Thursday, October 30, 2008

The 'Thing' At The Window

IT was the third term school holidays and I was waiting for my LCE (Lower Certificate of Education) results when Pah and Ayah (Grandma and Grandpa) decided to pack me off to Ipoh, to spend the school break with paternal grandparents I hardly knew - Megat Khas and Puteri Hawa.

The late Dato Seri Dr Haji Megat Khas was a giant of a man in both stature and reputation. Born in Istana Talang, Kuala Kangsar, in 1908 and a direct descendant of Megat Tarawis, the first Bendahara of Perak, Tok Megat Khas was also the first Malay to be accepted as a member of the prestigious Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh.

He retired as Perak State Physician, after which he started his own private practice. Tok Megat Khas died of a heart attack at the age of 71 in 1979. Datin Seri Hajah Puteri Hawa, my dad’s mother, was his first cousin and the first of his four wives. She was a chain-smoking, fair-skinned, reed-thin gem of a woman whom I adored from the moment I got to know her.

In reality, both the paternal and maternal sides of my family aren’t that far removed despite the differing locale. The common factor was my grandma Puteri Habibah (the one who raised me); herself from the same Megat clan and first cousin to both Tok Megat Khas and Pah Hawa.

She however broke ranks to marry not only a commoner but also a non-Perakian, a double whammy in every sense of the word. Her marrying an ‘outsider’ (a Kelantanese civil servant from Kuala Krai), was considered a serious breach of social and clan etiquette those days, the kind that would earn one a cold shoulder and a snub twice over.

But Grandma had a mind of her own and made her own choices in life. She married for love, even if it meant leaving the realms of title, wealth and comfort, for the unknown. If you are wondering where the stubborn streak in me came from, look no further.

Being raised by the maternal side of the family in faraway Bukit Besi, sans communication with the clan in Perak, I was naturally filled with trepidation at the idea of spending weeks with total strangers. I didn’t know any of these folks. Would they readily accept me, this gauche kampong girl with owlish glasses, who spoke with that funny East Coast twang?

Despite being 17 and English-educated, I was very much a small-town girl at heart. I had never been anywhere by myself, save for school trips within Dungun, school sports meets in Kuala Terengganu, and the occasional family trips to Kota Baru to visit relatives.

All my life till then, I had met the illustrious Tok Megat Khas only twice; the first time age six, taken to Ipoh on the first ‘proper’ train ride of my life (discounting trips to Dungun on the iron ore-carrying wagon train, of course) and the second time age 12, when he visited Dungun on his nationwide tour as the Commissioner of the St John Ambulance Brigade.

The second meeting, in 1966, was incredibly formal and lasted mere minutes. Grandma took me by the hand, led me up the stage and presented me to him soon after he had inspected the St John Ambulance Brigade's guard-of-honour at Dungun’s Padang Astaka. He gave me a peck on the cheek and enveloped me into a bear hug. And that was it!

Happily enough, I found acceptance in Ipoh that school holiday and enjoyed my stay enormously. Aunts and uncles of my own age group took the bright-eyed schoolgirl under their wings. I was taken to parties and social dos. I wore my first strapless dress (Pah would have whacked me had she known!), went to my first dance, and saw my first Hindi movie (Hethi Mere Sathi).

It was a Thursday evening when Pah Hawa suddenly cautioned, after we had just finished dinner, that I should sleep facing the wall instead of the window that night. Asked why, she nonchalantly said something about not wanting me to see things that might scare the sarong off me.

Put that way, of course her incorrigible granddaughter slept facing the window that night, and as predicted, received her dues. I awoke in the middle of the night to see a gigantic black form filling almost the entire span of the glass window. No features were discernible, only a humongous black shape that looked somewhat human.

My heart almost stopped, yet I had the strangest feeling - scared but not quite. It was more a feeling of wonder and fear rolled into one. Nonetheless, I pulled the blanket over my head and recited some Quranic verses. Mercifully, I fell asleep soon after.

