Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

The Hills Are Alive.. -- February 12 2008

Everytime I get exasperated with my two teenaged kids - in particular with my 15 year-old daughter, I am reminded that, Gosh, I have only two children.
How difficult can that get?
My parents had 10 kids. Of course, there are only 8 of us left now. Our eldest, Kak Piah and our fifth sibling, Kak Eda are no longer with us. (Al Fatihah)
Back then we were growing up, we were very active and, er, er....naughty, as kids are wont to be.

I never gave that a thought until I had my own children.

Remembering our childhood, I have absolutely the highest respect for my parents -- for all their patience.
Goodness! We were a real handful. And that's putting it so mildly.

I try not to be too hard on my daughter, Shaira, whenever she's out of line, or displays streaks of stubbornness.
I've been on that teen road so I understand, although sometimes my patience does fail the test.
But, well a mom has to do what she has to do in her child's interest.

When Shaira gets upset, she goes into her room, and sulks. Well, so far so good.

Based on my own childhood experience and my understanding of parenting, I am always reminded not to go overboard in disciplining children.
That's a fair reminder, I think.
I know that the teen years can be the most trying and difficult for some parents and their children.
Some teens have been known to run away from home because of clashes with their parents..

I fear that sometimes.

When I was 15, I probably did more or less the same as Shaira does. But I'd drown myself in (story) books.
So there was more daydreaming than sulking.

When I was younger about 9 or 10 , while we were living in Section 5, I had a place to which I'd retreat after getting a good scolding from Mak.

It wasn't just me. Kak Olin and Kak Eda found much "solace" there too.

Did I say we were a handful?
Oh, can you just imagine. We must have driven Mak up the wall, sometimes.

We lived across Gasing Hill which was, well, a hill. No houses atop.
It was nothing like what it is today.

That was the 60s. Just thinking about those wonderful years sends a shiver down my spine -- a nice shiver.

Until today, Gasing Hill or Bukit Gasing is the major landmark in Section 5. It has the only remaining secondary forest in PJ.
How much longer remaining, remains to be seen.

When you were atop the hill, you'd get a panoramic view of PJ and KL.

We used to check out the little "caves" that dotted the hill. We'd trek into the forest and meet monkeys. I don't think they were the common macaque though I am not quite sure what they were. They were lighter-haired and had longer limbs.

There was a big pond and further up, we chanced upon old gravestones.

Even in those days, the hill was a favourite lovers' haunt.

Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I would usually get a scolding together. So, we were "one for all and all for one".
Can't quite remember why we'd get scolded, really. Messing up the living room, perhaps.

We'd all "merajuk" and head straight for the hill.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill on our own, alone.
Somehow there was no fear. I suppose kids have very little fear, for anyone (except for their parents, policemen and teachers) or anything (except some hantu2 and only at night).

The hill was like a salve for the soul.
No, our soul was not punished.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill for no reason at all. Just for fun, perhaps.

When our Singapore cousins visited, we'd take them up for a "tour".

We'd climb the hill from the foot at Jalan Lembah, maybe about 100 metres from our house. We'd pick "buah letup-letup" along the way up.
An we'd always remember to quietly utter "datuk, nenek, cucu tumpang lalu" as we made our way up, or past along a new or unknown spot or route.
If we didn't, we could fall ill, we were told.
Oh...don't ask me who told us to say all this. A well-meaning cousin, I think.

When we had completed our ascent (ahem...dreaming of Gunung Kinabalu), we'd just sit or stand on top and let the wind softly blow -- our body and soul.

Dreamy. Glorious.

We were kids.

Today, I'd not let any of my kids go up no hill. No matter how tempting the experience is.

Indeed, the hills around us are just as alive as Gasing Hill was back then.

Well, Shaira sulks in her room.. But she seems to get good therapy by going into her Facebook.

"Shaira is feeling crappy today. Mommy marah....." she writes.

