Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak

Father's Daughters -- August 7 2007

When you're 16 and beginning to know about boys and to get noticed by them, being your father's daughter is not always helpful.
Not that he was not understanding. On the contrary, he understood this whole dating thing too well that he seemed to know every little trick in the book.
Okay, I was not the only one who was "my father's daughter". Kak Olin and Kak Eda were as well.
There were Kak Piah and Kak Ton before us. But they were so tame compared to the combined forces of Olin, Eda and Ena.
By the time we were all too ready to make our debut in the dating world, Bapak was pretty much a "pro dad".
Only we didn't know. We thought we were smart.
Bapak had this very disarming way of getting us to say things we would not normally want to disclose. You know, to talk about life in general.
Now, why would teenaged daughters want to tell their dad things?
I have no idea but I remember, during those occasions we chatted about life in general, usually over dinner, or while watching TV on weekends, or in the car on the way to somewhere far, we did not feel inhibited to tell Bapak what was going on in our lives. Of course, there were details we would resist disclosing but sometimes they would just slip out.
Essentially, he'd generally know what was going on in our lives.
Oh, don't ask me how Bapak did it. I'm trying hard to remember so I can apply the same formula on my two kids.

Of the three of us, Kak Eda was the hardest nut to crack. She was fiercely resistant to any attempt to let her defences down.
But even Kak Eda would let her guard down, perhaps because talking about life in general was infectious, taking a life of its own.

I remember though that Bapak would never give us the shock, "slap-in-the-face" treatment when he discovered we had been up to no good.
I remember when Bapak was told by Kak Ton about our never-should-have-been-held-while-parents-were-in-Singapore party.
Mind you, we had never done such a thing. We had never ever dreamt of doing something as daring as throwing a party without Bapak's permission.
Heaven forbids! But we did it.

It must have been in 1971. We planned the party so carefully although we knew that throwing the party itself, was really throwing caution to the wind.
The young heart, the young mind work in reckless abandon.

Bapak and Mak were off to Singapore.
Yes! Invitations had already been sent out. We were really going to pull this one off.
But, never for a moment were we not worried about getting caught.
Needless to say, as the evening went by, we soon forgot about any potential clear and present danger.
Oh -- great happening party it was - lights out, latest hot and slow numbers, our girlfriends, boys, boys and boys (but no alcohol ..of course not! ).

Now who should drop by, of all people on of all nights?
Kak Ton.
Newly-marries, she had come from Kuala Kubu Bharu where Abang Ani was working as a Magistrate.
Kak Ton must have been told by Mak to just check on us. She had come over out of concern for her little sisters.
But, aah, it would have been nicer if she had called first!

Kak Ton and Abang Ani came by when the party was in full swing and the living room was, er, dark.
Okay, nothing spectacular there because that was how parties were like those days in the 70s.

Kak Ton, needless to say, was not amused.
She stormed into the living room and switched on all the lights.
And the party was over. We thought we were done for.
Abang Ani was calm and did not say a word. But we knew that he felt so sorry for us.

Can you imagine what and how she was going to complain about our party to Bapak?

When Bapak came home, she wasted no time in telling him and Mak the entire episode.
They were in the dining room. We were in the library and we eavesdropped and heard every word Kak Ton said. And with relish too, we thought!

But we did not hear Bapak say much except the occasional, "ya kah?".

After Kak Ton had said her piece, Bapak called us.

You'd expect Bapak to have freaked out, gone ballistic.
Music, boys, and (soft) drinks at his home while he was away. Dancing in the dark, to boot?

He looked at his three very repentant and remorseful (and did I say, scared?) daughters.
We glanced over at Kak Ton and we were sure she was giving us that "padan muka" look.

Aah.... for the love of a blissful life with his three gung-ho devil-may-care daughters who must have reminded him of his irreverent and reckless youth!

Bapak looked at us, told us that we should not have held the party without his permission because as a father he wanted his children to be safe and having that party would have exposed us to some level of unknown and unrecognised danger.
Anything could happen, he said, very gently but firmly.
Kak Ton, he pointed out, might seem angry but she was really very worried and concerned for us.
So, as punishment we were to spend the next weekend with Kak Ton and Abang Ani in Kuala Kubu Bharu.
I don't think Kak Ton expected such a "punishment" for us.
Bapak did not make a big deal about the whole episode as we had expected him to do.
Kak Ton must have gleefully expected Bapak to reprimand us and ground us for a month or something as severe.
Not a weekend with her.
But Bapak knew that that was a real punishment. Being with Kak Ton at her home over a weekend after we were caught (by her) having a ball of a party, was going to be torture.
The prospect was killing us.
But, Bapak also knew that while we would initially be sulking in KKB, we would know how to spend our time in that sleepy town.

It was like doing community service.

Strange, we felt so bad about the whole thing. What if something had happened?
That incident actually charted the way for Bapak and his three rebellious teenaged daughters in dealing with one another.
I think, it was then that Bapak set some ground rules for our social calendar.
We felt somehow that not abiding by the rules would really be very foolish.

