Friday, 2 October 2009

Of birthdays, illnesses and funerals

Auntie is blogging from a KFC in PJ coz auntie is attending an advocacy workshop with women of all backgrounds a few of which, Insya Allah, will be auntie's research respondents.  And because of research, auntie kena give up weekends with AH to source out for potential respondents. But it is also to create real change to women's lives yg being discriminated against in many aspects of their lives so, Insya Allah auntie's research bukan academic exercise semata-mata tetapi juga fi sabilillah dalam erti kata yg lebih meluas.

Apa kena-mengena KFC dgn advocacy workshop? Like this. Oleh kerana ahli akademik cannot afford to be luxurious and sometimes have to be cheapskate, auntie kena do a 2-in-1, dinner and getting free access to internet. Since both of hotel's dinner and internet use cost a bomb (a manifold more than auntie's per diem), auntie pun decide to berjalan 10 minute ke luar hotel dan berblogging dan fb-ing from KFC. Masalah KFC ialah diorang sengaja tak buat electric outlet (auntie dah cari merata2 takde) so auntie kena try to update blog ni dlm masa 2 jam yg auntie's battery allows (al-maklumlah, 1st generation netbook punya battery life sungguh lah hampeh).

Tapi auntie bukan nak update about auntie's working weekend. Sebenarnya, auntie nak sorot sedikit peristiwa yg berlaku beberapa bulan yg lepas since auntie dah jarang update blog.  Many happy and sad occurences mendatangi (chewah!) hidup auntie semasa auntie tak berblogging. Birthdays are, of course, inevitable. Auntie's parents and a few friends were taken ill and sadly, sadly people auntie were closed to passed away.

Let's start with illnesses first. Both Auntie's and AH's parents are not well elderlies but Wan's and Aki's health seems to be experiencing more dramatic change. Wan's weak heart condition has been recurring more frequently in the  last few months and just before puasa Wan was hospitalised. It gave all of us quite a bit of scare, tapi, alhamdulillah, no untoward incident happen. Cuma, very, very difficult to ensure Wan does not over exert herself. Similar concern of course goes also to Aki's situation. Aki has experienced a kind of slipped disc and auntie noticed his mobility is slowly becoming hampered (he gets tired easily and when he resort to praying sitting down you can really gauge his pain). Wan has had mobility problems for some years now. Auntie noticed the reduction in mobility in both parents are having quite a psychological toll on them although they may not have expressed it as such. What we think is best for Wan and Aki in terms of providing the best care for them and what we can achieve taking into account various circumstances are not quite reconcilable at the moment. Hopefully, something feasible can be found soon.

Other than the parents' ill-health, a few of the people auntie knows had also had close encounters with hospitals. In June, mamachupan was admitted due a problem with a short-lived pregnancy. But Auntie thinks the end result is probably best for mamachupan despite it being a little sad. Very recently, auntie's friend and colleague was admitted for a gall stone removal.  Her situation is a bit risky but alhamdulillah, the operation went well and hopefully she is recuperating well.  Being single, for her, perhaps there is some challenges in getting a good home care after the hospital stint but auntie hopes she has sufficient support from her family. Actually, this issue is true even for people who are not single because even if you are married and/ or have children, it does not guarantee that you will be looked after when you are temporarily/ permanently incapacitated. And even if you are single, if you have enough really, really good relatives and friends, you may turn out to be one very lucky person when these things happen. Contohnya, kawan2 auntie si samantha and nyonya tu mungkin akan dok di rumah org2 tua vogue bila pencen nanti tetapi mereka sure happy coz ada kawan2 yg jauh lebih muda (kakakaka!) seperti auntie and AH yg for sure akan visit mereka utk bergossip, bring them panadol soluble and sambil menyorok2 dari nurses [hopefully masa ni dah ramai nurses lelaki yg ala2 cung-melecung dan bukan pok yam], menyuakan (bukan suap, ye!) mereka nasi minyak hameediah. As for auntie and AH, kalau auntie turn out to be childless sampai tua, hopefully adalah di antara kiddies yg akan rajin jengok2 we all sambil tolong bawak- and suap, ice-cream. Such is life.

