22 July 2014

Pakcik Remimisces (Pt 36) – The three we have

Over thirty years ago we were blessed with three children That, apart from the very life that we are still breathing today, is His most meaningful and invaluable gift to us.

Mother & her 3 children with father's favourite Pallas  

It was a real test of courage for the mother when those three babies were destined to come into this world through caesarian operations, which by today’s standard was primitive in those days. To put it crudely, a doctor would cut up enough opening in the mother’s abdomen for the baby to be taken out and the gap stitched close with whatever thread used at that time. That harrowing and traumatic part was replayed a week later when the thread that bound the wound had to be removed; what fear and pain accompanying it. To go through that traumatic experience once was enough but having to go through that same process the second and third time was psychologically a torture. Nevertheless, this mother surrendered herself to Him simply for the strong desire to have more children. The prominent gynaecologist of that era, Dr McCoy recommended a permanent stop against any fancy idea of going beyond three, let alone to go for ‘cheaper 
by the dozen’ !

Note on Dr Mc Coy

Dato’ Dr. Ronald Stephen McCoy was born on May 5, 1930

A past president of MMA (Malaysian Medical Association)
He was among the first group of students to be admitted to the University of Malaya in Singapore when it was founded in 1949.Dato' McCoy is currently a member of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, a group of seventeen distinguished and eminent persons from 12 countries appointed by former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating to propose practical measures for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
From Straits Times on the occasion of 'Victorian of the Year 2004' - Victorian Indtituition, KL

Today with improved technique, a mother can go through such operation practically unlimited. Our own daughter braved through four operations with a smile. The dreaded and painful experience of unstitching the wound was no longer necessary with self-dissolving thread. Some mothers, we are given to understand, opt for operations for personal reasons; such as a desired birthday for a baby and in some cases, I am given to understand, to avoid any body damage to the mother.

n/b: We have our way of marking birth dates for the three children, encoded in the car number plates - the inseparable three.

7917 ?
The encoded birthday dates and mother's old favourite

Today, as an expecting father, I recall those harrowing moments when I sat saying my prayers for the safety of my beloved life partner.


Some years later when the three children reached their schooling age I was determined to start them learn the meaning of humility through the process of growing up. We had a comfortable life but the children had to learn that ours was not the norm. For that reason we decided on two schools in Brickfields, thirty years ago, a semi slum area where one would find homes of poor families and accommodations for general labourers of Malayan Railway and squatters as well.

One would not see a child being scheuffer-driven to those two schools. Makcik used to volunteer to prepare milk ( from milk powder donated by a company) and dispense it to poor children at the school. It was also not unusual for one of our children to tell us on his return from school that a friend borrowed five or ten cents to make up enough to buy something. Our advice was never to accept the money back, whatever was given was to be treated as a gift. In those days it was not uncommon for children to go to schools with 20 or 30 cents each. We wanted our children to realise how lucky they were in life. No one talked in those schools about having enjoyed holidays abroad.

Indeed, our three children survived well at those lowly-rated schools. But their father was a ‘tyrant’ at home making them work extra lessons. And today, that ‘tyrant’ has spent the last twenty years ‘terrorising’ the poor children at Almanar. And, hopefully, our children and grandchildren, continue to live with full realisation that there are others whose life is not as fortunate as theirs.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
That's wonderful! Knowing more of your own and what parents sacrificed. This reminded me of what happened when my First Born came into this world. I've recorded it in the posting below:


Incidentally Dr McCoy was the gynae also, at Pantai Hosp at that time.

You also reminded me how I was given by my late mother just 15cts per day. That would be 10cts for nasi lemak or 2 Indian varde and 5cts for drinks. If 20cts was given I was reminded to save 5 cts for next day. What I did I sometimes (when I wanted to buy something else later and not wanting to bother my late mother) I would save 10cts and spent only 10cts plus drinks from the tap water. Apparently the taps were cleaner in those days.


NBK said...

Assalamualaikum Pakcik. Thank you for sharing..its great to know that some one purposely 'sacrifice'their comfort in order to bring up a more 'concerned' children. I personally remember bekal nasi that my mum prepared from ration (canned food) given by abang askar that look after us in sg.koyan in 1975 to 1978. Sg.koyan 2 was populated by army pensioners that they require some guard from the ?communist in those time...my mum's homeade cooked packed in daun pisang was super delicious.

Al-Manar said...


I thought I had seen seen someone mentioning Dr McCoy. Now you have reminded me your posting which I had glanced before. That great doctor helped Shadah to deliver Adura and my Salmah to deliver our Ainun. Fancy their initials, S and A !

That was the era we went through, Hank - the five and ten-cent coins, tap water or, in my case, straight from the well, being pre tap era.

