cane in their hands, they run amok. You don't need a golfer's swing with the cane, as your dad demonstrated. A tap with the cane and a lesson is learnt. It's not the pain, it's the shame. Kids these days know no shame. Some teachers are a pain.


Anonymous said...

I grew up most with my mother since my dad passed away when I was 9. She never used cane to dicipline me. But I can't forget the rotan (thick long ruler actually!)I received from my teacher at the hostel when I was in Form 4. But me and my friends deserved it. We didn't go for Friday prayer that day!

IBU said...

Kak Ena, memang betul ada orang beli paper untuk baca kartun. Or rather, baca kartun first. Hehehe...

So very true la, mothers get away easily with their pinch & smacking.

But if my bapak and my kid's ayah started calling for order, that was it la .... when all in all, it's just their deep voice and nothing more.

Keanorlinsya said...

Aunty Ena,
my dad is one of those who were called senapang bambu.
Until now, i still have little cousins who would run away in his presence or babies who would cry when they see him.

As for the cane, haha! I use to have that in my home too. But since its so hard to find in time of need, mama will use the hanger instead. Ahhh memory flashback. Abah, well he never did. he's a softie towards his kids too. His silence or 'that' look is enough to indicate his annoyance or disagreement over something.

Btw, nak mencari buku in ur house senangla adik-beradik ramai. as for myself, if one loses something..find it yourself. Except mama (who most of the time MISPLACE her spectacles), she will ask me or abah to find it for her.

Keanorlinsya said...

Oh yeah, i forgot to add.
Actually, the missing rotans was my doing.
I think you already know this mama.
heheh..alah it only cost 20cents dulu.
Yes, my parents bought the rotans in front of me. Everytime i throw it away that is.


Ibu: actually. i love je comic pages. never missed them. sundays were he best.

and how are you? dah balik rumah dah?
hmmm...i'm sure being taken good care of!

kea: wah! clever-lah kea... i think most kids now dah pandai sembunyikan or buang rotan...


XXX: i don;t know... really i dont believe in using the rod. but i suppose to each, his own.

basree: oh yes... in boys' school, the cane is a teacher's best tool.
and tak solat Jumaat is a caneable offence in many schools..

Alliedmartster said...

Hi Kak Ena,

I guess some Fathers really have to put on a show eh?
Thanks for sharing, can't help but reflect on the way I treat my girls.
I have used the cane, and felt that as children, they need to know that I am there to keep them in line.
Come to think of it, kids being kids, they just want to run around all the time, so I guess, because we don't have trees and a big garden for them to run around, the only alternative is to bug the parents!

Will try to remember your dad's technique, as I see he did a great job!


Tony (Alliedmarster):
your girls love you. and becos they adore you, they;d not want to make you upset.
so, dont worry.... the cane is for "show"... in fact, you can just keep it in the cupboard.

my word! they have a great daddy, man!

Anonymous said...


I always got into trouble with Bapak for just rearranging his things.

You move a book or a file and he would immediately notice something is amiss.

You know me kan? The matron of the house, tak boleh nampak rumah berserak sikit, tangan ni gatal nak betulkan benda-benda yang menyakitkan mata.

Yes, that’s what Ena & my sisters called me “The Matron” because I would scream at them whenever they made a mess in the house. They would play in the dining room turning the table into their pondok by covering it with a bed sheet and “main masak-masak” underneath it. The terrible trio – Olin, Eda & Ena – used to drive me up the wall.

Anyway, remember our house in Jalan Lembah where the living room is separated from the dining room by a divider? That divider (with shelves) was meant for putting books, encyclopedia, knick-knacks and decorative items. However, for Bapak the shelves were JUST for his books and office papers. And, it didn’t matter how they were arranged.

What an eyesore. I just couldn’t bear to see “the mess”. I’d leave them as they were until it became unbearable then I would arrange the files, papers, books and all neatly and in order.

The moment Bapak came back from office, he immediately noticed the files & papers weren’t in their place when he left for work.

“Atonnn” he screamed. “Ini mesti kerja si Aton. Mana kau letak barang-barang Bapak?”

I pointed him to his books and papers which I had rearranged neatly. “Jangan nak pandai-pandai kemas barang Bapak. Faham?,” he said annoyed and angry.

When Bapak was still mobile he would do his work in the library. When the table in the library had gathered enough mess, he‘d move to the dining room bringing along his typewriter, papers, books, newspapers and newspaper cuttings. So the dining table became another of his work area.

In fact, the whole house was an extension of his office. Enter the house, and you couldn’t help but noticed newspaper and magazines of sorts on the sofa and stack of newspapers.

Nobody dared touched his things. I asked Nina kenapa tak kemas? “Nak kena tengking? Macam tak tau perangai Bapak.”