While we were forthcoming with him about life in general, it was not always easy for us or for him because essentially he was strict with us.
And for heaven's sake, we were teenagers. We had angst and whatever teenagers were supposed to have.
But we knew that he was always trying to understand us.
Perhaps, that was why he wanted to meet all our friends -- male and female.
"Garang" as he seemed to his daughters, he was really cool and with-it with our friends.

It was like that at UiTM when he lectured part-time after helping to set up the School of Mass Communciations in 1972.
His students seemed to gravitate to him. Never mind the four letter words which must have been shocking to some of them.
They liked him.

Today, I find myself trying to apply some hand-me-down formula on my own teenaged children. I know not everything can be applied, some approaches need to be discarded.
After all, don't I know all the tricks in the book. Perhaps more than Bapak did?
One thing I know Bapak never did, and that I will always remember -- he never talked down to us. Nor to our friends whoever they were.
That's one thing I will surely never do. Thanks, Bapak, for a lesson learnt.


Anonymous said...


Hah! I chukle alone in Starbucks reading this while waiting to go to mee rebus.

Nakal boleh tahan... But you lot were lucky. Bapak was so good not to blow things out of proportion. He must have understood what is it like to be a teenager.

If I did the same thing, dont thing I would be here to type this comment, as I am sure Mama would kill me. So garang one her!

And also Kak Ena, I will give you a call if Luqman does this party thing in the future, so that you can give me a clue what to do.

See you later.

p/s: Kak Ton pun kaki report... muahahahahaahahaha!

Anonymous said...

dahsyat kak ton ya, tak sporting langsung.. hehe..

the Razzler said...

Kak Ena ...

I remember the 1st party that I went to ... I was invited by the girl of my dreams ... Ok! Ok! Every boy's dream, then .. :) :)

I was kind of well known then that I `could' dance .. ala Saturday Night Fever style .. but that's not what I am looking forward to... :) :)

Yep!! It's the Sloowwww dance ... that's the first time I have ever held a girl so close & it felt really nice!!

Believe it or not .. the feelings just kind of rushing up my spine as I am typing this!.. hehe :) :)

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Whoo whee sweet daddy Pak Samad is. Wit, humour, envy, and commiseration commingle nicely in this week's TWB. Never been to any private parties in my teens, as far as I can recall. Living in a police quarter and being newly acquainted with tabligh activities are the reasons why.

However, during my undergraduate days at the University of East Anglia (UEA), I did organize a candle lit dinner for three “couples”; me, two male friends A and F (both are Petronas scholars) and our partners are respectively daughters of a Tan Sri, an OKB and a Dato’. My so-small-you-cannot-swing-a-cat room in the avant garde and ziggurat-shaped Norfolk (or is it Suffolk?) Terrace was miraculously transformed from a pigsty into a little comfy cozy corner. I remember the attractive disposable tablecloth and the intimate and subtle lighting. I was lucky to have a room with a view, overlooking rolling hills and a man-made lake. Alas, perfumed candles were not in vogue yet at the time. Forgot what were on the menu, but mostly, if not all, were home-cooked dishes prepared by the blokes. The music was, most likely, from a love compilation album. We all had good clean fun. It was a whoo whee sweet nite, that I can recall with fondness more than two decades later.

Did the tiga dara pingitan tulis nama atas batu in KKB?

Pi Bani said...

Kesiannya Kak Ton.

Dahlah terpaksa shoulder the responsibility of checking out on her terlebih daring younger sisters while parents were away, then when the punishment was given out, it was like punishment for her too --- newly married yet had to play host the whole weekend to her "gang-of-three" sisters. Kacau daun betul...

Kesiaaaan Kak Ton... hehehe...

Unknown said...

kak aina,

it has been a great honor to read ur TWB. wished that i knew my dad the way u did.

have a great life ahead!



i can tell you now, i really don't know how we could ever have done that.
at the mee rebus tadi you askd me whether i had a boyfriend yet. I don't think I had at that time.but i know that kak olin was the mastermind. she planned the whole thing, and we helped execute it.
actually, it was so daring. that was the first and last time we held a party without Bapak's permission.
Kak Ton really bengang with us. can't blame her-lah.
but later later, she turned out to eb very very sporting.



i think at that time she was too shocked.. imagine-lah... she sampai and saw darkness but there were people. boys and boys., of course ada girls. and then music blaring.

no time to even think about bein sporting.

we all memang put her in a spot.


the razzler,
wow! imagine that! was it elton john's "Your Song"? or Mahattan's or Chilites love songs? Aaah...


aMiR: You're ok, man. not bad, eh?
candle-lit dinner during student days...all right lah tu.
if i had something like that, definitely something i could never forget.

actually, despite the parties being dark....quite harmless actually.
at least the parties that i went to were all good clean fun.


aMiR ---actually the tiga dara did something like that but not on any batu.... i think on some tree trunk.


