Monday 5 April 2021

The Last Refuge : "Allegations" and "Presumably"

 As a footer at the end of each of my postings, there is a copyright statement:

This is a  Custom Copyright Statement "letting readers know that you are the original author of your content and that you will not permit theft."


This is my response to a Comment in my previous posting, 12 March 2021.

Malays have an apt way of describing the intent of  "copping out", of noting but not admitting to one's mea culpa :  Seperti menegakkan benang yang basah.  This is done by shifting the blame and the onus of proof to the other party.

Let's dissect these two words"allegedly" and "presumably".

"Allegedly" is used when reporting something that people say is true although it has not been proven true.

"Presumably" has the connotation of doubt, of suggesting that you think something is probably true, although you don't want to admit it.

Despite the most strenuous effort of my previous posting - to assure all and sundry, as lucidly and as categorically as is humanly possible, that two of the pictures in the video The Last Kampong belonged to Abdul Hamid bin Jala, the father of  AnaksiHamid - aspersions are still being cast at the Truth or may I say "Veritas" of ownership of said photographs.

[ By the way, the word "veritas" meaning "truth" refers to Veritas, the Roman Goddess of Truth.  It is a popular word for mottoes of educational institutions.]     

So let me finally, and categorically, put the doubt to rest.     I'm sorry, but this piece of wet string will NEVER stand straight.

The Pedigree of Photographs - 691 Pasir Panjang Road

AsH, unlike Old Mother Hubbard whose "cupboard" was bare", stores her Abah's photographs in this special album so that they will be easily retrievable for Abdul Hamid's grandchildren and great-grandchildren when she finally kicks the bucket.

The album for 691 Pasir Panjang. Do note it is not coloured.

I have scores of other pictures of the interior, the backyard, the floods, but I am concerned only with the front of our house as seen in the photograph above and below.

This is the photograph, where my ownership is being disputed,  "as not being proven true" or "probably true".

Here's the clincher!

 First, a picture of the house, and the man who built the house - and who went on to photograph it during our life in a kampung in Singapore.

Abah looking at the world from the front window.  The window was bought in Diethelm by my sister as part of the renovation in the early1960s, around 1963/1964.  She was working extra hours teaching in a night class to pay for the windows.  At  that time she was doing her teacher-training and teaching stint in a school at Kota Tinggi, Johor.

This house was constructed in 1950 and we did not part with it until 1967.  During those 17 years Abah made several renovations - like changing the attap roof to a zinc roof as seen in the photograph.  He also had to raise the floor of the whole house because of the constant floods during the early to mid-50s.  Then, in the late 50s, he made an extension to the right side of the house to create a bigger kitchen and bathroom and additional bedrooms as we were growing up and needed more space.  But the most welcoming addition was the verandah to the front of the main house.  Initially (circa the mid-1950s) the wall was made entirely of wire grills, a sort of semi-open verandah.  Later, as seen in the "disputed" photograph, Abah changed it to a plywood wall effectively changing the verandah to a sitting room.

The two photographs below showed what the house looked like at the start of its life around 1950 as evidenced by the photo of Akim as a toddler (he was born in 1949).  In the photograph of my parents, the window behind them was just a simple kampung house window with wooden shutters and wire grills instead of glass. 

So this is our kampung house at 691 Pasir Panjang Road, later re-designated as 27-G, Lorong Abu Kassim.   It was a happy house, which went through many changes, because of a father who wanted to make sure his family had as pleasant and as comfortable a home as possible.

This was the house that Hamid built.

This was the hub of our family from 1950/1951 to 1967.

This was our Last Kampung House.

And no one, but no one can take that away from us.

Here is another clincher to prove that AnaksiHamid aka Maznoor bt Abd Hamid (that "nasty" septuagenarian) did exist at 691 Pasir Panjang Road and attended Pasir Panjang English School.

 I was not born in a colony like Singapore or Penang.  I was a British Protected Person (BPP) born in Selangor in Semenanjung Tanah Melayu (The Malay Peninsula).


The Pedigree of Photographs - 680 Pasir Panjang Road

The Album

This is the photograph where my ownership is deemed as "probably true" or "not being proven true".

Someone else's name has been inscribed on the Hari Raya photograph of our second kampung house - 680 Pasir Panjang Road.    I hope the following photographs will dispel any doubts about the true  ownership of the picture.

 Abdul Hamid and his family made this their temporary rented abode while awaiting the construction of his very own house just across the Sungai Nipah.  It was a short stay, about two years, and we had a glorious Hari Raya in 1949 with our cousins from Pasir Panjang Hill and Emak and Abah's good friends from Kampung Chantek.  It was especially happy because we had a new little brother, Mustakim, born in this house on 29 April 1949.

Akim being given a sunny airing at the verandah.  This was the mak bidan's (midwife)  advice to Emak to prevent the baby from getting Jaundice.

Maznoor and Mustapha, just hanging out at the verandah.  The area enclosed in a red rectangle indicates the rear entry to the house.  Behind that door is a well - and around it we were given our daily freezing-cold baths.

Our Emak and Abah dressed in their best Baju Hari Raya.  This photograph was taken in the enclosed courtyard behind that door.  It was a very private little annex for the family.

Hamid's and Kamisah's 3 rapscallions, Maznah, Maznoor, Mustapha and our cousins Abang Hussin and Kak Zainab.

So there we have it..    And just to sum up:  

This once again is the photograph my family "allegedly" owns.

680 Pasir Panjang Road


And this photograph below is a group picture of the true owners of all the 'disputed' photographs - minus of course the photographer, my father.

Hari Raya with Emak , her beaming smile, her three children and our 3 cousins.

So all's  done and dusted.  

QED - quod erat demonstrandum.  Our Mathematics teacher Mr Tan at Crescent Girls School preferred us to write QED at the end of every theorem we have proved.  When asked what it means, he said "Quite Easily Done".



Footnote: This posting was written for a serious purpose : to thwart a contemptuous and contemptible attempt, couched in a farcical "apology", to re-script the ownership of my photographs and my memories of Pasir Panjang.    But it has also been for me a process of remembering, of expressing and  keeping alive my memories of a happy childhood in a kampung.    It has a very personal significance - and my father's record of that life together as a family is also a very personal possession....which no-one can take away from me.

But for all the happy memories, however short or long our life  may be, they are tinged with gloom and melancholy - for the kampung is lost forever.  No amount of nostalgia and photographs and videos can revive it.  The people who built the kampung are gone and the denizens who lived and breathed the kampung are gone forever.  

"Progress is a comfortable disease" writes E.E Cummings.  And Singapore is the epitome of progress in the Nusantara.

That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

And cannot come again.     

                                                        A.E Housman 1859-1936

SM Salim : Nasib si Panjang