Now Bapak stays most of the time in bed. The house is tidier. The living room looks like what it should be. So is the dining room.

But I do miss the old house with bapak’s books & newspapers strewn around...a house which is a reflection of the man that he is.

Anonymous said...

Ena: I'm not sure if Kak Ton was with us. But I remember Abang Med, Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I were there. Perhaps, little Azah too. Not too sure about Kamal. I think he was just a baby.


Nope, I was spared. Was already a teenager.

The age gap between me and Kak Olin - who is the eldest of the second batch of Bapak's children - is five years.

Kak Olin was born in December 1953 abt nine months after Bapak's release from detention, his second under the British.

Mat Salo said...

Boleh tak Kak Ena, one day nak meet your Daddy-O for mano-e-mano.. To impart his wisdom to me lah on raising daughters. I was recently blessed with one... and looking at your sisters and you I am filled with admiration. He must've gotten it right, softie or not. No, he wasn't a softie, I don't think so.. but he knew what was required to extract the best from everybody - his underlings at NST included. Hello Rocky?

These things we never get to learn in school, Kak Ena.


kak ton: Now I know.... Bapak never thought it was Mak. i got it all wrong. Mak covered for you! heheheh...the matron, yes and you know who taught us to call you that? Arwah Ompong! He was always on our side when you'd come home from school and got so angry to see you shoes all over the place, your lipstick half gone, your perfume on the bed...heheh...best nyeee
I think those were the times Bapak would lose his cool -- when his books were misplaced.
Bapak taught us to respect books, magazines, well...printed materials.
i think i take it too far. I just don;t throw away printed stuff..most printed materials anyway.
there's a downside to that, obviously.

Mat Salo: brother....i look at you and I see so much warmth emanating from within.
how you talk about your little girl.
actually that was the only time Bapak ever held the cane..any cane.
he believes in sparing the rod, esentially.
but you know-lah Bapak has a fierce face.
in fact, bapak has one rule -- he wants to meet all our friends -- boy or girl. so he'd know who we hung out with. so if we cared for our friends, we'd not want to get them in trouble with my folks.
so my parents got to know most, if not, all our friends. i'd bring my friends home from school and they;d join us for lunch. it was like that during my college days. i'd bring my friends who were from out-of-town home for weekends and holidays.

brother, daughters adore their fathers... that i can tell you.

delara said...

hi nuraina,

this is the first time i'm writing in to you although i'm hooked on your blog (especially your "tuesdays with bapak" writings) since i first laid eyes on it soon after you started blogging

not that i haven't wanted to before...but the sheer eloquent of some of the comments on the blog had dettered me somehow...maybe because most of the commentors have journalism background or something similar

not many people write about their fathers...i don't know why...you're unique that way, dedicating one day of the week just for your dad - so it seems we share one similar passion, we love to talk about our fathers, any one who knows me know i've always had some stories to tell about my father...

i guess it made me especially want to write about my father because there is that possibility, lurking in my family's future, that we may lose him, we are living on borrowed times with him - he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, he's fighting it, his prognosis is good but God only knows...

anyway why i wrote in, is to share with you and your readers, my 'history' of caning with my father - like most people i guess we were scared of our father more than our mother even though my mother was our usual discplinarian, i guess she's like the class teacher, we only get to see the head master if we are way out of line...at least when i was schooling those days

we didn't have a cane in the house, she would use my father's belt (not the thick police belt my father used as part of his uniform back then, although that was my father's ultimate "reward" for crossing the lines...), the cloth hangers (the thin plastic coated wire ones), if these two failed, to make us (mostly us mean me and my middle brother,i'm the eldest and an only gal but i got whacked the most...and i never got them out of the goodness of my heart,my own 'un-doing's...ha ha ha) tow the line she would lit fire under our fingers and finally if that still didn't work, she would submerged our heads under the water...until we gasped for air...which happenend like once or twice during my childhood in case you guys are shocked, of course that was the ultimate with her, her last resort...i used to tell her, if there was a scan line back then you could be reported...for abusing your own children...

of course when the occasions arised where my father had to use his offcial belt, the pain was horrible...but the funny thing was just as soon as he punished us, he'd put ointment on our bruises and wheals...much to my chagrin because like you Nuraina, most of my class mates never had the same experience and i had distinct morbid pleasure showing my bruises the very next day to my class mates to be admired at...he'd even put oitment on my eyes once, when he came home from work and saw me sleeping with my eyes swollen...he even scolded my mother for making me bawled my eyes out, my mother asked him was it her fault i didn't chose to stop crying when she refused to give me her brand new watch and instead continued at it one whole day??? that story has a happy ending, but that's for another day

my father wasn't fierce looking, didn't have loud booming voice but just "wait until i tell your father..." was at times enough to stop us in our tracks, the same as..."ask your father..."...we know it always meant case closed, end of discussion...

i don't really know if our parents or teachers (that trick of putting towels to cushion your buttocks only works for unsuspecting father like yours...most school teachers would have caught on, and you'd get whacked more and harder for it...ha ha ha) for that matter had spared the rods on us, would we become what we are now...professionals in our own rights...hmm...maybe not my brothers, they'd turned alright no matter what...me?...that's a scary thought...

