Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The journey that "almost" never was

Each time mom went to the embassy
She was forever told and updated
With faxes that would have just arrived
As though knew mom were there
Telling of the exodus
From the East to the West

Painstaking process that followed
Much to our disgust and frustration
School had begun, what shall we do?
To buy books, uniforms, shoes?
Nope! He said, no, wait a while more
Just hang on and be patient

Yes, but for how long?
They played a game of hide and seek
We were not refugees? Why did they stop us?
After much hassle and trying moments
Finally, we were on our way there

The house was left to some people
To look after and use as their dwellings
Toys were not kept away
Mom simply had too much to do all at once
She had to handle so many things alone
In between her job, she had to come home
Feed us and see that we were safe
Pity her

The shocking pink skirt and sky blue skirt
Were sewn in some cotton cloth
Mom managed them amidst her tight schedule
Hafiz's baju melayu were sewn by our late Acik Wook
In purple, pink and green cotton fabric

She even made some curry puffs
Then came along acar buah (spicy pickled mixed dried fruits)
Specially prepared by Cik Mah
All were secured by newsprints
To cast away the smell of spices
Mouth watering they may be

Upon reaching Farnkfurt International Airport
Mom had the chance to look down
There were our bags, luggages and boxes
She was called down
To have them opened up
She argued with the ground hostess
No cellophane tapes and strings to re secure boxes
So she got away with the excuse
Somehow she opened the luggage with locks
To pacify the situation

The pink hover sack was on Zaza's back
Tasha had one too
They were both filled with food
There were mouth watering smells
The Bangladesh guard let us leave
Though knowing the food stuffs
From their much-too-familiar-smells
He did not confiscate them
Instead he waved with a handsome smile

Next flight took us to Berlin
The good guy who sat beside mom
Was telling about the German people
Disliked the ouslanders (outsiders)
Explained the culture and what to expect
He reminded us about the rules and law
We departed without knowing his German name

True enough when we arrived
Settled in Devrient Weg
A mail arrived too
Asking us to attend a school
Not too far away on a bus ride

It was strange to hear them speaking
Unter den Kastanian Schule was the name
The school was indeed under a huge tree
The chest nut tree it was
It covered great part of the building
I have not seen such an enormous tree before
God knows its real age

The German children described
Tasha and Zaza as the "pencil 2B lead" and "tea plus milk'
Colors (???????)
Intelligent way of describing
To make their parents wonder
Who on earth had joined the school
Must have been some kind of ouslanders
Where could they be from?

Then started the lessons in German language
Diedre Reimer from Montreal Canada
(Now Diedre is married and live in Vancouver)
Who had been to this school much earlier
Whose father was a Mormon priest
At a church in Berlin
Became their unofficial translater

The teachers were not English conversant either
Much difficulties were observed
But children somehow picked up quite easily
Homeworks done with so much noise
Mathematics helped mom to understand
The price tags and how to pronounce

Then came the time for an excursion
To the East Berlin it was
Mom was worried sick for us
But the teachers reassured her of our safety
We camped outside some place
Cooked potatoes under the fire
It was full of fun
Somehow they managed it well and came home safe

The year end class party was fun too
But our characters were simple
Zaza of the tree that stood still
While Tasha, ops! I forgot what it was
Must have been some kind of a flower
Dierdre's part was probably spoken
Anyway, the fun was over
As soon as we were leaving Berlin

We visited the broken down Berlin Wall
(In the fasting month of Ramadhan in 1990)
That brought the exodus from the East
That caused chaos and upheavels
Economic unification was announced soon
After the wall came crumbling down
People with chisles knocking them away
We bought few pieces as souvenirs
Of the once stood tall the infamous Berlin Wall

Travelling was without hassle
Check Point Charley was unmanned
The once restricted gates were left opened
Unattended anymore by uniformed guards
Scary as it may seemed
With previously guards pointing guns every where

Eastern part of Berlin were gray and smoky
As thought forever the sky was hazy
The vast contrast was observed
Even the buildings were dilapidated
But perhaps as I am writing this poem
The reunion may have taken its turn
Rebuilding all the structures into modern city

On the day Iraq was invaded by the US
We left Berlin for good as it said
One fighter plane never took off
The ground of Berlin airport to find its way
It crashed on sight and burst into flames

The eleven hours journey seemed too long
To travel out of the German airspace
Worried sick in case...in case..in case
In Dubai it stopped just a while
Then heading straight home we came
Alas! Alhamdulillah syukur
The experience worth remembering

Settled alas!
To continue our schooling
Back to our appropriate classes
Tasha in Standard five and Zaza in standard tree
Hafiz was in Tadikum then...
Mom? Back to her business to support.....

memoir of those yesteryears


azahar said...

It is always good to experience living in foreign land. Then only we will be able to compare how our country stands.

When I was in Bangladesh many many years ago, I found that living in Malaysia was like living in heaven (though I have never experienced living there)

Living in US was one memorable experience for the six of us...still vivid in our minds till today...How we were accepted as their own - why? Because I was a Veterinarian...over there they respect a vet more than a medical doctor...

Then Denmark...how I wish I could settle down there! The friendly people, the excellent weather, oh the bicycles!

In UK I was offered a job...why? A BSE pathologist working only with cattle brains was jealous of me who worked with a variety of tissues...

RoyalTLady said...

Yes, indeed nothing compares to our country. Not only the people are showered with warmth, they shower visitors with warmth too.

In UK, the life was more like home. I happened to meet good friendly people.This was a wonderful group who were dealing with ethnic minorities.But not when we meet up our "own" people. They shun away as though we were asking for shelter the next minute they returned our smiles. Surprise? Try asking other people...

Wow! They sure envy you Doc.Great, well done for you and your family!

The US respected a Vet more than the other? Hahahaha! But congrats again. You made it that far to the foreign land! Well done!

azahar said...

It is true Tlady. They respect us Vets more than us here. Here they make joke of us.

Sentences like: "Oh Doktor Ayam..." really irked me. Little that they know we vets have done so many things to both animals and men alike.

Who help produce all the best meat around? Who taught the medical doctors about allowing surgical patients to walk around (slowly) instead of lying in bed?

It was true with what my professor's words: "Azahar, you took the right course, but you are in the wrong country!"

RoyalTLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RoyalTLady said...

since my laptop is "protesting" for my long hours of blogging...my lengthy remarks just went off into the think air.

Anyway, mentality of our people ...quite difficult to comment.

The only thing I could suggest, kita sama-sama ajo anok2 kita:
To recognize other people's achievements, triumphs, success and share with them and NOT commenting or pass "unpleasant" remarks to belittle others.

Sometimes, kampong mentality still exist (sad to say) even amongst the highly educated ones.

Sementara komputer ni ok, kena ato mesej ni dulu..
until then..