Al-Manar said...

Waalaikum Salaam to you and selamat berpuasa.

I have heard of Sg Koyan. I wonder why the name is so familiar to me. I must ask you to tell me more about this. Perhaps you would let me have your mail. Mine: almanar@pd.jaring.my.

Thank you for calling on us.

Howard said...


What a surpise to see Dr McCoy on your blog! He delivered our son Justin at the Pantai Hospital on May 15, 1983, when my wife Patricia was a lecturer at UM ! Thank you for the memories!


Linda said...

Tq for dropped by...well said Al-Manar, only Allah knows best :)

Al-Manar said...


What a coincidence that a number of us here consulted that same extraordinary doctor at one time or another.

It is a surprise to me seing you as I have been wondering where the two of you are, here, there up north or there in the wild west. I cherish the hope that that one fine day we will meet you and Patricia in real life with a cup of cup of Boh tea, Japanese special or the famous Boston Tea.

Al-Manar said...


Why not drop in more regularly?
Puasalah beberapa hari yang masih ntinggal selamat dan berhari raya. Kita semua berdoalah agar kiita masih ada lagi ditahun tahun hadapan menyambut bulan mulia ini.

Linda said...

InsyaAllah...will do. Semoga ini bukan Ramadhan yg terakhir...

Ismail aka Pak Mail said...

Assalamualaikom Palcik,

In syaa Allah esok kita akan sambut eidul fitri. Saya mengambil kesempatan mengucapkan salam lebaran buat Pakcik seisi keluarga dengan harapan semuga diberkati serta diberi kesihatan yang baik oleh Allah swt hendaknya. Saya percaya pada usia emas begini, kesihatan yang baik yang kita inginkan.

Minal aidin wal faizin.....

Al-Manar said...

Sdr PakMail,

Waalakum Salaam.

Betul, PakMail, kesihatan yang baiklah yang kita inginkan. Diizinkan Allah kita terus diberi nikmat ini sehingga akhirnya untuk kita menunjukkan kesyukuran kita kepadaNya.

Selamat berhari raya dengan anak cucu semua dengan doa dipanjangkan umur dengan kesihatan dan ketenteraman.

Awang Goneng said...

Assalamu 'alaikum Abang Ngah: I'm an occasional visitor, I'm sorry. But I am impressed by the number of cars you have collected in your life. You have been such an influence on me that every time someone mentions Loughborough I immediately think of you. And that's because in those far off days, every Raya time my father would receive a card from you in faraway Loughborough. I imagined you walking there with bits of wire in your pocket and thinking numbers in your head and reading engineering books. On Raya day your dear late brother (May Allah give him Rahmah) would produce his camera and take snaps, one of which I used on the back cover of my book. Now he's gone, that wonderful house is gone, the old menara of the Masjid Abidin is gone, and so too Che Ngoh Meroh. But you are still thriving, doing wonderful work. May Allah bless you both and continue to give you both good health.

Al-Manar said...

Awang Goneng,
Waalauk Salaam, Mi..
I am pleased to see you again, firing Abang Ngah's fond memories of those very dear people and objects all of which have gone for good, and of which the present generation would sadly never experience - of Ayoh Ngoh Meroh and his zest for sweeping his compound, koloh besar and timber temaga of the mosque, and the very peaceful atmosphere of Kampong Masjid. It is now Kampong Cina all right through, and I, plus many others, have been sent back to the suburban, only to see more invasion - under the guise of mbagung or Melayu begong.

I have heard whispers that kedar payang tok jadi rotoh. If that is so you have played your part, but the back of kampong cina is now beautiful esplanade, giving them opportunities to do business back and front. Alas! what has become of kedaa mat ttumik and istana kolang? Those are memories that Abang Ngah will take along 'to the end of recorded time.'

Mi, Do not praise Abang Ngah for what I am doing. I am forced to do something to while away my autumn, at the same time hoping to hold back a little of the invasion.

Hope Haari Raya has been pleasant for you all in Kota London. I wonder if they will ever build something to make Marble Arch larger to attract tourism from oang oang besor Tengganu who may have ideas of making a replica of Marble Arch on the internationally famous Terengganu island of world mosques!

Omong Mak Long..... said...

Assalamualaikum Pakcik,

Lama saya tidak melayari blog-blog kenalan dan kegemaran kerana kesempitan masa terluang. Banyak berita dan cerita yang ketinggalan.

Pakcik menyebut tentang Dr McCoy 'the gynae'. Sesungguhnya kecil dunia ini. Saya juga pernah menerima rawatan dari beliau dengan kelahiran anak ketiga kami di Hospital Pantai.