07 January 2011

Pakcik's Number 3 Reminisces ( Pt 15) - True Life is Stranger than Fiction

Reading Pakcik’s reminiscence (Pt 14) my No 3 was reminded of an uncanny incident, noted it down and passed it to Pakcik as part of his comments. I am inclined to post this as a new entry. Here is what he wrote to Pakcik:



Seventeen years ago in 1993, Mdm Quah, who came from Penang, was in London for a short stop-over whilst on the way to the US to see her daughter. In London, she went to Flat 5, Queensgate Terrace to drop off a package for one of her friend’s daughters. When she arrived at the ground floor apartment, she found nobody home. So, she went up a flight of stairs and knocked on the door of the first apartment she saw. A malay boy happened to open the door. Mdm Quah explained to the boy that she was there to leave a package for someone living on the ground floor.

“ I wonder if I could ask you to pass this to her,” pleading for a simple favour.

“ But of course, Madam. That’s no trouble at all,” replied the Malay boy, picking up the small package from the Chinese lady. With a smile she looked at the boy’s face and thanked him earnestly.

That evening the boy dutifully passed the package to its owner on the ground floor.

That was a little incident, an insignificant footnote in both Mdm Quah’s and the boy’s life; in anyone’s life for that matter. Two complete strangers meeting for a very fleeting moment, both in a place far far away from home


Fifteen years later after a normal family dinner I was having a casual conversation with my mother in law. I had just returned from Chicago on business and so we were exchanging travel stories. She was reminded of her trip to the US many years ago. She had had a stop-over in London.

Then she began to reminisce of what she did in London, including a visit to a block of flats on Queensgate to pass a small package to a friend’s daughter.

“Oh,” I said, “what a coincidence, I used to live there when I was studying at Imperil College.”

She said that her friend’s daughter was not in. As it was not easy to get there again, she walked up the stairs and gave a knock on the first door she saw.
“Oh, “I said again, “I used to live on the first floor.”

She then said a Malay boy popped his head out. So, she thought it was safe to ask a fellow Malaysian to hand the package over to the girl, she went on to relate her story.

At that instance, it all clicked – London … Queensgate ….1993 ….. a Chinese lady from Malaysia …. a package … for the girl on the ground floor … ?”

Oh, I said ….. My mouth went agape as the realization hit me. “ So it was you, Ma! “

“ ..and you, Amran!” was all that my Chinese mother in law could say, realizing too what truly happened fifteen years ealier.

We looked at each other silently for what seemed a long few minutes. We both realized, at the very same instant, that we had met before.

I met my wife’s mother even before I had met my wife! I only met my wife-to-be a good two years later after I had graduated and returned back to KL.



Is there such thing as coincidence, that a thing happens without a reason?
Here I referred my No 3 to the Quranic Surah Yunus in connection with the creation of the planetary system (ayat 5 , part of which is shown below ).

Muhammad Asad’s understanding of this was :

“ …………. None of this has God created without (inner truth). Clearly does He spell out these messages unto people of (innate) knowledge.”

Mohammad Asad added the following explanatory notes in relation to the above Quranic verse:

…………. implying that everything in this universe – whether existent or potential or abstract – is meaningful, and nothing isaccidental’ ……..”

Unfortunately, we do not possess the faculty to understand all the “messages”, but that should not stop us from thinking.

No 3 met his wife’s mother years before he met his wife-to-be and Pakcik met her much later. And all these ending with Malcik and Pakcik acquiring a charming daughter-in-law from a Chinese family, one I never dreamed of and bargained for but one we are all very grateful to Allah for. Who can we account for all these to have happened?

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
People (not cats) say, things happen for a reason. What a lovely story you wrote here. purrr....meow!

Al-Manar said...

What's happening down under?
A few days ago I met a cousin of Imam Hj Abd Malik. I also received news from one of his sons - the news is far from good. I pray for this dear old friend. My salaam to him in case you happen to see him.

norzah said...

Muslims have plenty of reminders in the al-Quran and Hadiths that nothing which happened in this world is random or accidental. It's all ordained and preset though we never know until we see it as coincidental.
The Christian says 'The Lord works in mysterious ways" making things happened most unexpectedly. A
very nice and touching story Akhi Pakcik Al-Manar.
Love it.

Wan Sharif said...

I think you have misplaced the ) in Muhammad Asad’s :“ …………. None of this has God created without (inner truth).

only inner should be in bracket, Non?!

Nice and lovely story..
I supposed your son did not have a good look of his MIL-to be back then..
Just imagine what the MIL would react if Imran has not given the package to her friend's daughter.. Hypothetical only .. ha..ha..
But then.. she did get a good and trustworthy SIL..

Al-Manar said...


Akhi, so you know something of the bible as well. I remember Scripture as a subject in the 1950's and my elder brother mentioned that a few Malay pupils took up that subject in a school in a West Coast state simply because that was a subject easy to pass. Shouldn't we now make Islamic subject easy to pass? I know you enjoy and are good at debating tricky issues - a topic for your blog!

Al-Manar said...

Ayah Wan,

Thank you my friend. We can never be too careful!

Your hypothetical question is good for the SPM chapter on Chance and Probability. Your brain works wonders, Ayoh Wang.

norzah said...

Making Islam an easy and popular subject for study in school IS THE BIG ISSUE. The ustaz and education dept always try to make things difficult. Result, students hate the subject. Like learning the hukjum-hukum tajwid. Itu yang diutamakan and not the meaning of the ayat.
Anyway, Akhi, even if you argue things based on the Nas, we are not an ustaz and the authorities will tear us to pieces. That's why I steer away from discussing Islam per se or the unpopular way it's being taught in schools.

Al-Manar said...

Akhi Norzah

I am with you on this.

Unknown said...

Hi Pakcik,

I have a similar experiences. I have a primary school classmate and i have a secondary school classmate. Both of these 2 classmate became best mate and housemate/roommate in University and i found them both on Facebook last year.


Al-Manar said...


... and we wonder how such an incident can come about.

Anonymous said...

Pakcik, thank you for teaching me.

Mohd Sahdan

Al-Manar said...

Mohd Sahdan,

You are welcome