11 January 2011

Awang Goneng Reminisces – (Pt 16) – True Life is Stranger than Fiction

As a comment on ( Pakcik’s Number 3 Reminisces - Pt15) Awang Goneng chose to relate something personal, an incident that is common to all of us. We tend to dismiss a coincidence without a second thought. Awang Goneng says his new book (A Map of Trengganu) is devoted to what he claims as ‘strange phenomena of memory and strange encounter. I, for one, am sure to be looking forward this second book of his after the success of his first. Here goes what he wrote to Pakcik:


Dear Abang Ngah,

What a lovely story. But is this the Amran I used to know in Chapel Side, W2? If so I have some photographs of him taken even before he met his mother-in-law to be.

Coincidence and memory are wonderful things. Since I started writing I have seen them collide, shaping the way I think in many different ways. In fact most of the foreword to my new book (A Map of Trengganu) is devoted to this strange phenomena of memory and strange encounters.

About twenty years ago, when travelling on the Circle Line tube on the way home from work, I sensed that the person in front was studying me very closely. I ignored him and immersed my face in a book. He leant forward and asked, "Wan Hulaimi?" I looked up and said immediately, "Oh my God, it's you Ken!" Ken and I were in the same tutorial group at University about five years earlier. He gave me his card - he was now a solicitor - and we promised to meet again for lunch. We never did.

Two years later, I left my job and had to look for a new accommodation. We thought it would be cheaper in the long run for us to buy rather than rent. We needed a solicitor for the conveyancing work, so naturally I thought of Ken, phoned him up, and he took the task immediately. Time for the exchange of contracts. Ken phoned me up to tell me about the deposit (a few thousand in those days). "Give me a couple of days, Ken, " I said. "I'll send you a cheque."

"No rush," said Ken. "I've already paid it for you."

It has been many years now but looking back at it I still find it quite incredible. A person I'd not seen for many years suddenly appearing out of the blue, to give us a bridging loan, and we weren't even best buddies at university. Was it a coincidence or was he sent to us for that purpose?


Mi, it was not AMRAN you were familiar with in Chapel Side. That was indeed my Number 3 but was better associated with “ ------- pudding and pie” !

As for the photographs I myself would like copies to extort him with! You know that he has all daughters, three of them, whom he calls his ‘Charlie’s Angels’. There was an indication to that effect – meeting the would-be MIL first. So he can still hope for boys because he did meet his would-be FIL later.

Thank you for sharing this with us and I am sure many who have read Awang Goneng would welcome your ‘A Map of Trengganu’. Abang Ngah am more familiar with that TRENgganu than the artificial TERENgganu!

Incidentally, is Zaharah not doing something with
her collections? Salaam from to her and the kids (which they are as I remember them) from Kak Mah dan Abang Ngah.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Anonymous said...

Dear Pakcik

Regarding reminisces I have something to add:

1) For more than thirty years I parked my car on the roadside in front of my house just behind my son's. Coming back from the masjid one night it was drizzling and I decided to park it right in front of the gate intending to shift it to its usual place later, leaving a wide gap between the two cars. That night there was a strong wind and storm and next morning I found the huge ciku tree from my garden had toppled over right in between the two vehicles. Thankfully, nothing happened to both cars !!!

2) Once I went to umrah with my son with a stopover in Istanbul. When boarding he was asked to show his passport which he later put in his trouser pocket. At around midnight I was unable to sleep and decided to separate the various currencies and took out my wallet. A coin fell and I started groping the floor but could not find it. Instead I felt something lodged between the seat and the wall (I was at the window seat). On taking it I found it was my son's passport!!!. I asked him to check where his passport was but he couldn't find it. I gave it to him and he was really really surprised.

These two incidents (and many others) convinced me that Allah works in mysterious ways and saved me from lots of troubles otherwise, Alhamdulillah.

Salam to you both.

Wan Sharif said...

Collision between coincidence and memory?.. very interesting and I think you are going to open a flood-gate.. I may have to jog my memory for an interesting one, though..

Al-Manar said...


WE all have gone through such experience but more often than not, we dismiss it as a simple coincidence in life.

It is good of you to elate these two happenings.

Al-Manar said...

Ayah Wan,

Keep jogging your memory and produce a book or two. You are good at it.

Unknown said...

dear pakchik, i procrastinated commenting in the hope i could recall similar incidents because i know a lot of these had happened to me. but i still cannot recall a single one. i have been and still am an avid reader of all sorts of stories. and i find the true life ones are much more incredible than what the human mind can come up with.

Al-Manar said...


How often we find it difficult to recall something which we know is there. Once I was given a kind of puzzle which meant something to me. I am sorry that this would not mean anything to many visitors to Almanar. Since you are good at NUMBERS I am giving you what was said to me. If you make something out of it just smile at yourself.