I mentioned this to Pah Hawa over breakfast, with Tok Megat Khas listening intently. He didn't say a word but Pah offered some explanation, saying I had just witnessed the manifestation of the family "guardian", (Jin Islam as it were), who had been with the family for centuries, handed over from one generation to the next.

As I understand it, you can't accept or inherit such "guardian' willy-nilly. You must be a strict Muslim who adheres to all the religious practices and demands, things like daily prayers and such. Failure to do so may bring unpleasant consequences to your family, or the "guardian" may just leave.

I have no further explanation to offer on this matter, though. I am not sure where "it" is now; both my grandpa and my dad are gone and I don't believe the present generation inherits it. I did hear something about it when Mum was still alive, but let it remain untold, for now.

40 comments:

bergen said...

Ma'am, something to share with you, nothing to do with what I've understood from your entry: Ada amalan untuk waris saka suruh sembahyang, baca Qur'an, zikir dan lain-lain. Tapi ni semua syrik sebab niat buat amalan tu bukan kerana lillahita'ala tapi kerana nak dapat saka. Senang jer kalau nak syirik. Sebenarnya nak syirik ni sikit jer. Atas niat jer dah boleh jauh terpesong.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Bergen - I do understand. ni semua orang dulu2 punya amalan. i dont understand jugak why perlukan penjaga, saka and so on.. now ni dah takda, not in my family anyway. benda-benda saka ni dah lama dibuang. arwah my mum told us that much.

Anonymous said...

...which means Megat Najmuddin is an uncle.

JA

Zawi said...

Kama,
Wow, you came from an illustrious family in Perak. I bet the Kelantan side was no less illustrious when it comes to showering you with love and affection.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Indeed, he is, JA. Dad's younger brother. Megat Naj is the eldest son from wife no 2. My dad is the seocnd son from wife no 1.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pok Zawi - hokbeloh Klate tu hok ambo tokleh lupo... very refined.. molek sangak2.

Anonymous said...

Is this your clansman too - one arwah Tuan Haji Megat Mahmud, a former Selangor State Secretary and
Chairman of the Public Services Commission. His eldest of three sons is Megat Dziauddin and an only daughter, Putri Maznah passed away a couple of years ago.

JA

Kama At-Tarawis said...

JA - Arwah Tok Megat Mahmud was Megat Khas's cousin, making him my tok sedara. I know Megat Dziauddin.. :)

mamasita said...

Another best-seller story related in a most intriguing manner.Cuma I got a bit lost with the names along the way..nevertheless a beautiful recount of your childhood days..rupanya you punya lineage bukan calang2 yea..brilliant grandfather and dari kalangan atasan..yet you are so humble and down-to-earth.Spooky story you membuat orang seram betul..as usual you memang braninya oi!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mamasita - keturunan bukan ukuran. kalau keturunan terer tapi perangai mcm setan buat apa. the best thing to remember is - bila mati semua tinggal, bawak amalan aja. malaikat tak tanya awak keturunan mana..LOL

cn said...

12.06 tgh mlm sat ni tadi.. I terjaga dari tido, mimpi bukan-bukan, menyeramkan ..
Pasai hari ni tuleh cerita hantu wehh !!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

CN - cikgu, pi basuh kaki! aparaa...LOL

cn said...

HAHAHAHAHHAHA.... tak koserrr !!!

Anonymous said...

So u r a cousin to a fellow MBSC chatter Zul Cyberangel?

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Anon 8:20 - yup, his mom and my dad are siblings.

A w a n g said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Queen Of The House said...

I was pooh-poohing the idea of saka etc until I had to deal first hand with it. Dah buang semua but ..... eiiiii seram. Ada betul rupanya benda-benda ni.

Looking forward to more of your 'halloween' series :D

Pi Bani said...

