Sunday, August 17, 2008


Sitting on the linen wooden box measuring may be 4.6 feet by 4 feet (I would make a non committal statement here as may be, for there was no sense of sizes then), at 11:30p.m. on forgotten day, in the year of 1971. We were pushing ourselves up onto it because it was quite tall for our heights. So eager were we, to share our stories that were not told and ever repeated elsewhere ...

This newly found friend, Gie, who has just joined this boarding school in form four, is a sweet, tall and slim girl, having wavy hair, wearing such a sweet enchanting smile on her face and bespectacled like me. We were in different classes, she was in the Science stream and I, in the Art. She lived locally and every week end, she was visited by her parents, sisters and a brother.

One night, after the prep was over, which normally started at 8:00p.m. and ended at 10:00p.m. somehow we found ourselves sharing different childhood stories with similar theme and plot. The wooden box that housed our used linens and clothes was our silent witness. Hence, the shared experience and stories were never told, repeated or breathed out to anyone else. It ended well past midnight with eyes full of tears, swollen lids and red out-shaped-noses...slightly swollen, honest!

Four long years that followed were full of bitter-sweet-memories of girls living in boarding school. That was our alma mater. Such place helped to shape us up, taught us independence as we were living away from families, having sense of sharing, high tolerance, authoritative, developed us into strong headed beauties, retaliate whenever possible but most of all, we all have sense of self belonging to one another.

Until today, we still keep in touch with one another although not living within the same town, via phone calls, group emails, meetings and gatherings. The last two remained of utmost importance because we could then test our soprano, B flat, B minus choruses...and all the music notes you could mention. Ignoring all else, we were forever excited to tell one another our stories, some never ending stories.

Within six months to a year after leaving school, most of us made way for colleges and universities. I was on a part-time teaching job in my hometown, Kemaman, Terengganu. That was the place where I was born and lived full time until I was 12 years of age. My write on Alma Mater mentioned part of this and that. A year after this part-time job, I joined an institute together with Sh.Normadiah in Special Dedication To The VIP Lady.

The irony part of it all...was we (me and Gie) were in a different campuses. I had applied for a course in Library Science but was unsuccessful.. Gie was in the main campus, while me and Sh.Normadiah were in a branch campus. The Terengganu campus was the best beach campus anyone could ever had. Then a couple of years later, I came to know Gie went to the UK to further her studies. We kept in touch by mails, though quite irregular.

After I got married, I followed my spouse to the same this time, I have not met Gie for a good four years.

One day, while having our lunch at the Malaysian Hall, in London, I heard this huge voice, familiar laughter, high pitched, broad base, followed by other unfamiliar uproar. I turned and stopped, gazed, froze my neck a little while longer...guess who was it? Of course, but of course, you are right. It was Gie, the mighty lady with a big voice and laughter. Wow, she has grown in size. She was no longer the tall and slim girl I once knew. When I called out her name, she was more than astonished to see me there, as though I have just came back from ….. beyond. We were almost shouting in excitement to see each other. That day, did not just end there. Mails after mails followed afterwards, phone calls, yes there were regular phone calls made to each other.

Then two years passed, one day we visited her in her apartment in London with two plus one, my junior, Tasha. Gie had this white and pink fluffy elephant ready for Tasha and she claimed her as her god daughter. I would upload this picture taken in her home later...once I found it. We named this fluffy elephant, Echipant. Together, there was my cousin from my late father’s side, (now) Datuk Hamidi Abu Bakar, working in the Grand Palace where our Royal Highnesses the King and Queen live.

In her final year, pursuing ACCA, she must have been busy…There was silence again, perhaps she was busy with her final exam and assignments. Before leaving for good, we were on the phone a couple of times more to update ourselves. Okay, fine...she was going home on the 23rd December 1983. I shall keep this date in mind.

It was a window seating, three rows to our right ...I caught a glimpse of a striped silky beige, black, creamy blouse just like mine. The blouse was a real coincidence. I quickly scribbled a note saying hello to this lady with a familiar voice, I could hear her talking...must be quite loud then. I passed it through an air hostess that quickly handed it over to her. We were on this MAS flight back to Kuala Lumpur, together. I knew this date but I kept it a secret from her. It was very sweet (on our parts) giving and receiving surprises…

Eleven hours later, we landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and separated until several years after. (This link is the latest airport we have in our country). The airport we once landed was a smaller one located not far from the city. Strange, as it may sound but it was real. Separated but deep inside we remain close to each other.

When we started our own business, we often met to have meals together. Several years later, we were silent again. We knew where we lived, but somehow, we were busy. Once in a while, we got together then disappeared. Reappeared and then disappeared. Somehow, we knew of our progress and development.

One night, at 1:00a.m. Gie and Beebe came to where I once lived and listened intently to my “stories”. Ditto, ditto, ditto…said my partner in crime. Needless to mention here, but they were taken by surprise to my latest development, then.

