Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have stairs will climb...

Funny how certain memories or experiences render you fearful, especially of technology. Last night, I accompanied my husband for dinner at a hotel in Bangkok. He was here to present a paper on e-book. And at the hotel I met most of the participants who attended the Seminar.

My husband was seated next to one participant from India, and his colleague was seated diagonally to me. They were regaling tales and experiences in their lives which I did not pay much attention to until something caught my attention.

I overheard the one who was seated next to my husband explaining why there they were staying on a lower floor at the hotel in Bangkok. And usually when they stay at hotels, they would specifically request for the lowest floor available. At the hotel we stayed in, they were lucky as this hotel did not have a ballroom, hence, the rooms are located from the second floor onwards.

And these two Indian nationals had specifically requested to be located on the second floor. I was greatly amused to hear that they were fearful of taking the elevators, hence would prefer to take the stairs. The reason for this deep-set fear was because, back in Mumbai, India, elevators break down so often that they often had to climb up or down several flights of stairs. And due to this embedded fear, whenever they travel, they would avoid the higher floors and elevators like the plague.

And this amusing encounter with these two colorful characters brought to mind my late aunty who had this deep and genuine fear of escalators. She used to live in Butterworth, Penang. And those days, whenever she came down to KL, we would take her shopping. And every time we had to take the elevators to the higher floors, she would be whining and crying softly and begging us to use the staircase instead. And despite much cajoling and trying our level best to convince her that the elevator was perfectly safe, she would not budge. She would stand her feet firmly at the foot of the escalator, and refused to follow us.

There were numerous occasions where after several attempts, we had no choice but to look for a staircase. However, on one, mind you, just one momentous occasion, I managed to convince her to take the elevator, she cried hysterically and was struggling like a maniac all the way up, that all eyes were on us. People were staring, with their mouth and eyes wide open, looking at us, family. as though we were creatures from another planet. I promised myself that was going to be the last ever that we would attempt to switch her to technology.

Mami Pahbee (as we fondly called her), may Allah bless your soul. Al-fatihah.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Live in the moment

Naitre desirent la mort,
Grandir regrettant l’enfance ou le coeur d’or
Viellir regrettant la jeunesse ravit
Et mourir regrettant la vieiliesse et la vie.

We are born wishing for death
We grow up regretting the loss of our childhood
where the heart is as pure as gold
We grow old regretting the loss of our happy, healthy youth
And we face death regretting growing old, and life itself

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ayah, I miss you so....................................

14 September 2009

Ayah, I was watching a movie, "Evening" on HBO one Sunday afternoon (18 July 2009), where an old woman shared and recalled her greatest regret in love that would change the lives of her two daughters.

And in one very poignant and heart-wrenching scene, her daughter screamed and collapsed upon hearing that her mum had died. It brought back memories of the morning when your 4 grand children heard a piercing scream, a sound which I did not realize actually came from my own throat. The sound that escaped my throat that day was so eerie that it shattered the usually peaceful morning in my household.

That was the day your 8 kids lost you, Ayah. Ayah, we know that you were on loan to us from 9 September 1921 to 13 December 2008. Ayah, we were grateful to Allah for lending you to us.  However, your passing away caused a deep void in our lives. It was difficult for us at first to accept the grim reality that you would cease to be with us, and that God had taken back what belonged to him.

Ayah, you left me when I hadn't even had a chance to say goodbye to you. You left me when I hadn't even kissed your hands and your wrinkled face. You left when I hadn't even had a chance to hug you in a warm embrace, with a whiff of cigar smell coming from your face. You left us peacefully in your sleep.

And the deep regret I felt after hearing that you're no longer with us will haunt me for the rest of my life. I regretted the fact that I did not spend Hari Raya Haji with you in 2008. As Amir, your son-in-law couldn't take long leave due to heavy work commitments, we were not able to go back to Penang to celebrate Hari Raya Haji with you.

And when you came down to KL for your medical check-up after Hari Raya Haji, I could not visit you immediately as I was lecturing and very busy with work. In fact we were planning to visit you that weekend at Ocah's house (your third daughter).

So, Ayah, you can imagine my torment when I recalled that fateful morning.

