14 March 2013

Pakcik reminisces ( Pt 30 ) – My two cousins

A recent sad event took Pakcik way, way back in time. Let for a start talk about three cousins, all boys, who were born within months of each other in three different parts of Malaya over 70 years ago. One was born in Teluk Anson ( now Teluk Intan ), one in Kuala Kangsar and Pakcik and the oldest of three, in K Trengganu ( now K Terengganu).

Many would not believe how far apart these places were; K Trengganu in particularly Today I can drive my old jalopy all the way from K Terengganu to those two places within hours. On the other hand, 56 years ago Pakcik’s first road trip to Kuala Lumpur, much nearer than Teluk Intan and K Kangsar, took two whole days, having to cross seven rivers by ferry and putting up one night in a lodging house in Temerloh. I described this in my ‘Pakcik reminisces (Pt 11)’ on 9th Sept 2010 – click here.

My late father made many trips to Teluk Anson and K Kangsar about the time those three cousins were born. A sure route to reach those two places was on board a slow wooden sailing vessel (the wind-powered ‘perahu besar’ - the big boat ). The vessel would crawl southwards along the coast down to Endau, Mersing and Johor Baru from where he would take a train up north or another boat journey to Teluk Anson, from there to K Kangsar. Each of his business trips would take weeks.

So, during those years the three cousins were born at considerable distances apart. It was that distance which justified my old Trengganu family to venture to Perak and set up small batek-making centres in those towns, and there they settled down.

As the land communication improved the small batik-making centres became less important, coming to a close around mid 1900’s. On the positive side, the shorter and easier journey by road helped to bring the isolated family members closer again. My Teluk Anson cousin was sent to K Terengganu for his early schooling. But the wooden houses by the river-side in Teluk Anson and Kuala Kangsar are now mere memories.


a) From K Kangsar

Zamri is my cousin from K Kangsar. He went to Clifford School in K Kangsar and then to Anderson in Ipoh. His career began as a teacher but that was a brief one before he had to make a choice to work with Telekom Malaysia or Lands and Survey Department. With Telekom he would have to work in K Lumpur. Lands and Survey had an office in Taiping. All his three successful children are working in Klang Valley, but my poor cousin would not get his mother’s blessing to go to KL, a place considered too far from home in Kuala Kangsar. Taiping was not near but was certainly not as far. That was the sense of distance then.

So Lands and Survey it was where this cousin worked for. Twenty years later, in 1981, an experienced person, he was seconded to a team involved in a joint project between Thailand and Malaysia to improve identification and demarcation of South Thailand-Kelantan border. The job required him and team to spend on alternate basis, one whole month working in the deep jungle, living in make-shift tents followed by one month back at their base camp.

Travel in and out of the jungle was by helicopters which were used to carry to sites heavy loads of cement, stone, sand and two-metre long concrete boundary posts. After about twenty trips by helicopter, my cousin Zamri, now in his mid forty came to face with a situation that we would shudder to think of – a helicopter crash.

On the fateful day Zamri and three others boarded a Nuri helicopter which was taking its normal heavy load to another site. Imagine the gigantic jungle trees with large umbrella tops and rough terrains and ravines below. The machine with two experienced pilots and an assistant began to take off, ascending and maneuvering its way through the gaps between the tall trees. Disaster struck when a branch caught the blades of its tail rotor. Immediately the machine went into an uncontrollable spin and crashed in a ravine. One friend was crushed to death by the heavy load carried by the machine , two others injured and Zamri himself was pinned down and unconscious.

I was momentarily awake when a voice called my name and asked me to move away quickly from the burning helicopter,” related Zamri to Pakcik of the only instance he was vaguely conscious.

Of course I could not move at all. Then I lost consciousness again” he continued.

When he regained consciousness several hours later he was lying in the General Hospital in Kota Bharu. He had a severe spine injury which prevented him from being transported to KL for treatment. Pakcik can still remember how we all in the family prayed that he would pull through. Of course he did .

It was a case of ‘pantang mati sebelum ajal’

The fateful incident hit the headline no doubt.

Today, Alhamdulillah, he is as well as he could be, only needing a walking stick for support, his permanent feature. He and wife can still enjoy shuttling between Kuala Kangsar, his home, and Klang Valley where his three children and grand-children are.


b) From Teluk Intan .