The relationship remained sweet as ever although we hardly met. A year ago, she came. YES, she came to help with her god daughter’s wedding...The Lady Who Lives Down The Staircase. We were once again at the top of our voices while preparing the “pelamin” as in the Malay wedding

It was an evening on Thursday and another evening on Friday…before the 6th She even came on the 6th, I suppose to cover her would-be-absence for rest the year and the year of 2008…till the month of August. of January 2007.

Now she is supposed to come and get acquainted to Amir Harith (A.H. A Bundle of Joy) before he goes and claim the seven month old present that was seated in the boot of her old car and then in this new car. But for some apparent reason, it was taken into her apartment was informed through an sms.

Whatever the situation is, the relationship remains sweet as ever…even though there is no more wooden linen box around. Thirty seven years on…we are still in touch with each other, the only difference this time is, most updates arrived through my second daughter.Their meeting is more frequent in work places and shopping malls. Gie meets The Lady Living Next To My Room.


Anonymous said...

HA!HA!HA!HA!...hey..that's the familiar big laugh from me isn't it! Waa..habis u cerita 'down our memory lane' eh? So sweet.. yet.. so.o 'kena' me! Nanti ...u! HE..HE..! Aisay Emy, don't u miss that linen box? I sure held some good ole, sweet, nostalgic memories...kan? Well glad I 'passed by' yr blog today. Now I know u've bn 'bercerita-ing' eh? Tsk..Tsk.. naughty, naughty.As for your second daughter, she sure is a gem - a gem who ensures two ole pals always 'get together'. Thanks Zaza. You are such a darling. Keep it going ok! And now, my dear, dear friend, I apologise for the intermittent 'absence' but truly, it's the thoughts that really matters.. I tak pernah lupa actually... Love u all!!

RoyalTLady said...

WOW! That was such a BIG and RARE surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mama Jie Jie...sorry you don't quite like GIE...I assumed.

Ya, now as I tried to pronounce it...GI..doesn't sound Jie...perhaps I should just type "G" next time. Eh, ada ke lagi next time?

Those who constantly and pleasantly "walk and touch" my path in life, are treasured here in more beautiful words.

Nevertheless, there are those who "horrifyingly touched" my memory bank also got a mention or two here in this blog...look them up and you would surely bump into them.

Ideas just click and urged me to jot down those memories with you fleeting...

Yes, I too miss that tall linen wooden box. Still there. is it?

Zaza surely "links" us constantly.

Anonymous said...

Halu! I personally like to use 'J' rather than 'G' but latter alone is good enuff too. Mana-mana pun boleh. Hey u write well ..keep it up! Helps to destress too.

This poem by a guy called Ralph Acosta is dedicated to our 'linen box'... he..he..

Travelling down memory lane

Travelling down memory lane
is not all black 'n white.
Travelling down memory lane
is not all lacking light.

Travelling down memory lane
is not eye filled with tears.
Travelling down memory lane
brings fresh and soothing air.

Travelling down memory lane
is love & pain, fun with friends.
Travelling down memory lane
is full of curves and bends.

Travelling down memory lane
is a test of time and mind
Travelling down memory lane
is a joy of it's kind.

RoyalTLady said...

Now I could reply your comment because Amir Harith is watching his favorite cartoon...OOOOOch! He is upside down now...I mean his head is below the cushion that barricade his "territory of going-left-going-right".

He just loves being on the bare carpet...oh oh, trying to get up now...I suppose he is trying to crawl. He looked so determined to do it.

Mom is out with Dad to the Premier Chiropractor for some treatment. He is left with me. Too bad, he is left on his own to watch TV while his Wan busy typing away this comment. hahahahahahaha

Well J, I must thank you for this wonderfully first long write from the passers by. Its a beautiful poem. BUT it's for the "linen box" not me?

Never mind. As long as you remember the "mid night" childhood story telling, I don't mind.

(miska, muska Mickey Mouse...that's what we hear from the Mickey Mouse Club House now)

BUT most of all!!!!!!!!!! This is the first time ever, someone caught me writing about her in my precious blog. My partner in crime is of some exception...we always write of each other here.

Enjoy writing your book. Could I have a signed copy for my keeping?

Anonymous said...

Hey, the 'linen box' is a nostalgic memory meant only for the two special characters involved with it lah. Good ole days ain't it? Hmm... didn't they say school days are the best days of your life eh? As goes the poem - travelling down memory lane is full of curves and bends and is a test of time as well as mind. But best of all, it holds its own imprints of joy like footprints on the sands of life and the sweet thoughts of which is like a touch of cool zephyr blowing softly against your cheeks...

RoyalTLady said...


I read your sms before deleting them. When is your "see you soon" to be?

Yes, definitely the "linen box" was only for us...

But could you imagine no one else in the entire school population ever sat on it! Yes, perhaps they did but they did not carry forward memories that was carried along, like we did.

Hey, I suddenly I remember....your "we are in the same boat"...I have left the little boat you gave me after leaving school in my home in Kemaman...It is not there anymore I guess.

So, the wooden linen box and the wooden little boat...were our "storage space of memoirs" and "treasure chests"...