Ayah, I woke up feeling very excited on 13 December 2008 as I was supposed to join Amir at Negri Sembilan as he was attending a three-day meeting. That was the day Khairul was supposed to drive me to join my husband at the hotel.

For some strange reason, your granddaughter, Ina woke up early that day.  Usually, it'll be mid day before this sleepy head would welcome the sun. All my boys were still fast asleep as I packed my bag in my room, with Ina hovering around.

I was jolted out of my reverie when Ina's phone rang.  And my heart skipped several beats when she said, "Ma, Babah called, and he wants you to sit down first." As I turned my head to look at her, the look of total horror on her face sent a surge of terrible foreboding racing through my body.

I grabbed her phone and my husband repeated what Ina had said to me earlier, "Sayang, please sit down.  I've bad news to tell you!" Somehow, my brain froze, and deep in my heart I knew something had happened to you Ayah.

And when Amir continued, "Sayang, please take a deep breath, and no matter what, please stay calm.  Sayang, Ayah has passed away."

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!! That was what I kept exclaiming which was interspersed with piercing scream and uncontrollable sobbing. No! No! No! Ayah.  You couldn't have passed away.  You couldn't have been gone.  I just spoke to you two days earlier and you sounded cheerful, far more cheerful than ever before. So how can my husband tell me that you have passed away!!

"Ya Allah.  Please, please tell me this is not true.  Please, please let me wake up from this nightmare.  Please, please tell me that it's just a dream."

Ayah, all I recalled was sobbing uncontrollably with Ina hugging me tightly and rubbing my back, like a mum would a child. And all I did was to continue screaming and sobbing.

The tears shed freely. And with it came a feeling of deep regret. I tried hard to stop everything, even the beat of my heart, so that I could think with a clear head. One second of total clarity was all I craved for.  One moment of stillness so that I might advance confidently into a million moments of undoubted mayhem from that point, that moment when I finally realised you have left us for good.

Ayah, that was also the day, Ina became the mum, the one who comforted me, the shoulder I cried on, the one who kept holding my hands as they trembled non stop and the one who held me as my lips quivered with wrecking sobs.

That was your little cucu Ayah, the cucu who would unashamedly embraced and hugged you tightly and kissed you lovingly and warmly everytime she met you.  The cucu who would gladly make cheese poppers for you (she would actually take several slices of cheese and popped it in the microwave and let it cooked until it popped).  She knew how much you love to savour that special delicacy created by her.

Ayah, Ina was the one who woke her three brothers up and with a heavy heart, had to slowly break the news about your death.  How brave she was.  I did not recall her crying.  I guess she had to put up a brave front given that I was a total wreck, given that my husband was away and she knew instinctively that I'd need support.

Ayah, I recalled my sons waking up, crowding around me, not knowing what to do.  They were as devastated as I was and they felt totally lost as their dad was not around.

Ayah, I remembered going back to my packing and had looked inside the bag.  And without even realising what I was doing, I had taken out all the clothings I had put inside earlier for my trip to Negri Sembilan and had automatically reached for other clothings more suitable for this sombre occasion. The loud sobbing had ceased, and was now replaced with soft, wrecking weeping.  I felt as if my heart was going to burst.

I couldn't recall much whatever unfolded later. An hour later, Amir rushed home from Negri Sembilan to be with me, and when he walked into my room, tears of distress filled my eyes and rolled down my face. All the pent up emotions of the last couple of hours had ruptured.  It was like the flood gate had been released.

Ayah, as Amir hugged me, I clung to him for the longest time and started bawling again. This time much louder than before.  It was as if I had lost my mind.

Amir comforted me softly, and kept whispering in my ears to stay calm, and kept whispering that Allah had taken back what belonged to him. That you were only on loan to us. That I should be grateful that God had extended his loan of you to us. And that you have had a fulfilling life, surrounded by everyone who had loved you, your four sons, four daughters, four sons-in-law, four daughters-in-law, thirty three grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

Ayah,  right after that, everything was a blur for me. I recalled reaching Ocah's house with all the bags packed for our journey to Bukit Mertajam.

