Friday 31 March 2017

Aisha - Al Fatiha

After a long illness, which she bore with  fortitude,  Aisha passed away early this morning . She left behind a 22 year old son Hafiz  and a bereft husband Osman.  Her daughter died at 16, about 7 years ago  from cervical cancer which the authorities failed to diagnose.

Many a time 'Man would sit near our gate, (while waiting for Iain to drive him home) and talk about how he misses her.   Jangan makan sepinggan.  Nanti tak tahan rindu" .  'Man's mother-in-law always cautioned him about this habit of theirs, but they did not take it seriously.

He had to stay and work in KL while Aisha was lying ill in their kampung house at Kampung Air Kuning, near Kampar.  He would go home almost every weekend - a journey of nearly five hours each way - to be with her and look after her while he can.

Initially, when she was taken ill nearly 3 years ago,  'Man would do her job as well as his so that they could keep her wages going.  He would start work at 4.30 am cleaning the streets which covered both his patch and hers.  He managed to upkeep that exhausting schedule up to a year ago, when the management explained to 'Man that they could not maintain the "arrangement" and Aishah would have to "give up her job".

'Man himself is not 100 per cent fit.  He had a hernia operation about 8 months ago.  He could and maybe should be classified as an OKU because he limps very badly because of his gammy right leg.  But he persists - limping while sweeping Setiawangsa's streets and pushing his trolley.

This is a posting in loving memory of a tiny lady with a big heart - of a Malay kampung girl from a poor family - who started her working life at the age of 15 as a coolie on  Chinese vegetable farms in Cameron Highlands.  She would talk to her husband about how poor they were; when Aisha would share a plate of rice and fish and vegetables with her 3 siblings.  And by the way,  Aishah was born in 1957 - the year when Persekutuan Tanah Melayu became Merdeka!!

So don't tell me the Malays are indolent, lazy and survive only by depending on handouts from the Government!!

There's more to relate about the hard life of Osman and Aisha - about their plucky grit to get on with their life without depending on others. But my heart is too full of grief for her passing and the loving husband and son she left behind.

For both Iain  and I, Aisha and Osman are the most dignified couple we have ever met  since we moved to Setiawangsa in 2007.  We have enormous respect and love for them and they symbolize for  us the faces of the honourable Malay gentleman and Malay lady.  A very rare breed in these days and times.


This is how I shall remember Aisha.

Aisha at work - with her stray cats.

Lunch break with her abang.

What the kampung girl left behind in and around our garden - we shall always look after them in her memory.
Pokok inai (henna)

Belimbing buluh (averrhoa bilimbi)

Daun Kesum

Finally, from the cats she loved and who loved her so:

Rusty and  Socks.

Aisha and Osman forever.

"Terima kasih 'bang, terima kasih kak".   We hear that so often from Aisha  and 'Man.

From us and the cats - the strays and the house cats : Terima Kasih Aisha for being a dear friend.

Alfatihah. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas roh nya.

Sunday 26 March 2017

OKA (ORANG KURANG AKAL ) rules okay in Malaysia

A month is but a short time in the life of a septuagenarian - a month ago I pondered on the joy of rainy days.  Since then it hath raineth almost every day and the thoughts of AsH got stuck in this
room .....

Room with a view

........ observing the bulbul and flowerpecker enjoying their breakfast from our senduduk (the wild variety)  tree.

Senduduk flower and berries - not the garden nursery variety.
Flower of the wild Senduduk - from Pickled Herring aka Lely

Burung Merbah / Bulbul

But sometimes, AsH indulges herself with happy memories of picnics in the past.

Picnic in the Peak District 

Picnic just outside the gates of Sandringham.
Picnic (sort of) with Mus and family in the late 1990s, on the road somewhere between Scotland and Leicester!

2008 picnic along the canal in Saddington, Leicestershire with Lely.

But life is no picnic, innit?!!

Read this piece of news yesterday and it set off several buzzers.

Is Ng Pei Ven a Chinese National?  

According to a Malaysian blogger :

.......  Ng Pei Ven suffers from a learning disability.  MENCAP, a UK based charity, describes learning disability as "a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities - for example household tasks, socialising or managing money - which affects someone for their whole life"  They also "tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people".

In Malaysia, people with such handicaps are classified as OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) and they are allowed by law to hold a driving licence.

Read :

But it takes more than a valid driving licence to enable people to jump on to a motorbike or to get into a car and be let loose on the highways and byways.

Psychologists tend to explain errant teenage drivers as youngsters who are prone to 'risky' behaviour.  Not only that, this ego-ridden tendency is the fault of their "low self-esteem(!!) or immature thinking". Their distracted driving can also be "caused by substance abuse".  Perhaps, though the 'substance abuse' has become a fad and fashion  in the late 20th and 21st century.

However I must add a caveat here. It's not just teenage drivers who take risks with their lives and that of other innocent lives.  They cut across the age, gender, socio-economic and racial groups in Malaysia.  I've been driving here for the last 10 years and each day on the road you have to grit your teeth as you put your life and limbs in the hands (and brains) of  cretins and neanderthals.

Here's one example from our middle-class suburbia.

Very,very frequently drivers would take an immature and illegal shortcut (which runs against oncoming traffic)  to get to Jalan Setiawangsa 21 [see box in the map] instead of using the traffic light [see the tip of the arrow in the map].

One day, one fine day a dreadful accident will happen at the red triangle marked in the photo above.  More innocents will pay the price for the asinine behaviour of others.

A few days ago it was an OKU wot did it.  But the OKA  (ORANG KURANG AKAL) in Malaysia have been having a field day on many a time and many a day!

In Malaysia the OKA rules okay.

Hush, this curmudgeon had better stop.  Shall return to my retreat and look out for the birds and the tree shrew.  Might as well throw in this nostalgic song from the 70s.

Must keep soldiering on - and dream of more picnics.