Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesdays With Bapak

During the time we were already in serious relationships with our boyfriends (read: guys with whom we thought we wanted to spend our lives), Bapak was still in detention.

I'm not sure if we could ever have those customary father-daughter talks if he had been around to witness the goings-on in our lives.

Perhaps, it was meant to be that way. To a large extent, and something which I have acknowledged, absence did make the heart grow fonder and we became much closer to Bapak those years, than we could, perhaps, ever hope to be.

Well...God moves in mysterious ways.

Those growing-up years, unlike today when I am pretty much "involved" in my kids' private lives, though very discreetly, we kept our personal and private lives, very very private. Away from prying parental eyes.

What they didn't know, wouldn't hurt them was our mantra.

The only give-away were those darn stray telephone calls we got after 8pm.

Only when we felt that they were "the one", that we were ready to introduce them to Bapak, and of course, Mak who would, by the time we told Bapak, have known the identity of these suspects.

Of course, Bapak knew our regular guy friends, as opposed to our serious boyfriends. Bapak could tell if these guys were our buddies and I suppose when there's nothing to hide, then there's really nothing to hide.

It was a baptism of fire for our boyfriends-soon-to-be-fiances-then-husbands. We must make sure these were "the" boys-to-be-men. Because meeting Bapak was not to be taken lightly. Our real fear was that they'd flee in fright after the first dose of Bapak.

The reassuring thing, if it was any reassurance at all, was that if they could face Bapak, we were sure, they could face anyone.

Kak Olin got married soon after she returned from England and secured a job with Kompleks Kewangan, while Bapak was in detention .

After Bapak was released, Kak Eda got married.

Bapak got on famously with their husbands.

By then, lucky for us, Bapak was somewhat "mellowed", not the younger, fiercer, more energetic Bapak whose roar was worse than his proverbial bite.

By the time I was into a very serious relationship, Bapak was engageable. But, we never touched on my personal relationship or the guy I was dating.

We talked about other people's relationship, other people's problems and well...life in general.

I was about the oldest child still unmarried, single and swinging when Bapak was released, through his return to the NST.

Bapak - my siblings will attest - never meddled in his children's marriages. If they had any trouble -- and which marriage does not have -- he'd not give unsolicited advice. He'd listen if they wanted to talk to him but he'd not take sides.

He believed couples should sort things out and in time, things would get sorted out.

He told an older relative (who shall remain unnamed) of a certain someone who came to see Bapak following his first marital blow-up, this:

"We as parents cannot interfere. We can only give good advice for we do not know what actually happened in the bedroom. We only hear one side of the story. They both will give their version which is always favourable to them. They will sort it out. We'll come in only when we should, and if things get out of hand".

I remember during our omong-kosong after-dinner ramblings, in reference to someone's marital problems, he said:" You know....you cannot push a man to a corner, or a wall. There is a limit. Dia diam-diam, terdesak, dia akan fight back."

And when a female relative complained that her husband had roughed her up, Bapak told her to take up silat, judo or some form of self-defence art.

Bapak reckoned that a woman is helpless when she is home alone with a violent husband. One solution is to be equipped that way. Not that she should engage in a duel with her hubby, but she could learn to avert the blows. And then, I suppose, flee to safety.

Serious. And it makes perfect sense. If your husband knows you know some silat or judo or aikido, he'd think twice about roughing you up. Not that husbands are generally wife-bashers, but you know, in the heat of the moment, someone can get hurt. We know this happens.

If we had any problems with our signficant other, we'd think twice about going to daddy for comfort.

"Aku tahu anak-anak aku ni...." That meant it takes two to tango.

So it was that I took his advice seriously since. Sometimes, of course I forget.

I'm not sure I can give good solid advice to my own kids.

But...aah. I'll keep it simple. Que Sera Sera.


zaitgha said...

Salam mam,

love this...miss your TWB very much...your Bapak and my Abah were similar in many ways...

take care

Dhahran Sea said...

Salam Nuraina,
Pleasant surprise to see another "Tuesdays..."... if you're not really up to it yet for the regular "Tuesdays...", maybe once in a while will do?

