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Yes, two or three weeks before my father’s passing, I had dreamt of him passing away. Little did I know that the dream was about to come true at that particular time. Sadly, I couldn’t go back to our home in Seremban as I was also infected by this so called dangerous Influenza A virus (H1N1). I was quarantined and I choose to stay in Damansara as I learnt that if people with diabetics and heart disease or older people were infected, it could be deadly. Therefore, I would rather stay somewhere else rather than to harm my family.
One week before my beloved father’s passing, a family meeting was held in our home. My father had told my siblings and I on what we should do if something were to happened to him and our mother. He had also brought a lawyer to our home just for us to understand all the will and probate concept. The lawyer was a good and nice man, but we have no questions to ask as it was a very sad topic and our beloved dad was okay at that time. We did not feel as if it was necessary to understand the concept at that particular time. Therefore, the lawyer’s laugh and said that we can ask him anything, anytime should we have any queries. Shocking as I must say, just before the lawyer was about to leave, my late father said to him, “So, if you received a call from my daughter, you know what it means”. The lawyer was shocked and told him not to say such thing. It was as if he knew that he was going to leave us. This was few three days before his passing. I am very sure of the timing as three days after we met the lawyer; I had to sit for my Islamic Finance’s professional paper exam. It is sad that I did not get the chance to see my father when he was still alive on his deathbed. A wise friend told me that all the traffic jams and delays that made me came to the hospital late was the Almighty Allah’s will; maybe Allah wants me, my other siblings and mother (except for the eldest, she was there with our father) to have the memory of our late father Alive.
This holy month, Ramadhan will be the first ever Ramadhan without my father. What I learnt from my late father is that it is always important to save for the rainy days, be punctual, always choose god-fearing friends and we should always respect people in order to be respected. My father had never ever skipped his prayers, no matter how busy he was. He will turn to various hadiths and the Quran if he had any doubts. He would do sunnah prayers if he felt sad and in order to seek guidance. And if he was feeling so much grateful for something or sad beyond words, he would book a ticket to Mecca and perform his Umrah. He will always spend his time reading and doing productive activities. My late father was a hard working and sincere man. Being an accountant by profession, he had always been frugal, and saving was his main priority. My late father was a super dad to us and understanding father as he listens to our wish and wants. However, he will ask us to weight it with our priorities. He has never beaten us (not even once), like all the parents do when they want to so-called teach their children on manners and principles. My father was wise enough to treat us like an adult since we were young. He was and will always (still) be my mentor and idol despite his demise, as I am very sure I will never ever meet anyone close to my late father’s personalities. I still remember when I was working in one of the big 4 firm, my father had told me to find a mentor and start learning from that particular person, I told him straight away that my mentor was him and that there was no one in the firm that was fit and had strong personalities like him. Still, even if you ask me 30 years from now, my mentor would still be him. Not that I adore him because he was my father, I adore my father as an individual.
Dear readers, do pray for my late father and recite Al-fatihah for him as he was a good man and a wonderful person you would wish you could have met. Having a person like my father makes the world a better place to live in. Semoga Allah S.W.T menempatkan ayah kami di kalangan orang-orang yang beriman dan bertaqwa. May Allah S.W.T grant him HIS heavens. Ameen. May my siblings and I grow to be righteous children who will always pray for our late father. InsyaAllah.
We would like to thank those who had attended our late father’s funeral and continuous support and encouraging words from all of you. We have received various letters, text messages, calls, and even cards from unknown people who were thankful to have met a person like our beloved father. It is really touching when you go to a small shop or a restaurant to buy stuff or food, and the waiter or shop owner cried because you told them that your father had passed away. I had not once heard anyone talk bad or heard any bad comments on my father. My father had always had the “positive aura” around him. He was truly, almost perfect. We love him but Allah S.W.T loves him more. And we could only think of nothing else except so highly of our late beloved father…..
Your Loving Daughter, Aja
p/s: this was sumthing i wrote back during the holy month of ramadhan. Just my thought of sharing.
May you place her with those who are righteous and pious…
Please be soft and gentle with her Ya Allah…
Please forgive her and please be kind towards her…
Amin Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin
As I am writing this, I am somehow happy that I did not cry much as I did before when my late father left me and my siblings…I am more calm and accepting things,in malay we called it redha than I was before..Though at times, tears will still flow..
I can just feel better by looking at her pictures as I have whole loads of my family album in my room as well as my mother’s last blouse that she wore on the way to the hospital..and also by bending down, sujud to Allah S.W.T as well as listening to the Quran. Prayers and unity really helps in times like this.
My mother was beautiful, inside and out. She was very independent and she does not care if she had friends or no friends. She does not rely on people at all. She does have a few good, trusted and god fearing friends. But thats it. My mother was a Secretary by profesion, and she had met my father in one of the leading banks in Malaysia where she and my father had worked together before. My mother was jovial, happy and she had good sense of humour.