Samantha and mamachupan during the latter's stint at the hospital

Saddest events were few but were still deeply felt.  Just before puasa, on a Thursday evening, Kak Zaimah, our very close cousin in Trengganu, passed away, possibly due to heart problem. She was 58, I think. Kak Zemah, as we called her, was not only a cousin but also pseudo-second-mother to all of Auntie's adik-beradik.  She came to live with Wan and Aki since she was 16, to help Wan and Aki looked after us.  She was especially close to Acik Din and Auntie believes her passing was especially felt by him, and it was also at a time very near his birthday.  Some of Auntie's memories of Kak Zemah were of mundane things but very nostalgic and meaningful. Kak Zemah loves to watch dramas on TV and one of her favourite prgrms was a 60's drama series "The Coronet Blue". Yg auntie ingat cerita tu ada hero yg ala-ala hensem. Tapi hujung pangkal cerita langsung auntie tak tau/ ingat. Satu lagi Kak Zemah suka sangat 'Peyton Place'. This drama series auntie rasa many people are familiar with, starred Ryan O'Neal and Mia Farrow. These prgms were all shown very late at night. It was a time for K Zemah to wind down after a hard day's work looking after us.  Also K Zemah's favourite past time is to go to the salon bila Wan bagi dia duit at the end of the month. She would come home with different hairstyles and sometimes us cruel kids would tease her, macam Syarifah Aini lah, macam org tu lah, org ni lah...K Zemah was a special person because she has a kind of 'gift'. But this gift was also the bane of her existence because she would sometimes be taken ill as a result. Auntie thinks she remained single because she felt no partner would be able to deal with the 'gift'.  K Zemah was a a strong, independent woman. She was not shy to express her opinions to anyone who would listen and she is highly intelligent despite not having gone to school after Std 6.  She was very compassionate and patience with us but firm where it matters.  She was a good listener to all our childhood grievances but would not hesitate to tell us of when we were wrong.

Kak Zemah ceased to live with us when most of us started to go away for schools.  She went back to live with her mother and worked as a cook in a restaurant in Trengganu. Auntie some times regret not keeping in touch with her more often when we got older. The last time Auntie remembered meeting K Zemah was perhaps during Acik Din's wedding. The year before, K Zemah actually hired a taxi from Kuala Trengganu to Kuantan just to see Auntie got married to AH. She was only able to stay for 4 hours before she had to take the taxi back again to KT. Auntie don't even remember if Auntie took the trouble to pay for her taxi. If Auntie didn't, Auntie should have.  In any case, we will all miss Kak Zemah. Semoga Allah tempatkan dia di tempat tertinggi di sisinya. Al-fatihah.

The only picture auntie has of Kak Zemah (in pink tudung)

More recently, a few days before Aidil Fitri, Samantha, Auntie's badak friend lost Bapak, her beloved father.  Samantha's family has the habit of 'adopting' all of her friends so Bapak was also 'Bapak' to us.  Auntie had met Bapak in person only a few times but he was a very kind, jovial person so it was easy to be close to him.  He was an intelligent, open person so our conversations were always stimulating.  Bapak came down with a stroke five years ago and a few months ago was diagnose with pancreatic cancer.  Bapak is an example of an academic who was able to apply his theories into practice and benefit the community. Partially disillusioned with the environment of his former workplace, he built Bakaugruv, a training centre originally dedicated to the promotion of academic excellence combined with grounded human values in young children. Now the centre also extensively offers training in other areas. In memory of Bapak, here are some photos of Bakaugruv training centre, which Auntie had the opportunity to visit only recently:

Rumah Bapak

 Titi ke laut



Mud bath for the feet (cuba teka kaki siapa).

Jumpa lagi di lain siaran.


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