Growing up I remember so clearly moments after moments spending time with my dad, Baba. I think he is the coolest dad ever. I tailed him in almost all of his activities. Whether it was Badminton, Chess, Cards, Softball, football, Sepak Takraw, he taught us all. Four sisters, all of us were very active in sports. We lived in school quarters, there was big playing grass field just in front of our house. The school compound was our playing ground. Almost every afternoon we tailed him around. I was also in his band, little star maybe 6-7 years old. Baba played electric guitar, I sang and he used to practice with his friends and performed. I enjoyed every moment with him.
I followed him to the market, and groceries shopping. He is also a good cook; messed up the kitchen when he wants to. I know how to do curry puff skin and anyam ketupat from him. He made roti canai for us. He loves fishing and we learned all type of fish from him, how to clean the fish and descale them. How to cut chicken properly and peel Durian. There were never dull moments with him.
He was also an executer for any disciplinary actions. Our mother hardly raised her hands on us (only her voice), and when things got out of hand, Baba would interfere and without spoken any words, all of us would get the punishment we deserved.
The greatest things a father can do for his children is to love the woman that gave birth to his children. They were soulmates, Mak and Baba. He always there for her through thick and thin. He did the best he could to make Mak happy and they were very happy. Their love for each other comes in a package of strengths and weaknesses. He believes marriage need a lot of work, and love need to be nurture. They were very intimate, often showered her with his affection. So much faith and trust. They did have terrible fight sometimes and the next morning they laughed together again. We laughed out loud a lot. Our house was full of laughter and scream too. It was impossible for four daughters to get along at all time then but we did have so much fun together. He showed us how we should be treated and be loved. He taught us about men. How men wants to be treated, loved and respected. Daughters need a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men. For a long time, I seek for that similar affection, kindness, wisdom, loyalty and compassion and Allah finally grant me one.
There is no teacher equal to mother and there is nothing more contagious than the dignity of a father. Baba salary as a teacher was very little, to raise four growing up kids and unwell mom, he gave it all to Mak when he received them at the end of the month. He is never good with budget. Mak calculated and was the CFO at home, taken note on everything she spent on. I did raise to Baba why didn’t he set up tuition and charge his students some fees and we could get extra income? His answer, “I would not teach for extra money. It is my duty to teach these children for free. If you want to make money, don’t be a teacher.” So, we sold kerepek, kacang sambal, Sagun kelapa and ice cream malaysia instead to help out.
Baba continue to teach from morning till late afternoon and continue till he retired. He is living his life with all the activities he loves. Cash to buy material things were so limited but we never ran out of foods. Healthy, quality and great foods was abundance. One of his passion is the sea. He loves fishing. He would go fishing at night and brought home fresh fishes. Often, we shared those fresh fishes with our neighbors. We planted our own fruits like Rambutan, durian, mangosteen, Guava, jack fruit and much more. We grew our own herbs and we had chicken farm just enough for us to collect eggs and chicken meat to celebrate Raya.
My motivation to succeed has always been about my family. Baba never had a car. Well, he had Volkswagen beetle dark green in colour, very briefly until the car gave so much trouble one of the tyre came off while we were on the way to Pontian. Mak forced him to sell it. He did. He went to work everyday with his Honda Cup model C50. It was about 25 km one way, he rode it all the way in steamy hot weather, rained or stormed, never failed to reach school on time. Compared with other relatives or neighbours we were the poorest. He never felt embarrassed. We have been called “papa kedana” but he always held his head up and follow what he believes is right. Baba has been through a lot and yet he stand tall, stand proud, teach us that we never need approval of others except Allah.
Baba was diagnosed with heart condition that require bypass surgery but he refused to do it until early this year 2018. It was mix emotion for all of us. Happy, sad, worried, all at once. The surgery was done in IJN because he wanted to do it there. He was in ICU for a while and it was tough for us to face it, like a dejavoo all over again, but we had to be strong for him. All is well after close to two month in IJN, he is at home recuperating. Our prayers always with him. We are doing the best we could to spend more time with Baba and most importantly a quality one.
My sisters and I are just so happy and grateful to be able to celebrate Raya with him this year. We are excited to have him back on his feet and pray he would take good care of his health so he would have energy to travel with us again.
For good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings. The greatest gift you can give to us now Baba is a healthy you!
Happy Father’s Day! We love you Baba.