Lee said...

Tuesdays with Bapak is interesting.
Its educational and gives insights into understanding Samad the man many admired.There are still a lot to know about him.His daughters should know him better than ordinary malaysians.

galadriel said...

Very sound advice, from a very wise man. Especially about the self defence part.

I'm familiar with this being 'roughed up" business. The feeling was always,
"If i hit back, would I be a bad daughter/girlfriend".

I've grown since. I think guys who raise their hands to a female under their protection deserve to get their ass kicked...or worse.

Sorry I can't make mee rebus Tuesdays these days. I miss u guys but my lunch hour is too short for me to be able to make the trip.

Apologies, and love to Kak Ton n hubby, u, rocky, elviza, husna n aiman if u see them.

Anonymous said...



as a father to a daughter, one of my fervent wishes is that my daughter finds someone who will love, honor etc. etc. her lah.

there are a few good pointers for me in what you wrote.



Basree Rakijan said...

Saya tak berkesempatan belajar apa-apa dari bapak yang meninggal dunia waktu saya 9 tahun. Ingatan saya tentang dia pun samar-samar.

Hari saya dah pun jadi bapak. Anak perempuan saya baru 11 tahun. Anak lelaki 17 tahun.

Yang perempuan ni lain sikit. Dia tahu kelemahan saya. Dan dia selalu dapat apa dia nak dari saya...

Dan saya pun memang manjakan dia. Entahlah....

Noor Hasilah Ismail said...

hati ini tersentuh membaca kembali ruangan ini. ia membawa saya kembali mengingati saat-saat indah bersama arwah ibu dan ayah saya. Bukan saja wajah arwah ayah saya hampir sama dengan arwah Pak Samad, tetapi beberapa ciri yang Ina ceritakan itu juga ada pada arwah bapa saya. Ketika orang kampung mengutuk saya berperangai macam "tomboi" dan menjadi satu-satunya budak perempuan yang menyertai budak2 lelaki belajar silat, arwah ayah tetap "backing". Sering dia mengingatkan orang perempuan mesti mempelajari seni mempertahankan diri untuk kebaikan diri, berdikari dan tidak terlalu bergantung kepada lelaki. Saya boleh rasa betapa Ina merindui arwah Pak Samad, sebagaimana saya merindui ayah saya. Teruskan ruangan ini ya kerana tulisan Ina sentiasa memberikan saya inspirasi

Anonymous said...

Que Sera Sera.Berserah berserah berserah! ...very sofism...a tasauf philosophy...purely Islamic....

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

somehow i can really relate to this nice piece- Meeting your future Father-in-Law is every guys' ultimate nightmare!

not sure if i'm man enough to go through such ordeal. no wait. now i'm not even sure if i really wanna take the plunge...muahahaha...

uncle gedek said...


Pagar said...

Abang Rocky dapat Malay Mail, kakak Nuraina dapat ape?



Fathers are always looking out for their little girls!

thanks, ZAi...
take care



thanks for the thoughtfulness.


thank you so much.



i know what you mean. my sentiments exactly.

and we all miss you at mee rebus too.

any tuesday you can make it, galadriel...that'd be cool.

take care.



thank you.

hope to see you again...



memang begitu....daughters are always their daddy's little girl.

and i am sure anda seorang ayah yang banyak memberi bimbingan kepada anak2.

salam and take care...



apa khabar sahabat lama?

terima kasih-lah, Shila, sudi ke-sini.

Hope to see you again!



que sera sera...

tetapi bukan lah bermakna saya tidak akan berusaha menasihat anak2 atau memberi bimbingan kepada mereka berdua...:-)

Kita mesti lakukan apa yang kita diwajibkan sebagai ibu.

terima kasih...




Thank you.



Oh....saya dapat...mmmmm....macam-macam-lah. :-)

nurulshima said...

so interesting but i guess we are all d same, its tougher when bringing the future fiance/hubby meeting bapak..and its kinda easier when it comes to mothers :)