Ohh... cucu Dato Megat Khas rupanya... nama jalan pun ada letak nama datuk you. Bolehlah you gi buat suka hati you kat jalan tu... kalau ada orang marah kata, "Oi, ingat ini jalan bapak you ke?!" boleh you jawab, "Tak, ni jalan atok I!" :)

m00n said...

Tell you what ah akak' (got sabdu there meaning pronounce with dengung) When i was born i was given a name with no megat, where else, i'm entitle to. I'm not mad at my dad cos he knows one day some one will write in this kind of blog saying that "malaikat never care who are you! What maters are what are you!!" Thank you eh akak ...

GUiKP said...

I co-organized a conference once in KL, and we invited your uncle as one of the panelists in the corporate governance forum. The audience came mainly from US, Hong Kong, Australia. Oh boy didn't he showcase Malaysia in such a glowing light with his polished presentation. Someone I know went to UK recently to do his PhD, but had hellish time there because the saka followed him. Alhamdulillah, he is now back to normal and is resuming his PhD here.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

QOTH - these things ada, but in the wrong hands, tersimpang pegangan kita..

Pi - hehehe Pi,this modal syiok buat bergaduh sesama drivers..:)

Moon - one day I shall understand what you are trying to say..heheheh

GUIKP - He's a-okay, that megat naj. btw, this saka business can turn hellish if wrongly handled. the best way is to stay away from the whole thing as far as possible.

cn said...

Tumpang ah akak'(also need to pronounce with 'dengung' and a bit of sengau)

mOOnnnnnnnn you mana piiiiiii???
rindew kat u...
your anjer dable rindew kat uuu, sumore she 'cureng' :P with you ( ask Bean, he knows better )...

Maaf ah akak' (pronounce with dengung onli)..tumpang ur blog utk lepas rindew dendam kat mOOnnnn..:P

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Saya takut tidur kat tepi tingkap, kata Pak Malim yg kena tangkap.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Wahai Pak malim, kucing ray yg alim

jangan takut tidur tepi tingkap
takder sapa nak ambik kisah
kecuali kalau ada yg pasang perangkap
alih2 ray kena tangkap basah!

auuu...! kan ke siksa badan!
terus kena kawin koboi, hah baru padan!

Anonymous said...

Lagi komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Kak Kama,

Eh eh, tak baik tau, kata saya kena tangkap basah, kata Pak Malim yg kena belasah. (Dah kena tangkap la tu, kata Pak Malim sambil menggaru kutu). Saya kan, alim, kata Pak Malim. Alim kucing, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai kancing.

m00n said...

anjer tu memang ... teman idok le heran .. teman lebih cureng! akak'(remember got dengung bukang Dungung) ... can tu saper? orang telok intan berlian tu ker ... adeh!! cam fufu jer!!

Pok Deng said...

I am interested with that 'guardian' thing and completely agree with Sir Berg's first comment here. Senang je nak syirik.

You can chant zikr al-ikhlas (qulhuwallah...) 70000 times to 'hire' a qhadam. As simple as that. Tapi niat tu lah, kalu pessong habih syirik. Kekgi Tuhang maroh, masok neraka.

Kak Teh said...

puteri, nothing scares me more than a thingy that is indescribable.
When we first got married, we went to say goodbye to the Terengganu clan before leaving for London. We spent time at the old house in Tanjung. The first night there, I dreamt of an old man in white with janggut sitting at the tiang seri. I woke up and told my AG that - he smiled. He took out an old photograph of his grandfather. It was him. Mungkin nak tengok cucu menantu macam mana rupa! Seram jugak.

But I have heard stories that some people visiting the house would go and offer salam to this invisible person sitting at the tiang seri.

What do you make of this?