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena

Ayo! Your kak ton tere one huh.

Panggil matron teringat matron hospital pula.

Why she so garang? Is she also garang with her children?

I have an elder sister who is also garang. Rumah mesti sentiasa kemas. Kalau tidak habis adik-adik kena marah. Mak tak marah tapi dia yang lebih.

Sori kak ton, cuma nak tahu aje.

Jangan mare!

mutalib saifuddin said...

yes. NOT only to his children, but also to his orang bawahs. As being said many times.

at least, despite of being garang, he would still care to give the 'kasih sayang' to all of you. from that books, comics, sing along...ah.

i personally salute the way your Bapak taught your siblings when you were growing. let's compare it today...all kids are 'over spoon fed' by their parents...and once they are grown up, the fight back..

that akai radio...used to have it as well..it was so big and long lasting..

i just read the supplement from Berita Harian yesterday, and it features your Bapak. Very interesting. Got to know him better.

take care.


delara: thank you for writing in. i am so sorry to hear about your father's illness. i pray that he will get better and survive the cancer.
see you just started to sign as a blogger. do start blogging as you have so much to write.
parents are fierce in their own way and they discipline their kid in the way they know best.
you see...you find what i write interesting and i find what you write interesting.
i hope u visit again and find something in my life that you can relate to.
and i hope that i can read something in your very own blog.
thanks again.

adik: kak ton was very garang as most eldest/second eldest kakaks are wont to be.
but later, when we got older, when she could communicate with us, she was real cool.
can't blame her-lah. we were really really naughty. we played with her shoes until they were so worn out that she could not wear them on her dates with Abang Ani.

mutalib: thank you. life was like that for many of us in those days. i think also parents are faced with different problems and challenges today. and kids are so different today.
i deal with my kids quite differently from the way my parents dealt with me, although there are some common threads, some common values i expect my kids to uphold.

Anonymous said...

My father was the complete opposite of your Bapak, he was all bite and no bark. The paternal cane was my tormentor until my late teens. He used the cane on the boys as well but never on his 2 other daughters, strange kan?

Like Wanshana, I get this warm fuzzy feeling reading this week's TWB.

Thanks for sharing Nuraina.



oooh....ouch. I can already feel the pain from the cane.

well, you came out of all that none the worse.
yes... strange that the other 2 girls did not get caned..

anyway, thatks for joining us in TWB...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ena,

Am across continent due to a sad close family loss on my hub's side.

Love this charming entry.

Coincidently, being where I am right now (in the lands of "the hills are alive..."), this line "Bapak lined us all up, anyway, and waved the cane" is reminiscent of Col. Van Trapp to me.

Btw, I too grew up an unrotaned but not too rotten kid, I think. Thankfully God let my easy-going parents off easy because unwittingly our lifestyle saw to it that I got most of my rough-edges smoothed off me in time to join the adult world without being a danger to others and to myself.


Hi Mekyam,

so sorry to hear about your (and hubby's) sad loss.

you're in Austria. Lovely.
now that you've mentioned it, yes.. i'm trying to remember -- did the colonel ever hold a cane as the kids stood in line?
aah...but the von trapp kids are, angelic...nein?

we all turned out ok -- unrotaned.
good to hear from you, Mekyam.
take care!

Coming to Malaysia Hari Raya nanti?

the Razzler said...

Kak Ena ..

I remember the one time my Dad really whack me for going swimming in the river (one of my fav things to do!! .. hehe :):))

Mummy has an uncanny way to tell whether I had gone swimming in the rivers. She will spot whitish sand residues near my fingernails .. and naturally, my wet pants gave everything away, too!!

Daddy & Mummy is angry because they are worried that I might get into a mishap.

That's the worse beating I've ever gotten from my Dad .. & I quickly ran to my Grandpa who started scolding both my Dad & my Mum .. Yes!! Being the only son .. I was dotted upon .. & protected by my Grandpa.

Everybody ended up crying during that episode & I was guilt ridden for weeks .. :) :)

Yep! I was truly spoilt rotten!! I felt so sorry for everything .. but then, being kids .. it was quickly forgotten & I was back to my `old' ways!!

Anonymous said...

Hi :)