Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

A Silent Prayer -- Tuesday, July 29 2008

I remember one evening some time in the 1970s when I silently broke into tears just thinking about Mak. About when she'd leave us all.

It was a morbid thought.

And then I shook my head for I could not ever believe that Mak would leave us. That Mak would, one day, die.

Mak was going to live forever. She was going to be around when I'm old and grey. Mak would be surrounded by her dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

That made me smile. And I never had morbid thoughts of her since.

For that was why her death in 1990 affected me so deeply, as it did my siblings. It took a long time for me to come to terms with her passing. For the pain to heal.

I never had such thoughts about Bapak, though. Not that I was thinking about him leaving us or that he'd live a thousand years to see many things, many changes.

I just never thought about his mortality.

Until, of course, the last couple of years when he showed clear signs of aging -- physically and mentally.

We're quite used to Bapak's lapses in memory. There were times we felt that Bapak was just pretending to forget names and events. We couldn't be quite sure whether his lapse in memory was for real. Because there were a great many times he was lucid and clear. Crisp and detailed.

But it was that time just before Father's Day that I felt really affected by Bapak's behaviour.

He had asked about Kak Eda.

"Lama Kak Eda tak datang," he told me. He had a faraway, longing look about him.

I told him Kak Eda had passed away.

Bapak was shocked.

"Nobody told me," he said. I told him Kak Eda died of cancer last March.

"Bapak. Of course you know that Kak Eda passed away. It's just that you cannot remember it now," I said softly, stroking his arm.

Bapak was silent for a long time.

I didn't know what else to say or do. I kept silent too.

I wondered -- does he remember that Mak and Kak Piah are no longer with us? I dared not think aloud, fearing that my suspicion would be confirmed.

Bapak's physical well-being has taken a turn for the worse. He is no longer even able to take that few steps to the bathroom.

He rests most of the time.

We are naturally so disturbed by this.

Dear, Bapak. I wish I could turn back the clock just a little to when you were hale and hearty, and your mind sharp and alert.

That is, of course, impossible.

And I so do miss our chats.

So I pray for your well-being. That we -- your children and grandchildren - are not a distant memory. And that when it is your time, I will be there for you. With you.


wanshana said...

Kak Ena,

Reading this brought a huge lump to my throat...

It must be really frustrating and confusing for your dear Bapak, not remembering all the significant events in his life, especially with him having had such a sharp mind and a very colourful life before.

My do'a that come what may, he would be at peace with whatever memories still etched on his mind and in his heart now, insya Allah.

God bless him, and his children.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to read such a solemn rendition of words. Is he in really bad condition right now? FYI I've the biggest of admiration for yr father as a journalist and writer. I still remember his novel "Patah Sayap Terbang Jua" which was a standard textbook for literature portion of Bahasa Melayu SPM paper back in late 60s. I believe I scored quite well in the paper due to my passion for that novel. Anyway my heartfelt prayers for Pak Samad hoping that you get well soon.

SPM 1969

Anonymous said...

aina dear, GODBLESS to you & family !!

Anonymous said...

Hello Nuraina,
This piece made me cry because I can relate to this in some way with my mom.Take care
Greetings from Europe

Anonymous said...

jgn lupa solat 5 waktu dan tutup aurat dengan sempurna. kita juga akan sampai ke tempat yg sama, cuma masa yg berbeza. setiap kejadian adalah peringatan kepada orang yg berakal.

Anonymous said...

death is the only reason we are a alive. approaching death either by old age or illness or accidents is irrelevant if life is being appreciated and live the fullest.
Those who live the fullest has nothing to look back at except for fond memories and satisfaction.
Your father I believe is one who has achieved this.
In sadness I would like to say
" May God bring relief and happiness to your father. As in old age it is a blessed for not to remember everything as most of the thing just too hurt to bear if remembered ".

Anonymous said...

a.s.i a great man

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,

I understand how you feel. I have the same issue and felt the same way with my late mother.

Please be strong. Shower him with all the love and care you can give. And you take care of yourself too.

Anonymous said...

detik jam pelahan bilamana tergambar didepanku wajah seorang pemikir hebat di hari
tua mungkin lesu untuk berfikir, berfikir untuk kesejahteraan sejagat, mungkin tuhan sudah jemu, jemu memberi hikmah padanya bilamana anak bangsanya sendiri malas untuk mengkaji...
aku berdoa agar detik jam ku terus pelahan jangan berhenti,amin..
-perisai bansa,s'wak-
pliz publish this article to show my respect to a.samat said

Anonymous said...