I'm so fine with that.
Better that than any hill....


Anonymous said...

I'd shake your hand, anytime..... :)

(Most relieving therapy!)

.. said...

Nuraina, my 2 daughters are 11 and 11 and I am starting to experience puberty blues..sigh. I am like a nagging machine. Do this and that in the morning, dont do this and that when I am home, in fact my hub said why not record all the messages as it's the same stuff I nag everyday. I used wonder if I am the only one with this problem. during my time, my parents words were the law and final, its either their way or the highway. Somehow I dont think its going to get better for my side :(

Anonymous said...

Gasing Hill reminds me of my childhood. I was a regular visitor of Gasing Hill in late 60s and 70s and I knew very well how to get to pantai Dalam from Jalan Lembah entry. My house was in sec 6, Jalan Anak Gasing.

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

Last night, I read Shaira's facebook status saying that she is freaking mad or something. Now you came up with this posting :-)

Ah, the peril of motherhood. I ll be sure to give you a call once Luke's all grown up and has a mind on his own.

I am privileged though to have heard this story of Gasing Hill as your hiding spot with your sisters at Kak Ton's last week.

Great story.

Mr Bojangles said...

Bukit Gasing. Yes, the hills are alive, with memories of living at its foot across the jalan with the same name in the mid 70’s.

One night about tennish I was descending the bukit after savoring the nighttime view and the company of a most amenable friend from the varsity in lembah pantai. Those days the road up the hill was a narrow two-laner with bushes encroaching on both sides. Just as the car turned the corner we came smack against a police check-point manned with coppers armed with semi automatics. Two thoughts immediately made parallel runs through my head. I remember thinking this is big, since there had been stories of a bank robbery in the area earlier in the day, hence the arsenal. But I also experienced what often arises at moments of crises commonly known as having your whole life flash before you, thinking the men in blue might be on a mission to collar unmarried folks enjoying a starry night on the hill and make them pay for their wantonness. Both of us, needless to say, didn’t want any unnecessary attention.

There was no choice. Couldn’t turn back, and definitely couldn’t run the blockade with the precious cargo on board.

So put on a brave face and asked the datuk who appeared at the window what the problem was. He said the two little words that have sent chills down many a spine, many a time, up and down this blessed peninsula: “tangkap khalwat.” That’s it I thought. Our geese are cooked.

The question he next asked opened what is popularly called a window of opportunity. “Encik Melayu, kah?” he queried, quite politely, I thought, considering the circumstances. Fortunately, he happened to be of the many who believe, unfortunately, that only Malays are Muslims; but had he substituted melayu with Islam in his question, then the aforesaid window would have shut as fast as it had opened. We weren’t that terrible even in those days of Jahiliyah to forsake religion for expediency. “Tidak, tuan” was the relieved riposte, and with a friendly wave of his hand we were safely out of the danger zone solemnly swearing never to haunt that hill again – well not at that hour, anyway.

Of course the allure of the place was such that that vow went unheeded, without incident, many a times after that. And looking back, I am forever thankful of the chance to enjoy the hill, notwithstanding that close shave, before the ugly face of development took over.

ms hart said...

Kak Ena o Kak Ena...reading this entry is such a relief!! Thanks for making me feel 'normal'!!! ha ha ha...otherwise I always thought I was such an 'ibu yang disesali' and not 'ibu mithali'!!! ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Salam Nuraina. I have six kids, three are teenagers, and yes I do wonder sometimes why is it so hard for me to cope with them, unlike our parents did with us in those days. I suspect the over-protective tendency among parents nowadays; but then again, with the high crime rates these days, I suppose one just couldn't help it?
And walking down the memory lane can be such an effective panacea indeed... take care.

zaitgha said...


only 2 or 3 we feel at lost sometimes about how to handle our kids and our parents with 8 or 10, we turned out alright....well, cant compare our time and now right?

and about your gasing hill...i too had a place to 'merajuk' those days...it was in the middle of a huge field consisted of 2 football fields and a hockey field about 100 m from the police quarters i stayed in KB...i would go there and sat in the middle of the field and just stare at the few cars passing by the road .....would have been dead with worry if anyone of my boys do that now he he....

i love this entry Nuraina, thank you and take care....

