Sunday, 12 December 2010

MAZNAH'S AUTOGRAPH BOOKS - GHOST WRITER IN THE SKY! (CsH)

My sister Maznah had two autograph books covering 1953 and 1954.  It was beholden on every red-blooded pupil of Pasir Panjang English School to tote up as many signatures as possible in that precious book - like collecting notches in your pistol.  Who else could she recruit as 'volunteers' but the family?  Abah was always willing to oblige, bless his cotton socks.

The other three siblings would not do it for love or money!  We tried to escape but it was to no avail because she was the eldest - the 'she-who-must-be-obeyed'.

My pathetic attempt was ignominously pasted over as  seen below.  You can just see the 'Dear Sister' at the top left hand corner,  'Maznor' at the bottom right hand corner and my creative hearts can be found
at the bottom left. (With age the glue dried up and and my dreadful deed was exposed)  Oh the shame!
                                          

As a result of this boo-boo she dared not recruit the other younger two.  It would be an invitation to disaster.  She would never live down the scorn of her schoolmates.  Yippee ! yelled the two boys.

We found ourselves in demand for her second book.  This was a big risk but she had aces up her sleeve.

My oh-so-clever quote .....
was selected from Abah's big fat  Book of Quotations.

I was given top billing, to be given the coveted page next to her introduction.
                                    

 I did a superb job for my sister.  I took the trouble to draw lines in pencil to keep my writing straight.  I even underlined little red curves under each sentence .

But I drew the line at schmucky words like 'dearest sister' and 'your loving sister'.  You see, I was 10 years old then and I was already a tough cookie.

I had picked a hard-hitting caution about erring.

 This was also because I knew I needed a lot of forgiving for my many misdeeds.  There was the time when I sewed holes into my sister's leaflet from Crescent Girls 'School regarding the pattern for her school uniform.  That left her in tears .  And so did I from the whacking my mother gave me.

As for that eight year old rascal Mus,  his pome was a scream!  It left me with tears ...... of laughter.


I reckoned he was told what to write, how to write and he even succumbed to the salutation of  "Your Loving Brother".  But  one can easily tell that this was a last-minute instruction because the writing went wonky.

Also he did not complete the last 'e' for coffee.  It must be because of the call from his mates to sneak away for a swim at Pasir Panjang seaside .  Oh yes!  He thought he could hide that from our mother.  But she discovered sand in the pockets of his trousers and he was left with nowhere to hide.

She threatened to tie him - naked - to the coconut tree  in front of  our house.  We were all subjected to the same intimidation.  But that coconut tree never had that joy!!

Our late Akim was just five in 1954.  When we were all away at school, he spent most of his lonely time carrying and cuddling  our  family cat.
Akim also loved inspecting the crevices in the walls and on the cement floor -  near our water tank- for creepy crawlies like ants, beetles and other tiny insects .  He did not touch or hurt them.  He simply followed their movement with his little fingers.

I remembered this because I was his 'baby' sitter and minder from that age till the day he passed away in 1982.

As for this contribution, did Akim actually write this mushy tosh?
Was there a phantom writer?  After all this snotty kid was just five.  How could his handwriting be better than Mus's and mine?  His command of the English language was limited to repeating the last word  in sentences that Mus read from his 'Old Lob ' book.  Whenever Mus read "This is Old Lob', you can hear the echo of 'Lob' from Akim.  Also words like Mr Grumps, Miss Tibs, Mr. Dan and Percy the Chick reverberated about our dining-study table whenever Mus was told to read  his book.

Akim's favourite song then was "Amapola"



I shall never forget his sweet rendition of the one-word lyric 'poppy' from the line  "Amapola, my pretty little poppy'.


HERE THEY ARE - looking  like butter won't melt in their mouths..........
From the left:  a cussed-looking Mus,  sweet shy Akim,  pretty Maznah and nerdy me.

Thank you and bless you 'Nah for looking after these two precious books all these years and for allowing me  to publicise the contents for my blog.

Sometimes we need to be prodded to remember with gratitude our happy childhood and our wonderful parents.  This is not just sentimental nostalgia.  This is all about what we are now - warts and all.


BUT I LEAVE THE BEST TO LAST.

This was created for Maznah by Pa'cik Agus.  And the message can also be applied to all for all time.


This is our father's  colleague and good friend from Sumatra who's also a poet and artist.  Thank you Pa'cik Agus for the reflection of the light from your mirror.

14 comments:

Wan Sharif said...

