24 January 2014

All in the family (Pt 11) – Weddings

Two Weddings of the year

Within the first ten days of this month, January 2014, the two of us had to shuttle twice between KT and KL. Of course, as usual, we did it all in our old jalopy. The trips were important as we could not possibly miss the weddings of two persons fondly considered as part of our family.

( i ) One wedding we could not miss

Months ago we were forewarned of a wedding which, had we not been invited, we would have gate-crashed to be there! It was the wedding of the first grand-daughter in that special family; a family that Pakcik chose to post about on 25th Feb last year (Click‘A very special family’)

Three decades does not seem that long when we flip a memory page. It is still there, the time when the mother of the bride was just a teenager, the first child of a senior government officer. We were pleasantly surprised that the girl was given permission by her parents to join us on a holiday abroad. That was the sort of trust we gracefully accepted.

Three decades ago - a school girl

And today that school girl is a specialist,a Datin Professor and a proud mother of a bride.

Today - Her daughter is a bride

That is what a period of three decades has done to our life; at least in age, growth and stature. The two of us cannot help being envious that  ( insya Allah ) by the turn of the year 2014 the parents of the new bride would be grandparents and, naturally  their parents would be proud great-grandparents for the first time – beating the two of us to that coveted title.      


( ii )  Another wedding we could not miss 

And also about three decades ago, our first two children joined two boarding schools lying side by side in Cheras, less than half-an-hour’s drive from our home then. Living and socialising during their subsequent years gave these two children the opportunity to acquire a circle of very close friends. It was more noticeable in the case of our No2 (boy) who was there for five years, from Form One to Form Five. Our No 1 (girl) spent only two years from Form Four to Form Five.

Half way through his hostel life, we became aware of our No2's interest in music and the formation of a musical group, which performed at their school functions. We understood the group was good enough to be invited to the function of at least one girls’ school. To our surprise their mentor was not a musical teacher but a certain Pak Kasman, a general employee who seemed to have varied duties at the school; as a driver, general worker and watchman. Obviously he was an accomplished guitar player in his own right.

The musical group did not disintegrate when the members dispersed after their SPM examination; progressing to various universities abroad, including Cambridge, and returning years later as professionals in engineering, medicine, law , architect, etc. What is amazing to us to day is how music has kept some of them together.

 I remembers the years when they began to appreciate songs and music. Those were the days of John Lennon ( the Beatles ) and Freddie Mercury ( the Queen ). Members of the Queen, in particular, were known to be young university undergraduates. That could a motivating factor to form their own musical group. As men with varied careers these 'children' have been having their 'jamming sessions'. I understand they have, as well, been entertainers at private company-parties. 

I was not surprised when I came to know that this group of 'professionals' aspire to produce an album of their own one day!

The 'Professionals' 

Performing at a function

Their drummer (at a function)


Full of concentration (at a private party)

Hard at work (at a private party)


Pakcik and Makcik are privileged to have known these children pretty well from their days in school. They are our extended ‘children’. On the 4th day of the New Year (2014) the only bachelor member of this special group flew  all the way to KT to personally invite us to his wedding.

The last member to start a family

How on earth could we deny his wish after all the years we have treated him like one of our children?     

The groom himself and his group( at his wedding )

The groom and gang entertainig guests                  

  An occasion to cherish

There we met our old ‘children’ ( certainly no longer young school boys! ) Indeed, it was a very happy occasion for us.  

Our 'children'

Typical smile of Engineers  from Sheffield and Bradford

Aren't they happy?

It was also an opportunity for us to meet those we had not seen for quite a while. One of them was surprised when I told him that I still remembered him too well – a boy from FELDA in Johore ; who went to the States to do aeronautical engineering.



Those were two happy occasions of two weddings early this year.

Isn’t life richer when we can claim having so many successful ‘children’?


Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan

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