Typhoon Sue said...

apa dok citer2 pasal antu nih? seram i... and i'm not usually a scaredy cat kinda person y'know..
*shudders*

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pok Deng - dok chekak gamoknyer nok bacer qulhuallah 70,000 kali..LOL.. kalu nak guard like this, might as well pi hire kat securiforce la kot...hehehe

Kak teh - isyy, berdiri bulu roma baca yr comment, kak teh! Then again, you could very well be blessed with "something', to be able to see the man at the tiang seri. I guess it's no harm done, as long as we know who. If I were you, I'd probably salaam him :)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

hehehe sue - in the spirit of halloween sweetheart.. LOL.. trust me, I'm good at scaring the socks off ppl..:)

GUiKP said...

Kama, tumpang lalu nak korek rahsia ...
Kak Teh,
KI ada bercerita tak tentang bab-bab ni. Dia ada selori. Jari waris hantu tu tak ada benda berbanding dengan apa yang dia pernah alami.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Halloween indeed!! Ghosts, spirits, Micheal Jackson's thriller et all.

In school last time, a few of my friends were "Puteris" and their brothers were
"Megats". Wahhh...how I envied them, Princess and Pahlawan gitu!!

lenzaidi said...

Kama,
I believe when you go to a new place be it on the sea or the land especially the jungle,its only proper to give salam otherwise consciously utter the salam in your heart.
Ive encountered once which is not as scarry told by you.A figure of a young boy naked is what some people called toyol? When i narrate this to my elder, they foresaid that i may travel far. Indeed ive been to many places. Just 3 years back was on hubby crossposting to Bangkok.Happy to be home now.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kay - that's nice to know. kalau di pagar ruyung, the ancestral seat of the clan, our minangkabau term for it is Maha Gaek (the great one)and the women are called Puti (princess).

Len - oooo, toyol? nasib baik duit you tak kena kebas..:)

m00n said...

an2 said... akak (with no sabdu, candu, dengung dugong or wat so eber) dont try to understand wat mOOn's trying to say... it would shorten ur life for the stress of not understanding. haha... tak sabar skit lagi nak panggil akak... hajah akak. nanti kalau kita gi nyanyi, kita nyanyi lagu nasyid jer... salam buat abg.

m00n said...

an2 said (again).. about saka. Now days we have gated community with GURKHA guards to take care of our safety when our reliable one is not around. 100 yrs ago there is no gurkha guard. Recently i have to pay RM250.00 (A thousand actually for each family which consist of 7 familes)to take away all the saka. it has been commercialized. My mom said it was inherited during my great great grandmother time, when it was a normal thing to do and having the upper class of standard of living. the saka are the guardian for the love ones as the leader of family would take weeks or month to come home once they traveled to other places for business purposed. or mencari rezeki i would say.

Just me...Naz said...

my sis's indon maid..came for a week, terus buka business: ajak mat bangla datang for happy hours when the family is out at school/work. she got caught, scolded and my sis decided to send her back to the agent. mlm tu juga she ran away but she left *things* with her. my nephew berbulan kena berubat. benda tu ada bawah katil, and he pernah nampak duk mencangkung kat dapur a few times. senja saja, nampak benda tu berkeliaran depan rumah. yg i think menakutkan bila one night, my nephew macam orang tak ingat asyik sumbat roti masuk mulut dia..sampai almost choking pun tangan dia tak boleh stop, terus sumbat. tapi nampak mata dia macam org desperate. kesian betul..

Malaysian Tigress said...

Kak Kama,

Setuju with Bergen 100 peratus...memende ni leh bawak inadvertently kepada syirik...none of this existed/practised by the Prophet saw and his sahabah....

That Tun Fatimah thingy also yang kena possess...silat ni ade gak bab2 yang masih "blur" to put it politely....BTW I practised senaman silat for awhile...very good (the kosher version...hahaha).

Malaysian Tigress said...

Btw, bapak anak2 i ni orang nogori...hampir setiap malam pakcik tu mimpi ngeri...rasa nak penampar dia suruh bangun bila malam2 dia mimpi gelut hantu/menatang ngeri (I think it is some kinda saka nogori kacau)..kita yang meremang bulu roma dengar dia mnegerang macam hantu sebab suara tak leh keluar...mak dia pun samaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..............