My mother had stopped working completely to look after the family because when I was still a toodler, i fell down the stairs- thanks to the maid who went out with her bf and left me with my sister alone in the house. I was in such traumatic condition to my parents, but alhamdulillah I survived and now I grew up to be a fine young lady. I just wish my mother did not stop working because I feel she could had become a lawyer or anything greater than that due to her voice-up nature. My mother was very understanding and you can tell her anything.
My mother had fair complexion because she had chinese-baba and nyoya blood, and she had rosy cheeks.She was very generous and she would treat you like her own family. My mother had told me not to save in terms of food and we should always welcome our guests and make sure that they eat before they leave our home. My mother was very up-to-date in terms of fashion as she used to sell nice muslimah clothings, custom jewelleries as well as crystal brooches.She would always make sure that her husband and children look neat and clean due to my father corporate reputation and as a muslim anyway. She is very hygenic and clean (clean here means, CLEAN like a real clean maniac), she would go berserk if you are in the category of hiding all your stuff in the closet, making your room looks clean, because she knows!
She would even know if you sweep the floor but push all the dust under the carpet.hehe. She was also very particular about grooming, like getting your nails & hair done, doing facials as well as SPAs treatments.
My mother was not born rich, so she had to do all the housework on her own, because she was the only rose among the thorns in her family. But after she got married with my father, my father provides her with so much necessities and that she does not need to do the housework or any work anymore. She just have to sit and watch my younger siblings. But like any other housewives, she would still do the housework.
My mother had always told me to do istiharah in anything I plan to do. To tell you the truth, I had never really done istiharah before. I am more towards tahajud. She had told me that she was in love with someone from saudi but when she became friends with my father, she starts telling him about all her relationship problems. And my father told her , “leave him and marry me”. My mother did not like my father at first as he was an Indian Muslim and is not the type that my mother was looking for. But my mother adore his strong personalities and sincerity. She did istiharah and she felt that Allah SWT gave her the sign to marry my father. She married my father not because of love but because of religion. And so in Islam, if you pick religion, the rest will flow after that-such as wealth and happiness.
My mother had been fasting always, 3 months straight starting from Rejab, Syaabaan and Ramadhan. She will sit on her sajadah early morning when my siblings and I were still snoring :),after subuh, she starts making breakfast for all my siblings and I and after all of us including my father left the house, she will continue doing prayers, until noon. How do i know this? Its because during school I had the reputation of skipping class for no reasons. I had miss classes 98 days per year approximately due to the reason I am in love with home and the Internet.I should had been home-schooled. Tsk Tsk.Seriously.My mother does sunnah prayers and reciting Quran everyday when she was still in healthy condition. My mother was diagnosed with a tumor in one of her ovaries, therefore the doctor had to remove one of her ovaries and that had made her unable to have children anymore and that, this had stopped her having menses. That is why she can fast for 3 months straight, Alhamdulillah.Only Allah SWT knows best, this misfortune turn out to be a great blessing to my mother as she can pray and fast more.
Even for my late father’s employees, they could actually talk to my mother as my mother was a good and kind listener and she was alert to my father’s office environment, and she would keep their secrets well and try to help them.
My mother took care all of us for years, alone as my father was working abroad. It was not easy for her as I recalled, when she was about to deliver my youngest sister, she had to take taxi to the hospital, and without her husband being with her on her side in the labour room. But Alhamdulillah, my youngest sister grew up well and healthy. Even when my father was back in Malaysia, he would still leave for overseas from time to time.
I have endless stories about my parents. I have no bad stories to share with you about my parents as they are truly beautiful inside out.I am really missing both of my parents, and truly I know that they belong together in this world and in the hereafter. Dear All do pray for my mother. My siblings and I are very grateful that we were born to such wonderful, God fearing and kind parents.We hope that we could be like them too, Insyaallah.
Lets recite Al-fatihah and prayers for my late father and mother.May Allah SWT forgive them and grant them Jannah.Amin Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
My late father was wise. He had his own simple rules on bringing up his children. Simple and graphic rules which have stuck in my mind despite my age having crossed the 5 decade barrier a few years ago.
And one classic rule was the …….“Even if you drink milk in a toddy shop…..”
Toddy is no more the commonly understood drink it once was. I suppose there would be plenty of youngsters today who have never seen a pot of toddy in their lives.
“The partly fermented sap of the coconut palm (COCOnSu cifera), called toddy in Malaya, is a popular drink among certain sections of the population in south-east Asia and among the natives of the central Pacific Islands. The methods of obtaining toddy from various species of palm have been described in detail by Gibbs (1911) and by Browning & Symons (1916), so that only a brief account need be given here.