It's always difficult losing a parent, both to the afterlife and also to the process of aging and slow memory loss.

But always remember, Nuraina, that many of his happiest memories live on in the souls of you and your siblings.

Chin up.

Apanama said...

We join you in your prayers for a great man. I dunno him well, but admire his steel-nerves during his 'battles' in Singapura and later under ISA.

Heaven awaits such good souls.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

my prayers are with you for your dad, Pak Samad.

May God The Almighty bless him and keep him. May strength flow in him and may his days be long on this earth. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

I join you in your silent prayer for your Bapak's well-being. Be with him when his time comes and until then, savour the time you have with him.

Saya... said...


I was soooo close to my dad..and when I was my sakinah's age, abt 10, i asked him "eba, what will happen when you die, how will i get thru it?" I worried day and night...(but i even worried about WW3 then, the worry wart i was, but I really felt i couldnt LIVE without him)

He said, "don't worry, when the time comes, you will get thru, and then you will forget me in time, you will be busy with your life and the pain will go away..."

And he was right. When he passed away, I was in the US, 19 years of age, and he called 2 Hours before he died from the ward phone and I managed to tell him that I loved him. He sounded a bit lost after the heart surgery.

I hadn't seen him for two years and I couldnt go home for the funeral.It was really hard being alone in a foreign land with my father, my rock, my friend, gone...

When I came home from the US, 2 years later, I felt his absence sooo acutely...and my poor mother, in her grief, had hung his blood stained shirt behind the door where he always hung his shirt which he wore with his kain pelikat...the shirt was blood stained from the doctors trying to massage his recently operated on heart...

The house felt so empty...ok now you made me cry, Nuraina.

Anyway, he was right, time heals and sometimes I do not even think of him, as I get caught up in worldly affairs, but I ALWAYS remember him in my prayers, during the doa...doa untuk ibubapa in the Quran..."O Allah, please take care of them as they cared for me when I was little"...(rough translation)

My mum, a strong, independent, daredevil woman, went downhill from then on and quickly became a shell of herself..and she is now like your dad...in and out of it...I dont know if it is Alzheimers' because she can still take care of her personal needs.

She also forgets who her cucu are, she hasnt forgotten us yet, but one sweetly funny thing is that she thinks Tun Mahathir is her husband, because my dad bears a striking resemblance to Tun...I do not know whether to laugh or cry when she talks about Tun as her husband...

Just pray and doa for your parents, and hope that they will be rewarded justly for their sacrifices for us...

Anonymous said...

kak ena,

may god bless you


Kerp (Ph.D) said...

my prayers will always be with Pak Samad and the rest of the family.

zaitgha said...


i really miss your TWB but i didnt expect when it returned, i would be crying when reading it....

take care and God bless us all....

Anonymous said...

Salam dan ucapan takziah untuk Nuraina,

I can't recall when was the last time we met in the path of journalism over the last two or three decades that I had known you since the time I was an aide to Tok Mat, who was then the Information Minister in the mid eighties.

Firstly, let me say a silent "Al-Fatihah" to Pak Samad,who had been an aspiration to all younger reporters in the local media.Pak Samad was an icon representing the last of the media veterans of my time from the sixties until start of the 21st century.That was how long I could remember your Bapak from my kampung days in Pontian.

Having known you from near and far, I always feel that you have been a strong woman of our times and had spent a better of your life to be part of the local media exposure. Though I am only an amateur media observer and analyst, I have always enjoyed your cup of tea in stirring up exciting interviews during any media conferences, especially with those politician ministers who are media friendly like Tok Mat, Tun Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim and Tun Musa Hitam who will always have answers to the press with ultimate confidence,though at times full of spin and arrogant.

In closing, I would like to share with you that "every man has three friends when Death summons him to appear before his Creator. His first friend, whom he loves most, namely his money, cannot go with him a single step; his second, relations and neighbors, can only accompany him to the grave, but cannot defend him before the Judge; while his third friend, whom he does not esteem - his good works-goes with him before the King, and obtains his acquittal."

All the best, be strong and hope that we shall cross our path again someday, somewhere.Salam always from an old friend so near yet so far.Cheers.

DARI HULU said...

Hi!!! A Wish Comes With Patience.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, TWB! I've so missed you.

