Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It was the year of 1973

After my MCE Exam, I came home with all the luggage and a six years belongings that was nothing more than stacks of this and that at the corner of my bedroom. Excitedly I notice we had a new neighbor but most importantly they have children. That meant that I would be making new friends, Hooray!

This neighbor in particular, would change from one to another at a fixed period of time unless they are the favorite to the folks around the neighborhood. And obviously, there was one much less popular to us especially. Significantly famous with their arrogant behaves, which included not making friends with us or any other kampong folks, having rounded up our herd of lambs and sent them to the police station, they were the least popular District Officer in the district of Kemaman.

The late, His Royal Highness, Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Ibni Almahum Sultan Zainal Abidin was their first royal visitor as the distinguished guest of honor when they first resided there.
(Apologies to Your Highnesses...apparently The VIP lady had corrected some facts here....It was ....the late His Royal Highness Sultan Mahmud Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah's visitation and not the former, The late HRH was HRH Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin's father).

Looking quite hurried and panicky, the servant from this new neighbor hastily crossed over to our compound and greeted us with salam. After talking to my Ma, what appeared to be very serious, I saw Ma went inside fetching “kuah singgang lama” that she kept in the pan tightly and properly covered above her kerosene stove. Apparently it was being requested by the late His Royal Highness through his Boy (the person acting as his aid in charge of serving food to him), refusing all the deliciously well prepared dishes served by the host. The whole entourage was brought along each time the late His Royal Highness went on his district visits. He would either chose to reside in this DO’s house which instantly be refurbished or at the district government rest house by the river side.

His next visit a year later, was him asking for “air kopi sejuk” (cold plain coffee). Ma had apparently "saved" their shortcomings (again) by giving away her favorite cold coffee that was in the fridge. She usually kept her extra plain coffee which was made from very aromatic local coffee added with a ladle of white sugar. The big metal mug with its lid on,(koley as we called it in Terengganuspeak) would then be kept in there and she would finish it by the end of the day by pouring bit by bit into another cup, a white tea cup and a matching saucer with gold rim. Sometimes, unfinished coffee would prolong its life span until the day after in the same fridge. His Royal Highness was then really fitting my neighbor’s test list for asking something no one would ever have thought he would have asked and obviously very rarely people would be keeping such thing over night or in the fridge.

These two “unexpected savings of their lives” so to say, changed the environment from the previously not so friendly neighbor into this new, charming, warm, humble and friendly one.

Ma has got new friend to share her life with, in particular Mok Ku Tengku Dalam and Mok Ku Ku Wok. So were vice versa. Our famous orange big quarter spiral concrete stairs was the official seats for our visitors who wanted the feel of fresh air during day time and getting the sweet smell from bunga pekan at night time. Sometimes I would help cleaning the stairs by just pouring over a few pails of water to get rid of the road dust that was blown over from beyond.

Friendships were developed between the two households with no boundaries from then on. The children, Pi, Ku Nor, Ku Yah, Ku Adi, Ku Mah, Ku Woh and the youngest Ku Sah, were our most regular visitors. (Names appearing are not arranged in accordance to their age)…Our favorite drink would always be sweet plain hot tea prepared by Ma in big koley, to be drank on the stairs. While Mak Ku Tengku Dalam would enjoy her evening pass time with Ma, chatting over their private matters which we children were far from being allowed to eve drop. At this time too ,came along adik Chop who would call "air teh" as "air ta".

I was to her, an adopted daughter, a person she considered older than her eldest daughter, Ku Mah. I fitted well wherever I went with them. Sometimes I would accompany them to official functions in the district that provoked the people around to question if I were related to them.

At times when VIPs dropped by on their official visits, this residence would be their next official stop to have meals. My assistance was needed then. Not that I knew what to do, but I helped in whatever I could assist. On one occasion,(not yet with any title) Dr.Mahathir Mohamed was the person on a visit to Kemaman as the Minister of Education. I was asked to peel mangoes and arrange them for VIP tables. Wow! What an experience during that school holiday. Many VIPs came and went. Some I did not even take notice who they were because they were too many. My task was to lend a hand, full stop.

Days, weeks, months and years that followed, remained unchanged. After school holidays were over, we left Kemaman, heading for our respective schools. Me, to Johor Baru and Ku Nor, to Seremban. The rest of her siblings were schooling in Kemaman and Kuala Terengganu. School holidays were our much-awaited-get-together, again to share stories and outings. We would cycle to a far as Kuala Kemaman and sat on the beach until it was time to be heading for home before the sun set. At times I was offered a lift in their family car, a red Volvo, to visit my paternal mother in Kuala Terengganu.

From our maiden days as students, we left for further studies, getting married, having our own families and today living not so far apart from each other, we never kept ourselves away. Ku Nor was and is still my close companion…

July 2005, I bumped into Mok Ku, at Istana Maziah during DYMM Tuanku Sultan Mizan’s birthday. Much to my amazement and surprise, she excitedly introduced me to her lady VIP friends with such a tone that expressed feelings of proud having me as her “adopted” daughter, “Ni anok saya ning. Dulu masuk ITM Dungun, masa Pok Eng jadi principal, saya gi ato masuk dengan anok saya Yah (Sharifah Normadiah)”…I was quite embarrassed at this note. Surely her friends knew who I was because I resembled (like a carbon copy) to my elder sister, Kak Zawahir. But they all acknowledged with smiles and salam with me.

She was and still is ever so proud of me for some reasons only she very well knew. Had I been more successful than what I am today, she would probably have announced it to the world. How thoughtful and humble she was.