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Ena,
Both Yan and I are sooo can identify with what you are going through with Shaira. Hehheee.
Nowadays, whenever Alia and Asma kena scold (mcm you jugak - all for one and one for all) from either of us, they'll sulk and go into their respective rooms. And then they will text each other "bitching" about the parents. Like you, we are so fine with that.

Rockybru said...

There were hills near my place in Puchong. Back in the early 90s, I'd cross the road in front of the house and there'd be monkeys at the edge of the woods. Today, I cross the same road and there's Giant hypermarket.

The hills are dying. One day when my kids read this entry by their Aunty Ena, they would have that dreamy look as they recall that phenomenon we used to call "the hill".

My own kids spend much time indoors. After Sharlinie, the playground has become a dangerous place for kids. Let them climb a hill by themselves? Forget it!

wanshana said...

Tell me about it, K.Ena... I have a 12-year old girl going on 17. Fenin...

Normally, when she gets a scolding, it is because of something major, and she gets the whole "package" - no outing, no internet, no handphones. Meaning she can't "bitch" (to borrow Mior's word) about Ayah and I with anyone via SMS, phonecalls or chatspace.

Surprisingly, so far when she's grounded like that, she'll bury herself with schoolwork, or with a good read. Hmmmm...maybe I should ground her more often?!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

ahh, the good ol' bukit gasing. back when i was 15, i'd tag along with my brother and his stupid friends up the hill to snoop on lovebirds making out. after all, bukit gasing was (in)famously known for simply that, a hideout.

Anonymous said...

When I was young, I was an extremely difficult kid and yah, my mama had a hell time bringing me up. But I like to think of it this way... I already have a very alert mind and know what I want, how I want it to be and how I am going to get what I want. As such, I refuse to be dictated by anyone... mama included. So, it was turbulent, it was rocky and definitely noisy when I was growing up. Hahaha...

And now, I am a mama myself and I never fail to thank GOD almighty that my daughter is nothing like me! I don't know if it is because I understand her better than my own mama did with me and therefore can relate to her, have less friction/arguements/nagging sessions or that I am simply blessed with a great kid or it is plain good karma....

As for letting my daughter run around playgrounds or parks.. well, she can only do that if the mama hen, i.e. ME is there watching her like a hawk. If not, cannot! Even running and cycling around the house porch or garden is a big NO-NO if mama hen, i.e. ME is not in the garden. Yah la! what if some mad one jump over the gate and kapoh her? HOW!??

Yah la, during those childhood years, it was mighty boring for me to have to hang around such kiddo places but for her sake I do it la.

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Ahhh, the no-nonsense Shaira. Still remember the incident at your Bapak's house when she ticked me off for mispronouncing her name (Sha-ee-ra? Shayra?).

In my case, it is me who's driving our daughter crazy cos I still have this habit to stroke and smell her hair (in the privacy of our house/car though).

Just to let you know that I've been deprived of Tell. The newsagent told me that the transport company that deliver the magazines from KL is still on Chinese New Year holidays.


Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
I beg your pardon. Did I write Shaira ticked me off? If so that was so careless of me. I meant ... I ticked her off for mispronouncing her name. Sorry again.

zorro said...

I did run away once....with my girl cousin (13), me (9 then) and younger brother (7). Wedid not go far though...just hid under the drain calvert opposite our quarters. The mosquito did not like our intruding so we emerged and got caught by my mum....she was relieved and gave us 20kupang each. Worth running off.

Yes we tracked too with Kamal, rat (Chandra)Sonny, Boy (both brother) and my brother Mike. before we pee we always pray to some datuk...otherwise the family jewels would swell to abnormal proportions...oh we did pray sincerely whenever we wanted to pee in the jungle tracks in Taiping.

