Monday, March 28, 2011

Sobering Thoughts At A Wedding

Nabilah & Adnan

Bride and groom flanked by the bride's maternal grandfather Pak Lang Ahmad (left) and guest-of-honour Tun Rahah, MiL's long-time family friend (right). Seated next to Tun Rahah is the bride's paternal grandmother and my erstwhile MiL, Puan Sri Hjh Halimah Mohd Isa.

I saw him as I was tucking in the delicious spread at my niece Nabilah's wedding reception yesterday. Tall and erect, he was seated at the table adjoining ours, quietly observing the crowd.

I was drawn to his black, highly polished patent leather shoes. They sparkled and shone like a beacon and spoke of high discipline. And they brought back memories of long ago. My heart suddenly ached.

The wearer looked kind of familiar, despite the years etched on his face. Reed-thin, eyes somewhat squinty, he must be in his 80s. There was a slight tremor in his hands as he gestured in an unsteady voice.

I tried hard to recall that face for I knew this man wasn't a stranger. Then one of the uncles spoke, nudging me towards the old man: "Don't you remember him, May? That's Pakcik Omar."

Indeed he was! At the mention of his name, I put down my cutlery, eased out of my chair and went over to where he sat.

As though on cue, he stood up and graciously took my outstretched hands. "What a pleasant surprise, Pakcik Omar!" I exclaimed, holding his hands tightly.

It has been 36 years since we last met and I knew he couldn't figure me out. It was when I introduced myself that his lips quivered and those eyes began to brim.

He asked about the ex, the eldest son of his former boss. I didn't have the heart to tell him that we got ourselves uncoupled a quarter of a century ago, after 14 years of marriage.

Pakcik Omar cheated death and lived to tell the tale. Sarjan Omar (as he was then), was my late father-in-law's police-designated chauffeur and was behind the wheels when Bapak was assassinated.

They had just left the IGP's official residence in Jalan Kia Peng, and were travelling along the narrow Lorong Raja Chulan stretch in mid-town Kuala Lumpur, when two gunmen sprayed bullets into the car.

Bapak died almost instantaneously, 11 bullet holes riddling his body. Pakcik Omar took a nick in the neck and hand but managed to open the driver's door and crawled out.

The cold-blooded murder of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Hashim in 1974 shocked the country. Today, 37 years on, there is still no closure in sight.

Seeing Pakcik Omar yesterday brought back the painful memories of Bapak's sudden passing. If Bapak were still alive, he would be 87 today, and Wan (Grandpa) to some 30 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren.

On the occassion of Nabilah's wedding, my thoughts went to Bapak, who never had the opportunity of knowing his many cucus and cicits, save for a grandson (now 40) who was three when he died ...............


HHalem said...

Load of bersanding and wedding:-)

High time to have cucu now.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

halem - my prayers, that.. cepat2 kawin, cepat bagi i cucu.. hehehe

Wan Sharif said...

Love the PakCik Umar part..

an0nymous-ign0ranus said...

i love the way you write your stories.

Anonymous said...


I always like and enjoy reading your writings. I really wish I could do the same. Boleh kasi tips tak?

Rafiah (Singapore)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

wan - and it was good to see him again..

anon - tq for such kind words.

rafiah - tq.. tapi saya sendiri tak tau macam mana nak kasi tips because i simply write what comes to mind..

Karina Mohamed Kamal said...

Mak Ngah! You made me cry so early in the morning!!!