That brings Pakcik to the other cousin who started life in Teluk Anson, and because of whom I am reminiscing. Apart from his stay in K Trengganu during his early days in school, we became very close when as a bachelor I was posted in Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan) for six months; and he was then a young teacher. Having nothing to do in that sleepy town I spent much of my time with him and the family. It was then I learnt to enjoy the large fresh water prawns (udang galah) caught by his father from the big Perak River running behind their wooden house.

During his school days Abdul Aziz was exceptionally active in sports. Possessing a heavy frame he took up rugby very seriously. As a pupil of form 4 and 5 he achieved the distinction of being a player in the Malayan (before independence) rugby team. It was a feat considering the participation of heavily built European players prior to Independence. Somehow I cannot help feeling that the heavy falls and tumbles he received during his young days took their tolls in his later years when his health began to fail and had to undergo frequent medical treatments. I made it a point to ring him at regular intervals apart from our meetings at family weddings.

About three months ago, when I visied him in Teluk Intan, he expressed to me his desire to pay his ‘last’ visit to K Terengganu. Last week, however, I received the sad news of his demise in hospital. Later I learnt from his wife and a younger brother that he again mentioned of a ‘must’ trip to K Terengganu when he was out of hospital.

No, his meeting with the Creator took precedence.

And I will live to remember him with a prayer. _______________________________________

The following all-in-the-family picture was taken last year at a wedding of a family member held in Masjid Wilayah, Kuala Lumpur.  Four of us sitting on the right in the picture were cousins.

R to L - 4 Cousins -  Zamri (K Kangsar), Hussein (KT),arwah A Aziz (T Intan)  sitting  on  Pakcik's left


Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
It's such a beautiful thing to reminisce of old times. Many can do it if they have the foresight to arm themselves with a diary as you had done.I managed to travel out only when we had visits and expeditions during school days. We had one to Kelantan and Trengganu. And that was only in the early 60's. That was the first time I tasted keropok lekor. On my own with another friend I hitch- hiked to S'pore (with Tajudin) and Penang (with Jamal) I got my late father's blessings for both though I have no indication how he really felt. I've posted in my blog (just from memory) for the S'pore one. How much details can one remember anyway. But something is better than nothing! Nothing on the Penang one yet. May be after I've located the pics we had snapped. That would help!


ahmad humairi said...


Segalanya menjadi kenangan.
Telok Anson sudah tiada.
Perhubungan dengan keretapi ke Telok Anson sudah di tamatkan. Perjalan perhubungan Sungai Perak dengan 'kapal'/ tongkang - Telok Anson ke Kuala Kangsar turut terkubur dalam kenangan. Telok Anson bakal terputus menjadi pulau di tasik ladam.

Kini Teluk Intan. Menara Condong masih gagah-gagah berdiri. Jemputah ke mari mengabadi kenangan.

Rasa macam pernah pernah berjumpa dengan arwah A Aziz tu (Al-fatihah khas buatnya) ....hmmmm....pelanduk dua serupa....mungkin orang lain. Paling bergaya serta ceria tentulah yang memakai sut Melayu biru tu!!!

kotastar said...

Sdr Al Manar,

Looking back is pleasant as well as jolting too when we trespassed the sad parts.True we had many cousins, both sexes and they form a strong unity and meeting each other quite often due to a closer distance. Sadly the same closeness fade away now because each lives away from one another, meeting and recognizing only once a year. We must ourselves try to keep that linkage and hopefully our own children will follow in the footsteps. Your story pushes me to look back at the past again.Thankfully my rugby days have kept me in good health Salam

Al-Manar said...

Cikgu Humairi,


Banyak yang sudah 'terkubur dalam kenanha'. Cantiknya bahasa.

Selama enam bulan saya tinggal di Rest House kayu yang lama menghadapi padang. Saya disana kerana muguk keretapi yang menyebabkan terhenti penghantaran minyak dari Teluk Anson kedua janakuasa terbesar di negeri Perak.

Munkin Cikgu kenal A Aziz Othman. Yang pakai sut Melayu itu keturunan saudagar kain - memang bergaya orangnya - kocek kosong!

Tinggal kenangan, Cikgu

Al-Manar said...