Ena dear,

I have this stupid lump in my throat and this maddening liquid threatening to spill behind my lids that's making it hard for me to write.

So I'll just make you and Bapak a present of a little ditty I wrote some years back to help me cope with our borrowed times here...

'grieve not, my love'

grieve not, my love,
when it's time to part.
it's not the end,
it’s a brand new start.
when i came,
i knew i was passing through,
and in my encounters,
i knew there’d be you.
when you came,
you’re just stopping by too;
to meet, to love, to share,
then to bid adieu.

i was here first,
so it's right i took my leave.
but we'll meet again dearest,
so do not grieve.

... in the hope it will also assuage yours.


Dalam Dakapan Ibu said...

I'm one of your silent readers. But this post really made me sad and I just have to leave a comment.

My do'as will always be with Pak Samad. Such a great man.

I still have both my parents and I've always avoided thinking of them as mortals. That bad, huh? I guess I just don't want to think of the possibilities of... oh, I wish that time wouldn't come!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,

I have met you a couple of times in the course of my job.

I can feel the pain your are going through as I place filial piety as my priority.

I have lost my father but you reminded me to spend as much quality and loving time with my 73-year-old mother as possible.

I will pray for your family. May Gos be with you always.

A Friend

Anonymous said...


I know it is hard for you to write this post. I understand the pain and frustrations of your helplessness. My dad died 5 years ago at the age of 91 after going through about 10 years of Alzeimers. My mom was his primary caregiver during the early stage of his Alzeimer’s. Unfortunately, my mom was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident right outside our house one morning. At that time, my dad’s Alzeimer was in a quite advanced stage and he would lapsed into his pensive moods. He could not remember us and would seem lost in his own world. We decided not to tell our dad about our mom’s death fearing that he may not be able to take it. We kept him away from most of the funeral rites. He was quiet and in control over the few days of the funeral. However we noticed that he shedded a few tears during his own quiet moments. That was the first time in my forty over years that I saw my dad cried. What I am trying to say is your Pak knows what is happening around him. God has His ways to touch him. You and your family’s love for him will be enduring. When he is gone, you will all have the peace that you all have given him the best you can while he is still with you all. Nothing can ever take that away from you all. For the moment, just cherish his presence around you all. Do what you can for him. Like what Randy Pausch said, "It is not the things we do that we regret on our deathbed but the things that we do not do". God bless you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
I know Pak Samad will get the best possible care from all his doting children and grand children till the end. You take care too.

BaitiBadarudin said...

Dear Nuraina,
May Allah give you and your family strength to be there for your Bapak.

Rockybru said...


Shastrishah.blogspot came into my posting and said I am like Pak Samad. Woo-hoo. Made my day but I am like Pak Samad in my dreams, of course. Perhaps in my next life ...

Here's a prayer for his good health, always.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel... my dad just suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago - for the third time in 8 years. Lucky for US, it was a mild one... and we got an 'extension' to cherish him a few more years, hopefully. But well, you know what strokes are like, forgetting is the norm of the day... n just reading your entry bring tears to my eyes...

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina,
As one you blog's avid reader, it is sad to read about ur father's condition..

my prayer for u & ur family..

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

Sekok (kelantanese dialect) dalam hati baca TWB this time.

Saya doakan Bapak, Kak Ena, Kak Ton, Kak Azah & the whole family dipanjangkan umur dan dimurahkan rezeki. Amin amin amin

Anonymous said...

Kisah minggu ini mengingatkan saya kepada sajak Usman Awang "Ke Makam Bonda"....

Kami mengunjungi pusara bonda
Sunyi pagi disinari suria
Wangi berseri puspa kemboja
Menyambut kami mewakili bonda

Tegak kami di makam sepi
Lalang-lalang tinggi berdiri
Dua nisan terkapar mati
Hanya papan dimakan bumi

Dalam kenangan kami melihat
Mesra kasih bonda menatap
Sedang lena dalam rahap
Dua tangan kaku berdakap

Bibir bonda bersih lesu
Pernah dulu mengucupi dahiku
Kini kurasakan kasihnya lagi
Meski jauh dibatasi bumi

Nisan batu kami tegakkan
Tiada lagi lalang memanjang
Ada doa kami pohonkan
Air mawar kami siramkan

Senyum kemboja mengantar kami
Meninggalkan makam sepi sendiri
Damailah bonda dalam pengabadian
Insan kerdil mengadap Tuhan

Begitu bakti kami berikan
Tiada sama bonda melahirkan
Kasih bonda tiada sempadan
Kemuncak murni kemuliaan insan

~Usman Awang

mutalib saifuddin said...

kak ena,

indeed i could feel it.

but i was thought on this, only 4 years ago (i was in form 4 then);

"Today, someone you love may go, and one day, you'll go too". Everyone will experience it.