Anonymous said...

secretadmirer said,
ena,you're right being a parenthood can be stressful at times .your truly also has a son and daughter aged 23 yrs & 20 yrs respectively.They (my own) all have problems in adjusting to parents demand,as thought they can stand alone. We'll try to give them our best in life and yet they can rebel (sulk,stayed isolated and worst still run away).That's how life is for some parents.
Yup, agreed gasing hill is a favourite spot for lovers, campers trekker and hikers, to seek solace.If i can vividly remember, there was a hindu shrine on top of the hill.But now, it has graduated to a temple for worshipper.You can see the whole of P.J, esp the Federal Highway and part of K.L.The stream of water there is refreshing indeed. Thanks for the memories.

Violet Ann said...

macam saya je. =P selalu lepas mak abah marah, saya pun terus masuk bilik. hihi. =P

p/s kak ena, saya kena cover the
12th G.E. kena posting to terengganu for the G.E starting this coming saturday. risau nih. adoi.

Sue.Aleen said...

kak ena,
u remind me of my childhood - berkubang (swimming in parit), climbing trees (still have the skill), etc. there's no hill in the area but we've paddy field and also near to the seaside somewhere at north of perak. it's still safe nowadays to do outdoor things there fortunately..

we've 5 siblings. between my elder sis and i there's 10 yrs gap and with my youngest sis.. 8 yrs gap. so, i played alone. i became a teenager in 90s. and perhaps, because of that, i was a bit rebellious/independent. most of the time i'd object mom's/dad's decisions.. i'd say, 'era lain-lain'. so there'll be conflict of interests but i still respect them...

i don't know yet what it's gonna be with my daughters as they're still under 4 yrs old. kids nowadays are clever, and sometimes much cleverer than their parents. speak & ask like 'bertih jagung' :). wonder how when they're in teenage yrs...

Anonymous said...

on an unrelated note, a SIA pilot was caught in australia with child porn in his laptop.

what malaysia can do, singapore can do better?



marykate: one day, a couple of friends came over for lunch. They heard me talking to Adel...
Later, one of them told me : "Ena, you are such a naggard".

I suppose I was. or still am.

I took his remark as a friendly advice, although in the beginning, I was somewhat in denial.
After that, I tried not "nag".

Anon@10:55AM: WOw..cool. I'm not sure whetehr we ever got that ar to Pantai Dalam. Maybe we did.
I had lotsa friends in section 6.

Elviza: Aaah... I would imagine that Luke would give a different set of problems.
He's gonna be one handsome guy.
Kesian Elviza.....
But I know you'd be a cool mom to him when you have to deal with his "popularity" problem.

mr bojangles: Oh wow! What a night for you....
not even that incident could keep you away from the hill, eh?
Aaah...young blood..

ms hart: thank YOU for making me feel normal..

Dhahran: indeed, sharing this had been a panacea for me too.


zai: i know, zai. so many things we indulged in or were a natural part of our teens seem to be so unacceptable today.
Life for our kids is less free. But we make the best of a very difficult situation.

Take care, Zai and thanks for visiting.

Mior: Seems to be a common thread there...
Sihg....hazards of parenthood... being bitched about by our own offsprings.
My mom, I think was more garang than I could ever be.
Kalau kita orang tertutup pintu bilik kuat sikit, she'd come after us, she'd open the door and give us a good scolding for being "kurang ajar".

we were not supposed to raise our voice, turn our face when she talked to us....

i tell that to my kids as well...surprisingly, they do all the lepas geram in their room, I suppose, in their own way.

shana: looks like being grounded has a lot of UPSIDE for your daughter..heheh...
she's a smart girl, shana.

kerp: adoi. nakal nye! did you know that at one time the religious authorities in the distict went around "tangkap khalwat" there?

divaviva: what a mom you are! i know of a lot of my friends who were rebels and a pain their parents' butt in their young days and turned out to be real super parents..
you sure fit the bill.

aMiR: i've seen you with your kids. You're great with them. They;re so so blessed to have you as their daddy.

anyway...can you SMS me your address. Perhaps I could send the mags to you.