Upon reaching Ocah's house, I was greeted at the door by Jude and Zaini.who enveloped me in a hug.  And once again, the floodgate was let open and the dam burst again.

And once I reached your bed, where your body lay lifeless and cold, I kissed your forehead and cheeks tenderly. I kept holding your hands and stroking them gently.

Ayah, you couldn't have passed away because you looked as though you had just fallen asleep. Your face looked serene and calm. And your face belied someone whose soul had just left the body, where Malaikatulmaut had just finished his task of separating and returning your body from your soul. Ayah, you have been recalled permanently from the physical world back to the primordial spiritual world.

At the graveyard in Bukit Mertajam, all I could do was watch your body being lowered six feet under. For weeks later, every time I looked at your photos or looked up the contacts in the handphone and came across your name, I would sit down and weep again.  Suddenly I was afraid. I was afraid to have lost both you and mak.  I'm now an orphan.

Ayah, up till today, I'm not sure how I survived the first 24 hours.  But after the initial shock had worn off, huge waves of emotions had hit me.  And I must have cried throughout the day, throughout the night, and probably throughout the month. Everything was a blur.

And today, Ayah, I still cry, but instead of weeping, I would summon your image again.  I would reminisce the good times we've had.

I'm thankful to have been born into this family.  I'm thankful to have been loved by you and mak.  I'm thankful that you've had a fulfilling life with Mak and all your 8 kids, grandchildren and great grand children.  I'm thankful to have been your daughter. Thank you Ayah for being my dad. And thank you Allah for lending you and mak to us.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kalau Ku Tahu

Kalau ku tahu dahulu
Tidakkan aku setuju
Kalau ku tahu
Akan ku lari seribu batu
Kalau ku tahu
Pasti fikiranku tidak bercelaru
Kalau ku tahu
Ohhh...kini aku termanggu
Leraikan diriku dari belenggu
Yang saban hari menghantuiku 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sebuah keindahan yang tiada penghujungnya.........................

Lihatlah langit dengan kebiruan pemandangannya, bintang-bintang dengan kerdipan cahayanya, matahari dengan pancaran sinarannya, dan alam ini dengan keluasan ruangnya. Lihatlah bumi bagaimana ia terhampar dan terbentang luas, dengan limpahan air yang meliputi bumi dan tumbuh-tumbuhan yang menghijau segar; dan lihatlah gunung-ganung yang berdiri megah dan teguh.

Fikirkanlah tentang lautan yang dalam, dan sungai yang jernih, malam dan siang, cahaya dan bayang-bayang, dan awan yang berarak. Fikirkanlah tentang keserasian dan harmoni yang wujud di seluruh alam semesta ini. 


Lihatlah bunga-bunga yang kembang semerbak, buah-buahan yang masak ranum, susu yang enak diminum, madu yang cukup manis, pohon kurma yang rendang, lebah, semut, serangga yang melata, ikan di lautan, burung yang berkicauan dan berterbangan, burung bulbul yang asyik menyanyi, reptilia, segala jenis haiwan, sebuah keindahan yang tiada penghujungnya dan sejuk mata memandang.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kebutaan hati adalah kebutaan hakiki

Terdapat seorang lelaki yang buta, hidup dengan bahagia bersama isterinya yang amat dicintai, dan anak lelakinya yang pengasih dan penyayang, serta temannya yang setia. Namun satu hal yang membuat hidupnya tidak tenang ialah kegelapan yang menyelubungi kehidupannya. Dia berharap mampu melihat cahaya dan segala-gala yang membuatnya bahagia dengan matanya sendiri.

Lalu datanglah seorang doktor yang pintar, mengunjungi bandar yang didiami oleh orang buta ini. Dia pergi menemui doktor tersebut untuk meminta ubat agar mampu mengembalikan penglihatannya. Maka doktor tersebut memberinya ubat titisan dan mengajarnya bagaimana untuk menggunakannya, sambil memberi amaran bahawa dia akan berupaya melihat dengan serta merta, pada bila-bila masa sahaja.