And i used to have a morbid thought too. But it lapsed as i know, having both parents aged 60 this year, it's worthless (I'm ONLY 19 3/4 years!). I know what to expect in the years to come.

I wish i could be the same too in the future- having grandchildren surrounding me, say at age 90.

But God knows whether it would be one day.

My prayers for your Bapak's well being.

Take care..

muststopthis said...

god bless...
(thanks for reminding us again of our duties as children...)

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

I sincerely hope that your father's health will improve. May G-d bless your family.

Anonymous said...

kak ena,
a friend who lost his father about 15 years ago had this to say to me when i confided in him about some hurtful comments my father made about me once...he said ~when he's gone, and you think about him, no matter how much you've done, you can't help but remember that there was just that little something you wish you'd done , that little something you wish you'd given and that little something you wish you'd forgiven..you will never know the feeling until he's gone.

What sound advise; it makes me feel i can take just about anything after that.

you are lucky to have a fine father who when his time comes will be remembered fondly not just by his family members but by the rest of us who have been touched by his words.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's hard to see people growing old and losing themselves. We see them slowly vanishing to a place we can't follow.

And then, they follow the rest of themselves over to the other side.

Yet, they are not entirely gone. They leave behind their silence. And if we try hard enough, we can even feel them.

People who moved on are like chalk writings. Even when wiped off, they always leave wispy traces of what had been written.

I checked your blog at least once a week hoping to catch an episode of TWB. I'm glad you are writing again!

Tok Kemuning said...

Kindly take care of your bapak. There are two most important things to carefully manage.

First his diet. As at this age sweet is not that sweet anymore. Or salty is not that salty anymore. Or fatty is not fatty anymore. Therefore it is most important to monitor what bapak is eating. Everytime. More or less like caring for a little baby.

Secondly his mobility should be manage properly. Every path to the bathroom or to the kitchen or any of regular path bapak is taking should be senior citizen friendly. Senior citizen tends to slip easily. When slipped most of the senior citizen would become immobilize. That would potentially reduce their healthy condition significantly. Almost overnite.

Campaign or alertness about caring or monitoring for senior citizen in Malaysia is still lacking.

By the way my ayah passed away almost 16 years ago at age of almost 100 years old. My ma passed away about 6 years ago at age of almost 70 years old. My other enjoyment is looking at my 6 years old daughter that almost resembling my ma. look it either side way or whatever angles my daughter still resemble my ma, her lips, eyes, smile, nose, almost everything resembling my ma.

Anyway you are lucky at your age still having bapak around. Please whatever time your have do enjoy your time with bapak.


shana: thank you for your wishes. we know Bapak is ageing by the minute, by the day.
it's not that he had not asked about kak eda before this. those times before, he'd nod and "accept" the news that kak eda had already died.
but that day when he asked me, it was like he never never knew and the "news" that kak eda was no more shocked him. he was devastated, like it was the first time he had heard about his daughter's death.
he was confused. he ws sad. he was grieving.
thanks again, shana for visiting


anon@2:22pm: bapak is old and very frail. he seems to be deteriorating. I hope we are wrong!
Inshallah! his condition will improve.
thank you for your wishes and concern!

anon@2:35pm: thank you! and may Gid bless you too!

Jenn: thank you!

rainbow: amin...

moderation: thank you!

anon@6:33pm: thank you!

anon@6:39pm: thank you!

anon@6:55pm: thank you! but just for the record -- bapak is a samad ismail.

the watcher: thank you. i shall remember that.

apanama: thank you.

ewoon: thank you, eric, and God bless you too!


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

Hey I like TDM...just dont agree with some of his decisions meh... ...whatever, he at least LOVED/S Malaysia and gave it his best...

Saya... said...

Btw, read this....(an insult to all single mums)...I blogged about it today, you can read the whole piece there...sorry to put it in your TWB comment box...

Forget other countries, get your maids from Terengganu!
By R.S.N. MURALI Staronline July 30th

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu state government has come up with a programme to train single mothers to be turned into skilled domestic helpers.

The training, including childcare, to start next year will allow Malaysian families to source domestic help from their own backyard.

