Another New Year -- January 1 2008
Bapak was lying in his bed watching TV3's new year's eve concert. Jamal Abdillah was on.
Mak Cik was with him.
As I walked towards the bed, he looked up. He smiled. His cheeks seemed less hollow now.
"Dari mana?", he asked.
"Tak ada dari mana-mana. Dari living room nak nonton TV dengan Bapak," I replied, making myself comfortable at one end of his bed, beside Mak Cik.
Earlier, Terry, my brother-in-law (Azah's husband) emerged from Bapak's room sounding very upbeat, saying that Bapak was sharp and alert.
He had a great conversation with Bapak whose memory of the past was clear and lucid. And Bapak was singing a song, presumably his favourite "Semalam di Malaya". Terry was not sure, though.
We always like it when Bapak is sharp and alert, clear and lucid. Occasions such as this mean a lot to us because we know that age has long caught up with Bapak. ,
There are times, when he is clear and lucid, sharp and alert, I'd just ask him about his past experiences. I'd also ask him about his beliefs and views. I want to see if he still remains firm in his belief with regards to journalism, political (including his ISA detention) and socio-political matters.
I think he has mellowed a bit. Old age,I think has softened him.
Just the other day when Hindraf's Uthayakumar was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), I asked him whether he thought the ISA should have been invoked against the man.
"No. They can detain him But not under the ISA," he said.
"They think he is a threat to national security," I said.
"Yah kah?....Even so," he replied.
"Do you consider yourself a threat to national security when you were detained under the ISA back then?", I asked.
"No.oo...", he replied, his cheeks hollowed for some minutes as his "no" remained prolonged.
"You were wrongly detained. For five years you were incarcerated. You think the government owes you an apology?" I asked.
"I don't know. I have never asked for one," he said, a little bit amused by all these questions.
I have never hidden the fact that I believe the ISA has largely been abused by politicians in power against people they deem are a threat to their positions, not to the country. Or misused by the authorities as a convenient piece of legislation to act against people they deem as trouble makers.
Bapak thought so too.
At least old age has not not changed his views on that.
So I asked Bapak if he liked Jamal Abdillah who seems to be still very popular and has that oomph as a singer.
"Boleh-lah...", he said, not exactly impressed.
"Lagi bagus Sharifah Aini." Oh Bapak!
So...here's a happy new year from Bapak. And we are so happy he is still with us.