“I was invited to a wedding on 26-12-2011 i.e. 2+6+1+2+2+0+1+0 = 14, at a house No 14+0 = 14 and I was to confirm by ringing number 01+32+55+42+46 = 1+7+6 = 14. The hostess lost someone very dear to her in the year of 77 i.e. 7+7 = 14 but she has been blessed 14 times over for that loss. Why 14? Well, she is a perfect lady having I thumb + 4 fingers on each hand, praying 1+4 times a day. If you like maths your mind looks at numbers with a special interest.”

Now take a name Nali binte Ahmad. Count the number of alphabets in that name! Do you make it 14?

Is it a coincidence or providence?

Unknown said...

dear pakchik, that is truly incredible. thanks to you, now i have my own niche in the coincidence/providence realm. i didn't have to smile at myself because by the time i finished reading, i found myself already smiling.

Amar Razali said...

As salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakaatuh Pakcik,

I am Amar Razali, the son of Razali Ismail (may Allah shower him mercy & bless his soul) and Noraini Lob Yusof. We met yesterday during the family gathering at Datuk Rais house in Kajang, alhamdulillah.

I was mesmerized with what you have done and contribute to the community through education with AlManar School in my hometown of Kuala Terengganu. Batu Rakit has a special place in my heart as my late father used to be the Principal of Maktab Perguruan Kuala Terengganu Batu Rakit and we used to live there for couple of years.

I would love to come and visit the school and would like to discuss how we can help, insha'Allah. Currently I run an Islamic science education seminars called AlMaghrib Institute (www.almaghrib.org) where we organized double & single weekend seminars on Islamic sciences topics, varied from aqeedah, tauhid, seerah, history, tafseer, and among others.

Insha'Allah our large network of volunteers (around 500 local volunteers) would love to contribute to AlManar students.

Please keep in touch - this is my phone number 013 399 8837 and my email amar.razali@gmail.com. I will be back in Kuala Terengganu at the end of January to attend a wedding and would like to visit the school, insha'Allah.

May Allah bless you, and reward you so much for what you have done to the community, ameen.

Was Salaamu'alaykum,

Amar Razali

Al-Manar said...


Good. Now you have something to chew over!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
Now am breaking into a song....Suratan atau Kebetulan. purrr....meow!

Al-Manar said...

Dear Amar,
I remember meeting you on 16/1, not the first time though. Three years ago we met on the day your dad passed away - Alfatihah for him.

I was saddened by the demise of a person I highly admired and respected. For that I had a posting on him on 3-1-2009, three years ago this month ( Hatinya baik - Pt 2). Since your Mum is my ‘anak sepupu’ you are in fact ‘pangkat cucu’ to me! Of course you are welcome to our house when you are down here. You Dad visited us one Hari Raya when he was still at the Maktab Guru, which now carries his name for his dedication and contribution to education.


Temuk said...

Assalamu'alaikum AL-MANAR

Sejahteranyalah perasaan
membaca kisah tuan dan rakan berkisah silam, kini dan hadapan insan-insan menabur sumbangan.

Seronoknyalah hati
tuan, rakan, kerabat sejati menyambung hubungan berlapis generasi
petanda menyanjung ajaran Nabi.

Al-Manar said...


Your varied talents are not 'kebetulan' - sudah 'suatan takdir. I wonder whether you purr or meow sining a sad song -

.. air mata menitis menderuderu
.. dilanda angin monsoon mengharu
...kebetulan kah
suratan kah itu
... terdehu dehu

Aishah said...


I can't think of an interesting coincidence except sometimes I feel everything is a coincidence and that everything is within God's control and nothing is within ours.

One phenomenon I noticed is if I think of a person, an old friend for example, then suddenly out of the blues I will bump/hear from him or her. Like just now, I was thinking of a person and she sent me an sms. Amazing. But it also means we must always take care of who and what we think about.

Al-Manar said...


Cantiknya susunan kata kata tuan.
Saya menikmati penulisan yang indah tentang pokok pokok yang bewarna-warni, daun yang pelbagai bentuk dan hidup dimerata alam - kerana saya terfikir itu semua bukan secara kebetulan. Agungnya Pencipta itu. Harap tuan terus mengenengahkan kecantikan yang jarang dipandang secara mendalam dengan mata kasar.
Salaam mesra dari Pakcik.

Al-Manar said...

You may indeed possess something special. Isn't this something related to what is often referred to as a sixth sense? There are many events in real life we cannot explain.

I am privileged to have the convidence of someone who tells me that he sees the unseen 'people', even those present (living) around my home. Hardly anyone else is aware of that. Do I believe him? My answer is why cann't I?

If HE chooses to give someone a very tiny bit of what HE owns, who are we to say 'that's not possible'? But we must be aware of the great danger in dealing with the unknown.

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