Diary is old fashioned. One can record better these days with a digital camera and computer. And in your case words are 'haikuised' to add beauty.

Hope you will continue doing you special sketches again.

Temuk said...

Those were the days.... now, when transportation is not a problem anymore, visiting relatives is usually constrained by our health condition. I still drive occasionally to visit my sisters in Bagan Datoh, sometimes taking the road that passes through Teluk Intan. My secondary schooling was in TI (60-65). I lived with a police sergeant beside the main bus station and the big Bandaran field in front of the Rest House that you mentioned.

Al-Manar said...


How true that the bond among cousins is no longer as close it used to be. The elders like us must make an effort to bring these cousins closer instead of they being allowed to drift apart by various activities. In fact with modern IT making fiends is easier. See how we, starngers, have been exchanging words and views.

This is where f/b has its value, the convenience means of sendig out news.

So you too were a rugby player. I was coerced into joining a couple of times, but had I had that fear of being roughly tackled to suffer a broken something. Badminton was safer!

Salaam to you.

Al-Manar said...


It was durin your school days in TA when I had to serve there. Makcik had a cousin in the police, named Hassan bin Jamaluddin, who lived in one of the quarters, long wooden buildings near the bus station. There was also a huge tree in the padang beneath which was a famous foodstall that I frequented.

I have a feeling that your police sergeant, or even yourself, would remember that policeman who then had three or four children who are very successful adults today, one a Datuk (in JKR)

It is a small would, isn't it?

Idris said...

Pak Cik,

Talking about surviving a plane/helicopter crash reminds me of the late Tun Ghazali Shafie. In the case of the Tun and I believe in the case of your cousin too, the most important thing is not to panic. How could the Tun panic when he had vast experience in dealing with difficult situations like negotiating with the Philippines on their Sabah claim in Bangkok in 1968(during his days as Secretary General of Wisma Putra) and also the Japanese Red Army seizure of AIA Building in 1975 (when he was Home Affairs Minister).

Al-Manar said...


Experience counts. You remember incidents which I can hardly recall except for the plane crash. The two of us visited him in hospital simply because he used to take Makcik, a child at that time, on his motor bike around the kampong. Alfatihah for him.

Anonymous said...

Sdr Hassan,

Your cousin No.2. the late Aziz Othman (alfatihah baginya) was my Anderson School hostel mate between 1954 -1955. He was the one who started to nickname me "boomerang" because of my bowlegged leg. Yes he was an alrounder then especially at rugby. Later(around 1958) I was surprised to discover he was with the DTC in Teluk Anson along with my wife (girlfriend)then. The last I met him again was in 2005 when they held a small get-together at his house.

Khalik Hasan

MamaTim said...

alFatihah buat yang telah pergi. It is always sad reading a post like this. Salam takziah buat famili Pakcik.

Al-Manar said...

Khalik Hassan - calling Tronoh!

Something near miraculous has happened. After 57 years I was brought face to face with you. When I posted about Tun Sarji you claimed to have known him. Then when I posted this particular sad entry you disclosed that you knew the late A Aziz who was your wife’s college mate (DTC), and three of you, boys, were school mates; and the three of you have been linked to me.

Thank you, Tronoh.

Al-Manar said...


I thought you had left the blog sphere. It is nice to see you back. Hope all is well with the family.

Anonymous said...

Hey... I was born in Telok Intan in 1956. Lived there until I was about 2 years old. My dad was teaching in Hutan Melintang back then. Among his stories..he used to cycle to school and when caught in heavy rain his bike got all stucked with mud and he would just abandoned it by the parit and continued walking to school.On weekends he would take me to the park (Taman Kanak-kanak they called it)nearby the Menara Condong and let me play on the swing. In 1958 my dad got trasferred to his hometown in K.Kangsar and was teaching in SRK Clifford before his retirement. Miss my dad...Opah Mummy..

Al-Manar said...

Dear Anonymous,

Your dad would probably know my late cousin in Telok ANSON then. Of couse I remember Hutan Melintang. I do not suppose your dad is in any way conected to ex-Terengganu people.

I remember the taman kanak2 near the menara. Across the road was a Sunday morning market if I am not mistaken. Email me if you have any personal things you wish to tell or ask.

Call on us again, alright?