17 January 2014

Pakcik Reminisces ( Pt 34 ) – The Unforgettable Pauline

A Calendar a Year 

We are more than a fortnight into 2014 and I am just about to draft my first posting. After being so belated, to wish a Happy New Year seems superfluous and frivolous. Let Pakcik give a simple excuse; that I have been busy – driving in and out of Terengganu for weddings, and managing the new intakes into Almanar.    

As I sat resting in an easy chair holding a new 2014 diary, my memory flashed back to a time long gone. I recall how faithfully I used to sit to fill the first page of each year’s diary with silent prayers and endless resolutions, refreshed one year after another with a renewed determination. Those days are over. A lap-top is never like pages of a diary, pages which age and can turn yellowish/brownish with time, or can even be damaged by silver fish, but cannot be readily altered or reedited.      

And there, on my writing-table, lies a beautiful calendar with an accompanying letter written in the unmistakable hand of a very dear old friend, Pauline.

A 2014 Calendar

My memory goes back over thirty years ago when we arrived in London, our temporary home. How timely it was that I had to spend some time working in UK, as our No1 was about to join an A-level college, and our No2 was to follow later. 

Among the very first few office colleagues I was introduced in that office building towering high over the Thames and the Waterloo Bridge, was that young English lady who has been a dear friend to this day. Pauline has never failed to send us a beautiful calendar every year over the last twenty years. Isn’t this a record?


A couple of years after our return to KL Pauline and her mother flew in to visit us. One unforgettable incident, that tickles us all till this day, happened one morning when we were in Masjid Negara. Excited over the beauty of the mosque, Pauline did not realise that one part of the marble floor had just been mopped, and she took a fall - harmless enough to become a joke. Over the phone on the Christmas eve three weeks ago we talked and joked about that incident.

What saddens Makcik and me most is that our Pauline has not been too well in recent years. In her handwritten letter accompanying her 2014 calendar she wrote:

“…… I am still recovering from the major operation I had on my stomach and bowl in June but, although not right, I am a lot better than I was. I have booked to go on two cruises next year (2014) – two weeks to the Med in May with my niece, and one week to Norway in July with my friend and my 6-year old Goddaughter. I am looking forward to both. I do wish I could fly but the doctors say ‘no’ – I would be out there to see you!! ……”

I instinctively know, we will meet again one of these days.    

Pakcik can happily go on reminiscing over this very special English lady. Perhaps I would, one day, write about her special love for an active life, especially in Girls Guide. She has been at it for 50 years and, believe it or not, she is now holding the rank of a Commissioner. Her health and having to move in a wheelchair do not prevent her from driving, yearly cruising and Guiding.

We wish all the best for her.


Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Cik Minah Tonggek said...

salam bang hassang, ada gambo pauling dok? saye brase nok kenal gok muke ye, misti comel kang bang?

ngasobahseliman said...

Dear Pak AlManar,
I love your story. I have good friends like that only in memory. But memory teaches us a lot of things too.
For today can I risk a suggestion to you. Whisper 'on her ears' that coming to Islam should be on her agenda.

naniasda said...

Salam Pakcik
A belated Happy New Year 2014 wish to you too. I wish the best too for Pauline, she sounds a very nice person and I envy you Pakcik to have someone sends you beautiful calendars for so long :)

kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
True friends are gems polished to be admired and adored for all their faithfulness and sincerity. They're in a class of their own maintaining great memories that endured time. They remained so for it is all reciprocal in nature.You reaped what you sowed. She obviously felt the same way of you!


Al-Manar said...

Waalaikum Salaam.
( For the benefit of non Terengganu-speak. What I am saying to CMT is that I should not post the lady's photo lest my other half would wonder why I have not posted hers in the first place.It could result im my spending the night beneath the staircase!)

Kalu letok gambo marohlah orang rumoh pulok. Gambo die kite tok buboh gambor orang laing buboh. Saloh buak abangni pulok kena tidor bawoh tangger.

Al-Manar said...


Senior people have more past memories to dwell on. This may appeal to you but I fear offending other readers. So it has to be as brief as possible in saying what is important to me to record.

I am particularly interested in charity work you do involving education of rural children.

Terima kasih atas cadangan itu.

Al-Manar said...


Happy New Year to you too. You must count yourself lucky in many respects. I only have memories of old. From your blog we know you travel places with your family. Isn't that something enviable?

Al-Manar said...


Getting deeper into poetry you are turning more philosophical, Hank. True, we get what we deserve.

Ismail aka Pak Mail said...

AsSalam Pakcik,

Lucky you Sir, to have a very good and sincere friend as Pauline. I once had a friend like her. More to me like a sister. Only thing that we have a communication problem. She don't speak English, nor writings as I don't speaks Italian and writings very well. We communicate in Italian just like a dog and a cat. In the end we both silent and never correspond again.

Al-Manar said...


Waalaikum Salaam.

That sounds a good story for us to read in your blog - a Malay who did not speak Italian and an Italian who did not speak Malay or English, and they corresponded.It is a shame it must end when dictionaries and oogles can help to bridge the gap.

Would you consider writing about that episode of your life? Happy new year, Pakmail

Pak Idrus said...

Pokcik Hassan,Happy New Year to you Sir. May you and Salmah be in the best of health as well.

Have a nice day and take care.

Haji Wan said...

Salam Tn. Hj, After reading a few comments fr your friends through your bloogspot , I feel indebted and " sad" for not having your blogspot earlier. I feel indebted because you are the one that always make the first move to call & " sad" for not extending further the friendship after my last visit with Hj.Ramli Zakaria i.e. about 5 years ago. I promise that I will visit your place after my return from Kajang sometime in Feb 2014.

Al-Manar said...

Pak Idrus,

You seem to slow down a little in updating your blog; presumably tied up with something, or on a journey somewhere. I wonder what your grand plans for the New Year for yourself and your good life companion are. I admire you having a good home and a happy family.

Salaam to you, and we wish you all the success in whatever your new ventures.

Al-Manar said...

Hj Wan,

Waalaikum salaam.
I did not know you had moved nearer to us. You are in a locality where I have some of my closest family members. I think you realise it now. That sixth sense prompted me to call you.

Incidentally, we like Pasar Chabang Tiga and are there once or twice a month. Now I know where to stop for a cup of morning coffee.

Please give me a call when you are back

Unknown said...

Salam, Pakcik, past memories are the best. Love your story. Take care.

Al-Manar said...


Waalaikum Salam.
It is nice to see you dropping by although, sadly, you seem to have abandoned your blog. Old man has very little left but memories. Hope family and business are all well.