Terengganu is believed to be the state with most number of single mothers, at more than 20,000.


sesat: thank you. and i will do that.

tehsin: how poignant! and how sad that fate had you in the US when your father passed away. Allah had His reasons...And now, you have your mum. yes...they all slowly slip away.
Tehsin...i want to laugh but it's not funny. okay-lah...i couldn't help chuckling a bit at the irony of it all -- that yr dad looked like Dr Mahathir and yr mum thinks that he is your dad. you and i know why that's an irony.

zamri: thank you!

kerp: thank you, kerp.

zai: thank u, zai. sorry to have to shock you with this posting of TWB.take care.

haji mustapha:wow! that was a very long time ago -- yet, it feels like yesterday.

thank you for your kind words. God bless!

dari hulu: thank you, i shall remember that.

mekyam: hi there! so sorry...didn't mean to tug at your heart-strings :D.

what a lovely, touching poem. thank you. ishall plagiarise that! take care and God bless!

dalam dakapan ibu: thank you for posting your comment. God bless!


anon@9:55am (a friend): thank you, my friend. I do appreciate you dropping by my blog and your wishes. And may God bless you and your loved ones!

ginger: I shall remember your words. thank you.

aMiR: thank you. and you take care too!

Baiti: thank you.

anon@1:32pm: take care of you dad! and thank you.

manyoon: thank you for visiting and leaving your comment. take care.

elviza: thank you. amin amin amin!

basree: thank you for posting Pak Cik Tongkat's poem.

mutalib: take care, mutalib.. and thank you. (tak datang MRT lagi, ke? dah balik campus?)

mustopthis (Tony): were always reminding each other, tony! take care...

goran: thank you.

anne aziz: thank you and God bless!

rox: very hard, rox. especially as Bapak was robust, always alert. always curious about what's going on. it used to be when i came over, he'd be asking me all sorts of questions about this and that...we'd share many moments like that. but well, now, he is so different. yeah. slipping away.
thanks for visiting.

tok kemuning: thank you. by the way...are you in the US or in malaysia?


tehsin: thanks. i've posted it and also linked it to your blog.

and oh, mmmm. sorry-lah. didn't mean to give the impression that u did not like dr M.


ahirudin attan: heheheh...ada persamaan, nampak nya.

in your "jiwa" and "semangat", i suppose. the passion that you have for journalism...

thank u and take care.

Saya... said...

well...i am a totally misunderstood bit...eh woman...so people get confused and so do i, actually...heh heh

zorro said...

Ena, you bet I will be there for you and Maria when the time comes.Miss you. I went into NPC Tuesday hoping to catch up with you and Rocky.

Anis Ahmad Abdul Rahman said...


I really envy you. You are so lucky to still have your father around at his ripe age.

My mom passed away exactly one year ago after 5 years fighting the cancer. First it was breas cancer that she survived after2 years of mastectomy, 6 chemo session, countless radiotherapies. Then 1 year later, the cancer cameback to the brain. After 12 hours operation to remove the tumor, then followed by 8 chemo sessions and countless radio theraphy, she still survived but at the end the cancer spread throughout her body and I remember how day by day she bacame so weak, then can no longer walk, then can no longer sit straight and for the last 6 months of her life, she was bed ridden and totally lost her memory.
It may sound like a nightmare to some, but that was most beautiful and memorable to us her kids because God has given us this opportunity to take care of our mother after all her sacrifice to raise us.
She looked very strong throughput her ordeal and I remember one day how she confidently told me not to worry for her because she will survive this and be a good grandma to our kids.
But God always has better plan for Her. She passed away peacefully last year at 56.
Al Fatihah.


tehsin: alamak.....a most misunderstood woman! it's like this..if anyone had met you and then read your postings/comments OR if anyone had read your postings/comments and then met you -- i think that person would be confused! you know what i mean? :D

zorro: ZORRO! we've missed YOU! at MRT, at NPC!!!!!
sob sob sob....

thank you for such kind words and wishes!

(still can't believe you as the garang cik gu!)

ANIS: my condolences on the passing of your beloved mom.

she had such wonderful children. May Allah bless her soul.

thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate it immensely.

take care!

Saya... said...

Yes Nuraina..I know what you mean...but i'm such a dearie... kan? kan? kan? Perasan...

Heh heh....

Blogging is just a release...you know how the current state of things are...



yes, dearie.

and i totally understand!