Orang buta tersebut terus menggunakan ubat ini, meskipun orang lain langsung tidak yakin bahawa ia mujarab dan berupaya membuahkan hasil. Namun, selang beberapa hari semasa berada di dalam tamannya, dia mula terlihat cahaya. Dia sungguh merasa teruja dan gembira, lantas berlari mendapatkan isterinya yang tercinta untuk berkongsi berita gembira ini. Alangkah sedih dan malang baginya, kerana sebaik penglihatannya pulih, dia melihat si isteri sedang berselingkuh dan berlaku curang dengan temannya di dalam bilik tidurnya. Dia langsung tidak percaya dengan apa yang dilihatnya. Kemudian, dia berlari ke bilik lain dan terkejut apabila mendapati anaknya sedang mencuri sesuatu dari almarinya.

Akhirnya, orang buta itu menyusuli semula langkahnya tadi, sambil berteriak: “Ini bukanlah seorang doktor, dia adalah seorang tukang sihir yang terlaknat!” Lalu dia mengambil sebatang pin dan mencucuk kedua matanya! Akhirnya, dia kembali semula kepada kebahagiaan yang pernah dikecapinya sebelum ini.

Tidur berbantalkan tanah atau gelimangan sutera?

Seorang lelaki telah bertengkar dengan isterinya dan telah berkata: “Aku akan membuatmu sengsara!” Dengan sabar dan tenang, si isteri telah menjawab: “Kamu tidak boleh berbuat begitu.”

Suaminya bertanya: “Kenapa tidak?” Isterinya menjawab: “Seandainya kebahagiaan terletak pada kekayaan, wang ringgit atau emas permata, nescaya kamu mampu merampasnya dariku, dan menghalangiku dari mendapatkannya, namun  kebahagiaanku tidak mampu kamu atau orang lain rampas dariku. Aku menemui kebahagiaan menerusi keimananku, dan keimananku bersemayam dan bertakhta di dalam lubuk hatiku, dan tidak ada sesiapa yang mampu menguasai hatiku kecuali Tuhanku.”

Inilah kebahagiaan hakiki, kebahagiaan yang berasaskan keimanan, dan tiada seseorangpun yang berupaya merasakan kebahagiaan ini kecuali orang yang cintanya begitu mendalam terhadap Allah s.w.t. sehingga ia meresap ke dalam kalbunya, ke dalam jiwanya, dan ke dalam fikirannya. Yang memiliki kebahagiaan secara hakiki adalah Allah Yang Maha Esa, maka mohonlah kebahagiaan tersebut dariNya dengan menyembah dan taat kepadaNya.

Satu-satunya cara untuk meraih kebahagiaan adalah dengan menggali dan mengenali agama yang benar ini, yang mana Rasululllah s.a.w. diutus. Setelah seseorang itu menemui jalan kebenaran ini,  tidak penting baginya sama ada dia tidur di dalam pondok yang kecil atau berbantalkan tanah di tepi jalanraya. Cukup baginya mengalaskan perut dengan  sekeping roti untuk menjadi manusia yang paling bahagia di dalam dunia. 

Namun, bagi mereka yang menyimpang dari jalan ini, maka seluruh hidupnya akan dilanda kemurungan, kehibaan dan kepiluan, hartanya dirampas, usahanya sia-sia semata-mata dan akhirnya dia akan menanggung penghinaan.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I doubt he knew who Liew was: urghhhh....please mind your language!!!

"Boring. Bosan. Boring. Bosan. Boring. Bosan. Boring. Bosan. Boring. Bosan. Wish I'm some place else."

That was what I had posted on my Facebook wall three days ago (12 June 2011). Last Sunday, I had to attend a compulsory Syariah training course. Being a stickler for punctuality, I had told my son that I wanted to be there 30 minutes before the course began. So I was at Sime Darby Convention Centre well ahead of time.

Upon reaching SDCC, I was surprised that there was already a huge turnout of consultants. After registering at the "U - Z" counter, I went into the ballroom to take my seat.

And just after 9:00 a.m. there began a two-torturous hour as the first speaker took stage. I had expected someone of his experience and stature to have a more commanding oratorical skill. But I was several tad disappointed, so were the others. Everyone was silent and was stony-faced throughout the two-hour ordeal.

