Sunday, August 24, 2008

What A Memorable Kenduri...!

Some of Pak Abu's KLGCC golf buddies
Uncle Som (left, in green), chatting with moi..
Pok Ku (right), hurrying to get second helping, I think
Our ever-jovial uncle Ayahcik Li (right) and family
My sister Ana (right), husband Annuar and family
New grandma Idah (the one grinning broadly, naturally)
Pak Abu's stepmom, right, with the rest of the Kampar clan
It's karaoke time!

Our humble abode was packed to the brim recent Friday night. The murmurs of doa (prayers), led by a man who, once upon a time, shunned prayers and the mosque, reverberated within the four walls.

Oh, how my pride swelled! My breath caught and tears welled in the corners of these tired old eyes. Deep in my heart, I couldn't thank God enough for all His blessings, to be able to bear witness to such a touching scene.

Some 70 relatives, friends and new neighbours turned up for our kenduri doa selamat (thanksgiving feast and prayers) to mark our move to this new place.

My beloved eldest brother Yusoff, the ex-army man infamous for all kinds of wild shenanigans in his younger days, took the lead in leading the congregation. He is now a mosque bilal (muezzin) who spends most of his time managing the burial of Muslim jenazah (dead body).

Who would have thought it would come to this, for this was the man who used to complain how annoying and irritating the subuh (dawn) call to prayer was. Allahu Akbar - God is truly great.

Pak Abu was at his happiest self, playing host to his golf buddies and former schoolmates and other guests who took the trouble to attend our function despite the rain and a gridlock in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

As for me, words couldn't even begin to explain my feelings. After four decades, my sisters and I came face to face again with someone from our distant past, a man brought into our sphere of existence once again, through the wonders of the Internet.

Uncle Mohd Som, a close friend of our late parents, whom we last met in the old mining town of Bukit Besi the mid-1960s, came with his wife. My heart skipped a beat when I salaamed this kindly man for he reminded me so much of Mak and Bapak.

That he still looked so segak (good), I must say for the record. I kept him company while he ate. We chatted amiably about days of yore and he told us, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, how he could never forget our mom in her succession of tight-fitting kebayas!

How could we not love this man who bridged the span of our childhood to adulthood with such delicious tales! Uncle Mohd Som, thank you for the memory. You are such a gem!

Accompanying him was no less than the ever-gracious Tengku Bustaman (Pok Ku to us proud Terengganuese), my favourite person in Angkasapuri when I was a newspaper reporter doing the entertainment beat two decades ago.

I said 'favourite person' because Pok Ku allowed me to use his office as a smoking sanctuary. Not only that, he even supplied this cash-strapped but chain-smoking reporter with duty-free Cartier cigarettes on so many occasions. Ah, the memory of free rokok!

Pok Ku and I parted company when I left journalism in 1990 to try my hand in public relations. I 'met' him again by chance, when my Internet-savvy sister Izah told me to check out an interesting blog titled 'Dibawah Rang Ikang Kering'.

As it were, Uncle Mohd Som and Pok Ku were schoolmates and he frequently visits Pok Ku's blogsite where I left my paw mark every now and then. That was how our link was re-established. Thank you Uncle Mohd Som, Pok Ku and everyone who came. We were truly humbled by your presence.

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