Now as the news of her being ill arrived, through the hand phone, it saddens me greatly. I could not return her kindness to me at all. I could not visit her in Kuala Terengganu as she was warded for the past couple of weeks. Hence, I choose to express it here, how deeply I feel her presence besides me, with her warm and motherly smile. Her warm hugs, when I met her at my nephew’s (Wan Mohsin Azmi) wedding after the last Hari Raya Puasa (2007), was still felt. Her sweet and joyous smile was still in my minds eyes. She was wearing a pair of lilac baju kuring while I was in a purple baju kurong. What a coincidence though not exactly the same.

At the time of writing this blog, she is still in the hospital in KT. When SNSO called to inform, I was greatly saddened by it all. However, some consolation was felt when she told me, my two elder sisters went visiting her that afternoon after talking to me. Alhamudlillah, at least some members of my family were there as my representative.

She made no enemies throughout her long life. She was and is very much blessed with life full of trials and tribulations besides all the joys, happiness and pleasant surprises bestowed unto her. She bravely went through them all with jubilant. She has good friends all around her, she has no enemies, people loved her every where she went. She was and still is so adorable, lovable and have a heart that was made from gold…(excuse me for saying this, but I am not sure if this gold could be bought or sold at all)…It was her inborn attitude, humble with everyone that touched her heart and life. It was such a pleasant fact to know when she turned 70, she was as though stil very much in early her 60s or late 50’s.

May Allah Bless her with good health, long life, more happy moments to be shared with her grand children and all wonderful people all around her whom she has showered with her wonderful heart and soul. Amirah, her eldest grandchild, would soon be a doctor and would be her proud moment to share her graduation ceremony.

I am sure as time ticking on and days moving on, people in the Kuala Terengganu General Hospital would be kept busy receiving all the VIP visitors on her behalf...meanwhile, my silent prayers are always with you

I too was blessed with such good hearted people all around me and Allah saved me from the ill-hearted ones. Alhamdulillah syukur.


azahar said...

May I know who the DO was? I think I know who he was, but just to get confirmation from you.

I was in Kem Polis Hutan (the present day PGA) Kubang badak at that time.

Talking about cycling, I did a lot of cycling those days. I remember getting a brand new bicycle (like the one used by P. Ramlee in one of the Bujang Lapok series). I used to bicycle from Kubang badak up north to Merang or to Pulau Babi (as it was called then) tio meet with another Sdara, Ibrahim Besar.

I can understand how you as a sweet young lady being so popular..ha ha

RoyalTLady said...

The DO at that time was none other than, (currently known as) Dato' Syed Omar bin Syed Mohamad. At one time, he became the YB of Dungun, the the Speaker for DUN.

Alamdulillah syukur, I was and still is being Blessed with wonderful people around me except , one in particular...as you know who? Its a MR.Who!

RoyalTLady said...

was trying to edit the font but then i kept loosing its paragraph.

Anyway, Amir Harith is too wide awake and kept tumblig down now.....so better be offffff

RoyalTLady said...

Yesterday, Amirah Shazwani visited me and Amir Harith.

She is on a month long holiday from her medical school in Bandung. So, she was the first person from To'Puan Tengku Dalam Fatimah's family to read this write.

Apparently, I did not prepare any lunch, so we had tea and bread soaked in tea piece by piece. Some square biscuits, cap ping pong, was also served. We finished them with rambutans from her neighbour's garden that she had brought along.

Much of what was written, especially the earlier part happened long before she was born. So they were news to her.

Her grandma is already out of the hospital, alhamudlillah syukur. She would be on her way to KL by Saturday morning, getting some rest (plus swarm of visitors coming to see her) by Sunday and leaving for umrah on Monday. I just wonder if Sunday would be a resting day for her at all?

May Allah Bless her journey (together with Dato', Ku Mah, Ku Nor and another relative)and a safe return in a fortnight's time.

azahar said...

Could you kindly give the full names of all Dato' Syed Omar's children?

If my memory is right, there is Ku Aziz, Ku Faridah..am I right?

RoyalTLady said...

Ku Aziz is the son of Syed
Ahmad ustazah Ku Azizah.

Syed Omar's children are all girls.They are Syarifah Naemah, Sh.Normah, Sh.Nor Madiyah, Sh.Nazrah, Sh.Nor Adibah and Sh.Nazehah...

I have just came home from visiting To'Puan. She never made it to Mekah to perform the Umrah. She is hospitalised in Universiti Hospital.

Hopefully she would recover soon. Amin.

RoyalTLady said...

For all her kind deeds to me in the past ...that makes what I am today...ALL I could return was readings of Surah Yasin while she was helplessly sick and in pain which was unbearable to see.

Tears rolled down our cheeks...old cheeks. Memories came flooding back from yesteryears ...sweet memories of our past, when I was young!

RoyalTLady said...

It was Saturday when she was first warded. And today is another Saturday...2nd August 08. She met my daughter Tasha who was on night duty, when she went to the emergency UMMC wing that night.

Blood transfusion was done, she was warded at U717 and last Wednesday was kindly transfered into a single room U716.

From 1975 through to 2008, how many long years is that? Now her grand children totaled 34 and I practically have met almost all of them at UH.

Today's atmosphere and visit was quite calm although haze covered Klang Valley sky. The fire in Sepang did it all. But despite calmness, I never completed my task of reading surah Yasin.

Tonight her daughters and family living in Terengganu, left KL, heading for home to begin their work in various places of employment tomorrow.

Tomorrow too, I shall be going to Jasin sending aunt Di (this is how Amir Harith's is addressing her). May be stopping in Seremban visiting another adopted family, Tengku Nafizah. I have stayed with her and family during my student days while going through my practical training in SEDC Seremban...decades ago that was.