After I had posted my frustration on FB, someone had responded to this hilarious posting:
  • Wan Sallehah Can't imagine having to endure this yawningly boring and monotonous speaker for the next 2 hours...
  • FB User Hahahahaha... be careful, he might be on your FB and read this.
  • Wan Sallehah I wish he's on my FB so he knows how awful his prsn is, n why he should retire from public speaking with immediate effect. If I'm the organiser or his boss, I'd sack him and have him removed from the podium! Immediately!!!
    Wan Sallehah The patricipant who's seated next to me is already fast asleep. That's how boring the speaker is!!!
  • FB User Hahahahahaha... which is why my sessions are always physically and mentally interactive.
  • Wan Sallehah Im begging you to come over and replace him...
  • Wan Sallehah Thank God the 2nd speaker is MUCCHHH BETTER!!!

I, and I'm sure a majority of the 800 + participants would not have minded this bloke's session had it been well presented. He was not only exceedingly boring, but he was practically reading entirely from his text. And if he was reading like a presentable news reader, it wouldn't have been so bad. He was actually droning like a bee. The sound was so annoying that if I had it my way, I would have walked out of the SDCC ballroom.

To add salt to the wound, his English left very much to be desired. It was riddled with atrocious and horrendous errors. What amused me greatly was how he had pronounced the letter 'W'. You'd not believe it till you hear him say it. It was really hilarious. 'W' was pronounced as 'doubt liew'. I doubt he knew who Liew was!!!

And if this was not bad enough, I have this annoyingly and irritatingly dreadful and appaling habit. If a speaker's English is riddled with grammatical errors with horrifying pronunciation, I would be 'mentally' correcting him/her like a good English teacher would....Ha.ha.ha.ha... The perils of being an English teacher.

I had picked up this abysmal habit since I was in college. I'm not really sure how it had started but each time I listen to someone talking or making a presentation, and if I find that the English is peppered or punctuated with errors, I would be occupied (mentally) with the task of correcting them and would not be paying attention to whatever they're presenting. And I find this habit exasperating and maddening.

And speaking of listening, I was greatly amused when that speaker asked the audience, "Can you listen to me?" He had actually wanted to check whether the audience who was seated at the back of the ballroom could hear him. Sometimes it makes me laugh when people can't differentiate between the word "listen" and "hear." Oh boy!!!

Some of the words he pronounced and sentences/phrases he used had me clutching my mouth in horror. "Sesshion" for session. "Becaush" for because. "We'll be marking your attendant to make sure you guys are intact!" "I wish to reiterate you that..."  "In consideration of the customer purchased..." and many more ghastly errors.

Well, speaker dear. I only have this to say to you. "I wish to reiterate to you that if I'm your attendant, and in consideration of the customer purchasing the ticket to your seminar, I'll make sure your English is intact becaush your sesshion #@%&%*#"!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Layarilah bahtera ketaubatan dan keinsafan

Di manakah Muslimin dan Muslimat, di manakah golongan lelaki dan wanita yang beriman, kaum lelaki dan wanita yang jujur, mereka yang berpuasa, mereka yang menyembah Allah s.w.t. Yang Maha Agung lagi Maha Penyayang, dan di manakah kaum lelaki dan wanita yang rendah diri dan mengerjakan amal ibadat, serta golongan orang-orang yang khusyuk?

Apakah kamu ingin menghabiskan sisa kehidupanmu yang singkat ini dengan perkara yang sia-sia dan pemburuan yang tidak bererti dan remeh temeh yang menjurus kepada kemaksiatan?

Apakah kamu memiliki kehidupan lain selain dari yang ini? Apakah kamu telah dijanjikan oleh Allah s.w.t bahawa kamu tidak akan mati? Tidak sama sekali.?

Itu hanyalah ilusi dan khayalan dan palsu, dan angan-angan yang sia-sia. Oleh itu, cerminkanlah diri kamu, dan perbaharuilah pelayaran bahteramu, ayunkanlah langkahmu, burulah kafilah yang telah berlalu dan layarilah bahtera ketaubatan dan keinsafan!