Sure appreciate your treasure trove... envy you and all the magpies the world over.. I am too disorganised to be one..
A nice entry here about you and you beloved siblings and Abah's..
May you, your siblings and you (Late) Abah.. be blessed with His mercy(rahmah) and forgiveness(magfirah)..

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Wan Sharif,

The (CsH) next to the title of the posting refers to Cucu and Cicit si Hamid.
I started blogging mainly to document the family history at the behest of my nephew Mahzan.
I knew so little and showed little interest in my parents' family history and I'm trying to rectify my neglect by documenting the past which made us what we are.

My parents were such wonderful parents. Their 'didikan' and sacrifices gave all 4 of us such a happy and meaningful childhood. And this is also my tribute to them.

Insyallah I shall finish my task before my days are numbered.

sunnysideup said...

I STAND HERE WITH HUMILITY AND ALSO CONTROLLING A SMILE FROM THAT AUTOGRAPH PAGE - NOT FORGETTING WE PLAYED 'HOUSE' USING BLANKETS, PILLOWS AND BEDSHEETS TO MAKE THE 'WALLS', THE 'BEDS'. tHE DESIGN WAS SO INTRICATE AND WE CHALLENGED EACH OTHER TO SEE WHOS GOT THE BEST 'HOUSE'

NOW, HERES THE BEST PART.

I WOULD USUALLY QUIETLY CLEAR AND KEPT EVERYTHING TO SIGNIFY THE END OF THE GAME. BUT I WOULD LEAVR MY 'WALLS' INTACT SO YOU AND NAH DIDN'T KNOW.

THEN ..WE DECLARED THAT WHOEVER CLEARED UP THE MESS FIRST , WINS ! AND ALL I DID WAS PULL MY 'WALLS' AND FOLD THE BLANKET AND LAUGHED AND WATCHED YOU AND NAH CLEARING YOUR MESS.

THERFORE...I WAS 'FIRST'.....

ph said...

i enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing this delightful story.

Mus looked like he mabok toddy in the gambear.

jooli said...

Another favourite autograph entry:

Friendship
Remains
And
Never
Can
End
ie: FRANCE
and
I
Trust
And
Love
You
ie: ITALY

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you ph,

I enjoyed writing this posting.

It might be toddy, 'grass' was not in vogue then.

anak si-hamid said...

Uh-huh, sunnysideup,



Now the cat is out of the bag. So it was you who taught Nah that dirty trick or was it the other way round?

Nah and I used to play housie-wousie with our home made dolls. When it was time for me to 'visit her house' she had already packed up everything and happily yelled "Dah kemas, dah kemas!!!"

I hate you both!!!.

But do you remember playing trains with the dining room chairs and covering it with blankets?

And remember how Akim buried his toy car because he believed it will grow bigger like mother's plants?

Aaaaah, must stop.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you jooli,

I must confess. When I wrote to my girlfriends I would scribble FRANCE and ITALY on the back of the envelopes.


FRANCE. (But I so dislike Sarkozy)

sunnysideup said...

i don't remember about akim planting his toys...but i do remember one night , while Abah was coaching you and nah with your homework, i was playing with those red 'saga-seeds', and innocently shoved one up my nostril.
I tried to dig it out and couldn't and finally asked for help from abah.
He was so furious... we tried digging out with a pencil but it only got deeper..
Then he had the brilliant idea of pressing my free nostril and asked me to blow my nose very hard. The seed went a-flying out my nostril, bounced on the floor and flew across the room.
I didn't know to laugh or to cry..but Abah knew exactly how he felt...he sent us all to bed. hahaha

anak si-hamid said...

......and because of that he banned saga seeds from the house!!!!

You were such a pain and a pest.

Thanks for jogging the memory about that episode.

jooli said...

Children always do that, don't they? (I'm eavesdropping to your family updates with sunnysideup).
I love biji saga and still collect them, but I make sure they are in a vase somewhere, so that my grandchildren do not get any adventurous ideas.

anak si-hamid said...

jooli,

You're a wonderful grandma - to share such gems with your grandchildren.

Our youngsters need to appreciate the simple but beautiful offers from nature instead of getting hung up on playstations and such!

Raden Rohaya Lopez said...

Wow...sure brought back memories from the past growing up! Drink hot coffee, drink hot tea is one of the popular lines in most autograph books.
We must all have the same activity during our childhood days...building cubby houses from blankets and playing masak2 and having tea parties! Sweet memories of the wonder years!

Wan Sharif said...

Maybe I should start something on my parent and grandparents..