Pi : actually.. memang kesian dia. three of us memang dahsyat. pulak tu, we all believe in cover each other.
that's why kalau punish satu kena punish tiga2.

but Kak Ton was very sporting later...sampai sekarang.,.especially with Lalin and Nina..


Cak: thank you.. and you are prolific. i just stepped into one of your worlds.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes I also remember now that one of the ladies donned a polka-dotted baju kurung. I think two of them are The Assunta Girls. Very down to earth.

Mior Azhar said...

Oh goodness Kak Ena. This is simply hillarious. I thought these things happen only in US teenage flicks. Kak Maria mesti bengang giler.


aMiR: hmmm... you are aware that my sisters and I (except Lalin and Nina) are Assunta girls......
which means ..... jangan-jangan kita kenal..

Mior: I seriously think we were crazy to have even thought of pulling of the scheme.
memang Kak Ton bengang giler...
if her looks could kill malam tu...

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

i had a chat with uncle B today as he just came back frm the mi rebus session and asked if pn maria is the eldest of you all and he nodded.

then i thought to myself. pn Maria@kak ton a.k.a the party pooper. hmm...

mutalib saifuddin said...

thing that happened were just like an hollywood movie(s), but a little bit the east (no alcohol).

don't you think that being in KKB is rather good than being grounded?

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
I'm sure kita belum kenal each other before 3540 Jalan Sudin hit the blog world with a BIG BANG.

zaitgha said...


i nvr hosted this kind of parties but i had been to a few...told u that i went to BBGS and you know this school was the "elite" school those days( not quite sure if it still is)...most students during my time came from well to do family but i was lucky enough to get into the school because of my standard 5 results now equivalent to UPSR exams... there i had gotten closed to one very rich girl but very down to earth person, and with her i went to the parties like the one you hosted ha ha ha...she would send her car to my house which was one of the police quarters along Jalan Aman near Yow Chuan Plaza...like yours, it was good clean fun and what i loved most was the dancing part fast or slow...i still love dancing but now i dance with my boys as the dad not a dancer...your TWB really brought back those sweet memories ...

Rockybru said...

You should have made Kak Ton chairman of the organising committee. But then, it wouldn't have been fun to involve big sisters or big brothers. Given half the chance they'll act as if they are your parents.

I never had the chance to thrown a party when I was a teenager. But once, in Sec 4, the uncle of a Thai classmate had to go back to Bangkok for a business trip. Phulop Khemapukpong, this friend of mine, I wonder where he is. So he and a few others planned a party at the uncle's bungalow to celebrate his birthday. The uncle had bottles of liquor at the bar but we were such good boys and girls that we didn't touch any. We were about your age when you held that ill-fated party of yours. Same settings -- lights off, disco music (I remember the theme from Hawaii 5-0! was played repeatedly), a lot of dancing. The party went on without incidents but I discovered that night that I didn't like dancing.

My son is 12 and my little girl is 11. In a few years, they'll be planning their own parties behind my back. Oh, man.


kerp: one and the same but now no longer a party pooper.

mutalib: can't forget that incident 36 years ago....alcohol tu memang kita tak main-lah...we were so young. not to say that bila kita dah besar kita threw parties yang ada alcohol.

zai: i know where those police quarters are .... i had a very close friend who lived at Jalan Mesra.
And some of my best friends were from BBGS.. tapi more from CBN.


ahirudin (rocky) : the age gap between kak ton and us were quite wide. it was stark then, but as we grew older, the gap narrowed and kak ton got closer to us. she became our confidante. she was and still really cool.
best giler. if we visit her, we would stay for hours, malas nak balik..

but dulu, dia not cool. but i think she had an issue with me, especially, becos i was the one who wsa so kepo about her private life....i'd tell bapak about her telethon with abang ani.
hahha.... when that day comes when your 2 kids hold a party behind your back.... you'll know what NOT to do!


aMir : hahhaa.... yeah...i'm sure you're right.

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Whether you kenal the two UEA graduates who're very much your juniors at Assunta, that I'm not so sure.

Keanorlinsya said...

I was from BBGS, and even until they changed the name i still say im from BBGS.

But, things change..its still 'elite' in the name.
Not by looking at the students though. The discipline, downfall starts there.

And just so you know, we have ur kind of party everyday in school. HAH!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Nuraina,

Ah...Baru sekarang I baca TWB...

And now I feel weird cos I memang kaki-tak-suka party...I remember ada birthday party, I would be looking for an excuse tak nak pergi...Mak kena pujuk pergi...

So, yeah, feeling like I'm way too weird...My kaki's say I was born in wrong generation (should be generation before this), but looks like the generation before this pun kuat party jugak...

Oh dear, which means sudah two generations too late lar me...


PS: Hope to one day meet your whole family *Hehe*, and taste that I-keep-hearing-about-it-mee-rebus!