The young inflorescence is tightly bound with twigs and beaten with a weighted wooden mallet, morning and evening, for a number of days. When the inflorescence begins to ooze its sap, the tip is cut and the sap allowed to trickle into an earthenware pot. Owing to the yeasts and other organisms already present in the used pots, alcoholic and other fermentations begin immediately. Each morning and evening a ‘tapper’ climbs the tree to collect the toddy, and at each visit he shaves off a fine transverse section of the inflorescence so as to leave a new oozing surface. The fermented toddy, which is milky in appearance, is brought to the Government toddy-shops for sale within a few hours of collection.”
A toddy tapper doing his thing. Note the collection pots that are still on the tree. Source: Flickr
Not far from where I grew up in Penang, there was a toddy shop. The fermented toddy, whilst looking like milk had a powerful foul odour. And it was a common sight to see many of the port workers and labourers staggering out drunk from this toddy shop most evenings. Being called a “toddy drinker” was a grave insult beaten only by being labelled a “toddy drunkard”.
And my late father’s saying……”Even if we drink milk in a toddy shop…” meant crime by association.
Even if we had the noblest of intentions and drank only milk in a toddy shop, we would still be labelled as a toddy drinker or worse a toddy drunkard. So we should just stay away from places like toddy shops. Of course this also extended to a number of other places, like where the young men of those days would gather to play cards or just talk shop. I should not even be seen there…period.
Maybe sayings like this still have their usefulness.
Many are the young of today who gather at shopping complexes and “happening places”. I am sure most of them start off with innocent intentions of having fun. Until the crime by association starts. Some of these kids end up trapped into the world of cigarettes and drinks and maybe even worse, drugs.
I don’t know how I would be able to bring up the issue of toddy with my children. They’ll probably look at me as if I had gone unhinged. At least I have been allowed to hammer home the dangers of smoking to them.
Graphic images are now being printed on cigarette boxes. But it’s something less than what the Government can do. The Gomen can give a period of 15 years or so notice now and just ban smoking and its manufacture etc. Source: Google
This was the heading of an article I read in Readers Digest years and years ago. It was a true life story of a smoker who had suffered a heart attack. From what I can still remember about the article, he wrote about the physical effects of the nicotine being washed off from his cells whilst he was in the CCU. He then talked about his physiological battle against the dreaded addiction.
Yes, even that many years ago, I was “keen” to stop smoking. Like so many other silly, adolescent and stupid boys, I started smoking because I wanted to feel like an adult. And like all the other stupid and silly starters before me, I had to struggle and fight the violent natural body reactions like coughing and gagging that tried to keep me from smoking.
What can I say? I persevered and it became a habit that has stayed with me for almost 35 years now.
Of course, even then, I knew smoking was not good for me. I remember telling myself that I would not be like those fools who were trapped into smoking 20 – 25 sticks a day. I’ll maintain myself at 3 sticks a day…..what a joke this turned out to be. There were attempts to stop smoking. Each year whilst making goals and resolutions, this would be about the top of the list. I have tried methods such as:
- keeping track of exactly how many sticks and at what time I smoked (I am now not sure why I did this),
- asking myself each time if I really did need that particular smoke,
- repeating affirmations such as that cigarettes spread nothing but poison to me and to all around me,
- stopping cold turkey,
- stopping during the fasting month…. all to no avail.
During a trip to Mauritius, I found a copy of Allan Carr’s book, Easy Way to Stop Smoking and read it from cover to cover. I think this is a definitive text on how to stop smoking. I got a clearer understanding of the devious manner in which the nicotine and the tar works on screwing our body.
Allen Carr’s Easy Way has been credited with weaning a number of celebrities including Sir Richard Branson and Sir Anthony Hopkins, off cigarettes. Still I just kept on smoking and burning the money away.
The family started imposing a rule that I could only smoke outside the house. Even then I did not stop. Not even when my youngest girl started looking at me with what I now think was a look of pity.
All that smoking has come to a stop since the last 9th of May following my heart attack. I thank God that not everything came to a dead stop that fateful night.
Still I see an increasing number of youngsters starting to smoke. If those days it was to appear adult, these days it seems to be the cool thing to do. I feel so sorry for them. I know that these people are going to end up regretting the day they picked up the habit and I know that they’ll find it very tough to quit. Maybe stories like mine might keep someone away from this dangerous habit.
I know that I have not licked this habit yet and if I ever let my guard down, I’ll be back to exactly where I started. Like the AA creed says, I’ll live just one day at a time, smoke free, Insya’Allah.
It started the night of Saturday, the 9th May at about 1.20 am. A warm sensation around my chest kept getting stronger. I tried drinking some water, thinking that it was heartburn and would soon go off. Well, it didn’t, rather the pain got worse. At about 4 am, it became unbearable and my wife and second daughter took me to a private hospital in Seremban, where the doctor told me to “trust him” as he knew what he was doing.