Take care.

Zorro: haha....sounds just like a young Zorro.
I can just imagine you running away...but only so far.

and that "datuk, nenek" mantra.. you too?!

anon@4:55PM: Another PJ-rian. That's nice. I went looking for my father's friend who lived in Gasing Hill some years back to deliver an invitation card. I was so shocked at the rate of development there.
That's why I hate most developers.

bailey: kids are always hurt by their parents' scolding, no matter how mild.

Oooh. bailey kena cover elections in terengganu.

this is the first general election i am not covering as a journalist since 1978.
In the span of my life as a journalist, i have covered several states, including terengganu.
last election (2004), was at the Mustapa Mohd (Tok Pa) consitituency.
I was also in Kelantan.

Terengganu is going to be interesting.

Suealeen: what a fulfilling childhood! i think it is important to have some kind of rebelliousness in us. That's part of growing up and connecting with our parents.
Rightly or wrongly. But I think that's good to speak your mind without being biadap.

Your kids will be great. I'm sure.
And you'll do great too, in dealing with their growing years and growing pains.
All the best in preparing for your children's adolescent years.
It'll be a lesson for them too.

Take care.


i remember the hills in puchong you used to talk about.
property development is so indiscriminate in this country.

oh..the things we will not allow our kids to indulge in NOW after Nurin's murder and Sharlinie's abduction.

It's not safe anymore. Not safe.

take care.

Anonymous said...

I've had THAT song and the vision of Julie Andrews frolicking in the field stuck in my head since Tuesday.

I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that I'm not going to burst into an impromptu song-and-dance routine in the grip of this potent sound-and-vision combo.

I was a real terror during my childhood and teenage years. It's nothing short of a miracle that my poor mother survived me and my antics. Since I am childless, "hukum karma" doesn't apply, kan? Hehehehe....I got off scot-free.



how can we ever forget that scene? I think in my lifetime i've watched The Sound of Music, 50 times. The film, when I was a kid, only once. And then, it was the VCR...with almost every niece...

I can never get tired of it.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena! I did not know you and my other kakak kakak did this! You never took me with you. I wish you did! I only went up there as a girl guide once... don't like the pacat and slime. I then went with my friend to her house...dah lapar! I was also taught the datuk nenek mantra by my arwah moyang...you remember my nenek at jalan sudin. Those were the days...kan? Salam, lynausmanawang

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina, assalamualaikum...

I only read with enthusiasm this masterpiece of yours. I can relate with you on parenting, anytime, dear! Although I must admit that my 9 year old angelic princess has not acquired a teenaged girl's tantrums like your lovely Shayra..

But that is precisely what I am worried about once she enters the rebellious stage of puberty..

For now, my daughter (Tara) is the most perfect apple of my eye (if ever there is one!). Like just yesterday, Tara, had fever and was not feeling too well and yet she still offered to accompany me to the car when I was about to drive off somewhere. My point is will she still do that once she reaches Shayra's age (God Willing...)?



tara is every mother's dream. she sounds so lovely.
and she is so becos she has a wonderful mother, i am sure.
that is not to imply that a rebellious child reflects a bad parent.

when she reaches shaira's age, she will be the same girl but more mature.
she will be herself, have her own personality and insyallah, still that wonderful daughter that she had always been.

but..well...we will let you cross the bridge when u get there, won't we.
take care. and thanx for visiting.


lina(usman awang),

oh no..we would never have dared take you up there with us.
if anything happened to you, we'd all be in big trouble.
besides, lina, you were (and still are) very lembut and gentle. we were so rugged.

indeed...those were the days..