Nothing he did made any difference to the pain and all the while they kept telling me that my regular doctor was being kept informed and would be arriving in the next half and hour or so. That family doctor arrived only at 10.00 am, and told me that the indications were that I had suffered a heart attack! But it was my clear feeling that after about 4 – 5 hours in this hospital that they had done nothing to alleviate my pain or to help out in my healing.
At 10.00 am, I gave up and asked my wife to call my brother in Subang Jaya. I had not wanted to bother him. After all, I was in a so called premier health institute in Seremban, or so I thought. My brother and sister in law arrived not long after with my second nephew and his wife, who are both doctors. That was when things got interesting. My niece in law looked at my files and asked a string of questions on why this and that were not done, to which she got unsatisfactory answers. She called her superiors in HUKM, told them about my case and they agreed to admit me.
I was put into an ambulance and arrived in HUKM about 1 pm. My brother and sister in law had arrived a little earlier and gotten me registered, so by the time I arrived, I was whisked straight to the CCU. The rest of Sunday was a blur as the doctors frantically covered for the wasted time by the Seremban Hospital.
The HUKM. I must have been somewhere in this building. I have to go back for physiotheraphy soon. I should have time to explore and get to know this Hospital better.
The angiogram was done on the Monday, the 11th. I was retained at the CCU for another 3 days and spent the last day, Friday at the Recovery Ward, before being discharged. My diagnosis from HUKM said it was a “missed anteroseptal MI complicated with VT, Post PCI LAD”. I am not sure what all these fancy terms mean, but it sure seems to match my feeing that the Seremban Hospital screwed around with my health.
I have nothing but praise and gratitude for the HUKM doctors and nurses. And even their cleaning team. I am very grateful for the sterling health services provided to me with a clear sense of service beyond expectations.
Maybe the fact that my niece in law was a Doctor at this huge hospital might have helped. But I agree completely with what my new friend at the recovery ward, En. Othman, has to say. He had been admitted for the same procedure about a few days earlier. He was 69 years old, and called me a kid! He told me that he still remembered the days of Japanese Occupation and the conditions of the country in the years of the past. If there was one example he would show that our country had developed to first world status, it would be HUKM!
I am back at home now, resting, and slowly working to getting back to the normal grind of my life. I have a whole new and fresh canvas to be drawn regarding my life and future. The Life Contingency Manual has taken on an increasing sense of urgency. Many other seemingly unimportant things have taken a new hue of importance and vice versa.
My family responded to this crisis in a manner I can only wonder at. My wife, two elder girls and the younger kids all pulled their weights and supported one another as I became a burden instead of the normal role of provider / supporter. Maybe this is final confirmation that my two elder girls are now adults and that I can let go.
And to my unearned and purely God given gifts of brothers, sisters in law, nephews and nieces in law, I can only say thanks for your being pillars of support to me and my family in our time of need.
Life is full of surprises, it is often said. But is this always true? Or are we given subtle warnings and guidance on what we should expect as we go on with our lives?
Recently this phrase has been often playing in my mind.
It started when I was having tea with a friend, a retired senior official of one of our Banks. My friend’s children have all about finished school or are in University, except for the youngest, a girl who has just finished her UPSR. He is basically living a live of contented retirement and has increased his religious activities in place of the hours he put into his office work.
I was talking to him about another friend of mine. An old friend, who is now fighting a valiant battle against one of the scrouges of our lives. A battle, God Willing, he will win. I mentioned that I had last met him about a couple of months ago and he was full of vitality, plans and hopes for his future. And since recently he has been in and out of hospitals.
And my retired bank officer friend listened intently and said, “In this are lessons for those of us who think”.
It was one of those statements, which though made in passing, has an extremely profound effect on us. I asked him what he meant, and his reply was that:
“We should always have our affairs in order so as not to burden our loved ones in the event of anything untoward happening to us. As you can see, the future can be really surprising.”
How many of us actually think about this possibility?
The possibility of life as we know it no longer being there. About the so many things that we do and manage and keep the information to ourselves. About the so many things our loved ones would have to tackle and try to decipher and put the pieces together if anything untoward were to happen to us.
I am not talking about just taking on adequate insurance and hoping that the loved ones we leave behind will sort themselves out somehow. I am talking about something a little deeper than that.
A life continuity contingency plan, so to speak.
Yes, in this is a lesson for those of us who think. I have written earlier about writing my final letter and stuff like that. Now I feel that the letter would be woefully inadequate if I were to expect my family to continue living seamlessly if anything untoward were to happen.
This may be a little morbid a subject to talk about, but it is about the same as that of going for regular medical checkups.
A life continuity check should be in order, don’t you think? After all this is a standard practice in many companies.